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Google Used to ID Hit-And-Run Victim

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the power-of-the-net dept.

Google 134

jafiwam writes "Google has been used (according to CNN) to help identify a hit-and-run victim from 1993. Detective Pat Ditter used Google to identify victim David Glen Lewis, 39 who died after being hit by a car while out of town. An image involving a fairly unique pair of glasses was found on the Texas Department of Public Safety web site, and a similar image on the Doe Network (involved in unsolved cases). This was after Det. Ditter began working on unsolved cases utilizing Google as a tool in that process. Makes you wonder how it took law enforcement that long to think of this. Process servers, employers and significant others already use Google for theses purposes... why not cops?"

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clitoris more like kikeoris (0, Troll)

GNAA Goat-See (775677) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480804)

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i'm glad (4, Interesting)

ginotech (816751) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480827)

that law enforcement and government agencies are finally starting to use the internet to its full potential.

Re:i'm glad (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10480837)

wheres the pinkdot website? i need doughnuts.

Re:i'm glad (2, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480856)

I agree. I am also glad. It may seem big brother-ish at first, but in fact its the opposite. The key difference is that the information is free and available to everybody. That's the way all information wants to, and should, be.

Re:i'm glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481098)

Think of all the fun when competing terrorist organizations and drug gangs "buy keywords" from search optimization companies to frame each other.

Sometimes people trust google results too much.

"Innocent if my blog has a better page-rank than the guy I'm trying to frame" is not a good legal standard.

I'm not (2, Insightful)

The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480992)

I see 2 problems with the government and law enforcement using the internet. I don't want the government using the internet for their job. They tend to over regulate and sometimes take full control of things they use, no one wants that.

The second is that Google is a private corporation and there is no guarantee that google does not the display search results that it wants displayed instead of the real ones. Just too much power in Google's hands in my mind.

Re:I'm not (1)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481071)

Google's power comes not from its search algorithms or from its ability to skew the results. It comes because people use it. People use it because it is the best of the web search engines.

As soon as people stop using Google, Google has no power. Sort of like your avatar in Black & White. If Google is proven to skew results, people will stop using it.

Re:I'm not (1)

The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10482934)

My concerns are not based on the idea of consistantly skewing results. It's the one time when one of the heads of Google's misstresses comes under investigation and the search results are changed for that one search to get her off.

Re:I'm not (2, Insightful)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483161)

So, what's the solution, then? Leaving unsolved cases unsolved, because you, personally, don't believe it's the right way to go about investigating things?

In this case, if you'd bothered to read the article, the detective turned to google after the standard means came up empty. Note the dates -- this guy had been missing for eleven years. I've worked in law enforcement....sometimes you don't always find the information you need in police databases. They're old systems, often difficult to use (even for a geek like me). And sharing of data amongst localities isn't always the best. It took years to get the NCIC established so that officers can check for outstanding warrants nationwide. Things like missing persons data isn't as centralized.

After all, they paid for it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481511)

Now if only the USPTO would google for prior art.

They do use Google... (5, Funny)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480828)

But it's not a simple matter of typing in someones name and it comes up "he was killed in a hit-and-run , hit F5 to solve the case".

The cops USE Google, but they still have to be the ones that put 2 and 2 together to get a conclusion.

Re:They do use Google... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10480871)

Well, of course not, because "F5" is different depending on which web browser they use. And if they're using a Mac, it's a whole different process altogether ("drag the victim into the case-solved file").

Re:They do use Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10480900)

But it's not a simple matter of typing in someones name and it comes up "he was killed in a hit-and-run , hit F5 to solve the case".

It's F6. F5 refreshes, dumbass.

Re: They do use Google... (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480916)


> The cops USE Google, but they still have to be the ones that put 2 and 2 together to get a conclusion.

That's what the psychic consultants are for.

Re:They do use Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10480935)

Gee, thank you for explaining this to us, Captain Obvious.

Re:They do use Google... (1)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481101)

well, from the story here at Slashdot it made it seem like "Wow, he just used Google and WHAM he solved the case".

I was pointing out that it's not that simple.

Re:They do use Google... (4, Insightful)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481045)

I think you hit the nail on the head . . . A lot of cases don't get solved not because the police don't have tools but because they don't have the manpower.

Many cases get shelved not because they are unsolvable but because there is too much other low hanging fruit that can more easily be addressed first. To get the most bang for the taxpayer dollar, easy cases get solved first and if there is time, the tough ones that take more time are addressed. Too often because of resource limitations, the more difficult cases are never addressed.

