Monday, August 1, 2011

Cops Against CSI

People shouldn't be allowed to watch CSI.

Let me re-phrase that...people shouldn't be allowed to watch CSI and then call me. I wish the department would outfit me with all the gadgets that the folks on CSI have in their back pockets, but to be perfectly honest, even my flashlight barely works...and I had to beg for that. The chance of my supervisor handing me some kind of handheld, fingerprint reader, dna matcher, bad guy-finder do-dad is pretty far out of the question.

So, here are some calls I've taken where I think the expectations might have been a bit high. And these are really just the few I could think of in the last ten minutes:

Q: "My jet ski was stolen, but I found it parked at a sandbar on the river. Can you come and take a look at it?"
A: "And then what? I can come and look at your jet ski that was once stolen but later found. And I can look at it some more. But no matter how long I look at it, I will never be able to take fingerprints from it. And even if I could take fingerprints from it, I have nothing to which to compare them. No matter how long I stare at the jet ski, no visions will come to me. I'm not a psychic."

Q: "Someone was trespassing on my property last night. I never saw the vehicle, but you should be able to come up with something from the tire tracks they left."
A: "Um. No. I won't be able to determine jack from the tire tracks they left. Unless they happened to drop the vehicle registration on top of the tire tracks, there are only about 100,000 vehicles in the state with the same exact tires making the same exact tracks as those left in your driveway."

Q:"I found an arrow in the road. I'll keep it for you in case it ever matches up to another case you are working on."
A: "Thank you so much for the help. I'm sure someday I will be able to match up the arrow to a poaching case. Was the arrow hand-made in some unique fashion, or is it a lot like the rest of the billion arrows sold to bowhunters nationwide? I'll scan it with my super-duper arrow identifier 3000, and maybe look at the blades under a spectra-micronoscope to determine the dna of the hairs the arrow might have once touched from the deer that was missed."

Q: "There are a pile of geese thrown in the dumpster behind our apartment complex"
A: "Did they happen to tell you who shot them? Oh, and did they have a license? Because otherwise, we have no violation."

Q: "I found a small piece of camo clothing on the barbed wire fence where someone has been trespassing. I saved it in case you can use it as evidence."
A: "Good thinking."

No, I'm not bitter. Just don't get me started on Law and Order.


  1. Some folks responses are just amazing examples of brain fodder gone bad! I probably just included myself with the group with this comment!

  2. Hilarious! I used to be a reporter and people had the same kind of expectations about my abilities and resources. I hated to disillusion them...

  3. Just goes to prove how TV rots your brain.

  4. What is wrong with throwing geese in a dumpster? I usually pile mine on top of the Eider bodies . . . kidding . . . BUT don't get ME started on the wanton waste law!!

  5. You are not the first person I've heard comment this year on the unrealistic expectations brought on by shows such as CSI, naming CSI in particular. The first was a trial that I was a juror on. The prosecution warned us that we should forget everything we saw on CSI because the real world isn't like that. Well fortunately for me I don't watch CSI. I don't have that much TV time anyway, so I spend it watching shows on how to cook better.

    I guess maybe it's because I'm not a youngun anymore, but anytime I see anything on TV, I am skeptical if not cynical. The same goes for most of the internet. Yes I've seen fingerprint scanners used, by ICE, but they're expensive and don't exactly fit in a field kit.

  6. Imagine being a dispatcher. We used to get the dumbest calls of all time.

    Caller: "There was a car driving down the road like bat out of hell, someone needs to come out here and get them."

    Dispatcher: "Did you get the make and model of the car or license plate?"

    Caller: "No, but they should be easy to find just look for the car driving fast."

  7. First off- I strongly agree with the "tv rotting the brain" concept. We don't let our kids watch any tv- and in fact we don't watch it either. They are still young, so I'm sure it will be harder to stop them as they get older. I just haven't convinced Red that we should rid our house of the actual tv set. I've never even seen CSI, but I know from doing my job, that it must be a popular show.

    And Rabid Outdoorsman- I also agree with the wanton waste concern. Unfortunately the way the law reads you just can't leave a "usable portion" in the field. Dumpsters are fine. I wish it was worded differently. The problem mostly lies in the fact that the geese will look exactly the same to me as they would to the caller--they look just like dead geese.

    Check out the new book recommendation-- it is a great read about the real CSI!

  8. Hi. I'm new to your blog, but what do you think of this article?

    Personally I think someone had waaay to much time on their hands.

  9. What do you mean those aren't reasonable questions? Ha! funny stuff...

  10. That is SO COOl that you have a super-duper arrow identifier 3000. I didn't think they were available yet.

  11. I was hoping for the identifier 6000, but it just wasn't in the budget. Ha.

    Hey Bob- I'll check out the article and get back to you! Thanks for stopping in!