We all use them, those convenient “never-have-to-get-out-of-our-car” establishments, the joints that help us in our quests to not have to get off our ample rear ends to do, well, just about anything.

You know the places I mean, the drive-through fast food joints, drive-through coffee shops, and even drive-through funeral homes where occupants of minivans and Hondas can pull up to a viewing window to see dear old Uncle Sammy laid out in his finest Sunday “go to meetin'” seersucker suit while you listen to your favorite jams playing on Sirius radio.

Now, believe it or not, there’s a new drive-through that’s possibly coming to your town—Court in a Cop Car.

Court in a Cop Car

Yes indeed, no longer will Billy Buck Stealsstuff have the added worry of wondering how long he’ll have to wait before he gets a bit of face time with a judge, the official who he hopes and prays will grant him a low bail amount so he can get back home in time to watch the latest “can’t miss” episode of Swamp People.

Billy Buck loves, loves, loves to hear good ‘ol boy Troy Landry yelling “choot ’em” (shoot him) to the deckhand du jour, the person wielding the rifle that’s used to pop the gator between the eyes so the tobacco-chewing pair can reel in their catch without becoming the gator’s appetizer. It’s can’t miss television, so Billy Buck is extremely happy when he hears the arresting officer call for the department’s shiny and new specialized car.

Nope, there’s no wait time with Motorola’s newly- and specially-designed and soon-to-be patented police car, a vehicle that features a built-in weapon scanner in case Billy Buck is carrying a concealed firearm or knife, etc., an air filter that detects the presence of alcohol and drugs, and a combined fingerprint scanner and facial recognition system that conducts instant background checks.

Next, and here’s the best part of this judiciary contraption, by making use of several video screens, cameras, and microphones mounted into the car, Billy Buck, by live video feed to a courthouse, instantly meets both his public defender and the judge. Then, after a computerized virtual assistant explains the process, a brief hearing is then held. If the judge on the other end of the video allows a bond to be posted, the funds are collected on the spot—cash or credit card, please. If not, and here’s the cool part, the car takes the suspect to jail to be processed.

Ah, I sense your confusion. Yes, the car is autonomous, meaning there’s no driver. It arrives to the scene on its own after it’s summoned there by the arresting officer, and it drives itself to the jail. Therefore, officers are free to go back to patrolling the streets and answering calls instead of spending a couple of hours mind-numbing hours babysitting the bad guys during the processing/booking stage.

I suppose we’ll soon see group of autonomous police cars parked outside a drive-through doughnut shop at 3 a.m.

Will there also be autonomous cop car bars where robots serve gas and oil on the rocks?

 

You’ve all seen them, those portable signs that wink and blink and flash the speed you’re traveling along your neighborhood streets and local freeways and highways. Those police-installed rolling devices that make us quickly hit the brakes as if somehow a tiny motorcycle cop will magically spurt forth from the butt of the mechanism to chase us down to instantly scrawl out a traffic citation for the serious crime of driving three miles over the posted limit.

They’re the rulers of our roads. The kings and queens of our thoroughfares.

And they are …

SPIES!

Yes, it’s true. Some of those seemingly harmless speed-reducers are more than meets the eye. All while pretending to help cut down on zippy commuters or elect to ignore speed laws, their true purpose is to capture our license plate numbers at a number somewhere near 2,000 per minute if pressed to do so.

Sure, we know the local police drive cars equipped with license plate readers (LPRs) and they’re used to help locate stolen cars and even the folks who’ve skipped out on paying local taxes and utility bills.

But these winky-blinky and quite intimidating undercover radar speed signs serve yet another purpose … to nab drug and human traffickers and money launderers, and, well, practically any criminal type who travels the roadways, especially on high drug and money trafficking corridors such as the southwest border area and up and down the northeast and southeast drug corridors, such as Interstate 95, where even I’ve conducted drug interdiction traffic stops.

It’s true, not only is Interstate 95 used by “Q-tips,” the nickname traffic officers sometimes assign to the white-haired folks otherwise known as “snowbirds,” the road is also frequented by crooks, robbers, murders, chiefs, and drug dealers and their mules.

White-haired retirees are sometimes referred to as Q-tips by traffic officers patrolling the main drug corridors. This is so because a grouping of them stacked together in a sedan loosely resemble a box of cotton swabs.

