By Trey Rusk
Most cases can be made with physical evidence and witness testimony. That's all the state usually needs. However, I have known officers to stretch the truth in order to insure a conviction. Why?
I have always felt that you either had a criminal case from the get go or you didn't. I have let people go because my case wasn't strong enough. I have had crime victims become angry when I opened the rear door of my unit and let the criminal walk away. This is not to say that I haven't helped a victim by recovering their stolen property or let them see that their neighbor was probably a crook.
I will not prostitute my character to convict a person of any crime. This may sound righteous but think about it. A turd is a turd is a turd and there will always be a crime that they will be caught for with good solid evidence. These folks aren't going to change. I take that back, I once witnessed a career criminal change before my eyes. During the commission of a crime he caused his own demise.
I used to live and work in the same area. I would sometimes run into turd heads that I had arrested at the store or even at the high school football game. I could always look them in the eye.
If an officer stretches the truth on a report or while testifying he isn't the only person who knows what he did. The criminal knows. He knows you are a liar standing behind a badge. He also knows you can't be trusted.
Do you know who makes up the vast majority of informants? Criminals who are looking to get out of trouble. If they don't trust you, they won't spill their guts about a pending case. There is no honor among crooks. They will rat each other out in a heartbeat. Even if they are no good pieces of shit, they will call in a tip. But if they think the cop on the beat is a liar, they won't call you.
This isn't always easy to do. I once misidentified a car thief that had fled on foot from my partner and I. Back up units arrived and asked me to identify the turd they had detained for the crime. I looked at him and through different identifiers such as hair color, height, weight and facial features, I said that looks like him. It wasn't him. My partner said no that's not him and I agreed. I wasn't going to stand on a questionable identification. It turned out to be a close relative. Close but no cigar. This was clearly a mistaken identity. It wasn't intentional and I was extra vigilant on I.D.'s from then on.
I remember the oath of office that I took to carry a badge.
A conviction obtained through false reports or testimony hurts law enforcement as a whole. We have a hard enough time keeping our reputation unsullied with people that lie about our actions in an effort to save themselves from a ride downtown.