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I watch a bunch of those crime dramas, CSI, Close To Home, NCIS, NUMB3RS, Criminal Minds etc... n I'm a little confused as to how realistic their duties are. CSI for example investigates all these murders, CSI officers do duties that I would expect a deputy to perform, such as entering a home with weapon drawn and clearing the house before looking for evidence, and they hold interrogations that I would expect a detective to do. Law & Order Criminal Intent shows detectives doing all the murder investigations and interrogations, Close To Home shows the DA doing all the investigating and interrogating. All the shows have shown CSI or CSU at some point and play down their role as being absolutely minimalist, each show overlaps into departments that other shows are based around, but they all seem to carry out the same duties.

So my question to anyone who knows is... how much involvement and what duties do each department really have? Because each show would have you believe that the department that show is based around is THE department that does ALL the work with a little help here n there from the other departments.

I enjoy the shows, but that question as always been on my mind lol, which show as the most accurate depiction of what that department does.
 

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It's all great for TV watching, but these programs make crime solving as easy as one, two, three.
When I was in SAR, our team often worked with the FBI and the Mo Highway Patrol. Each organization had their own CSI, ERT, etc teams.
One case in particular. When the remains were identifyed at the scene, with dental records, a call was put out for the arrest of the perp. That was take care of by the local PD. NOT the ERT team.
MOST of the scenarios I saw had two, three different organizations/departments involved. It was often Federal, State, county and local, or county and local.
The LEOs here may have a different perspective than me.
 

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Sorry, I don't generally watch those things. If you get into the details, it'll probably ruin your viewing experience.

I did my time in L. A. so, here's a local primer:

First, there are several levels of people out there who may be packin' guns - "Peace officers" - in California. From the broadest arrest powers on down to more limited authority, they are (1) Police Officers, Sheriff's Deputies, D. A. Investigators, and others, (2) officers/investigators with the Highway Patrol, Univ. of Calif., Calif State Universities, Fish & Game, Dep't of Corrections, Alcoholic Beverage Control, and others, (3) officers/investigators for the DMV, Horse Racing Board, Fire Marshal, and others. And on down - you get the picture.

LAPD works within the city limits of L.A., with different patrol areas - "Divisions," each one sorta like a small department. They have their own crime lab. A homicide (or other cases) might be worked by a Division detective (Mark Fuhrman) or the bigs guns out of Robbery/Homicide downtown (Lange & Vannatter) or some other specialized unit: Gangs, Bunco/Forgery, Narcotics, etc.

L. A. Sheriff's have jurisdiction over all of the unincorporated areas of L. A. County plus those incorporated cities that contract for their services. Their patrol areas are "Stations." They have their own crime lab. too. They have a similar setup with Station level personnel plus detectives in special centralized units. LASD may assist a small department when it doesn't have the expertise or the manpower to devote to a case, e.g., a small city that has 1 murder every year or two can easily screw up an investigation.

Then there's a bunch of State agencies and Federal agencies. There are State and Federal crime labs. Cooperation between agencies on different and even the same levels ranges from great to non-existent. Turf wars and politics. Generally, no one is looking to take on more work; they're trying to cut case loads, unless there's some positive notoriety at stake (politics again.) There always seems to be a shortage of manpower and resources.

Typically, D.A.'s are not involved until the detective/investigator brings a case to them to file a criminal complaint. Being a skilled trial attorney does not readily equate with being a good investigator or interrogator.

Head spinning yet? ](*,)

The most realistic would probably be shows like Cops, The First 48, North Mission Road (Coroner) that follow around the actual people. Even then, it's like the police equivalent of The Dog Whisperer.
 

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lol ok, makes sense. Kinda similar to what I know about Florida's agencies. OPD, Orange County Sheriff, State Troopers etc. I live in unincorporated Orlando/Orange County so I never see OPD unless I go downtown.