Re:They do use Google... (2, Interesting)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481081)

Then why don't they have a tier system of police work?

You have a guy in the office, not a gun-carrying/badge-waving cop...but a researcher. Someone that digs through the evidence, searches on the web to come up with possible solutions to cases then turn them over to the gun-carrying/badge-waving guys to go out and make an arrest or search warrent or other "cop-doings".

Just a thought...and not, not the CSI guys.

Re:They do use Google... (2, Interesting)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481130)

They do . . . at many police stations these higher tier individuals are called detectives. Uniformed officers typically pass cases off to detectives when the case involves significant research.

Unfortunately, detectives are often given a certain number of hours to work a case. If they can't get a significant lead or significant potential progress on the case within that time, the case gets shelved and the detective is handed another case. Though I don't disagree that a better priorization system may result in more effective use of detective's time, I think that the root cause of the problem is that most police departments don't have enough people to get the job done.

Very True (2, Informative)

sideshow (99249) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481339)

A 50+ year old copkiller cold case was sovled by the LAPD last year. All the homicide detectives had to do was just check the fingerprint found at the scene against the FBI's computers and they found their man.

Matching fingerprints isn't as easy as searching Google but it's pretty damn easy compared to olden days (the 80's) where the two prints were put side by side and someone had to visually compare them.

After that murder case was solved the LAPD decided to assign a group people to work on these cold cases. They have tons of physical evidence that can be matched against different databases (blood, fingerprints, DNA, etc.). All they need is the manpower to go through it.

Re:They do use Google... (2, Insightful)

ashkar (319969) | more than 9 years ago | (#10482546)

Sadly, they don't have enough manpower because they're too busy trying to make money off of people driving 5mph over the speed limit. How about they get traffic cops to start working on real crimes?

Re:They do use Google... (2, Insightful)

nathanh (1214) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483681)

Sadly, they don't have enough manpower because they're too busy trying to make money off of people driving 5mph over the speed limit. How about they get traffic cops to start working on real crimes?

Speeding is a real crime. If you're travelling at 35mph then an increase of 5mph (14.3%) will increase your braking distance by 30%. The distance travelled during your reaction time is also increased by 14% however the reaction and braking distances are in different scales so cannot be simply added together. At any rate, the combined stopping distance at 40mph is something in excess of 30% more than at 35mph. That could easily mean the difference between life and death.

The Great Lie of motoring is that 5mph isn't a big deal. It's not a real crime. Surely driver attention, skill level, quality of car, surface conditions, they all outweigh the dangers of speeding. I'm a better driver than everybody else; I should be allowed to speed. Cops should be arresting those Real Criminals instead of poor little old me when I was only exceeding the speed limit by 5mph in my 2500kg V8 4WD truck.

Anybody who seriously believes those arguments should have their license immediately revoked. You only have to look at real world case studies [bts.gov] to see that speed reduction on USA highways was the major factor in 9000 fewer road deaths in 1974.

In 2002 the USA road toll exceeded 43,000 deaths. One-sixth of those deaths were solely due to unsafe driving speeds and speed was a contributing factor in more than one-half of the fatalities

Speeding is a crime because it results in deaths. It harms society. Not only because of the human cost (which is the most tragic loss) but also because of the wasted time and money spent cleaning the spilled blood off the roads.

So the message is clear: STOP SPEEDING.

Similar story (5, Interesting)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480831)

Last year when I was doing web work for a car dealer a state policeman happened to come into the showroom asking for assistance. He had a piece of a tailight lens and that was it. Something had hit a parked car on some private property and that piece of lens was the only evidence. When the parts department said they couldn't help I poked my head up and volunteered. This drew some sneers from the "pros" behind the counter who felt that I couldn't possibly help with anything related to cars. Anyway, using Google I narrowed it down to a specific year and model of a Ford pickup. The police were able to track down the owner - it's not that big of a town. It was fun, though it took about two hours and I got quite a headache looking at so many images.

Re:Similar story (1)

Space_Soldier (628825) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480864)

I'm sure they'll have a role for you on CSI: Washington D.C. Every years seems to bring a new CSI show.

CSI: Google Geek (4, Funny)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480986)

The story of how one Google-obsessed computer geek solves crime after crime, all the while consuming vast quantities of pizzz, snacks, soda and coffee...

