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Old 06-16-2019, 02:33 PM   #121
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Lacoste is Totally Not a Serial Killer, Honest!

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
That reminded me of something rather strongly. So I went and checked:

Some players show through different characters.
The other players were starting to worry that Lacoste was just looking for justifications to 'mercy kill' someone. When 'Nonc' Morel, who'd thrown himself out of a running car during the ambush, was asked if he needed medical assistance, his player looked at Lacoste's player: "No! I'm fine!"

He later accepted an ambulance ride (he'd taken 6 HP damage), but that was more to keep an eye on 'Gwen Delvano'.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:44 AM   #122
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Default What Happens After a New Incident?

The Gulf Coast Violent Offender Task Force is being used as the structure for the manhunt surrounding the investigation of the shooting of law enforcement officers on the corner of Broadway Street and 71st Street in Galveston, just after midnight on Friday, i.e., properly speaking, Saturday, December the 29th, 2018, at 00:01.

The FBI and many other federal agencies are claiming jurisdiction of the investigation in general, but US Attorney Ryan Patrick has ruled that until definite evidence of terrorism is uncovered, this remains a local murder case, albeit a very high priority one where all necessary assistance is being provided by state and federal agencies.

The Galveston County Sheriff's Office was officially the first agency on the scene and they have both dead and wounded officers in the shooting. The Galveston PD can claim to have been present on scene the entire time, as they lost two officers and had two officers wounded, and Sergeant Buddy Duke from the GPD was among the first responders.

So both Galveston law enforcement agencies are claiming lead status on the investigation of the murder of their officers. At the moment, there is therefore something of an uncertain chain of command, given that the case can be broken up into many parts and different agencies claim priority for different responsibilities.

Officially, the US Marshals are in charge of the manhunt for those suspects still at large, as the senior officer of the GCVOTF is a US Marshal. The FBI are providing investigative support, but definitely consider themselves to be the senior partners of any investigation, if not the only important agency. The Texas Rangers and other Texas Department of Public Safety have sent investigators and troopers from the Highway Patrol Division are doing much of the work on road blocks.

Making use of the somewhat unclear division of responsibilities in the investigation, two PCs who volunteer as Reserve Deputies of several County Sheriff's Offices, among them Galveston County, got Sheriff Henry Trochesset to authorize them transporting a suspect in custody, Raul Sandoval Jara, to the harbor to check out information he had given them.

Stretching their authority even further, the PCs then lost the federal tail their vehicle had and took Mr. Sandoval out on a boat, with the intention of having him point out a container vessel connected to the shooters,* which was heading for the Port of Houston.

With questionable legality**, the PCs then boarded the container vessel Aqueronte while it was still in Galveston County waters, accompanied by Deputy Marshal Natalie Garza of the GCVOTF. Shortly after boarding, the PCs and Marshal Garza took heavy fire and called for assistance. The Galveston County Sheriff's Office SWAT and Marine Unit were already in position, as was a team from the Marine Safety Security Team Houston (MSST 91104) of the US Coast Guard, but before they made it to the Aqueronte, the PCs, with the aid of some 'local boaters'*** had subdued the resistance aboard.

The result is at least 21 dead, with numerous victims and suspects severely wounded enough so that survival is uncertain. And 41 surviving women from many different countries who appear to be victims of human trafficking are being taken to hospitals, with some of them talking to law enforcement.

Also, the information provided by Raul Sandoval Jara to the PCs has proven accurate, with two companies in the harbor area of Houston having a verifiable connection with cargo on the Aqueronte. Forensic accounting will reveal connections to companies already under investigation because suspects in the earlier shooting worked there and Sandoval's testimony proves enough for warrants for over a dozen sites in Houston and Dallas.

Those arrested in Dallas or Houston mostly refuse to talk, but numerous known associates and/or employees of the four companies connected to the incidents are not found and APBs are issued for them while police work on getting search warrants for their homes, places of work and any other relevant areas.

Now, I'm looking for guidelines on how the official response will continue to evolve over the night of Saturday the 29th of December, 2018 and then on Sunday the 30th and Monday the 31st of December, i.e. New Year's Eve, 2018.

