Archive for September, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Spy Toys

The world of cops and robbers has a side that’s not always seen by the public. In fact, many cops don’t have the opportunity to see some of what their undercover counterparts are up to. The intelligence gathering devices used by police are pretty sophisticated, allowing the secret cops to safely conduct surveillance operations. Satellites and GPS technology have become as much a part of police work as pistols and patrol cars.

Spying on the bad guys has never been easier. Unfortunately, this technology has also made it easier for crooks to keep tabs on the police. Here’s a look at a few of the cool toys used in the Spy v. Spy part of law-enforcement:

The Tracking Key is a magnetic GPS tracking system that easily attaches to any vehicle. This particular device uses Department of Defense satellites to pinpoint the location of the target vehicle within 2.5 meters. It also records these locations for future reference. Users are also able to monitor the movements of their target from any PC or laptop. Uses 2 AAA batteries and is capable of tracking for up to one month with limited daily use. $300.00

The QickTrack (no, I didn’t spell this incorrectly) GPS tracking system attaches to any vehicle. The system is capable of hooking to any land line telephone or cell phone for real-time monitoring. By connecting the receiver to a cell phone the user can track the target vehicle while traveling in another car or truck. Capable of 40 hours of constant use. $1,300.00

Anti-Kidnapping Devices, such as the one pictured above, send out silent distress signals at the onset of trouble. The unit’s receiver tracks both UHF and VHF signals to zero in on the missing person. $1,500.00

Hidden Camera Locators are used to find almost any hidden camera, including pinhole cameras and camcorders. A quick sweep of a room with this device assures officers that it’s safe to proceed with their clandestine meeting. $2,500.00

No need to fret over hidden transmitters in your office and home ever again. This pocket-size mini-bug detector will locate each and every one. An audio tone lets you know when you’re close to the concealed device. Perfect for locating audio and video devices. $160.00

Tired of arch enemies constantly bugging your phone lines? Well, worry no more. This digital line guard is the perfect de-bugging device. It automatically senses and deactivates all listening devices, including those attached to fax lines. Makes a wonderful gift for that special someone. $700.00

Traffic tickets piling up in your mailbox? Does your nemesis find you by running your plate number through DMV? The solution to your problem could be this handy-dandy anti-photograph spray. A quick squirt on your license plate reflects camera flashes, sending them back to the cameras that sent them. The returning flash blurs the picture. This material will not wash off, ever. It’s also undetectable. $35.00

Here’s a link to a news video that shows real cops testing this product. It works, sometimes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_e2BC_kXis

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* Charlotte Daines – I accidentally deleted your email regarding police information for your book. Please contact me again. If anyone knows Charlotte please pass along my message.

PostHeaderIcon Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

Officer Patrick McDonald, 30

Philadelphia Police Department

Officer McDonald was killed on September, 23, 2008 when he attempted to apprehend a fleeing suspect. The officer caught the suspect, a parole violator who was wanted for assaulting two police officers, after a brief foot chase. During a scuffle the suspect shot Officer McDonald several times with a .45 caliber handgun. He continued to fire even as the wounded officer lay dying on the pavement. The killer then stole a bicycle and fled the scene. Later, he engaged in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies who eventually shot and killed him.

Officer McDonald was an eight year veteran.

Officer Kristine Fairbanks, 51

United States Department of Agriculture – Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations

The death of Officer Fairbanks on September 20, 2008 has hit a member of The Graveyard Shift family pretty hard. Police Chief Ken Lewis of Rogue River, Oregon was good friends with this fallen officer and her family. Chief Lewis, a fellow author and regular visitor and contributor to our blog, had this to say earlier in the week:

Sometimes I forget…or simply choose not to think about…how dangerous this profession of law enforcement really is. I have lost another friend, Christine Fairbanks, a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer, who was killed in the line of duty yesterday afternoon. I knew her and her husband, Brian Fairbanks, both very well when I was an officer on the Olympic Peninsula and lived in Forks, WA., where they still live. Brian is also a law enforcement officer with Washington State.

Chris was checking a suspicious vehicle yesterday afternoon on a remote mountain road near Sequim in Clallam County, WA when the driver shot and killed her. He in turn was shot and killed later in the evening by two deputies at a convenience store. He had apparently also killed a man in order to steal the van
he was in when Chris stopped him.

After eight years of marriage my wife is finally starting to understand why I do strange things like take a loaded pistol and leave it on a chair hidden beneath the towels next to the hot tub were basking in at a remote mountain cabin while on vacation. Why my Glock 9mm is just like an American Express Card…because I never leave home without it. Yet still, with all the precautions officers take, both on and off duty, this incident only goes to prove that we can never be cautious enough.

