Modern Divorce - The Do-Over For A Better You

When Police Get Involved In Your Divorce

December 28, 2023 Attorney Billie Tarascio
When Police Get Involved In Your Divorce
Modern Divorce - The Do-Over For A Better You
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Modern Divorce - The Do-Over For A Better You
When Police Get Involved In Your Divorce
Dec 28, 2023
Attorney Billie Tarascio

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So what happens when one parent doesn't return your child home? Or your kiddo shows off scratches or bruises they picked up at your ex's house? Or worse, talks about drug paraphernalia or weapons at their 'other' house.

Is it time to call police? Maybe. In this episode of the Modern Divorce Podcast, family law attorney and host Billie Tarascio talks with longtime friend, police lieutenant Doug Mozan to discuss these scenarios and more. You'll find out when to call police, and when they will pass on something you think is important. 

This episode is packed with definitive information that all single parents
 should hear. When dealing with an ex who doesn't follow the rules of a parenting agreement to driving under the influence, it's important to know when to pick up the phone and ask for help from law enforcement or your family law attorney.

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

So what happens when one parent doesn't return your child home? Or your kiddo shows off scratches or bruises they picked up at your ex's house? Or worse, talks about drug paraphernalia or weapons at their 'other' house.

Is it time to call police? Maybe. In this episode of the Modern Divorce Podcast, family law attorney and host Billie Tarascio talks with longtime friend, police lieutenant Doug Mozan to discuss these scenarios and more. You'll find out when to call police, and when they will pass on something you think is important. 

This episode is packed with definitive information that all single parents
 should hear. When dealing with an ex who doesn't follow the rules of a parenting agreement to driving under the influence, it's important to know when to pick up the phone and ask for help from law enforcement or your family law attorney.

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Billie Tarascio: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Modern Divorce. podcast. I am your host, Billie Tarascio. And today I am joined by a long, long time friend of mine from Eugene, Oregon, Lieutenant Officer Doug Mozan. And we are going to be talking about what the police do in various situations that you come across every day in family law.

Billie Tarascio: Doug, welcome to the show. Billie. 

Lt Doug Mozan: Nice to see you. 

Billie Tarascio: So good to see you. So good to see you. So Doug and I did music ministry together for years when [00:02:00] I lived in Eugene before I moved to Arizona. So we know each other really well, but it's been ages. And we won't make you listen to us catch up. We are going to dive into the substance, but if you see some chemistry, that's why.

Billie Tarascio: Um, so Doug. I've got so many questions that people want to know what happens when and let's start with a few just questions. When someone, when a parent is pulled over and you, there's an open warrant or there's a suspected driving under the influence, What happens to the children? What do you do? 

Lt Doug Mozan: Yeah, well, first of all, uh, just to, no, I'm not going to get into the nuance of DUI law, but I will say that when it looks like we're going to take a parent into custody, and there is, and there are children in the car, the first thing we do is try to find a relative to place them with, because the last thing we want to do is involve the [00:03:00] government in placing children, uh, if we can, if we can get a less traumatic, uh, and easier handoff.

Lt Doug Mozan: So usually that involves calling a spouse, uh, in a case of a divorce, we'll call an ex spouse, uh, we'll call grandparents frequently. Very rarely do we have to get into the friends, but sometimes we We have to go into a trusted family friend. The parent usually drives that bus, uh, in terms of placement. In very rare cases when there is no suitable, uh, suitable parent and maybe the other parent has no custody rights, um, in, in terms of the children or they're, they're indisposed, uh, we may involve, uh, a foster placement if they're, if they're too young.

Lt Doug Mozan: If they're over, uh, if, depending on what we, what we expect the outcome to be, uh, there's also a rare case where we may take them home, but they'd have to be [00:04:00] like teenagers and able to care for themselves, and we would have to expect the parent to be available pretty shortly. So in a DUI, frequently we can take them, process them, and cite and release them, and have them transported back home.

Billie Tarascio: Okay, so you're getting the contact information from the parent that you're arresting? Okay. 

