Monday, August 17, 2009


The Chief has again allowed me to take over his blog. The Chief has been fairly heavy in the computer/techno talk for the last few posts; I think we'll take a break from that. But I would like to point out a thing or two that are related in a way.
There are people today who watch too much TV and have a huge misconception of what being a police officer in the techno age is all about. Apparently all you have to do is type in a shoe size, hair color, and favorite cereal of the perpetrator and the computer will throw out the suspects name, DOB, and current whereabouts. All the TV sleuth has to do is go pick him up.
The advances in technology have helped the police clear crime without question. However there is still way more to the story. As the Chief mentioned a few days ago, Officers Forrest Dalton and Jason Brownell made a good arrest on the guys who robbed the convenience store at 13th & South st. These arrests were aided by some of those technological resources that are now available. By the time these arrests were made, the picture of the suspect's distinctive sweatshirt were all over LPD and could be pulled up on any PC in the station in seconds. The fact that the pictures were as clear as they were is a testament to the video systems that are now being used in many businesses; which is a huge upgrade to the old grainy, out of focus photos we used to have to try to decipher.
But those technological advances only helped to clear the crime. What remained was good old fashioned police work. That means being out there on the street and being observant. It means talking to people and gathering information. It means having a feel for the neighborhood or area we are working and knowing the people we are serving. Forrest and Jason observed the sweatshirt from the video, but still had to contact the individuals and detain them. Once that was accomplished there was still the matter of establishing a rapport and gaining an admission and/or finding further evidence linking them to this crime.
There are many examples of this type of work everyday. I think about things in this way. If me or my family were the victims of a crime, there are certain officers I would want to lead the investigation. They are good cops, good communicators, and they care. But I would also want them to be the type that takes advantage of all the information resources we have at our fingertips. All of this has to work together, with no one part being the end all be all of fighting crime.
I recently had occasion to arrest an individual that I have been seeking for some time. I managed to find him and get him in custody, but it took a lot of research using our information resources, a little old fashioned police work, and a little luck. Those are the elements to clearing crime and all work together.


Anonymous said...

Great post - all very true.

Anonymous said...

This was good work by Jason and Forrest. Both are productive officers and it's no suprise that they are the ones who found the bad guys.

Trevor Brass said...

Speaking of bloated expectations, just look at the court-side of the criminal justice process: juries nowadays expect DNA analysis for even minor crimes.

Anonymous said...

Moderating comments?
Is this censorship?

Anonymous said...

Does technolgy hinder in any way.. (overload?) Like you said it still takes a good mind the good detective to put all the data together for the end result to be effective. They can see the errors in the data and move to correct the outcome. People make the data work. I agree with you Atticus..

Dave said...

I used to work security at Dr. John's by the airport, and they camera was really sweet! Even LPD loved our system.

I could literally take an outside camera mounted under the sign, and zoom across the street to Perkin's and tell what customers were eating. Now that's a camera system!

Anonymous said...

nice post bob