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  • Citizen goes undercover; blows investigation

    In my current work-in-progress, a mother looking for her missing teenage daughter pretends to be a new member of a sketchy animal rights group. The group has a few rogue members known for doing illegal things (stealing dogs from abusive owners, etc.). She gains their trust and agrees to help "rescue" dogs during a puppy mill raid, planning to tell the police about it ahead of time

    Unbeknownst to her, there's already an UC who has infiltrated the group and a sting operation was in place for the puppy mill raid. Long story short, something she does outs her as imposter, and blows the whole operation the night before it's set to go. Would she be charged with a crime (Illinois)? If so, what would it be? (I'd ideally like her to either be let go with a warning, or charged with a misdemeanor and receive community service, etc., but not sure if they'd be so forgiving...)

    Thank you for your time in advance for reading this. Very much appreciated!

    **Edited to add a comment from below that some may have missed: There's a serial killer involved in this organization, so I'm hoping the readers could reasonably believe that the police might be involved.
    Last edited by Suspense Writer; 12-18-2022, 07:28 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Suspense Writer View Post
    In my current work-in-progress, a mother looking for her missing teenage daughter pretends to be a new member of a sketchy animal rights group. The group has a few rogue members known for doing illegal things (stealing dogs from abusive owners, etc.). She gains their trust and agrees to help "rescue" dogs during a puppy mill raid, planning to tell the police about it ahead of time

    Unbeknownst to her, there's already an UC who has infiltrated the group and a sting operation was in place for the puppy mill raid. Long story short, something she does outs her as imposter, and blows the whole operation the night before it's set to go. Would she be charged with a crime (Illinois)? If so, what would it be? (I'd ideally like her to either be let go with a warning, or charged with a misdemeanor and receive community service, etc., but not sure if they'd be so forgiving...)

    Thank you for your time in advance for reading this. Very much appreciated!
    No.

    Comment


    • #3
      ...and that's a fantastically unbelievable story. No law enforcement agency I know of, would use officers in an undercover role like that.

      Comment


      • #4
        A more realistic dog story, would be a Karen that calls 9-1-1 every afternoon right before shift change, to report poop in her front yard that she suspects came from her neighbor's dog (even though she didn't see it happen), and that she suspects that the dog poops in her yard because her neighbor told the dog to go poop in her yard. She argues with the dispatcher on the phone, and an officer trying to finish reports prior to the end of his scheduled shift, is dispatched. After explaining to the Karen that the police aren't going to arrest a dog for pooping in her yard, she asks for a supervisor, who was also just about to get off. The officer and the Sergeant both call their wives and tell them they're not getting off on time AGAIN...

        Comment


        • #5
          Your second reply, as written, was not very helpful, I'm afraid. If you'd like to explain WHY they wouldn't be involved in a scheme like that, it could help me and other writers coming to this board looking for answers.

          There's a serial killer involved in this organization, so I'm hoping the readers could reasonably believe that the police might arrange something like this. And naturally, with fiction, it doesn't always have to be 100% accurate. I was trying not to bog down officers willing to help writers with unnecessary details by being brief. Thanks for your time nonetheless.

          Comment


          • #6
            How about if the mother last saw the teenaged daughter when her 18 year old boyfriend picked her up in a distinctive-looking van, but she doesn't remember the license plate number.

            Then about 30 minutes before an officer is scheduled to get off from an unscheduled 17 hour double shift, he sees a distinctive-looking van exactly matching the description given by the mother.

            The driver rolls a stop sign, giving the officer a legally-justifiable reason to stop it. The boyfriend is behind the wheel, and the girl is in the passenger seat.

            The boyfriend is unable to provide license, registration, or proof of insurance, and gives a fake name. The girl, as it turns out, isn't actually missing, she just didn't tell her mother where she was or what she was doing. Once the girl is separated from him, she reluctantly is convinced to give his real name. He has warrants for driving without a license, driving with a license revoked...for driving without a license, vehicle theft, burglary, and other stupid stuff.