In light of this new incident, I'm sure that at least one and possibly two task forces will be created.

Will anything change about the lead agency?

What is the response from the Texas Department of Public Safety going to be?

What is the highest ranking TxDPS officer involved going to be?

*Yes, I'm aware that the PCs could have just gotten the name of the ship without Sandoval having to go with them, but they claimed he did not know the name of the ship but could identify it, in order to provide a legal figleaf for why they were present at the ship in a law enforcement capacity. The cooperative Sandoval even agreed to back up their story in exchange for certain considerations.
**However, it may turn out to be just enough legality for the PCs to get away with it, especially as they seem to have saved almost forty women from what are clearly violent criminals with illegal weapons.
***Other 'Night Riders' (Monster Hunters) working for Kessler.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:22 PM   #123
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Default Re: What Happens After a New Incident?

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
The [URL="http://shsucj.blogspot.com/2014/03/real-talk-wcj-deputy-us-marshal-robert.html"]

(SNIP)

In light of this new incident, I'm sure that at least one and possibly two task forces will be created.

Will anything change about the lead agency?

What is the response from the Texas Department of Public Safety going to be?

What is the highest ranking TxDPS officer involved going to be?
Given that this involves people traveling across not just state lines, but national borders (the shooters came up from Mexico, IIRC), as well as out into international waters to commit crimes, the lead agency will be the FBI. Quite likely, they'll send a special agent from Washington, D.C., to lead the task force, just so the local agents can focus on the investigation and not have to worry about administrative mickeymouse.

Because it does involve shipping in U.S. territorial waters, the U.S. Coast Guard will have a liaison on the task force, as will the U.S. Marshalls (manhunts across state lines). The Texas Dept. of Public Safety will send someone to make sure the Rangers coordinate the investigation that extends across jurisdictions, in Texas (and to keep the Rangers in the loop).

The police and the sheriff will both work on the task force, but jurisdictional squabbles won't come from them. Galveston is not that big a place, they're in over their heads, and they know it.

The governor will send someone from his office (maybe even the lieutenant governor, if they get along) and the congresscritters will want to remain fully apprised of everything that happens. A liaison appointed by the FBI to assist the special agent with such matters would probably be enough for the congressional delegation, as long as said liaison remained both forthcoming and reachable.

Do expect every congresscritter to insist on a visit and a personal briefing -- with a press conference, afterwards.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas will probably send at least a couple of experienced lawyers. The U.S. Attorney will act as the lead prosecutor for most of these cases and, given the high profile, he won't tolerate any procedural f***-ups that might cost him convictions.

As for the sorta "fast-and-loose" stuff done so far, the PCs involved in law enforcement should get a moderate reaming, which will include a "no we're really not kidding" warning that the reaming for any future deviations will involve a deep-core drilling Derrick, and result in an unhappy future as a paper-pushing desk-jockey with no hope of career advancement. Ever.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:17 PM   #124
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Default Re: What Happens After a New Incident?

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Given that this involves people traveling across not just state lines, but national borders (the shooters came up from Mexico, IIRC),
Well, the shooters that law enforcement knows about so far have not been anywhere closer to Mexico than Dallas or San Antonio.

Most of them arrived on domestic flights from California, several were residents of Texas (three of them citizens), with another three flying in from Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

The only villains in the campaign so far who have come through Mexico are villains that the PCs have not yet met.

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as well as out into international waters to commit crimes,
The Aqueronte was in US waters when crimes were committed aboard it. It is, of course, almost certain that investigation will determine that the women were loaded aboard in another country, so the human trafficking charges will likely involve crossing international waters, but as far as I can determine, human trafficking is ICE jurisdiction rather than FBI.

And unless 'The Wire' lied to me, the death of a human trafficking victim inside US borders is murder falling under the jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency responsible for the geographic area where the death occurred.

There is likely to be considerable pressure from the FBI to call this terrorism, somehow, if only to justify their primacy, but there simply isn't any evidence that there is any element of political terrorism. So far, this could be simply a human trafficking operation that reacted to police attention by attacking cops and while that is scary and leads to extreme law enforcement reactions, is it legally terrorism?

