Beware of ransomware

Mr. Guise Saleazy kissed his wife goodnight and turned off the bedside lamp. He knew that within minutes she’d be snoring like a lumberjack overdosing on Valium. “Runs in the family,” she’d once told him, which was the reason his overbearing and grotesquely overweight in-laws slept in separate rooms on opposite ends of a long upstairs hallway.

It was just past midnight and the house was quiet, with the exception of the refrigerator hum that caused something in the pots and pans drawer to quiver and vibrate. Sounded like a handful of bees buzzing around among the Paula Deen cookware the little woman ordered through her banking rewards program. She’d had just enough points for the ten-piece stainless steel set with glass tops, and a pair of blush-pink slippers that she pops into the microwave to heat up on cold nights. Nothing like the odor of her hot and stinky porcine feet to ruin perfectly good episodes of “Honey Boo-Boo” and “Gator Boys.” Not to mention what the funky smell does to his appetite. Why, the stench practically destroys his taste for a nightly bowl of Orville’s best caramel corn.

He let her snores reach a level equal to that of a finely-tuned leaf blower, and then switched on his laptop. While waiting for the machine to boot up, he grabbed a bottle of ice cold root beer from the fridge and stripped down to his John Deere boxers and favorite pair of black Gold Toe socks. He was once again ready to take a romp through Pornland.

His fingers flew over the keys, typing in the address to his favorite site (he never bookmarked his secret places). He used the mouse to scroll through the pages, and…wait, what was that image? That wasn’t his favorite brunette. Instead, it was a picture of the Grim Reaper. And that message. Were they serious? They said they’d taken the computer hostage and they (hackers, he surmised) want $5,000 within 72 hours to release the data files or they’d wipe them clean. But all the business records are on that laptop. And the novel he’d been writing. It must be true because the computer was locked. Nothing worked.

Could this really be happening? Was it possible to virtually kidnap a computer and then demand a ransom for its safe return?

Well, the answer is, unfortunately, yes. Cyber criminals have developed viruses that lock a computer’s desktop while simultaneously using the device’s built-in camera to capture an image of the user. In Mr. Saleazy’s case, the incriminating image was of him just after he’d slipped off the boxers (he never removed his socks), and that was the photo displayed in all its glory on the frustratingly-locked desktop. They said if he doesn’t pay the ransom, in addition to holding the files, they’d send his “socks” photo to everyone in his contacts list.

What would his wife say if she saw the picture? Suppose his boss received a copy? Or his mother-in-law? A sheen of perspiration wet his forehead. His licked at his suddenly-dry lips. He tried to shut down the computer. Nothing. Clicking, poking, and stabbing at various keys and buttons. He couldn’t power it down no matter what he tried.

He was ruined. His darling little cupcake would want a divorce, and he’d most certainly lose his job as director of the youth choir at the Church of All That’s Holy.

Maybe the police could help. Sure, that’s what he’d do…call the police. Before dialing he peeked in to check on his princess. Good, she was still asleep. He thought she looked sweet, all curled up like a chubby little pig in a blanket—huffing, snorting, and wheezing like a freight train heading upward toward the peaks of the high Sierras.

He swallowed hard and punched 911 on his cell.

Australian Federal Police report a rise in “ransomware” attacks in the past couple of years. Not only are the cyber-crooks targeting porn lovers such as Mr. Saleazy, they’ve also hit several businesses, including a medical facility (hackers demanded $4,000 to have their files returned in operating order), a transportation company, personal computer owners for up to a couple hundred dollars each, and even a school ($5,000 ransom).

A report released by Symantec states that ransomware cyber gangs are extorting well over $5 million a year.

The best means to protect you and your computer from ransomware is to:

– purchase and utilize a reputable anti-virus program

– use good, strong passwords and change them often

– don’t advertise your personal information on the internet, especially on websites and social networks

– don’t share financial data with anyone over the internet unless it’s to a site you know well and trust

– avoid clicking on links in emails, especially when you don’t recognize the sender

– don’t open email attachments unless you know and trust the sender

– update your virus software regularly

And for goodness sake, wear more than just a pair of socks when reading this blog!


