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Unfortunately, it’s only humorous because the potential goblin they encountered was me. Otherwise they might have spent the Christmas Holiday in ICU or in the coroner’s refrigerator and that is hardly humorous in the least.

My apologies to properly trained Security and/or Law Enforcement types among us. We’ve all seen some tactical clusterfucks of the highest order but this one is deserving of recognition here at the Rott.

While we’re at it, the following object lesson could very well apply to anyone of us, approaching a suspicious vehicle. So…On with the misadventures of Dumb and Dumber, that by the Grace of G-d, went home last night.

The Setup: I’m out doing my thing in a city that is one of the rougher places in merry olde New England, and an area of said city that most decidedly is NOT where anyone would really want to live in, let alone drive through. Simply put, Gringos that don’t habla are most unwelcome.

So, here I sit on yet another long evening surveillance, all tucked in nicely along an alleyway that leads into the housing project where my claimant (aka Bad Guy) is hanging about. I’m backed in against a nice high security fence to avoid those pesky unwanted visitors approaching my six. To my right conveniently parked is a commercial van, giving me nice cover from vehicles leaving the area. Perfect. I’m not worried about who is coming in, yet I’ve got the seat pushed back and reclined, so all but the most perceptive vehicle/occupants will notice that someone is in the van as they arrive. I’ve got a nice view of the registration of departing vehicles so all is okey-dokey for da’ job tonight.

It’s well after dark and dozens of vehicles have come up and down the alleyway, none have noticed me in the slightest. Yet another set of headlights are coming in and I recognize that it’s a full-size Chevy Impala with deck mounted lights, so it looks like 5-0 is paying the ‘hood a visit. No worries at’all. The car pulls past me, fully on the brakes and as it passes the van to my right just out of view, und so, the Singularity of Stoopidity™ begins.

A little more background, the Imperial Surveillance Vehicle™ is heavily tinted and being a full size van could contain an entire squad of goblins, and a fixed mount ZSU-23, none of which you would see until you’re waaay too close.

Then unto what do my wondering eyes appear, but the un-mistakeable glare of the reverse lights off the Impala coming on, it’s backing up in front of me.

Rule #1: Don’t pass a suspicious vehicle, show obvious notice by braking to a crawl and then immediately backup slowly to take a look and thereby set you up for a full broadside.

The Impala reverses past me, now off to the left slightly, but neither angles the headlights into the passenger compartment or lights me up with a spotlight or whatever you might have.

Rule #2: After dark, light is your friend. If properly aimed and kept directly into the eyes of Mr. Goblin (and potential compadres) in his vehicle, it is NOT his friend. I have a 30,000 candle power, retina melting rechargeable Stream Light for just this purpose.

The Impala stops, now having good common sense for my own safety (and other measures immediately at hand), at this point I flip on my dome light, drop the driver’s window and place my hands in full view in the window frame. This has a tendency to reduce the ‘pucker-factor’ of anyone approaching you that just might be a little edgy (or should be under the circumstances).

What does Dumb and Dumber in the Impala do in response? Turn on their dome light. What does this tell me? 1) Two occupants, 2) They aren’t making a radio call for backup or my registration, and 3) Well lit targets. Next they carefully put on their ball caps and I can see they clearly say “Security”.

Rule #3: Take the bulb out, disable the switch or do whatever you need to, but NEVER turn on the dome light when you exit. Illuminating the interior of your car is a gold-mine of information for the shit-bag recidivist felon, that you might be approaching.

Next Dumb Tactic Of The Year™: Dumb and Dumber both obligingly open their doors and fully exit, passenger Dumb approaches me directly, flashlight in hand but it isn’t even on, let alone where it should be, in my eyes. See Rule #2 above. Driver Dumber approaches me by walking in front of his own headlights, giving me a target even if I was partially blinded by the lighting i.e. shoot where the light was and at the thing obstructing it now…also carrying his flashlight off. Now surprisingly, Dumb and Dumber were armed, most private security types aren’t but it is that kind of area. But not to worry, as they wouldn’t be able to employ either of their sidearms quickly as they had that hand filled with a flashlight, not being used. Perhaps their employer gives them a bonus for least number of batteries used.

The Karnival of Komedy™ continues as Dumb and Dumber approach me, side by side, thus making for an easier target for Mr. Goblin should he so desire. Just a slight movement of the wrist only to move from target to target.

