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  • Fake law enforcement magazines

    I was reading the topic about telemarketing fundraisers pretending to be LE-affiliated and it reminded me of something from years ago.

    Every few months at the PD we'd get a magazine with a law enforcement-sounding name (like 'The Beat' or something similar). Inside it contained a few articles one could vaguely describe as police-related. But it had pages and pages of ads. These ads were nothing like what I saw in my normal police mags, like for firearms companies, tactical gear, etc. Instead these were ads for, as best as I could determine, local companies from all over the country; places like 'Joe's Towing' in Rochester, NY, or 'TD Trucking' from Santa Barbara, CA.

    I had a whole career in advertising before getting into police work and, to me, these ads made no sense. Why would a tow truck operator in NY spend money in a national police magazine. I could see no connection, or benefit for the advertiser.

    So I started to dig. It took a while, but what I discovered was that this magazine (and a few others like it), sold their ads primarily to companies with vehicles on the road. And when one of those companies purchased an ad, they received a sheet of decals they could place on their vehicles. The bigger the ad (i.e., the more money spent), the more decals they received. These decals usually were badge- or star-shaped, and said something like, "U.S. Law Enforcement Fund Supporter" or "Supporting Local Law Enforcement since XXXX". The companies were encouraged to place the decals on driver-side windows, or the driver side of the rear window. While no guarantees were made, the belief was that police would offer greater discretion to vehicles with these decals. Once I knew this, I started seeing those decals all over the place.

    They're long gone now, as are most legitimate magazines. But I wonder if anyone else ever noticed and wondered about this like I did.

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