Blood Vessels

Move over fingerprints and iris scans, because there’s a new sheriff in town…and this one’s darn near foolproof. Since people (mostly bad guys) have found ways to defeat other methods of identification, scientists went to work on building a better mouse trap, and this one is straight-up Star Trek material. *Above photo by Patti Phillips

A team at Jadavpur University in India has discovered that patterns of blood vessels just below the skin of a person’s face are totally unique. And, those vessels can be seen and isolated using thermal imaging.

Law enforcement officers are no strangers to thermal imaging, using the devices to detect the presence of humans in low- or no-light environments. Thermal imaging devices detect heat—radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Recently, for example, police used thermal imaging to confirm that the surviving Boston bomber was indeed hiding in a covered boat.

Scientist Ayan Seal’s method of examining blood vessels of the face, including the smallest of the capillaries, is 97% accurate. And, since it is nearly impossible to alter the pattern of blood vessels within the human body and, considering that vessel patterns are as unique to humans as fingerprints and iris scans, well, I think it’s safe to assume this new technology will soon find its way into the law enforcement community.

What will they think of next, a robot that, when turned loose in your yard, will locate and kill every tick in its path? Oh, wait a minute…that’s on the way too.

Ford's new interceptor

Police cars have come a long ways since the early days of the red “bubble gum machines” and fender mounted siren and light combinations. Even further back, 1899 to be precise, was the first police vehicle, an electric wagon in Akron, Ohio. Then came New York City’s Radio Motor Cars of the 1920’s.

But it was Ford who began mass producing cars with V8 engines, and the company soon captured the hearts of police departments all across the country. Their powerful engines and heavy-duty parts made the perfect combination to stand the wear and tear and abuse that came with police work.

Ford’s Crown Victoria Police Interceptor became the standard police car, and remained so, except for the  brief time when Chrysler ruled the roost, until Ford phased it out in 2011 in favor of the sleeker, lighter Ford Taurus Police Interceptor. I think it would be safe to say that nearly all police officers of a “certain age” have driven a Crown Vic at least once in their lifetime. Of course, nowadays, it is quite common to see officers behind the wheel of the powerfully fast Dodge Chargers.

But, Ford has recently announced a brand new safety feature on their Taurus Interceptors. The car is now able to protect officers in a way never before seen.

There has been an increase of ambush attacks on police officers, and one of their most vulnerable times is when parked and completing paperwork. As the officer is busy writing reports, using the data terminal, etc., her mind is preoccupied, focusing on the task at hand. Therefore, she’s not totally aware of her surroundings, especially when someone is approaching her vehicle from the rear.

Well, Ford’s new surveillance system stands watch over the area behind the police vehicle, sounding a chime when it senses someone approaching. It automatically rolls up the windows, locks the car doors, and the backup camera projects a real time image of the area behind the car directly onto the rear-view mirror. That image is a large angle view so a person’s full body is visible. This allows the officers to see the hands of the approaching person.

After reading about the Interceptor’s new safety option I couldn’t help but wonder had the system been installed on the MIT officer’s car, the officer who was murdered by the Boston bombers, if he’d be alive today. Certainly, the two killers approached the car from the rear, surprising the officer. What if the officer could’ve heard an alert chime? Or, if the windows rolled up and the doors locked automatically…would he be alive today? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

What we do know is that this new system could prevent the same horrible incident from happening again. And that’s a good thing.

First, though, Ford, needs to correct the fuel tank leaks on the new Interceptors. The car manufacturer recalled 20,000 of the police vehicles just last month to correct a tiny problem that had a slight potential of causing a fire. Of course, if the buyers select Ford’s optional fire suppression system…

You are being watched

What if I told you the government is watching, tracking and recording your every move, including your trips to the grocery store, the bank, to the free STD clinic, church, and the regular noon “meetings” at the Pay-By-The-Minute Hotel that, by the way, started the whole free clinic thing in the first place? Would it bother you that all your movements have been fed into a huge database that can be accessed by law enforcement any time they want—no warrants necessary?

You don’t do anything wrong, so why worry? Okay, let’s say, for example, you loan your prized 1985 Yugo to your neighbor for the day. The neighbor, unbeknownst to you, is a psycho serial rapist and killer and is not caught until thirty years later. Police tie him to 13 murders, one of which was committed the day he borrowed your car.

Well, as your luck would have it, the police have a record of your car parked in the driveway of murder victim #4. In a flash, the cops are at your door, waking up the wife and her folks who’re up from Tampa visiting for two weeks. Officer Cawtcha Redhanded loudly asks you, in front of the little woman and the in-laws, to explain why, thirty years prior, were you at the home of a Ms. Bleedeasy, a deceased call girl who was found murdered the day your car left an amoeba-shaped oil stain on the concrete. ‘Spain that one, bubba.