Rule #4: Never, ever occupy your strong side hand with flashlights, infraction books, etc. I’ve seen entirely too many incidents that go something like this, Officer Deceased exited his cruiser carrying his infraction book and was shot before he could draw his weapon. Why would you want to even bring that along on your initial approach. If you’re going to buff the operator, you do it IN your vehicle and AFTER you’ve made your initial approach to secure the scene. Don’t be a target for the next drunk to pass by, target fixating and lambaste you standing a few feet from a ton PLUS of vehicle, do your writing from inside that nice safe vehicle, while keeping the occasional eyes out on the bad guys.

Rule #5: Approach separately from different directions entirely and more importantly from outside the Zone of Death in the vicinity of your well lit vehicle. Never pass in front of your own lights and give an nice outline. If you’ve got a wingman, let whoever is making the direct approach get into position, while backup covers and moves into position outside the zone, and if at all possible on the other side of the vehicle, without if at all possible, letting Goblins Wif’ Gats Inc. know there is a second officer present.

We’re not done yet, no indeed. The Dufus Duo move right on up to within about 4 feet of my opened window. They sheepishly ask if they can help me? I told them I was on a surveillance and looking for a vehicle departing the area. Completely generic response, mind you. They respond “OK”, turn and walk back to their car.

Two bugger-all fuckups for the price of one. Which lead us to the next rules.

Rule #6: If you’ve seen something that arouses your suspicions and decided to find out for yourself the who/what/where of said suspicious vehicle, determine the identity of the vehicle (make, model, color), registration and ESPECIALLY the occupants. These Klueless Klowns took my word entirely for what I was doing. They didn’t ask who I was, even bother to check my vehicle marker plate or ask to see my PI license. They left so quickly, that I just as well might have told them I was a fleeing felon and it wouldn’t have made a difference. They were more interested in getting back into the nice warm car, than actually doing their job properly and moreover safely.

And our last- Rule #7: Unless you have a fellow officer (or trusted friend) covering the persons being interrogated, NEVER turn your back on them until you have determined beyond a doubt, that they aren’t a threat. Until that is established treat everyone and I do mean EVERYONE like they are armed and waiting for the right moment to make their move.

There you have the sad story. I had at least 7 chances of taking these poor bastards out, all the way, in under 3 minutes, with no witnesses or evidence as they obviously hadn’t called me in before stopping and approaching.

If you are in law enforcement or security (or even a private citizen during a ’serious’ social encounter), review each and every interaction during your shift and ask yourself the question “If that shit-bag really wanted to take me out, did he have an opportunity?”

Unfortunately security officers in general are the least paid, poorest trained of all the professions that have the potential to become involved in a lethal incident. Law enforcement officers get killed, not because of their training, but as the years roll by after the academy they get complacent. It’s easy for that to happen, cold weather, calls stacked up, illness, any number of things that can result in an unnecessary death or serious injury. If you feel you haven’t received the proper training, insist your company or agency provide it, or get it on your own. If you can’t or won’t, consider another line of business, because like these two poor sods, it’s only a matter of time before they won’t make it home.

To Quote Malone: “Herein endeth the lesson”

13 Responses to “Keystone Kops Karnival Of Komedy”
  1. B.C., Imperial Torturer™ Comment by B.C., Imperial Torturer™

    Foist! :em03:

  2. Sir Guido Cabrone, LC, M.o.P. Comment by Sir Guido Cabrone, LC, M.o.P.

    Ho-Lee Chit, Batman!

    Probably still had the dome light working so they could do paperwork in the car.

    And I don’t ever turn my back… Customers used to ask my why I carried a 9mm on my left side, I had to explain the concept of “someone grabs my gun hand, what the hell am I gonna do about it?” (Or, more pertinently, grabs for my 45…)

  3. Unregistered Comment by thefrollickingmole

    Whoever trains these poor blokes should be held responsible if they do end up dead. Id pretty well guess they never even had pointed out what you just said.

    We had a couple of new bods at the detention centre I was at, I was off doing my thing and when I got back found them gasbagging away with one of the detainees sitting alongside them. I listened for a minute a quickly found out it was gossip and personal crap. I then pointed out the bloke they assumed spoke no english, that was sitting alongside them now knew all about their families and whatever else they had been chatting about. The detainee in question got up when I said this and gave them both a sheepish smile and walked away.

