Even the City of the Future still has to deal with those who would flout the law. This chapter looks at the men and women who stand in defense of Millennium City and her citizens... and the criminals who would threaten or harm her citizens for their own gain.
Millennium City fields one of the most effective police forces in the world. Armed with state of the art crimefighting equipment and trained in the latest law enforcement techniques, Millennium City’s Finest regularly handle some of the most difficult assignments police officers can ever expect to face.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Speciality Units
- 3 M.A.R.S.
- 4 Special Unit Omega
- 5 The Millennium City Jail
- 6 M.C.P.D. Gear
- 7 The M.C.P.D's Place In The Pecking Order
- 8 Additional Resources
The Millennium City Police Force consists of approximately 10,000 employees, including about 7,000 officers and 3,000 clerical and support staff, and has an operating budget of almost $700 million. The Force divides the city into thirteen precincts, each with a Precinct House that serves as a centralized headquarters. A Commander heads each Precinct and reports to the Chief of Police.
The new Chief, recently appointed after the untimely death due to heart attack of George “Sparky” Kelleher in 2001, is James Surhoff, formerly a high-ranking official in the Chicago police department. Much more strict and by-the-book than his predecessor, Surhoff speaks with a slow Midwestern drawl that rapidly becomes a terrifying yell when he sees officers out of proper uniform. Surhoff has promised much stricter “oversight” of the activities of vigilantes like Nightwind, whom Kelleher supported and assisted. He also seems less inclined to cooperate with popular heroes like the Champions or Dr. Silverback, though the average officer in the street hasn’t lost any respect for them.
The Chief reports to the Board of Commissioners, a Mayor-appointed oversight committee of five officials, including the Mayor himself and the Board’s Director, Ruth Arnold. A thirty-year veteran of the Detroit Police, Arnold was promoted to Commissioner after most recently serving as Director of the Organized Crime Task Force.
Apart from the thirteen precincts spread across the city, the Police Force also maintains eleven “specialty units” for dealing with specific types of crime or locations. Those eleven units are:
Air Support: The Millennium City Police Department has six Bell helicopters that it uses for reconnaissance and other duties.
Bomb Squad: The MCPD Bomb Squad includes ten trained explosives specialists. The Squad has a fleet of small, boxlike, remote-controlled robots (called “Freddies,” from “find and remove explosive devices”) designed to locate and disarm explosives, or at least contain blasts within their own armored bodies.
Community Outreach: Divided into numerous sub-units, CO attempts to improve and facilitate relations with the community at large, both by providing information and publicity about the efforts of the Police Force as a whole and by specifically working with and answering the concerns of various community organizations. The duties of this unit include holding public education seminars, conducting school visits and “Kid Safety” programs, participating in community training programs, and working with the City Ombudsman to respond to criticism and concerns of private individuals or neighborhood groups.
Crime Analysis: This unit statistically analyzes the activities of the other units to predict their workloads and allocate departmental assets. It also assists with planning and budgeting for the future.
Domestic Violence: While all of the uniformed patrol officers of the MCPD are trained to handling domestic violence cases, this specialized unit provides victims of domestic violence with counseling, shelter, and support; it also helps them with the enforcement of restraining orders.
Gaming: The 35 officers in the Gaming Unit of the MCPD have special training in the policing issues raised by casino gambling in Millennium City, including enforcing the licensing of the casinos themselves (and confirming that the games themselves are all legitimate), background checks on casino owners and employees, and undercover investigations. The casinos reimburse the city for the expenses and salaries of the Gaming Unit through the city’s Gaming Commission.
Harbor Master: The Harbor Master unit handles crimes and licensing issues on the Detroit River, including enforcing boating safety and inspections of the docks and wharves along the waterfront. One of the unit’s subdivisions is the Underwater Search and Rescue Team, four master divers trained for shallow dives in the swiftmoving and cold Detroit River.
Mounted: The MCPD fields twelve mounted officers, who primarily handle patrols in Memorial Park and other areas where police cars are not an option. These units also regularly visit schools and community centers and work with the Community Outreach programs.