To help catch the bad guys (not the Q-tips), the DEA (federal Drug Enforcement Agency) has and still is purchasing a number of trailer-mounted speed display contraptions from RU2 Systems Inc., a private Mesa, Arizona company, but the twist they’ve added is that their roadside warning signs are equipped with license plate readers.

A Canadian company called Genetec supplies the actual reader, but two small machine shops have been retained by the agent to conceal the readers inside the electronic speed signs. One of those companies is located in California, the other in Virginia, and their job is to conceal the readers within the signs.

I Didn’t “Do Nuffin’, So Why the Concern?

Well, license plate readers are a form of mass surveillance that collects information on everybody who drives by and the information is stored in case they may someday, somewhere commit a crime.

Okay, no big deal. You don’t do nuffin’ illegal so no worries. However, the police/DEA are not just keeping the data to catch crooks in the acts of crookedness, they’re applying more and more algorithms to the database that allows them to learn peoples’ travel patterns, the precise location of your marijuana supplier, where you sleep at night and what time you left that location and, another example—medical facilities that treat immigrants, including those not legally in the U.S.

The devices provide enough data that could allow those secret agents to enter an address and see everyone driver who visited it and when they were there.

These massive electronic files are stored at various location, such as Vigilant Solutions of Livermore, California, a firm the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency uses to access LPR data as far back as five years. This is particularly useful because to law enforcement because, and here’s a new twist, some readers capture images of the occupants of the cars that pass, meaning iCE, and other law enforcement agencies, can learn if one or more of your passengers were/are wanted for crimes committed. This is accomplished by using facial recognition software that compares images from the vehicle to the recognition software database.

Officers on the streets have realtime access to these programs and they’re able to do so almost immediately using their cellphones.

When officers want to search a home or personal records such as bank account information, they need a search warrant. A warrant is not required to make use of the Roadside Spies. The data is available to cops everywhere.

All they need to do is, well, ask and they shall receive.


Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you

~ The Police

Singer/drummer Phil Collins once crooned about deception in his haunting song In the Air Tonight, and it’s his words along with recent headlines that are the inspiration for today’s article. Or are they? Am I telling the truth, or am I spewing forth a pack of lies?

“I’ve seen your face before my friend
But I don’t know if you know who I am
Well, I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin,
I know where you’ve been
It’s all been a pack of lies.”

~ Phil Collins

For starters, Collins certainly wasn’t yodeling about a grouping of people lounging about while in a horizontal position. His song is about someone who told a bunch of fibs—tall tales offered with an intent to deceive others. You know, like writers of fiction do so well each and every day of their lives. They’re all, to put it as nicely as I can … professional and highly effective liars.

Savvy detectives, though, as part of their finely-honed investigative skills, must have the ability to distinguish when a suspect is forthcoming with answers to basic subtly-asked questions straight from the “Detective 101 Handy-Dandy Handbook,” such as, “Did you do IT, you lowlife, dirty, rotten thief?” Or, the more advanced (for seasoned investigators only) difficult to answer, “You’d best confess because you know you don’t want to be executed by extremely painful electrocution while strapped down tightly to the electric chair … do you?”

The Dreaded Polygraph

Before we move on, you guys are aware that polygraph tests aren’t 100% reliable, right? And you know that a polygraph devices measure a person’s heart rate, their breathing, and their galvanic skin response, yes?

Oh, you’re not sure about the last one. Okay …

What the Heck is Galvanic Skin Response?

GSR (no, not gun shot residue) are the changes in sweat gland activity and their conductivity that reflect the intensity of our emotional arousal. In simpler terms, how much or how little our skin’s conductance values change during different types of arousal. It’s a sort of sweat detector, kind of.

For example, an investigator asks you, “Do you own a copy of Lee Lofland’s book about police procedure?”

You answer yes and the palms of your hands and soles of your feet remain as dry as a California summer day, and this is because you do indeed own a copy and it sits atop your desk each and every day.

Then the detective asks, “Have you ever used the book as a door stop or placed it on a dirty bathroom floor as you tended to your personal needs during the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy?”

You respond with a resounding “No!” and suddenly your pores open up widely, drenching the entire room and both you and the detective with a torrential flood of perspiration.