    Another was a set of deliberately lit fires we had, we only had 3 sets of breathing gear (we should have had 4 minimum) and only 2 of us had ever used/been trained in it. I and the other chap went through and did the main evacuation for the first 2 fires, before he got overcome by smoke in the 3rd.
    We then had a 4th fire. There was only 1 set of gear left charged enough to use so I took a risk and went in to evacuate the building again. I got in and out as quick as I could only to find the rest of the gear missing when I got out. Our fuckwit manager had got 2 untrained people to try and tackle the fire in gear that whith less than a safety margin of air left. I went back in to try and find them. I ended up locating them by the sound of their low level alarms going off.
    At the debreif for the night we were told we had done a “good job” (we didnt lose a building or a detainee, some staff and detainees to hospital for smoke inhalation), I got up and abused the manager telling him it was pure luck some of us allready knew how to use the gear, and we had 2 officers who should be dead.

    How some companies keep their licenses ill never know.

  4. LC 0311 crunchie I.M.H. Comment by LC 0311 crunchie I.M.H.

    Training, training, training. :em98:

  5. LC 0311 crunchie I.M.H. Comment by LC 0311 crunchie I.M.H.

    BTW JB, thanks for the abject lesson on officer safety. I think a few of my officers are gonna dislike ya when I bang them over the head with this one. Complacency IS a bitch, and I enjoy being a bastard when I fight it.

  6. LC Cheapshot911, Dept. of Redneck Tech Comment by LC Cheapshot911, Dept. of Redneck Tech

    Dang Jackboot!
    My old Crewe would have had their goodies and emptied their gas tank by the time they realized they can’t catch us all…

    A rent-a-cop I had for a buddy mentioned that he took the job because it’s safer than driving a taxi..

    Ya get what ya pay’s for, ‘reckon.

  7. LC Hardclimber54 Comment by LC Hardclimber54

    LC JackBoot IC/A-OBR

    Well written and well observed! Let me guess, wasn’t your first night out…

    I even got a few pointers about approaching a possible problem, thanks!

    I’d rather have you at my side than a lot of those poorly trained so-called “security guards”. They deserve proper training and equipment, not just a jacket with the word “security” and the belief that it will make it all OK…

    Care to fly my six..?

  8. LC JackBoot IC/A-OBR Comment by LC JackBoot IC/A-OBR

    LC Hardclimber-

    Let me guess, wasn’t your first night out…

    Not even my first decade out in the ‘hood….I’m still pushing air out of the proper orifices, so I guess I paid attention to my FTO back in my youth.

    Care to fly my six..?

    My honor Sir, anyday, anywhere and anytime, just keep the boards out and flaps down. The kites I push around, tend to cruise at your rotation speed.

    The only security types that I’ve seen that are really trained are the boys and girls guarding our Nuclear Power facilities. Their training equals or exceeds the vast majority of LEO academies. In addition they have quarterly firearms quals as well as physical agility testing. No qualee, no jobeee. After 9/11 they permitted them to up armor and weapons and can easily hold off an entire platoon of intruders until the cavalry arrives. Our security crew had a competition pistol/rifle team that beat the majority of LEO agencies up here in New England every year.

    Those be some top-notch square badgers for sure.

    The rest, like this duo are a walking liability suit for their employers and paid slave-wages on top of it all. It’s unconscionable to my viewpoint to put people into situations like that, without the proper equipment and training.

  9. hilljohnny Comment by hilljohnny

    The kites I push around, tend to cruise at your rotation speed.

    tell us more JackBoot.

  10. LC JackBoot IC/A-OBR Comment by LC JackBoot IC/A-OBR


    Like quite a few of us here at the Rott, I have this addiction to aviation. I didn’t have the eyesight to get into military flying, so I waited until the finances allowed me to take it up on my own.

    I soloed in December of 1999 (and yes, I did have my shirt tail cut) and certified on the C-150/152/172RG/182 and the PA-128 (Piper Cherokee Warrior). I flew out of Providence (PVD) T.F. Greene a very, very busy Class C airport with a lot of commercial traffic arrivals and departures. You have to appreciate the size and power difference doing parallel runway operations and a B-737 or MD-82 is taking off or landing on the parallel runway and you’re in a two-place Cessna. It does keep your attention on the concept of traffic patterns, precise navigation and ATC using the term “No Delay”. LOL

    As soon as finances permit I’ll be finishing my Instrument rating, but that will be awhile, quite awhile. Just getting my Class 3 physical and check rides will cost at present, about $500 minimum.