Could the above scenario happen. Sure it could, and here’s why.

Automatic license plate readers. They’re everywhere. On police cars. Mounted to sign posts. Attached to bridges. Bolted to parking garage walls. You name the place and law enforcement is trying to think of a way to get one there.

The devices take a photo of every single passing car, even if the vehicle is stationary, like the Yugo in Ms. Bleedeasy’s driveway. They also record every single license plate number, the time and date the information was recorded, and the precise location where the car was at the time the photo was taken. As a former Alaska politician would say…“Gotcha’.”

In the beginning, plate readers were a wonderful tool for law enforcement. They helped cops spot cars that had been involved in crimes (robberies, kidnappings, etc.), cars that had been stolen, and, well, you get the idea. The cool part of this technology is that officers receive a “hit” in real time on numbers they’ve manually entered into the reader. Best of all, the readers are capable of scanning every single car and truck, even during rush hour traffic!

Now, though, since the introduction of plate readers to law enforcement, all of this data collected on private citizens has poured into massive databases where much of it now sits. That’s right, your trips to the hardware store have probably been recorded and, that information is in limbo waiting for a police officer to call it up the next time Joes’ Nuts and Bolts is robbed. And, if the robbery occurred anywhere near the day and time you stopped by to pick up a roll of chicken wire, well, you can probably expect a call or visit from Officer Notso Friendly. That is, unless you live in Minnesota, where the state patrol only retains the information for 48 hours. In other locations, though, such as Yonkers, NY and Mesquite, Texas, they keep the data on file indefinitely. Raleigh, N.C. – 6 months. High Point, N.C. – 1 year (remember that WPA attendees).

Are the license plate readers effective in the effort to locate criminals? Well, according to one report, out of every 1 million plates read in Maryland, only 47 “hits” were associated with serious offenses (stolen cars and/or plates, a wanted person, a sex offender, etc). And, not all 47 hits resulted in an arrest.

License plate readers have also been used for non-law enforcement purposes too. Everybody and her “big brother” wants a piece of this spy action, including repo companies and parking enforcement officials

For example, a small city in the south purchased and installed a plate reader on a city vehicle. A worker now drives all over town, slowly passing through parking lots hoping to get a “hit” on vehicles registered to citizens who’re delinquent in paying local taxes, city court fees, water bills, and even dog licenses. If the city employee does receive a hit on a vehicle, he stops and places a boot on the car, and the locking device is not removed until the delinquent fees are paid.

With all of this in mind, now might be a good time to re-think your appointments for the day. Well, at least re-think how you’ll get to those appointments. After all, “they’re” watching.

You know, this article brings to mind an old Eagles tune whose title should be altered to You Can’t Hide From Prying Eyes…


Lifting prints from wet surfaces

Lifting prints from wet surfaces is not only possible, the technique is as easy as pie when using the proper material. Actually, lifting wet prints is as easy as, well, Wet Print…

Wet Print works on a variety of surface types.

Wet Print is a trademarked name of a product (small particle reagent) that contains small particles suspended in a liquid. Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories also produces and sells their brand of an SPR product. It, too, works extremely well on a variety of wet surfaces.

By the way, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories, they are a proud supporter/major sponsor of the Writers’ Police Academy. I’ve come full circle with Sirchie, having used many of their products and equipment during my years as a police officer. Later, I featured Sirchie products in my book on police procedure for writers. And now Sirchie plays a huge role at the WPA. They’re a fantastic group of people/experts who support law enforcement, and writers, all across the country and throughout the world.

*Would you like to become a WPA sponsor and see your product advertised on a very popular website, and in the WPA program? If so, please visit the WPA website for details, or contact me at And please do type WPA SPONSOR in the subject line. We’d greatly appreciate your support!

Tools of the trade

It’s been said that a police car is a cop’s office on wheels. Well, that’s certainly true, but those rolling branches of the police department also serve quite well as storage facilities for spare paperwork, extra ammunition, defibrillators, shotguns and rifles, computers, radio repeaters, shovels, rain gear, boots, extra clothing, evidence collecting kits, fingerprinting kits, hand cleaner, paper towels, extra handcuffs and other restraints, and sometimes a few teddy bears to help ease the pain of traumatized kids. The contents of each car depends upon the role and personal preferences of each officer.