Lt Doug Mozan: Yeah, I mean, they're their kids, usually. Right. 

Billie Tarascio: Okay. Well, that's great. That's good to know. So, most of the time, if your spouse gets pulled over, your ex spouse gets pulled over, um, and there's a warrant, your children are not going to end up in foster care.

Billie Tarascio: Correct. Yeah, that's correct. Good to know. 

Lt Doug Mozan: That's good to know. All right. Understand that, that cops are, are parents and, uh, children and brothers and sisters. Uh, so we're, we're not out to inflict any more trauma on kids than, than they've already experienced, uh, through all of this. And so we try to make it as easy as we can to, [00:05:00] to treat these kids as we would our own.

Billie Tarascio: Love it, love it. Okay, let's move on to the next scenario. A parent calls in and they're reporting suspected abuse. So they get their child back from an exchange, divorced parents or separated parents, and there are marks on their child. And their child told them that something happened. What do you do? 

Lt Doug Mozan: So, in different states, it's different.

Lt Doug Mozan: In, in Oregon, anyway, uh, and I realize, uh, probably in Arizona, they have the same standard we do in terms of forensic interviewing, so we would take a report, and we would probably arrange for a forensic interview and possibly a forensic medical examination of the child, and that happens in a very trauma informed way where you have experts in, in child court.

Lt Doug Mozan: interviewing and in child medical examining if they're, you know, doctors and nurses who do nothing but interview traumatized kids who are injured. And we get the best information we [00:06:00] can and that happens in a videotaped and recorded setting so that we have best evidence in any any later trial proceeding.

Lt Doug Mozan: But mostly we try to do this in a way that doesn't harm the child. It doesn't further harm the child. Yeah, 

Billie Tarascio: so do you do that all the time? Because sometimes a kid has scratches, and people will post it on our Facebook group, and they'll say, my kid came home with this, and they were wrestling with their brother, like, what would we do?

Billie Tarascio: In that situation, would you pull that child in for a full blown forensic interview? 

Lt Doug Mozan: Not necessarily. We might, uh, get an initial interview, or initial uh, uh, uh, investigation, go to the other parent's house, talk to them, look at evidence, find out what's what. I mean, if we, it's only in a case where we have a severe, a severe abuse suspected that we would go into a forensic interview.

Billie Tarascio: Okay, so most of the time, you know, let's say there's not [00:07:00] something that's severe abuse. Does that mean there's not going to be a police report or an arrest? 

Lt Doug Mozan: Well, let's, let's break it down for a minute. So, suspected abuse and abuse, or, and severe abuse, I guess. I mean, abuse is severe abuse, so let's just put that out there.

Lt Doug Mozan: So, um, so suspected abuse and then actual abuse are sometimes two different things. So, you know, a kid comes home with scratches and it turns out that they, uh, that they were on the playground and took a digger at school and, and went home and there's, there's a, a trail that we can follow or where there's a school nurse involved and there's an EA maybe that it was recess duty that called it in.

Lt Doug Mozan: I mean, we can investigate that pretty quick and dismiss it and say this was not abuse, right? The child suffered, um, injuries of childhood doing childhood things, uh, childlike things. And, or there's a brother or That's involved, and it's not necessarily an abusive situation. It's a [00:08:00] sibling that's one or two years older, maybe a step, and they're wrestling, and it doesn't involve the parent, and there isn't a criminal case.

Lt Doug Mozan: But in a case where we think there's actually abuse, then we'll take that very seriously. We're, you know, we're mandated by a number of laws, and we are, you know, ethically bound by our oath, we'd say, to protect that child. 

Billie Tarascio: Next question. In Arizona and Oregon, corporal punishment is legal. Parents are allowed to spank their children.

Billie Tarascio: Um, are step parents legally allowed to spank children? 

