Retired State Police Lt, Author David Reichenbaugh to appear on Live Radio Friday Morning at 9AM October 4th in Bel Air Maryland

Join host Robert Mumby and co-host Leslie Greenly Smith with the Harford County Public Library this Friday, October 4 on “The Harford Edge”. In his book, “In Pursuit: the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers”, author David Reichenbaugh tells the true crime story of the two men who terrorized our region in October 2002. Reichenbaugh was the criminal intelligence operations commander for the Maryland State Police during the investigation & served as commanding officer at the scene when the snipers were captured. He is our guest this week and will also be featured at a “Meet the Author” event at the Bel Air Library on Saturday, October 26 11am-noon. Find “The Harford Edge” on the radio at WAMD 970am, and on the Web at The “Harford Edge” airs LIVE every Friday morning at 9:00 a.m., and features local news, plus in-depth interviews with leaders, innovators and artists from Harford County and beyond. It is rebroadcast every Saturday at 9:00 a.m., and is brought to you by the Harford County Public Library. So good you have to hear it again? Go here for podcasts of our previous shows: or

It is a real honor for me to appear on Live Radio to talk about my State Police Career, experiences, and talk about my book In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers. We will discuss the book, how I went from Trooper to Published Author and wherever the conversation takes us. Tune in and listen. If you have any questions I believe I will be able to take some questions from listeners.

Dave's Head Shots, Hypnotic Imagery, LLC, Rebecca O'Neill,
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Reichenbaugh who remains active in Law enforcement writes from his home in Keedysville Maryland surrounded by his wife, and 8 grand children. He is currently working on his second novel a fictional tale based on a True Crime event in Frederick County Maryland.

On the 17th Anniversary of the Beltway Sniper case Retired Lt David Reichenbaugh and author participated in a Montgomery County Media Pod cast

On the 17th anniversary of the Beltway Sniper Investigation, Retired State Police Lieutenant and author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Sniper, a pod cast with Doug Tallman Montgomery County Media which was prerecorded last week was released. To hear the interview and pod cast follow the link below. His show called Montgomery Talks can be heard on Montgomery County Media’s web page and also on U-tube

Author, Retired Trooper to Help open the new Myersville MD Public Library with a book event

Author, David Reichenbaugh, Lt. Retired, Maryland State Police will help open the new Myersville Maryland Branch of the Frederick County Public Library system on Saturday September 7th, 2019 at 2PM for a book event and book signing.

The author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers, will return to Myersville 18 years after he, along with Troopers under his command brought the 23 day bloody rampage of the Beltway Snipers to an end. The Snipers who spent 23 days in October 2002 terrorizing the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia) by randomly shooting unsuspecting citizens who were going about their daily routines. Before Reichenbaugh and his team were able to track the snipers down to the rest area in Myersvlle Maryland, they had taken the lives of 10 citizens and wounded 4 more. Their arrest culminated the largest most intense man hunt in American Law Enforcement History. Coming a year removed from 911 the snipers brought the nations capitol and the surrounding area to a stand still with citizens fearing for their lives.

Reichenbaugh will give a presentation followed by a book signing at the brand new Public Library slated to open August 24th. This promises to be an emotional event for both the author and the local citizens who lived through the events only to wake that morning to their streets full of Police vehicles and the news that the 2 most wanted killers had been tracked down to their small western Maryland Town.

The author will answer any questions and looks forward to sharing his experience and hear from the citizens and share their emotions as they recall those deadly days in October 2002. The new Library is located on Harp Road in Myersville Maryland.

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Dave's Head Shots, Hypnotic Imagery, LLC, Rebecca O'Neill,

2019 Murder As You Like It Mystery writers Conference

Author David Reichenbaugh author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers, had the distinct honor to be invited and participate in this years As You Like it Conference hosted by Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop In Mechanicsburg Pennsylvania. The conference attracted more than 100 mystery readers where they were treated to hearing from, talking with and getting signed books from a whole host of authors such as NYT Best Selling Author John Gilstrap, TF O’Connor, Christine Trent Eileen McIntire, and award winning journalist and author Dick Belsky.

The guests had the opportunity to hear and participate in panel discussions with the authors as well as one on one speed reading sessions where the guests had a chance to speak one on one with each author and ask questions as well as obtained signed books.

Reichenbaugh had the pleasure to sit on a panel discussion that discussed the differences of writing true crime vs fiction.

He found this to be a great event and experience and he enjoyed talking with both readers and other authors getting their feed back on his book and the challenges of being a published author.


Meet The Author Event Bethany Beach Delaware Saturday July 20th at 7PM


Meet the author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers On Saturday July 20th from 7 until 9 PM at Bethany Beach Books 99 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach Deleware.

Retired Maryland State Police Lieutenant David Reichenbugh will be there to meet you and sign a copy of his New Book In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers. Meet the author and talk with the Trooper that led his team of investigators during the 23 days of terror in October 2002 as he along with 1000 other law enforcement officials from more than 20 law enforcement agencies tracked the Beltway Snipers to a rest Area in Myersville Maryland.

Read for the first time, the true story of of the largest and most intense man hunt in American Law Enforcement history as they tracked the snipers who for those 23 days in October randomly gunned down 10 citizens and wounded four more in the Washington, Maryland and Virginia area. Read about the fear, the concerns of law enforcement that they were powerless to stop the killers from continuing their rampage, and the determination to track the killers down and bring their blood lust to an appointment with justice.

The author, David Reichenbaugh will be there and will be honored to meet you and answer any questions you may have, and personalize In Pursuit, for you

Author, Retired State Police Lt. Receives high Praise from Vet's wife for In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers;

It is an incredible honor to meet both current, and retired police officers as well as Vets and their families as I travel around the east coast doing book events for my new book In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers. Here is one response that the author received from the wife of a retired Navy Man that also spent his career serving the great people of this amazing country. As a country we are truly blessed to have susch families that are willing to serve and potentially sacrifice their lives for all of us.