Narcotics Special Enforcement: This unit specializes in undercover transactions and stings against drug dealers in Millennium City; it also coordinates the Department’s efforts with various other anti-drug community agencies. The Department formed the unit in 1994 when Crime Analysis reported a higher-than-usual number of street dealers moving back into the city to take advantage of buildings damaged during the Battle of Detroit and later abandoned.
Superhuman Crimes: This unit consists of two subdivisions: the MARS Unit (see below); and the Superhuman Crimes investigative unit, consisting of about fifteen detectives with experience in crimes involving superhumans. This unit works closely with the various sanctioned superheroes in the city, including the Champions.
Tactical Services Section: Tactical Services is an umbrella term for several smaller units specializing in specific tactics, such as the SWAT team, the hostage negotiation unit, the K-9 unit, the sniper unit, and riot control teams. Some crossover occurs among these units; individual officers, depending on their training and background, may work with more than one of them.
Millennium City introduced the world’s first Metahuman Activities Response Squad, or MARS, in 1995, and dozens of other cities have duplicated the program since. Constantly integrating the latest mass-produced technology into their suits, the MCPD MARS officers are an imposing force for law and order, nearly as effective in combat as a small superhero team.
Equipped with powerful technology to capture or stop supervillains — sometimes including lowstrength powered armor suits — and trained to fight superhuman foes, MARS cops risk their lives every day to save innocent citizens from the likes of Bulldozer and the Ultimates. Though some experts have raised serious questions as to MARS units’ track records (one went so far as to describe them as “the biggest drain on police resources for the least gain of any unit in the force”), MARS officers proudly point to the stacks of thank-you letters they’ve received from grateful citizens and the many awards for bravery and heroism lining their squadroom walls.
Here are a few examples of equipment issues to typical MARS units:
MARS Capturefoam Grenade Launcher: This weapon fires grenades containing capturefoam, a quick-hardening chemical substance strong enough to prevent most targets from moving.
MARS Sniper Rifle: Equipped with highpowered ammunition specifically designed to hurt injury-resistant superhumans, these rifles are only used when the department considers them absolutely necessary.
MARS Stunner Pistol: MARS cops are often issued this sidearm for use in situations where the need to prevent harm to innocents from misses and ricochets is paramount.
MARS Armor Piercing Energy Rifle: When MARS officers have to face down powerful, injury-resistant villains like Grond or Ankylosaur, the Department sometimes issues them this rifle. However, officers must take extreme care when using it, since a missed shot could easily penetrate a building and hurt a civilian.
MARS Augmented Handcuffs: These cuffs, though similar to regular handcuffs, are much sturdier, and thus capable of holding supervillains who could escape from normal ones. They enclose the entire hand so that a captive cannot escape with contortionism or lockpicking.
MARS Pacifier: This device straps onto an unresisting or stunned target and keeps him in an semiconscious stupor with powerful but nonlethal inhalants and drugs.
MARS “Screaming Mimi” Incapacitator Grenade: This weapon blinds and deafens a supercriminal, making him an easy target for MARS officers’ shots.
Special Unit Omega
In 1995, the M.C.P.D. founded the Metahuman Activities Response Squad, a unit of police officers specially trained and equipped dto deal with superhuman threatsthat's since been copied by police departments all over the United States and the world. Four years later it created an even more specialized subset of M.A.R.S, the Special Unit Omega (SUO)
In 1999, the spervillain Holocaust attacked Millenium City when an attempted robbery went bad and he had to fight his way to freedom. The MCPD responded in force, with the MARS leading the fight... but it wasn't enough. Holocaust was simply too powerful for the cops, even the officers of the MARS. Holocaust escaped, leaving over a dozen policemen dead in his wake.
Long-time critics of the MARS program pointed to the unit's inability to stop Holocaust, declared the entire "experiment" an abject failure, and insisted that the MCPD disband the entire expensive program. The police had a different idea. They suggested that MARS's inability to stop villains as powerful as Holocaust was die to the unit's lack of sufficient funding and powerful equipment. Recognizing that they'd never convince the city to increase the allocations for all of the MARS to the level they wanted, the police brass suggested creating a specially-trained and equiped unit within the MARS to tackle the toughest, most dangerous villains.
Debate raged through City Hall and in the newspapers for months, but in the end the city's leadership saw the wisdom of the police proposal and decided to adopt it. The mayor approved funding for an elite unit of eight officers to be chosen primarily (if not exclusively) from the ranks of the MARS, plus additional support staff and related personnel.