Lt Doug Mozan: So I believe they are, uh, if they are married and, uh, and have a custodial relationship with the, with the child. However, uh, understand that That spanking and corporal punishment has limits and there, there are lines and when those lines get crossed and we have children that have injuries, then we can [00:09:00] end up with a number of different statutes that apply to, uh, to that situation criminally.

Lt Doug Mozan: Uh, and it could be criminal mistreatment on the, on the easy end and, uh, uh, some sort of a felony assault. 

Billie Tarascio: Okay, so do you differentiate between married partners and unmarried partners in terms of what is allowed for discipline? 

Lt Doug Mozan: Well, we do, and it's only in the sense that if people are living together, and they're living as married people, whether or not they're actually legally married, that's essentially a family unit.

Lt Doug Mozan: Um, we would treat that situation as though they're married in terms of the laws pertaining to the spouses or to the partners, um, and then with the children, it could, you know, I hate to say it depends and give you a lawyer answer, but the, you know, it depends on how that, how long the relationship is, how parental that person is in the life of the children.

Lt Doug Mozan: If this is a, [00:10:00] uh, boyfriend or a girlfriend of two or three weeks and they just showed up and they take exception to something the kid's doing and they spank them. I think I would take a lot more critical look at that than I would a situation where we've been living together for two years, we're not married, but the child spends two weeks or two weeks a month with this other partner and they're essentially functioning as a step.

Lt Doug Mozan: Does that make sense? Yeah, it 

Billie Tarascio: does. It does. That's really helpful. Um, because we have a lot of debates about, you know, whether or not step parents should be treated legally like daycare providers or more, or more like parents, like where are they on that spectrum? And it sounds like what you're saying is they're more like parents, less like daycare providers.

Lt Doug Mozan: Right. And it, you know, again, it depends also on how a judge is going to interpret that in a termination of parental rights hearing or in a, um, [00:11:00] some sort of a custody hearing. Those interpretations are still wide open as well. Mm hmm. 

Billie Tarascio: Okay, next question. There is a parenting plan in place or custody order in place, and one parent isn't following it or the children are refusing to go with the other parent.

Billie Tarascio: Mm hmm. You get a call that says it's my parenting time and, you know, Johnny's dad isn't letting me pick up Johnny. What do you do? 

Lt Doug Mozan: Well, so we get these calls all the time. This is really a daily occurrence, um, if not at least, uh, every couple of days. And mostly we can, we can mediate that. I mean, we are pretty good problem solvers and, uh, there are custodial interference laws in both states that are pretty black and white as to how, how the parenting plan can be enforced by a custodial interference charge against, against the offending parent, if they're not following it and there are no mitigating circumstances or, or.

Lt Doug Mozan: You know, something bizarre happening. Um, it gets a little murky when you have a [00:12:00] teenager that's refusing to go. Because now we have, you know, now we're in a bit of a sticky wicket. And technically, the parenting plan is very clear and says that the kid will go with However, um, we are in a position where we're a little bit like doctors in that we don't want to do any harm.

Lt Doug Mozan: We don't want to make it any worse. So, you know, your average trauma informed police officer is going to try to problem solve that and figure out a way to find middle ground. And, um, and that often involves both parents. I mean, it's not a very common thing where the kid says, I won't go. And, um, and the, and the other parent is, uh, not sort of sympathetic to the, the, or the other parent isn't aware of the, the sticky wicket they're in legally.

Lt Doug Mozan: Um, so, you know, it could be a runaway situation. We're almost in a runaway land, uh, with the other parent. But, you know, the custodial parent has an obligation to [00:13:00] follow the custody order. I mean, I would expect the custodial parent to call the police and say, I'm trying to take my kid back to their dad and they're not cooperating.

Lt Doug Mozan: What do I do? You know, because they're not going to want to get in the grease. Has that ever happened? You know, I, I don't know. I don't 

Billie Tarascio: know. Because I can tell you, I have never heard of a custodial parent saying, I can't get my kid to go. Usually what they're asking is, am I going to get in trouble? My kid won't go.

