Comments: The Laredo Truthers Ride Again

It's starting to sound like you are wrong on this one, CW :(

Posted by Kevin at August 11, 2010 04:17 PM

I have a simpler question: all issues of provenance aside, why does that "computer screen dump" look like something off a Commodore PET circa 1984? Straight B&W display, no sign of windows, all caps, the only sign of modernity is the san-serif, proportional-spaced font. And I know some people think Texas cops are illiterate redneck bozos, but two and three typos per line isn't believable either.

Posted by wolfwalker at August 11, 2010 07:43 PM

Hey I got some ocean front property in Las Vegas I'm willing to let go of cheap if any of the brethren here at Yankee Confederate are interested.

Posted by SR at August 11, 2010 08:21 PM

I retired in 2009 after 30 years as a police lieutenant with Asheville, NC and this does not look like an authentic record to me. As already mentioned it is in black and white and looks like an old style CRT display from the 80's or early 90's. I have had contact with numerous agencies over the last 5 years and almost all agencies with Computer-Aided Dispatch or in-car computers (even very small agencies can afford them now) use modern ruggedized laptops running Windows XP/Vista, etc. with sharp color displays with standard Windows fonts. This is also NOT a computer aided dispatch record of a call - notice the date/time stamp at the bottom shows 7/24/2010 at 7:42 am while the opening of the narrative lists a date of 7/23/2010 - almost all police systems time/date stamp each comment so this narrative was written at least 7 hours after the events supposedly happened. A police dispatcher would know that the system automatically time/date stamps the entries and thus there would be no need in the very intense environment they function in to be redundant by typing the date - you just type the info and let the system date it for you. It also does not read to me like a dispatch record and I have seen thousands of them. What it really looks like to me is an old style car to car message of the kind officers often send each other (those also get time/date stamped by the system). This is equivalent to text messaging on a cell phone. I can tell you from experience that officers with time on their hands will send all kinds of weird joke messages when they are bored in the early morning. If I had to bet, this looks to me like a car to car message from one officer to another on an old system sent to start rumors, start a practical joke, shoot the s**t, etc. We are also not seeing the total screen - if this was a dispatch record, the header to the screen would probably contain the address, date/time, type call, etc - if it is a car to car message there would also be a header telling which unit it was from and which unit it was to, etc. If it is any kind of legitimate police computer message there would be a header of some type, not just an isolated message. This can't be a legitimate law enforcement record. By the way, the mis-spellings are what you would expect from a car to car message typed early in the morning when an officer has worked all night and is tired and trying to type in a hurry while seated in a cruiser.

Posted by David R. at August 11, 2010 08:37 PM

[Posted by David R. at August 11, 2010 08:37 PM]

Interesting. Can you tell me, what exactly do they mean by a police blotter report. Are those official documents? Are the messages sent back and forth car-to-car, as you say -- the jokes and goofs and such -- part of some record also, or do they basically disappear into the ether after being sent.

I'm just wondering if someone attempts to present a message such as this as an official police document, and it is fake, whether that is illegal, something like impersonating a police officer, especially if they are using real officers' names in the message.

Posted by Dusty at August 11, 2010 09:06 PM

So, if this is a hoax I hope the hoaxer will be exposed by CY. We wouldn't want them to be able to yank your chain again. Someone might get hurt.

