As we watched the man walk away, I complimented
the officer on how she'd handled the interview
gaining as much information as she had.  She
paused as she looked at me realizing that
something else was coming.  "What kind of report
are you going to write," I asked?  She paused again
probably realizing that her answer would be
incorrect, "Injured Person," she replied?  I pointed
out that the victim had obviously been the victim of
an aggravated assault.  The officer replied that the
victim didn't want to report the assault.  I then
pointed out that the victim had already reported the
assault...to a police officer.  "But," she responded,
"I don't know who he is."  I asked the officer, "How
does that change what happened?"

One quick point here.  Any crime committed against
anyone is a crime against the state.  Any person
can choose not to report a crime, but once a
person reports elements constituting a crime to a
police officer, that crime has been reported.

If the officer had begun an injured person report
(officers don't have a problem with "unknown" for a
victim's name when it's a non Part One report)
she'd have soon realized the information she had
constituted something quite different.

The no name thing is what gave this officer a mental
block.  When in comes to Part One crimes, not
knowing the name of the victim does confuse a lot
of police officers.  Look at it this way, if you found
this same guy lying dead on the sidewalk, obviously
beaten to death, you'd just put "unknown" in the
victim's name box on the homicide report if the
victim's identity is not available for your report.  In
the example cited, if our victim had dropped dead
from that nasty head injury on his way to where
ever he was going, the homicide detectives would at
least have had a suspect's name with which to
begin their investigation.

The key to dealing with uncooperative victims is to
never lose sight of your responsibilities as a police
officer.  Never let passion, prejudice, or emotion
interfere with meeting those responsibilities.
I had only been a sergeant for a short time when I
was standing on the station house parking lot
talking to an officer from my squad.  A young man
walked toward us from the street.  This guy was
really messed up.  He was bare chested; he had one
large, nasty looking gash on the side of his head.  
He had several other lesser lacerations to his chest
and forearms with bruises, abrasions and swelling
on both arms.  The head wound had obviously bled
a lot since the side of his face and chest were
smeared with blood. The amount of bleeding was
further evidenced by his blood soaked shirt which
he had tied around his waist.

He began describing how he'd been attacked and
beaten by a man armed with a cast iron pipe.  The
officer, probably wanting to show her new sergeant
that she knew what she was doing, went into
action.  She asked all the right questions as she
recorded information on her notepad.  The victim
even provided the suspect's name.  However, every
time she asked the victim for his name, he'd just
continue with his account of the attack.  The officer
eventually got the whole story, except for the
victim's name and other identifying information.  

It was pretty obvious from the beginning that this
guy was really embarrassed over being beaten so
badly, and he just wanted to tell someone about it
from his perspective.  When the officer pressed the
victim for his name, he refused by stating he didn't
want to report the attack.  While initially refusing
medical treatment, the officer again urged him to at
least let her call an ambulance for him.  Again, he
refused as he walked back toward the street.
Everybody, no matter who they are or what level of
the social scale they occupy, are potential victims of
crime.  This is a good fact to remember since many
police officers begin their careers with over
expectations when it comes to victims' cooperation
with, or an appreciation of, your efforts to help

You'll work with police officers who will show little
patience with uncooperative victims.  You need to
prepare yourself to exert a high level of tolerance
for uncooperative victims since you'll encounter
more than you might think.  Remember, your most
basic responsibilities will be the detection,
investigation, and reporting of crime no matter what
inconvenient circumstances may exist.

Victims may be uncooperative for any number of
reasons.  They may be embarrassed by their own
conduct leading up to or during the commission of
the crime.  They may have, themselves, been
engaged in some kind of criminal conduct when the
crime occurred.  Maybe, they just don't like police
"You need to prepare yourself to exert a high
level of tolerance for uncooperative victims
since you'll encounter more than you might
think." ~ Barry M. Baker
Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker