FEATURED IN TRAINING
I work for a fairly progressive agency in a midsize city in North Carolina (about 400 sworn). The problem: When the general public and/or insurance companies call to get into contact with a specific officer, the frontline sergeants and watch commanders routinely tell the caller the officer isn’t working and when they’ll return to work. I’ve tried in vain to explain the dangers of revealing officer work schedules to unknown callers instead of simply taking a message. I know the risk is small, but why chance it? Could you address this in your upcoming rant?
Dear Nowhere, N.C.,
Operational Security (OpSec) can be tricky these days because most departments are moving toward transparency. Check that—it isn’t tricky at all, but some major jackasses in police management and some of the brown-nosing Kool Aid drinkers who worry more about their own careers than those of the cops in their charge don’t yet understand the two remain mutually exclusive.
Transparency is a great topic for some other column, so I’ll leave it there and get back to OpSec.
The John Adams and the Kool Aid drinkers think transparency means we give up anything anyone asks about our officers. They think it’s OK to reveal how we track bad guys and why we focus investigations on certain suspects versus other suspects. These morons don’t get that each time we give up something like that we put future investigations and, more importantly, the lives of officers at risk.
Nowhere, N.C., is exactly right! We should never give up the times and dates of when any officer is coming or going. That’s one of the stupidest practices I’ve ever heard of. Maybe next time they could pass out the ammo to use for the ambush and even set up a nice kill zone. Don’t laugh—by giving out schedules of individual officers, they’re half way there.
The reality: The sergeants and watch commanders are just too lazy to take a message. They probably think of themselves as way too important to write down messages for some beat cop.
Before we go too far, we better talk about the lazy cops out there as well. Over the years, ol’ Bullethead has seen way too many lazy-idiot cops pull into the station in their own car wearing their full uniform. This is incredibly dumb because now anyone looking knows when you start your shift, when you stop and what vehicle you drive. Now they can set up a tail and get to your family as well.
Wait, wait, I know—you’re way too smart to get tailed, right? Don’t kid yourself. I guarantee you can be followed unless you’re running some serious counter surveillance. I’ve been in this game for a while, and I’ve followed a few people, and I’ll be the first one to tell you it isn’t that hard. The only time I think I’m qualified to pick up a tail is in the last few blocks before I get home. The rest of the time there’s just too much traffic to know what’s going on.
My own rule is simple: If I’m coming from work, I don’t drive down my own street if any vehicle is in front of me or behind me. Now, I may not win a war this way, but I’ll certainly delay a battle, and that’s what OpSec is all about.
Lazy is stupid. A few months ago, I helped work a murder-for-hire case aimed at a cop. The uniform at the agency this lazy idiot works for has a distinctive stripe running down the pants legs. The guy would come home with a cover jacket over his upper body, but his legs and that stripe were always showing. He was targeted because he lived next door to the father of the murderer, and she saw him wearing those pants when she was visiting her father. The plan seems to have fallen apart, but no one is in jail, and I just hope we don’t have to tell this guy’s kids he was killed because he was too lazy to change his pants.