Tag Archives: skypig357

Any reading recommendations for research on characters with fbi and/or military background?

First thought is to actually look at the job requirements. For the FBI, (or any GS-1811, really) there’s plenty of “careers” pages on .gov sites telling you what someone needs to get the job. With the FBI, there’s an entire site on the subject.

Off the top of my head, for an 1811, you need to be free of any serious medical or psychological disorders (bipolar, major depression, schizophrenia, ect.), you need a bachelors degree (the FBI disqualifies political science and psychology degrees, btw), a valid driver’s license, you cannot have forgotten to file your tax return (ever, so far as I can tell).

It’s going to be dull reading, but it will introduce you to concepts you probably haven’t seen before in fiction that are worth knowing about. Things like Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) might not seem important, and may not have a place in your story, but being aware of them, what they are, and then actually being able to use the terms can do wonders for building verisimilitude.

There’s also a lot of fiction and non-fiction books out there from retired members of the Bureau. In general, even the fiction from former Law Enforcement Officers will include details that someone with a civilian background is likely to gloss over.

Personally, I still like Police Procedure & Investigation by Lee Lofland, along with Forensics by D. P. Lyle, as quick primers for criminal investigations. Neither of these deal with the FBI itself, but it’s a place to start.

For characters with a military background, I’m not even sure where I’d start to suggest. There is a lot of literature on the military. From the bureaucracy, to personal experiences, to doctrine and theory. So without more information about exactly what you’re looking for, I’m not sure what to suggest there.

That said, you’re also going to find that there are a lot of ex-military in the Bureau. Someone with more hands on experience there will have to correct me if I’ve been mislead, but socially, the Bureau is a mixing point between former military, and local or state law enforcement veterans who moved up. You can have characters with a background in neither, but they’ll be far more isolated.

If you’re specifically looking for the overlap between military and law enforcement, you’re probably going to find that when you’re conducting a lit review on the FBI.

Incidentally, @skypig357​ may be a useful person to poke, for this one. As I recall, Air Marshals aren’t technically GS-1811s (because they lack investigatory powers), but he has had first hand with Federal law enforcement, and can probably help you there.


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Not sure if this is in your area of expertise, but… Say a criminal (FBI’s Most Wanted level here, but I dunno if that makes any difference) is killed in pursuit; self-defense on the part of an LEO. What happens to the body, if there is nobody to claim it? What followthrough is undertaken to verify that the officer is telling the truth? See, I want that scenario to play out, but I’ve also got an autopsy scene I need to happen. Any chance of that, or do I need to go back to the drawing board?

So, there’s two questions and, maybe, a misunderstanding here.

The FBI’s Most Wanted list was a publicity stunt from Hoover. It doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s not that the people on the list are somehow being hunted more intensely than someone who hasn’t made the list. The Bureau just wants more attention on these cases so they can crow about their successes if, or when, the suspect is apprehended.

Generally speaking, a body is claimed by next of kin. When there is no next of kin, then, usually, the hospital has to pick up the tab for the funeral. It’s possible that the law enforcement agency responsible for killing him, or the city would get stuck with paying for the funeral arrangements, depending on exactly where he died. But, this is a weird edge case.

As for the steps to determine if an LEO’s use of force was justified? The basic standard is, did the suspect pose a serious threat to the officer or other individuals. The actual investigation protocol is a little different.

Once the scene is secure, the officer is removed as quickly as practical. They’ll be moved to a familiar environment. Usually the station. Though it could be a command post or some other location, if taking them to the station is impractical or impossible (for whatever reason).

Their weapon and ammunition are collected and bagged. They will frequently be issued a replacement weapon on the spot (this is up to the agency in question), but their service weapon (or any weapon they used) must be collected and retained as evidence. It will also be kept out of circulation until the resolution of the case, so the officer will probably be issued a new permanent service weapon. Also, you can add this to the list of reasons why your police protagonist shouldn’t carry a “cool” signature weapon as their sidearm. If they use it, they lose it.

The name of the officer, and the victim, will (usually) be withheld from media for 48 hours, and all officers on duty at the time of the shooting are encouraged to contact family members within a couple hours of the shooting to let them know they’re unharmed.

