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What is the best way to verify police status?

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  • What is the best way to verify police status?

    This topic has been batted around in other threads, but I would like some solid input from all of you. We've been pretty clear that we don't have a "secure" forum restricted to bona fide police on Officer.com. I don't know that we will ever have such a forum section (we'll always have sections accessible to anyone, regardless of status), but some people think we should, and we're certainly considering it. The big obstacle is in how we will verify that people who say they are cops are really cops.

    Here are some of the relevant issues:
    1. There are over 16,000 forum members that can post in the forums, and an unknown number that just view posts. Willl the existing members go through a validation process, or just decide that it's too much trouble?
    2. Assuming that at least some of the existing forum members go through the validation process, how do we deal with the surge of validations at the outset (it's not like we have a lot of people working here, and the ones that are working already have enough to do).
    3. Some officers don't want their screen names to be associated with their employers in any way, for fear of retaliation by their departments if they say something the department doesn't like. Obviously, we would do our best to keep this information confidential, but we would have to give it up if subpoenaed.
    4. Should retired and reserve officers be included? Should part time officers be considered as the same as full time for the purpose of access to the forum? How about military police?
    5. How do we handle officers from outside the U.S? "Police" doesn't always mean the same thing in a foreign country as it does in the states.
    6. How exactly do we go about verifying police status? Some members won't send or fax copies of their ID cards (and I don't blame them), and I have no way of knowing what an ID card from the Upper Mudhole, Wyoming PD looks like, anyway. We could call smaller agencies and ask if so-and-so was really a cop there, but some of them might refuse to verify this for security reasons. Larger departments, or those spread out over a wide area, like state police, might have difficulty confirming status at all.
    7. One suggestion has been for each applicant to send us his/her department's ORI (the identifier used by NCIC/NLETS) for verification, as this information is not known outside the department. But some officers don't know their agency's ORI, and this information isn't top secret - there are people outside the department that will know it.
    8. Another suggestion is that we accept applications only from officers with "official" e-mail addresses, e.g. [email protected] or [email protected]. The problem here is that some agencies don't give their officers their own e-mail accounts, and I am guessing that most of you access the site from your homes while off duty, anyway.
    9. Finally, how critical is it that we have a restricted forum section(s)? Would this feature make Officer.com substantially more valuable to you?


    I need to emphasize that there are not going to be any immediate changes, and maybe none at all. Officer.com is intended to be dynamic, changing to meet the needs of the people that come here. If there is a service or feature that is clearly needed and wanted by a substantial proportion of our users, we'll do our best to provide it. I'm not sure that a police-only section is truly needed, and that is one of the things that you need to tell me. Once we get that determined, we can address the issue of validation. I am trying to gather as much information as I can so that we can move quickly when and if the need arises.

    You can respond to me here in the forum, or privately to the e-mail address below.
    Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

  • #2
    I am a sworn LEO but only on a part time basis, I would like to be involved in a private squad room because I have to take the same risk's and do the same duties as any other officer and it never hurts to learn new things from your brothers.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would suggest that members be able to fax a copy of their state's peace officer certification and that would handle it. No one can claim to be or ever have been a cop without one. Maybe a copy of a department academy certificate would also do. The big thing is the peace officer certfication by a state.
      Then only those that have provided a certificate copy would have access.

      You of course would have active, retired and former only allowed access and that's what we as a group want.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bodie
        I would suggest that members be able to fax a copy of their state's peace officer certification and that would handle it. No one can claim to be or ever have been a cop without one. Maybe a copy of a department academy certificate would also do. The big thing is the peace officer certfication by a state.
        Then only those that have provided a certificate copy would have access.

        You of course would have active, retired and former only allowed access and that's what we as a group want.

        That sounds logical but how do you know the copy being faxed is from the actual person? I know of another police site that takes your info and calls you at work to confirm who and what you are. It takes seconds and appears to be pretty efficient.

        We need verification as it enhances the credibility to the site. I'm tired of seeing members with LE related user names who really work the night shift at Wal Mart.
        Disclaimer: The writer does not represent any organization, employer, entity or other individual. The first amendment protected views/commentary/opinions/satire expressed are those only of the writer. In the case of a sarcastic, facetious, nonsensical, stirring-the-pot, controversial or devil's advocate-type post, the views expressed may not even reflect those of the writer.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BrickCop
          That sounds logical but how do you know the copy being faxed is from the actual person? I know of another police site that takes your info and calls you at work to confirm who and what you are. It takes seconds and appears to be pretty efficient.
          That is an efficient way to go, so long as you only have a few calls a day to make. We potentially have over 16,000 calls to make if everyone requested secure access (granted, we know that some forum members aren't cops, but you get the idea). We would also need to actually look up the number of the law enforcement agency for each pass, in case the applicant was spoofing us. Then you have the problem with large agencies that I referenced in my original post.
          Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

          Comment


          • #6
            How about this:

            LEO/PO that want to become confirmed-as-LEO/PO-members of O.com could send O.com an eMail with their name, rank and badge #, and Agency name, address, phone and fax number. O.com could use 411.com or another 3rd-party site to confirm the Agency info, and then mail a letter to the Agency, Attention: the potential member, with a password. The potential member then uses that password to log in with. If we have an official work eMail, that COULD work as well, if O.com finds that acceptable.

