Category Archives: Detectives

Intrusion Alarm

From my desk, which clearly lacks a light bar, siren, steering wheel, or other useful device, I was scanning the live calls-for-service feature on my computer this morning. I saw a couple of our rookie call signs at a residential intrusion alarm. They had asked for the radio channel and a few minutes later released it, saying they were 10-4 at the scene. When I read the incident notes, I saw that they had found an unlocked slider and entered to check the residence. Were they developing good officer safety habits? Did they announce their presence and authority before entering, as we teach them in FTO? I hoped they maintained … Continue reading

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Testing First Tactical’s Executive Briefcase, Copperhead Knife, and Small Duty Light

After I had written an article about First Tactical’s new Diamondback folding knife, I was contacted by a company rep who asked if I would like to test and evaluate some of their products. Why, sure! While I was talking to the fellow on the phone, I was staring at my old, old Blackhawk travel bag that had been my daily carry for the last decade or two. Can I test one of your nylon bags? I asked. I went to the First Tactical™ website and perused their offerings. Not wanting to press for too much, I pitched him the idea of a T&E for a briefcase, small folding knife, … Continue reading

Posted in Concealed Carry, Detectives, Firearms, Flashlights, Knives, Off Duty, Tactical Bags | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

How Criminals Defeat Keyless Entry Systems

We had experienced some curious auto thefts where a suspect was seen pointing something at a victim’s car, then opening the door and driving away.  The owner’s keys were still inside the house.  We had it all on surveillance video and it was puzzling.  This type of theft occurs by a relay attack. Passive Keyless Entry Systems are the latest technology that let drivers walk up to their car and open the doors or trunk without pushing a button or touching a key.  As long as the fob is in your pocket or purse, you are hands-free to get into the vehicle.  Once inside the car, the driver uses a … Continue reading

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Galco QCL Quad Magazine Carrier!

Galco International had this beast on a display mannequin at SHOT Show 2015!  I thought it might be one of those joke products designed to draw you into their booth, but, no, this thing has a purpose (other than stressing your rotator cuff).  The QCL Quad Magazine Carrier was made at the request of soldiers heading overseas. In 1969, Galco made the “Original Jackass Rig,” which was a modular shoulder holster design with the intent to have components which could be swapped out.  The QCL will hang on today’s Miami Classic opposite your full-sized roscoe. Brother, this will hold a lot of bullets.  At 15 bullets in a standard M9 … Continue reading

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DNA Produces Facial Images

I found this equal parts cool and creepy.  Parabon NanoLabs has developed a process called Snapshot that takes a DNA sample and extrapolates it into physical traits of the contributor.  The traits include sex, genetic ancestry, skin color, hair color, eye color, freckling, and–gulp–facial morphology.  A dab of blood or strand of hair can lead to a virtual mugshot of the person.  Yikes. Parabon, based in Reston, VA, uses DNA phenotyping to read biomarkers and make predictions about physical appearance.  This process involves DNA data mining and data modeling to compare the genetic variants of the unknown subject against known DNA patterns. With funding from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction … Continue reading

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New ActivEdge Card Reader Defeats Skimmers

Diebold Inc.’s new ActivEdge™ Secure Card Reader is one attempt to stop identity theft at the terminal.  ActivEdge reads the credit/debit card via an internal motorized head that moves along the top edge of the card, which is inserted lengthwise in.  Diebold says the ActivEdge will: • Prevent External Skimming devices from reading card data by requiring long-edge card insertion.• Mitigate Internal Skimming through modification of the card reader with an encrypting read head.• Eliminate capture and tracking of card data via USB Sniffing by encrypting communication to the CPU.• Deter full Card Reader Substitution by pairing each ActivEdge™ card reader to a specific terminal. ActivEdge prevents the card being scanned during its … Continue reading

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Yet Another Day in the Pressure Cooker

It is almost Midnight and I just got home from a regular eight hour shift followed by just over seven hours of OT on a series of surveillance and arrests for one of our specialized units, working in conjunction with other local and Federal agencies. I do not pull this kind of duty nearly as much as I had in days past.  It reminds me that this kind of adrenaline-infused work goes on around-the-clock in our country.  The challenges made me respect those who are on the front lines taking criminals off the street every day because the reality is that after nearly 27 years on the job I now … Continue reading

Posted in Detectives, Street | 3 Comments

Raven Concealment Systems ModuLoader

Raven Concealment Systems has come out with a product that made me think, “Duh!”  Raven’s ModuLoader Pocket Shield is perfect for the discreet carry of knives and other like equipment.  There are times that I would prefer to hide my blade, especially when in dress or business casual clothes.  A metal knife clip dragging on the pocket edge of an expensive pair of slacks will not do. I ordered a Pocket Shield primarily for knife carry.  It arrived packaged with a nifty Raven sticker, a short length of small nylon cord, and six Chicago screws for affixing accessories.  I ordered a gray Pocket Shield instead of black, well, just because … Continue reading

