This is a simple question with a simple answer. Do not lie, ever! Do not give into peer pressure. Let us be honest however. The writer of these FAQs is a retired NYPD Lieutenant. Who worked in a high crime, violent precinct, narcotics, Internal Affairs, and ran a major case investigative squad, as both a Sergeant and Lieutenant. He is not unaware of the peer pressure put on Officers to “make their numbers,” and fit in.
So what do you do when you testify that you thought it was the butt of a gun, and it turned out to be a bag of narcotics? Or, as a human you lose your temper and use physical force on another person?
Do not lie. If you hit someone say so. These FAQs are not designed to give legal advice about every area of every arrest wherein the Officer takes police action, just some answers to commonly asked questions.
In these days of body cameras, cell phone cameras and cameras all over, what is the Officer to do? The first thing to remember is do not lie. The cover up is always worse than the crime.
There are however legal arguments that can be made. Do not risk your career and freedom. Remember the Bronx summons scandal? Do not risk your career doing a favor for someone. Then if it goes wrong, risk your freedom by lying about it. Remember, losing the “Job” is better than going to prison. The truth is, only you know what really happened.
Remember this. Every one has an agenda. Your bosses are most likely worried about their future. IAB has their agenda. Sometimes you have a good IAB investigator who only wants the truth. Moreover, he or she simply wanted to go back to narcotics, the squad, or wherever, and was drafted. They know the streets and want to clear the Officer. Sometimes you do not have a good IAB investigator, you have an investigator who is out to hurt cops. He or she wanted to go to IAB because they could not cut it as a cop. Sometimes you have a good and honest investigator (usually a Sergeant) but his/her Lieutenant may overrule him/her. This can go all the way up to a Chief.
If you did not do what you are accused of, stand up for yourself. You have rights, use them. If you did have a lapse in judgment, or did the right thing, but it looks bad, speak to your attorney. Devise a strategy to clear yourself. If not, arrive at a way to minimize whatever penalty you will have to face. Do Not Lie! It is better to take a thirty (30) day hit, than to lose your job and pension. And sad to say, it is better to lose your job and pension than to go to prison. Most important, do not lie to your representative or attorney.