Saturday, March 10, 2007

More on the CPA

What I'm reading: The Vision by Heather Graham

What I'm writing: Revisiting Chapters 24-27

Civilian Police Academy, Class 2, Part 2

Due to the change in speakers, we had a bonus of a former volunteer who now works in the evidence "room" which is a major warehouse away from the Central Ops building itself. In a year, they'll have over 1.5 million pieces of evidence. They destroy about 30,000 firearms twice a year (but they can keep the ammunition, as well as weapons that might be used as backup weapons for officers).

Our speaker for the Uniform Patrol Division arrived and spoke of the 'front line, first response' officers. He demonstrated the computer system the deputies use in their cars, although because we were inside a building, the aircard didn't work that well, and he didn't get to complete the way they can search on a driver's licence. I had volunteered mine to see what came up, because I was curious. My license picture was taken in 1989 (yes, 1989) and since then, I just get stickers to put on the back extending the expiration date. I'd questioned a police officer acquaintance when I was researching my book, and he said that since the photos weren't computerized at that time, they wouldn't get a picture when they ran the search. Of course, that was years ago, and by now, they might have scanned everything in. I wanted to see for myself what would have popped up, but the connection to the DAVID database kept timing out. Maybe I can ask again. Actually, he said after 3 classes, we're eligible to do ride alongs. Might be fun!

More bits and pieces. Why you don't see the cops when you call them. Again, he showed up the computer with its map programs. The officer coordinating the call has instant access to where everyone his, and the first thing they do is set up a perimeter so that the bad guy can't get out. The cops are there, you just can't see them. The last ones to arrive will be the ones at the place where the call originated.

And the helicopters that circle looking for the bad guys--with the searchlights? Well, I didn't know the searchlights were pointed AWAY from where they're looking, and they're using much fancier technology to pinpoint the guy. And then, as our speaker said, 'we get to turn the dogs loose.' He says he loves running a guy to ground and setting a hundred-plus pound German shepherd on him. What he hates are people who don't know that when you hear sirens and see flashing lights, you're supposed to move RIGHT, not STOP. But most of the time, they don't like to use them because the idea is NOT to let the bad guys know you're coming.

Great evening. Can't wait until next time.

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