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I'm Tossing Around The Idea Of Starting Another Weblog

Occasionally I HeArTE JADE readers have brought up the issue of time -- as in it must’ve taken a lot of it for me to do what I’ve done with Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force. A couple of JADE detectives themselves have remarked on it. Enough people have referred to it that I’m inclined to write about not just how but how fast information can be gathered. Plus, whereas one Charlottesville detective prompted my interest in JADE, JADE prompted my interest in trying identical lines of investigations elsewhere and, hey, now I’ve got anecdotes to air about them.

If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m heavily Law Enforcement focused. I’m sure there’s a deep pseudo-psychological reason someone can devise for me being this way, but let’s not go there. Anyway, on top of the eleven JADE TF members I’ve uncovered, I’ve updated my résumé to include:

One DEA Agent
Two FBI Agents
Two SWAT Officers
One Uniformed Policeman
One Virginia State Trooper
One Undercover Roanoke Investigator who appeared blur-faced on the dreadful show COPS

I haven’t written about any of them here because they aren’t JADE and iHeArTEjade is devoted to JADE. Swoon. But I thought given that I credit the JADE Task Force as being largely responsible for my newfound, uh, hobby, I could give an example of how I operate and perchance prove that in limited time one can learn all about smart men of various Law Enforcement agencies.

I admit I’ll use the Internet for tidbits of info but I favor finding intelligence the old-fashioned way, out in the real world. Sitting in front of a monitor is nowhere near as enjoyable as going to actual places like courthouses or police stations. Or raid sites. However, for a change of pace, and a new learning experience, I thought I’d take a stab at confining one of these frivolous pursuits of mine strictly to the ‘net.

I semi-randomly selected the author of a cop blog to unearth. I say semi-randomly because though I had no particular reason to pick this officer out of a hundred others, there were some prerequisites. For one, anybody who could play the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz was a definite no-no. For another, a man who provided too much information about himself obviously would make my mission as easy as Jenna Jameson and, as such, also a no-go. C’mon, it had to be challenging!

The report is as follows.

I start at Google. There’s more than twenty thousand results for “cop blog.” I scroll down through my “100 results per page” and arbitrarily click on ten URLs. I X nine browser windows shut as only one out of the ten links actually fits my keywords; it is a blog and the fellow making entries to it is a cop. A cop who lists the city and state where he works, and his age, along with his name, rank, and serial number. Not all of that really but you get the idea. TMI squared. I’ll pass. But he has links to blogs belonging to his fellow boys in blue. I go to the top two.

Before I proceed any further I should let you know that I speed read. As in 1,010 words per minute with a 93% comprehension level. I’m not telling you that to boast; I’m telling you that because I believe it’s relevant. Speed reading helps in some of my endeavors like this. Plainly the faster I read, the faster I accumulate information. Just think, in the time it takes someone to move an opened full-page document across a desk in front of me, I’ve not only read the entire thing, I’ve retained almost all its data too. That was bragging.

On the first site, I peruse the front page. The guy in control of it is marginally literate with all the competence of a squished tomato. He also apparently has a grudge against anyone who doesn’t drive under a roof of colored bubbles and have the ability to whip out a badge while simultaneously Tasering small children. I carefully duck around the boulder on his shoulder and nix him as my unwitting playmate.

At the next site, I immediately see potential. Officer. Male. Writes in a coherent manner. Sense of humor. Making an effort to be anonymous. I look at Patrolman Potential’s profile. He does state what state he’s in, but it’s one of them big ones so maybe it doesn’t matter. I decide he’ll be a fun subject. From here on out I’ll call Patrolman Potential just plain ol’ “Pete.”

Back at Pete’s main page, I read a few more entries and begin plucking out anything I think may help me identify him. Striving to remain incognito he consistently refers to the city he lives in as Petetown. Interesting. Adjacent to Petetown is Petefield, the city he works in. I know that’s pertinent stuff and keep it in mind for later.