The interior of a police vehicle, especially a patrol car, is jam-packed with tools of the trade that need to be within easy reach of the officer—shotgun, flashlight, paperwork, traffic summons book, etc. There’s also an array of winking and blinking lights, buttons to twist, turn, push, pull, or flip in one direction or another. There are microphones and speakers. Radios for calling out and others for listening.

A radar unit and antenna are usually mounted somewhere within the interior compartment. And, of course, there’s a heavy screen to separate the good guys from the bad. Good in front, bad in the back. If that order is ever reversed, then you’re probably in deep trouble and this very well may be the perfect time to re-think your career choice.

The controls for lights, sirens, radar, and radios (both portable and stationary) are normally mounted in a control console that’s within easy reach of the driver. The picture below is of a center console in an average patrol car. See how many of the items you can correctly identify before moving on to the next picture.

Next is the same image with each item identified.

Radar antennas are normally mounted either hanging from the top of the rear side window (outside), on the front dashboard, or in the rear window area (pictured below), or both—one on the dash and one in the rear window. Some units are capable of tracking vehicles both coming and going.

And, some are able to record target vehicle speeds while the police car is moving.

The next image is of a dash-mounted radar unit and antenna (antenna is to the left of the unit).

Shotguns and their locking dock stations are often mounted between the backs of the front seats, near the dashboard in an upright position, or, as pictured below, in an overhead, behind-the-seat locking station. Shotguns should always remain locked in place until the officer needs it. There’s normally a “hidden” button that’s depressed to release the weapon from its locking mount.


Most present day patrol cars feature a Mobile Data Terminal (MDT), better known as a laptop.

Screens are normally made of a combination of Plexiglass and aluminum. Notice the side panels of Plexiglass in the photo below. This is to prevent the suspect from reaching around to grab the driver. It also serves as a “spit guard.” There’s nothing worse than driving along toward the jail and suddenly find the side of your head and face as the recipient of something very wet and very slimy.

Some officers (me included) prefer to hang an extra set of handcuffs from the side spotlight control handle (below). You never know when you’ll need them, and if you do they’re with easy reach.

By the way, the spotlight is controlled by the handle you see below. To stand the light in an upright position, you simply pull down on the rounded handle that’s just to the right of the black leather strap attached to the handcuffs. Then, by rotating the handle (twisting to the right or left) the light moves as indicated.

Light bars mounted to the top of marked patrol cars serve more than one purpose. The main function, of course, is to alert people that the car is in emergency mode. The officer inside activates the rotating lights (or strobes) by flipping a rocker switch (up for on and down for off, just like a light switch in your home). The lights inside the bar are not colored lights. Instead, they are merely very bright spot or flood lights. It’s the colored lenses that produce the red, blue, and amber light.

The white or clear lenses you see are actually used as spot lights. The four white lights on the front of the bar below are called takedown lights, and are used to illuminate the area in front of the patrol vehicle, such as during a nighttime traffic stop. The side lights are alley lights, and, of course, are used to light up alleys as the officer passes by. However, they can be used to illuminate the areas on either side of the car for any purpose needed, even to see better in a wooded area, field, or ditch.

Finally, the trunk of a patrol car is used to store items the officer may need for special occasions, such as a fingerprint kit or evidence bags. The trunk is also where dashcam recording units are mounted, as are lock-boxes for weapons.

I know one sheriff who keeps a complete set of golf clubs and a pair of golf shoes in the trunk of his police car. After all, you never know when an emergency golf game may pop up.

*     *     *

Okay, Writers’ Police Academy recruits, you’d better take a good look at this blog post, because you’re going to need to know what’s what and where it’s located when you stop the bad guys…at night. Yep, we’ve got big plans for you this year!

By the way, we are taking names for a waiting list, and we’ve already filled three spots that suddenly became available. Please contact us right away if you’d like to add your name to the list. This year is totally over the top. We’ve gone all out this time!

DNA and...Knobby Knees

Due to the discovery of new and advanced technology, changes in the way crimes are solved occur almost daily. And it’s imperative that investigators keep up with the rapidly evolving tools and methodologies. However, sometimes those advancements come so quickly that police and forensics officials barely have time to learn one technique before it’s replaced by something new. Here are a few examples of the rapidly changing world of forensics in January 2013.