Lt Doug Mozan: Well, exactly. Right. Okay. So that's, maybe that's a more accurate thing, but. But a custodial parent is looking to avoid consequence. I mean, any parent is, right? Yeah. So, um, And obstinate teenagers are a thing, trust me. Oh, they are. I've experienced it. Yeah. 

Billie Tarascio: Yeah, they are. So, um, have you, how often do you actually arrest someone for custodial interference?

Lt Doug Mozan: Rarely. Rarely do we have to go there. Um, and even more rarely do we have to go into a [00:14:00] situation where there's, you know, a willful, like a parental kidnap situation. But once in a while it happens. I mean, I've personally arrested a few people for custodial interference where they didn't, uh, or cited them where they weren't following the custody order and You know, they were essentially inflicting more harm on the children and the games they were trying to play, uh, to avoid following the law.

Lt Doug Mozan: Okay, and so 

Billie Tarascio: how do you, what, what, where's the line? When does somebody get arrested? 

Lt Doug Mozan: Well, when, when somebody is willfully withholding their children from, the other parent and they are uncooperative when law enforcement contacts them. That's usually going to be where we dig in our heels and we start and we start working on enforcement.

Lt Doug Mozan: Um, I mean, okay, so a person willfully withholds their child from the other parent. Law enforcement gets involved and says, hey, hand the kid over. We may or may not initiate a custodial case at [00:15:00] that point. If we gain compliance, that is if we gain compliance. Though, more often than not, the other parent is satisfied.

Lt Doug Mozan: That is the aggrieved parent that's that's calling us. They're satisfied 'cause they've gotten their kids back. Um, but we usually tell them, hey, you need to probably group back with your attorney and, and, uh, and solve this so this doesn't continue to happen. Um, and then the custodial parent, uh, we, we, we give them a stern warning if you're, you know, you continue to do this, you're going to go to jail.

Billie Tarascio: Got it. Okay, that's the next question. A parent is withholding. They say that they have a good reason. They say that there's a pending filing in family court. What do you do? 

Lt Doug Mozan: Yeah, very typical, very typical situation. We say show us the filing, you know, we want to see the legal paperwork and, and more often than not a person who is in a custody dispute where they are, you know, really on top of legal process [00:16:00] has all their court paperwork and courts generate paperwork for all these filings.

Lt Doug Mozan: So it's not like You know, just take my word for it. Uh, we're not going to just take your word for it. We're going to go based on the, on the, the filing we have and understand that we can get the court paperwork through our own process. Uh, and that's what we do before we respond. So we'll usually get a copy of the, of the order.

Lt Doug Mozan: Before we go to the house, and we're holding black and white, what we've, you know, what's available to us. 

Billie Tarascio: Okay, so let's, let's just take a scenario. Um, dad thinks mom's using drugs. Dad filed an emergency order, it was denied. So there's There's a hearing set on dad's temporary order, uh, pleading, um, saying that mom's on drugs.

Billie Tarascio: Dad's saying, I'm not going to send the kids. What do you do? 

Lt Doug Mozan: So, if the hearing was denied, then the order isn't, the order stands as far as the custody, and we're going to send the kid over to mom's. I mean, that's, that's the, [00:17:00] that's the ugly truth, uh, that at the end of the day, if a judge rules that the, there isn't any wait to what dad's asserting, then we're going to follow the court ruling.

Billie Tarascio: Okay. All right. And usually when that happens, it's, you haven't shown me there's an emergency, but we're still going to let this case play out. And so it feels like they're a little bit in no man's land, but what you're saying is if there's an emergency that's denied, parenting time needs to happen. 

Lt Doug Mozan: Right, that's correct.

Lt Doug Mozan: And then understand that, uh, you know, in that circumstance, I would expect, um, my officers and certainly I would do the same thing in this circumstance to, um, to probably take a pretty hard look at the, at the parent I'm handing the kid off to, uh, and see if there's any hazard there to the, to the child.