            Once he's cuffed and stuffed, checks by VIN reveal the van has switched plates, and is stolen. The officer gets the legal owner's phone number from dispatch, but is unable to reach the owner, so he calls for an impound tow to recover the vehicle. Dispatch tells him that it'll be 30 minutes before the tow truck arrives. The officer gets out his paperwork and starts inventorying the contents of the stolen vehicle, and finds weed, weed pipe, meth, meth pipe, five different kinds of loose prescription pills that he has to look up on his pill finder app, and the van is stuffed to the roof with stolen property that research on his MDT reveals is from seven different residential burglaries, four of which haven't even been reported yet, making him primary on those four.

            After seperating and mirandizing the boyfriend and the girl, they both deny everything and blame each other for the drugs. The officer calls for a second unit to transport the girl, and phones the mother to tell her that her daughter is in custody for multiple burglaries, multiple felony and misdemeanor drug and drug paraphernalia charges, and maybe for the stolen vehicle (he hasn't really decided yet, because he's so overwhelmed with the many hours of work that he just inherited, and hasn't slept since two days ago). The mother asks to speak to a supervisor, who was also scheduled to get off shortly...

            Comment


            • #7
              Or how about a shorter one:

              An officer has dinner reservations to take his wife to her favorite restaurant for their anniversary.

              Two hours before he's scheduled to get off, he is assigned to the missing teenaged girl thing. The mom has no idea where the girl could be.

              The officer takes a digital picture of a recent photograph of the girl, searches the house and the rest of the property, does neighbor checks all up and down the street, drives to the station to make checks for any recent cases involving the girl on the department's new 16 million dollar computer system that was designed with zero input from the cops that would actually be using it, calls the ER, and gets a nurse that doesn't believe he's a cop. So he drives over to the ER, and finds they haven't seen the girl or anyone matching the girl's description.

              The officer calls his supervisor to brief him on the missing teenager case as required by policy, transfers the digital photo onto a CD, labels it, packages it, seals the package, labels the package, creates an evidence voucher, attaches it to the package, drops it off in an evidence locker on the next floor up at the other end of the building, returns to his computer, calls his wife to tell her that he can't make it to their anniversary dinner, and then spends the next two hours typing up the case, including statements from nine neighbors (after creating nine new name files in the computer and filling in first/middle/last/DOB/age/sex/height/weight/hair/eyes/address/phones/employers), submitting the report...and then having dispatch contact him to let him know that the mother just called back- the daughter just got home from an after-school activity that the mother had forgotten about.

              The officer then sits back down at the computer, and begins typing out a supplemental report to close out the case...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Suspense Writer View Post
                In my current work-in-progress, a mother looking for her missing teenage daughter pretends to be a new member of a sketchy animal rights group. The group has a few rogue members known for doing illegal things (stealing dogs from abusive owners, etc.). She gains their trust and agrees to help "rescue" dogs during a puppy mill raid, planning to tell the police about it ahead of time

                Unbeknownst to her, there's already an UC who has infiltrated the group and a sting operation was in place for the puppy mill raid. Long story short, something she does outs her as imposter, and blows the whole operation the night before it's set to go. Would she be charged with a crime (Illinois)? If so, what would it be? (I'd ideally like her to either be let go with a warning, or charged with a misdemeanor and receive community service, etc., but not sure if they'd be so forgiving...)

                Thank you for your time in advance for reading this. Very much appreciated!
                It would be very unlikely for Law Enforcement to have an undercover officer infiltrate an anti animal cruelty group. Not enough resources.
                Charging the Mother w/ something would be huge stretch. Perhaps Obstruction, but that's really pushing it.

                Comment


                • Suspense Writer
                  Suspense Writer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Great, that works! I understand that they might not have enough resources (who does have enough workers these days?) to have a UC working on the case. But I think it can work for my story, if perhaps he's only on the case for a few weeks. And no charge for the mom works out fine. Like I said, trying to make it as believable as possible while still writing a suspense thriller. Thank you for your time!