Unleash the Cannon
The chief of policed handed the job of creation this new unit, now christened Special Unit Omega, to Major Walter LaCouer, who was the commander of the MARS at the time. LaCouer, never one to be know for a conventional approach to matters, turned to an old friend.
Tim Connolly was a five-times-decorated officer who despite that stellar record was on a seemingly permanent suspension in 1999. Known throughout the Department as "Cannon" for his "sort on empathy, long on violence" approach to police work (as media once put it), Connolly had finally ticked off his captain one too many times and was involved in a series of disciplinary hearings pertaining to his actions both as a regular cop, and later as a member of the MARS. Recognizing that the new SUO was going to need a hard-charging, speak his mind, takes no prisoners kind of officer to run it, LaCouer arranged to sweep aside most of the (largy trumped-up) charges against Connolle, promote him to Lieutenant, and give him a job: build the SUO.
Connolloy agreed to the job with one provision: he had complete control over who he chose for Omega. He wasn't going to play favorites, take anyone's protege, or conform to notions of political correctness. He was going to build the best anti-supervillain police squad in the world, and he couldn't remain true to that goal if he had half a dozen higher-ups looking over his shoulder and second-guessing his every move. Against better judgement of many commander, including Connolly's former captain, Major LaCouer agreed... and newly-minted Lieutenant Connolly got to work.
Connolly decided a two-pronged approach to filling the other seven slots in the SUO. He had one spot already sewn up: his old friend Eric Hinkle, a department sniping champion. He put Hinkle in charge of running and overseeing an "open tryouts" program - anyone in the department who wanted to try earning a spot on Special Unit Omega could come to the tryouts, run through Hinkle's grueling obstacle course, and see if he could made the grade.
While Hinkle was doing that, Connolly reviewed personnel files in search of people he wanted to go after whether they tried out or not. Drawing on his own past history, he paid special attention to officers most commanders didn't want - the troublemakers, the disciplinary cases, the mavericks whose talents, skills, and brains were being stifled by the police bureaucracy.
He found his first potential candidate in Jake Zimmerman, an officer on "medical leave" because he decked a commanding officer after an incident in which Zimmerman was injured and his partner was killed. Zimmerman alleged the commander was incompetent and deliberately ignored valid intel. After reviewing his case with a fresh eye, Connolly decided Zimmerman was right. He visited him at his home and offered him a job. Given a choice between joining this new elite unit and facing a potential career-ending disciplinary situation that Connolly could make go away, Zimmerman signed onto the SUO.
Billy Kwan was another disciplinary case whom Connolly decided was worth rescuing. A former Marine and veteran of the Iraq War, Kwan had joined the MCPD bomb squad after he returned home to the States. Unfortunately his tendency to play practical jokes (often ones involving tiny amounts of explosives) and his willingness to take risks to get his job done did not sit well with his his superior officers. After one of them got hurt by a "firecracker" Kwan planted under his chair, it looked like Kwan wasn't long for the MCPD... until Connolly rescued him.
But not every potential recruit who caught Connolly's eye was on the outs with the brass. Enrique Ramirez was a MARS officer with a distinguished service record and a lot of respect from his peers - a real cop's cop. But what really drew Connolly's attention were Ramirez's skills as a weaponsmith and technician. He knew the team was going to have some top-notch gear and would need someone who could look after it. Ramirez jumped at the offer, which meant more excitement, better pay, and the chance to work with tech far beyond anything he'd ever see before.
Connolly found his last recruit almost by accident... literally. One day while he was heading out of the motor pool to observer some potential SUO officers in action, he nearly had a fender bender with a beat cop. He jumped out of his car to give the idiot a piece of his mind - only to find himself in a head-to-head argument with a feisty female cop named Delilah Flores. She thought he was on the wrong and wasn't willing to back down despite being four inches shorter and four ranks down the departmental ladder on him. Impressed, he offered her a chance to try out for Hinkle. "Let's see if your brass matches your sass." was how he put it.
