In large police districts, responding officers may be arriving on the scene individually for the first time – no matter how many times you’ve called the police before. So they don’t know the history of your neighbor’s antics. Police rotate shifts and locations in larger departments, so we often can’t make a connection with one officer who’ll be with us going forward. So …
· keep a log of incidents, obtain copies of all police reports,
· note the names of all officers who’ve visited you,
· present as much physical evidence as possible when they arrive.
Disturbance complaints are given greater credibility when they’re taped – a good audio or video recording of what you called about is useful when the antics stop just after the police arrive on the scene. When the cops don’t witness the infraction, they sometimes don’t even talk to the caller or knock on the offender’s door – they leave and radio back to the dispatcher that the complaint is unfounded. Then, the next time you call, you have beside your name and number the flagging that you’ve called before about nothing, slowing police response time and even eliminating response all together in some districts.
Remember that the moment an officer arrives, he or she begins sizing up the players to get a vibe. The bad guys to them are inconsistent (dishonest) and interrupting (disrespectful) – be clear, calm and don’t exaggerate the facts.
Start considering police to be case builders rather than problem solvers. Their reports enjoy the greatest credibility in municipal court, where you may find yourself next.