On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 5:51:16 PM EDT, Cathy Baird <> wrote:



Dear Lieutenant Reichenbaugh,


It may be unwise to confess to a trooper that I’ve stolen a book from my husband but he gave me the means and opportunity when he left it on the coffee table unattended and I was motivated by the desire to read the book before it began its rotation among his “old men saving the world breakfast club” friends.  Given that I had so many strikes against me, I decided to confess.


My husband and I were fortunate enough to get a signed copy of your book when we were at Barnes and Noble bookstore Saturday last.  You gave us your business card and asked for feedback after reading the book.


I finished reading the book this morning and in a word…Wow!


No matter what I am reading (so take no offense please) my eyelids tend to get heavy after a few pages but as I traveled with you in in car 662 at 110 mile per hour on the way to the rest stop adrenaline brought them wide awake. 


I well remember the days of the sniper shootings.  I especially remember going out to dinner with my husband and son and having an uneasy feeling getting out of the car in the parking lot.  My relief upon entering the building was short-lived when the hostess sat us at a booth directly against a large picture window facing the parking lot.  I remember looking out at the lot and thinking that at any moment a bullet could come through the window and kill one of us.  But just as you mentioned in your book, you can’t live in fear so I turned my attention to my meal and family knowing that the chances were remote.  There was something insidious about this particular threat that made it hard to ignore though.  The randomness and hiding in plain sight of it.  In years since that evemt I’ve become a stage 3 cancer survivor and I would now compare the sniper shootings to cancer.  Insidious.


Firstly, let me say thank you.  Thank you for your tireless and selfless dedication in bringing about the capture of those snipers.  Along with all the rest of the population, we breathed a sigh of relief when news broke of their capture.  It was intriguing to read about the event from your perspective.  One thing that didn’t surprise me was what appeared from your book to be a collective feeling of disdain for the media from law enforcement officials.  I remember commenting on a few occasions how stupid I thought the reporters were being.  I suppose, as you said, they do have a job to do but sensationalism seems to override common sense in their reporting.  Not unlike a certain reporter not so long ago reporting during an imminent hurricane strike to the East Coast stating that if caught in the storm we would die and our children would die and everyone we knew.   


Please also pass along my thanks to Jean.  Being the wife of a career Navy man, I can appreciate the sacrifices she has had to make.  Being the glue that held your family together made your successes possible and we all benefited from them.  While John was often out to sea for 6 and 7 months at a time and I was not always permitted to know where he was located or headed to, I did at least have the satisfaction of knowing he had a full deck of sailors onboard and possible weapons of mass destruction that he could neither confirm nor deny onboard.   I can’t imagine how Jean dealt with knowing you were on your own at times and the bad guys were better armed. 


Lastly, thank you not only for capturing the snipers but for all your years of service and the many ways you served to protect and aid.  You touched on some of it in your book but I’m sure there are volumes to add during your years of service.  I’m in awe. 


God Bless you and your family,

Cathy Baird

Retired State Police Lt. speaks to an audience of about 100 people at the recently held Annapolis Book Festival about his new book In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers.

Retired State Police Lt. speaks to an audience of about 100 people at the recently held Annapolis Book Festival about his new book In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers.

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Jim Harold’s Nationally Syndicated Pod Cast, Crime Scene, Interviews Author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers

The author, Retired State Police Lt. David Reichenbaugh appeared on Jim Harold’s Pod Cast, Crime Scene. The author discussed his involvement in the largest and most intense man hunt in American Law Enforcement History and his new book In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers. Crime Scene has been down loaded and has an audience of 40 million listeners. Click on the link below to hear the latest episode of Crime Scene with Jim Harold and David Reichenbaugh author of In Pursuit


Busy week scheduled for In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers Author

Retired Maryland State Police Lt. David Reichenbaugh, author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers that chronicles the most intense and largest manhunt in American Law Enforcement history, will make an appearance at Barnes & Noble in the Francis Scott Key Mall 5500 Buckeystown Pike on Saturday April 13th between 11AM and 4PM where he will be there to answer any questions about his involvement in the capture of the Beltway Snipers and to sign books. He will be among several other local authors for this all day event. On Sunday He will tape a Pod cast with Ann Dark, Tracey Stormy and Kathy Knight for an upcoming pod cast on It was a Dark and Stormy Book Club a pod cast for mystery lovers. This coming off a week where he taped a 2 hour interview for I-Heart Media/Radio for a production to be aired in a couple of months. Last Saturday he did a presentation for over 10 people at the Annapolis Book Festival. His panel was monitored by WBAL Chief Investigative Reporter Jayne Miller. In attendance was New York Times Best selling author Peggy Rowe. He appeared with other NYT best selling authors such as Ken Starr who called him a true American Hero and Evin Thomas, Kevin Cowherd, Isakoff and other best selling and noted authors. Stop by Barnes & Noble in Frederick Maryland this Saturday and meet the author.

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Annapolis Book Festival on stage with WBAL’s Chief Investigative Reporter Jayne Miller

Fans line up to meet the author and get In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers signed.

Fans line up to meet the author and get In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers signed.

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Retired State Police Lt. tapes 2 hour interview for I-heart Media reference the Beltway Snipers and his new book

The author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers, David Reichenbaugh, traveled to the studios of I-Heart Media and Radio to record a 2 hour interview for an upcoming I-heart media with an expected nation wide release over I-heart Radio stations production about the beltway sniper case. The production which will take a couple of months to produce and will be part of a 15 part series about the most intense and largest man hunt in American Law Enforcement History. During the studio session Reichenbaugh discussed his role in the investigation and capture of the two cold blooded killers that terrorized the nation for 23 days in October 2002. This will assist the retired State Police Lt with national exposure for his new book which for the first time details the police investigation and the capture of the killers in the Myersville Maryland rest area. Reichenbaugh travels to Annapolis Maryland on Saturday for an appearance at the Annapolis Book Festival with WBAL’s Investigative Reporter Jayne Miller. Reichenbaugh will appear at the festival with other noted authors such as Ken Starr, Contempt a Memoir of the Clinton Investigation, Evin Thomas, First Sandra Day O’Connor, Kevin Cowherd, When the Crowd Didn’t Roar, and other well established and accomplished authors.