You’ve just been caught telling a massive fib which, in turn, leads Nancy Drew to the Powder Room where she promptly photographs the evidence, an image you’ll soon see in court.

 

 

 

 

 

The image above is an actual photo taken by someone at the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. It was not a staged shot. I’m extremely pleased that my book goes everywhere with this unidentified woman. Never leave home without it, folks. You never know when you may need a fact, or something to stand on to prevent your feet from contacting the floor in a public restroom. The book’s usefulness is unlimited!

Anyway, that’s the GSR part of the exam. Next, what is it about filling our lungs with good old oxygen combined with the bass drum-pounding of our cheating hearts that tells police we’re lying our butts off with every word that spills from our tongues and lips?

Basically, the theory is that if you’re lying your heart rate and rate of respirations accelerate whenever you say something that isn’t true.

But what all this boils down to is that, at best, a polygraph exam is not a lot more accurate than attempting to learn your fate by dropping a quarter in the fortune telling machine on the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland.

 

 

 

 

Thrasher’s Fries – Ocean City, Md. Boardwalk

The upside is that you could enjoy an order of Thrasher’s delicious french fries while reading the babble pre-printed on the response card spewed forth by the machine’s mechanical soothsayer.

Instead of actually detecting lies, though, one of the major pluses with the use of polygraph exams is garnering confessions. It’s a device of trickery. A detective’s magic hat. It’s a fantastic interrogation tool as long as the person in the “hot seat” believes in it and truly thinks it can detect all lies told..

Imagine, for a moment, sitting in a quiet room where a bespectacled, slightly balding and portly fellow who’s wearing a black suit fiddles with papers. You’re not permitted to see what’s on them before he places the sheets inside a folder, a folder with your name written boldly across the tab, in bright red ink.

The man’s manner of speech is a bit soft and hypnotic but also sort of nerve-grating condescending, as if he already knows it was you, the six-year-old heathen child who plucked that beautiful daisy from Old Lady Sourapple’s flower garden.

He speaks in a monotone, staccato style while connecting a series of wires, straps, and velcroey things to various parts of your body. Small talk about what he’s doing without really saying anything more than you already now—he’s strapping you to a device that can and will read your mind.

Your heart begins to patter its pitter.

You think back to the time when told your mother you were at Judy Jenkins’ house studying when you were actually cruising through town with football team captain Ned Noneck, making the popular teen loop, back and forth, round and round, between Billy’s Burger Palace and Susie’s Soda Shoppe. Had to let all the cool kids see you in the car snuggled up tightly to Ned while the radio blasted out Go All the Way by the Raspberries, and Dragging the Line by Tommy James and those guys known as the Shondells.

“He’s gonna know what you did.”

The man ripssssss the Velcro away from your arm to readjust and then squishes it back into place.

Darn. The pen and paper clip you “borrowed” from the office.

And you did sort of look at Karen Stdueburke’s paper while taking the math test 35 years ago.

Oh. My. Goodness. Will he ask about that time when you were out town on business and you charged the extra dessert to your company credit card?”

Darn. Darn. Darn.

The man takes a seat and asks you to state your name and date of birth and before you know it you’ve blurted out every single transgression and wrongdoing you’ve committed over the course of your entire life. You’ve told of trespasses and confessed sins you’d forgotten. You even went into detail about undertipping a waiter because you wanted to save the extra quarter for the collection plate at church but instead used it to buy yourself an extra scoop of chocolate mint ice cream.

Guilty As Sin!

“Guilty. Guilty. I. Am. A. Guilty. Sinner!”, you scream as you run out of the room sweating like a pig, huffing and puffing like the bellows on an antique pump organ, with your heart pounding against the inside of your chest wall, mimicking the thundering start of Queen’s We Will Rock You. 

All this because the mere thought of a “lie detector” machine intimidated you into confessing.

You see, in most cases a polygraph test is used by to investigators who’re trying to elicit a confession. It’s slight of hand and sweet-talking that works best, not a series of rapid and long and tall red lines, peaks, and valleys on a piece of paper that seals the deal. Not at all.

It’s the person’s belief that the machine works that makes it so effective as a crime-solving tool. After all, the science behind it is so flawed that results gained from the devices are typically not admissible in courts (see Frye v. United States and United States v. Scheffer).

