Saturday, August 22, 2015

Safety Primer As Kerrick Trial Comes to a Close (Info Even A VeteranCMPD Officer Can Use)

Cedar Posts is pleased to share this with you. Unsolicited but frank discussion concerning the time at hand and the potential dangers our Officers face.  
As each of us are glaringly aware, we are on the eve of substantial news and events. 
The Kerrick verdict, whether one of conviction or acquittal for voluntary manslaughter will signify to each of us, perhaps in a varied, unique way, the state of our society, the police department, the criminal justice system, and government.  
This will take the form of an opinion, which we are each entitled to, and will likely drive our perceptions and future actions to some degree.
This sequence of events and processes is not exclusive to CMPD officers.  Citizens are closely watching this trial and awaiting the verdict, some supporting a conviction for a myriad of reasons, others supporting Kerrick.  
These opinions can and will be rooted in fact in many instances, though others will inject emotion to ignore those same facts in forming their respective opinions.  This cannot be changed, and is to be expected.  
What I wish to convey is not to choose a side or offer an opinion on what should occur when the jury reaches a decision (though I’m very much for dismissal), but instead to discuss the implications for the individual officer in the field and off duty should they agree that Wes Kerrick was justified in his use of force.
Before I move further into the topic, I will say this:  I am not a law enforcement officer, nor have I ever been.  However, I do hold multiple degrees/certifications in related fields and have conducted sponsored academic research in the fields of criminal justice, multiple areas of law, interagency response operations, communications, physical security, terrorism and homeland security.
I am certain your supervisors have poised you to be aware of and respond to protests, civil disobedience, uncivil disobedience, and an increase in property crime and violence should Officer Kerrick’s case be dismissed.  While I am certain the advice and guidance given on how to cope with these circumstances is sound, I wish to discuss another aspect of officer safety and situational awareness.
While many protesters will disperse, comply, or otherwise be a “non-threat,” some will assert themselves as agitators and will be met with appropriate actions.  While protesters can be broken into these two main categories, there is a third type of subversive that is commonly referred to as the “lone wolf.”  I am sure all of you are familiar with this term, but I mention it to underscore the fact that this loner is often more difficult to detect, more calculating, and may target officers at a time and place of their choosing.  This is in contrast to the protestor, who will gather in a public, symbolic space—such as the courthouse or LEC to make his or her statement.  
Existing research indicates that lone wolves, like terrorists choose the path of least resistance (and greatest effectiveness) in their attacks.  Typically, this means one wishing to cause harm to civilians will find crowded urban areas, such as downtown, markets, transportation hubs, etc. to begin shooting or to detonate an explosive device.
Interestingly enough, when a government authority, such as a political figure or police officer is the target, the trend in (attack) location selection is the opposite of that for a civilian.  To simply put it, you are safest when downtown, at a protest, or at a transportation hub.  You are most vulnerable in isolated areas:  on patrol alone, zone checks, or at your home or running errands are a few examples of these isolated areas.  In these locations, targets are not hard, and cover, concealment, and egress is often adequate or favorable for the attacker.
I am long winded so I will try to make the next few bits as concise as possible: 
Public records (property, salary databases), internet queries (church and club affiliations, craigslist ads, databases that yield possible spouse names), social media accounts and news or social media stories featuring information about officers are all useful forms of open source intelligence for an adversary to potentially use against you.
Anything you say over the radio off of conference, to include using personal phone numbers, zone checks (many of you like the same ones over and over), and the use of common names to save time all provide signals intelligence which can be used with open source sets of information to identify you, predict your movements, determine your area of operation (off duty), and your affiliations within your community.  
These pieces of information, when pieced together, allow an adversary to “research” you to figure out when you are most vulnerable, thus increasing their ability to attack you without detection or capture.
I will not explain the nuances of collecting data and processing it to yield your full name, phone number, address, wife’s name, response area, unit number and common zone checks, but it is manageable for a motivated individual.  It only takes patience to create a set of actionable data which will aid an adversary in target selection and ambush.  I took a look at this, collected the data, analyzed it for a potential research topic, and the ease of the process scared me. To explain these elements more openly and with greater detail would be to provide a “how to guide” for an adversary, which I am very much against.  
So, here is the short list of advice for personal security on and off duty as it pertains to these topics:

1. Keep those personal phone numbers off the air.

2. Keep those personal names off the air.

3. If you must use these, use conference or message, but nothing is 100% secure.

4. Don’t use first names in public (when in uniform).  It is just another easy source of

5. Clean up your social media accounts.

6. If your wife’s social media account isn’t up to par, #5 doesn’t matter.  Same goes for mom, dad, sister, friends, etc.