Author David Reichenbaugh in the recording studios of I-Heart Radio

Author David Reichenbaugh in the recording studios of I-Heart Radio


Retired State Police Lt to appear at the Annapolis Book Festival with WBAL Chief Investigative Reporter Jayne Miller

Author David Reichenbaugh will appear at the Annapolis Book Festival this Saturday, April 6th at 2:00PM to present his new book In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers. The author and retired Maryland State Police Lieutenaant will be at the Key School 534 Hillsmere Drive Annapolis Maryland at 2:00PM at Room 2 Barn Commons where he will give a presentation monitored by WBAL’s Chief Investigative Reporter Jayne Miller.

Jayne Miller covered the sniper case and the subsequent trials and this discussion which is open to the public promises to be very detailed and informative. The book festival will have In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers available for sale and the author will be happy to sign books for those that purchase his book at the vent.

The sniper case terrorized the Washington, Maryland and Virginia area for 23 days in October 2002. During the 23 days John Muhammad and Lee Malvo were responsible for murdering 10 people and wounding 4 more. The shootings were completely random and terrorized the Capitol area bringing normal life to a standstill. The investigation was the largest and most intense manhunt in American law enforcement history. Come and hear the true story as never been told before how the investigation was conducted and how the killers were tracked down and cornered in a rest area in Myersville Maryland. Reichenbaugh takes the reader thru the investigation including the intense emotions of working the case that investigators dealt with while working around the clock to track down the killers and bring them to justice.

In addition to Reichenbaugh the Book festival will have other noted authors at the event to present their books including Michael Isikoff, Ken Starr, Evan Thomas, and Kevin Cowherd.


For a full schedule of the Annapolis Book Festival at the Key School check out their web page

Writing for Homeland Security Today author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers Pens response to Chicago Tribune column questioning life with no Prole Sentence for Beltway Sniper Lee Malvo

PERSPECTIVE: Life Sentence for Beltway Sniper Is Not an ‘Injustice’

March 21, 2019 David Reichenbaugh

In the Chicago Tribune this week, columnist Dahleen Glanton questions “the injustice of imposing a sentence of life without parole on someone as young as 17” while acknowledging Lee Boyd Malvo did “awful things… as a teenager.” Having lived through the 23 days of terror on the front lines of the investigation as detailed in my book, In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers, which is the inside story of how the investigation was conducted and two of the most ruthless killers in American history were tracked down, I feel more than qualified to answer that question.

I understand where the writer is coming from, but it is a piece written by somebody who most likely has rarely left the confines of a nice office in Chicago and certainly has no clue how the real public back here in our area felt during the sniper case. Had the writer been a part of those horrific days and weeks in and around Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, I do not believe she would come off as sympathetic to Malvo, the sole remaining killer who, along with John Allen Muhammad, senselessly and without remorse took the lives of 10 random citizens and shot four more who somehow managed to survive their grievous wounds.

It is easy for the author to argue that a 17-year-old is a victim of social injustice, based on the perceived belief that Malvo was completely under the influence of John and was only pulling the trigger under the influence of his mentor. Who wants to truly believe that a person under the age of 18 can be so evil as to be responsible for the heinous acts he committed? I get that; I really do. It is not an easy thing to come to grips with the fact that there are people out there under the age of 18 who do not respect life and have no problem taking it. One can argue that Lee Malvo was completely under the influence of John Muhammad. At least that the politically correct spin that Malvo tried to place on his actions and what, fundamentally, maybe we all want to believe.

I must ask a question in return. Is it a social injustice to take a 17-year-old off the streets for the remainder of his natural life who had the ability, arrogance, and cold-bloodedness to look down the barrel of a rifle thru optic sights from a concealed position, place the red dot on the chest of a living, breathing human being who has a family, then pull the trigger — thus ending that human being’s life and destroying everything that they are, everything that they ever would be, and robbing their loved ones of a lifetime of influence, love, understanding, companionship, joys and heartaches that go along with a life well lived? All that human being did was have the audacity to find themselves on the wrong end of the barrel while simply going about daily life. What did those victims ever do to Lee Malvo? Did they deserve to die for any injustices that either may have or may not have been done to Lee Malvo? This was not an act committed in the moment of passion, or a momentary stupid accident committed by a kid who should have known better and made a terrible, horrible mistake. Malvo even testified against Muhammad that their plot included a domestic terror element, with a goal to “set up a camp to train children how to terrorize cities.” These were the acts of a heartless, cold-blooded killer who knew what he was doing and repeated that act 14 times in the DMV. In their full crime spree, the death toll was 17.

However, I am willing to bet the writer has never had to look into the crushed faces of the loved ones who had a family member, co-worker or friend gunned down in such a senseless act of pure evil. The writer has never seen the sheer terror in the faces of citizens just trying to put gas in their cars or the faces of terror-stricken parents shielding their children using their own bodies while they rushed their kids from cars pulled up onto sidewalks as close to the school doors as they could physically get in fear their child would be gunned down for no reason other than pure bad luck. That writer never faced a sociopath armed with a high-powered rifle that would penetrate our bulletproof vests like a knife through hot butter, knowing that you are outgunned, and knowing that the only thing between them killing again and putting a stop to their rampage was you and a couple of other troopers who understood it is their duty, responsibility and obligation to not let them kill again and be willing to lay their lives down if necessary in order to prevent another killing. All while knowing we had wives, husbands, sons, and daughters at home waiting for us to hopefully come home still wearing our shields and not carried home on top of it.