Posted in Concealed Carry, Detectives, Firearms, Flashlights, Knives, Off Duty | 2 Comments

Prepaid Card Scams

Please spread the word to your friends, family, co-workers and anyone else who may be vulnerable:  Do not fall for prepaid card scams!  Every week I read cases where victims have been tricked out of money by suspects on the phone posing as anyone from a local power company, to the IRS, to law enforcement.  It is a national problem. The scam occurs when an unscrupulous ne’er-do-well calls a victim.  It goes something like this, “I’m Supervisor Smith from Duke Energy.  Your business account is in arrears and you need to make a payment by prepaid card before 11 a.m. today or your power will shut off.” Prepaid cards are … Continue reading

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Assessing for Detectives

My Boss recently tasked me with running an assessment center for Property Crimes Detective.  At my agency, a property crimes dick investigates cases of burglary, grand theft, auto theft, arson, pawn/secondhand/metals recycling violations, and any other related incidents.  Though I had been involved in selecting SWAT Team members, K9 handlers, and Field Training officers over the last twenty years, I had never put together a detectives process. I started by reviewing the previous assessment, which had been held a year ago and about nine months before I took over as the Property Crimes sergeant.  It had consisted of the prospective candidates being given an oral board interview and a problem-solving … Continue reading

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Florida is First in Bitcoin Money Laundering Arrests

The Miami-Dade State Attorney is the first local prosecutor’s office in the United States to charge suspects with money laundering related to the transfer of Bitcoins for illicit purposes.  Mitchell Abner Espinoz and Pascal Reid were arrested for providing unlicensed money services (FSS 560.125) and for violating Florida’s Money Laundering Act (FSS 896.101). For the uninitiated, Bitcoins are virtual currency used for online trading of goods and services.  The trading is done peer-to-peer and can be anonymous.  It is the anonymity and lack of government oversight that have made Bitcoin popular for drug dealers and money launderers.  A Bitcoin tutorial video is posted below. Espinoza was a trader of Bitcoins … Continue reading

Posted in Detectives, Legal | Tagged | 2 Comments

Gradually Detectives

It has been nearly five years since my cell phone rang in the middle of the night and I had to respond out to a homicide as an investigator.  Since leaving the both the Detective Bureau and SWAT, I had absolutely reveled in hanging up my on-call status, which had lasted for over 21 years.  Having now returned to DB:  Ringggg!  Back to the salt mines… I woke two of my burglary dicks and told them that we needed to go in to assist.  This would be their first full-blown murder as new detectives.  No, they were not the primary investigators, just the minors helping out the pros.  Still, their … Continue reading

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The Florida Law Enforcement Property Recovery Unit, more colloquially known as FLEPRU (FLEE-proo), is a non-profit entity that was started in the Tampa Bay area in 1987 by a group of detectives whose mission was to aid victims in the recovery of their stolen property and increase the effective prosecution of the perpetrators. FLEPRU provides information, networking, and education not only for sworn law enforcement, but retail, commercial, and recycling industries as well.  Additionally, FLEPRU works to enact legislation, and better the statutes already on the books, by lobbying in Tallahassee on behalf of crime victims and cops. Toward that end, FLEPRU has directed much of its lobbying efforts at … Continue reading

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SWAT Round-Up International In Orlando This Week

I am in Orlando this week for the Florida Law Enforcement Property Recovery Unit (FLEPRU) conference.  On my way over, I just had to stop at the Orange County Sheriff’s Sheriff’s Office Range for the annual SWAT Round-Up International.  I competed here in the 1990’s and again one last time in 2006. I visited the vendors and will post some photos of some cool stuff I saw.  In the meantime, I was able to see an old friend from my Academy days some 26 years ago.  He works out here and is doing well.

Posted in Detectives, SWAT | 3 Comments

Sending Them Out to Play in Traffic

It was my first week back in Detective Bureau.  I was getting a slice with some of the guys when I got a call from my lieutenant.  “Yeah, Boss?”  “You better check on Wheaten and Milner; they requested uniformed back-up,” he said.  Day two in DB and I hadn’t even programmed all the investigators’ numbers into my phone.  Figured.  “Right away, Boss.” Just before lunch, Wheaten told me he and Milner were going to interview and arrest a grand theft suspect for whom he had probable cause at a particular nursing home.  At least I knew where they were.  I reached Milner on the phone.  “All good?”  She said, “We … Continue reading

Posted in Detectives, Officer Safety | Tagged | 1 Comment