Use 'outside-of-the-box' thinking in contraband searches

Submitted by:
PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wylie


A recent PoliceOne news report told of a woman being busted for trying to smuggle her common-law-husband out of a Mexican prison in a large, wheeled suitcase following a conjugal visit. The story is admittedly humorous — but it also serves as a serious reminder about the importance of outside-of-the-box thinking when it comes to spotting contraband and locating people trying to hide from you. The key is to remain curious, alert, and somewhat skeptical. You must resist the temptation to make immediate assumptions based on what appears obvious:

“Oh, that’s a suitcase. Obviously, there must be clothes in there.”

“It’s December 24th and there finely-wrapped boxes in that trunk, so of course they must be Christmas presents.”

Officers have found contraband and suspects hidden virtually everywhere and anywhere. That includes full septic tanks in mobile homes, behind false walls in homes, in ceilings, in gas tanks... even curled up in suitcases! While keeping an eye out for contraband or hidden suspects, remember to look up, in, under, over, through and around.

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community.

On a daily basis, Doug is in close personal contact with some of the top subject-matter experts in law enforcement, regularly tapping into the world-class knowledge of officers and trainers from around the United States, and working to help spread that information and insight to the hundreds of thousands of officers who visit PoliceOne every month.

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Contact Doug Wyllie

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