That writer has never had to make a split-second decision on life or death in order to protect the public we are sworn and dedicated to protect only to become scrutinized by a polarized media and public that, properly so, questions law enforcement’s training and decision-making abilities. That writer has never had to stand and protect that thin blue line that is the difference between this great country and a third-world state where the streets are permitted to be ruled by chaos. That writer has never looked into the soulless eyes of a stone-cold killer who, if given the chance, would have killed me and every trooper in that rest area at the point of arrest and not have thought twice about it. The writer never faced a killer who, with only one bullet left for that rifle, would have damn well used that bullet to kill a child at Myersville Elementary School the next morning before disappearing into the masses only to move on, resupply ammo and begin killing again.

Yes, it is easy for that writer from the safety of an office to beg for forgiveness for a 17-year-old killer whose DNA was the only DNA ever found on the rifle. Malvo was the trigger man who knew what he was doing, and has no regard for human life and never will. There is no amount of time behind bars that will be enough to punish him for what he has done and the crushed lives of those left behind — and the universal loss of that sense of safety and security during those 23 days in October 2002. None of us will ever be the same without wondering if there is another Lee Malvo out there waiting for the chance to take another kill shot. Should life without the possibility of parole be a standard penalty for somebody under the age of 18? No, I do not believe it should be. However, in this specific case, that sentence is the only sentence appropriate for a stone-cold killer who must never be permitted to walk the streets again. Malvo forfeited that right the moment he looked down the barrel and pulled the trigger, hidden in a concealed position like the true coward he is.

Read David Reichenbaugh’s Homeland Security Today series on the how the Beltway Snipers were tracked and caught: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

The views expressed here are the writer’s and are not necessarily endorsed by Homeland Security Today, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints in support of securing our homeland. To submit a piece for consideration, email Our editorial guidelines can be found here.

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David Reichenbaugh's passion for law enforcement started at a very early age which led him to seek a degree in criminal justice. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of North Western University Traffic Institute School of Police Staff and Command. David retired after 23 years service with the Maryland State Police as a Lieutenant and Barrack Commander in Cumberland Maryland. David's career started as a road Trooper and continued on as a criminal investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, major violators supervisor, homicide and high profile case investigator, and assisted in the development of the intelligence unit of the MSP post 9/11. He is the author of "In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers.


Frederick News Post covers retired State Police Lt. David Reichenbaugh's book event at C. Burr Artz Library in Frederick Maryland

Former trooper pens book, gives talk about capturing Beltway snipers

After recently penning a book about his first hand account of heading the Beltway snipers investigation, David Reichenbaugh stopped at C. Burr Artz Public Library Saturday to recount the crucial moments of the “largest manhunt in American law enforcement history.”

Reichenbaugh released “In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers” in October. Saturday’s presentation was organized by Curious Iguana in downtown Frederick.

The Beltway snipers were John Allen Muhammad (41 at the time) and Lee Boyd Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the attacks. The two men caused public hysteria and made national news after they carried out a series of shootings throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C and Virginia over a 23-day period in October 2002.

Reichenbaugh was the criminal intelligence operations commander for the Maryland State Police during the investigation and served as commanding officer at the scene when the snipers were captured at a rest area in Myersville.

More than 80 people gathered to hear the author talk about aspects that went wrong in the investigation, the intelligence that was used to further leads and how 23 law enforcement agencies worked together to end the three-week long manhunt.

“This is a story about your trooper,” he said. “Not a story to glorify the killers. It was an honor to serve the Maryland State Police.”

The former trooper also recounted how about 1,000 law enforcement officials came together to stop the snipers, how media outlets helped and hindered the case and why officials wrongly thought, for a majority of the investigation, a white van was being used to execute the shootings.

“People heard the shot,” he said, recalling one of the sniper shootings in Montgomery County. “They looked up, and as luck would have it, there goes a white van very slowly down the street. But if you think about it, you can’t look anywhere where there’s traffic and not see a white van. So that’s how it got started, be on the lookout for a two guys in a white van.”

The talk was slated to last an hour, but lasted almost two after audience members were so compelled with Reichenbaugh’s story they asked inquisitive questions before purchasing the book in the back of the room.

Frederick resident, Christopher Hartman, attended the event to hear the author’s account as he remembers taking extra precautions when traveling through Montgomery County during the sniper shootings.

“I lived through this,” he said. “I was working down in Montgomery County at the time and I actually had one of my friends at work drive me to the train station, I was taking a train from Frederick back and forth, so I wouldn’t be on the streets as a possible target. It really hits me personally.”

He said the most interesting part of the talk was when Reichenbaugh explained how it took up until the very end of the investigation to narrow in on who the snipers were and where they could be captured.

Reichenbaugh wrote the book because he “wanted the story to be accurate.” His favorite part about writing the book, though, was the process.

“It brought back some painful memories while writing it,” he said. “But at the same time it also brought back memories of the men and women that I served with, some of the just the greatest people on earth.

Asked what his most prominent memory of the investigation is, Reichenbaugh said the fear he saw in the faces of every day citizens during those three weeks.

“The fear was genuine from everybody that you ran into,” he said. “I can remember stopping at gas stations and there’d be somebody trying to put gas in their car. I’d stand there and sort of tuck my jacket back so they could see my badge and gun and you could almost see the relief on their face.”

Reichenbaugh is currently working on a second book about a different case, but wouldn’t divulge what it’s about.

