Any cop who has been on the job long enough to break in his boots has encountered this situation. It could be a traffic stop or some other type of field interview. The subjects are not under arrest but are definitely under suspicion—however they have no I.D. Knowing how the game works, they give you a name and date of birth; maybe they even give you a Social Security number. Dispatch radios back with a matching description of the guy you are talking to and that’s all you have to go on.
In most jurisdictions you would be justified in holding that person until a more positive form of identification could be verified. However, reality dictates that you simply cannot haul in every subject who doesn’t have I.D. Depending on where you work you could spend your entire shift dealing with this problem. You’re forced to make note of the individuals and situation and send them on their way—all the while knowing in your gut that the chances are good the suspects are wanted for something somewhere.
Any cop who has been on the job long enough to break in his boots…
by Dan Schechtman / Nov 1, 2007