Hinkle soon reported that her physical skills lived up to her assertive nature. Beyond her, his tryout program had netted two other worthwhile recruits. One was another MARS officer named Al Ferrell. Far from his department reputation as being a sort of self-centered jerk, Ferrell was willing to give his all and work as hard as he could to earn a spot on the SUO, and his dedication ad discipline paid off. The other was one of the biggest, strongest cops Hinkle had ever seen, the ptly-nicknamed "Tank" Jablonski. Jablonski had won the department boxing competition earlier that year, defeating several officers who were favorites of certain top ranking commanders, and thus earning himself a place in the doghouse. Some of his skulls weren't quite up to Connolly's preferences, but Jablonski made up for it by being able to take more punishment and pain than any other three officers combined.
Training the recruits
Now that Connolly had his team of eight it was time to put them through their paces.
Training started with a six-week stint at an isolated MCPD facility in Michigan woods. Connolly took his and his recruits' basic police skills, pushed them to the max, and then took them beyond, turning the SUO from eight individual cops into a well-oiled fighting machine able to take on more powerful enemies using perfect teamwork, coordination, and tactics. He enlisted the help of several prominent superheros to play the part of "villains" so the "Omegans" could get some experience fighting real superhuman foes.
By the time the six weeks were done, much of the SUO's gear had been delivered to the Department, so training started again with the equipment so the Omegans could get used to it. For greater realism Connolly got departmental permission to conduct live-fire exercises in several buildings scheduled for demolition, again calling on helpful superheroes to take the part of the bad guys. The Omegans usually won in these simulations - a strong indication that the Department's faith in the program, plus Connolly's approach and training methods, were justified.
On the streets
After the final department review of the program, in 2000 Special Unit Omega was approved for duty and hit the streets. It still spent most of its time in training and simulations, since even in Millenium City there's only so much need for anti-supervillain cops, particularly an elite unit of them. The Omegans first proved their worth in mid-2001, when the Slug brought his particular brand of evil to the City of the Future. He snuck into City Hall at night and transformed several officials working late into Elder Worms. As prominent city leaders came to work the next day, they were lured into the Slug's trap and transformed in turn. Through a special ritual the Slug further transformed several of his victims into Elder Worm sorcerers - sort of the equivalent of super-villains for his race. When the Slug announced his presence to the world, the MARS and SUO were called to deal with the situation. While MARS officers fought and captured the regular Elder Worms, Special Unit Omega went after the sorcerers and their master. While no one on the team escaped uninjured, their combined firepower stopped the sorcerers. With his plan falling apart, the Slug fled, unfortunately defying the Omegans' efforts to capture him. but despite that, had it not been for the bravey and skills of the SUO, the entire city might have fallen to the Slug's ploy.
In 2003, Special Unit Omega got a new main firearm, the Neuro-Rifle. Considered safer for bystanders than ordinary assault rifles, the neuro-rifle has become the unit's signature weapon... despite the fact that it wasn't universally well-received at first. Several officers, including Hinkle and Ferrell, preferred to stick to regular firearms, and to this day still gripe about the energy rifle at times. But no one can deny that they're effective.. .and every SUO officer still has his regulation MCPD .45 sidearm if bullets are absolutely necessary.
In 2004, the Omegans responded to the threat caused by King Cobra and his Ophidian Plague. Fortunately Special Unit Omega was out of town on a training exercise during the initial outbreak of the plague, and so were spared the effects. Alerted by an emergency message from the police headquarters, the Omegans returned to Millenium City immediately. While uninfected MCPD officers worked hard to keep infected citizens under control, SUO focused its efforts on capturing infected supervillains. The Champions themselves fought and infected Ultimates, but SUO took care of the likes of Blowtorch, Fenris, Ogre and Vibron.
In late 2006 the Omegans faced their greatest challenge ever when Kanrok the Acquisitioner came to Millenium City to "acquire" the Champions, particularly Ironclad, for the Malvan arena. Unfortunately the entire team except for Defender, Sapphire, and Kinetik was on an adventure in another dimension. The three heroes were able to broadcast a call for help immediately before Kanrok's attack, and Special Unit Omega responded. When the Omegans arrived Shappire was already badly hurt and the other two heroes were fighting a defensive action. The Omegans laid in their heaviest fire, timing their shits for maximum impact. When Kanrok turned to "swat these meddlesome gnats" as he put it, Defender and Kinetik were able to get in some telling blows. Weakened, and reeling under steady fire from the Omegans, Kanrok fled and has not yet returned. Defender later publicly acknowledge to a reporter that, "Had it not been for Special Unit Omega, my colleagues and i would now be fighting alien monsters in a gladiatorial pit on Malva."