The former MSP trooper worked in Frederick County for about 14 years as an undercover narcotics investigator. Today, he serves as a civilian analyst for the United States Capital Police and writes law enforcement articles for Homeland Security Today


Local Author and former Maryland State Police Lieutenant David Reichenbaugh holds a copy of his book during a talk Saturday at C Burr Artz Public Library about the pursuit and capture of the beltway snipers in 2002

staff photo by Bill Green

Author, Retired State Police Lt David Reichenbaugh writing for Homeland Security latest published article

It has been my honor to be able to submit and get published another article dealing with law enforcement and the use of criminal intelligence to protect the citizens for Homeland Security which is an outstanding daily publication that can be read online for free. Homeland Security today publishes cutting edge articles concerning law enforcement military, and homeland security concerns and news. I am honored to be considered to be a contributor to this great publication

PERSPECTIVE: Use Data to Build a Community Defense Against Crime Rings, Future Attacks

March 1, 2019 David Reichenbaugh

As a former operations commander for the Maryland State Police Criminal Intelligence Division post-9/11, I came to understand the importance of the collection and the analysis of criminal intelligence gathered through covert operations, open source, and the collection of data generated from the analysis of investigative and traffic reports submitted by troopers from across the state of Maryland. I had a fantastic team of highly motivated professional civilian analysts who applied their expertise to their assigned tasks and subject matter. They were able to generate a multitude of highly interesting materiel and facts that often made the eyebrows of us old cops rise with a collective “I’ll be damned.” We became extremely adept at creating amazingly beautiful flow charts, graphs, and talking points for anybody we could find interested in any of the topics. However, there needs to be more use for the material than just being impressed.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks caught the Maryland State Police completely by surprise as much as the rest of law enforcement and the country. Sure, we all talked about the possibility and the likelihood that this country would become the target of a massive terrorist strike. We had the Oklahoma City bombing, we had the first attack on the World Trade Center, but all of us, including the public, looked at those events as some sort of anomaly as opposed to a hint of things to come. We all felt somehow insulated from the frequent terrorist attacks that were happening everywhere else in the world. Our collective arrogance or naivety would not let us look at reality in the face. All of us watched attacks on the various news channels from afar. That stuff just does not happen here. The signs and indications – intelligence – was there. It was staring us all right in the face.

As in the aftermath of every terrorist attack or horrific mass shooting – which we do everything we can to avoid labeling as terrorist attacks, but are often acts of either international terrorism or domestic terrorism – all of us, both within the media and within law enforcement, play Monday morning quarterback. We can all point to the signs and ask the very pertinent question. How did we miss this, how did we not know something like this was coming? The red flags were there.  They were all taking flying lessons but did not seem to be concerned about learning to land. All of them were on various watch lists for a multitude of reasons. The World Trade Center had already been the target of a failed attempt to bring it down, and it has always been known that the radical fundamentalists responsible never give up trying to fulfill their mission easily.

The everyday road trooper, deputy, officer, patrolman did not have access to any of these lists and had no way of knowing that any of the perpetrators who hijacked and flew the planes were on them. If the patrol officer and street cops are truly the backbone of American law enforcement, then they need to have access to information that may contribute to their ability to not only locate potential terrorists but be able to disrupt their plans. None of us who ever patrolled the streets will ever know what we may have stopped or disrupted because of our presence while on patrol or a traffic stop that we conducted. But that is the nature of the business.

It’s not good enough to be satisfied with nice slogans we all hear put out to the public. “If you see something, say something.” My questions are basic: See what? What should I be looking for? And what should I say? And to whom should I say it? Law enforcement has an obligation to reach out and educate the citizens we are all trying to protect. The father of modern law enforcement, Sir Robert Peel 1788-1850, British Conservative statesman, said, “The police are the public. The police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time and attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” The public obviously has many more sets of eyes than the police can ever have, and we must educate the public and partner with them in protecting our communities and our great country.

As 9/11 fades into the past, history has shown that there were agencies at all levels that had the intelligence and either did not put it all together or kept it so close to the vest that the intelligence was useless. That brings me to my point and the crux of this article. Have the lessons we learned as the result of the pain and suffering of 9/11 faded into our collective memory just like the event itself? If those lessons have faded and we did not learn anything, then we have all failed. Law enforcement cannot possibly be omnipresent to protect this country from every desperate act of terrorism or horrific act. We must have the buy-in and the participation of the business community and every citizen to have any chance of stopping these violent acts.

Intelligence and analytics, which go hand in hand, can be a powerful tool in law enforcement’s tool box if we learn how to use it. We generated a variety of statistics, then compared them to years past or used them to project what may be coming. This was particularly useful in traffic enforcement with the oldest stat used by law enforcement: the traffic fatality rate. I am now 60 years old with my active sworn law enforcement career in my rearview mirror. However, when I was still just a teenager, I can remember traffic fatality rates being posted on signs along Pennsylvania’s interstate highways and turnpike. It was discussed in newspaper articles and on the broadcast news. The obvious connection between drunk driving and the traffic fatality rate was made.

These statistics were used to try to educate the motoring public about the dangers of drunk driving and were used by law enforcement to go back to their legislative bodies seeking money and additional human resources to get drunk drivers off the highways. These numbers were not only tracked but were used by both the police to obtain the resources that were needed and to educate the general public about the dangers of drunk and now drugged driving. That analysis and fatality-related statistics are still used today along with a real concerted effort to educate our citizens.

There is a real likelihood that if a drunk driver is not spotted by a police officer on patrol, a citizen will pick up a cell phone and report the driver, frequently staying on the phone while patrol cars are directed to the offender’s location. That success is the result of a concerted effort by law enforcement working with citizens through education and enforcement to tackle the problem. Will it eliminate the problem? No, but it makes it much more likely that the drunk driver will be caught and arrested. That same mentality must be used to help prevent the next terrorist attack – or at least make it much more likely that the terrorists will be stopped before they are able to act.

Therefore, analytics and intelligence analysis are not something new. It has been used for decades. But the question is, are we using it to its full potential? I believe since Sept. 11, law enforcement has gotten much better at using data analysis and developed criminal intelligence, but we are still a long way from taking advantage of what this tool has to offer.

In addition, with the passage of time, our collective comfort level has increased to pre-9/11 levels and we must make a concerted effort to stay sharp in the law enforcement community and keep the public informed. It is also just as important, if not more important, to keep the public, the eyes and ears of law enforcement, engaged with law enforcement to help prevent the next attack.

Data analysis can be extremely useful in both strategic planning and resource allocation – provided the agency is collecting the proper data, which is another issue that goes into the thought process. Every agency from the largest federal agencies to the smallest-town police department should be collecting data. If the proper things are being tracked, it can tell the agency over the long term where they have been and where they need to go. It is very difficult to solve a problem if you do not know what the problem is. Data collection such as crime statistics can help every agency better understand the communities they serve and their needs and problem areas.