Still, the fear of what could come out is a driving factor of utilizing polygraphs.

You can’t hide your lying eyes

You can’t hide your lying eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lying eyes

~ The Eagles

 

There are other means to detect when a person is lying, such as EyeDetect, a system that measures changes in pupil size, the movement of the eyes, reading behaviors, blinking of the eye, and certain fixations.

Using an infrared camera and a complex algorithm, EyeDetect records responses to questions and eye measurements and immediately uploads those responses to a server. The Converus Credibility Score stating whether the person’s responses were either true or false and are returned right away.

The European Polygraph Journal reported “the mean decision accuracy of EyeDetect is 86%. That is comprised of .89 for True Negatives (TN) and .83 for True Positives (TP) and no Inconclusive (INC) results.”

So please don’t worry, because …

 

I won’t ever leave
If you want me to stay
Nothing you could do
That could turn me away

Hanging on anyway
Believing the things you say
Being the fool

You’ve taken my life
So take my soul
That’s what you said
And I believed it all

I want to be with you
Long as you want me to
But don’t move away

Ain’t that what you said?
Ain’t that what you said?
Ain’t that what you said?

Liar
Liar, liar

~ Three Dog Night

 

Cops were stamping

Long before Kendel Flaum, the genius behind Henery Press, started her world-famous Oprah and Rachael Ray-endorsed stamping empire, police officers all across the country were hard at work using their own stamping kits. Yes, stamping.

Flowers, Hearts, Butterflies, and Car Crashes!

In the 1940’s, accident and crash reconstruction experts had limited tools at their disposal. Basically, to document a crash scene officers had two choices, to hand-draw the incident details, or, they could bring out the big gun, the Forbes Handy Accident Reporting Kit.

The Forbes Kit consisted of 18 wooden stamps that depicted the most common vehicle types of the day, an ink pad, and a set of instructions (grasp stamp firmly between thumb and index finger, press onto ink pad, then press stamp onto accident report … duh).

Today, of course, modern accident reconstruction software, including crash simulation, is available to law enforcement officials.

National Law Enforcement Museum

The Forbes Kit was once one of the top five prized possessions of the National Law Enforcement Museum. It may still be. And, I just happen to know where I can put my hands on a complete kit (the kit in the above photos). My daughter Ellen sent me this one.


Crash and Burn

Fun Fact: Superstar author Lisa Gardner based her bestselling book Crash and Burn on the hands-on, behind the scenes knowledge she gained while attending the Writers’ Police Academy.

Lisa Gardner – Writers’ Police Academy … Crash and Burn research.


 Click to read more. It’s a HOT one!


Lisa and friends at the Writers Police Academy.

Lisa, two WPA/GTCC firearms instructors, author C.J. Lyons, and Kathy Reichs (Bones, the books and TV series).

 

Kathy Reichs and Lisa Gardner during a tiny break in the action.

20140905_211723

Homicide investigation – Writers’ Police Academy

Lisa

Writers’ Police Academy

Times sure are a-changin’. Why, I remember the days when we cops carried only our sidearms, handcuffs, a portable radio that only worked when you were near civilization, and a leather SAP or blackjack to help fight off people who wanted to do us harm.

Back “in the day” officers didn’t have the luxury of non-lethal devices. There were no Tasers. No pepper spray. No barriers between front and rear seats in patrol cars. No bullet-resistant Kevlar vests. No semi-automatic firearms. No rubber bullets. No bean bags. Instead, we relied on fast talking and sheer muscle power to get out of jams.

An Aluminum Shampoo. OUCH!

Sometimes, since we often worked alone patrolling an entire county, the only thing that kept us from getting hurt, badly, was using a flashlight to deliver a gentle “love tap” to an attacker’s thick skull (an aluminum shampoo). Of course, that’s no longer an option due to laws and/or department policies, but the tactic saved my butt more than once. Hey, you do what you have to do to survive, right?

Rechargeable flashlight mounted inside patrol car

However, things, tactics, and equipment evolved. Cops soon found available a ton of new tools to help defend themselves and to assist with making safe arrests.

We were giddy when we first received chemical sprays that actually stopped most people in their tracks. Cool! That meant less use of brute strength to gain control of combative suspects. The availability of those sprays also meant we could then bring someone into compliance without the use of striking instruments/impact weapons (blackjacks, batons, etc.). Less injuries for everyone involved—bad guys, cops, and bystanders.

