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Vigilante Cops and IA


FenrisUlf
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Hi all,

 

Just got one question hear concerning any potential Dark Champs. In an even remotely realistic world, how do you show the PD's reaction to the 'vigilante cop' (Dirty Harry, etc.)? I can't help but to think that when 99% of an officer's cases end up in a blaze of gunfire, that /someone/ is going to look at the guy sooner or later... I could see something like that as a subplot in the campaign, with the resident street monster having to keep an eye on his back for the IA/rat squad.

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Re: Vigilante Cops and IA

 

Hi all,

 

Just got one question hear concerning any potential Dark Champs. In an even remotely realistic world, how do you show the PD's reaction to the 'vigilante cop' (Dirty Harry, etc.)? I can't help but to think that when 99% of an officer's cases end up in a blaze of gunfire, that /someone/ is going to look at the guy sooner or later... I could see something like that as a subplot in the campaign, with the resident street monster having to keep an eye on his back for the IA/rat squad.

 

IMO... vigilante cops would be under immense scrutiny... and would need some kind of Deus Ex Machina to last very long in a campaign. The more realistic the game, the less this archetype would work. BUT... if they have a patron... some higher up in a Cabal of conspirators, who is protecting him... then you could make a neat plot point of the IA always being foiled and redirected by "powerful friends" which the PC might not even know about.

 

In the end, this is just an important question about the feel of your campaign. The renegade cop in an over-the-top world... well you can write it off as "We never have any real evidence!" where a more "realistic" campaign might make it a major storyline, with the vigilante cop working hard to cover his tracks, never shooting his own cases, setting up alibis, etc. Both are cool... but not very compatible. Being clear before you start the game, what kind of campaign you are running... that is very important.

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Re: Vigilante Cops and IA

 

A normal cop would likely have a "Watched: Police Department, 8-" assuming he works a single shift. If he's a known trouble-maker, I'd make it 11-. If he's Dirty Harry, make it a 14-.

 

I'm thinking that roll is the chance of police questioning something about the character's behavior on a particular incident. So there's a chance the cops look at the incident where Harry had to force the local maffioso's hand into the meat grinder in order to make him drop the gun as "legitimate", but generally they're going to be all over him for nearly anything, including spitting on the sidewalk. He doesn't even have to have done something bad.

 

I'd have Reputation mitigate certain things. Purchased Rep, "Badass cop" would work well on getting crooks to give up info. Disadvantage Rep, "Badass cop" woud have them never complying with him out of disrespect or fear.

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Re: Vigilante Cops and IA

 

Depending on how realistic you want to be, it's my understanding that in most places an officer is investigated whenever he/she fires a weapon. They don't even have to hit anything or injure/kill anyone. If you end up in front of a shooting review board on a weekly basis, I'd imagine they'd can you just for liability reasons, even if you hadn't done anything illegal. Sooner or later, the city would probably get successfully sued or at least have to settle something out of court.

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Re: Vigilante Cops and IA

 

Just to add... the more I think about it, I've always considered the V-cop to be the cop who "off duty" whacked badguys while masked and unidentifiable... but was pretty straight while on-the-job.

 

The Dirty Harry type who blows people away publicly every other day... :whistle:

 

... that is just untenable in a quasi-realistic game... IMO.

 

YMMV

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Re: Vigilante Cops and IA

 

If you are going for realism - Dirty Harry Calahan would have been in San Quentin long, long ago. Then there was the 1980's TV show Hunter. Hunter was far better in terms of righteous shoots than Dirty Harry, but at the same time, he was extremely quick on the draw. Then again, Hunter was in LA - so long as you get caught on film you'll be acquitted :eg:

 

More seriously - an rpg character cop is far more likely (based on the types of scenarios GM's come up with) to find themselves in situations that may lead to a righteous shoot than a real life cop would. While most police officers never have to discharge their firearms during the course of a career, and while most larger departments may have a handful of officers (anomolies) with as many as 7 or 8 righteous shoots during a career - the RPG cop will likely have far more "good shoots."

