crime

KN, p. 117 “Officer needs assistance!”

 

 

 

 

Arrests are rarely neat and tidy, or take place with little resistance from the suspect(s). If the charge is for a misdemeanor, too many parking tickets, or a problem with overdue child support, the suspect might cooperate. But, hardly anybody actually wants to go to jail.

 

If a car is seen weaving across lanes on a busy road, an officer might have cause to assume that something is wrong. Drunk driver? Distracted driver swatting at a bee in the car? Texting driver? Any of these scenarios require the officer to be on the alert, but might not require an automatic call for backup. He/she is facing what is called an Unknown Risk. The officer will follow protocol and call in the plate number or use his onboard computer to research outstanding warrants and ownership of the car. If flashing the patrol car light bar gets the driver to pull over so that the officer can investigate the reason for the odd behavior, then the stop may just end with a warning or a ticket.

 

Sometimes suspects are caught in the act of a committing a felony and they try to make a run for it (perhaps after a bank robbery or a drug deal goes south) hoping they can lose the cops in traffic or on deserted back roads. “Suspect fleeing the scene,” may be called in if it’s witnessed, and officers in pursuit are facing a Known Risk. It becomes a High Risk situation if guns are involved. The chase can continue beyond city limits, as long as it is an active pursuit.

 

Once the chase ends, the officers need to control the situation as much as possible, keeping their own position and the suspect’s position clearly in mind at all times.

 

Safety procedures the officers might follow if warranted:

If the chase ends during the daytime, the officer will angle the patrol cars to block off streets and people for their own protection, getting as close as possible to the suspects to control the developing situation.

 

You give up cover if you are not positioned behind a door, so the officers will try to stay behind a car door while the scene unfolds. Bullets will pierce doors, but at least a car door will slow the bullet down. Hopefully, the officers will be wearing bulletproof vests, but even a notebook will slow down a bullet, although not by much. There are degrees of cover and there are very few times of absolute cover.

At night, the officers will create a curtain of light – that is, shine lights on the suspect’s face so that he/she can’t see the officers.

Officers in patrol cars generally carry a shotgun because it commands respect. People pretty much stop in their tracks when they hear the sound of a shotgun being racked.

 

It is essential to get as much information about the people inside the car as possible, before any further action is taken. If there are tinted windows in the car, the officer will try to talk the people out. If the officer can’t? Then, officers are trained to wait the suspects out. It’s usually only a matter of time before the occupants of the car will make a move.

 

Officers will risk the K-9s if they need to, in order to encourage the suspects to get out of the car or even to stay put.

 

If the officer feels the trunk needs to be investigated, he/she will have the suspect pop the trunk so that the officer maintains control.

 

 

Once the suspect gets out of the car, the officer will have him/her kneel or lie on the ground to be cuffed.

 

 

 

The suspect needs to be frisked before being placed in the patrol car.

 

The inside of a patrol car is bare bones for a reason. Suspects are often sick inside the patrol car, or even go to the bathroom in there. Yup, right in the back seat. This plain design makes it easier to hose out and also cuts down on places to hide sharp objects, etc.

 

Once the suspects have been cuffed and frisked, the officer places them inside the patrol car.

 

There were no guns in the hands of the suspects in this scenario, so the situation was handled fairly easily and was resolved in about an hour.

 

Please Note: none of the gals in the photos are criminals. They were attendees at the 2013 Writers’ Police Academy and were helping to re-enact a ‘Known Risk’ stop, complete with yelling and back-talk to the officers. Good sports, all!  🙂

 

Many thanks to the instructors at The Writers’ Police Academy (2013) and the volunteers from the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department (NC) who gave so generously of their time during their days off.

 

 

*Photos taken by Patti Phillips

 

 

 

The re-enactment was conducted at night and demonstrated how difficult it is for anyone to see what’s happening (officers or suspects) while the action unfolds. After I took the photos, I used a photo correction app to adjust the lighting, so that you could see the positions of the people and the cars.

 

Compare the two versions of the same image below.

#1 (the original image) shows how dark it really was outside.

#2 was adjusted so that you can see the demo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

          #1                                                                                                           #2

 

 

 

 

 

KN, p. 110 “Death at the Soccer Pitch”


Warning: part of this post may be too intense for some readers.

 

In soccer, the ‘pitch’ is the field upon which the game is played. The USA, Canada, and Australia call it soccer. To most of the rest of the world, the sport is called football.

 

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Period. Second place? Cricket.

 

 

 

Over 710 million people worldwide watched the final match held in Germany in 2010. We tried to get tickets for at least one of the weeks of the month-long finals that year, but by the time we could make travel plans, we discovered that they had been sold out for over a year. This year’s finals will be held in Brazil, beginning on June 12th and ending a month later in July.



The World Cup Finals are held every four years, with over 200 teams from around the world competing for more than two years to narrow the field to the 32 teams that reach the Finals. The level of play during the competition is amazing, with headers and kicks and jaw-dropping goals that look physically impossible to make.

 

 

The team and fan rivalry is enthusiastic and can sometimes be intense. Sometimes, fans get so caught up in the moment that they lose all sense of reason if a call goes against their favorite player or team.

