What do you do when someone offers you a bribe? Consider this
Every time someone attempts to bribe an officer and is released without being charged accordingly, a golden opportunity is missed
Has anyone ever tried to bribe you to avoid a citation or an arrest?
Many officers would answer "yes."
If the follow-up question is asked, "What did you do when it happened?" Officers will answer proudly, "I refused it!"
It is a good thing that officers refuse bribes. However, every time someone attempts to bribe an officer and is released without being charged accordingly, a golden opportunity is missed.
You see, on the one hand, the suspect just committed a felony right in front of you. Then, on the other hand, that person set you up to ruin your career by enticing you into committing a felony as well. This act is most deserving of arrest.
Here is an example of the Wisconsin statute bribers are violating:
946.10 Bribery of public officers and employees. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of a Class H felony:
- Whoever, with intent to influence the conduct of any public officer or public employee in relation to any matter which by law is pending or might come before the officer or employee in the officer's or employee's capacity as such officer or employee or with intent to induce the officer or employee to do or omit to do any act in violation of the officer's or employee's lawful duty transfers or promises to the officer or employee or on the officer's or employee's behalf any property or any personal advantage which the officer or employee is not authorized to receive; or
- Any public officer or public employee who directly or indirectly accepts or offers to accept any property or any personal advantage, which the officer or employee is not authorized to receive, pursuant to an understanding that the officer or employee will act in a certain manner in relation to any matter which by law is pending or might come before the officer or employee in the officer's or employee's capacity as such officer or employee or that the officer or employee will do or omit to do any act in violation of the officer's or employee's lawful duty.
I arrested three people for this crime during my career for the Class H felony charge of attempt to bribe an officer. The arrests were very satisfying and all three were convicted.
When you make this arrest, you will find as I did that it will get coverage by your local news. When it is covered, the arrest will send out this message loud and clear: "Our police are incorruptible!"
10 Points to Consider During an Arrest
I trained officers using an isolation exercise to prepare them for how to make an arrest for attempting to bribe a police officer. Here are 10 key points I covered within these trainings:
- It is so important to remember that any suspect chancing a felony arrest for bribery may be concealing something much more serious than whatever it is you have them stopped for. Therefore, proceed with caution.
- When the suspect offers you money or something of value, get clarification by asking, "What is this for?" If they take it back and say it was a mistake, then it ends there. For example, I have had intoxicated drivers, who may have been too drunk to know what they were doing, try to hand me money. However, if during their explanation they admit they are hoping you keep the offering and in return overlook the violation, then you have probable cause for arrest.
- Keep the offering and explain that they should wait in their vehicle because you must "clear off the stop" and you "will be right back." Cautiously return to your squad.
- If you have a camera recording the contact, as soon as you are out of earshot of the suspect, then you need to explain this to the camera: "This suspect has just offered me (amount of the bribe) to not cite/arrest him. I have feigned accepting it and am taking the money for evidence. I will be calling for backup to make the arrest for the attempt to bribe an officer. This act explains clearly your reason for accepting the "bribe."
- Handle the money as little as possible. Place it in an evidence package to preserve it for prints and DNA. Maintain it in the position it was handed to you in, such as pinned to the license or folded to fit in the hand. If it is attached to the license, then take the license as evidence as well.
- Report the situation to your dispatcher and ask for backup to come to the scene, silently. Maintain a vigilant watch on the suspect until backup arrives.
- As backup arrives, coordinate their positioning to enable a high-risk-stop-arrest. This is because it is reasonable to believe something very dangerous is afoot to inspire the suspect to take such a chance.
- Search thoroughly, as allowed by law, for contraband, evidence and fruits of a crime that might shine light on why the suspect tried to bribe you to evade arrest.
- Carefully package the evidence (money) and write a thorough report, including statements made throughout the contact that supports the charges. Retain the recordings of the contact. This will be critical in the prosecution of the case.
- Note the positive coverage your department will receive as a result of this arrest.
Is the Offer of Sex to Avoid an Arrest a bribe?
Officers I trained asked the question, "Is the offer of sex to avoid an arrest a bribe?"
My local district attorneys said if such an offer is made to persuade an officer not to make an arrest, then it would be cause to arrest for an attempt to bribe an officer. However, check with your local district attorney.
When someone offers you a bribe and demonstrates their belief that all cops are corrupt, ensure you prove them wrong by arresting them for the felony of attempting to bribe an officer.
Even if the amount you are offered to compromise your honor is $1 million, it will not matter. Like your sense of honor, the look on the suspect's face when you say, "You are under arrest," will be priceless.