1. A home invasion in Ohio resulted in one of the suspects being bitten by the family’s pit bull. The fleeing suspect then shot and killed the dog before making his escape. In years past, the thug might have gotten away with his crime, however, quick-thinking detectives swabbed the inside of the deceased dog’s mouth, had the lab run a DNA test on the sample, and presto…they got a hit on the suspect whose DNA just happened to be in the database.

2. Ima Getaway is a blue-eyed, blond thug who loves breaking into homes while the residents are away. And he’s a regular Houdini when it comes to making his escape. In the past, authorities hadn’t located a single clue at any of Getaway’s crime scenes, not even a partial fingerprint, or fiber. Recently, however, detectives discovered a cigarette butt in the bushes beside a home where a burglary occurred. But, as luck would have it, there wasn’t enough DNA on the butt to get any sort of hit.

However, thanks to a new DNA-based discovery by scientist Manfred Kayser of Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, they were able to narrow their list of possible suspects to only people with blue eyes. You see, Kayser’s new test, IriPlex, examines single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are linked to what, you ask…yep, eye color. And the test provides enough accuracy that police will soon be able to zero in on suspects due to the color of their eyes, even from a faint trace of DNA left on behind on a discarded cigarette butt. By the way, this test can also detect hair color, ancestry, and gender, with surprising accuracy.

3. Computer scientist Lior Shamir of Lawrence Technological Univ. in Southfield, Mich. has devised a way of using an MRI-based scan of the knees to identify individual people. That’s right, like fingerprints and DNA, our knobby knees are uniquely ours. Therefore, when used in conjunction with other identifiers, such as passports and iris scans, bad guys will have a much more difficult time when attempting to slip through airports and other secure areas.

4. Thanks to new software called Image, along with a DICOM displayer called K-Pacs, scientists are now able to determine the age and sex of a corpse, and the test, so far, has proven to be 95% accurate.

5. A new chemical process developed by researchers at North Carolina State, enables scientists to successfully prove that two fibers share dyes and impurities, or not. In other words, they can positively match fibers (dyes and other compositions) found at a crime scene to their source, such as a particular carpet, blouse, etc.

Well, there you have it, a few of the new crime-fighting tools that are available to your protagonists, or to your fictional crime labs. And, speaking of laboratories and crime-fighting, I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Dan Krane, one of the special guest speakers for the 2013 Writers’ Police Academy (I won’t make you guess this one!).

Dr. Krane is a world renowned DNA expert who’s often called upon to testify in criminal cases around the world.

Dr. Dan Krane

Dan E. Krane is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio where he has been a faculty member since 1993 and currently serves as the President of the University Faculty. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree for a double major in Biology and Chemistry from John Carroll University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Cell and Molecular Biology Department at the Pennsylvania State University in 1990. He has also done post-doctoral studies in the Genetics Department of the Washington University’s Medical School and in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.

He has published over forty peer-reviewed papers in the areas of population genetics and molecular evolution and is the lead author of the best selling undergraduate textbook in the field of bioinformatics (“Fundamental Concepts in Bioinformatics”). His research group has developed techniques that allow quick and precise measurement of the amount of genetic diversity that populations harbor at the molecular level. Many of his publications are directly related to forensic DNA testing, particularly in the areas of using DNA profiles to generate investigative leads (i.e. familial searching) and increasing the objectivity and sensitivity of current DNA typing methodologies. He has testified in more than 100 criminal cases (in more than 20 different States as well as in Australia, Belfast and Oxford Crown Court, and the Central Criminal Court in London) since 1991 as an expert for both the prosecution and defense in the areas of population genetics, molecular biology and bioinformatics.

Krane is also the president and a co-founder of Forensic Bioinformatic Services, Inc ( where he has overseen the development and implementation of software designed to automatically and objectively review STR DNA testing results. Two different governors of the Commonwealth of Virginia have appointed him to Virginia’s Scientific Advisory Committee – a blue-ribbon panel of 12 experts that oversees the policies and practices of Virginia’s full-service Department of Forensic Science. In that capacity he has chaired the Virginia’s subcommittees on familial searching and Y-STR validation and testing protocols.

*     *     *

Now for clue #2 in the “Name The Special Guest Speaker” contest.

