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There is a criminal code. Not the one that’s made up of statutes, but one that is followed by criminals. In today’s special bonus, our usual suspects talk through the rules that criminals crime by, followed by a short discussion about the growing role of Artificial Intelligence in policing.

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Paul:  Hey, Small Town Fam. This is Paul Holes. Make sure you subscribe to The Briefing Room with detectives Dan and Dave. Season 2 is out now. Subscribe now, and thanks.

Yeardley:  Hey, Small Town Fam. It’s Yeardley. How are you, guys? Listen, I want you to know that we’re working really hard on getting our next season together for you. And it’s a good one. In the meantime, we have two pieces of business to talk to you about today. The first one is that we’ve launched an audience survey. Woo-hoo. My friends, I’m telling you, we’re coming up with some good stuff over here at Small Town Dicks HQ. But before we make any final decisions, we want to hear from you. So, if you haven’t already, please visit That’s Small Town Dicks dotcom forward slash survey. Do it before March 30th, 2024, and let us know your thoughts. It’s important.

 The second order of business is that we realize it’s been quite a few weeks since you last heard from us. So, we dug around in our deep library of Patreon stories and found a couple of super delicious nuggets to share with you today. The first snackety-snack is about the criminal code. Not the law enforcement criminal code, not that one that’s made up of actual statutes. Oh, no. This is the code of real-life criminals, the one that they adhere to. Because, as detectives Dan and Dave have told us, “Just because you’re breaking a law doesn’t mean there aren’t rules you still need to follow.” The second segment you’re going to hear came from a listener question about AI in policing. I’ll tell you more about that after you’ve devoured this delicious in nugget dig in.


Yeardley:  Hey, Small Town Super Fam. How are you, guys? It’s Yeardley. So happy that you’re here. It’s so great. We wouldn’t do this without you. I’m very lucky. I have with me, Detective Dan.

Dan:  Good afternoon.

Yeardley:  [laughs] Good afternoon.

Dan:  Good afternoon, Yeardley.

Yeardley:  Good afternoon, Daniel. I couldn’t tell if you were deciding whether or not you thought I was lucky or what time of day it was.

Dan:  Line.

Yeardley:  [laughs] And I have Detective Dave.

Dave:  Hi, there.

Yeardley:  Hi, there. Short and sweet. Simple. So, one of the things that comes up sometimes on Small Town Dicks that I, as a layperson, find so interesting is that there is a thing called a criminal code. And I don’t mean like law enforcement calling–

Dan:  Like, statutes.

Yeardley:  Right. That’s what I’m trying to say. Literally, criminals have their own moral code, which I would say doesn’t comport with my moral code, but I think it’s interesting that they have one within their own structure. So, when you go to prison, for instance, you have to bring your sheet that says what you’ve been charged with. And sex offenders, people who commit crimes against women and children, domestic abuse are very, very low on the totem pole of the criminal code.

 So, I wanted Dan and Dave to talk a little bit about some of the criminal codes that they are familiar with over the course of their careers. So, Dave, I’m going to start with you.

Dave:  God bless the code. There are countless examples of frequent flyers that you have sometimes adversarial interactions at work, but there are guys and a few females that over the years you get to know and you treat them well and they’re like, “That cop has never been an asshole to me and I’ll talk to him.” You develop those types of relationships. That’s why every interaction counts, like, truly every interaction.

 When you need information from those folks, and I can remember one sex offender that I had been looking for days, and I was trying to track the sex offender down. I went out to a neighborhood where I had constantly been chasing a certain guy. His name was Bradley. And he lived with his mom. Bradley was really good at running. Bradley was never a dick after he got caught. He’d just be like, “You got me.” This is what we do. Like, this is what Bradley does, and he knows that we chase. But on that day, I saw Bradley and he looked at me like, “Get the fuck off my block, dude.” And I said, “Bradley, can I talk to you for a second?” And he’s like, “I’m not wanted, man.”

