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Old October 22, 2008, 10:26 PM   #1
JohnH1963
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How do you smell trouble?

Oftentimes I see officers stopping men on the street who seem innocent, at first, then after a period of time they find weapons or drugs on these men. How did the officers know?

How do you smell trouble?
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Old October 22, 2008, 11:37 PM   #2
omkhan
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So u want the cops here to tell u their "trade secret" on a public form so that u could get away the next time u r stopped by some LEO(s)?
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Old October 22, 2008, 11:37 PM   #3
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I am in no way a LEO, but I imagine it is some sort of police intuition.

theyve seen enough bad guys that they can just recognize it, that and the people you see being investigated may fit a description or the police recognize them from previous arrests.

T
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Old October 22, 2008, 11:44 PM   #4
JohnH1963
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I have nothing to hide from the police and dont get bothered by them.

My question involves identifying troublemakers for the purpose of safety.
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Old October 23, 2008, 12:05 AM   #5
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Dress code is everything I think. Over here, a good portion of those who are pulled over and searched are the ones that dress like poo and wear lots of baggy clothes.

Also related, I think it has something to do with areas of operations. A man dressed in baggy, holed clothes driving a beaten, old car in a predominantly rich and respected neighborhood definitely turns heads here, especially at night.
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Old October 23, 2008, 06:27 AM   #6
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Attitude mostly. Dress is profiling and only useful sometimes. I dress like a bum on occasion. Facial expression, and mostly, experience in dealing with perps. LEOs meet these wizards every day, and they've learned what to look for.
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Old October 23, 2008, 09:08 AM   #7
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John, . . . if you had a mother like mine, . . . you would remember that you were "caught" many times when you thought you had "gotten off clean".

Reason?? There are subtle clues sometimes, . . . and not so subtle other times, . . . if you have any children, you have observed them in the child's behavior.

Most "guilty" folks cannot ice their emotions well enough to get away with what they are doing, . . . they laugh too much, look away when you talk to them, won't make eye contact as you pass by, try to totally ignore you, duck into another room (or door way, or alley way, etc.), seem nervous in your presence, etc.

And then again, . . . it is absolutely forbidden, verboten, and not legally used, but if anyone thinks for a minute that most police officers do not "profile" people they observe, . . . well, . . . you get to think about it again. It's done, sometimes fully intentionally, . . . sometimes almost unconciously, . . . but it is done. And it works!!

As an example: a newbie to CCW, . . . he'll be wearing a polo shirt or a long tailed shirt out over his pants, . . . in Ohio, he'll slow down as he enters a building (looking for "NO GUN" signs), . . . and he'll invariably (almost unconciously) reach around from time to time and tug down on his shirt tail to be sure his piece is covered. He will not bend over, . . . he'll squat down to see something low or to pick up something off a lower shelf, . . . and from time to time, you will see his elbow on his strong side mash in against his side as he "touches" the weapon to make sure it hasn't moved.

In this profile, . . . you ignore guys wearing shirts tucked in, or wearing short tailed wife beaters, or any shirt where you can see their belt or belt loops. You also can mostly dismiss those wearing sweats, upper and lower, especially if the sweatshirt is tucked into the sweatpants.

Smelling trouble as an LEO is no different than smelling trouble as a mechanic on an assembly line. There are "signs", "sounds", and "events" that precede trouble, . . . LEOs have developed the senses to understand these events in the same way doctors diagnose diseases, or mechanics diagnose trouble in your car's engine.

Quite honestly, . . . I have developed a couple of profiles on my own, . . . for people who I may meet, . . . wherever I may be, . . . and the more "dots" I connect on an individual person, . . . the closer I watch them, whether it be in Wally World, . . . or in my church. Oh, . . . and no, . . . I won't share, . . . they are indigent to the population and presence of where I live, . . . and probably would not be as useful to you in your location. But you have the same opportunity wherever you live to develop your own "profiles" and to be watchful/observant for them.

May God bless,
Dwight
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Old October 23, 2008, 09:51 AM   #8
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I did a ride along with a cop who "profiled" cars. His philosophy was if he looked at a car and didn't feel it was worth $1000 at auction, it was a Piece Of S*** car. According to him, POS cars are driven by POS people, and if he can find a reason to stop it (finding an equipment violation isn't hard on a POS car), he'll typically find a reason to take someone to jail (warrants, possession, ex felon failing to register, etc). Made for a fun day, and he was typically right.