Billie Tarascio: What I'm hearing is you have a lot of judgment. And you need to exercise that judgment, and you're looking at the totality of the circumstances when you show up. Absolutely. So [00:18:00] parents need to understand that, um, this is not black and white. And they should cooperate, and they should make sure that they're sober and clean and, um, kind.

Lt Doug Mozan: Yeah, certainly. And understand that police officers are not allowed to take sides. We're not going to get emotionally involved in a case, um, in the majority of circumstances. And, you know, when you call us, we're not exactly your advocate. We're the law's advocate. We're there to make sure that the law is followed and that the right thing happens at the end of the day.

Lt Doug Mozan: And that may not feel like the right thing. Uh, when you call us, uh, but know that, that we have everybody's best interests in mind. Okay, next 

Billie Tarascio: question. Um, somebody has brought a kid from a different state, let's say from Arizona to Oregon. The court order is in Arizona. Everybody's supposed to be in Arizona.[00:19:00] 

Billie Tarascio: Dad in Arizona finds out that mom has, is in Oregon with kids, she's not supposed to be there. He calls the police. What do you do? 

Lt Doug Mozan: So we're going to, we're going to go based on the, the black and white custodial order in whatever state it was issued. So we, we respect foreign restraining orders. We respect foreign child custody arrangement papers.

Lt Doug Mozan: If they're filed in a legitimate court and we can see that the, that the, the pleading was, uh, is. there, then we'll, we'll enforce that or we'll, we'll follow that. Um, just to understand that it's, you know, it's incumbent upon the filing parent or the calling parent to have that paperwork available to fax to us.

Lt Doug Mozan: Cause more often than not, this happens on Labor Day weekend at 6 30 PM, when there's no chance that any court in Arizona is going to have any staff in it that we can get ahold of. So I want to, we want to see a sign stamped, um, Pleading that we can, that we can be [00:20:00] faxed or emailed. 

Billie Tarascio: Okay. So dad faxes over this, this thing, you know, you go to the house that this kid's supposed to be at.

Billie Tarascio: Nobody answers the door. Nobody talks to you. What do you do? 

Lt Doug Mozan: We're going to look for signs of life. We're going to, we're going to see if there's any indication that there's someone in there. We're going to do our, we're going to take our, our level best to the, to the line of the law and see what we can do to contact that, that person.

Lt Doug Mozan: We're going to try by phone. We're going to try by, usually officers nowadays will try by text. They might try by social media, um, depends on how tech savvy your officer is. But nowadays, uh, I get a tactical millennial up and we'll, we'll find all kinds of ways to contact people. And if we can get ahold of them, then we, we work the case.

Lt Doug Mozan: Uh, if we. It looks like the house is vacant, or there's no way that they're going to answer the phone and we aren't getting anybody to the door. We don't have cause to boot the door in [00:21:00] at that time. We don't have any reason to violate the person's civil liberties on whose doorstep we're standing. 

Billie Tarascio: Right, yeah.

Billie Tarascio: So if you don't have An arrest warrant, and we sometimes can't go get a warrant for the police to take possession of a child, and sometimes that's what we as family law attorneys need to do. If that happens, Does it change your behavior at all? 

Lt Doug Mozan: Well, um, it, it depends. It depends. There's another, another, uh, vague one.

Lt Doug Mozan: It, you know, an arrest warrant, um, empowers us to take into custody a person who is violating an order. Um, and if it's an arrest warrant that's extraditable from Arizona and we're in Oregon, um, but let's just pretend I'm working for Tucson P and we're in the same state. Um, We still aren't necessarily going to break the door down for an arrest warrant.

Lt Doug Mozan: We would, you know, depending on what What our local legal climate looks like, what our [00:22:00] policy and procedures dictate, we may want to seek an additional warrant for entry into the house so that we can get the person. So we call that a body warrant. 

Billie Tarascio: Sure, yeah, because a warrant to take possession of a child doesn't necessarily give you the right to enter someone's home, right?