            Or, we could all just accept that we are not 100% positive that ANYONE on here is actually LEO/PO, and weigh their opinions accordingly, unless we actually have met with the other member(s) face-to-face, or corresponded through official channels.
            #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
            Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
            RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
            Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
            "Smile" - no!

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            • #7
              I'm not a big fan of any verification process that would involve my department. I don't want big brother having a chance to catch me off guard with one of my rants about subject X.

              I enjoy the anonymity of forums and would rather be able to express how I really feel about a subject rather than hide behind a PC answer just in case they were lurking around this site.

              Personally, I wouldn't verify myself, on this or ANY site that would require them to contact the dept. Those are the last guys I'd want reading some of the things I post. (Not that my posts are "bad", but I usually express an opinion that may be "against the grain" of my place.)

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm a recent contributor to Officer.com, and I agree that it would be an inconvienience to provide verification. Our Agency recently participated in a forum similar to this and it was shut down because Agents were posting opinions, which did not coincide with the opinions of those running the Agency or the Forum. I would like some form of verification, but also enjoy the freedom to ramble from time to time. I also learn a lot from the other officers who post here.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If O.com is as dynamic as you say it is, it should have a dynamic verification process. Allow sworn leo to choose a method of verification. There were a lot of good ideas that would be effective. A real officer would have to be comfortable with at least one of them. If not...it would be suspicious. Plus, it seems like the members of this site are pretty efficient at sniffing out the wannabes who claim to be sworn.

                  In terms of who you should grant LEO access, I believe any officer that falls within the HR 218 defintion of LEO should be granted access. I know there are reserve/aux officers who arent allowed to make arrests or carry a weapon. They would not fall within the deifintion of the federal statute. In short, if a person puts their life on the line, or used to put their life on the line, part-time/full-time/ or for free, they should be granted access. It is a slap in the face to segment a certain class of LEO and say they are not LEO in the eyes of O.com.

                  The reality is, you would not have 16,000 people applying for access. There seems to be a small core group of LEO's that frequent the site often who would benefit from secure access. Those ladies and gentlemen would be the members applying.

                  I have no problem sending in a copy of my LEO ID, state certification, doing the password deal, or having a call made to my dept. Other officers may not feel comfortable with some of them, but all LEO's should be comfortable with atleast one. If not, SOL. This is all IMHO, but I hope it helps in some shape or form.

                  -edit- In the original post, you were referrencing how to verify "police" status. Is this to include our brothers in corrections? I believe they should be allowed access. The only part that may be difficult is the defintion of a corrections LEO, as I believe it is even more tricky and broad than police sworn status. I know some states have corrections officer, where other states have jailers, correction deputies and guards. Lots of different defitions there. Just wondering.
                  Last edited by ufresdave; 08-25-2005, 07:43 PM.
                  press hard-5 copies

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I don't know why we care. Baring someone getting ahold of my personal information, I could care less if this is restricted to L.E only. Some of the general public, meaning our viewers need to know our feelings concerning certain situations. Obviously none of us are posting our policies and M.O's on this site. To me it doesn't matter where you work or if you are retired. Sometimes its beneficial to receive information from firefighters, EMS, retired officers and the general public. We can all stand to learn something.
                    I suppose it would be beneficial to have an officers only section that you have to verify employment via a faxed copy of your identification.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would actually like for O.com to be entirely LE only. I wouldn't mind some form of ID other than to call my agency. Some of my views may not necessarily match those of the agency.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Why Wouldn't REAL officers know their agencies ORI?? Is it not on the top of your accident report forms since commercial vehicle accident is reported to the feds?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You are not "certifying" that someone is LE. Make a phone call, accept a copy of a department ID, academy certificate, maybe let other officers you already know assist on a volunteer basis.

                          If you find later that someone lied, yank their access. Big deal, who was hurt?

                          I do not believe there should be some super secret area for us LE/former LE's to talk shop on cases. Never on the internet.

                          It is nice to have the recognition that you are or were an officer, and your opinions carry a little more weight... maybe! It has to be simple and at very little cost to you, this is a business.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Email through a department email of the ORI and employment info. If no dept email then send on department letterhead.

                            As far as my department goes you could always just go to their website and see my name and badge number and send me an email from there. As long as the site is actually up this week
                            "there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sir,

                              To answer point by point:

                              1. Don't know

                              2. You could begin the validation first by new members and then state by state for the present members.

                              3. You already have our real names (at least you've got mine) when we signed up.

                              4. I certainly hope reserve and retired officers are considered. I have the basic peace officer license for my state but am carried as a reserve. Full arrest powers and am allow to carry my weapon at all times. I am a cop, just do not get paid for it. Military police are police, their jurisdiction is different.

                              5. Same for foriegn officers.

                              6/7. If an officer can't figure out his own ORI then he probably can't figure out a forum board.

                              8. You could have more than one way to verify but I understand that's more work.

                              9. To some it is more important than others. I for one don't really care about the John Q. Citizen who wants to play like he's a cop. It is disgusting and is concrete evidence of a small mind and probably other parts. I do think it is possible for some bad guys to learn tactics and intelligence information (of a general nature, not specific missions) that I really do not want them to know.


                              Thnk you for your time and kind attention

                              Comment

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