Yeardley:  [laughs] Right.

Dave:  “I got no warrants. You can’t do shit to me right now.” And I just said, “Bradley, guy associated with that house down the street about four houses down and across the street from your house is wanted for sexually abusing his daughter and three little nieces. All under 15 years. Some under 10 years. Can you just give me a call on my cell phone when you see a car arrive and anybody walk in that apartment?” He goes, “You know, I’m not a snitch, man,” but he goes, “Little girls?” I go, “Yeah.” And he goes, “I’ll fucking call you.”

 Sure enough, he called me about three hours later, “Hey, that card is pulled up and it’s a guy, and I think it’s his girlfriend, they just walked in. They’re out here right now.” “Thanks, man.” That’s the payoff that it pays off just by treating people with decency and respect. I wasn’t always like that as a cop. I mean, there’s certain people who got really under my skin. So, there is a code.

Yeardley:  I remember also when we spoke to a guy, we called Sam in an episode we called The Accused, which is in Season 4, that he had this very specific code. So, this was a man who was wrongly accused of a crime and then got out. Got out of prison.

Dan:  A pretty big crime.

Yeardley:  Yeah. Murder. [giggles] Yeah. And he was in for-

Dan:  Many years.

Yeardley:  -more than a decade.

Dan:  Yes.

Yeardley:  And his whole thing was, if you are in prison, you get out and then you come back to prison. I have no respect for you. I will no longer acknowledge your presence.

Dan:  And the reason behind that is you obviously don’t value your freedom.

Yeardley:  Right.

Dan:  You continue to make bad decisions and you don’t value your freedom, and here I am serving time for a crime that I didn’t commit, and you’re taking your freedom for granted.

Yeardley:  Yeah.

Dan:  So, I get that.

Yeardley:  It was so interesting to me that that was a really important, specific part of the way that he conducted himself. But I want to get back to sex offenders, because we’ve said quite a bit on Small Town Dicks, that sex offenders are the lowest of the low on this rather rickety prison totem pole of hierarchy. And Dave, since your former caseload was sex crimes and child abuse, I want to know what are the misconceptions people might have about how you’re going to have to pay up in prison if you’re a sex offender.

Dave:  We all had what we thought sex offenders are treated like in prison. Oh, they must be sexually assaulted all the time and beat up at the bottom of the pile. There are aspects to that. Socially, they’re pariahs and they get that kind of treatment from other inmates inside. But I remember arresting a guy for child sex abuse material. This is famous where Dan is just searching the inside of a closet, and just puts his hand up on a whim and finds a nail on the inside of the door of the closet that’s got the thumb drive with all the incriminating evidence on it. Truly secreted in an area that’s unlikely to be found. I would have searched that closet and never found it.

Yeardley:  Because you couldn’t see it, but you could feel it when you feel around the door jam, right?

Dave:  Yeah. How many people do that?

Yeardley:  Yeah. Nobody. [giggles]

Dave:  The suspect in that case was an enormous man, like bodybuilder, tatted up, had spent time in prison before for distribution of methamphetamine, stolen cars, that kind of stuff. But it’s not like you go away for decades with those charges. You go away for 9 months, 18 months, 32 months, stuff like that, and then you get released. So, that was this suspect’s experience in prison was, as a drug dealer and a car thief. When I caught him on my case for child sex abuse material, he recognized that’s going to be a different experience inside prison, and he was stressing about it. He lawyered up on me right away.

 And I remember I brought him down to the police station, and I just sat him in an interview room, took his handcuffs off and I was just like, “Hey, man, you’re locked in here, but if you need anything, knock on the door.” So, now I’m just doing paperwork, in the middle of that, this suspect has a heart event and he’s knocking on the door and he’s sweating profusely. I’m attributing this to, we call it handcuff induced anxiety attacks, handcuff induced strokes, handcuff induced epilepsy, handcuff induced heart attacks that when handcuffs go on, people feign or fake a heart attack. They feign a seizure. And it’s all in an effort too, I don’t want to go to jail. I’m hoping medically they don’t want to deal with me that they’ll just give me a citation and say, “Here’s your court date in three weeks.”