7. Make sure your golfing club, church, etc. doesn’t have your name listed online as an usher, player, volunteer etc. with your name, address and phone number.

8. Don’t call in off duty gigs on the open channel.  Do you really want someone to have 3-5 hours to get in position and figure out how to ambush you?

9. Change up your zone checks.  I know on any given night I can take a right off Eastway onto Central an there will be an officer in that church parking lot.  

10. If you want to take a personal break, smoke, use your phone, or chat with someone, have reasonable cover and concealment.  If a clear line of sight to you is 50 yards or more in an urban area, you are a rifleman’s dream.  

11. Remember, a good choke point for a checkpoint, traffic stop, or natural terminus of a chase (ie, a dead end) is also a great ambush point.  Don’t walk into one blind.  
As an aside to #11, it was made public by MCSO on social media tonight that 2711 Randolph will be the location of a checkpoint tonight (8/20/15).  I was in the area and decided I’d cruise by, knowing it was too early for them to be up and running.  So I drove down and saw nothing, turned around, drove back up Randolph.  Then I saw the units staging.  They paid no mind to their surroundings, the ridge above the opposing side of the road, the tree line, or the fact that they held the low ground.  Lone wolves and active shooters won’t act alone forever.
I could go on with this topic, but I think I’ve hit the key notes and done my bit.  Originally this was casual research for a potential publication, but I think the best use is to report this information to the end user and move on to something else.
Stay safe out there.  


Anonymous said...

Thoughts from a veteran CMPD officer?? "Before I move further into the topic, I will say this: I am not a law enforcement officer, nor have I ever been. " Huh?!?

Anonymous said...

Too late. protests already happened and the pussy command staff was too cowardly to call in field force quick enough before rocks were thrown and a few skirmishes broke out. Even one captain after an office was knocked to the ground was mad at officers for their growing anger and not the protesters who were agotating. She was very nice to them. The troops were more mad at the end of the night with thier own command than the protesters. We work for a sorry bunch of cowards. Sometimes frce is just necessary...or even making a few arrests.
Fucking cowards.

Anonymous said...

This is who backs the lives matter is about politics not truth

Anonymous said...

2:18, It is not too late--last night didn't put any CMPD officers in the morgue. If some racially charged nut murders an officer because "Black lives matter", that female Captain's actions last night are going to mean zilch to you.

The handling of the situation by incident commanders is undesirable, but is to be expected given the social and political climate, plus previous experiences with these members of the department.

Would more arrests and some stick time have been appropriate last night after the rock throwing, etc? Of course. But even one who disagrees with how command handled things can understand, in part why they did it that way.

Anonymous said...

Who is this useless female captain? I'd like to know her name

Anonymous said...

Absolutely despicable action on part of that useless captain. Letting assault on an officer go unchecked? Guess she's drinking the kool-aid, too. Of course we shouldn't be surprised considering what we've seen just over the past few weeks as to how much the command staff really cares about us. They are blooming idiots only concerned about their pathetic career paths. Wonder what they would do if we just all walked off the line and told them to handle it themselves, or we just took care of business ourselves (legally and lawfully) like we have been trained to do?

And just to throw a guess out there as to who it is....Arrington or Hulsey?

Anonymous said...

At anon 3:36
Actually no I don't see why command staff could make a hard decision.
Yes they were peaceful at first and never broke into a riot. Sucks were never needed but more arrests should have been made. They held off too long getting field force mobilized gambling at the risk of officers and the public a as the protesters started evading the crowd at the knights game throwing stuff. And what about the hit in the mall carrying a bat. Then field force announced ponder channel they didn't have enough to form arrest teams without pulling from their lines. What the hell. Who dropped that ball. Most were more mad at command than the protesters when the night ended. Iguess we will tolerate a little violence and some property damage. We're just lucky Charlotte never attracts large crowds of protesters. Hell our DNC turnout was smaller than the occupy NY group. We have lost faith in our leaders. I hope we never see a larger crowd. They would not be willing to do what is necessaryand officers would get hurt.