I used to hate any type of dramas on TV, but a friend of mine got me into CSI a few years ago n it just expanded into watching all the other shows that came on this season. I think having a DVR has increased my TV viewing about 800%, I can actually follow a TV series, because I'm not the type to stay home to catch what happened on the next episode so I never saw the point to watch something that required that :lol:

It just amuses me that on the shows they show the involvement of other departments in an absolutely minimalist way, n then their own department gets all the glory... but every show does that n every show is a different department, so it's like "OK who actually DOES the real work??" they show CSI busting into houses with guns n clearing the rooms or following people in cars... n it's like... OK wouldn't they have a deputy with them to do that? :p All in the name of a good show I guess! If I were a cop those shows would probably drive me nuts, I hate seeing inaccuracies in stuff I know alot about. Knowing about dogs also ruined the joy of other peoples pets now, because I see them give dogs 10 commands that never get responded to, or I'll see em ineffectively correct the dog or mis-read behaviors that should be corrected n it's tough for me to keep my mouth shut, but nobody ever listens to my advice so I've learnt to tollerate it lol.
 

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I just watch them for enjoyment. I see a lot of inaccuracies in a lot of the shows, but I still watch them and enjoy the story. I watch CSI (LV & Miami), Criminal Minds, and sometimes NCIS.

But my favorite?

THE SHIELD
Nothing like watching Vic kick some ass!!! :lol: :twisted:
 

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... If I were a cop those shows would probably drive me nuts, I hate seeing inaccuracies in stuff I know alot about...
That pretty much sums it up.

In real life, every LE agency has a specific jurisdiction in which they have authority. Generally speaking, State agencies (State Police, State Highway Patrol, State Gaming Commission, etc) have jurisdiction throughout the entire State or over specific crimes. Sheriff's Offices generally have jurisdiction in their entire specific county. Police Departments general have jurisdiction within their city limits.

Generally, Police Departments patrol municipalities, townships or villages. Sheriff's Office patrols unicorporated areas of a county (even though they technically have jurisdiction in the whole county). State Police or State Highway Patrol generally patrol certain areas of the State, even though they have jurisdiction in the entire State.

CSI is pretty realisitic in terms of the scientific side of things (even though DNA and other stuff can take weeks to get back, not minutes). But the rest of the show is just not true. CSI Techs are generally not SWORN police officers, meaning they have no arrest powers and don't carry guns, etc. They are usually civilians that work for the Crime Scene Investigation DIVISION of a larger Department (such as LAPD or CHP, etc). To be frank, they are generally techie-type nerds that are highly educated with a strong background in science, computers, etc :D.

In terms of who does what in real life, Law & Order is pretty accurate (though, that's where the accuracy stops in that show!). Third Watch was pretty realistic the first few years (at least as far as a TV show goes). Still, the most realistic COP show is still NYPD Blue, IMO. But they only dealt with one aspect of policing, being a Detective in a large metro agency. Almost ALL of the COP dramas on TV are from that perspective. I wish someone would come out with a GOOD, WELL-WRITTEN, REALISTIC show about policing from the Patrol Officer perspective. Third Watch was probably the closest so far.
 

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Of course, if want to see what patrol officers deal with on a daily basis, it doesn't get much better than COPS (even though some of the cops they ride with are just, well , goofy).
 

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I love watching the really (10+ yrs) old episodes of COPS!
You gotta love the stupid mustache 1/2 of them had! :)
 

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Sarah Hall said:
I love watching the really (10+ yrs) old episodes of COPS!
You gotta love the stupid mustache 1/2 of them had! :)
:eek: HEY, HEY! WATCH IT!! I was never LEO but I sure was proud of my handlebar mustache and porkchop sideburns, back in the 70s-80s. :p :lol: :lol: :wink:
 

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I love all those shows, too & am addicted to my DVR. I never watch anything when it is supposed to be on because I hate commericals. I just love "Criminal Minds", "The First 48" & all the "Law & Orders". I record the CSI shows, except the Miami one because it seems stupid & unrealistic & way over the top (as if I would know what the real thing would be!!! :roll: ).
 

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Hahaha, c'mon, you know if you see pictures of yourself back then you go "What the hell was I thinking?!"
It was cool back then, but you always have to laugh at something you did in your earlier days. (I wore dresses with frillys on them for God's Sake!!!!)
 