Re:CSI: Google Geek (2, Interesting)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481240)

Assisted by his Magic Blue Glowy Thing from ThinkGeek that exposes all evidence.

Re:CSI: Google Geek (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481424)

consuming vast quantities of pizza, snacks, soda and coffee...

I think given the nature of the work you'd have to throw some donuts in there as well.

Damn you! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480945)


> The police were able to track down the owner - it's not that big of a town.

I was wondering how they caught me, you jerk.

If you had a slower internet connection I might have made it across the border.

Re:Similar story (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481210)

Just search for the part number if available. Works every time ;)

Re:Similar story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481306)

No part number. Just a small piece of the center of the lens.

Similar story-Pattern matching. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481497)

"No part number. Just a small piece of the center of the lens."

Were's the "semantic web" when you need it?

You would think... (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480848)

Process servers, employers and significant others already use Google for theses purposes... why not cops?

That it cops would have caught on sooner, what with all those donuts that show up when one does a search.

Go Goooooooooogle!

Soon you will see (5, Funny)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480853)

Google will soon be starring in TV's CSI :)

already been done (2, Funny)

rdunnell (313839) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480912)

I know that a couple CSI episodes and a couple NCIS episodes used a generic looking search engine page. I don't know whether or not they'd use Google unless someone paid them to but the concept's there.

Of course, the TV search engines can tell you a person's entire life history with only a first name and a hair color. They're pretty powerful, you know...

Re:Soon you will see - "CSI effect" (4, Insightful)

Tek Tekson (601577) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481033)

I often sneer at the fantastic search capabilities (and impeccable graphics) dramatized in the CSI shows. If only the state was so organized to have so many databases immediately on hand... and if only the software was so good. Perhaps Google is in fact one step in that direction.

Also interesting, there is a phenomenon called the "CSI effect" referring to jurors expecting capabilities similar to the tv series in real-life forensic investigations...

Re:Soon you will see (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483658)

No, Google isn't fake. To be in CSI, everything must be as far from reality as possible, and work perfectly despite being used by idiots spewing nonsense.

I really hate that show.

New Meaning (4, Funny)

whiteranger99x (235024) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480867)

I guess that puts a new meaning to Google's "Don't be evil" slogan. =)

New Market for Search Optimization Sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481072)

New meaning to "buy search engine placement on Google" services.

They can now sell a service to make yourself show up _low_ in pagerank and make the people you're trying to frame show up _high_ in pagerank.

What a great way to frame someone - just buy his name on all the terrorist keywords.

Actually... (1)

bloxnet (637785) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480890)

Google makes a standalone internal search engine server called the Google Appliance. We have one in use at my current job and I was just thinking it would be neat to see what just a little bit of effort from several law enforcement agencies and one of these appliances could do.

Re:Actually... (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480972)

Slightly OT:
We just replaced (Wholesale) our old search with something like 12 of these things. Searches have never been better! (75K employees in company).

back OT:
If the cops could get together across state and agency lines with Google providing the search and DB indexing I'm sure there would be a lot less unsolved crimes across state lines!

Just wonder what the leagal impact would be?
-nB

Google and privacy (1)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481251)

What if law enforcement could obtain logs of all the searches associated with your Google-set cookie for the past three years?

It'd also be useful data for industrial espionage types...

Facial Recognition software? (4, Interesting)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480903)

In my ignorance I may be opening a can of worms here but . . .

What about facial recognition software used for this purpose? If drivers license pictures were standardized and pictures taken at the morgue were made to the same standard (assuming the face of the disceased in not injured/damaged) is facial recognition software good enough to be used to try to identify John Does?

Image Quality (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483628)

One problem may be the quality of the images in the driver's license database. The last time I renewed my license, they gave me one of the new computer generated licenses. The quality of the picture was horrible. It's a blurry postage stamp sized picture that vaguely looks like me.

What does this mean for criminals? (1)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480915)

Surely if the cops are googling, criminals have been googling for a while too. Will changing metatags for better "I'm-no-criminal" placement help them evade the long arm of the law?

It's only a matter of time before Google will have the new GEvader Beta system....

Criminals who have the imagination to do that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481034)

... can make a lot more money doing legitimate work. Seriously.

Re:Criminals who have the imagination to do that.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10482765)

Not all crimes are motivated by the desire to make money.

So... what is the news here? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10480919)

The masses are finally discovering google's advanced search capabilities?