 There are people that we would do that for. However, for A and B felonies, your exposure is guaranteed prison time. You’re not likely to get a site and release type deal from me. This suspect is in such distress that I’m like, “Even if he’s faking it, I’m calling because I don’t trust myself to evaluate this guy.” Like, he makes a claim that he’s having a heart issue, we’re calling right away. There was no delay in getting this guy help. Like, “Let’s get people here.” So, I remember the firefighters come walking down our hallway into the detective area, and they treat this subject and they say, “Hey, he needs to go to the hospital right now.” I’m like, “Oh, shit.” Usually, they don’t. Usually, the medics are like, “His vitals are all stable. There’s nothing elevated, and he’s good to go.” Usually, that’s what happens.

 In this case, they transport this subject. I just meet at the hospital. I didn’t ride with him. I just said, “Hey, you’ll be there.” Clearly, he’s not faking this, if you guys are this concerned. He had a heart attack.

Yeardley:  Oh, my God.

Dave:  Yeah. And it was mild, but he had a true heart issue, true heart event, in our detective section. But I’m sitting there at the hospital for hours with this guy while we’re figuring out what we’re going to do. He’s getting hooked up to all the equipment, and we’re just talking. But he’s lawyered up, so we don’t talk about anything that’s relevant to the case. But he says, “What am I getting charged with?” And I tell him, and he’s like, “Fuck. Fuck.” And I said, “What’s going on?” He goes, “This is bad. I’m going to have to pay rent.” And I said, “What are you talking about?” And he goes, “When I get to prison, they’re going to ask me on the first day, show me your papers and they’re going to see what I’m charged with.” And I said, “So, what does paying rent mean in your situation?” This is not a guy that is likely to get overpowered by one or two guys.

Yeardley:  Mm-hmm.

Dave:  He is a guy that probably couldn’t take five or six guys on and fight them and overpower them, but he can handle himself. He’s actually got good people skills. The only cloud is he’s got these charges hanging over his head, and he says, “Rent is going to be any money I get in the commissary is going to go to somebody else. Any care package that’s sent to me that has a comfort type thing, like, sometimes these guys can get a nice pair of shoes.” He goes, “Those won’t last on my feet. I’ll have to give those up. Everything that is advantageous or a comfort in prison, I will not be able to have in my possession. It has to go to somebody else.” He goes, “That’s what rent is going to look like for me.”

Yeardley:  So, it’s not necessarily physical abuse from other inmates?

Dave:  Not necessarily. I’m sure that happens. But years ago, there’s a thing called, the Prison Rape Elimination Act. It’s called PREA, P-R-E-A. And sexual assault is taken very seriously in custodial facilities. That is something that jails and prisons are expected to make sure that there is a way to report those things, that they’re not covered up, that there aren’t situations where inmates who are vulnerable are going to be exposed to situations where they’re stuck in the shower with eight guys that hate sex offenders. We try to mitigate those situations. It’s not like 20 years ago. It’s not like 50 years ago. It’s more civilized, as much as it can be. But inmates, they police their own society. So, they have their own code, they have their own expectations, and it’s all in an effort to make sure that they can just function in prison, “Let’s not make it worse than it already is when we’re inside,” right?

Yeardley:  Right. And I would say that that also ties back to though the guy that you encountered on the street when you said, “Listen, this dude four doors down is raping little girls. Can you just call me when he comes to his own house or leaves the house?” Again, the code, like, you can’t hurt children.

Dave:  After the first couple of times where I’d say, “Hey, I need some help,” and they’d be like, “I’m not a snitch.” You’d be like, “Well, would this change your mind?” I used to know that I had that in my back pocket when I would approach somebody and say, “Hey, can you help me out?” And they’d be like, “Fuck you, man.” “What if I told you that the guy I want to ask you about has been sexually abusing little boys?” He’d be like, “Ah, you got a cell phone number?” It’s that quick.

