Weekend Road Trip: What’s Under That Bridge?

Have you ever been driving along the highway, passed over a bridge, and wondered what was below? Well, I satisfied my curiosity last weekend by exploring beneath a bridge in coastal Georgia. What I found was a collection of docked shrimp boats (and other watercraft) and the remnants of old waterfront buildings. Their foundations were made of oyster shells and mortar.

Very tranquil, and well worth the stop.

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Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of each of these brave officers.

Sergeant Timothy Prunty, 44

Shreveport Louisiana Police Department

October 24, 2010 – Sergeant Tim Prunty was shot and killed in an ambush style attack. He had just completed a check on a business and was standing near his car talking to the owner when a man drove up and opened fire on him. Although Sgt. Prunty was struck multiple times he was able to return fire before collapsing to the ground.

Sgt. Prunty is survived by his twin brother, also an officer with the department.

Funeral procession for Sgt. Prunty

Officer John Abraham, 37

Teaneck New Jersey Police Department

October 25, 2010 – Officer John Abraham was killed when his car collided with a utility pole. He is survived by his wife and son.

Deputy Sheriff Odell McDuffie Jr., 43

Liberty County Texas Sheriff’s Department

October 25, 2010 – Deputy Sheriff Odell McDuffie, Jr. was killed when his patrol car left the highway and struck a grove of trees. He is remembered by his fellow officers as a gentle giant who used his infectious smile rather than force to calm tense situations. Deputy McDuffie is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Captain George Green, 56

Oklahoma Highway Patrol

October 26, 2010 – Captain George Green was killed when a dump truck slammed into the side of his patrol car. Captain Green had served 31 years with the department and was six months from retirement.

Lieutenant Jose A. Cordova-Montañez

Puerto Rico Police Department

October 26, 2010 – Lt. Jose Cordova-Montañez was shot and killed while off duty when he attempted to intervene during an armed robbery. He leaves behind his wife, four children, and several grandchildren.

Officer Christopher A. Wilson, 50

San Diego California Police Department

October 27, 2010 – Officer Christopher Wilson was killed during an intense gun battle that began after officers attempted to arrest a wanted suspect. A police K-9 was also wounded during the incident. Officer Wilson is survived by his son and daughter.

A police investigator marks evidence at the scene where Officer Wilson was fatally shot – LA Times photo

– Thanks to ODMP

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Halloween Tips For Officers

Working as a police officer on Halloween poses special challenges. Think about it. In a world where someone wearing a mask is normally thought to be up to no good, you’re suddenly faced with scores of masked citizens. Kids are out and about darting in and out of traffic. They’re excited and and may not listen as well as they normally would. And practical jokes go horribly wrong. Needless to say, it can be a wild and trying night for cops.

Here’s a short list of tips for officers working the streets on one of their busiest nights of the year.

1. Stay alert. If it looks wrong, then it probably is.

2. Carry copies of outstanding warrants with you—the people you’ve been unable to locate. This is the one night when the dummies will probably answer the door thinking you’re a trick-or-treater.

3. Carry some candy in your patrol car. It’s the perfect time to show kids that you’re really one of the good guys.

4. Watch out for lone costumed adults, or those walking in groups. They’re probably up to no good.

5. Watch out for people tossing things off overpasses. For some reason, Halloween seems to be THE night to bomb police cars with bricks, rocks, and pumpkins.

6. Be alert for kids who wear actual guns as part of their costumes.

7. Park your patrol car and walk for a while. Mingle with the trick-or-treaters. Keep them safe. It also keeps the bad guys guessing your next move.

8. Drive slower than normal. Watch for kids!

9. Keep an eye on the registered sex offenders. They aren’t allowed to pass out candy! They shouldn’t be opening the door for any kids, either. And they shouldn’t have Halloween decorations displayed in their yard or on the house. Pay them a pre-Halloween visit to remind them of their court-ordered restrictions.

10. I preferred to patrol with my car window down, even in the winter time. Halloween is the only night of the year when I didn’t. Too many flying objects!

11. If possible, have extra officers working the streets on foot, in plain clothes.

12. Bring plenty of extra handcuffs. You’ll probably need them before the night is over.

13. Please, please, please wear your vest!

And to everyone else…

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SelectADNA: The New Guard Dog

Want to protect your home and business against thieves and potential robbers? Well, you may want to consider a unique system called SelectADNA.

The idea behind SelectDNA is quite simple, actually. Spray heads are installed at each entry point, and when the would-be burglar steps inside he’s instantly squirted with a burst of the SelectADNA solution. The spray is a harmless combination of a UV tracer and a special DNA code. The DNA is unique to a particular location, and to make him easy to locate, the bad guy glows when exposed to an ultraviolet light.