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susan tuck said:
I love all those shows, too & am addicted to my DVR. I never watch anything when it is supposed to be on because I hate commericals. I just love "Criminal Minds", "The First 48" & all the "Law & Orders". I record the CSI shows, except the Miami one because it seems stupid & unrealistic & way over the top (as if I would know what the real thing would be!!! :roll: ).
I got burned out on all of the forensic stuff quick because it always seemed to play the "what's grosser than gross" cards. I think shows like that can desensitize the wrong people to what they are seeing (wrong people would be a bunch of categories, nobody I think on this board, by the way). Law and Order SVU bothers me a lot...that show makes me really uncomfortable. I am no prude but it always comes off to me as shock violence for the sake of shock violence and some of the imagery on that show is disturbing, even pornographic. I like the other L&Os just fine.

Best cop show of all time for me was Homocide: Life on the Streets. Andre Braugher is the man. Unfortunately, the guy behind that one (Tom Fontana, who also did St. Elsewhere) went on to do the single worst crime show, I think, that has ever been on: Oz. That was just sadistic and hateful.
 

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I'll watch the "Forensic Files", "The First 48" and other real-life shows, but with a 9 month old AND a puppy, I barely get time to sit down and enjoy that strange picture box! :eek:
 

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...I got burned out on all of the forensic stuff quick because it always seemed to play the "what's grosser than gross" cards. I think shows like that can desensitize the wrong people to what they are seeing (wrong people would be a bunch of categories, nobody I think on this board, by the way). Law and Order SVU bothers me a lot...that show makes me really uncomfortable. I am no prude but it always comes off to me as shock violence for the sake of shock violence and some of the imagery on that show is disturbing, even pornographic. ever been on: Oz. ...
Perhaps. But many times, the "gross factor" is the reality of many situations. I guess after being a cop and seeing things like: a 14 year old boy blow his own head off 10 feet away from me; or a suicidal man kill himself by literally almost completely cutting his OWN head off with a chainsaw :eek: 20 feet away from me; or seeing a guy try to kill himself by lighting himself on fire (which didn't kill him) so he jumped off the top of an eight story parking garage, I guess most things don't bother me :mrgreen: .

Of course, you have to have a dark sense of humor in most public safety jobs or you won't last very long. But the "gross" stuff you see on TV isn't necessarily just for "ratings". In fact, many times it's what public safety folks see all day long, every day because generally, we're not needed when things are hunky-dory.
 

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What you see in an hour TV program, while on occasion is realistic does not portray the hours it takes in real life. I've always summed it up by saying that; police work is hours and hours of endless boredom, interupted by moments of sheer terror.

DFrost
 

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Scott Zettelmeyer said:
[
Perhaps. But many times, the "gross factor" is the reality of many situations. I guess after being a cop and seeing things like: a 14 year old boy blow his own head off 10 feet away from me; or a suicidal man kill himself by literally almost completely cutting his OWN head off with a chainsaw :eek: 20 feet away from me; or seeing a guy try to kill himself by lighting himself on fire (which didn't kill him) so he jumped off the top of an eight story parking garage, I guess most things don't bother me :mrgreen: .

Of course, you have to have a dark sense of humor in most public safety jobs or you won't last very long. But the "gross" stuff you see on TV isn't necessarily just for "ratings". In fact, many times it's what public safety folks see all day long, every day because generally, we're not needed when things are hunky-dory.
That's my problem...you guys see this stuff, for real, and I respect you all for that and any coping mechanisms you have, I empathize. On TV it's glamourized and played up. There would be a lot more vegetarians in the world if people had to kill and dress their own meat, and there would be a lot fewer guns left on nightstands if Dad got to see what a bullet actually does to a body on impact (and a lot fewer guard dogs if Dad got to see what really can happen when he ties out that intact male pit in a bad neighborhood for a few years). Light-years away from a pin-up sitting half-naked in a pool of blood. I think the net effect of seeing dead models in suggestive situations over and over gets people away from the very brutal stuff that actually does happen. Makes me nervous.
 

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David Frost said:
What you see in an hour TV program, while on occasion is realistic does not portray the hours it takes in real life. I've always summed it up by saying that; police work is hours and hours of endless boredom, interupted by moments of sheer terror.

DFrost
That was why Homicide: Life on the Streets was so awesome to me. It seemed to do the best job of depicting that life honestly.
 

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Oh Woody, you are so right, "Hiomicide Life on the Streets" was the BEST. I loved the characters, storylines, music, EVERYTHING. I Andre Braugher is SUCH a good actor. I loved his character on that show. So Intense! :D
 
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