It can also be used and should be used as a report card for every law enforcement agency to evaluate programs and the use of limited and precious resources. They can be used to help determine if desired goals are being met and help pinpoint changes or minor adjustments that need to be made to make them more successful. Coming from a state agency with limited resources, we needed to stretch our dollars as far as we could in order to get the most bang for the buck.

Once a problem is clearly identified, such as an increase in burglaries or violent crimes, the numbers can be taken to those responsible for budget allocation to demonstrate that there is a problem and there is a clear need for additional resources, manpower, equipment, or both to address this growing need. It is no longer going to work for a chief of police to go to the town council – or, in the case of state agencies, the state legislature and say, “I need 40 more troopers because I need them to solve a growing crime problem or a growing traffic management problem.”

The chief needs to be able to pull out the current numbers and data along with previous years and show the budget decision-makers the facts and prove that there is a serious problem that needs resources and attention, and here are the numbers and projections based upon reports taken and data analysis to prove it. Also based upon that analysis here is the plan moving forward – how will resources be used to tackle the problem head-on? Saying “I need additional resources just because I say we need them” no longer cuts it. Having the facts and figures to prove the need will be much harder for those holding the purse strings to ignore.

Collecting the data and the statistics is only a part of a good law enforcement intelligence unit. We must be able to not only use the data collected from the analysis of police reports, open-source intelligence, and intelligence generated from the proverbial boots on the ground to capture that eye-opening “Well, I’ll be damned” moment to usable and actionable intelligence.

Post-9/11, newly promoted to intelligence operations commander, and armed with a mandate to get the Maryland State Police back in the game, so to speak, I remember sitting in meetings and hearing from all of those extremely talented and dedicated civilian analysts. They would show me charts, graphs, and reports generated through their hard work all marked confidential, Maryland State Police eyes-only.

I remarked one day to the group, “This is all great stuff. This is all great work, but what good is it if we can’t get this information out to those that need it? I don’t want to sit here and have to tell anybody, ‘Wow, we knew that was going to happen; we just could not tell you.’” Compartmentalization can be a real problem.

Intelligence derived through analysis and generated through other means is useless unless it is used to prevent the act from ever happening in the first place. For obvious reasons, certain facts and intelligence must be held very close to the vest if there is a very good reason to do so such as an ongoing sensitive investigation that would be severely damaged or would cause panic and mayhem if divulged at the wrong time. However, there is plenty of intelligence that is best shared not only within law enforcement but also with our local business community and the citizens we are all sworn to protect and serve.

Specific intelligence that if leaked or made public would severely damage an ongoing criminal investigation obviously needs to be held close to the vest. However, it becomes very easy for agencies to hold everything close to the vest and thus render this valuable information relatively useless. It has been my experience that happens frequently, and it takes effort to take the time to truly evaluate what needs to be kept close and what can be shared in a useful intelligent way.

It all must start with communication: communication that goes from the public to the police and the police back to the public. The police also must listen to the public, both the business community and the general citizens we are tasked to serve. There is a big difference in hearing what the citizens have to say and report and actually listening. The information must then be broken down for proper evaluation and importance. It takes time, energy, commitment and, most importantly, empathy. If law enforcement cannot, or is unwilling to, walk in the shoes of the people, then the mission to serve and to protect is lost before it ever has a chance to succeed.

So how do we do this? The first order of business is to not overlook anything. As a very young trooper, I once had a very wise and seasoned sergeant who schooled me after I complained about having to take a report for a minor theft of wheels stolen from a push mower that had been left in the front yard of a home. I thought it was a complete waste of my time and State Police resources to make me take a theft report for something of little or no value. He told me, “If the citizen, whom we work for, thought it was important enough for him to call the State Police to report this theft, then it is important enough for us to take a report and do what we can.” After giving it some thought, he was correct. As I advanced in my career and became that wise old sergeant, then commander, I used to explain it this way to young troopers. If you treat every crime like the victim was your mother and you have given your report and investigation the effort you would if the victim was a loved one, then you have done your job the way it is supposed to be done.

Using crime statistics, I noticed that in Frederick County, Md., we were having a real problem with minor petty retail theft. It seemed to be happening every day. The shoplifting reports were frequent and seemed to be specific to certain products such as baby formula, printer ink, batteries and other items such as diapers, deodorant and personal hygiene products. None of these crimes rose to the level of felony theft, which at that time was $1,000. Those who had been caught were primarily from Prince George’s County or the District of Columbia, which was 45 minutes to an hour away from Frederick County. They seemed to be operating in pairs and knew very little about each other. Due to the minor nature of their crimes the vast majority, unless there was an outstanding warrant, were released on personal recognizance, and were for the most part very unlikely to appear when their court date came up.

Individually, the value of the thefts was insignificant. As a whole, the thefts put together were well into five figures. I took the time during an arrest to bring in the suspect and conduct an interview. I learned the suspect was a part of an organized effort. They would all show up in the morning to a pawn shop owned by a group of Pakistanis in Prince George’s County. They would be divided up into teams of two or three and would be given a list of items to steal. They would also be given a route and names of stores along with location where they were supposed to go and boost the desired products. Upon returning to the pawn shop at the end of the day they would be paid for the number of products they came back with or given drugs. In this incident the thief was more interested in drugs, and was afraid if I locked her up she would not be able to feed her habit. She knew that she could not steal more than $1,000 worth of goods from any store because she knew she would not get released if caught committing a felony.

Being the dedicated investigator, I reached out to the major big-box stores in my area such as Target and Walmart. Each of them was aware of the products that were targeted but had no idea it was happening to their competitors or the small businesses in our county. I was also able to reach out to police in Prince George’s County and the FBI. They were aware of the reported fencing operation at the pawn shop but did not have enough evidence to make an arrest. This was only a few months prior to the tragedy of 9/11. The FBI reported that the suspects running the pawn shop had been arrested in New Jersey for the same type of operation and they seemed to just move around, changing business names and ownership when the heat got to hot. The FBI believed it was a Pakistani operation and feared that the proceeds from this retail organized theft ring were finding their way abroad to finance terrorist organizations.

