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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 12:34 am:   

It has been theorized for decades now that the Zodiac Killer may have been a cop. This is based on admittedly scant evidence, as Yellow Book outlined (Zodiac, p. 320): "Used highway Patrol cut-off technique at Blue Rock Springs, shone light in eyes of victims." That really seems to be it.

I had theorized before that Z was unfamiliar with PH, as evidenced by his phrasing in the 10-13-1969 letter: "I am the murderer of the taxi driver over by Washington St + Maple St last night..." It appears he did not know he killed Stine at Cherry, which suggests to me that he perhaps scouted the area only the night before, saw that it was devoid of traffic and pedestrians by 10 PM, and figured it would be the perfect place to kill someone, unlike the Tenderloin or Haight-Ashbury, which has patrols and passersby everywhere. He therefore memorized the intersection of Washington & Maple as the place to get a taxi ride to, but did not bother to learn the names of the other streets.

Now, in crime-ridden parts of any city, it takes time for the police to show up. However, in relatively crime-free areas, the patrols are not as frequent (at least, they don't seem to be) but they show up fast, as evidenced by Pelissetti arriving only 60 seconds after Z left the scene (granted, he was on his way home after work); Fouke & Zelms were there 2 minutes later.

Now, if Z was a cop, he should have known that police response to a crime, especially a murder, would be lightning fast in a rich, very low crime neighborhood, in contrast to a low or middle class neighborhood. This mitigates against the theory that Z was a cop. Not only that, it also mitigates against the theory that Z lived in the neighborhood, in addition to my idea outlined above; a local would have known about the fast police response to crime in the area.

This does not mean, however, that Z was not a cop groupie or something and had familiarity with police techniques (perhaps from TV, books, or whatever). This line of thinking shows that Z could not have been a cop, or he would not have been as foolish as to plan a murder in a rich, upscale part of town that he was not very familiar with.
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Hawk
Username: Hawk

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 3:03 am:   

Ed, the only other thing I know is z's acute sense of direction like a cop would have. East West etc. But I don't think he's a cop.
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SFGuns (Unregistered Guest)
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 2:22 pm:   

But people can have an accute sense of direction or even be familar with the pull up technique that Ed pointed out. There are lots of people who take an active interest in all things law enforcement - I'd bet he just had a healthy interest but wasn't actually in law enforcement.
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Jeff Andrews (Unregistered Guest)
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 3:31 pm:   

Z couldn't have been a cop. He would have been caught long ago if he was. You have to be stable like a rock to be a cop. Z was unstable. That highway patrol cut-off technique could be learned by watching most any cop show or movie. Plus, and most important, if he was a cop, his prints would be on file. Ed Rust told me in 1990 that fingerprints of various area cops were checked.
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Nite Rider (Unregistered Guest)
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 4:33 pm:   

In the late 60's, I don't think there were any informative or true to life "cop" shows on the tube such as today... He must of learned it from somewhere wouldn't you think?
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 4:43 pm:   

Maybe he went to the police academy but was never able to get a job as a cop.
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Jeff Andrews (Unregistered Guest)
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 5:41 pm:   

Good point Ed. Rider, I don't know when certain shows came out, but that's not really uncommon knowledge. Plus, he could have learned it from a book.
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Nite Rider (Unregistered Guest)
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 7:12 pm:   

Damn, there sure is alot of people phishing here lately. Hope they are using the right bait..

Jeff, What book? First you said a cop show or a movie.. now you say, he could of learned it from a book? which is it? Or maybe he just knew what the maneuver was about, from his own knowledge.
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Rob (Unregistered Guest)
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 7:32 pm:   

As a law enforcement officer, I don't think he was a cop. Shining a flash light in someone's eyes, upon approach to a vehicle, is not very effective for an officer. Although shining a spotlight in someone's car will disguise or help mask your approach to the vehicle as you first get out of a car and is effective. When you are close enough to shine a flashlight then our first concern is the things that can kill you, the hands. Our training teaches us to keep the hands in sight, shining a light in someone's eyes causes a natural reaction to turn away. If we are looking for someone under the influence we would check nystagmus or reaction to a light but I doubt an officer (a good one with any training) is going to shine the beam of a flashlight in someones eye so much that the victim would comment on that. I've trained many officers and a good many don't have an acute sense of direction, no more than a layperson.

I've followed this site for years (off and on) and respect Ed's opinion's, I agree with your assessment, I doubt seriously Zodiac was a cop. Even if he just went to an academy his prints would have been on file. I just received my Cd in the mail today and swore I wouldn't post before reviewing it, which I haven't. What is a CHP cut-off technique? I've been an officer for over 12 years and don't know what that means, by that name. Are you talking about the way the suspect parked behind his victims vehicle, or some type of pursuit intervention tactic that was used at some point of following the victim? Jeff thanks for the vote of confidence that all officers are stable as a rock, as someone who has conducted numerous IA's, I wish that was true, but there are always a few bad apples in every crowd.
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Vallejo_dave
Username: Vallejo_dave

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 7:54 pm:   

Rob--Bravo!!!!Finally a post with some sense on this.
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Tom_voigt
Username: Tom_voigt

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 7:56 pm:   

Thanks for the comments, Rob. Please let me know if you'd like a user account.
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Nick
Username: Nick

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:05 am:   

I never really bought into the notion of the Zodiac Killer being a member of law enforcement. Isn't it possible however, that his misjudgment of police response time in Presidio Heights was more the result of his not having expected there to be any direct witnesses? I'm thinking he felt he would have ample time to do his work, casually leave the scene and then disappear into the night. Had it not been for the unexpected teens, would it be safe to assume Zodiac would have had a minimal 10-15 minute jump on police?