My precedent for the prior shooting of police officers not being labelled terrorism in Texas is the 2016 Dallas shooting. Happened in Texas, premeditated and lethal attack on multiple police officers, resulted in massive law enforcement response, but the lead agency remained the Dallas PD, because those were legally murders in Dallas.

The incident aboard the Aqueronte might alter things in the sense that it supports an organized crime angle and introduces a human trafficking element, but it doesn't really add anything to an argument about terrorism. Not a single one of the crewmen or the other people aboard have any connection to a terrorist organization and there is no evident political motive.

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the lead agency will be the FBI. Quite likely, they'll send a special agent from Washington, D.C., to lead the task force, just so the local agents can focus on the investigation and not have to worry about administrative mickeymouse.
The FBI have resources, expertise and reputation. ICE has the advantage of actually being specialized in the crime that appears central to the second incident.

The Galveston County Sheriff's Office are technically the first agency on scene and made the arrests of everyone aboard Aqueronte, with assistance from a Deputy US Marshal and the US Coast Guard. And the people who died aboard Aqueronte were, at the time, within Galveston County. Sheriff Henry Trochesset is going to be pretty insistent that he'll welcome any and all federal and state help, but this is his case.

Practically, of course, GCSO doesn't have the resources to carry out an investigation of this size, especially as it stretches to Houston, Dallas and possibly further, but given the political struggle between the Texas Department of Public Safety and various federal agencies, the compromise position after the first shooting was to have Galveston PD be the lead agency (because Sgt. Buddy Duke of the GPD was the senior officer among those first on the scene) and have all the other agencies, federal and state, provide support.

Obviously, that face-saving compromise doesn't work any more, because GPD doesn't have jurisdiction in Galveston Bay, although GSCO does. If and when it is determined that these two incidents are related enough to require a united investigation, some new structure is required, probably complete with a dedicated task force for that investigation.

I can make QCs of Administration and/or Politics for the various factions demanding primacy, but I'd like to know which of them should have an advantage.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Houston office, Edward Michel has already been trying to throw his weight around based on the FBI being the biggest agency, but after this new incident, maybe he'll be superseded by a more senior FBI agent from DC.

If ICE wants to stake a strong claim, they should probably send a senior agent to take command of a hypothetical task force. The same applies to TxDPS.

The decision on any potential federal jurisdiction belongs to US Attorney Ryan Patrick, who is Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's son. I assume that if Texas state agencies feel very strongly about claiming jurisdiction, US Attorney Patrick would back his father's administration.

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Because it does involve shipping in U.S. territorial waters, the U.S. Coast Guard will have a liaison on the task force, as will the U.S. Marshalls (manhunts across state lines). The Texas Dept. of Public Safety will send someone to make sure the Rangers coordinate the investigation that extends across jurisdictions, in Texas (and to keep the Rangers in the loop).
I get that the USCG won't want lead status, because they don't have those kind of investigative resources. The US Marshals actually have some claim, as one of theirs was present among the first law officers on the scene and there are now multiple warrants for potentially armed and dangerous fugitives in play.

What I'm not entirely sure about is how strong the position of TxDPS might be. Can they make a plausible claim to being the lead agency? So far, there is no evidence of a crime outside Texas, only theories leading to California and whereever the human trafficking victims come from. Some financial ties to South American countries and, of course, the origins of the shooters, but I think murder is still a local jurisdictional issue even if the suspect is a tourist. And the TxDPS usually provides crime scene support for the GSCO for murders within Galveston County.

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The police and the sheriff will both work on the task force, but jurisdictional squabbles won't come from them. Galveston is not that big a place, they're in over their heads, and they know it.
Chief Vernon Hale of the GPD is absolutely not going to make a fuss. Sheriff Henry Trochesset, however, feels strongly that his office should be in charge. This might not be entirely unrelated to the fact that he has known J.R. Kessler since since he was a teenager and Chief Hale considers his colleague far too submissive to local interests. Sheriff Trochesset has been privately informed that this is one case where outsiders will not know how to handle things and he knows that this means weird stuff.