Same type of intuition carried over to pedestrians. He said he'd generally just watch for someone who "looks like a crack head" and wait for them to do something he could stop them for (lots o' people J walk...)
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Old October 23, 2008, 10:23 AM   #9
tacticalmedic
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Its easy

It has to pass the "it just doesn't look / feel right" test. 9 out of 10 times the Officers are correct. Even though my primary job is EMS, we often play the "let's see who has dope / warrants / gun" game amongst ourselves. Then we stand back and see who gets arrested by the PD. Situational awareness is the best indicator of How do you smell trouble.
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Old October 23, 2008, 10:30 AM   #10
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As a former leo I can tell you just don't get my attention.
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Old October 23, 2008, 11:35 AM   #11
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Dwight absolutely nailed it. Dress might be my initial eye-catcher, but the main thing I'm going to be watching is body language.

You might find this to be of interest.
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Old October 23, 2008, 11:46 AM   #12
ZeSpectre
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Quote:
How do you smell trouble?
Well <profiling> back in my uniform days we used a tactic <profiling> that nobody is supposed to <profiling> mention since it's all non PC and in some places <profiling> illegal.

The funny thing <profiling> about that tactic was that it could be very <profiling> subtle and effective. Also what compromised that tactic <profiling> was not always what folks thought. Sometimes you would do the <profiling> tactic based on something specific from a morning briefing or something from a hot case being investigated.
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Old October 23, 2008, 02:55 PM   #13
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Any good LEO is a people watcher, we just watch people and pay attention. Eyes darting, something being adjusted that does not need adjusting, simply body language.

If a person is acting like they are trying to hide, most likely they are hiding something, even if they are trying to hide in plain sight.

Just like your mother/father or primary care giver knew you were trying to cover something up when you were a kid, LEO have translated that to the broader spectrum.

Profiling to a degree comes into play as well. But I think it is much broader than most people realize. We (Parole and the Liquor Control Board) sometimes check bars in the neighborhood on Friday night. They are looking for Liquor violations I am looking for Parolees violating theier Parole. Do I look at the little old lady sitting in the corner chain smoking and drinking rye, or do I pay attention to the young men. If you said young men you are correct. Not saying the little old lady might not pull a derringer and shoot me, but it is much more likely the young kid with the warrant out, which I have no idea about is going to pull the nine and try and get away one way or another.
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Old October 23, 2008, 03:10 PM   #14
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as a person whsoe experinced "profiling" it doenst bother me. i know i look likea trouble maker, just the sexy goodness god blessed me with (girls love bad boys), but ive never been arrested, never taken or sold drugs, i do usually have my Xd in my truck, but when i get pulled over i inforn the LEO that i am armed and that it is loaded (thats legal in NM) and i dont carry my gun concealed unless i feel it is absolutly nessacary. i am goin to get a CCW tho. generally BGs try to show out for their homies in front of cops and thats what gets them busted. in my experince i9 times outta 10 if your polite and respectful of the cop they dont bother you for more then 5 seconds, theres always those ones tho but what are you gonna do about a complete jerk right?
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Old October 23, 2008, 03:55 PM   #15
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Usually, after taking the second or third 9mm to the gut, I start to thinking this guy just might be trouble.

Seriously, I think life experiences play a large roll in one’s ability to smell trouble. Intuition is part of it, but I think mostly intuition is developed by and reinforced with experiences. LEOs gain lot’s of experience dealing with trouble and the ones that are good at it live to tell. I think I’m pretty fair at it (gotten me around or through a lot of crappy situations anyway) and got there through non-LE life experiences.
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Old October 23, 2008, 04:25 PM   #16
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It's not just intuition, it goes beyond profiling, it includes years of individual experience and decades of accumulated institutional experience, it is an art and a science, and it is what separates the good officers from the great officers. Officers (and mothers, as Dwight so aptly pointed out) learn to read all those non-verbal cues we are constantly sending out, and they use them to figure out who is "wrong" and who is "right".
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Old October 23, 2008, 10:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
It's not just intuition, it goes beyond profiling, it includes years of individual experience and decades of accumulated institutional experience, it is an art and a science, and it is what separates the good officers from the great officers. Officers (and mothers, as Dwight so aptly pointed out) learn to read all those non-verbal cues we are constantly sending out, and they use them to figure out who is "wrong" and who is "right".

