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Cop intuition lends promising premise to “Paranormal Cops”

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The A & E cable network will soon debut a brand new paranormal reality series.

Truth be told, despite my affinity for the paranormal, the majority of these types of shows don’t interest me and I don’t watch most of them. Yet, the television in my home will be tuned in to the A & E cable network to watch Paranormal Cops on Tuesday night.

I’ll tell you why.

There’s a shtick for this new show, of course, but it is a shtick that intrigues me. This team is comprised of Chicago police officers who “moonlight” as paranormal detectives. This new series allows us to “ride along” with the Chicago Paranormal Detectives (CPD).

I trust the “cop intuition” or “blue sense” that many good cops possess. A good cop can sense danger in their environment. A phrase used by cops is generally some variant of: “I just had a feeling in my gut that something wasn’t right.” This feeling allows them to observe evidence or quickly pinpoint suspicious activity to support that feeling.

Don’t get me wrong, a person does not have to choose law enforcement as their day job to possess these skills in order to investigate the departed.  A good cop also possesses a specific skill set that helps to evaluate the living. A good cop can function as a human lie detector. They can infer the demeanor, facial expressions, emotions of people to detect lying, or guilt. This skill is crucial when evaluating a potential client before taking on a case. This team (hopefully like every other team out there) will not take a case based solely on a homeowner’s feeling that something “is just not right” about their environment. The homeowner must offer observed evidence and pinpointed examples of paranormal activity to support that feeling.

What makes this team stand out for me is the knowledge that members of this team were heavily screened, trained and certified to perform their day jobs. They successfully passed a battery of tests that predicted that they would be good cops. Predictions aren’t always right. “Bad cops” have been recruited into law enforcement.

Yet, there are no established and uniform screening guidelines for paranormal investigators. Anyone can form or join a paranormal team, and that worries me. Some groups do employ strict guidelines to screen and select team members. These groups are also strict in their screening process of potential clients. Not all groups are as strict. Additionally, there are generally accepted principles and methods utilized during paranormal investigatons, but they aren’t always adhered to. Paranormal teams have been known to split over the disagreement of paranormal investigation methodologies. The research methods, tools and techniques must be uniform across the board or how will we prove anything?

That is what appeals to me about CPD’s paranormal investigative methods. The methods, according to their website, are aligned with the same methods used to investigate crime scenes.

A visit to the Chicago Paranormal Detectives website reveals that pets must be removed from a home prior to an investigation. This is absolutely necessary in order to create a controlled and safe environment.

Yet, with the day job in law enforcement, it would make sense to me to employ a dog on investigations. In law enforcement, K9 units are trained to support officers in a way that’s more reliable than what man and technology can do without their aid.  The acute senses of a dog could aid in paranormal investigations. Use the K9 unit in tandem with the K2 meter. If any team could select and train a dog for paranormal investigations, this team would be it. This team doesn’t use a K9, as far as I know, so that’s neither here nor there for this show at the moment.

End of rant.

I can’t predict whether this will be a good show or a bad show. I have this feeling in my gut that the show might be good. I studied the Paranormal Cops website, the Chicago Paranormal Detectives website, as well as the team’s blog. I will examine the last piece of evidence on Tuesday night to decide whether it’s good or bad.

By Cherlyn Gardner Strong

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