Also, the PCs are technically his men, as Reserve Deputies, and depending on who is interpreting their actions, can come out of this as heroes smelling of roses or as cowboy cops sliding into outright criminality. So Sheriff Trochesset is going to take a stand on what legal authority he can muster until he has ensured that 'his' men get out of his okay. After all, while Sheriff Trochesset doesn't really understand all this spooky stuff, he knows that Kessler and his people are on the side of the angels, even if the official version of events won't always be the whole story.

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The governor will send a liaison and the congresscritters will want to remain fully apprised of everything that happens, but a liaison appointed by the FBI to assist the special agent with such matters would be enough, as long as said liaison remained both forthcoming and reachable.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas will probably send at least a couple of experienced lawyers. The U.S. Attorney will act as the lead prosecutor for most of these cases and, given the high profile, he won't tolerate any procedural f***-ups that might cost him convictions.
Yes, it has been established already that US Attorney Ryan Patrick is very invested in these events. And as he's the son of the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, I think he's more likely to back the state authorities than the federal authorities in a potential urinating match, if it comes to that.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:55 PM   #125
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Default What Happens to the PCs?

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As for the sorta "fast-and-loose" stuff done so far, the PCs involved in law enforcement should get a moderate reaming, which will include a "no we're really not kidding" warning that the reaming for any future deviations will involve a deep-core drilling Derrick, and result in an unhappy future as a paper-pushing desk-jockey with no hope of career advancement. Ever.
Well, Lucien Lacoste and Teddy Smith are volunteer Reserve Deputies. Sheriff Trochesset can't dock their pay and can't threaten to reassign them, really, because they're not paid and if reassigned, can just stop donating their time. That being said, while their boss will allow them to get away with astonishing things, as long as he's convinced that they are bending the law to deal with occult things that normal police can't handle, the senior people from alphabet agencies, state and federal, will not be so understanding.

Legally, the PCs are actually technically in the clear. They had a warrant from the local judge, authority from their boss, the county sheriff, and the Sheriff has pretty unambigous jurisdictional authority in his county. What's going to infuriate the feds is that the PCs clearly deliberately kept them out of things and used obfusticating paperwork (critical success on Administration) and expert knowledge of exactly how far they could stretch institutional rivalries (success by 10 on Savoir-Faire (Police)) to ensure that by the time the feds got there, everything was over.

Aside from making the feds look like idiots and demonstrating cavalier disregard for interagency relations, the PCs were technically legally empowered to enforce the warrant. However, their excuses for not waiting until they had SWAT, USCG and other alphabet agendy support a mere 10-15 minutes later will sound very thin, albeit precisely the sort of thin excuses that would hold up in court, even as the feds know very well that the PCs are lying. Basically, the PCs risked their lives without needing to do so, but can justify it well enough to escape any formal punishment. The feds can try to blame the deaths on the GCSO Reserve Deputies not waiting for backup, but the PCs will counter that their paper-thin excuse that they believed they heard a cry for help actually checks out, as several victims appear to have been killed before the PCs boarded, and they rescued others that were being attacked.*

To ASAC Michel of the FBI and any other senior figures involved, however, the PCs appear to be crazy reckless and/or actively hostile to federal agencies. Or lying through their teeth because they had important inside information gathered through illegal means and needed to come up with an alternative way to justify boarding the Aqueronte. So a savvy fed might conclude that the PCs have an informant** but don't want to enter him into the official case files or that they had an illegal wiretap.

A savvy and occult-aware fed might conclude that the PCs knew about a supernatural threat and were avoiding exposing mundane cops to a vortex of dark spirits that had a high chance of causing blue-on-blue incidents.

