Ask a Cop: What is the law regarding break times?

Sgt. Chris Yagelski

Q: I work in a local factory and we got into a discussion at our 15 minute mid-morning coffee break about our mid-morning coffee break! What is the law regarding break times because we would like to approach our boss to increase it to 20 minutes?

A: Great question, but Indiana law does not require employers to provide adult employees lunch breaks or other breaks. This is only a courtesy your employer is providing unless you have a specific written contract. However, Indiana law 20-33-3 does require employers to provide teenage workers with two rest breaks totaling at least 30 minutes if they are less than 18 years of age and scheduled to work at least six consecutive hours. Federal law does not require lunch or coffee breaks. However, when employers do offer short breaks, federal law considers the breaks as compensable work hours unless the employee is completely relieved of work duties during that period.

Q: Okay, I am very confused and need the real answer. I see so many people slowing down at stop signs but just keep going. My dad said these are called “California Stops” and everyone does this and the cops don’t care as long as you yield to other traffic. Is he really correct? Are “California Stops” legal in Indiana?

A: Sorry, a popular, but illegal, driving habit is the legendary “California Stop.” This is the act of slowing down or rolling through but not fully stopping at a stop sign. Stop means stop. It is illegal in California, Indiana and all other states. To stop at a stop sign your wheels need to come to a complete stop, no forward motion of your vehicle, yield to the right of way and then proceed when clear.

Q: Crazy as it seems, someone opened my unlocked car over the weekend and took my issued work jacket. The company needs a police report in order to replace it. It’s not that big of a deal but I work in South Bend and leave early and get home late, so I just called. The officer told me that you do not take reports over the phone. It just seems like a hassle to make a simple report for work. Is this really true?

A: Sorry, the officer was correct. We do not take reports over the phone. Reports often require physical verification and validation of the information provided as part of the reporting process. Our goal is to complete reports involving crimes and we do not take reports just for your business, we take reports to prosecute individuals that commit crimes.

Q: If a policeman stops you for a traffic violation can they order you out of your car even if you have done nothing wrong?

A: Actually, yes they can. During a legitimate traffic stop when you are lawfully detained, the police may order the driver and any passengers out of a vehicle or to remain in the vehicle. This is intended to protect officers safety.

The winner of last column’s riddle sponsored by Scotty’s Dynamic Designs was Bobby Komendera of Michigan City. Last column’s riddle of “what word did you discover after crossing out all the wrong letters?” was “Correct”!

The sponsor for this week’s riddle are our friends at Knucklehead’s in Michigan City. The winner receives a $30 gas card.

Candy Barr has been murdered and Detective Kevin Urbanczyk is on the case. Kevin interviewed the four suspects and their statements are shown below. Each suspect has said two sentences.

One sentence of each suspect is a lie and one sentence is the truth. Help Detective Urbanczyk figure out who killed Candy Barr.

Marty: I did not kill Candy. Either Greg is the killer or none of us is.

Greg: I did not kill Candy. Albert is the killer.

Matt: I did not kill Candy. Greg is lying when he says Albert is the killer.

Albert: I did not kill Candy. If Marty did not kill him then Greg did.

The 10th correct answer by phone or email at exactly 1 p.m. today wins.

To answer a question or ask one, contact Sgt. Chris Yagelski at 873-1461, Ext #333, or e-mail

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