Yeardley:  Interesting.

Dave:  Really that quick. Just to wrap up on that story, this suspect that had the heart event– On a human level, I felt really bad for this guy. He had gotten out, gotten his life clean. Clean, meaning, he’s not dealing drugs and he’s not stealing cars. He had a job, but he had an attraction to little kids, and he was doing really bad stuff on the computer. I don’t like that about him. I can say, every interaction I had with this man was pleasant and polite and cordial. And he was very respectful.

 Years later, I get a heads up that this inmate had died of a heart attack while in prison. I still feel bad because I was like, “He’s actually a nice guy.” Did horrible things, but I truly I’m like, “Okay, I’m in a good spot.” If I can still feel compassion, that’s a good sign for me that I can recognize, “Hey, he’s got his flaws, but he actually treated me very nicely.” I can say that about him.

Yeardley:  How about you, Dan? What are some of the criminal codes you encountered when you were a detective?

Dan:  Obviously, nobody wants to be labeled as a snitch.

Yeardley:  Right. That’s key, isn’t it?

Dan:  Yes. So, if you’re asking someone questions where maybe they’re going to be snitching on another person, if you’re asking those questions in an open environment where they might be witnessed by someone else in the neighborhood, people are not going to snitch in those situations. But it’s funny. Once you get them in the car and you start driving back to the police station, they’ll say, “Hey, I didn’t want to talk to you out there, because I have to show that I’m not going to cooperate with you, because I was being watched. But now I will tell you, A, B and C.”

Yeardley:  What’s the motivation for them to tell you that?

Dan:  Because in rare cases, it’s just their conscience. But mostly, it’s they want consideration for the information that they’re giving you. So, they want you to go easy on them. They want to maybe get a citation in lieu of custody, so they don’t go to jail. Typically, I worked some drug cases with our drug detectives, but people want to work off charges, so they will snitch out their dealer for consideration, and we’ll have them go do a controlled buy. But they want to be confidential informants. They don’t want to be named. You don’t want to be labeled a snitch. You just don’t.

Dave:  Now you’re officially on court record as being a signed-up snitch for the cops. Like, that is bad, bad collar to have to wear around the rest of your life. Everyone knows you can’t be trusted.

Dan:  Yeah. There’s a reason why there’s a phrase, “Snitches are a dying breed.”

Dave:  Take this with a grain of salt or however you want to. But we used to deal with, I would say wannabe gang members. I know what gang members look like, and I understand they’re a lot of times not to be fucked with. But we had little wannabes in our town. They thought they were hard, but they do really stupid things to try to get their reputation. So, they’ll go do a drive by.

Yeardley:  Drive by shooting?

Dave:  Drive by shooting. They’ll go do stupid stuff. They’ll go jump somebody at the mall and fight them in the middle of the food court just to show, “Hey, I’m not one to be fucked with, and I did this right out in public.” So, you deal with these little shits that you’re like, “One day you end up in prison, and you get to meet an actual real gang member, and you pull your little Small Town shit one of these guys who’s actually seen something. How long are you going to do that? It won’t last very long.” But these guys, you could fuck with them.

 So, you get the mouthiest one in the group, [Yeardley laughs] the guy who’s motherfucking the cops up and down, and he’s just a little shit. And every once in a while, right in front of their buddies, you go, “Hey,” say this guy’s name is Johnny, “Johnny, thanks for the call last week. That information helped out a lot,” and you just walk away.

Yeardley:  [laughs] Whether or not he called you.

Dave:  Shuts people up real quick, and they start looking around like, “Oh.” And then the next time you see that guy, he’s like, “That was fucked up what you did.” And you’re like, “Next time, are we going to be cool and we have interaction? Are you going to keep your mouth running?” It’s a two-way street, this respect thing.