Now if google could only date (date when google archived the information) the result entries....

dating the archive (2, Insightful)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483580)

They already do. Take a look at the Google-cached copy of a page, and you'll see something like "This is Google's cache of ((BLAH)) as retrieved on Sep 21, 2004 05:14:22 GMT" at the top of the page.

This Immediatley (1)

aLe-ph-1(sh) (813349) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480924)

Brought to mind a article in a previous edition of wired that I read. The story [wired.com]. I think this is a great use of search tools. It brings chills to my spine, the story, and the way that this man seems to be fighting with his own ghosts. Well written, and shows promise to anyone who has had to hole a memorial service for someone who couldn't be found. I hope that the police to hop on this train and use the tools that they have right in front of them. It also is great that there is a netowrk like the John Doe network of people, all looking out, trying to help these lost souls...

Theses puposes? (-1, Offtopic)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480940)

Like, "The effect of barnacles on the shipping trends of the 18th century", or "Hitler and Steve Ballmer: A Comparison"? Those sorts of theses? :)

Sort of off topic... (1)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 9 years ago | (#10480961)

But ever put your name in to a Google search?

I did, and it brought up an obscure post (circa 1996) I made to some alt.linux.* newsgroup about re-formatting Linux text files so they would be readable in Windows.

Spooky.

Re:Sort of off topic... (1)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481049)

I put my name, and got many pages of 2 different people which aren't me. And it's not like my name is at all common where I live, let alone that the set of people in which this is at all a name is less than 10 million worldwide.

Re:Sort of off topic... (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481053)

I share my name with some people who are far more famous than me. My username, however, was unique last time I Googled it.

Re:Sort of off topic... (4, Funny)

jrumney (197329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481487)

But ever put your name in to a Google search?

Apparently some 14 year old girl on the other side of the world has the hots for me. I read it in her livejournal.

Google: bringing false hope to thirtysomething geeks since 1998.

Re:Sort of off topic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481818)

I died in 1921 at the age of eighty-six.

Funny, that.

Re:Sort of off topic... (3, Interesting)

black mariah (654971) | more than 9 years ago | (#10482331)

Yes, and there's not a damn thing spooky about it. It's actually quite useful. I found a short piece of code I wrote this way. I'd lost it in a crash and thought it was gone forever. I'd posted it to a Python newsgroup and it was still on there.

Huh? Why is this "spooky?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10483227)

It's a search engine - what did you expect?

sheesh (2, Insightful)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481047)

anything else being ID'd by any other 'technology' and it would've been 'Your rights online' ...

pedant alert (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481050)

"fairly unique " ?

Re:pedant alert (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481106)

Hey - what's an occasional tautology amongst friends? I note the poster didn't say "David Glen Lewis, 39 who became somewhat dead after being hit by a car while out of town."

I call this google stalking ... (4, Interesting)

adzoox (615327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481075)

I do this all the time with problematic eBayers and Yahoo auction buyers and sellers that I run into.

I once had a guy email me and accuse me of stealing his Bang & Olufsen turntable that I was selling on ebay. He said he sold one on ebay two weeks prior to my auction and that the bidder (who happened to be 100 miles from me had made a claim that it was broken. He paid out on the claim. He accused me of being in cohorts with someone to pull a fast one and get the turntable, collect on insurance, then resell it on ebay for a double profit.

Well, I ended up googling his email address. Turns out - I got something to this affect on a "Discreet Personals Website" in Colorado:

"Male looking for other males for discreet, private meetings - into play, but nothing too rough"

I emailed him and told him I had found some information about him that I might post to eBayers That Suck dot com.

He didn't bother me after that.

I always google any problematic customer to see if they are a complainer on line or have anything "strange" about them - or are possibly on another business's hit list.

I google potential girlfriends names and if I have them, email addresses.

If you google my ID; adzoox, it brings up my website and home town of Greenville SC and things about me in the Upstate of South Carolina. Lots of google results are my slashdot posts from the past 3-4 months.

Re:I call this google stalking ... (2, Interesting)

aLe-ph-1(sh) (813349) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481218)

This reminds me of something someone did to me when I was looking for a new apartment to share with room mates on CL [slashdot.org] . He came up with a list of things that were basically ture about me, through a simple search, I guess. I was first suprised, & taken aback. I felt violated, in a way, but I guess this is just how things go in our informative society. But then I thought about things a while, and thought that this was actual a good way to weed out potential trouble makers, and also, to scare off others. I never did get in that room share situation, but it did make me think.

