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

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
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 them.

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 officers.
"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 © 2018  Barry M. Baker