what a crock of bs - the cops want us to think they can prevent crime. 99.9% of the time all the cops do is after a crime occurs they take a report and thats the end of it. and every once in a while a crime accidently gets solved and the cops take credit for it.


Agency tracking gear stolen from police

Lindsey Collom The Arizona Republic Feb. 11, 2006 12:00 AM

As Inga Dangmuk blinked the haze of sleep from his eyes, the barrel came into focus.

A man in a ski mask stood before him with a handgun, his black shirt emblazoned with the letters DEA, an acronym for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The stranger and a similarly dressed man demanded money and drugs as they pulled the 61-year-old from his bed last week, forced him to lie facedown on the floor and bound his hands and ankles with duct tape.

The home invasion illustrates the worst-case scenario for real-life cops when crimes are committed in the name of law enforcement. And the fear of it happening is even more real when the very tools used to protect the public - badges, service weapons, uniforms and patrol vehicles - fall into the wrong hands.

The Arizona Counter Terrorism Center has been tracking thefts from law enforcement officers statewide since October, when a rash of thefts hit. The center is a central clearinghouse for homeland security issues in Arizona.

Authorities hope the data will give them a sense of prevalence, if there is a "link to potential terrorists or is it imaginations run amok," said Lt. Lori Norris of the state Department of Public Safety.

"When you have each agency doing their own thing, there's going to be disconnect," Norris said. "What's the overall picture? Do we have a lot of problems with stolen equipment? Or is it normal?"

So far, the statistics are less than alarming.

Phoenix police had the highest number of equipment thefts in 2005 with 18 incidents, according to Counter Terrorism Center data. The Department of Corrections came in second with four.

But Norris said the numbers aren't perfect. The center collects its data from the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, which provides local and national transmission of criminal justice and related information. Most often, but not always, an agency will broadcast a system alert when a police vehicle or service weapon has been stolen.

Phoenix police issued a bulletin Jan. 17 when an unmarked vehicle stocked with weapons and gear from the Special Assignment Unit, or SWAT, was stolen outside of a diner. Police found the abandoned vehicle a week later in an apartment complex near 40th Avenue and Indian School Road, its contents gone.

Consider these other high-profile thefts in recent months:

A 13-year-old boy fleeing a juvenile detention facility jumped into a Mesa police car and went on a joy ride through two cities before calling 911 and turning himself in Nov. 28. The keys had been left inside the car.

A duffel bag containing a Maricopa County detention officer's gun, badge, body armor, office ID and uniform were taken from a personal vehicle in October.

A Tempe police commander's city-issued vehicle was stolen as it idled unattended in a driveway on Aug. 6. The car contained a Glock .45-caliber handgun, six Tempe police uniforms, the commander's police ID, boots, camouflage pants and several SWAT training shirts. The car was recovered; the other items weren't.

"We're not immune from crime like anybody else," Phoenix police Detective Tony Morales said. "It's a huge department, and despite our best efforts, things are going to get stolen. This is gear . . . that only the police should have and in the hands of criminals, that concerns us."

Center data show more than 20 weapons, including a Taser, were stolen from law enforcement statewide in 2005. The No. 1 item was badges or access cards at 35.

Could someone use those materials to impersonate an officer? Yes, Norris said. Will they? Morales said it happens occasionally.

Although it's not clear where the intruders got their DEA shirts in the Phoenix home invasion, Dangmuk was skeptical.

"They said they were police," he said. "I didn't think so because they were wearing masks and mistreating me. I didn't have the energy to fight back, so I just (did) what they (said)."

His wife and 20-year-old son, also bound, were brought into the bedroom and shoved to the floor. Dangmuk whispered to them to stay calm as three or four masked men rifled through each room and overturned mattresses, cushions and tables, he said.

It wasn't the first time armed men had broken into a home identifying themselves as law enforcement to commit a crime, Phoenix police Lt. John Stallings said.

Detectives investigating at the Dangmuk home said there have been other robberies where men wearing police apparel identified themselves as police, Stallings said. It was not known if the crimes were related, and a police spokesman would not elaborate.

Reach the reporter at lindsey .collom@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-8557.

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