Today Special Unit Omega is a firmly established part of the MCPD with a strong (and well-deserved) reputation of being able to do what it was created to do: fight and defeat the worst superhuman menaces. It's had its ups ad downs over the years, and its eight members have racked up more than their fair share of hospital time recuperating from on-the-job injuries, but their record of accomplishments and valor speaks for itself.
As an eight-member team, Special Unit Omega doesn't need much in the way of organization charts or fancy chains of command. Lieutenant Tim "Cannon" Connolly, the team's founder, remains filly in control as Unit commander (or as he prefers to put it, "top dog"). Eric Hinkle serves as his sergeant and second in command, though there's not as much to that job as there would be in a larger unit - Connolly's right out there on the street with his men every day, so it's not as if they don't know him or have access to him.
The other six members of the team are all equals, holding the rank of corporal. Connolly wisely defers to one of them when his area of expertise (if any) comes up - for example, Billy Kwan becomes the de facto commander when the team has to deal with a crisis involving explosives.
Technically Special Unit Omega is a subset of the Metahuman Activities Response Squad, but in practice it enjoys high degree of autonomy. In fact, some people in the department resent SUO for the way it seems to think of itself as being "above" other units, and for its ability to operate citywide with fat fewer of the usual bureaucratic hassles. To make matters worse, because SUO usually has to deal with rapidly-developing crisis situations, it can often "commandeer" department resources (including vehicles, criminalists, and laboratory time) for its own purposes, further angering cops used to the regular routine. Lieutenant Connolly is aware of some of this "perception Problem" but frankly is far more concerned with getting his job done and protecting the people of Millenium City than he is with whether some cops get their feathers ruffled.
One of the keys to Special Unit Omega's success is its intensive training regimen, which is an ongoing process. The "curriculum" combines some standard advanced police training with elements taken from military special forces training, hand-to-hand combat (primarily the martial art of Krav Maga), exercise, classroom study of super-villains and their powers, tactical drills focused on combating superhumans (often conducted with the help of superheroes who volunteer to play villains), and even working with psionic heroes to condition the officer's minds to resist mental powers.
Even well-equipped humans need special tactics to take on superhumans, particularly powerful one. The cornerstones of Special Unit Omega's tactical doctrine are: A: Focused fire, and B: Keeping the opponents busy.
First and foremost, SUO prefers to have multiple officers focus their fire on a single target to bring him down quickly. Obviously this works best when the entire team faces one foe, since even a powerful opponent usually can't stand up to eight energy rifle blasts every other second. But even against several opponents, Unit cops can partly focus their fire, usually in teams of two: Connolly and Hinkle on one opponent; Ferrell and Kwan on a second; Zimmerman and Ramirez on a third; and Flores and Jablonski on a fourth. If possible SUO prefers not to tackle more than four opponents at once; if that happens it usually calls for reinforcements from the rest of MARS.
Second, Special Unit Omega likes to keep its opponents occupied - if they're busy dodging, escaping from grabs, and coping with the effects of flashbangs and the like, they're unable to counterattacks as effectively. One way to the team accomplishes this is to stagger opponents during battle and attacking in sequence, not giving their opponents any breathing time.
Special Unit Omega has been together since 1999 now, an thankfully has suffered no fatalities (thought it's had some very close calls, and every member has spent time in the hospital recuperating from injuries). As a result the team has developed a great deal of camaraderie and has very high morale - even the occasional defeat or setback doesn't keep the team down for long.
Still, among any group of people together for that long, particularly people with strong personalities, tensions are bound to develop over here and there. Lately the main source of tension has been the growing romantic relationship between Zimmerman and Flores, who began dating in March, 2006 after several years of sort of flirting and dancing around one another. That's introduced a new element into their working relationship, one that Connolly isn't entirely sure he approves of. Ferrell also seems particularly perturbed by the situation, his usual sarcastic comments have become more biting of late.