2. Loggerhead Island, on a stone ledge, twenty feet above the Atlantic Ocean. That’s where this author’s latest book begins.

*To refresh your memory, here’s clue number one again:

Clue 1#. I’ve vowed to keep this name to myself, so, unless you guess correctly, I’ll have to take the secret to my grave. I promise, though, you won’t have to dig very deep to find this author’s New York Times bestselling thrillers.

*Remember, send your guess to me at DO NOT post your answer in the comments section of this blog!  Doing so will automatically disqualify your entry.

The first correct answer receives the free Driving Simulator session at the 2013 WPA. The session is for the winner of this contest only, and is not transferable. There is no redeemable cash value.

We will announce the contest winner on Thursday 1-31-13.

Patrol Car: Mobile Office

Patrol cars serve many purposes. Obviously, they’re an officer’s means of transportation, but they’re also used as mobile offices, equipment haulers, cover during gun battles, barricades, emergency warning devices, temporary jails, cafeterias, and communication centers.

Cars driven by civilians aren’t all that much different than a police car. Although, police vehicles do have heavier suspensions, and they’re fitted with larger alternators because of the extra electricity that’s need to power all the radios, lights and sirens. Heavy-duty brakes are installed on patrol cars since quick, hard braking is often required during pursuit driving. Some police cars have coolers on the transmission lines. Other than that, they’re basically equipped the same as any other automobile.

Patrol cars are meant to be highly visible. They’re usually marked with the department’s reflective logo and they’re equipped with some sort of emergency lighting system. Some departments use rotating halogen lights while others prefer flashing strobes. Many agencies use a combination of both. Each jurisdiction has its own rules regarding light color—usually red, blue, or a combination of both. In most areas of the country, the law prohibits citizens from possessing a blue light.

Light bars are positioned on the top of a police car and stretch from one side to the other. They’re held in place by a bracket attached to the inside of the upper door frames. A hole is drilled into the car top creating a passage for light’s wiring harness. The hole is waterproofed using a rubber grommet and silicone sealant.

Each light bar is equipped with colored warning lights, and spotlights aimed to the front, rear, and sides. The side spotlights are called alley lights. Front-facing spot lights are called take-down lights because they’re often used during high-risk traffic stops—“taking down a suspect.”


Low profile light bar equipped with flashing strobe lights. It’s called a low profile light bar because it sits low and tight to the car roof. People often mistake it for a luggage rack. The deception sometimes allows the police car to approach without being detected as easily as a police car with a taller light bar.


Alley light

Most patrol cars utilize a center console that houses radio equipment, light switches, siren switches, portable radio charger, remote radar controls, and a public address system.

Equipment in the console above starting at the top:

PA system 

Department radio capable of muti-jurisdictional communication

Lights and siren control panel

Radar unit

Remote radar control

Top right – personal police scanner for monitoring fire and rescue

The rear seating area of a patrol car serves as a mini jail cell. The window and door locks and controls are disabled to prevent escape. Heavy metal and plexiglass screens divide the front and rear compartments. The rear seat in the patrol car below is made from hard plastic. This allows for easy cleaning (Drunks tend to make a big mess. Yes, patrol officers are often required to clean their own cars). Some cars are fitted with a drain plug in the rear floorboard. This makes it easy to “hose down” the rear interior in the event of an extreme mess.


Rear compartment of a patrol car.

Shotguns are mounted in the front compartment of patrol cars. Some departments prefer an upright mount near the dashboard. Others prefer a mount behind the driver’s head. Both are kept locked at all times. To unlock the shotgun, officers press a concealed button in or near the center console area.


Shotgun mount.

I’ve included this photograph as a quiz. Can anyone identify the round, white object? Hint…there’s at least one in almost all police cars.

Fun fact – The sheriff’s office in Hinds County, Mississippi has added an all electric 2012 Nissan Leaf to their fleet of police vehicles. The battery-powered car will be used for community outreach.

NYPD weapons

NYPD Approved Duty Weapons for Patrol Duty (lieutenants, sergeants, and officers)

(per Patrol Guide procedure 204-09 (2012 KSA publication)

Authorized Regulation Service 9mm

SIG Sauer Model 226

Smith and Wesson Model 5946

Glock Model 19

Models Authorized For Off-Duty

– Smith and Wesson 5953 TSW

– Smith and Wesson 3914 DAO

– Beretta 8000D Mini Cougar

– SIG Sauer Model 239 DAO

– Glock Model 26

*The above off-duty approved firearms may also be carried in addition to the officer’s service weapon (as a backup weapon) providing the service weapon (revolver or pistol) is clearly visible


Regulation Holster – black leather, designed with safety lock, in eight (8)
– Glock, Model 19, right and left handed
– Smith & Wesson, right and left handed
– Sig Sauer, right and left handed
– 9MM holster with flap, right and left handed.