Based upon what was uncovered I determined that I needed to pull the business community together and make them aware of what was happening and hoped we could share the evidence. With the help of the larger box store, and the eventual financial help of a major corporation in the area that saw the value of meeting and sharing with the business community, and later any citizen that was interested we formed a group and met monthly. Getting the buy-in from other county and local police agencies, I shared my spreadsheet and found out that the business community was able to piece together almost the entire operation. We helped each other out. The business community was made aware of what the police had going on and suspect information for not only retail theft operations but other crimes as well. Before long the police were receiving intelligence information from the business community on things they were seeing that the police would never had known.

As the regular meetings progressed, we were able to provide the business community and the public with training and seminars to meet their needs and they were able to provide the police with valuable and actionable intelligence. The intelligence gathered was used to break up several organized theft and burglary rings and identified several armed robbery suspects in the area. The gathered intelligence was also used combined with information from other areas of the state to identify various gang members and their associates. At the height of these meetings, it was not unusual to have 110 people come to each briefing.

This took effort, coordination, and a determination to share what I could. All concerns were able to freely be discussed and shared. For a variety of investigative reasons, all we knew could not be shared. What we discovered was that if the public knows what we are looking for and has an idea of why we are looking for it, they will readily assist and are more than willing to work with us. The other thing we discovered was that by holding these meetings over a lunch with local restaurants taking turns pitching in and participating, relationships were formed across the board.

As a business owner, manager or a private citizen it is much easier and more comfortable to pick up the telephone and call a local law enforcement official who has sat across the table with you over lunch and a cup of coffee than it is to call and speak to somebody who is nothing more than a voice on the other end of the telephone. The communication is freer-flowing and there is much more care and concern generated to meet each other’s needs. We had no idea until we began to track the law enforcement pain-in-the-backside report of shoplifting that may have tied into funds going overseas to possibly support terrorist plots against us.

The key to data harvesting and intelligence gathering is simply getting out from behind a desk and a computer and do some old-fashioned police footwork. It can be started with picking several businesses from across the board in your jurisdiction that are having a problem or are concerned with crime issues and inviting them in to sit down. The police must break the ice and must be willing to openly discuss crime trends and public safety concerns with them. Do not limit yourself to the big issues and understand that every terrorist must fund themselves. They do that by committing other small-time crimes and, unless the investigative or intelligence unit is looking, will fly unnoticed and well under the radar.

Be willing to share what you can with the business community and public. I have found that local Chambers of Commerce are also very supportive and will help coordinate meetings and do a lot of the meeting notification for you. As the meetings progress, provide our business community and citizens with a segment of training. Local prosecutors are more than willing to provide some pointers and suggestions to improve their cases by educating the business community. We had the Secret Service come in and do a session on counterfeiting and the latest credit-card fraud schemes. We had more than 200 people attend that meeting. All the while those people are engaged and willing to help the police and relationships are being formed.

Intelligence is useless unless it can be used and turned into some sort of action. If we invest the time into those citizens we are sworn to protect and bring them into the overall crime prevention and terrorist prevention plan, it will pay dividends and make our jobs a little easier. Do not expect an immediate return on the investment of time. It takes time to build positive relationships. However, if those relationships developed can help foil one mall shooting, crime spree or act of terrorism, it will be time and effort well spent.

  • David Reichenbaugh

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David Reichenbaugh's passion for law enforcement started at a very early age which led him to seek a degree in criminal justice. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of North Western University Traffic Institute School of Police Staff and Command. David retired after 23 years service with the Maryland State Police as a Lieutenant and Barrack Commander in Cumberland Maryland. David's career started as a road Trooper and continued on as a criminal investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, major violators supervisor, homicide and high profile case investigator, and assisted in the development of the intelligence unit of the MSP post 9/11. He is the author of "In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers."

Dave's Head Shots, Hypnotic Imagery, LLC, Rebecca O'Neill,

Book Events at Caprichos in Bel Air Maryland was a great success

Author David Reichenbaugh went to Bel Air Maryland on Saturday February 23rd for two book events. The author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers was hosted by MS Liz Decker owner of Caprichos Books. At 10 AM the author met with the book club and had a several hour detailed discussion about the book and about the Beltway Sniper Case. He found the questions compelling and challenging. It was obvious to the author that the group enjoyed the book and he received several compliments about his writing style and straight forward approach. One member told him that she felt like she was there while reading the book due to the detailed descriptions of the places and the events as they unfolded.

The Book Club meeting was followed up by a public book event at their delightful and beautiful store. The author felt at home in the comfortable atmosphere. The place was packed with more than 25 people in attendance including Major Jim Ballard MSP retired who is featured in the book and great friend and retired State Police Seargeant Joe Ryan. After the successfull event the three had a chance to chat about the days past and catch up. The color of their hair is uniformly grey now but their passion for the state police and the people they served was clearly evident. The author was proud to serve with such great Troopers.

Due to the hospitality of Liz Decker and her staff this will be an event that has already been etched into the memory of the author.

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Part 4 of 4 Articles the Author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers wrote for Homeland Security Today. The multi jurisdictional Task Force an effective tool for law enforcement.

The Inside Story of Snagging the Beltway Snipers: Lessons on Forging Task-Force Ties Now

December 21, 2018 David Reichenbaugh

This is Part Three of a four-part series on the 2002 Beltway Snipers killing spree in collaboration with the former criminal intelligence operations commander for the Maryland State Police and commanding officer at the scene during the snipers’ capture in Myersville, Md. Read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three

For 23 days in October 2002, the mid-Atlantic region of our country, especially the DMV – District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia – were held hostage during the reign of terror and murder of unsuspecting, random citizens by the Beltway Snipers. Ten citizens were gunned down and four more wounded in the span of three weeks in the DMV using a high-velocity .223 caliber rifle at distance. The citizens were in fear of getting shot while doing things that before the shootings were considered routine, such as getting gas for the car or walking into or out of a grocery store.

