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I was watching The Fast and the Furious the other evening and the scene came on where a superior tells the undercover protagonist, "You've got 36 hours to crack this bastard". I've also seen similar scenes in other movies and TV shows ("I've got the mayor breathing down my neck", "We've got to catch this guy before he strikes again", etc.) and it got me wondering, are there ever such seemingly arbitrary time constraints placed on investigations in real life? I can understand the urgency of stopping an active serial killer (e.g., the D.C. snipers), but does this sort of thing really happen, or is it just a Hollywood invention to build tension in the plot? When they say, "You've got X amount of time to solve this or we're pulling the plug", what does that even mean, that we're throwing our hands up and quitting or that we're going to start arresting the wrong people just so we can say we did something? I've never understood that.
 

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Unfair Facist
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There can be tremendous pressure on a dept. Handling a high profile case.

But in my experience at least, it is seldom as depicted in movies or TV shows. With demands to Crack the case in x amount of hours or else.

But they don't have to issue threats like they do on TV for the investigators to under stand they could face some career repercussions if they do not deliver.
 

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Pretty Ladies!
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If something is deemed important, then they'll throw money, particularly overtime money, at it until the problem is solved or until the people outside the department (media, mayor's office, etc.) quit caring about it. I was never given a time limit to complete a case or charge a suspect because otherwise I'd be "walking a beat on third shift in the projects next week!"

There are some times where a date or a "hard" time limit becomes important, but it's usually in relation to things such as pending court dates after a suspect has already been charged. That's when you might have 48 hours to compete a task, but it's only because the trial starts on Monday, for example.
 

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Unfair Facist
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Here is the thing,

For the cops who see their job as a calling no threats are needed for them to put 110% into solving a high profile case. What motivates them is the desire to being the perpetrators to justice.

One day I came to work on the evening shift,the patrol Lt. Calls me in and hands mea picture of a dead two year old. That morning the child's body was dumped like a sack of trash at our hospital emergency entrance. The body showed clear signs of severe long term abuse/torture.

Day shift had gotten nowhere in identifying the child. I was simply told, "see what you can do", pass it on to the midnight shift at the end of your shift.

It took until two hours past my shifts end to identify the child and to get the child's parents in custody. (They thought they were clever since they lived in a neighboring County and dumped the body in our city.) I wasn't motivated by threats or promises of reward. I was motivated to bring the person('s) responsible to justice.

They are still serving their life sentences.
 

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Semper Paratus
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I was watching The Fast and the Furious the other evening and the scene came on where a superior tells the undercover protagonist, "You've got 36 hours to crack this bastard". I've also seen similar scenes in other movies and TV shows ("I've got the mayor breathing down my neck", "We've got to catch this guy before he strikes again", etc.) and it got me wondering, are there ever such seemingly arbitrary time constraints placed on investigations in real life? I can understand the urgency of stopping an active serial killer (e.g., the D.C. snipers), but does this sort of thing really happen, or is it just a Hollywood invention to build tension in the plot? When they say, "You've got X amount of time to solve this or we're pulling the plug", what does that even mean, that we're throwing our hands up and quitting or that we're going to start arresting the wrong people just so we can say we did something? I've never understood that.
Yes not exactly as portrayed , but the sentiments expressed are spot on .
 

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Absolutely. Lots of pressure to get things wrapped up in high profile cases so the city admins can tell the media, “our job is done” and refer the media to the DA’s office.

And it definitely results in things getting rushed and arrests being made too soon, or things getting overlooked.
 

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Mr. Awesome
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Time constraints, similar to what the OP talked about are a factor when we have UC’s or are using CI’s, have someone in custody and must charge them or let them go, or when someone will be released from custody and their presence affects the investigation.
 
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If something is deemed important, then they'll throw money, particularly overtime money, at it until the problem is solved or until the people outside the department (media, mayor's office, etc.) quit caring about it.
This.

My agency used to have a screen printing machine and a bunch of blank t shirts, if there was suddenly a huge crime wave of gang shootings, home invasions, persons or business robberies, auto thefts, etc, they would get a bunch of people in on OT, give everybody a whatever the problem task force shirt, have a press conference ( either before or after the case was made) and flood whatever the problem was with people and resources....

We used to call it the " overnight unit" effect, since the unit was created instantly out of thin air....

Funny thing, though, alot of the time it worked.
 

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I was watching The Fast and the Furious the other evening and the scene came on where a superior tells the undercover protagonist, "You've got 36 hours to crack this bastard". I've also seen similar scenes in other movies and TV shows ("I've got the mayor breathing down my neck", "We've got to catch this guy before he strikes again", etc.) and it got me wondering, are there ever such seemingly arbitrary time constraints placed on investigations in real life? I can understand the urgency of stopping an active serial killer (e.g., the D.C. snipers), but does this sort of thing really happen, or is it just a Hollywood invention to build tension in the plot? When they say, "You've got X amount of time to solve this or we're pulling the plug", what does that even mean, that we're throwing our hands up and quitting or that we're going to start arresting the wrong people just so we can say we did something? I've never understood that.
I haven’t seen where the deadline was as defined to the hour.

