Now THIS Is Incompetent Policing! (International Division)

Police in Santa Marta, Colombia, recently published a wanted poster for 12 dangerous criminals in the town, asking the public for help in apprehending them. All are members of the “Los Pachenca” drug cartel and are suspects in a series of crimes committed in Santa Marta in recent months. The published poster (above), however, only mentioned the suspects’ nicknames without revealing their real names, and only generic silhouettes were offered rather than actual photos.

Nevertheless, the police department acted as if their procedure was serious and reasonable. “It is very important that citizens help us identify the people who are affecting life throughout the city,” the police high command said to supplement the poster. “We are going to provide payments for data that allow us to identify them.”

The mockery of the absurdly inept dragnet was instant and relentless. One wag noted that it should be easy to identify cartel members since “they all look identical.”

The department quickly pulled the poster. See? It’s not completely incompetent after all!

8 thoughts on “Now THIS Is Incompetent Policing! (International Division)

  1. I’m going to say that it is a reasonable poster based on the text, and that something was lost in translation. That it looks like a regular wanted poster is a questionable but defensible design decision.

    Why? Because the poster in Spanish is asking for help to IDENTIFY the suspects, not to find them out there and call the police if you see them. The request is explicitly “Help us identify them”. Pretty sure what they are looking for are pictures of the subjects (whose aliases and roles have been probably been discovered by some other means). I would even suggest to print a second edition of this poster once a few are identified – using their names and faces – to report progress to the general public.

    • Based on watching way, way too many installments of “The First Forty-eight,” I’m going to guess all these hoods are known by their nicknames/street names. In the interrogations on FFE, invariably a woman says she doesn’t know the real name of a guy she’s been living with for three or four years, just his street name. So, the cops will invariably have to spend a good deal of time on social media to find out that “Little D” is actually Demario Walker and has three outstanding warrants. So, I suspect the poster is intended to help the cops find out who these guys actually are, beyond their street name.

    • Your conclusion (and OB’s) sound reasonable to me. Seldom do narco-criminals their real names for “business,” but there are likely people out in the surrounding community who have such knowledge. Perhaps this was the first time the police used a graphic of this nature, and they miscalculated the public’s reaction to it. A simple list of the aliases along with an appeal for identifying information would have been less confusing.

  2. This might be reasonable if some members of the cartel were only known by reputation, and only a nickname could be provided one or two entries. A “photo not available” would also be understandable for a handful.

    But a whole poster full? I’d have to imagine the department is run by this distinguished sergeant:

    • That poster probably got a lot more eyes on it that a simple list would. And that’s what they wanted. Too bad they caved to the Twitter mob.

      The criminal world lives on nicknames: Little-D, Junebug Little-bit, Big-Ed, etc. There was a line on our field contact reports for the nickname; The question to ask is “what do your friends call you?” Beat officers kept that info in their notebooks in the days when the computer took up a space the size of today’s walk-in closet.

  3. As the poster was full of black people, and there cannot possibly be that many in Colombia, surely they will be identified quickly.

      • But US race hustlers don’t consider Carribean and Central and South American black people as authentically black and part of the brotherhood. They’re just Latino. They don’t get full victim status. They’re not really black black.

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