A police officer gets a call from a teenager that claims of having witnessed his friend getting killed by a werewolf. The officer look up in the archives of the department and realizes that this is not the first time that someone claims witness of a supernatural act.

What would the officer do from there? Obviously, there are no ready-made police procedures for werewolf attacks. What would the police procedures be for investigating multiple reports of an unusual event?


closed as off-topic by Renan, Trish, JohnWDailey, elemtilas, rek Nov 10 '18 at 3:21

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    $\begingroup$ Hi Alexis. I'm afraid your original question was pretty broad and open ended for Worldbuilding. We specialized in specific questions with well defined answers. The re-written question does just that, while hopefully still asking for the information that you want. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Nov 9 '18 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ Hey Alexis, welcome to the site! You can find a pretty good example of what mortal authorities might well do when confronted by the supernatural in the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. The short version is that there is a motley crew of cops that are stubborn, problematic, or just plain weird and they tend to get assigned to a crap division until something happens that justifies them getting fired. That small group catches all the crap cases which is going to include supernatural stuff. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Nov 9 '18 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ Do you want specifically reactions to werewolf, or do you want reactions to supernatural in general? If you want more along the lines of "What could they do about something truly supernatural?" then you might want to change the example from werewolf to something not so easily dealt with. As it is, they could just go out to investigate, find a wolf, shoot it, case closed as a normal non-supernatural (even if it actually was supernatural) case. $\endgroup$ – Loduwijk Nov 9 '18 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ @jvriesem Some do but most don't $\endgroup$ – Alexis Nov 10 '18 at 2:00
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    $\begingroup$ If there have been previous werewolf attacks, then it is likely a procedure for werewolf attack has been developed. Otherwise it is standard procedure to ascertain the nature of the attack, any injuries inflicted, evidence of the attacking creature, any tracks it left indicating where it came from & where it's going. Generally anything to determine an attack by a wolf or similar creature, I'm sure the police would be able to adapt existing procedures. It's not that hard. Brain-lock over the supernatural won't happen when it's real. $\endgroup$ – a4android Nov 10 '18 at 3:56

You have to realize that the cop is not likely to believe in supernatural, and will likely chalk it up to imagination, animal attacks, or maybe a teen gang pretending to be werewolfes. Or unrelated criminals using a local legend to conceal their killings.

If you really want the cop to take the teen seriously, make sure cop knows the teen personally (neighbor or family friend), and teen is not involved in drugs/gangs, or anime/fantasy.

  1. Check if "friend" is indeed dead, i.e. if there is a body, or there is a missing person. I assume somebody is missing; otherwise the reporting teen is getting a psych.eval.

    1.a If no body, assume the "victim" is a runaway child. File report to state troopers, or maybe check nearby train stations and bus/truck stops. Find nothing = End of story.

    1.b If cop is willing and has time, go check the scene of the incident. If no blood there, get mad at teen. End of story.

  2. If there is a body or bloody scene, check if injuries are consistent with an animal attack. If so, call Animal Control or whoever to determine what kind of animal was that. If the cop is willing to put extra effort, look for DNA from under victim's nails, or from hair strands around the scene. Then beg his supervisor for money to do a DNA test, or take sample to a friendly university professor. Then he will discover that DNA is human, or unknown, and will finally suspect something.

    2.a If there are no large animals in the area, or there is evidence of other people at the scene (e.g. footprings), interrogate the teen. She was not attacked, so she might have been the accomplice, or knew the attacker.

  3. Check other reports to see if natural explanations were ruled out, or if same people were involved (if so, it's a role-playing gang) Chances are that there was not enough effort put in. Assume natural explanation. End of story.

Edit (I need to get this out of my head). Before they believe in werewolves, cops will need to eliminate the following rational explanations:

  • Animal attack, including non-native animals that escaped from a private zoo, or from smugglers who were transporting them illegally. Also, how would you describe this if you saw it for a split second under wavering moonlight?.

  • Human dressed up as animal (and a prank that had gone terribly wrong), or trying to disguise a murder as an animal attack. Super-strength and skinny frame could be due to drugs or mental disorder. Also internet is full of things like this.

  • Human with a trained attack animal, and a truck to transport it, and a place to keep it hidden. Besides deliberate crime, it could be a dog fight gone wrong.

The only way I see to eliminate these explanations is to obtain and examine a half-wolf/half human specimen (live or dead), or for several unrelated people to witness a transformation. Photo/video evidence is irrelevant in the age of CGI.

Further, even if a single cop, or several local adults believe in werewolf, broader world will dismiss their stories as a way to explain away their incompetent investigation, or to generate much needed tourist revenue for the town, or the stress of gruesome murder taking its toll.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 and deleted my own answer simply for the tree breakdown format used here. $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 9 '18 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ Though you should emphasize that you would be researching from the perspective of trying to find the scientific truth shrouded and obscured by the fantastical lies/mis-observations. $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 9 '18 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ LOL @ " ...or anime/fantasy." Since I'm not a cop I cant fully imagine all the experiences that would color their prejudice. However since you mention this I can only imagine the colorful interactions that took place to cause this to be a prejudice. $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 9 '18 at 21:51
  • $\begingroup$ Why wouldn't the cop believe in something supernatural? :-) $\endgroup$ – jvriesem Nov 10 '18 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ @jvriesem Since you are not familiar with psychology of an employed adult, read the last paragragh that I just edited in $\endgroup$ – Bald Bear Nov 10 '18 at 1:09

There is no standard protocol, and this question seems very story-based.

What matches the most a standard protocol actually used by police is dismissing the supernatural. Investigator (or police chief) would stick with rational explanations until the bitter end (and in many works of fiction we can see how it unfolds).

The other, less likely scenario, is that police is for whatever reason convinced that something is going on, and asks for help from outside experts (and, luckily, some werewolf expert will come to help).


Speaking purely from a stance of plausibility:

The next logical investigatory step will be looking for commonalities between the victims or the attacks themselves. The officer is not likely to lend much credence to supernatural seeming events being connected at this point, so they will probably focus just on things that seem similar to the werewolf attack, assuming the others are weird, but unconnected. Things like location of the assault, known associates, places the victims may frequent, etc, would be of special interest.

If there are survivors of these attacks, interviewing the survivors would be expected.

Standard police procedure would probably have a decent chance of finding a typical werewolf's haunts - They attack one or more times per full moon, they have a fairly static territory, and they aren't generally super sophisticated about stuff like trying to pick victim in new locations.

If the werewolf isn't apprehended, it's still almost certain that the investigation would yield a decent idea of it's territory.

The officer would then likely proceed by staking out this territory - Whether or not they do so adequately prepared to take on a werewolf is going to hinge strongly on their gullibility, and how creepy the investigation has been up to this point, but it's not super likely that they'd be prepared for a supernatural encounter.

All in all:

  • Chance of finding werewolf: Plausible
  • Chance of finding anything else supernatural : Negligible
  • Chance of believing in anything supernatural prior to encountering werewolf: Negligible
  • Chance of surviving encounter with werewolf : Negligible

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