How Officers Handle Real Threats

As Uncle aptly points out the police love putting on their SWAT gear and kicking in doors when they’re in pursuit of a criminal who is likely not going to provide much resistance. When federal agents decided to go after James Bulger, a man suspected in 19 murders, the police didn’t storm in his apartment with guns blazing but instead used good old social engineering to lure the man out:

Then, according to people familiar with the case, James “Whitey” Bulger’s 16 years on the run came to an end Wednesday night with a phone call and a lie.

Federal officers arranged for a call to Mr. Bulger in his third-floor apartment to say that his storage locker might have been broken into.

Officers could use similar tactics in many arrests but then they wouldn’t get to toss on the riot gear and play soldier as they kick down your door, run in with guns drawn, and then act surprised that people are appalled at their antics. After all what’s the point of having authority if you don’t get to force people to respect it?

In all seriousness I would appreciate it if police officers would utilize social engineering methods in their arrests instead of brute force. If you trick somebody into coming out so he can be arrested the risk of violence is much lower than kicking in the suspect’s front door during a no-knock raid.