Aww… he’s got a cute story up about a trip he made to an apple orchard. He gives the name of it and, amazed that it’s not “Pete’s Orchard,” I hit Google and plug it in. In the whole United States there are four apple groves with the name. All four of them are located in the same state. Guess which one. Because of the information I think that, yeah, it didn’t matter that Pete’s provided his state’s name on his blog. Those Golden Delicious will get ya!

I transfer the search from Google to Google Maps which shows me exactly where all four orchards are. Thesetowns and Thosefields are in abundance around them. That’s not a coincidence.

Another post of Pete’s. In it he talks about a certain dining establishment. I look it up. It’s a chain, so that’s probably why he figured it was safe to give its name -- there are thousands of them across the country. But according to Google Maps, there are less than thirty of them within reasonable driving distance of three of the four orchards.

Return to In an exciting tale, Pete casually mentions he was flooring his Charger down the Interstate. Check. In another (non-duty-related) story he writes about a mountain-biking trip he took. He fails to say as much but I detect he left in the AM, was back by the PM. The mountains have to be close. At Google Maps, I see no major highway or any mountains handy to one of the aforementioned woodlets. Terrific. That leaves two apple orchards and a dozen Applebees.

Again to the blog skimming. I stop in the middle of Pete’s narrative because another food chain is brought up, this time a grocery store. Back with Google Maps. Finally! Only a single apple orchard is close to everything -- the restaurant, the grocery store, the mountains, and the freeway. Now let’s type in to Google Maps… p-o-l-i-c-e d-e-p-a-r-t-m-e-n-t. Eeks! Too many; I kill them from the map.

I should’ve finished Pete’s post sooner for he goes on to say that, despite the fact that there is one 5 miles from his home, he prefers to shop at the grocery store with the same name that’s 20 miles away from the convenient one.

I go back to Google Maps and eliminate any grocery stores that aren’t within the mileage of each other that Pete gave. There’s quite a few cities left on the map but just one of them is a wee, petite, cute Something-town. Petetown, I presume. I note it’s 15 miles north of the apple place. So if that’s home base, where’s work?

I test the police department search again. There are two cities that seem promising, each approximately a mere 30 miles from Petetown. One, to the south, is Something-field and the other, to the east, is Somethingelse-field. Not a surprise. But momentarily I get sorta stuck.

I spend five minutes mostly rereading portions of Pete’s adventures in the hopes that a giant fluorescent orange arrow will jump out at me to help me pinpoint which is the right place -- not could be the right place but is the right place. I drum my fingers rapidly on the keyboard and scrunch up my lips. I feel graveled, at a loss.

I abandon his written material and stare at the miniscule pictures Pete has of himself and his patrol car in the upper left corner of his blog. Patrol car. Patrol car. That’s his patrol car. I scrutinize it. Yes, his body is blocking an important part of the vehicle and it is a small picture but maybe, just maybe…

I Google the website of the Somethingelse-field Police Department. I turn up what I’m seeking: a decent photograph of one of their black and whites. Its paint job is clearly not the same as the one on Pete’s. I Google the website of the Something-field Police Department. I compare cop car details. Pete is, without a doubt, one of the Something-field officers.

Cool. I pinned down the workplace and residential area of a man I never, until this lark, knew existed in less time than it takes to watch an episode of Burn Notice. 54 minutes.

I occupy six more minutes sizing up the dates and times of Pete’s blog posts and from them I think I’ve got a hunch what his work schedule is. Having spent an even hour on this, I opt for Pete and I to part ways.

Naturally it would’ve taken a longer spell to do all that in-person but I hope my account served to demonstrate the processes I go through, how I get the outcomes I do, and, more to the matter at hand, in a modest amount of time.

By the way, considering I can see from an acorn-sized picture of Pete what kind of sunglasses he wears -- an LEO will wear the same pair of shades for, like, life -- I’m passably confident I could find him in the flesh if I had to and learn as much about him as I have any one of the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force Officers.

Now if only I had a brain and could find some way to turn this avocation of mine into a vocation…

(Minute details in the above report have been altered to prevent the subject, Pete, from being alerted to my actions and going ballistic. Cops, regardless of all their bravado, are fairly sensitive souls.)