The location of the shooting becomes a crime scene. Evidence is collected, the site will be videotaped. Potential witnesses will be interviewed. From a procedure standpoint, at this moment it doesn’t matter that the shooter was a cop. It‘s like any other shooting. Now, that’s not true at an emotional level, but the investigating officers need to approach the scene with a professional attitude, especially if they’re interacting with civilians.

The officer involved may be asked to give a preliminary explanation on the site, or after they’ve been transported off site, but they’ll be given at least a day before they’re actually asked to write up a formal statement.

In cases where the preliminary belief is that the shooting was not justified, the officer should have a union representative and or attorney on hand, for any questioning.

If multiple officers participated in the shooting they will not be split up, and are allowed to corroborate the chain of events.

After the shooting two separate investigations into the shooting are launched. One is an administrative investigation. The administrative investigation is more interested in determining if the shooting was a result of training or equipment issues.

The results of the criminal investigation will be passed over to the district attorney’s office for review. Depending on this state this may require impaneling a grand jury.

The criminal investigation is, just that. It’s looking at available evidence and determining if lethal force was justified. I would say, “the same as if the shooter wasn’t a cop,” but, the truth is; the system is far more trusting of police as a whole.

The shooting might also be investigated by outside state or federal agencies, at their discretion. If the officer involved is a federal agent, this might change that, but I’m honestly not certain.

The primary concern on use of force, and this will spill over into the DA’s decisions, and also in the administrative investigation, is, “did the suspect pose an immediate, serious threat to the officer or someone else?”

If you’re talking about a criminal who is armed, and has opened fire, either on police or civilians, then it’s very likely use of lethal force will be justified, simply because, if they’re allowed to continue, they pose an immediate threat to others.

At that point, unless there’s something seriously messed up going on, or the officer’s story doesn’t match the available evidence, it’s unlikely anyone would question their story.

Anyway, if you want a second opinion, Skypig357 is more familiar with officer involved shooting protocol, and justified use of lethal force.


How well would soft armor (ballistic vests, thick padded jackets, etc) fare against something like a baton or pipe? I know knives will cut through them with ease, but how well do blunt objects go through?

Honestly, the best street wear option against a blunt weapon would probably be motorcycle gear. That stuff is designed to take hitting the pavement at speed and keeping you in (more or less) one piece. Technically, it’s not “soft armor,” since it’s reinforced with solid plates. But it’s in the same general area.

That said, any padding will help against blunt force trauma. But, all a normal padded winter coat will help deal with is unarmed strikes. It won’t really protect you from a crowbar or baton. It will protect some, just not enough to matter.

With a Kevlar vest, I’m not sure how rigid those things are specifically. If you’re taking a blow directly to the chest, it should absorb some of the force, though I’m not sure exactly how much. ProRonin and Skypig would be the people to quantify that.

Except, it probably doesn’t really matter, because of how people actually use blunt weapons.

The common attacks with blunt weapons are strikes to the shoulders, arms, and head. You draw back and strike in towards the silhouette of your target. …and a Kevlar vest doesn’t protect any of those areas. It’s designed to save you when someone tries to shoot you in the chest, not when they’re swinging a baseball bat at your head.

You can perform a thrusting attack with a pipe, but, if you know someone else is wearing armor, it would make more sense to just strike around it. Incidentally, you can’t perform a thrusting attack with most telescopic batons, since you collapse them by striking against a hard surface. Incidentally, a quick thrusting strike is one of the most devastating things you can do with a baseball bat in combat. It delivers most of the force in a fast short motion that’s almost impossible to avoid. But, the kind of person that knows to do that is also probably the kind of person that would choose to strike around armor.

I would be genuinely surprised if a vest actually offers less protection against a knife than a leather jacket or shirt, but, some of the same considerations apply. Knife fights usually end based on injuries to the arm before following into a killing strike at an angle that would bypass a Kevlar vest, rather than trying to stab through it. And, while I’m not completely certain, I’m pretty sure an “aim for the kidneys” shanking from behind can be performed at an angle to bypass a vest.

Ultimately, we’re talking about trying to use the wrong kind of armor for the situation. Most riot gear won’t protect you from someone shooting at you, but it does wonders for someone coming at you with a sledgehammer.

The opposite is true of Kevlar. If someone’s shooting at you (and they’re far enough away), it should keep you breathing, but it’s just not going to help you when dealing with someone armed with a baseball bat, frying pan, or whatever else they managed to dredge up from their home.