+1 on Dave Armstrong's post.
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Old October 23, 2008, 10:40 PM   #18
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I love to quote me:

WAs Rule of Life 44 (U) 6

After training or extensive life experience, one recognizes a concept in people known as hinkiness, which concept is defined as a variety of factors that raise an awareness of potential danger. The factors that can render a person "hinky" include, but are not limited to, race, creed, colour, sex,ocupation, age, mode of dress, possessions, body language, time of day, geographic location and any other usual or unusual factor that alone, or in combination, make a reasonable observer concerned, suspicious, alarmed or alert.

Two black kids horseplaying on a basketball Court are not hinky. One black kid wearing a hoody, loitering outside a conveneince store at 3am and continually touching his waist is hinky.

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Old October 24, 2008, 07:45 AM   #19
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From the movie "The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones as Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard.

Quote:
Marshal Biggs: It's hinky, Sam. I mean, this guy is a college graduate. He became a doctor. I mean, he ain't gonna go through here with all this security. Hinky.
Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Biggs, what does that mean, hinky?
Marshal Biggs: I don't know. Strange. Weird
Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Well, why don't you say strange or weird? I mean hinky, that has no meaning.
Marshal Biggs: Well, we say hinky.
Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: I don't want you guys using words with no meaning.
Marshal Biggs: [sotto voice] How about 'bull****?' How about 'bull****,' Sam?
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Old October 24, 2008, 08:08 AM   #20
Brit
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Quote:
I have nothing to hide from the police and dint get bothered by them.

My question involves identifying troublemakers for the purpose of safety.
I thought that's what you meant.

Lots of good advice up above already, where you live much of the above will not help either! Find a friend or relative who is, or who knows a local LEO, and buy the Coffee (sorry Tea) and spend a little time chatting, not at an outside Café!
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Old October 25, 2008, 10:20 AM   #21
JohnH1963
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Stress usually comes when you are doing something unfamiliar. For example, if you dont lie all the time then you are going to naturally look under stress when you tell the tall tale.

What about a person who is familiar and comfortable with what they are doing? How do you figure out those who are comfortable in their trouble making?

Ahhhh a tricky question...
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Old October 25, 2008, 12:46 PM   #22
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Two things: KTE and Ducks.

KTE:
Knowledge of the subject or situation.
Training on the matter at hand.
Experience through your career as a cop.

Ducks:
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and has feathers, it might be a...

No magic to it.

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Old October 26, 2008, 08:19 PM   #23
raimius
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A lot of it has to do with noticeing those ques that say, "Something isn't right."

Two examples:
I was with a group of friends one evening, after seeing a movie. As a group of young people, I was one of the two drivers for the group. When we dropped off one of my friends at her house, her new boyfriend showed up. She introduced us, and the group chatted for another 5-10 minutes before leaving. Within that time, myself and three of my male friends determined there was something "off" about "new boyfriend." It could be that he reminded me of someone who was a drug user. It could be the fact that he showed up at 11PM at his new girlfriend's house. It may have been his manner of dress (but that wasn't too odd, to be honest). None of that really screamed "wrong" to me. However, something was not right, and most of my friends realized it.
Fast forward a few years, and our suspicions were confirmed. "New boyfriend" can't hold a job. He tried to start a fight with one of my good friends (whom I don't think has ever caused trouble). He has been in trouble with the law a few times, for relatively "minor things." He fathered a child with my friend and can't provide adequate support...nor does he seem to be trying very hard...in essence a deadbeat 20-something father.
None of us knew this the first time we met him, yet the majority of males in the group felt the guy was "wrong."

story 2:
One night at the base theater, several drunks managed to get backstage and accidentally broke through the main screen. Of course, they immediately ran. One of the projector operators, another guest, and myself caught up with the three rather drunk suspects. We stopped them and called the police. The police took about 30 minutes to respond, so we waited inside a building. Two of the drunk guys had that "mommy caught me with my hand in the cookie jar" look. They stayed quiet, hands in their coats, looking down for 95% of the time. The third looked nervous. He was pacing and looking around. He occasionally chatted quietly with his buddies, who seemed to disagree with whatever he was suggesting. I was very worried that he would either attack myself or the projector operator and/or try to run. Fortunately, nothing eventful happened. The police showed up, took statements, and that was the last involvement I had. The next day, I ran into the guy who was operating the projector. He mentioned that he was really worried the one guy was going to attack us.
We had both felt something was wrong, and we both agreed that there was concern about the third guy attacking us. Neither of us had mentioned that, at the time of the incident.

Sometimes you just seem to know something is wrong, even though you cannot exactly determine what it is. If other people's experience teaches any lesson about this, it is to pay attention to those feelings.
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