Posted by Sorren
Hi Officer Michelle!
I’m a twenty one year old college student at Sac State, and I notice a lot of gang-activity in my area.. sometimes it’s just loitering, other times it’s visable drug-dealing, but it’s often hard to get anyone there in time, because the people involved usually leave right away, so I wouldn’t want to waste an Officer’s time by calling them down there to see an empty parking lot and no way to prove what went down.
I know Cops don’t like civillians medelling in what they do, but I feel that as a witness to some of this stuff, it’s my responsibility as a citizen to do something. I am (obviously) interested in law enforcement, but not ready to decide whether I want to start down the path of being a Cop myself..
I was wondering, would the Sacramento PD find it acceptable for me to like sit in my car and video tape criminal activity so that I could notify the police? Or something similar? is that discouraged or illegal in any way? I hate gangs, I hate drug dealers, and I want to help the Cops in any way that I can, IF I can. How can I become more actively involved without becoming a Law Enforcement Officer?
I share your sentiment about gangs and drugs. I worked narcotics for several years and saw what drugs can do to people.
I would suggest you call our Narcotic Tip Line at 808-5796 and leave a message about the activity you are witnessing. Be specific. Give license plate numbers or vehicle descriptions if you have them, suspect descriptions, times of day you are seeing this, etc. One of our investigators will receive the information and process it. They can go from there.
As far as you videotaping these activities, it is not illegal, but could be dangerous for you. If they discover that you are taping them, they may become violent, and oftentimes, these are not nice people to tangle with. If you have a legal right to be somewhere, you can tape it, but there can be civil ramifications if you post any footage on public sites.
I would advise to you act as the best possible witness you can be, while staying safe, and call us. If the crime is in progress, you can still call 264-5471 to have an officer dispatched. If they leave before we get there, you can always call us back to let us know they’ve left and are no longer on scene. We appreciate when the public gets involved as our eyes and ears when we aren’t there. Thanks for your comment.