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An inability to reliably sleep has made me very familiar with late-night television. Most of it is junk, but I’ve kinda gotten into the true crime genre. I like reading mysteries but when you’re trying to fall asleep you don’t want to ward off the urge for slumber by noting that the chapter you are reading only has seven more pages. I end up fending off sleeping to find a good bookmark point. I can fall asleep mid-“Forensic Files” and not think twice about it. Insomnia’s best friend is a good book. I’ll take the idiot box.
I’ve recently developed an affinity for a show called “Homicide Hunter.” It streams on Discovery ID and there are a lot of episodes so it’s an easy and, at this point reflexive, effort to tune in in the wee hours. The host or star is a fellow from Colorado Springs named Lt. Joe Kenda. He’s pleasant to listen to, kind of what I would imagine Jay Nordlinger to be like if he was jaundiced by spending his days dealing with crime scenes, dead bodies, and people who make all manner of horrid decisions.
Watching these shows, I am continually struck by something. The police, in mufti, show up at people’s doors, identify themselves by showing a badge, and then are allowed entry into the home. I don’t know about you, but I’ve no idea what my local police department’s, or any of the surrounding department’s actually, badges look like.
If someone comes to my door wearing a relatively inexpensive suit, claims to be a detective, and flashes a badge, am I within my rights to say hold on until I verify that you are what you say you are? I wouldn’t know a Birmingham or FBI badge from a Homewood badge from a novelty toy that came in a box of Captain Crunch in the late eighties.
I don’t know what a warrant looks like either. In the absence of a patrol car parked on the curb, I wouldn’t want to let a stranger into my house without knowing that they are who they say they are.
Obviously a Manafort style raid lets you know that the cops are here, but do I have to answer personal questions from a plainclothes guy at my doorstep because he possesses unfamiliar credentials?
In my mind, I should be able to say “Fine. I don’t doubt that you are who you say you are but I feel like I should be able to make a phone call confirming your identity before I start providing you with information.”
If there are any police officers that read the site I’d like to know your thoughts and your probable reactions.Published in