And yes, great post Rob. Please do chime in as time permits.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 2:44 am:   

Great post, Rob! The "CHP cut-off technique" is something Yellow Book came up with, to describe how Z parked behind Ferrin and Mageau to prevent them from escaping. That appears to be the only thing suggestive of law enforcement training (at least, in Yellow Book's eyes anyway).

I suspect the main reason many think Z was LE was because Vallejo was a small town of around 70,000 in 1969, so how could someone like Z escape detection unless he was on the inside, ie, a corrupt cop?
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Sean
Username: Sean

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 7:16 am:   

I think the most interesting things to consider with regard to Z being a cop or having some inside information, is his claim regarding shooting a guy with a .38.
Many thought of course that this referred to Radetich, if so, I wonder if that specific information was public knowledge, seems unlikely!
It's also interesting I think that there was an apparent error on the original report regarding the gun Stine was shot with. Appearently it was first listed as a .38. In one sense we could see how his claim was truthful(in context of course)

I think Ed, if you draw a line of logic through your above theory (regarding Zodiac's lack of knowledge of P.H)you would have to draw the same conclusions about Vallejo.
Zodiac never mentioned Blue Rock Springs but wrote "by the golf course in Vallejo" and also consider Nancy Slover's comments about the call mentioning the "Public Park" which she thought a local wouldn't do.
Yet, I think the more compelling evidence suggests that he knew it well.I think it far more likely Zodiac was just being deceptive.
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Hawk
Username: Hawk

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 2:20 pm:   

I watched a cold case show about a serial rapist. The detectives had a hunch that the perp was a cop because of the way he held his flashlight, up on his shoulder. It turns out they were right.

I wonder how Z held his flashlight at BRS?
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Bryanthegiant
Username: Bryanthegiant

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 10:50 pm:   

As a former Military Police on Treasure Island, we learned many Police stop techniques, The Zodaic may have been a MP, there are plenty of reasons that he was in or around the military (Wingwalker or Navy Boondockers) Ed I would like to point out that in San Diego CHP Officer Craig Peyer Killed Cara Knott, 50 call to crimestoppers, some police officer might think they can get away with the perfect crime, and those are the one that get caught
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George
Username: George

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 11:48 pm:   

IMO, if there is any cop-related connection at all, it's that as Ed said, Z could have been a wannabe. That's about as far as I'd go with it. Except to add that while not a theory of mine, Vallejo cops are singled out more than once, the bus-bomb letter perhaps containing the most interesting, if laconic, reference to VPD. Yeah, yeah, a "fake clew." Could be, and if so I'd call it his best one.

The thing about the Zodiac as a cop which really doesn't work for me isn't the position of a flashlight or a good sense of direction or a few other things that one with above-average intelligece and plenty of time to brood/fantasize couldn't figure out. Or, at worst, read in a Chandler book or crime magazine. JMO.
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Hawk
Username: Hawk

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Saturday, July 29, 2006 - 9:50 am:   

After further thought, Zodiac went to the passenger side of the cars at LHR & BRS.

One would think:

1. If Z was a cop, he would go to the driver side of the car just from habit.

2. If he was pretending to be a cop he would go to the driver side first.

3. In a Lovers Lane situation, More than likely the male would be the driver. The Male is the strongest and the greatest threat of the two, Thus you would want to take out that threat first. Yet, Z chose to go to the passenger side . Thats odd.
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Vallejo_dave
Username: Vallejo_dave

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, July 29, 2006 - 5:44 pm:   

Hawk, I think Z went to the passenger side door because he knew that MM was on that side. This indicates that he knew MM was on that side of the car, and wanted to eliminate him first. A real cop stop like this would have gone to the driver's side first.
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Hawk
Username: Hawk

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 8:04 am:   

V Dave, Explain why you think Z knew MM was on the passenger side. Remember, it was dark when the car pulled up next to them earlier.
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Vallejo_dave
Username: Vallejo_dave

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 8:42 am:   

I think Z knew that Darlene would be driving, so he came to the passenger side to get MM first. He may have known them both, and the vehicle.

At LHR, he came to the passenger side also, but he let them get out, and shot Farraday first at close range. He wanted to waste the males first in both cases. A professional policeman would have gone to the driver's side first in both cases,imo. However, this does not rule out a cop. He may have known the victims.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 10:36 pm:   

Dave, that's pure speculation. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Z may have known either or both victims. Yellow Book fabricated that fictional idea just to make his book more exciting. In fact, I bet he got the idea from the 1971 The Zodiac Killer, where Jerry the postman aka The Zodiac Killer not only knew the Darlene Ferrin character but frequented the diner where she worked (and killed her for personal reasons too; it was not random like the others).
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Nachtsider
Username: Nachtsider

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 - 12:34 pm:   

Either that, or Graysmith served as an advisor to the crew who made that ridiculous movie.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 - 5:24 pm:   

He wasn't, but he actually admitted to seeing it in the theater. Paul Avery of the "Cronical" is listed as a consultant, however...
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Yarbchris
Username: Yarbchris

Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 - 7:06 pm:   

Maybe Zodiac approached the passenger side because he saw a female in the driver seat. I don't picture the Zodiac being a cop. If he were, he would not necessarily have had to ambush his victims in the manner that he did. He could have easily maneuvered them into a more vulnerable position as he did at LB. I do see a lot of indicators that suggest he may have wanted to be a policeman, though I don't see that as a large part of his motivation.

I think it is interesting though, that in the Colonial parkway murders, investigators thought the perp may have been a cop or park ranger. The Parkway killer had a similar, yet different, M.O. compared to the Zodiac. The Parkway killer convinced his prey (young couples) to leave the safety of their vehicle. No one was able to escape him like they were the Zodiac.

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