Re:I call this google stalking ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481415)

Well, I ended up googling his email address. Turns out - I got something to this affect on a "Discreet Personals Website" in Colorado:

"Male looking for other males for discreet, private meetings - into play, but nothing too rough"


Just curious - would you have held it against him if his email had come up on a straight dating site? That is, would you still have blackmailed him if he had been searching for female company?

Re:I call this google stalking ... (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483416)

its worth a shot. HOwever if it was a posting to a straight dating site the other guy might not have shut up so readily.

Re:I call this google stalking ... (2, Insightful)

adzoox (615327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483596)

I didn't blackmail him - he was stalking me - literally, he was emailing constantly, he even called, he also made a false report to my better business bureau. I had every right to find out information about him. His information was OUTSIDE the norm, but I would agree, as a straight man, I held bias and stereotype against him - well - it worked.

I call this google stalking ...Underpants. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481568)

I googled for "underwear gnomes". Why does your name keep showing up?

Re:I call this google stalking ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10482414)

I googled homophobe, and your name came up.

Re:I call this google stalking ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10482469)

Erhm, y'kno, unless you want other people to have more "Google stalking" material on you, you might want to have written that narrative a little better.

Right now, it makes it sound as though you were in cahoots with that auction scammer, and that you blackmail your customers :/

Now, I know that *probably* wasn't your intent, and I know better than to judge a story from only one side of it, but... well, I usually post as though someone were looking over my shoulder... (Hi ECHELON! How's the fnord?)

Another incidence of google solving crime (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481145)

I saw this on a TLC documentary about a year ago. This guy Patrick Critton hijacked a Canadian plane to Cuba back in 1971 and got away. The Canadian police re-opened the case, and searched for the man in all the police databases. Nothing was found. So then they did a Google search on the guys name, and lo and behold, one link from a local newspaper in Westchester County, NY had this guys name. The police went down there and sure enough, it was the same guy, over 30 years later. He had turned his life around and become a pillar in the community, mentor to young kids, etc etc.

Here's a link
http://www.canoe.ca/CNEWSLaw0206/11_hijacker-cp.ht ml [canoe.ca]

Not a biggie (1)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481148)

It could've very well been "Yahoo! IDs victim" or "A9.com IDs victim". Nothing to see here.

Re:Not a biggie (1)

antoy (665494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483424)

Will you people stop with the "Nothing to see here" thing? It's getting very tiring, and most of the time it doesn't mean anything.

eBay for stolen items (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481159)

A friend of mine had his laptop stolen a few years back, and filed a police report. He setup a regional search on eBay to notify him of hits on auctions for the laptop model and make he had. Sure enough, about 6 months later, he got a hit on a laptop with the same make, model, and system specs (the picture of the item also showed a distinct scratch the laptop had).
He contacted a detective with the sheriff's office and they contacted eBay, got the seller's contact information, and ended up recovering the laptop and arresting the guy. The sad part is, the police "never thought" of watching eBay for stolen items, especially expensive things like laptops. Now, the local sheriff's department utilizes eBay's saved searches to track stolen items being sold in the metro region on eBay, and I have heard they have successfully made arrests and/or recovered stolen items in other cases as well.

There's always a chance a criminal will pursue eBay to auction off stolen items, especially because the winning bidder will often live far away, and the fact that it's hard to sell expensive stolen items locally without getting caught.

plUs 1, Troll) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481181)

indecision and havin_g lo5t 93%

Police demographic (4, Insightful)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481333)

"Makes you wonder how it took law enforcement that long to think of this"

This is of little surprise to me.
If we look at the demographic that is the police, then the only saving grace is that they would probably contain a small percentage of "forward thinkers" - maybe 2-5% of their number, just as in most organisations.

Police officers often do not hold any formal qualification outside of high school, or their own training instutions.

Fundamentaly, police in the field need the ability to arrest, tackle, and subdue violent offenders. The fact is, they need special...uh...abilities, to do this. Not the ability to "think outside the square".

Later in their career they will graduate to perhaps detective. They then utilize past experiance and gain new initiative.

They would now have the opportunity and freedom(in work) to move beyond the text book.
There must be so many "old schoolers" in the police, where challenging tried and true process's requires seniority, an innovative bent, and the ability to say no to the old school.

