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  • Anonymous tips

    Hi,

    I'm working with a new technology that might be useful for LE.

    I have a couple of questions about anonymous tips, it would be really helpful if you guys could comment on your varied experiences.

    When you receive and act on anonymous tips, in what form are the majority of these tips? (phone calls, emails, letters, website posts, text messages, etc.)

    Would an anonymous tip video be helpful over any other format?

    Would this video help in the court room? With the press?

    Thanks for your help!

  • #2
    Originally posted by igzilla View Post
    Hi,

    I'm working with a new technology that might be useful for LE.

    I have a couple of questions about anonymous tips, it would be really helpful if you guys could comment on your varied experiences.

    When you receive and act on anonymous tips, in what form are the majority of these tips? (phone calls, emails, letters, website posts, text messages, etc.)

    Would an anonymous tip video be helpful over any other format?

    Would this video help in the court room? With the press?

    Thanks for your help!
    A lot of times people simply call 911 to report a problem but don't want to be identified or get involved. There is also a national program called crime stoppers. They organize with local law enforcement to setup hot lines for people to call in non-emergency stuff and remain anonymous.

    http://www.crimestopusa.com/

    To use something in court it has to be submitted through a witness. So if Joe Blow sees someone drunk driving but doesn't want to be identified anything given can't be used for prosecution. It might lead to police following the suspected driver and looking for their own probable cause to make a stop.

    Basically as a LEO I can't say a random driver saw the suspect weaving all over the road and that is what I used for my PC to make a stop. 1. its hearsay and not my own testimony and 2. the defense has the right to cross examine witnesses.

    I don't know if you can give video anonymously, it could be suppressed because the person who created the video is not available or refuses to cooperate might taint it and some asshat judge will throw it out. Also if someone took the video they are also a witness and could know exculpatory information that the defense would want to know.

    Its complicated and if the video showed a criminal act and suspects were identifiable then yes it would be very useful. The tricky part is getting it through our crazy legal system. Hopefully one of the other users will correct me if I'm wrong or have actually gotten anonymous video into court.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wirefire2 is right. Video is evidence, and therefore is subject to rules of evidence. It has to be verified by a witness, and a chain of custody must be utilized in order for it to be admissible.

      Also correct is the statement that we can't make an arrest based on an anonymous tip. The actual witness to the crime has to be available to testify. In the case of anonymous tips, we as officers must develop our own probable cause to make an arrest. All the anonymous tip can do is direct our attention toward a potential violator, at which time we can watch for a violation which will allow us to make an arrest. (I am speaking specifically toward traffic issues here)

      An anonymous tip might also point us toward suspicious activity that would allow us to make contact with the suspicious person and investigate further, based on a number of factors.

      Pretty much 100% of the anonymous tips we receive (at least in my department) come via telephone.

      Comment

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