 

This isn't criticism so much as it is acceptance of reality. To run a realistic game the GM and the players have to understand how police work is conducted, what the rules are, and what the options are. In most cases you don't have a group that's conducive to that - maybe the GM understands, maybe one or two of the players understands, but seldome will everyone, or even most of the group, understand.

 

What you have are people who have watched Dirty Harry and Hunter Re-Runs. Or sometimes, SledgeHammer Re-Runs.

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Re: Vigilante Cops and IA

 

Only two Dirty Harry movies I watched didn't have him doing anything too vigilante-ish.

Dirty Harry would have gone down on "career achievment" more than anything else. Most of his shoots, taken individually, were passable, or at least, would look passable to the investigators, but over a period of years (movies) he'd have been cut loose or prosecuted. And some of his shoots were, well, dirty (even if IA couldn't prove it). Combine his rep, his shoot record, and his bad supervisor reviews....

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Re: Vigilante Cops and IA

 

I'm with RDU on the cop-by-day-masked-vigilante-by-night senerio being most plausable. The only thing I'd add is the need for the V-cop to aquire some "cold iron" so his vigilante activaties don't get traced back to his service sidearm; that would be most inconvenient, to say the least.

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Re: Vigilante Cops and IA

 

Depending on how realistic you want to be' date=' it's my understanding that in most places an officer is investigated whenever he/she fires a weapon. They don't even have to hit anything or injure/kill anyone.[/quote']

 

Last year we had a police officer killed in the line of duty, and his partner fired back killing the guy who did it. I don't know if IA got involved, but I do know that there was a grand jury investigation of the surviving officer. For non-US: if the grand jury had ruled that the shooting wasn't justified, the officer would have faced criminal charges in the death. Think of it as a high-level investigation. And just for the record, the officer was cleared.

 

I haven't watched enough Dirty Harry movies to know if he's ever faced a grand jury investigation, but it's certainly something a character in a realistic world would have to face if he killed a perp. And, all those points he put into Contacts and Favors in the police department to keep IA off his case wouldn't apply here :) . (Unless he tries to get the rest of the force to suppress evidence and refuse to talk to the grand jury, which is probably going to backfire on him.)

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Re: Vigilante Cops and IA

 

Last year we had a police officer killed in the line of duty' date=' and his partner fired back killing the guy who did it. I don't know if IA got involved, but I [i']do[/i] know that there was a grand jury investigation of the surviving officer. For non-US: if the grand jury had ruled that the shooting wasn't justified, the officer would have faced criminal charges in the death. Think of it as a high-level investigation. And just for the record, the officer was cleared.

 

I haven't watched enough Dirty Harry movies to know if he's ever faced a grand jury investigation, but it's certainly something a character in a realistic world would have to face if he killed a perp. And, all those points he put into Contacts and Favors in the police department to keep IA off his case wouldn't apply here :) . (Unless he tries to get the rest of the force to suppress evidence and refuse to talk to the grand jury, which is probably going to backfire on him.)

Additionally - the LAPD requires a trial board (internal shoot review) every time an officer is involved in a shoot. Its fairly standard for some sort of review board to be convened in the larger departments.

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Re: Vigilante Cops and IA

 

Depending on how realistic you want to be' date=' it's my understanding that in most places an officer is investigated whenever he/she fires a weapon. They don't even have to hit anything or injure/kill anyone. If you end up in front of a shooting review board on a weekly basis, I'd imagine they'd can you just for liability reasons, even if you hadn't done anything illegal. Sooner or later, the city would probably get successfully sued or at least have to settle something out of court.[/quote']

 

A firearms instructor I had was a NYPD detective. He and his partner got in a shootout with a bad guy. His partner got shot, Pat had to shoot the bad guy 11 times before he stoped shooting back. The Brooklyn ADA decided to charge him because "you shot him 11 times!" Before it came to court the ADA got moved to another area and the new ADA decided that; as there was no evidence, there was a cop shot, and dead guy with a multi-page record; that this wasn't a good case to take to a jury.

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