Yeardley:  Right. So, interesting. I could talk about this all day. Small Town Super Fam, you guys are awesome. We’re so happy you’re here. Thank you so much for your support. We’ll see you next time.


Yeardley:  Hi, I’m back. I sure hope you enjoyed the conversation about The Criminal Code. Who knew, right? In our next segment, our detectives tackle a question about artificial intelligence and how it might factor into police work in the future. It’s a hot topic, for sure, and it has its own set of ever evolving rules. But today, we’re focusing on just one aspect of AI and policing. After you’ve heard it, you know what I’m going to say. We’d love to hear your thoughts about it on our socials.


Yeardley:  Hey, Small Town Super Fam. How are you, guys? Oh, my God, it’s so good you’re here. It’s Yeardley. I’m here with Detective Dan.

Dan:  Hello.

Yeardley:  Hello. I’m here with Detective Dave.

Dave:  Hi, there. [Yeardley laughs] I never know what to say.

Yeardley:  They think I am the weirdest, kookiest, just like good God, get on with it. And we have the one and only, Paul Holes.

Paul:  Well, I always feel pressure as to, what am I going to say on the coattails of Dan and Dave. They’re always so brilliant in how they acknowledge you, Yeardley. But hi.

Yeardley:  You’re very generous.

Dan:  I’m a window licker. So–

Yeardley:  [laughs]Honestly. I’m not kidding. I think they’re all just, “Could you just say hello, Yeardley? Could we just get on with it?” No, we can’t. No. So, today, we’re going to answer a question from one of our fabulous Patreon listeners. We love it when you guys write to us. This one comes from Peyton. Peyton, if you’re driving, don’t run off the road. If you’re gardening, drop the spade. Just saying. Here’s what Peyton writes in. “I’m listening to Pariah,” which is an episode we did, obviously, on Small Town Dicks. “And Detective Dave is describing having to watch every instance of hundreds of hours of child porn. Can AI help with that, or will it be able to help when its image recognition capability is built up, or does it have to be a human who watches these things?”

Dave:  That is a good question. It’s not one that I’ve ever even entertained before, however, knowing how court procedures work.

Dan:  Rules of evidence.

Dave:  Yeah. So, I’m trying to picture AI being sworn in for testimony.

Yeardley:  [laughs]It’s a good point.

Dave:  That’s where you have these issues is that defendants have the right to face their accusers. So, this is one of those where a human has to do that work because they have to write the report. Now, whether or not AI could help with the summaries, I don’t know that I would wish that on AI. [Yeardley laughs] I spent the last seven years of my life trying to forget that stuff. So, it’s weird to think about, could AI help potentially in this situation where maybe the facial recognition and the software? [chuckles] I’m exposing, my ignorance of how it works, but AI will have to get super sophisticated for it to help in these instances, how do you program AI to start looking for things that I hate to say it this way, but they’re not the intention of the person directing the video? The intention is to capture the abuse, not to capture evidence that you see in the background that might aid you in identifying where or whom is involved.

Yeardley:  Right. Like, a picture on the wall or stuffed animal or something like that.

Dave:  Right. So, truly, I would watch these videos. And the first run would be very focused on the victim. The second run would be very focused on the suspect. The third run, I’d probably go back over each of those again to make sure that I’m not missing anything. Then I would go to the background and I’d start trying to pick out any identifying features in the videos. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children actually has a victim ID lab that you can send in all of your files and say, “Have you seen these before?” Because plenty of child sex abuse material type cases, child pornography, plenty of those cases, I came across a file with one suspect, and years later, came across the same file with another suspect. So, this stuff truly gets traded like baseball cards. So, you have offenders who have the same types of files in their folder. They’ve never met the suspect that I’m interviewing years later. They just all know where to go to get it.

