Attention: Super-Secretive Secret This Way. Pay No Mind To This Sign.

This is a real sign.

This is a real sign.

Look, I am not one to spit in the face of modern-day heroes. There are people in the world who can do jobs that I could not possibly imagine doing. If I were a firefighter, there is a strong chance I would offer to “stay outside as a lookout” because fiery infernos are very hot and I sweat easily. My military career would be cut very short due to a certainty I feel that I would, if given the appropriate weapon, accidentally shoot myself several times.

The most visible of these valiant do-gooders, though, are the police. Being an officer of the law has to be really rough. Sure, it looks like a real hoot when you are watching “The Andy Griffith Show,” but in reality you have to deal with dangerous nutjobs that are sometimes armed. If you have not worked your way up to dangerous nutjob level on the force, you are in charge of telling citizens that they now owe the city money because they have no idea what “Schoolzone: 15 mph” means.

And what thanks do these heroes get? The get one very unfavorable mention in an N.W.A. song 26 years ago that is now frequently quoted every time someone gets a traffic ticket.

Now, I hate to pile onto the disrespect that these officers get, but I have a bit of a question. See, I was on my way to work this morning when I turned right at an intersection. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a blue sign that I had never seen before:

METRO POLICE NOTICE: UNDERCOVER SURVEILLANCE OPERATION IN PROGRESS

Far be it from me to suggest that the crack team who has been placed in charge of protecting this fair city is doing something wrong, but this seems to make no sense. Not a bit. You have placed a sign that, in all capital letters, tells everyone in the area that you are hiding from them and watching them.

See, it seems to me that an “undercover” surveillance should be just that: undercover. According the Dictionary.com, undercover means “working or done out of plain sight; secret.” While you may be doing something out of plain sight, your sign announcing that you are doing something out of plain sight kind of defeats the purpose of the secret.

To put it another way, let’s pretend your friend is having a huge surprise birthday party. You get the cake and balloons. There is just one step left, so you send someone out to put up a sign 15 from your friend’s door that says “ALL FRIENDS OF KEVIN NOTICE: SECRET BIRTHDAY PARTY IN PROGRESS.” Then Kevin would walk into the most expected surprise of all time.

It would even be better to have a sign that says “METRO POLICE NOTICE: UNDERCOVER SURVEILLANCE OPERATION IN PROGRESS?” At least this way people would be questioning it. If you really insist on signs, I would go with a denial sign: “METRO POLICE NOTICE: NO SURVEILLANCE HERE, THAT’S FOR SURE. GO ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS BECAUSE NOTHING IS OUT OF THE ORDINARY.” Yes, it is a bit wordy, but I think that criminals would all feel very confident that there were no cops nearby, allowing for a record number of arrests.

Look, I am no professional crime fighter like you all are. I have not gone to the police academy. I have not even seen all of the “Police Academy” movies. Maybe putting signs up like this is the surest way to catch a criminal. They stand there with their drugs and weapons reading the sign. They have no idea whether they are being watched or if this sign is just there to make them think they are being watched. They go back and forth for hours until an officer comes around the corner. At that point, they are so confused that they just throw their criminal utensils down and admit to their many indiscretions.

It just seems to me that, in the future, you might be better served to not announce your secrets to the people you are trying to catch. I guess that is why I will never be a cop: I just do not understand how law enforcement works.

Well, that and my crippling fear that I would accidentally pepper spray myself. It would definitely happen and I have a feeling I would not care for it.

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4 thoughts on “Attention: Super-Secretive Secret This Way. Pay No Mind To This Sign.

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