Cops And You

>>>>>> [ This came my way a while ago; in memory of the rather spectacular blaze of glory that Diamondback went out in, I figure people are about ready for a refresher on this subject. ] <<<<<<
- Shiva (22:13:42/03/14/70)

Cops and You

By Eastwood 3:16

I've held this conversation in the flesh or on the boards one time too many recently, so I figure I might as well spell it out once and be done with it.

Cops; everyone knows them, everyone's seen them in the flesh and on the trid shows, and most of us in our line of work will have had to tango with them once or twice. Here are a few rules of thumb I like to keep in mind when dealing with them, and I'm sharing them with you in an effort to make the world a bit smarter.

1. Know your enemy.

Your average beat cop has a bit of an undeserved reputation for eating donuts in between stomping his jackboots on the face of some homeless ork and being somewhat less than competent by the standards of shadowrunners. It's a nice, comforting stereotype that lets us all feel like we're better than them, but there's a little problem with it: It's not nearly always true.

In no small part because of the Treaty, our fair city attracts a significantly larger number of ex-military personnel into law enforcement. So that guy with the blue uniform, the donut and the Ruger Thunderbolt that's telling you to freeze might be a direct descendant of Barney Fife, or his former job title started with "Corporal" or "Sergeant"…

Still feel like taking your chances because he doesn't look so tough compared to your Betaware and your assault rifle and bone lacing? That's okay; he probably isn't — personally. That last word's a bit of a problem, though, because of the first rule:

There is no such thing as “One Cop”.

Cops travel in pairs at a minimum. And that's only the physical part. They're also both wired for sound, video, heart rate and body temperature and monitored constantly from the precinct they work at. The moment they look at you, your face is on record. The moment you take a shot at one of them, that's unimpeachable evidence stored on government-certified data servers. The moment he calls for backup, two dozen other cops start racing your way. The moment a cop flatlines, his colleagues know about it.

And they'll be pissed.

I had a polite conversation with a cop of my acquaintance a while ago, and the topic came up in a sideways kind of way. Turns out, standard procedure when an on-duty cop goes offline without warning beforehand is to send immediate astral and UAV cover to their last known location, followed as quickly as possible by the nearest patrol car that can be diverted.

“So you're saying that five minutes after one cop goes missing someplace, the three nearest city blocks are going to be crawling with cops?” I asked, ignorantly. My conversation partner just grinned.

“In less than a minute,” He replied.

He wasn't kidding, either — standard response time from loss of contact to first backup arriving is ten to sixty seconds. If a given precinct misses that readiness figure twice in a row, their chief gets replaced by someone who'll make sure they won't miss it a third time.

And getting away fast enough to evade pursuit is only the start of your problems; cops take the killing of one of their own very personally and will stop at nothing to track the killer down, and this is one of the few cases where Knight Errant and Lone Star will always cooperate on. We're talking CSI, DNA tracing, astral tracing, ballistics research on the bullet you killed him with, the works. They'll talk to witnesses and potential witnesses — and believe me, the average man on the street feels very cooperative when a visibly angry uniformed police officer is asking if he remembers anything that might have bearing on the case — retrieve public surveillance records for the area and time to see who walked into that alley and who walked out… The works.

And sooner or later - and most likely much sooner than you'd think - they'll have a fairly accurate general description of you to work from; possibly even your name and SIN, if you were born with one or have an arrest record. And they'll use that to start asking more questions. You see, us Shadow folks aren't the only people who know the lay of the city and who sells what.

That fixer you buy your guns from? Chances are the cops know about him, well enough to suspect what he does, but not enough hard evidence to be worth the effort of arresting. They'll talk to him - and while he is always glad to take your money, you don't pay him enough to be willing to cover a cop killer. He'll give you up and there isn't a single professional in the city who'd hold it against him. Worse from your perspective, he'll talk to all of his contacts as well to warn them that you're a cop killer, and you'll find that contact after contact will start drying up, because everyone knows the cops are on your tail, and none of them are going to be willing to take the fall with you when they catch up. Your safest bet would be to skip town and hope they lose the trail.

How to avoid this.

Discretion: The better part of valor.

The best method is not to be confronted in the first place: when the cops show up, run. Better yet, be well on your way before they show up. If you know how to operate one, a police frequency scanner and decrypting gear can be your best friend in cases like this. Avoid confrontation and bug out. No matter what you were doing, it is not worth having to tango with the cops for. If you're pursued, run faster. If they start shooting at you, don't shoot back — concentrate on dodging and break line of sight before their backup arrives and they corner you.

Don't fight fire with fire.

So you're cornered, or this alley has a dead end and the only way out is through that cop. You still don't have to kill him; there are many ways to neutralize a threat that don't involve lethal force - sleep spells, neurostun, aikido, gel rounds, etc. USE THEM — a dead cop means three dozen furious cops hunting you down; a cop that's been knocked unconscious means he'll get mocked a lot around the coffee machine the next day.

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