Paul:  Yeah. And it seems to me AI would be more conducive to searching through terabytes of digital data to find the child abuse material. Because right now, my understanding is when we have– let’s say, we have a computer or we have a server. There’s algorithms that can search for images. They recognize known images based on the hash. It’s run the bits of data that make up that image through a mathematical algorithm and creates this hash. And so, when it finds an image that it goes, “Oh, I’ve seen that image before based on this hash. I know that’s child abuse material that’s being distributed between these offenders.” That’s how we can find it. But there’s so much new child abuse material that the system would likely miss.

 And so, it takes the human eye to scroll through thousands and thousands of images to find that unknown image, whereas I think AI would be able to possibly pick out, “Oh, it looks like I have a kid in an exploitive pose,” for an example. Then now, it would go to somebody like what Dave used to do to say, “Yes, that is a crime right there.”

Dave:  My iPhone, if I go into my image library, my photo archive– I did it with Zipper. I typed in cat. Once I typed in Zipper, and all of a sudden, it filtered through and it captured a bunch of animals in my photo archive. And so, that’s truly how I started sifting through. I did the same thing with Georgia, my old dog. Like, when I want to find a Georgia picture that I really miss, I type in Georgia or Mastiff or dog, and the system’s able to figure out a lot of that. So, I’m sure they’re on their way. I just for the reasons I stated before, I think it’d be really challenging.

Yeardley:  I think one of the things that you all often say is, when you are in a position to arrest somebody and deprive them of their freedom, and that sets a whole cascade of events in motion, including court, I always say when I do interviews for Small Town Dicks, that the dominoes have to line up exactly in order for justice to be served. One little misstep, and everything can get derailed or delayed or thrown out or never be put on trial. And so, to your point, Dave, I don’t think anybody would ever accept having their freedom deprived, because a computer said, “This is what you did.”

Dave:  Can you imagine?

Yeardley:  No, that’s like blade runner or something.

Dan:  I do believe though, we’re on the road to it being a tool used in law enforcement. There will be case law that comes out about using AI to solve cases. But I think this train has left the station. It’s going to happen. There’s going to be a court case that challenges the validity or whoever comes up with a law enforcement tool using AI to help solve cases. There are already crime analysts that bigger departments, LAPD, NYPD, any major department has crime analysts.

Yeardley:  Is that a person?

Dan:  That’s a person. Yeah. But they go through and they use statistics to project where crimes might happen or what is a crime that we’re going to see here in the next few weeks based on this data set that we have, so they can predict certain crime trends. And I think that this is probably a tool that’s probably already being employed to some degree, but when you can really figure out how to use AI to just flat out solve a crime for you.

Yeardley:  That will be interesting.

Dave:  I think what’s concerning also is these deep fakes and some of the AI generated just truly an interview or a person singing, things that actually have never happened before that look completely real on camera. That’s really creepy. There’s talk about where you just get an image of somebody, you create an AI movie type image, and then you just grab somebody’s voice, and you throw it on top and all of a sudden, blended, it looks legit. That’s another thing that it’s looming. Can you imagine [chuckles] getting convicted, because somebody came forward and said, “Hey, I have surveillance footage that puts that guy in the store when the robbery occurred.” And it’s AI. Terrifying.

Yeardley:  Terrifying. That is such a slippery slope. Well, Peyton, you have successfully opened pandora’s box. Thank you, I think. We love it when you guys write to us. Thank you so much for joining us here on Patreon. Keep those questions coming. We’ll see you next time.


Yeardley: Thanks for listening to this super special episode of Small Town Dicks presents. We’ll be back soon with another bonus nugget. And before you know it, my friends will be gearing up for the brand-new season of Small Town Dicks. Oh, I’m telling you, we miss you, guys. We miss you so much. You’re the best.

 Small Town Dicks on Patreon is produced by Gary Scott and me, Yeardley Smith. And co-produced by detectives Dan and Dave. Our production manager is Logan Heftel. Our senior editor is Soren Begin. And our editor is Christina Bracamontes. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our social medial is run by the one and only, Monika Scott. Our music is composed by Logan Heftel. And finally, our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell. The team is forever grateful for your support.

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