They Gave Us TASERS!

A Taser delivers an electrical charge that disrupts muscle function. The devices are carried on the officer’s non-gun side, and they’re often marked with bright colors. The purpose of these two important details is to prevent officers from confusing the non-lethal Taser with their definitely lethal handgun.

Stun Cuffs

These specially designed handcuffs are capable of delivering an electrical charge to the wearer. They’re are often used when transporting prisoners, especially potentially dangerous or high-risk inmates.

Stun belts are also available, especially for use in prisons. Prison guards/corrections officers (CO’s) train with the belts and are often called on to demonstrate its effects. Officers refer to the experience as “riding the belt.”

The Gentle Grasp of the Behemoth’s Skillet-Size Hands – A True Story

Once, while arresting a very unruly man, a guy who just happened to be twice my size (and I’m not small), my future prisoner decided he was allergic to handcuffs. And, during a brief struggle to free himself from the source of his allergies, my neck somehow wound up in the gentle grasp of the behemoth’s skillet-size hands. In other words, he was choking me with every ounce of strength he could muster up. I couldn’t breathe and I knew then how it must feel to be icing inside a pastry bag, because he was squeezing so hard that I thought my eyes would pop out of their sockets at any moment.

The thug had me pinned against a wall in a position that made going for my gun (a .357 in those days) impossible. However, I finally managed to get a hand on my metal Maglite. So I starting swinging (short strokes because of the odd angle), hoping to force the guy to release his grip. Finally, after a few hard whacks to his head he let go. And, as they say, it was game on!

Smith and Wesson Model 19 (.357)

I finally got that big moose handcuffed and delivered him to the jail. But, my car was not equipped with a cage to put him in for safekeeping (none of our cars had cages back then), so I made him ride up front with me. And I made a point to let him know that my gun was in my hand with my finger on the trigger and if he so much as looked at me wrong I’d shoot him.

I was physically and mentally drained. My body was running on instinct and adrenaline. I was glad he did sit quietly because I truly didn’t feel like cleaning up the mess in my patrol car after unloading my six-shooter into the mass of muscle sitting in the passenger seat. But I was serious and he knew it, so he behaved nicely on the ride in. He didn’t like it, but the idea of me using a half-dozen lead pellets to aerate his body must not have appealed to him.

Aluminum and Plexiglass divider

We must have been a real sight when we arrived at the jail—clothes torn, badge ripped from my shirt, bloody lips, flashlight-shaped knots on his head, fingerprint-shaped bruises on my neck, and more. But that was how it was back then.

Yep, those were the good ‘ol days …


Blackjacks and SAPs

The term SAP evolvedfrom (per Wikipedia): A late 19th century type is a wooden shaft about one foot long, with a leather- or macrame-covered lead ball as the head. This weapon is referred to by some sources as a “sap” (derived from “sapling” due to its wood handle). Of course today’s SAPS and blackjacks are a bit different (see below).

It’s rare to see an officer carrying a SAP/blackjack these days. In fact, most departments banned their use because they’re capable of breaking bone and other damage/injury\.

There are various types of SAPs, slapjacks, and black jacks. In each, the ends are filled with lead. And, the lead is either …

  1. Lead powder
  2. Lead shot (similar to buckshot)
  3. Lead clay, molded to the shape of the SAP

There are different types and styles of Blackjacks/Saps/Slapjacks. They are …

  1. Round body with a flat or coiled spring in the handle. The spring provides a whip action that delivers a more forceful blow than other types. (at right in image below)
  2. Flat body with a flat or coiled spring in the handle.
  3. Round body without spring in handle.
  4. Flat body without spring in the handle. (left in image below)
  5. Sap Gloves (lead is fitted into the palm area).
  6. Palm Saps – same as above, but this one is a handheld object. Sort of like striking someone with a rock.

Each of the above are small enough to fit into an officer’s pocket.

Below are silly drawings of a slapjack and a blackjack. Each “jack” is equipped with a leather strap to prevent dropping the device when in use. The user slips their hand through the strap/loop and then grasps the handle of the jack. The strap is then positioned around the wrist. The larger area at the ends of the jacks are filled with lead.