In her career Chris made thousands of contacts like this with motorists, many of which probably seemed at the time to be potentially more dangerous than this one. But this man managed to take her by surprise, to shoot first, and so now she is dead. The reason she stopped the van was because it had no rear license plate; the suspect had obviously taken it off because he had just killed the van’s owner.

I would never have approached that van alone, and if circumstances had forced me to, I would have had my Glock out of the holster, gripped in both hands and ready to fire. But I don’t want to second guess her, maybe she did just that. Maybe the guy emerged from cover outside the van and ambushed her, or shot her through a rear window as she approached. Thank God for the two Clallam County Deputies who crossed paths with this psychopath, had the courage to stand their ground and exchange gunfire with him, and killed him.

Ken Lewis

Officer Fairbanks leaves behind a husband and a fifteen year-old daughter.

Deputy Adam William Klutz, 25

Caldwell County North Carolina Sheriffs Office

Deputy Klutz was shot and killed on September 19, 2008 while responding to a 911 call. His killer later committed suicide. Deputy Klutz is survived by his parents.

PostHeaderIcon Saliva, Semen, and Stinky Dead Bodies: Locating The Evidence

The job of locating evidence can be quite difficult. It’s a tedious job that’s sometimes performed while crawling around on your hand and knees among garbage and other filth, including human waste and tissue. In order to prove their cases investigators are often faced with the challenge of locating nearly invisible items, such as hair, fiber, and DNA. They also have to deal with odors that can send even the toughest of all maggots running the other way. Fortunately, science and technology makes the job a little easier with products like these:

The Green Forensic Laser is used to locate hard to find evidence, such as bone chips, fingerprints, fibers, and narcotics residue. This particular unit is a battery powered device that’s easy to use in the field. The laser weighs 33 pounds without the battery, 42 with it. The price tag for this little gem is a whopping $45,000.00 which makes ownership for departments with tight budgets nearly out of the question.

The Poliray Forensic Light System is a hand-held light source that’s especially useful in locating evidence, such as fibers, paint traces, blood stains, semen, and saliva. The device is also capable of illuminating Superglued, Ninhydrin treated, and powdered fingerprints. $3,000.00

Bullet hole testing kit for the identification of, you guessed it, bullet holes. The kit enables investigators to accurately determine caliber, type of bullet, and the direction the bullet traveled. Cost – less than $300.00.

Your hero can’t nab the bad guy because the thug ground off the serial number on the murder weapon? No problem, if your investigator can put his hands on a Serial Number Restoration Kit like the one pictured above. The chemicals in this kit can easily raise ground away markings on steel, nickel, cast iron, aluminum and brass copper. $115.00

Presumptive blood test kits allow investigators to test suspect stains in the field. A positive reading lets your hero know if that odd, rusty-red stain on the carpet is indeed blood, or not.

Like Luminol, three Blue Star Forensic tablets mixed with distilled water allows investigators to detect the presence of blood. The bonus of using the Blue Star kit is that it doesn’t destroy DNA like the other product. $76.00 for the kit. Refills tablets are available.

Evidence drying cabinets are used to remove unwanted moisture from evidence. The cabinet also prevents technicians from contacting airborne hazards. $10,000.00 – $16,000.00 depending upon the desired size – small medium, or large cabinet. Built-in filtration systems eliminate outside ducting.

The odor inhibitor kit is for the investigator who has never quite become accustomed to the smell of decomposing human flesh and organs. A little dab of this vanilla-scented gel on the upper lip and it’s just another day at the office.

PostHeaderIcon A Captive Audience: Special Restraints For Unruly Prisoners

Police and corrections officials often encounter really bad guys who require additional security measures. To accommodate those special people – fighters, biters, runners, kickers, and spitters – law enforcement officers often resort to higher level restraint devices.

Transport leg braces offer excellent security when moving prisoners. The hinged metal bar locks in place at any angle, which prevents the inmate from running. The hinge can also be unlocked to allow the prisoner to walk to and from a holding cell to the courtroom.

A bull tether is used to secure inmates during transportation situations. The device effectively reduces hand and arm movements. They’re also used to secure prisoners to fixed objects during out of cell activities, such as showering or attending doctor’s appointments.

Tethers are made by attaching regular handcuffs to heavy leather straps.

Locking leg weights impede running and kicking.

Every police department, jail, and prison encounters the inmate who insists upon banging his head against hard surfaces, such as concrete and steel. These protective helmets are designed to prevent injury.

Hard plastic masks prevent prisoners from biting and spitting on people around them.

