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The Fuzz Congregation Effect

Sunday 09 March 2003 at 01:20 am I noticed something about police today. I'm not trying to pick on them, just pointing out something I've noticed.

Tonight I was driving home from several games of pool, and just as I approached the intersection, a cop coming from the opposite direction flicked his lights on and tore down a side street. Being super curious, I followed.

The cop pulls up behind a car. A tall, lanky kid sticks his head out of the window, waves or gestures, and I lose sight. I do a U-turn, pass again, and now the kid is out of the car doing what looks like sobriety tests. I decide nothing exciting was going on, and head home again. Then I pass another cop who doesn't have his/her lights on, but is in some kind of hurry. So I say what the heck and go back for another pass.

By the time I get back to passing the "crime scene," four, count 'em, four cop cars are there, about 7 cops, all with their lights blazing. It's a friggin' lanky teenager. It's not Rocky, it's not Arnold. He doesn't have a gun (that I can see).

This is what I like to call "The Fuzz Congregation Effect." I understand that some traffic or other stops require backup, and true, I am not a cop myself, nor do I understand their job. But 4 cop cars for a kid and a car? Just because it is a late night doesn't mean that ALL of the cops on duty for Falls Church need to be at the only happening crime scene in town! What if there was a life-or-death situation on the other side of the city? If the two extra cop cars would have been covering their area or just driving around, there is statistically a much better chance at a better response time than if they are all congregated somewhere else.

Sure, it probably doesn't happen much, but I've seen "the Fuzz Congregation Effect" happen other places too. It's like a slow night with a single crime scene turns into the equivalent of the water cooler for cops. Interesting.
two comments

My mom recently told me she saw 7 police cars with one car stopped. I was recently a “Police Officer Applicant” with Fairfax County (I live over by Ft. Belvoir) so I will try and give some info on this. Once you make a stop, you radio it in, and any cars in the vacinity will come over for backup. A lot of times you’ll see just two cars which is enough in my opinion. Four cars, I agree sounds like over-kill, but the other responding cars probably did not know who else was going to respond for backup, and in this case there were 3 cars in close enough proximity to respond, so you end up with 4 cars total. Personally I would think that if you already see 3 cars there, they probably have the situation under control and you can go about your patrol. You could even pull up and ask if they need any help (which they probably don’t) if you really wanted to check. Also, when responding they were most likely not told “Lanky teen” but only that it was a stop for supposed drunken driving. If you’ve ever seen Cops or any of those chase videos, you can see that alcohol has differing affects on people. Some are as calm and nice as could be, while others are extremely belligerent and violent. It would also help to have multiple units standing by if the person tried to run on foot (some could follow in their car) or take off in their vehicle, by having more than 2 cars you could possibly attempt a rolling road block and bring the suspect to a stop safely without endangering other motorists. But as you say, it could just be a slow night. These people are working at times 11 hour shifts which can be very boring and lonely (which is the reason you’ll see two cars parked next to each other where patrol areas abut to chat for a while) and I can certainly understand that they at the very least want to see what’s going on, and see if they can be of some help (like I said, they probably don’t know who else is responding).
Chris - 09 03 03 - 12:52

I once had fuzz congestion. You know, when you get too much lint down your throat. I hate fuzz congestion.
Frank - 11 03 03 - 10:02

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