Two (2) Magazines and Pouches – as authorized by the Equipment
Section, with fifteen (15) cartridges in each.

Belts (2) – (for equipment: black leather, 2 ¼ inches wide with
gunmetal buckle); (for trousers: black leather, 1 ½ inches wide with
gunmetal buckle). Equipment belt will cover trouser belt, both to be worn
firmly around the waist.

Night Sights – ensure “Tritium” night sights are installed. Installation by
anyone other than a Firearms and Tactics Section gunsmith is not
permissible. Pistols purchased at the Equipment Section on or after
September 12, 1994, are already equipped with night sights installed by
the manufacturer. The use of night sights by uniformed members
authorized to carry 9MM pistols prior to September 12, 1994, is optional.

Authorized Revolvers

(Remember, the NYPD issues semi-automatic weapons to all new officers).

– Smith and Wesson Model 64NY-1 (3″ or 4″ barrel)

– Ruger GPNY – stainless steel (3″ or 4″ barrel)

– Ruger Speed 6 (3″ or 4″ barrel)

– Ruger Service Six (discontinued model)

*Uniformed officers may carry the following weapons on or off duty providing the officer owned the weapon prior to July 1, 1987

– Smith and Wesson Model 10

– Colt Official Police

– Colt Metropolitan Mark III

– Dan Wesson Model 11 (fixed barrel) *Note – many Dan Wesson models are equipped to accept interchangeable barrels of various lengths.

– Ruger Police Service 6

– Smith and Wesson or Colt .38 Special – 3″ barrel and military (Patridge) sights

*Thanks to Bob Mueller for sparking the idea for this post. Again, this material is from the KSA study manual for NYPD police officers. The information is NOT from the actual NYPD Patrol Guide. Please contact NYPD officials for precise details, or, attend the Writers’ Police Academy and learn all about the NYPD from NYPD Detective Marco Conelli.

Painting the town red

Not a single drop of his blood was visible. Not even a speck.

Yes, four coats did the job nicely.

Her lips split into a wide grin as she admired her work. Picasso himself couldn’t have done a better job.

Satisfied, now that police would never locate a single clue, Ida Dunit began the task of putting away the drop cloth, a half-empty gallon can of Midnight Blue paint (guaranteed to cover anything in a single coat), and the green fiberglass stepladder, his favorite. Then she placed the brush and roller cover, both still dripping with the blue goo, into a plastic garbage bag, which she promptly placed in the can sitting at the curb.

After all, there’s no better day than garbage day to murder a husband.

She hadn’t felt this good in years.

Well, Ida, your plan would have worked were it not for the idea of Glenn Porter, an Australian who just happens to be an expert in forensic photography. You see, Ms. Dunit, the Australian fellow, a student at the University of Western Sydney, had a brilliant notion that will help police catch killers like you.

First of all, Porter knew that infrared light, light with longer wavelengths than visible light, has the ability to penetrate layers of paint. So, using an ordinary digital camera, he simply swapped the filters, allowing only infrared light to be recorded. The result…well, let’s just say, Ms. Dunit, that the police are in the process of issuing a warrant for your arrest as we speak.

Yes, this simple, yet remarkable process allows blood to be seen even under six coats of black paint. Other colors are just as easily penetrated by the infrared light, such as orange, purple, yellow, green, and yes, Ira, even your color of choice, Midnight Blue. Even six coats of bright red paint, the color of fresh blood, can’t hide the evidence from the camera.

The only difficulty found was with white acrylic paint. The camera could not “see through” as little two layers of it.

And, for those of you who love a twist, Mars Brown might be the paint color your villain would want to stock in his tool shed, since it contains iron oxide-based pigments…basically the same stuff (iron) that makes blood visible to the infrared camera. Therefore, blood stains, no longer distinct from the surrounding hue, would simply blend in with the wall color.

And now, Ms. Ira Dunit, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be…

*Photos – Wikipedia Commons