It’s difficult to remove the solution. Sure, it can be washed off, eventually. But it also gathers in the nostrils, under the fingernails, and in folds of skin (wrinkles), where it remains for a long, long time. Police in the U.K. have installed UV lights in their police stations and, as a part of booking, scan all suspects. This process often results in an immediate confession.

Normally, merely posting the SelectDNA sign is enough to ward off would-be thieves.

Another product, SelectADNA Grease, can be used to protect specific items, such as copper piping and other highly sought after goods.

Apply a coat of the grease to the items and when touched by the crook the material transfers to his hands, clothing, etc. Again, the thief is easily identifiable when exposed to UV light. The material is also easily traceable to its owner.

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Castle: 3XK – A Review Of The Police Procedure

This episode of Castle deserves a big standing O. So let’s get that out of the way first by bringing out the applause bears…

Thanks, guys. I hope we see you again later in the episode.

Sure, there were a few bumps along the police procedure trail, but this isn’t a training film. However, writer David Amann (Without a Trace, X-Files, Crossing Jordan, Chicago Hope) certainly must have a book on police procedure sitting on his bookshelf because the procedure and terminology in this episode was pretty darn good.

Speaking of police procedure books on a writer’s bookshelf… Did anyone see Lee Child on CBS Sunday Morning? I was watching the interview and there it was, just to Lee’s immediate right. Yep, my book sitting on his bookshelf, in his office, and within easy reach…my book.

Okay, okay…back to Castle.

Yes, David Amann has penned one of THE best Castle episodes to date. And here are a few reasons why I say so.

– Lanie Parish said…wait, before we hear what she had to say let’s bring out the bears again.

– Lanie Parish actually said she determined the time of death based on the victim’s liver temperature instead of lividity. Finally!!! Of course, the victim was still fully clothed and undisturbed, but we’ll let that slide. She got the terminology correct for once in what, three years? And she said it like she knew what she was talking about, too.

– Lanie also, for once, gave an OPINION of cause of death—“looks like strangulation”—instead of diagnosing in the field, pre-autopsy. Good, good, and good stuff.

– Lanie made the statement that she only listens to directions/orders/ideas when they come from Beckett, not Castle. That’s true, an M.E. would listen to a cop’s ideas, but they don’t take orders from the police. Still, I don’t believe that was the intended message here. So I’m still pulling for Lanie Parish here (never thought you’d here that on this site, huh?).

– I liked Beckett’s briefing room spiel. It took me back to my days as a detective serving search warrants. We conducted briefings like that all the time. Well done.

Here they come again…

This standing O is for Beckett because, for the first time, she didn’t get on the phone and order someone to bring a prison inmate to her. Instead, she went to the prison to visit to conduct her interview. That’s how it’s done in the real world.

– Before storming a building looking for a dangerous serial killer, Esposito spouts off things like how many people are inside the place, who they are, etc. That’s great information, and that’s how cops do it. They try to send someone inside (an informant or undercover officer) to gather information before “going in.” All a matter of safety for everyone. I was also glad to see the captain “suited up” and along for the takedown. I’ve seen that more than one time over the years. The big dogs don’t always sleep on the porch. They, too, like a little action, sometimes. Not often, but sometimes. And, I liked the captain’s involvement in the case. Great scenes.

– The things listed on the search warrant—items searched for, etc.—were all things you’d find on an actual search warrant.

– Beckett talked a pretty good game with the murder suspect. She was on a fishing trip, and for the most part used good bait.

– Castle asked the captain if the probable cause they had would hold up. He responded with, “Only in the movies.” Well, it normally holds up in Castle episodes. I hope they’ve left that trend behind.

– Beckett had a “gut feeling” about the suspect (with no real evidence) and ordered a surveillance detail on him. She said, “I don’t want that son of a bitch out of our sight.” Great stuff, and great line. Beckett’s as tough as old leather, yet she’s as soft as satin. Great combination.

– Everyone worked on different aspects of the case. Detectives were everywhere—digging, working the streets, etc. That’s how it’s done. Not in a clump like they normally do things on this show. Think of a triangle. Investigations start with a wide base, then as information comes together, everyone involved eventually reaches the peak. Again, great writing.

– Beckett used the prison term “shot caller.” Great! A shot caller is a boss, or leader in prison. What they say, goes. No questions asked. If they order that someone be killed, then someone had better do the killing. If not, well, guess who gets killed next.

– The suspect said he’d confess only if his foster brother was granted immunity from prosecution. I’ve seen that done many times in the past, and I thought it was a great touch in this episode.

Nice twist at the end…but, I’m without a DVR, therefore, I missed a few things.

I have questions for you guys, now.

1. Why did the killer want his girlfriend dead?

2. Where did the killer get enough money to pay for an operation? He’d been in prison for quite a while, right? And foster care before that.

Oh, the killer didn’t kill Castle and Ryan…was that believable? I say yes. Do you? Why, or why not?

Finally, the hand-holding at the end…perfect ending to a great episode!

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