I remember a few high profile cases where it was the opposite. More of “yousse can’t leave “ until it’s solved. Patrol gets special posts , specialized units flood the area, etc. And they flood the area until something shakes , solved, or another case takes priority. Some places to work, hunt ( look for criminals) and eat, are better than others.

Yes, phone calls at home are an issue. Especially on a high profile case.
 

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TV shows and Movies often involve story lines that are short in timelines. Gotta keep the "time demands" so they fit within the short time constraints of the stories. :p

Watching most cop shows requires more than a little "suspension of disbelief" when it comes to the nuts and bolts of "police work". Granted, some of the types of cases used in TV/Movie plots can be based upon life, instead of "art".

I've usually found that whenever I commented about something being completely fictitious, inaccurate, unrealistic or highly illegal in shows, my family just looked at me like I was ruining the "experience" for them.

I always told people who asked me about my job that police work was 95% Barney Miller and 5% Hill Street Blues. I could always put more than a few faces of actual cops to every single one of the characters portrayed in Barney Miller. Everybody to whom I told that just looked at me like they couldn't believe whether I was being serious or joking.
:animlol:
 

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Why so serious?
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TV/Film is the last place to look for real world LE reflection.

No 60+ minute episodes of the Cop logging evidence, or sitting at a court house all day, etc etc etc.

Sent from my Jackboot using Copatalk
 

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I never had any time constraints other than as noted above with court, hearings, etc. We worked a case until there wasn’t another immediate angle to work and then we went home, grabbed a couple hours of sleep and then went back in to continue working it. You put a time constraint on and it results in sloppy police work. The ultimate goal is to get a conviction, not just make an arrest so it looks good for the media.

I’ve worked over 36 hours straight before. I’ve done 30+ hours in a row more times than I can count. I’ve gotten 6 hours of sleep over 3 days before. None of it was because my boss put some idiotic “you must solve this case now” comment. It was all a desire and motivation to bring a killer to justice.
 

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TV shows and Movies often involve story lines that are short in timelines. Gotta keep the "time demands" so they fit within the short time constraints of the stories. :p

Watching most cop shows requires more than a little "suspension of disbelief" when it comes to the nuts and bolts of "police work". Granted, some of the types of cases used in TV/Movie plots can be based upon life, instead of "art".

I've usually found that whenever I commented about something being completely fictitious, inaccurate, unrealistic or highly illegal in shows, my family just looked at me like I was ruining the "experience" for them.

I always told people who asked me about my job that police work was 95% Barney Miller and 5% Hill Street Blues. I could always put more than a few faces of actual cops to every single one of the characters portrayed in Barney Miller. Everybody to whom I told that just looked at me like they couldn't believe whether I was being serious or joking.
:animlol:
So true.

There was another TV show with promise but it went away. The unusuals on ABC. The detective who would wear Kevlar inside at his desk-lol

Adam 12 for the time period was pretty good in how they showed up and had to solve the caller’s problem in 20 minutes or less.
NYPD blue had its moments in the first two seasons then went off the rails.

I told my family the most unrealistic scene in spike lee’s The Inside Man, which was pretty good, was when a captain apologized to a detective . It would never happen. Captains outrank detectives and it would never happen.
 

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I like how they always take people in for questioning on cop shows. Or book someone as a material witness.
Sounds good, but I’m not sure if the constitutionality of either.
 

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You NYPD guys need to finally admit what the rest of us already know,

Barney Miller was a documentary pretending to be a sit-com.

At the squad level, yes.

The stuff they left out was the rookie (me) who bit off more they can chew and the squad guys have to help him figure out what he’s got.

But they got it right for back then. It was almost all old guys. That’s how it was. You had 15 years or more before getting to a squad. Totally different now.
 

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I like how they always take people in for questioning on cop shows. Or book someone as a material witness.
Sounds good, but I’m not sure if the constitutionality of either.
It’s done but rarely. The old take everyone to the station house and we will figure it out thing is done.
And hold everybody at the scene is also done.
It’s just a voided arrest on the paperwork.
The first time I was a part of it, it freaked me out. A guy with gun powder burns to the face said” nothing happened “. My patrol sergeant was promoted from detective squad , and had us take him in as a material witness. He was a jerk of a supervisor and as a cop in so many ways but knew his stuff. Material witiness is case law so it’s tricky. And nowadays , rare.

But it’s a good device for drama. Just like perp talking on the cell phone to the cop who is going to get him. It happens but rare.
 

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It’s done but rarely. The old take everyone to the station house and we will figure it out thing is done.
And hold everybody at the scene is also done.
It’s just a voided arrest on the paperwork.
The first time I was a part of it, it freaked me out. A guy with gun powder burns to the face said” nothing happened “. My patrol sergeant was promoted from detective squad , and had us take him in as a material witness. He was a jerk of a supervisor and as a cop in so many ways but knew his stuff. Material witiness is case law so it’s tricky. And nowadays , rare.

But it’s a good device for drama. Just like perp talking on the cell phone to the cop who is going to get him. It happens but rare.
Those are a regular occurrence on the Rockford Files!
 
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