                • Aidokea
                  Aidokea commented
                  Editing a comment
                  So now that you understand that it would never happen...you wanna do it anyway.

                  Cops aren't dumb enough to think that "suspense thriller" writers are like Angela Lansbury's character in the TV show "Murder, She Wrote".

                  And we probably have written a LOT more than you do professionally, for a collective audience that is MUCH more critical.

                  In order for your stuff to be viable, it has to be capable of suspending disbelief at least on some level. And in 2022, that absolutely requires some degree of realism. If you're gonna have an undercover officer on a dog case, you might as well have your characters shape-shifting into flying frogs that can read minds and shoot death rays out of their eyes, because you're solidly into the fantasy genre.

                • Suspense Writer
                  Suspense Writer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Aidokea I replied to you earlier that there's a serial killer involved in this organization. Plus, I just needed a simple answer to a police question––I wasn't looking for your critique of my story. I have critique partners and have three traditionally-published novels to my name. I don't know why you feel the need to be so antagonist toward me. Thank you for your time, but you don't need to respond to my story any further. I clearly understand how you feel.

                • Aidokea
                  Aidokea commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You don't get to dictate who responds to you or how they respond.

                  And I'm not being "antagonist" towards you- I'm genuinely struggling to communicate with you in a way that does not involve the use of the word "dumb", so as to avoid hurting your feelings.
                  Last edited by Aidokea; 12-21-2022, 01:18 AM.

              • #9
                What’s up with this asking for a supervisor? I see this more and more on OP-Live and COPS, it’s happened on in my time OTJ, but never went anywhere. You want a Boss, go to the PCT. Give me a hard time and we’d take you there..in cuffs. You’d see the Boss and leave with a discon summons. Boy, have times changed…
                Hey Kidd, I've got more time On Meal than you have "On the Job"

                Comment


                • Suspense Writer
                  Suspense Writer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I do see it quite often on OP Live...I wondered about that myself.

                • Aidokea
                  Aidokea commented
                  Editing a comment
                  What's "OP-Live"?

                • clof2001
                  clof2001 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  This happens frequently where I work, which is somewhat of an entitled town. When Kens and Karens don't get what they want, or are mad that the homicide detectives and helicopter didn't show up for their stolen Amazon package, it's always "I want your sergeant/supervisor out here. Now." To which I reply, "That's nice."

                  This later generates a complaint phone call where the Sergeant has to call the person back, and 99.99% of the time that conversation ends with, "OK, well I'm not coming out there."

                • Suspense Writer
                  Suspense Writer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  OP Live is On Patrol Live and is on Reelz on Friday and Saturday nights. It replaced Live PD.

              • #10
                Originally posted by 1911user View Post
                What’s up with this asking for a supervisor? I see this more and more on OP-Live and COPS, it’s happened on in my time OTJ, but never went anywhere. You want a Boss, go to the PCT. Give me a hard time and we’d take you there..in cuffs. You’d see the Boss and leave with a discon summons. Boy, have times changed…
                The police harassment / sovereign citizen, online kit apparently gives them a step by step playbook; traveling not driving.

                Comment


                • #11
                  "And naturally, with fiction, it doesn't always have to be 100% accurate. I was trying not to bog down officers willing to help writers with unnecessary details by being brief. Thanks for your time nonetheless."

                  Cops are a minority. You certainly don't have to be technically accurate to write a gripping novel that appeals to the general public. Having said that, realize that cops absolutely hate fiction that has no basis in fact.

                  The only time that I was involved in any kind of animal abuse was after the fact. No time, otherwise. It usually involved immediate euthanasia.


                  Comment


                  • Suspense Writer
                    Suspense Writer commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I feel like most writers I know do our best to marry suspenseful writing with as much realism as we can. . . as long as it serves our story. If someone wants 100% realistic police work, they should read true crime. No one reading my book is using it to study police procedures.