*A somewhat awkward issue may be the mistreated victim who was executed with a shot to the back of the head. True, not with any weapon carried by the PCs, but not with a weapon found aboard either. And her status as victim or perpetrator is complex, given that her face is smeared with the blood of another victim and pieces of intenstines will be found in her mouth and gullet.
**Other than Mr. Sandoval, who refused to talk to federal investigators, but strangely was very cooperative with the PCs. Mr. Sandoval is now claiming to be an innocent bystander who had no idea what the men in whose company he briefly found himself were planning to do, but is willing to give all the information that might be desired about his place of employment, in case anyone there was responsible for this heinous attack. It may be significant that the PCs, whose testimony would be crucial to convict Mr. Sandoval of any serious crimes, are now saying that it's possible that he was involuntarily in the company of the shooters and picked up a weapon during the shooting to defend himself and/or help the police in an active shooter situation. Yes, the PCs absolutely made a deal with the leader of the OpFor that they'd do their best to let him escape the consequences of his actions if he'd help them catch his bosses.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:53 PM   #126
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A savvy and occult-aware fed might conclude that the PCs knew about a supernatural threat and were avoiding exposing mundane cops to a vortex of dark spirits that had a high chance of causing blue-on-blue incidents.
If only they could be so lucky.

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A somewhat awkward issue may be the mistreated victim who was executed with a shot to the back of the head. True, not with any weapon carried by the PCs, but not with a weapon found aboard either. And her status as victim or perpetrator is complex, given that her face is smeared with the blood of another victim and pieces of intenstines will be found in her mouth and gullet.
I'm going to assume the gunshot was either the work of Alice Talbot (who I believe you stated escaped the scene prior to the authorities knowing she was ever on boards) or Nonc Morel (who tends to do similar vanishing acts), to eliminate a sacrifice who had clearly been possessed by Something.

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Other than Mr. Sandoval, who refused to talk to federal investigators, but strangely was very cooperative with the PCs. Mr. Sandoval is now claiming to be an innocent bystander who had no idea what the men in whose company he briefly found himself were planning to do, but is willing to give all the information that might be desired about his place of employment, in case anyone there was responsible for this heinous attack. It may be significant that the PCs, whose testimony would be crucial to convince Mr. Sandoval of any serious crimes, are now saying that it's possible that he was involuntarily in the company of the shooters and picked up a weapon during the shooting to defend himself and/or help the police in an active shooter situation. Yes, the PCs absolutely made a deal with the leader of the OpFor that they'd do their best to let him escape the consequences of his actions if he'd help them catch his bosses.
I recently read back through the rest of this thread, and couldn't help but wonder if Raul might have considered going to the PC's for help, given his Secret Masters had basically ordered him to do the near-impossible or face horrifying consequences. This is why ruling through fear falls apart when faced with highly-competent foes - it's rather in your minions' interest to betray you as soon as someone who can defeat you and is likely to treat them better shows up. "Fail and I'll kill you" backfires if a potential failure mode involves getting captured, as it leaves them with betraying you as the best option for survival. A shame Raul didn't opt for the betrayal before having his men murder a number of LEO's and a paramedic.

...

Apologies I can't really add anything to the discussion of jurisdictions and political jockeying, but I do rather enjoy reading about the events of your campaign.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:33 PM   #127
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Default Re: What Happens to the PCs?

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If only they could be so lucky.
Well, they get friendly local law enforcement for their 100 points in the Patron Advantage. Federal and state law enforcement can sputter in fury and drag them through bureaucratic gauntlets, but while Sheriff Trochesset backs them to the hilt and they technically have a legal warrant, no amount of official displeasure from Austin or D.C. can seriously harm them.

Though I'll grant that such important authority figures as a senior Texas Ranger, FBI agent or even a US Attorney (or at least an Assistant US Attorney) would not be nice Enemies to have moving forward, even if they were just (Watcher) or (Rival) level. Have to hope that the PCs can handle the aftermath with enough grace, diplomacy and tact to smooth some of those ruffled feathers.

Lacoste may be prone to reckless and hard to explain behaviour, but he's also a legendary detective formerly of the NOPD, decorated for heroism and extremely popular with any cop who has worked with him (+2 to +10 Reaction bonus from most cops, depending on a variety of factors; Savoir-Faire (Police) -20). And Teddy Smith, while no charmer, at least spent more than ten years as an NCO and is an expert at Administration. He knows when to turn in exact paperwork and say absolutely nothing more than he has to.