Billie Tarascio: Exactly, right. To 

Lt Doug Mozan: find that child. Yeah, that constitution that we swear to uphold is, is, um, pretty sacrosanct to us and we, you know, we take it seriously and we're pretty good at writing warrants, so, you know, that's not a Uh, terribly difficult legal process, but there are some hoops we have to go through, and if we can't get through them, we're usually pretty straightforward with the parent.

Billie Tarascio: Okay, finally, I want to talk about this intersection between what we call, um, CPS. I think you call it DCFS, right? 

Lt Doug Mozan: You know, they change their names all the time. It was CPS for me in California. Yeah. And here it says SCF, Services to Children and Families, but they also have a Child Protective Services [00:23:00] Division.

Lt Doug Mozan: So, you know, they, they have a lot of acronyms, but what we know is it's the agency that takes, that, that ensures child welfare. 

Billie Tarascio: Right. So child welfare, that's what we're going to call it. Child welfare. All right. So child welfare has some involvement. There's an open investigation. The 

Lt Doug Mozan: child is a ward of the state, perhaps.

Billie Tarascio: Or, or maybe not yet. Maybe there's an open investigation, but, but Child Services has not taken custody. Because I think that changes the situation, right? So, if Child Services has custody of the children, let's take that first. What is your role? When the state has custody. 

Lt Doug Mozan: Well, when the state has custody and for that matter, in the circumstance, I think you're describing, there's usually a assigned caseworker.

Lt Doug Mozan: And so the, so that, that caseworker is usually a pretty valuable person to law enforcement because they can give us insight into what the situation is with the child, what their living situation looks like, what the parents look like, what the, you know, what the needs of the child are, uh, if they're on the ball.

Lt Doug Mozan: [00:24:00] And, and they allow us. Um, a great insight into how to proceed. Okay. 

Billie Tarascio: All right. And let's go back to, um, Child Protective Services does not have custody, but there's an open investigation into child abuse. Right. You also get a report of child abuse. 

Lt Doug Mozan: Right. We cross report. What do you do? Well, we're gonna, you know, we're gonna investigate the case just like they are.

Lt Doug Mozan: And, uh, in, in most states, when, you know, when a person's, particularly a mandatory reporter, a teacher, uh, a priest, a, uh, person who works with children, um, gets a report of some, some sort of abuse or they suspect abuse, they make a report to either the child welfare, uh, Authorities or the police, and sometimes both.

Lt Doug Mozan: And then what happens then is, is the police will cross report over to child welfare and child welfare will cross report over to police. And so we all look at these things. You got to [00:25:00] understand though, that these reports are coming with such frequency that they often stack up. a lot before they actually get looked at.

Lt Doug Mozan: So, and that's an embarrassing thing to admit, but the reality is that your average violent crimes detective has a caseload. And so, um, if they're not, you know, if they're not only assigned to look into these things, they, you know, they have to get to them and they come in at a time they get When the report comes directly to police, though, we're on it.

Lt Doug Mozan: We're already working on it. We're sending something over to Child Welfare. And when there's, you know, we look into the smoke and we see there's fire, then we may actually enlist Child Welfare's help straight away because we want to get that kid out of a hazardous circumstance and get them into safe custody of another relative.

Lt Doug Mozan: And that usually involves That usually involves arresting a suspect in a criminal [00:26:00] case. 

Billie Tarascio: Does, um, does the psychological treatment of a child ever rise to the level where you would get involved? 

Lt Doug Mozan: So, not usually. Uh, emotional abuse is, is clearly, um, defined in my state's statutes, but emotional abuse doesn't usually have a criminal component attached to it.

Lt Doug Mozan: So, I think it's, to put it simply, it's defined in our statutes and it is, uh, mentioned because of, Civil hearings, such as child custody hearings, termination of parental rights cases, and hearings where that statute or those, where that definition may actually have, have weight. In criminal proceedings, though, we're usually limited to the realm of physical abuse.

Lt Doug Mozan: Emotional abuse is a thing. It's [00:27:00] certainly, um Uh, something that unfortunately many, many children experience, um, but oftentimes there isn't a clear criminal nexus to, um, the, the horrible things that are said and experienced by, are said by parents and experienced by children. 

