Local News

Officer: Authorities have protocol for all burglary calls

Posted July 24, 2009 11:04 p.m. EDT
Updated July 25, 2009 7:14 a.m. EDT

— The recent arrest of a Harvard professor as officers investigated a report of a burglary has drawn attention to police procedures. Local authorities said they have a protocol for responding to all burglary calls.

Garner Police Sgt. Joe Binns said officers train extensively on how to handle 911 calls to a residence. He said when officers respond to a residence their first order of business is to ensure the safety of the people in the home, as well as their own safety. Officers accomplish that by securing the home and the person or persons inside.

“You would want your neighbor to call 911 if they saw somebody suspicious in and around or inside your home,” Binns said. “Since we don’t live there or in that neighborhood, we have to determine based on the information we have whether that person is supposed to be there.”

For homeowners, an encounter with law enforcement officers can last from two minutes or 20 minutes, Binns said. The key is being polite and follow officers’ instructions, which would include showing proof of residence such as a driver’s license, he said.

Officers must respond to all 911 calls and investigate the nature of every emergency call, even if it’s determined no crime was committed, Binns said.

“We have to do that as safely as we can and as quickly as we can,” he said. “The more cooperation we have from the person inside the house, the quicker that whole situation would be over with.”

Binns said officers had a situation recently where a homeowner thought someone had broken into an upstairs window. It ended up being the homeowner’s husband that had come home unexpectedly.

Officers secured the house and the person inside and then determined he had a legal right to be there. The situation ended peacefully.