The Omegans have a well-deserved reputation for working hard and taking risks. To some extent they're all thrillseekers, eager to do more and accomplish more regardless of the danger to themselves. Sometimes they actually seem to compete to see who can do the most daring things. But they don't just work together, they also socialize together a lot - "work hard, party hard" as they like to say. At least two to three night a week they tend to get together for drinks or dinner (or both...), and during the summer they're often over at one another's houses for barbecues and cookouts. Their capacity for alcohol is as legendary as their willingness to tackle supervillains.
Note: This information is from a sourcebook published in 2007, and therefore the facts mentioned in the above paragraphs do not pertain to the current, 2013, situation of the members of SUO.
The Millennium City Jail
Attached to the MCPD Headquarters in the City Center is the Millennium City Jail, a facility for holding suspected criminal pending their trials. Criminals convicted of minor offenses may return here to serve out their sentences, but most end up in prisons elsewhere in Michigan.
The jail can hold up to four thousand inmates; counting the guards and other staff, it has a daily population of about 6,500 on the average day. If the authorities need to imprison more than 4,000 people, the overflow gets sent to other jails outside the city. Men and women stay in separate wings; the jail also has separate wings for juveniles and adult inmates. Due to the incidence of supercrime in Millennium City, the jail has four Stronghold-like cells designed to restrain supervillains.
Even Millennium City’s regular uniformed officers have excellent training and cutting-edge equipment. Police cars come with powerful minicomputers connected to a mainframe at the Precinct Headquarters, thus allowing officers to quickly search the MCPD database while in the field. Officers carry MC-111A handheld computers with the same link-up to the database, and that can also connect to the security cameras of stores, allowing them to see what’s happening inside before leaving the safety of their cars. The MC-111A can take remote readings from a Vehicle Control Chip, and has a built-in laser scanner for processing registrations and searching national databases of license plates.
Special mention - The MCPD Chemical Pellet Rifle: Sometimes bullets aren’t the only way to bring down an attacker. This multi-function rifle significantly expands an MCPD officer’s tactical options.
The M.C.P.D's Place In The Pecking Order
When supervillains, or villainous organizations such as VIPER, commit a crime in Millennium City, the authorities have several response options. Typically, the MCPD responds first, since it has personnel patrolling the streets of the city at all times. Standard officers try to contain the situation until MARS personnel can arrive, but most officers aren’t shy about calling for help from PRIMUS or UNTIL (or even the FBI). All four agencies monitor each others’ communications, so they know when a fellow officer needs help. While the MCPD prefers to handle these matters on its own, it’s quick to ask for assistance when necessary — better that than officers dead due to departmental pride.
Occasionally FBI, PRIMUS, or UNTIL agents happen to be on the scene before the MCPD — either because they were there already by happenstance, they were expecting trouble when the MCPD wasn’t, or the crime takes place near their respective headquarters (or some agent’s residence). In that situation, the agency notifies the MCPD as soon as reasonably possible, often requesting the presence of a liaison officer to ensure that everyone remains “in the loop.” The MCPD sometimes declines to send an officer, preferring to let the other agency handle the hassles and paperwork.
When the FBI, PRIMUS, or UNTIL plan to conduct an independent operation within the MCPD’s jurisdiction, they alert the MCPD, which usually sends a liaison officer along (UNTIL also notifies PRIMUS, which may send its own observer/ assistant.) Since both agencies have large complements of agents in the area, they rarely have to ask the MCPD for manpower, but even if they don’t expect a call the MARS units remain on high alert when a mission starts.
Except in rare cases, the agency that first responds to an incidence of supercrime maintains primary jurisdiction over it and gets most of the credit for the “collar.” However, the FBI, PRIMUS, and UNTIL are glad to turn captured supercriminals over to the MCPD if it makes the prosecution situation easier — some crimes are better tried in the state court than federal court. The FBI and PRIMUS have some jurisdictional friction regarding supercrime. Technically all such matters fall to PRIMUS, but since the FBI covers such a broad spectrum of criminal operations (including organized crime), it often runs across situations involving supervillains. Still irked over having their jurisdiction regarding supercrime taken away and given to PRIMUS, FBI agents are sometimes reluctant to call in the “blue and golds.”