by J.C. De Ladurantey
Well, I did it again! I threw something at the television and shouted, “They don’t do it that way!” I know that television, the movies, and even our fictional literature take liberties, but does it have to be that way? To sensationalize means that we must violate, harm, or demean another for the sake of our hero/heroine. Dirty Harry, Jack Ryan and Jason Bourne would all be in prison for their misdeeds. So why do we thrive on their brutality in the name of justice, yet decry it in real life?
Being the Crime Doctor, my job is to tell you what a member of the law enforcement community does, why and how they go about it so you too can take liberties. As long as you know you are writing fiction for the applause of your readers, here we go!
Law Enforcement Myth vs Fact
- Myth: An officer must provide a Miranda warning the minute they make the arrest. They are required to break out the Miranda Admonition Card while they hold someone at gunpoint and read them their rights.
- Fact: Only if they plan to interrogate a suspect regarding his actions in a crime does there need to be an admonishment. The admonition is generally done in the confines of a formal interview and not on the street or while they are being handcuffed. Many times it is advantageous not to ask questions or talk to the arrestee and just let the spontaneous admissions or comments come flowing out.
- Myth: The bad guy or girl confesses to the protagonist while holding him/her at gunpoint.
- Fact: It is rare (read NEVER) that the bad guy will hold a gun on a person and confess before they shoot. Ask yourself, would you feel better spilling your guts while everyone else is trying to figure out a way of tackling you or shooting you?
- Myth: Husbands and wives often work together to solve a crime.
- Fact: It may add conflict and drama, but absent some private investigators who may be married (none come to mind) spouses do not team up. I just finished a novel where the husband/wife team worked for the FBI. I finished it and made sure it had been labeled fiction. Trust me on this one!
In my next issue I will share with you what all of that stuff is on the belt of a uniformed officer. I know you are dying to know!
Joe D, The Crime Doctor
Dr. Joseph C. De Ladurantey is a retired Chief of Police for the City of Irwindale, California. With over 40 years in law enforcement, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Management, he brings a broad range of real-world experience to the classroom and keyboard. He has published two textbooks, written several articles for professional publications and is in possession of too many unfinished manuscripts for other books. He published his first crime novel, Cowards, Crooks, and Warriors, in April 2015.
Since 2011 he has hosted a radio show “Making Your Memories” on Orange County radio station KSBR, 88.5 FM specializing in Rock & Roll and Doo Wop music of the 1950’s and early 60’s.
He resides with his wife Sandra in San Juan Capistrano, California.
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