 


In 2013, a referee expelled a player from a game, a fight broke out and the referee in Brazil mortally stabbed the player. When friends and family of the player found out that he had died on the way to the hospital, they charged onto the field and stoned the ref to death. Then they quartered his body. They took his head and put it on a pike in the middle of the field. That’s not a typo, folks.

http://www.mrconservative.com/2013/07/20799-brazilian-soccer-referee-cut-up-beheaded-by-spectators-on-field/

 

Just about a month ago, some fans were so annoyed by play at a match that they started tossing toilet bowls at the opposition fans. Yup, ripped out the plumbing and threw it, killing someone in the process.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-05/fan-killed-by-toilet-bowl-as-violence-hits-world-cup-host-brazil.html

 

 

Law enforcement agencies and fans of the sport have been working for several years to reduce the number of incidents, occasionally emptying stadiums before a match is finished so that a game can be completed without further harm coming to players or refs or the fans themselves. Serious scrutiny of various underlying causes for the riots, crowd mentality, and sometimes criminal behavior has even caused a change in how the games are played and/or policed.

http://www.sirc.org/publik/fvexec.html

 

 

I love the sport, and even played on the varsity soccer team when I was a kid, so I am not knocking the pure beauty of the game. People just get carried away from time to time, forgetting that it is in fact, just a game we play for exercise, sport and/or entertainment. Many of the top players in the world, in this pre-World Cup week, have said in interviews that they want to provide great entertainment for the fans. Of course they also want to win, but hooligans are not invited to the show.

 

We won’t be in Brazil this month, so we’ll have to be happy catching a match or two on TV. Plus, I have my ’94 World Cup t-shirt to wear whenever the USA plays.  😉

 

 


If you are lucky enough to watch some of the matches in person, here are some tips to remain safe and happy while you’re there. They work for any large sporting event, not just the World Cup.

 

  • If they are demonstrating against the World Cup, stay away from the protest.
    .
  • If you want to take pictures of people, make sure to ask first.
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  • Leave your valuable jewelry at home.

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  • Take a taxi or walk with a group or a trusted guide.
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  • Do not flash around your cash, iphone, ipad and/or cameras. You can use them, but then, cover them up.
  • Don’t take your valuables to the beach.
    .
  • Drink bottled water.
    ..
  • Don’t get drunk, but if you’re going out, don’t bring your credit card and smartphone with you. Take some cash, bring the address from the hotel, and a copy of your passport.
    .

 

Stay safe and have loads of fun watching the best soccer players in the world compete.

 

*Photos by Patti Phillips

 

 

 

 

 

 

KN, p. 109 “Murder and Other Crimes at the Racetrack”

 

(Note: From the 2014 archives)

It’s Triple Crown season in the horseracing world.

 

The 140th Kentucky Derby took place on the first weekend in May, the Preakness ran May 17th and the Belmont Stakes (the last of the three races that make up the Triple Crown) will be held this coming weekend. The last horse that won the top prize in horse racing was Affirmed (in 1978) and California Chrome has a shot at the crown this time. There is a stable full of money to be won or lost – the first place purse at the Derby alone was over $1.4 million this year.

 


With stakes this high, tempers are bound to flare, arguments over how to train a horse to win will be frequent, and cheating at all levels in all areas of the sport has been attempted in the past. Unscrupulous trainers or desperate owners may try to dope a horse to enhance its speed or even disguise injuries with drugs so that the horse can race one last time. This is less likely to happen during the big races because of the increased scrutiny from all sides. But, to deal with any abuse of the animals or the betting system and even conditions for the jockeys themselves, each state has a Racing Commission that oversees and regulates the integrity of the sport and hands out penalties to offenders throughout the season if needed.

See www.khrc.ky.gov for information about the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

 

Great jockeys matched with superior horses can be a goldmine for the owner and the jockey percentage of the purse can be substantial. That winning purse at the Derby that brought the owner over a million? The winning jockey made $142,000. that day.  If jockeys finish in one of the top three spots in a big race, they receive 10% of the purse for the day – thousands in most cases. Outside the top three at a smaller track? They might get $100. for the ride. That disparity is the source of intense rivalry for the best rides.

 

 

 

The day after the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby (2012), a trainer’s groom was found dead behind a barn at Churchill Downs. The murder (or possibly reckless homicide) was never solved, so nobody can say for sure whether his death was related to racing or to a nasty argument over something else entirely.

Cathy Scott, a crime writer, covered the original story:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/crime/2012/05/07/murder-at-the-racetrack/

Homicide detectives followed as many leads as they could, but it’s a cold case.

http://www.wdrb.com/story/22112320/kentucky-derby-murder-remains-unsolved-one-year-later

 


People all over the world bet on the outcome of the Triple Crown. Some base their bets on the jockeys, on the stables where the horse comes from, on the horse itself, even on the conditions of the track. Me? If I watch a race on TV, I choose the horse based on its cool name or on the colors of silks the jockey wears. Not a foolproof system, but I’m not a bettor. I just like to watch the horses run.

 

Big money and fierce competition both on and off the track – what could possibly go wrong?

 


*Photos by Patti Phillips – of an unnamed, great looking horse from her files.  🙂

 

 

 

 

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