                    There's a saying in the writing world that goes something like this:

                    Either a police officer needs to learn the craft of writing (it's an average of 10 years of writing to get your first book published in one of the "big 5" publishing houses), or a writer has to attempt to learn the craft of policing. (Or any other career for that matter. I have a published novel regarding falconry and to do my research, I took apprentice classes and went on hunts for a year, but some falconers were still upset that I didn't trap my own hawk and have a mews, etc.)

                    We all do the best we can to make our stories believable, accurate, but also entertaining and suspenseful. I'm not always successful, but I'm always learning/trying.

                    Thank you for your ideas and commentary.

                  • Aidokea
                    Aidokea commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You're not "marrying" anything. You can't add to realism, you can only take away from it.

                    Go watch the movie "End of Watch". It is a fictional story, based on the real career of LAPD officer Jamie McBride and his partner. It is "thrilling". It is "suspenseful". And there are no undercover officers assigned to dog cases.

                  • Zeitgeist1
                    Zeitgeist1 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Every time I had to deal with animal cruelty, I ended up w/ another animal.

                • #12
                  I’ve never enjoyed fiction, there’s just way too much real crime to follow if someone’s interested.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    Originally posted by Suspense Writer View Post
                    In my current work-in-progress, a mother looking for her missing teenage daughter pretends to be a new member of a sketchy animal rights group. The group has a few rogue members known for doing illegal things (stealing dogs from abusive owners, etc.). She gains their trust and agrees to help "rescue" dogs during a puppy mill raid, planning to tell the police about it ahead of time

                    Unbeknownst to her, there's already an UC who has infiltrated the group and a sting operation was in place for the puppy mill raid. Long story short, something she does outs her as imposter, and blows the whole operation the night before it's set to go. Would she be charged with a crime (Illinois)? If so, what would it be? (I'd ideally like her to either be let go with a warning, or charged with a misdemeanor and receive community service, etc., but not sure if they'd be so forgiving...)

                    Thank you for your time in advance for reading this. Very much appreciated!
                    Nope. The UC would go back to the station and tell his boss, "See, I told you that was gonna be a waste of time."

                    The boss would then call animal control and tell them mission failed and to handle their own business. The teenage daughter would be left in missing person's system until she eventually came home broke, hungry and probably 3 months pregnant.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      We had a county humane officer that dealt with this kind of stuff. Most often, these calls dealt with animal hoarding and the resultant abuse of those animals. Homes full of animal urine and feces, sometimes feet deep. On the few occasions that I was called upon to assist, I would have to go home afterward, and change into a clean uniform. Awful stuff.

                      Comment


                      • Zeitgeist1
                        Zeitgeist1 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thank heaven I never had to deal w/ that.

                    • #15
                      Originally posted by Suspense Writer View Post
                      In my current work-in-progress, a mother looking for her missing teenage daughter pretends to be a new member of a sketchy animal rights group. The group has a few rogue members known for doing illegal things (stealing dogs from abusive owners, etc.). She gains their trust and agrees to help "rescue" dogs during a puppy mill raid, planning to tell the police about it ahead of time

                      Unbeknownst to her, there's already an UC who has infiltrated the group and a sting operation was in place for the puppy mill raid. Long story short, something she does outs her as imposter, and blows the whole operation the night before it's set to go. Would she be charged with a crime (Illinois)? If so, what would it be? (I'd ideally like her to either be let go with a warning, or charged with a misdemeanor and receive community service, etc., but not sure if they'd be so forgiving...)

                      Thank you for your time in advance for reading this. Very much appreciated!

                      **Edited to add a comment from below that some may have missed: There's a serial killer involved in this organization, so I'm hoping the readers could reasonably believe that the police might be involved.
                      Adding a "serial killer" to your dog story, in an attempt to justify police involvement, is just silly. If there were homicides, detectives in slacks and collared shirts would be assigned to investigate them. Nobody would care about dog cases or teenagers staying out late, and there would be no undercover officers involved.

                      Comment

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