 


Impact Weapons

Here’s a video showing and describing various types of blackjacks/impact weapons.

In 1957, University College London researcher Olof Lippold discovered that all muscles in the human body, including the vocal chords, vibrate within the frequency range of 8-12 Hz range. This vibration, of course, occurs as muscles tighten and relax.

Lippold charted these vibrations by using electrodes applied to the extensor muscle of the middle finger. Electrical activity generated by muscles was then recorded on an Electromyograph (EMG), a medical technology designed for evaluating and noting this type of activity.

Several years later, in 1972, three retired U.S. military officers—Allan D. Bell Jr., Wilson H. Ford, and Charles R. McQuiston—formed the company Dektor Counterintelligence and Security, Inc.

Shortly after, the men filed a patent for an invention—the Psychological Stress Evaluator (PSE)— that could analyze voice recordings. It was the world’s first Voice Stress Analyzer and it was based Lippold’s work. It was the ultimate in lie-detecting technology.

Cherry Tree Mystery Solved – George Washington Confesses!

Today, Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) technology is capable of detecting even inaudible voice stress in subjects/suspects who are undergoing questioning by police investigators.

He Didn’t Do It … Yeah, Right!

CVSA technology focuses on the inaudible and stress-induced aspects of the voice—muscle micro-tremors.

Many investigators and department officials find that voice stress analysis is more reliable than polygraph examinations, and the voice stress system is less expensive and requires far less training time.

 

 

How Does it Work?

To see how this process works, please click to watch the video below. Then see how quickly the hero of your story extracts a confession from the bad guy.


And the cop to the crook …

“Ain’t that what you said?

Liar
Liar, liar”

Okay, today I decided to do something different. To give your weary eyes a brief break from writing and reading, I’ve added a small bit of audio (my voice) to the blog. Please click to play the clip before moving on. Yes, that’s me and yes I’m still trying figure out how to do this. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience. You’re going to need it …  🙂

To properly and effectively AND safely apply handcuffs is a skill that must be practiced. After all, in the field it must come instinctively since officers are often required to apply handcuffs to extremely strong people. And these are usually people who have no desire whatsoever to have those cuffs snapped onto their wrists. This, too, is the reason most officers prefer to carry chain-link handcuffs. Hinged cuffs are typically used when transporting prisoners. They’re perfect for limiting wrist and hand movement.

Handcuffing is taught during the basic police academy. We, too, teach handcuffing techniques at the Writers’ Police Academy as you can see in the photos below.

2017 Writers Police Academy—Defensive Tactics

 

2017 Writers Police Academy—handcuffing

 

2017 Writers Police Academy—Defensive Tactics

*Openings are available to attend the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy.

In the days before semi-automatics took center stage in the world of law enforcement, police officers carried revolvers as their weapons of choice. Cowboys called them six-shooters and gun buffs refer to them as wheel guns. Shooting enthusiasts love them. Why, then, did police officers make the switch? The answer is simple. Law enforcement officers were being outgunned by semi-automatic-toting bad guys.

Most revolvers are capable of firing only six rounds of ammunition. Semi-automatics can pop off fifteen or sixteen rounds as fast as a shooter can pull the trigger. During a gun battle, revolver-toting officers had to reload two or three times before the crook emptied his first magazine.

Reloading a revolver has always been a problem, especially when the officer was under fire. Cops carried their spare rounds of ammunition in rectangular, leather pouches called dump pouches. Dump pouches hold six bullets and are attached upside down to the officer’s utility belt.

To access the extra bullets, officers simply unsnapped the pouch cover to “dump” the ammunition into their non-gun hand. The officer then had to feed the individual rounds into the open slots in the revolver’s rotating cylinder, one at a time. Needless to say, this is much easier said than done when someone is shooting in your direction.

Barney’s dump pouches (two pouches) are on his utility belt, to the right of his tie (his left). The two release snaps are clearly visible near the bottom of the pouches.

The answer to faster re-loading—speed loaders. Speed loaders hold six rounds of ammunition. The rounds are automatically positioned to line up with the bullet slots in a revolver’s cylinder. A twist of a knurled knob on the end of the speed loader releases all six rounds at once. Shooters could then easily and quickly re-load their revolvers in tense situations, even in the dark.

