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Please tell us the alternatives

Let me cover a few bases: Get the tag number: "Sorry officer, I lent my car to Latisha. No, I don't know her last name. She live over near Sonic somewhere. She bring me the car back and I figure everything gonna be okay." (You and I know it's a load of bovine droppings, but all it takes is one sap on a jury to fall for the sob-story, and the criminal walks...plus the state wasted a lot of money.) Use a helicopter: You have to have a helicopter up and operation 24x7 to facilitate that. LAPD and NYPD can afford several helicopters and dozens of pilots, to make sure that there's someone in the air at all times. We can't. The fact that we now have *A* helicopter means that with prior planning, or if we get lucky and a crime goes down while the bird is in the air, the helicopter can assist. With one helicopter, we can't make that our primary method of engagement on a fleeing suspect. They rarely call and say, "Better get the bird up, I'm about to go rob a bank." Let detectives trace the merchandise when it surfaces: Great idea. It worked all the time on Dragnet. Unfortunately, the ratio of crimes to investigators has changed substantially since Joe Friday retired. Sometimes it seems as if they never hired anyone since he retired. Detectives rarely have time to ivestigate isolated property crimes, and it's not because no one views them as important. It's a matter of priorities and case load. Plus, what makes you think the evidence is going to surface, or be identifiable if it does? "Merry Christmas, Mama! I got you a new TV!" (We may never see it again.) Care to guess how long it takes a big-box store to produce the serial number of a stolen TV that was on display....IF they can even do it? No one wants to see a civilian or a fellow officer injured or killed, but we accept that there are risks involved in any job dedicated to keeping society from sliding into total anarchy. You have to accept that occasionally an innocent civilian is caught in a dangerous situation because of criminal activity, but don't blame us for doing the job you hired us to perform. So forget about Christmas (which has absolutely nothing to do with it, as law enforcement doesn't modify tactics for the season) and tell us about the alternatives to simply going after the bad guys. I'm all ears.

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