RARA-AVIS: police manpower

From: Mark Sullivan ( DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net)
Date: 04 Sep 2003

Last night I saw Jean Pierre Melville's Le Samourai. During a climactic scene, the police follow Alain Delon through the Metro. The chief investigator of a single murder has assigned 50, count 'em, 50 cops to the task. They lose him, of course, though they catch up to him just in time.

There were probably 50 cops assigned to the kidnapping in Kurosawa's High and Low, too.

Granted, these were foreign films, but I seem to remember similar amounts of manpower being devoted to single cases in old US films
(though I can't think of a specific example). Was this ever close to reality, that that many cops would be devoted to a single case, no matter how high profile?

High and Low was based on McBain's King's Ransom. In that book, a handful of cops, along with help from various crime scene and lab investigators handled the case. McBain is known for his meticulous handling of police procedure, so I'm guessing that's far closer to the truth. In these days of budgetary concerns, I'm betting it's even less. How many cops are actually assigned (as opposed to watching out and/or giving occasional assistance) to a redball, as they call high profile cases in Homicide?


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