357.jpg

Revolver, speed loaders, and speed loader pouches. The pouches attach to a police officer’s utility belt.

357-open-cylinder.jpg

A revolver’s cylinder is designed to swing out for reloading. The knurled button between the hammer and the wooden grip is the cylinder’s release button.

cyl31.jpg

Speed loaders position rounds so they line up perfectly with the bullet slots in the cylinder.

speed-loader-2.jpg

A twist of the knob in the officer’s right hand releases all six rounds at once.

Possibly a distant cousin to R2-D2 or C-3PO, this crime-fighting robot’s name is O-R3.

Capable of instantly recognizing wanted criminals and possible criminal activity, O-R3, a real-life superhero who identifies as a police car, even carries a secret weapon in case a suspect flees or escapes custody.

O-R3

For example, a crook hops a fence and attempts to get away from officers by crossing a creek and running through the woods to freedom. If that scenario, or one similar, were to happen, O-R3 leaps into action, flipping open a rear compartment to launch its onboard drone. The remotely-controlled aircraft assumes the chase by following the bad guy from above. Cameras positioned on the drone send video feed to authorities on the ground.

While on patrol, O-R3 sends constant video feed to to the police department.

Also part of O-R3’s arsenal are an array of electronics that include biometric software and other scanners that can instantly analyze suspicious objects, such as abandoned bags and backpacks.

O-R3 uses sensor fusion technology that’s capable of crunching data at warp speeds, which allows the 4-wheeled car-like robot to instantly avoid obstacles and to immediately react to things as they occur. And, O-R3 never takes a vacation, it’s never sick, and it’s never late for work.

In addition, O-R3 onboard equipment includes:

  • 2D and 3D laser scanners
  • thermal vision
  • license plate scanner/recognition
  • stereo photography
  • IMU sensors (Inertial Measurement Units—a self-contained system that measures linear and angular motion usually with an assortment of gyroscopes and accelerometers).

O-R3 is brought to you by the same folks who designed and manufacture:

  • Double – personal robots for those times when you can’t be there in person but absolutely MUST be there. This is cool!
  • SpinTable, a self-service restaurant booking app.
  • FIV – a driver’s service booking app that assists with finding drivers/chauffeurs.
  • SwitchBee – a home management device that makes your home a smart home (controlled by your cellphone) in just 90 minutes.

Here’s O3R “in person.” By the way, the Dubai Police Force already utilizes the driverless and cop-less O-R3s as part of their fleet of police vehicles.

In a related story, anonymous unnamed sources who were not authorized to say a single word but did so anyway all while knowing the reporter totally fabricated the source and the entire story …

Wait, what was talking about? Oh … the story. Now, this is to be kept between us because we don’t want any of those pesky leaks occurring on our watch, right? So lean in and feast your ears on this juicy bit of news.

Insiders close to O-R3 say he’s been seen cozying up to sexpot Rosie the Maid.

Rosie the Maid

In fact, they were seen together last Saturday night at the Nuts and Bolts Bar, THE hotspot for all famous robots. George Jetson has tried to intervene but Rosie refuses any and all suggestions that she needs rehab for an opioid addiction. Jetson told police he has no control over her. He also told the officers he believes Rosie may be working as a prostitute or selling highly addictive illegal cogs and sprockets. He believes this to be true because he sees a lot of strange robots coming and going at all hours of the night.

Back to the sighting at the Nuts and Bolts Bar. Joining the battery-powered couple for high-octane cocktails were The Robot (who’s no longer Lost in Space), and Futurama’s Bender who, by the way was indeed on a bender (we hear he’s at risk of losing his job due to his excessive consumption of Penzoil’s high-end 30w oil. Since his retirement from Star Trek, Data has worked as a bartender at Nuts and Bolts and the drinks have never been more precisely mixed.

By the way, thanks to Major Mechanical for stopping by today to help out with the robot facts. Couldn’t have done it without him.

Major Mechanical

 

Private conversation on your cell phone

Worried about government overreach? How about the pesky invasion of your privacy by law enforcement officials and agencies?

Does it bother you that the government has the capability to see practically every step you make and listen to nearly every word you speak? Or, does your next book need a cool high-tech twist? Yes or no, you might want to take a moment to ponder this bit of information regarding the government’s nearly insatiable quest to spy on … well, everyone.