Posted by Steve at August 11, 2010 09:39 PM

Dusty,

Police blotter is sort of an obsolete term that refers to the big bound record book that desk sergeants kept in the old days in which they listed all the calls for service, crimes, incidents, etc. that happened during their shift. The modern equivalent is the listing you can get from a computer aided dispatch system of the calls, crimes, etc. that happened during a particular time period. The listing is just a report printed by the system - the official records would be the underlying records for each call for service, the incident reports taken on crimes, records of traffic stops, etc that the list summarizes. The official documents are kept for a significant period of time (in NC it is 5 years for misdemeanors and 20 years for felonies) per state statute. The car to car messages are kept for a period of time as determined by the individual agency (the case law is somewhat uncertain as to whether the car to car bulls**t messages constitute official department records which would have to be maintained for a specific period of time). They don't just disappear into the ether. My agency keeps the car to car records as long as there is computer storage space which in practical terms because they are text messages means they are available for years. I frequently warned the officers who worked for me to be careful about the car to car messages because they could come back to haunt them. As far as the legality of the fake message, it would depend on the laws of the particular state. In NC, if it was a joke message with NO intent to make it an official document or to deceive for monetary gain, it would probably not be illegal - however, if an officer made up the message, even as a joke, it could subject him to departmental discipline for conduct unbecoming. If someone falsely used the officers name in an attempt to deceive or have it taken as an official record, there very possibly could be some criminal charges. Hope this answers your questions.

Posted by David R. at August 11, 2010 09:54 PM

This alleged blotter describes how law enforcement received an emergency call from a worried rancher; how law enforcement responded with appropriate force; how law enforcement found the mountain was a molehill and how law enforcement left some plainclothes in the area to keep an eye on things, just in case.

It does NOT describe how an army of drug thugs and cartel commandos took over a ranch and thwarted law enforcement's attempts to restore order.

If the wild-assed stories were accurate, we'd have heard about hostages, shooting, injuries, sieges and ultimately, arrests.

Like Bob, I'm still calling BS.

Posted by David L., Lower Alabama at August 11, 2010 10:29 PM

Hope this answers your questions.

[Posted by David R. at August 11, 2010 09:54 PM]

Yes, it did, David, and a very nice job of doing so. Thanks much.

Posted by Dusty at August 11, 2010 10:37 PM

Absent further data, that screenshot is simply not believable (need we go back to Rathergate all over again?). While my expertise in information security (with 25+ years experience) isn't in the forensics field, I find it troubling that someone would expect me to believe a text interface that was so rudimentary that it lacked screen placement (e.g. curses/ncurses), yet featured proportional type (check out the "squeezing of space" around the letter I, for instance). Give me a green or amber screen (not white on black btw) with fixed type spacing and some oppressive full-screen terminal formatting, be it ANSI, VT100, etc.

Oh, and the wrap that suggests a picture from an old monitor is amusing but distorted. Give me $500 and I'll waste an hour or two to provide a Rathergate-inspired clone.

Posted by Hatless Hessian at August 12, 2010 12:33 AM

Sorry folks, if this did hsppen, there woulda been a big battle, and the Sheriff dept. would be bragging about asses kicked and bad guys killed. not some silly cover up. This is Texas were talkin about, after all.

Posted by JP at August 12, 2010 03:05 AM

There's no such thing as "LSO" (Presumably "Laredo Sheriff's Office"). It's the Webb County Sheriff; Laredo is a city in Webb County.

Rathergate Redux . . . all Dvorak needs to do now is proclaim this to be "fake but accurate."

Posted by Cobalt Shiva at August 12, 2010 07:44 AM

So Kevin, you believe that CY is *wrong* for doubting flimsy claim. The burden is on the person making the claim, not on others to "debunk" it.

Scientific method is cool.

Posted by brando at August 12, 2010 09:46 AM

Note also that there is no "Laredo Sheriff's Office." Laredo is a city and has a Police Department. Laredo is located in Webb County which has a Sheriff's Office.

Posted by Federale at August 12, 2010 11:19 AM

Holy crap, Batman! A screenshot of a CRT display? It doesn't get any more authoritative than that, does it? And yet CY is still fighting a valiant rearguard action against the tidal wave of TWOOF!!!!11!!eleventy!!!!

We need to ask ourselves, who is bankrolling CY? It's obvious he's in the pocket of some powerful shadowy group. So come clean, man - just how did Big Laredo get to you?

Posted by Steve Skubinna at August 14, 2010 03:02 PM