Billie Tarascio: Okay. All right. And what about the neglect line?

Lt Doug Mozan: But neglect is a, is a, again, um, there's emotional neglect, uh, which is just like emotional abuse, uh, absence of love, uh, the cold shoulder, if you will, um, and then there's physical neglect. So, failure to provide food, shelter, clothing, um, basic needs, medical care, all those things. And when we get a, a, a, allegation of, Child neglect.

Lt Doug Mozan: We take those things seriously. We investigate. That's where we're frequently doing a welfare check and looking for food in the fridge, cleanliness, sanitary [00:28:00] conditions. But understand though that those lines are a little blurry when it comes to the, the authority to take somebody into protective custody, usually lies with the Child Welfare Division.

Lt Doug Mozan: So, depending on how Over, over tax that, that state's resources are, or that jurisdiction's resources are, um, they may or may not have a, um, that's standard slides, I guess, a little bit. Um, it shouldn't, but it does. Well, and the other 

Billie Tarascio: thing is, if there's two parents living in two homes, and one of the parents is a fit and proper parent, then the state isn't going to take custody.

Billie Tarascio: Right. 

Lt Doug Mozan: Because there's a parent. Right, they're not. They're certainly not. 

Billie Tarascio: So you've got one parent who is not fit, one parent who is fit, the state doesn't take custody, most of the time police are not going to make arrests, that really relies on the family court to get involved and make a custody [00:29:00] determination.

Lt Doug Mozan: That's right. And in terms of neglect, you know, there's all kinds of gray there. I mean, when we're talking about, you know, shelter, shelter is shelter, right? In a very traditional definition. Um, and shelter in your house, I've been in your house, funny enough, uh, and it is beautiful. It's immaculate. Every surface you could eat off.

Lt Doug Mozan: It's just as clean as you can get. Um, and in my house, it might be less clean and, and you may have, uh, your mom and I'm dad, and you may have a different standard than I do. Um, and all of a sudden we're put in the middle of this, trying to, trying to look and be objective and say, well, the house is dirty, but it's dry.

Lt Doug Mozan: There's no leaks and it's warm. It's, it's not, the windows aren't open and there's food in the fridge, even though the food is all junk food. Um, We're not in a situation where we're going to do a thing about that, um, if, if [00:30:00] there's no other indications of physical abuse. 

Billie Tarascio: Let me give you a couple of tougher examples, um, that are real that I've come across recently.

Billie Tarascio: One is a mom who said My 16 year old daughter hates going to her dad's because she has to babysit her 4 year old sister, um, overnight for days at a time and there's no food. 

Lt Doug Mozan: Yeah, so now, now we're in a situation where we're not necessarily investigating the 16 year old daughter situation so much as that 4 year old, that 4 year old that she's caring for, right?

Lt Doug Mozan: The 4 year old is the The, the 16 year old is in a position where she can probably fend for herself, but we've seen this situation where kids are left for days on end and they're eating the condiments and there's horrible things that are, that they're having to do for survival and, um, And that's certainly a situation where we would, we would tackle that with the child welfare authorities as well.

Billie Tarascio: Okay, so if you did a welfare [00:31:00] check and CPS is not going to get involved because let's say mom's a fit parent, would you pick up that 16 year old and take her to her mom and take the four year old into CPS custody or what would you do? 

Lt Doug Mozan: Yeah, we would, you know, we would probably call it coordinate for mom to come pick the 16 year old up.

Lt Doug Mozan: And if the four year old is a step, then we would try to find if the four year old had another relative. I mean, if they're, there's probably a grandparent somewhere or an uncle or an aunt or someone that someone that And the 16 year old is usually the linchpin to that. So the, um, but once in a while, you know, we have a situation where it's really elusive and we just don't know.