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I'm going to assume the gunshot was either the work of Alice Talbot (who I believe you stated escaped the scene prior to the authorities knowing she was ever on boards) or Nonc Morel (who tends to do similar vanishing acts), to eliminate a sacrifice who had clearly been possessed by Something.
It was Alice and for exactly the reason you state. 'Nonc' Morel doesn't kill people.

In fact, 'Nonc' Morel tried his best to stop Alice from killing Ms. Alba. As Lacoste and 'Nonc' proved, it was possible to expel the possessing entity without murder, although I'll grant that there was no guarantee that this would have succeeded in this case before more people died. However, while shooting Ms. Alba might theoretically have been justifiable, it is perhaps even harder to explain why it was necessary to slash, cut and stab her several times and put six bullets in her kidneys, spine and heart before executing her with the last bullet.

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I recently read back through the rest of this thread, and couldn't help but wonder if Raul might have considered going to the PC's for help, given his Secret Masters had basically ordered him to do the near-impossible or face horrifying consequences. This is why ruling through fear falls apart when faced with highly-competent foes - it's rather in your minions' interest to betray you as soon as someone who can defeat you and is likely to treat them better shows up. "Fail and I'll kill you" backfires if a potential failure mode involves getting captured, as it leaves them with betraying you as the best option for survival. A shame Raul didn't opt for the betrayal before having his men murder a number of LEO's and a paramedic...
Yes, this is why, in general, a sensible Evil Overlord should aim to treat his employees firmly, but fairly, not punishing them for events beyond their control and reward honesty, even if your minions are telling you upsetting truths. Abusive managment styles just lead to poor performance. Also, loyalty enforced through threats tends to be very volatile, as you note. Once Raul Sandoval was sure that his bosses would seek to visit upon him a fate worse than death for his failure, switching sides to any enemy of your old masters that appear powerful becomes the only rational choice.

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Apologies I can't really add anything to the discussion of jurisdictions and political jockeying, but I do rather enjoy reading about the events of your campaign.
It's always good when people can derive enjoyment from one's modest little amusements.
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Old 02-15-2020, 02:44 AM   #128
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It was Alice and for exactly the reason you state.
Quiet little Alice is somewhat bloodthirsty these days, isn't she? One might even wonder if she's quite the same person as before she was sacrificed?
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Old 02-15-2020, 06:03 AM   #129
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Default Alice? Who the ---- is Alice?

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Quiet little Alice is somewhat bloodthirsty these days, isn't she? One might even wonder if she's quite the same person as before she was sacrificed?
I've replied in the Caribbean by Night thread, where discussion of PCs specifically is more appropriate.

I like to be able to find posts that might contain valuable information (because my own notes are very fragmentary), so I'm trying to ruthlessly classify discussion about the campaign to appropriately titled threads.
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:08 AM   #130
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Default The Response of the Texas Department of Public Safety

In light of the 2016 Dallas shooting of law enforcement officers that happened in both the real world and my campaign setting, the incidents around Galveston trigger a strong public reaction, an even stronger reaction within the law enforcement community and are consequently perceived as a political hot-button issue.

The ambush of the prisoner transport at the corner of Broadway Street and 71st Street in Galveston at midnight between Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th of December, 2018, will terrify many cops but has also led to an outpouring of support for Galveston law enforcement and a lot of anger within the law enforcement community. Regardless of whether the attack and the second incident meet the legal standards for acts of terrorism for jurisdictional purposes, rumours within Texas law enforcement are swirling and most cops believe that the two incidents are definitely linked and connected to some dangerous drug cartel and/or terrorist organization.

Politicians, mostly in Texas, but some on the national stage, are falling all over each other to prove how seriously they are taking the deaths of five officers and a paramedic, as well as the critical injuries of several other officers. Reminder for non-US forumites, Sheriffs are elected officials almost everywhere in the United States, including Texas, which makes them both cops and politicians.

That means that Sheriff Henry Trochesset is at the center of a storm of publicity and pressure, made worse for him by the fact that he has to somehow try to conceal any irregularities in the case caused by inexplicable paranormal phenomena and the extracurricular activities of Kessler's people. So Sheriff Trochesset will try to retain as much control over events as he can, but realistically, he will in practical terms be mostly superseded by the absolutely vast law enforcement and investigative resources that the federal government and the state of Texas can bring to bear.

