Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Police Work and Electronic Media

There is no doubt that the cell phone has revolutionized police work (and most other facets of society).  But, not always for the good.  I can recall getting a radio message to tell me to call the office and wherever I was along my patrol route, I knew where every pay phone was located and I kept spare change in the cruiser's ashtray, so that I could drop a dime in a pay phone.

Come the '90s and cell phones changed all that.  Every cop carries a cell phone now and we're instantly available to our bosses.  Many agencies issue cell phones as standard devices.  Many folks look on it as a perquisite of the job, and that's where they screw up.    Having an agency phone is more than a double-edged sword.  It's got sharp edges anywhere, and any of them will cut you.

As these guys are finding out.
Republican-led House and Senate committees are investigating whether leaders of the Russia counterintelligence investigation had contacts with the news media that resulted in improper leaks, prompted in part by text messages amongst senior FBI officials mentioning specific reporters, news organizations and articles.
Really!  Text messages.  When I was a street cop, I didn't have to worry about text messages.  They hadn't been invented yet.  The closest thing we had was a fax machine.  But, I've seen a lot of cops get in trouble for doing stupid things, and documenting it on a cell phone.  C'mon guys!  Don't do stupid things.  And if you do, don't don't announce to the world via text message. In the case above, these are FBI weenies on a counter-intelligence team.  You would think that they would be doubly careful. 

As an old-time rural Sheriff once told me; "If you think that the Sheriff owes you a ride home, you'd better re-think your assumptions."  Point being that issued equipment belonged to the agency, not the individual officer, and if the Sheriff wanted it back, all he had to do was to take it.

Do I feel sorry for these idiots?  Not at all.  They should have known better, but they serve as an object lesson for all good cops.

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