xxxNews Of The Weirdxxx
Bizarre but true stories about real people collected by syndicated columnist Chuck Shepherd.
You Might Want to Do Your Shoplifting Elsewhere: Increasingly, police departments and government offices (customs agencies, NASA, even the FBI) rely on state-of-the-art investigation support from the Target Corp. (as in Target department stores), according to a January Washington Post report. Target’s world-class forensics lab in Minneapolis is the first choice by many departments for examination of surveillance tapes and other evidence, and it was Target in the mid-1990s that finally moved agencies to coordinate previously incompatible databases of criminals (treating the felon population as a nationwide “inventory control” problem). A Target executive said he works for “a high-tech company masquerading as a retailer.”
During President Bush’s recent trip to India, 17 Secret Service Labradors and German shepherds accompanying him (each with its own police “rank,” such as “lieutenant”) were housed in five-star hotels in Delhi, according to local press stories (but Delhi police dogs, assisting in the same missions, went home to kennels). Faring less well was one of the three teams of search-and-rescue dogs assigned to find Hurricane Katrina victims, which had to be sent home in March because of a hotel-booking snafu, for which FEMA and Louisiana officials blamed each other.
In California, a police department can be created if a local government gives a transportation contract to a private company, automatically empowering that company to hire its own cops, who, though not allowed to make arrests, can carry guns, access police databases, and receive government anti-terrorist grants. The law achieved notoriety in February when Internet millionaire Stefan Eriksson’s Ferrari crashed in Malibu, and he later made confusing statements, including the revelation that he is the “deputy commissioner” of the “San Gabriel Valley Transit Authority” police, a post he acquired by starting a modest bus service for the elderly.
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