  • Homeland Security and the Justice Department have spent nearly $100 million on secret cellphone tracking technology. Together, the two agencies own more than 400 cell-site simulators that can be used to zero in covertly on the locations of cellphones. Covertly = the phone user has no idea that someone is secretly listening to their calls, and/or the same “spy” knows the location of each cell phone.
  • The FBI has 194 cell-site simulators (see below for descriptions of cell-site simulators).
  • The U.S. Marshals Service has 70.
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has 59.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection has 33.
  • The  Drug Enforcement Administration has 33.
  • U.S. Secret Service has 32.
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has 13.
  • The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations division has two.
  •  The Treasury inspector general has one.
  • Some of the devices are small enough to use in vehicles, meaning that as the “spy” drives through a neighborhood, he can collect phone data from every user he passes.
  • Nearly $2 million in grant money has been awarded to local law enforcement agencies specifically for the purpose of purchasing cell-site simulators.
  • Currently, federal policy requires that all federal law enforcement officials obtain a warrant prior to utilizing a cell-site simulator. However, the rule does not apply to local police, who may freely use these devices.
  • Current law requires nondisclosure agreements that require prosecutors to abandon criminal charges rather than disclose local police use of cell-site simulators. A bipartisan reports indicates a need to eliminate this nondisclosure agreement.
  • A bill has been introduced to mandate that all law enforcement agencies, including local police, obtain a warrant prior to utilizing a cell-site simulator.

The costs of these devices range between a few thousand to $800,000, each.

1. Cellbrite Battlefield Recovery – a portable handheld device used to suck a device/phone dry of its data. Extracts photos, text messages, videos, and call logs. You could purchase this cool thingamajig for $9,920, plus a 1 year fee of $900 to cover support and maintenance.

2. Raven – used to interrogate and geolocate target phones. *To interrogate a phone means to trick the target phone into sending its identifiers. Geolocate is to determine the location of a target phone. The Raven can be utilized from fixed wing aircraft or on the ground. The Raven price tag is a modest $800,000.

3. Blackfin – for listening in on calls and viewing text messages. For the low, low fee of $75,000, you, too, can own one these little darlings.

4. DRT (aka “dirt box”) – targets and locates up to 10,000 devices (phones) and tricks them into “thinking” the DRT is a cell tower. DRT then collects and analyzes data, including voice data. Can be used from aircraft or ground. DRT, a soup-up version of the Stingray, has the capability of capturing data from up to 10,000 devices during a single flight/operation. DRT = $100,000. Stingray = $134,952.

5. Stargrazer III – locates devices, captures their data, and jams their signals preventing users from making and receiving calls.

6. Thoracic – handheld cell phone tracking device. Pinpoints location of target phones. $7,500.

*It is believed (it’s true, but you didn’t hear from me) that devices such as the Stingray and DRT are capable of intercepting private conversations by using the person’s cell phone as a “bug.” Simply use the phone’s firmware remotely and it’s like becoming the “fly on the wall.” Some of you may remember the old party-lines where you could pick up your receiver and listen in on the conversations of your neighbors? Yeah, it’s like that.

Spies Are Listening!

If our law enforcement agencies are using these devices, well, foreign spies are most likely using them too. If so (and I’m 99.999999% sure they are), foreign governments are intercepting and listening to U.S. cell phone calls and text-type messages.

Party Lines

Isn’t it funny how we’ve traveled full circle, from people wanting to move away from party line phones because they weren’t private, to sophisticated cell phone technology that requires expensive high-tech equipment and resources to transform our newfangled and complicated gadgets back into party line phones.


*By the way, there’s practically no end to the surveillance citizens are subjected to each day. For example, We-Vibe, the sex toy maker, has agreed to pay customers up to $7,600 each for selling them a “smart vibrator.” Not a big deal you say? Well, these “toys” tracked the customers’ sexual habits without their knowledge.

The device comes with an app-enabled function that allows the “item” to be remotely activated and controlled. However, security flaws within the app allowed anyone within Bluetooth range to gain control of the device. The app also collected information such as the temperature of the device, the vibration intensity, the number of times it was in use, etc. This extremely personal data was immediately sent to the manufacturer.

So yeah, “they” are watching and listening.

Are we ever truly alone?