District Attorney Jack Roady in Galveston County can technically claim jurisdiction over all the serious crimes connected to the two incidents and is inclined to support Sheriff Trochesset, but while he is favorably inclined to local interests in Galveston, DA Roady has no idea about the supernatural and won't risk his career by pitting himself against any powerful political forces in Austin or Washington. So while he'd love to prosecute some or all of these cases, the ultimate decision about that will be made by more powerful and influential people than DA Roady.

From what I gather from everything I've ever read on US law enforcement, the natural inclination of most federal agencies with potential jurisdiction over an incident of this magnitude and political importance is to swoop in and take control. However, the feds are hampered in this specific case by the US Attorney to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas and the person with the authority to resolve federal jurisdictional disputes, is Ryan Patrick, the son of the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick.

And while the Patricks are not in perfect political lockstep with Texas Governor Greg Abbot (they are fairly significant rivals for influence within the Republican Party in Texas), all three of them feel very strongly that Texas can handle the investigation of an attack on Texas law enforcement (and by extension, on their sovereignty as a state) without the federal government stepping in to sideline vital Texas institutions. So US Attorney Ryan Patrick will do his political best to back up Governor Abbot and his father, as well as ensure that the federal agencies concerned will be acting in support of Texas law enforcement, not seizing jurisdiction from them.

As a consequence of all of the above, I'm imagining that the Texas Department of Public Safety will be very central to the investigation moving forward.

So I have to make some decisions. First of all, what kind of authority figures will Texas send?

Major Grover Huff, of the Texas Rangers Company A, in whose area of responsibility both incidents are?

Regional Director Jason Taylor of TxDPS Region 2 in Houston, which consists of counties in Southeast Texas?

Chief Chance Collins, the head of the Texas Rangers?

Deputy Director of Law Enforcement Operations Randall Prince of the Texas Department of Public Safety?

All four men are recently promoted to their positions and all have fairly recent stints at headquarters, so they are all somewhat logical choices as the face of the investigation and probably have the trust of Colonel Steven McCraw, Executive Director of the TxDPS.

Of course, McCraw himself might travel to Houston. He's a former FBI agent, so he might be uncomfortable personally taking a strong anti-federal position insisting on the primacy of Texas law enforcement in the case, however. Also, McCraw might have ambitions to higher office in law enforcement, which would require a presidential appointment (such positions as ICE or FBI Director or even Secretary of Homeland Security* would be possible ambitions for him), so McCraw might be inclined to favor federal interests over local political considerations.

Are there any other figures that Austin might send?

What about someone from the headquarter staff of the Texas Rangers, TxDPS or the Texas Governor's Public Safety Office?

Deputy Director Freeman F. Martin of TxDPS Homeland Security Operations springs to mind. He's a long-time Texas Ranger and experienced at being in charge of criminal investigations and wide-ranging law enforcement operations. However, putting him instead of Deputy Director Randy Prince in charge of the Texas response would send a signal that Austin was regarding these incidents as terrorism or at least terrorism-adjacent, instead of as simple criminal acts. This may or may not be what Governor Abbot wants to do.

Obviously, Governor Abbot and Lieutenant-Governor Patrick will make statements aplenty, but even if either or both come to Houston and Galveston, they are unlikely to be personally involved in making investigative decisions. Would there be any senior staffers who might get involved, however?

Also, I'm imagining that the Texas Rangers will send special units from the Special Operations Group (SOG). At minimum, the Texas Rangers will mobilize the SRT of TxDPS Region 2, Southeast Texas, and they might send in the SWAT team from headquarters in Austin, to serve high-risk warrants connected to the case, in light of the perceived risks of armed resistance.**

What else do I need to think about in connection to the Texas response?

*In the real world, there would be actual rumours about him being considered for that position only a few months later.
**The US Marshals will probably mobilize deputy marshals from their own SOG, headquartered a short distance away at Camp Beauregard in Louisiana, and both FBI and ICE will likely send tactical teams, at least regional ones.
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Last edited by Icelander; 02-15-2020 at 09:39 AM.
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