Restraint beds offer the ultimate control for totally unruly prisoners.

Full body wraps are used to control combative prisoners. These restraints are often used by police officers in the field.

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Thanks to Lt. Dave Swords for the following investigative tip:

Two Reasons why it is hard to solve a Redneck Murder:
1. All the DNA is the same.
2. There are no dental records


While we’re at it… Redneck medical terms:

Benign…………………………….What you be after you be eight.
Artery………………………………The study of paintings.
Bacteria…………………………..Back door to cafeteria.
Barium…………………………….What doctors do when patients die.
Caesarian Section…………..The Italian part of town.
CATscan…………………………Searching for kitty.
Cauterize…………………………Made eye contact with her.
Colic………………………………..A sheep dog.
Coma………………………………A punctuation mark.
D & C………………………………Where Washington is.
Dilate……………………………….To live long.
Enema……………………………..Not a friend.
Fester………………………………Quicker than someone else.
Fibula……………………………….A small lie.
Genital……………………………..Non-Jewish person.
G.I. Series………………………..World Series of military baseball.
Hangnail…………………………..What you hang your coat on.
Impotent……………………………Distinguished, well known.
Labor Pain……………………….Getting hurt at work.
Medical Staff…………………….A Doctor’s cane.
Morbid……………………………..A higher offer than I bid.
Nitrates…………………………….Cheaper than day rates.
Node………………………………..I knew it.
Outpatient………………………..A person who has fainted.
Pap Smear………………………A fatherhood test.
Pelvis………………………………Second Cousin to Elvis.
Post Operative…………………A letter carrier.
Recovery Room……………….Place to do upholstery.
Rectum……………………………Damn near killed him.
Secretion…………………………Hiding something.
Seizure……………………………Roman emperor.
Tablet……………………………..A small table.
Terminal Illness……………….Getting sick at the airport.
Tumor……………………………..A couple extra.
Urine……………………………….Opposite of you’re out.
Varicose…………………………Near by/close by.

PostHeaderIcon Smile, You’re On Covert Camera!

You’ve all heard about that secretive “big brother” who covertly watches our every move, right? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you should also be on the lookout for Brother’s entire family and their arsenal of spying devices. Here’s a few of the handy-dandy items they use for intelligence gathering:

Fire sprinkler camera. $130.00

Motion detector camera. $135.00

Smoke detector camera. $135.00

Wireless fingertip camera. $200.00

Pen camera. $600.00

Cube clock radio camera. $500.00

Hat camera. $400.00

Air purifier camera. This camera is equipped with a digital recorder and motion sensors, and it’s wired to allow direct connection to any television set or monitor. $450.00

Officers can simply remove the video card from this hidden camera timepiece, slip it into their personal PC, and then review a night of criminal activity from the comfort of their office or home computer. $600.00

Necktie camera comes with optional pocket DVR. $475.00

Handbag camera with 80 degree angle of view. $1000.00

And finally, just for writers and readers, a book camera!

$595.00

PostHeaderIcon Police Equipment: What Does That Thing Do?

Today we continue our look at the somewhat odd equipment used by police officers.

Special bumper attachments, called push bumpers, allow officers to push disabled cars off the highway without damaging the patrol vehicle.

The center consoles in police vehicles normally do not come factory installed. They’re available for purchase at most police supply companies, such as Galls (Galls product pictured above) and they’re installed by department motor pool technicians.

The hard plastic, or metal, containers are available in a variety of designs to suit many purposes. The console pictured above is designed to hold light, radio, and siren controls. It also has a storage compartment that’s just the right size to conceal a box of Krispy Kremes.

Seat organizers hold an officers supplies (paperwork, handcuffs, summons book etc.) even during high speed driving and braking.

Lock pick kit and instruction manual.

Shotgun locking systems can be installed in a variety of places within a patrol car. The one pictured above locks the 12 gauge shotgun in an upright position between the front seats, which allows access from both sides of the vehicle.

Teardrop dashlights plug into the cigarette lighter for easy use. The lights come with a black hood for concealment. They also come with a half-hood for placement over the back portion of the dome to shield the driver’s eyes from the blinding flashes of light.

Lock out kit for opening locked car doors.

The two long, flat objects on the right are called Slim Jims. Officers insert the end with the various cut-outs (the red end is a handle) between the window glass and door frame, and then attempt to hook the door locking mechanism. If they’re successful, a slight tug unlocks the car door. However, this equipment works best on older cars. Newer vehicles are equipped with more wiring and moving parts which makes it quite easy for the officer to damage something while he’s poking and prodding around inside the car door.

(Galls photos)

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