    Flying is an EXPENSIVE hobby on your own dime, but doggoneit there is nothing like pushing a light aircraft with G-d’s beautiful creation above and below.

    The Poem by the late Pilot Officer John G. Magee Jr. just about sums it up entirely for all aviators: High Flight

  11. AyUaxe Comment by AyUaxe

    Good tips for those of us who’re not professionally trained, but always working on our defensive skills. T’anks.

    Second your emotion on “High Flight”–it was part of every TV station’s midnight signoff, when I was a kid–one of the benefits of growing up near Barksdale AFB in the 60’s.

    Sounds like Jackboot needs to get into one of those little mil-surp Czech jet trainers. I’ve heard great things about ‘em, though the guy I knew locally who had one kinda over-did an inverted, tree-top level pass and wound up turning the canopy into a cuisinart, if you catch my drift. Like any good cajun, I think his last words were, “Hold mah beer, cher; now watch dis!” The jet was great right up to the point of human foolishness, though.

    May God bless us everyone–Merry Christmas!!!

  12. sig94 Comment by sig94

    Good grief JB - rookie bonehead manuevers. There are things that you just don’t do if you want to live long enough to retire. Situational awareness is training and luck. The luck comes in two parts: 1) when you survive your mistake, and 2) someone (who doesn’t have his head up his ass) is there to tell you what you were doing wrong. I was lucky several times. I retired.

    Complacency IS a bitch

    It is a killer. I still shudder whenever I see a cop standing in front of a door when knocking or ringing the door bell. :em98:

  13. LC Hardclimber54 Comment by LC Hardclimber54


    I knew locally who had one kinda over-did an inverted, tree-top level pass and wound up turning the canopy into a cuisinart, if you catch my drift.

    Wow, even the most highly trained acrobatic stunt pilot would NOT try an idiotic move like that!!! The simple, natural loss of energy and resulting drift always present in any manoeuver guaranteed he was going to clip the grass an inch too short…

    I always told our newly arrived “Tom Cruise’s” in our squadrons “gentlemen, as good as your training was, as good as your ongoing training will be, you will NEVER be as good as you think…”. Well, I spoke from experience, having clipped a few branches off a couple of tree three years prior… (previously post refers).

    Confidence, a must, arrogant stupidity, I’ll pass…


    The luck comes in two parts: 1) when you survive your mistake, and 2) someone (who doesn’t have his head up his ass) is there to tell you what you were doing wrong.

    Hear you loud and clear! Like the squadron leader (fought during WWII as a Typhoon pilot, even brought down a V1 rocket!) who, four months before he retired, told us how important to become your own severe teacher and let ourselves be reprimanded by our sixth sense. Example, climbing into the clouds, rate of climb 30,000 ft per min. and not properly using your radar or paying EXTREMELY close attention to ground control about traffic into which corridor you’ll be crossing on your way up to angel sixty… It hurts even more when an airliner radios in and asks about the cowboy that just zip 1/2 of a mile in front of his bird in a 80 degree hardclimb… and the offending pilot didn’t see him!!! (I can’t claim “credit” on this particular dozy, another newly arrived pilot pulled that one, but I have my share of “Ooops”…). He stated afterwards that he did see the approaching liner on the radar, but figured his rate of climb was sufficient to allow a separation of at least 2 miles… Ground had advised the airliner of the scrambling fighter on their 12, but took too long to see the rapidly diminishing distance between the two aircrafts. Only after the fighter had passed close to the airliner did the Ground control warned the fighter. It became my job afterwards to “debrief” the young officer on this close call by reminding him that although HIS rate of climb had been considered and factored in, he had NOT taken into consideration that the airliner was NOT standing still and was moving forward at 300 KIAS, thus rapidly cutting the distance. The only proper course would have been to bring his aircraft to the right and move away immediately OUT of the corridor the airliner was using as soon as he his radard gave him indication of a collision course instead of relying on his ROC and ignoring the traffic advisory given by Ground control. Also his angle of climb was unnecessary steep, a climbing angle of 60 degrees would have done the same thing and brought him to his intercept coordinates just as quickly and safely… Live and learn…