“Twenty years ago, I had the honor of observing one of the finest outfits the American police ever fielded in action: the NYPD citywide street-crime unit (SCU).” That’s Thomas A. Reppetto, former commander of Chicago PD’s detectives and past president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, writing at nypost.com. “It was a relatively small group of 100 to 150 carefully selected officers with outstanding records, who prowled the city looking for those carrying guns. And it’s a model of how the city can deal with rising gun crime without flooding the streets with additional cops or restoring stop-and-frisk.” Reppetto’s looking for a repeat performance of the SCU. Uh, about that the SCU’s activities not constituting “stop-and-frisk” . . .
The unit made a virtual anthropological study of street criminals. They discovered that unlike many legal gun-carriers, they didn’t generally use holsters, but instead stuck the gun in their waistbands.
Because they constantly worried about the gun falling out, they’d walk in an unusual fashion. Thus the gun-hunters looked for the subtle signs of behavior that would have escaped the notice of a regular police officer (or civilians).
If they spotted a suspected gunman, they wouldn’t jump out of their cars with guns drawn. Instead, an undercover officer would quietly work his way up to the suspect and place his hand over the gun while other officers moved in, so nobody would get shot.
The unit mastered the technique of conducting felony car stops, a tactic that has cost many police officers their lives. They never operated in a catch-as-catch-can fashion, but used choreographed tactics where several cars surrounded and halted a vehicle and officers took up designated positions around it.
The difference between the SCU’s operations and stop-and-frisk: the “expert” cops could tell someone was carrying a gun from the way they walked and other “subtle signs of behavior.” Does that sound like probable cause to you? Even if it does, so what? There’s no direct evidence that the SCU’s efforts lowered “gun crime.” I have a better idea . . .
Re-legalize open carry in The Empire State. Train and arm the Guardian Angels (who still exist). Have them open carry in high crime neighborhoods. Sure there might be some blood in the streets. But I’m thinking it wouldn’t all be Guardian Angel blood. Probably not even mostly.
Hey, if a statist cop can dream of a world where Americans can be detained for walking funny, I can dream of a world where citizens take responsibility for law and order in their own neighborhoods.