Lt Doug Mozan: And so then we would, you know, the cops aren't, aren't daycare providers and we're not, um, we, as much as we love being parents, uh, we're, we, we have a job to do. So we're usually going to hand that, that mantle off to the, um, to the child welfare folks. And then they'll, they'll, they'll love on that four year old and figure out what they need to do.

Billie Tarascio: One, one [00:32:00] other scenario that I think is tricky that's come up. Um, in this case, mom said that dad had lived in a car for a few years and Dad still had a great relationship with the kids, would come over on Saturdays and spend time with the kids. Sometimes mom would let the kids spend the night with dad in the car and people jumped all over mom.

Billie Tarascio: What do you think about that situation? 

Lt Doug Mozan: Well, here's the thing. I told you that, that the standards are rather subjective and it would depend on how CPS viewed that situation because, uh, you know, I've seen people's cars, uh, used as residences. Thousands of times in my career, and I've seen ones that, that are, you know, rolling squalor, and I've seen parents, or I've seen folks who live in, in vehicles that, uh, I would stay in.

Lt Doug Mozan: So, it's hard to say what that would look like, you know. The car, [00:33:00] car is sometimes, is very often an RV, and the RV may on the outside look like the, the Breaking Bad RV, and on the inside it might be a little, a little nicer. Um. Or at least tolerable. And again, the question there is, is it, is it, uh, suitable in the very basic sense for shelter?

Lt Doug Mozan: I mean, does it have a place to sleep? Um, if there isn't a place to go to the bathroom, where are we, where are we parking? What's the situation there? Um, is there food in the fridge? Uh, is there, are the, are the child's basic needs being met? And as much as we may want to cry, we're rolling away from that situation.

Lt Doug Mozan: If those, if those boxes are all checked, then we're probably not going to get into a, you know, a situation where we pick the kid up. But that's not to say that the custodial parents shouldn't probably be visiting. If they have a problem with that, they should be visiting that in family court. 

Billie Tarascio: Right, right.

Billie Tarascio: Um, is there a policy or how do you handle when you go into a [00:34:00] house to do a welfare check and there are drugs present? Is that an immediate removal of kids, or is that gray? 

Lt Doug Mozan: It's, it's, well, it's become gray in Oregon. So, so let me just Let me just go back to the past, and I'll say that, you know, drug, drug use around children, um, are some of the elements of the crime of child neglect in my state, and I haven't, I haven't, um, researched that in Arizona law, but, but in the West Coast and in the Ninth Circuit, they often are a fairly mirror image of one another, so I would expect that's, that's the case.

Lt Doug Mozan: Oregon made the decision to decriminalize, um, most drugs, uh, after, uh, the voters, uh, And so that, that makes it a little more complicated, but when there is access to drugs and drug paraphernalia by the children, we take that into the child neglect realm. Um, I won't, you know, I would have a hard time finding any of my officers who are tolerant [00:35:00] of that situation.

Lt Doug Mozan: I see. Makes sense. The fact that the parents use drugs, though, is not necessarily something that's an automatic, uh, DQ. DQ. Uh, not a, not a, uh, uh, thinking about a, a sports term, right? It's not an, not an automatic, um, Disqualification. Or the parent is a drug user. We're not automatically gonna, gonna call a foul on them or a penalty, if you will.

Lt Doug Mozan: Sure. Um, but if they're using in front of the children, they're leaving, uh, wrappers and, uh, paraphernalia and things where they're not supposed to be. Kids have access to substances. Yeah, that's a, that's a no brainer. That's, that's, that's neglect, uh, and it's hazardous to the children. 

Billie Tarascio: Awesome. Um, Doug, thank you so much for your time, for answering my litany of questions, and I know this episode is going to be very, very useful to people who all have these questions.

Billie Tarascio: So thank you so much for your time. Thanks for coming on the show. I loved seeing you personally. We can't wait [00:36:00] so long next time. 

Lt Doug Mozan: Yep. No, totally. I, I appreciate you and, and, uh, thanks for, uh, thanks for giving me the opportunity. 

Billie Tarascio: Take care. Bye. 

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