Police demographic-Pulled from interior. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481532)

"Police officers often do not hold any formal qualification outside of high school, or their own training instutions. "

Uh huh.

"This is of little surprise to me.
If we look at the demographic that is the [Slashdotter], then the only saving grace is that they would probably contain a small percentage of "forward thinkers" - maybe 2-5% of their number, just as in most organisations.

[Slashdotters] often do not hold any formal qualification outside of high school, or their own training instutions. "

I can make up stuff too. Welcome to slashdot.

Re:Police demographic (2, Informative)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481944)

Fundamentaly, police in the field need the ability to arrest, tackle, and subdue violent offenders. The fact is, they need special...uh...abilities, to do this. Not the ability to "think outside the square".

Huh, most cops make quick assessments of situations and make life and death decisions based on limited information in a very short time frame. To say that they don't "think outside the square" is either ignorant, insulting or both.

I would recommend asking if your local police department permits "ride alongs." This is when you ride with a cop through his/her entire shift and see what they have to deal with on a regular day. Lots of police depts. in the USA permit this after a suitable background check.

The post makes me think that most of your knowledge of cops comes from the Fox show "Cops." Chasing bad guys and tackling them to the ground is exciting TV, but it's only a part of the everyday job that cops normally do. A lot of the time is spent assessing situations, talking down potentially violent, disturbance situations, analyzing situations, and weighing the available evidence in he said/she said situations.

DUH (0, Flamebait)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481361)

Process servers, employers and significant others already use Google for theses purposes... why not cops?

Because police are stupid. We have judges and courts because all throughout history we can see that the people who enforce the laws are not able to do so without oversight.

LK

DUH-Moron duty. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481550)

"Because police are stupid. We have judges and courts because all throughout history we can see that the people who enforce the laws are not able to do so without oversight."

That's funny. Something similiar can be said about the public.

Google is a search engine people (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481429)

This silly story is like saying, I drove my car around and found the suspect. Wow! My car solved the crime! Google zealots.

Instead of Google Search... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481657)

... you can of course use Googlism [googlism.com]. :-)

Hmm, let's see...

Who is Jugalator?

1. jugalator is right
2. jugalator is starting on a dire wolverine

Well, the first one sounds correct :-), but the second one will surely scare any employers away. :-(

Amber alerts??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10482175)

You would think with the massiave popularity of google, and its ability to geotarget so well... that it would be feesiable to see amber alerts popup when people searched from the targeted areas...

course, Amber works best by catching people driving with the kidnapped child, but still any extra coverage would be good for the victum.

Another headline from a non-thinker (2, Informative)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 9 years ago | (#10482902)

"Ditter began working on unsolved cases utilizing Google as a tool in that process. Makes you wonder how it took law enforcement that long to think of this."

Actually, law enforcement has been using internet search engines as long as they have been around. Just because an occasional case manages to get some media attention, does not mean the method is anything new at all.

Keep in mind, also, that Google has reached near retardation levels of attention in the media. Anything anyone does which results in something positive could just turn up as a media-worthy article to mention Google.

Look back 6 years and you'll see the same BS with Yahoo.

I swear, if the public had any less of an attention span, people suffocate from forgetting to breath.

robots.txt will soon be illegal (2, Interesting)

ftzdomino (555670) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483011)

Does this mean disallowing google from your robots.txt is obstruction of justice?

The cops on Law and Order do this, have for years (2, Informative)

Primer (25308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483353)

Just about every variation of the TV show Law and Order (The normal one, Special Victims Unit, and Criminal Intent) has used google in their investigative research. In fact, they've even turned it into a verb:

"I googled for bla bla bla..."

Seeing that TV usually mimics reality, I have a feeling that real cops have been using google longer than we think.

Daniel

Did the cops use this to find a drug dealer? (2, Interesting)

babajuma (590700) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483432)

I have been wondering about this. Earlier this year i was looking at the stats for my personal web page i set up on geocities.

For some reason i was getting all these hits from google with people typing in "tommy savage" who ran a guest house i stayed at in Amsterdam. Turns out he the law thinks he is some huge drug dealer. Shipping huge amounts of grass into Greece.

The big question is did all the cops have to do is type his name into google and up pops my website with directions on how to find him?
I hope not because incoent or guilty he looked after me when i stayed there.

Here is the website incase any of you are curious.
http://www.geocities.com/babajuma
or if you just want the bit about tommy
http://www.geocities.com/babajuma/tommy.html
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