Anonymous said...

3:36 here, I wasn't there. My comments stem from simply knowing commands around the country tread lightly during protests so things don't blow up. But we see how well that worked in Ferguson.

Do I agree with handling it that way? No. But I understand why they did it. Doesn't make it ok. Not by a long shot. It only makes it predictable, not acceptable.

Sounds like the ball was really dropped by your accounts.

I hope I didn't offend you by overgeneralizing, and thanks for the details.

Anonymous said...

Please stay retired! Some of that list is the dumbest advice I have ever seen. Guess you spent your career in the office, a gas station or a barren parking lot. You are not a cop anymore.

Anonymous said...

11:33, if you think it's that silly, email your cell phone number to CP. Tell him to email it to me (the one who wrote this) and I will research the information (you).

When I find the names of you, your immediate family, friends, loved ones, your address, hangouts, and affiliations, division, RA, and areas you frequent, I'll put them all into a concise document, print it out and drop it in your home mailbox at my earliest convenience.

If that hits too close to home I can call you, or email CP so he can email the results to you. No cheating by buying a throw away cell phone and providing the number to that (hint for the other officers).

I cannot make your job any safer or easier for you, so I contribute the way I can by offering relevant (and free) information that is rooted in actual research. Send CP your number with the instructions above; give me the opportunity to change your mind on this.

I specialize in this area; your comments do not offend or insult me. But I view your challenge as an opportunity to engage you and sway your way of thinking.

I know I'm right on this--let me prove it to you.

And for the record, I'm not retired. I'm not even old enough to run for president, unlike Deez Nuts.

Anonymous said...

Most of our radio channels are encrypted. You can't use a scanner to listen in like you could years ago.

Anonymous said...

2:00, you may be missing the point. First, most of your encrypted channels cannot be widely used, as it hinders range and interoperability, especially with physical impediments and multiple divisions.

Referencing your scanner comment, don't confuse encrypted channels and digital channels.

Secondly, traffic volume, not number of channels dictates what information is available and what is not.

Third, types of information over open lines vs encrypted must be assessed.

Fourth, handset functions, setups and other technical considerations will ensure that some information (8-12% national average) that should be on encrypted frequencies will be broadcast over non-encrypted frequencies.

Lastly (#5) Encryption can be defeated simply by a denial of service. That leaves only open channels. You will use them under those circumstances.

Encrypted channels are for types of information that "standalone" are sensitive. What I am speaking of is small bits of otherwise useless information, that when pieced together will become highly detailed and actionable. Not time sensitive, but still has the potential to be weaponized.

Don't think about the guy with the scanner app on his phone who wants to out maneuver you, think of the guy that has all the time in the world to do even worse. This is my focus.

Get out of the mindset that the only person who may wish to do you harm is a 73 or someone who will do so in order to escape arrest and prosecution. Those folks will always be there in great numbers, but know there are other threats out there.

Civilian and military innovations drive police radio technology. The craft is not without external people who can circumvent what you have been told is secure.

The easy path is to dismiss. The hard road is to investigate and educate yourself.

Hitting the rack (again), it is way too late. Be safe out there.

Anonymous said...

Ramblings of a wing nut. Guess he never heard of Google or Polaris.......

Anonymous said...

Jump to around 8:30, that guy doesn't sound too crazy...just paranoid lol

Anonymous said...

Our main channels aren't encrypted. I still hear the news broadcasting 10-50s at locations we have just been dispacthed to.

Just make sure you outgun the enemy. Oh wait we bought patrol rifles but never put them in place...

Anonymous said...

Yikes. Too intimidating? At least that is the PC take on things.

So the guy you're gonna serve a warrant on can listen to your channels and wait with his AR, but you can't use stingray to listen to him or carry weapons like him.

Not cool.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I'm bumping an old thread but we're experiencing some problems in our area. Ben looking into it, which brought me here. The numbers are a problem, expecially with alleged ride bys on some officers' addresses.