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.

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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.

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