Due to the randomness of the killings and shootings – and coming on the heels of the 911 attacks and the anthrax case – the public was gripped by terror. The national media was in a frenzy, creating even more panic and casting doubt on whether law enforcement officers were going to be able to run the killers to ground, and the police were struggling to come up with motive and suspects. It was obvious from the first day of the sniper investigation that law enforcement was going to have to step out of a traditional comfort zone regarding homicide investigations in order to identify the killers then bring their three-week killing spree to an end. A traditional homicide investigation was not going to cut it.  Killings were happening faster than could be managed, stressing local police resources to the maximum, and the crime scene quickly stretched into two states and the District of Columbia. Within 48 hours all allied police agencies including federal, state, county, city, and local came together and formed the SNIPMUR task force. The purpose was to bring all assets of all these agencies together for the sole purpose of identifying the snipers and bringing the killings to an immediate stop. When the Task Force was first formed, it was unclear if we were dealing with a well-organized terrorist plot being carried out under the orders of foreign terrorists or, as it turned out, the desperate and despicable acts of two sociopath bloodthirsty killers carrying out their own twisted mission.

In theory, and on paper, the task force concept was – and, I believe, is – the best way to deal with this type of random crime spree, whether it is the random shootings of a sniper or the mail-bombing cases we have recently seen that cross multi-jurisdictional lines. The concept permits the combining of resources and investigative talent. However, there are pitfalls that must be overcome and can be avoided with proper planning. The SNIPMUR Task Force was unprecedented at the time and there were several problems or potholes we blindly stepped in as we moved forward under pressure, but these can be taken as lessons learned and avoided in the future.

The task force was able to set aside all agency egos and come together and work smoothly and efficiently under a great deal of both internal and external pressure. However, the ability to do that was not hatched the day the sniper case began. The ability to set aside egos began immediately after 9/11. The agencies in the mid-Atlantic region, post-9/11, quickly realized that communication was key to preventing a future attack. Multiple agencies began to meet as a group, where key members of each agency were able to forge relationships with their counterparts and thus build trust and understanding of each agency’s strength and needs. As a result, when the sniper case happened, we all knew each other and could quickly put a face to the voice on the other end of the telephone when calls for assistance and information came flooding in. It is much easier to form a multi-jurisdictional task force when the key members of each agency already know each other, have spent time together professionally, have developed an understanding of the other agency’s capabilities, and have developed friendships with each other. As the pressure and frustrations mount, without those pre-developed relationships the trust can quickly evaporate or never form.

READ: Pro-ISIS How-to Guides Show Lone Wolves Beltway Snipers’ Techniques

The largest lesson learned, in my opinion, is the need to carefully and skillfully manage the media. The media does have a job to do and a responsibility in our free society to get the news out to the public in a truthful manner. However, the task force was plagued with media leaks that caused significant damage to law enforcements efforts to identify, track and corner the snipers. Many times during this investigation, the intelligence unit, which I was responsible for, found out information that was critical to the investigation from the TV. Information such as communications that were meant to be between the killers and the police were being leaked and broadcast to the public (also back to the killers who were obviously listening to their own press coverage) before those responsible for evaluation, and fitting the pieces of the crime together, were aware of them.

This was the first major case that was broadcast over the 24-hour cable news channels that developed post-9/11. It felt during the investigation from those of us on the inside that the case was being investigated on cable news. There were press releases from the Montgomery County Police chief and those in leadership positions within the task force several times a day, which was overkill and unnecessary. I believe the sheer volume of the continuous press conferences was a detriment at times to the investigation.  The press was managing the police as opposed to the police managing the press.

The press, if managed properly, can be a tremendous asset to law enforcement. Ultimately, it was the timely release to the press of the lookout for the blue Caprice that led police to the snipers’ location at the Myersville, Md., rest area. They were found by a listening public within a few minutes of the lookout being broadcast by a local radio station. Once again, this goes back to communication and understanding. There is the responsibility of the police to provide appropriate and timely information to the media. However, there is the mutual responsibility of the press to ethically release information in a manner that does not do damage to the police responsibility to stop killers and bring them to justice. This requires communication and commitment. Recently – and I believe a result of lessons learned through the sniper case – police agencies are doing a much better job of working with the media and managing the media rather than letting the media manage the investigation and the police.

Without the formation of the multi-jurisdictional task force, the Beltway Snipers might never have been caught. Their killing spree may have continued, claiming more victims and adding to the body count, or they may have simply disappeared into the masses. The multi-jurisdictional task force was and remains a powerful tool in law enforcement’s toolbox and should be used as needed. However, that tool cannot lay dormant, and if you will, be assembled from a box kept in the closet at a moment’s notice. The groundwork of interagency cooperation needs to be fostered every day, so that in the event a task force is needed the main pieces are already assembled and in place.

  • I demonstrate how the wire was used to control the trunk opening, and how the rifle was placed while the target was tracked.


In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers by David Reichenbaugh recounts the terrifying crimes through the eyes of one of the few people who know the complete details of the investigation. The book is currently available on Amazon.

  • David Reichenbaugh

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David Reichenbaugh's passion for law enforcement started at a very early age which led him to seek a degree in criminal justice. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of North Western University Traffic Institute School of Police Staff and Command. David retired after 23 years service with the Maryland State Police as a Lieutenant and Barrack Commander in Cumberland Maryland. David's career started as a road Trooper and continued on as a criminal investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, major violators supervisor, homicide and high profile case investigator, and assisted in the development of the intelligence unit of the MSP post 9/11. He is the author of "In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers.

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Writing for Homeland Security Today has been a real honor and a privlege. My book In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers is currently available in fine book stores such as Barnes & Noble and local Independent book stores. It is also available on line On Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound. It is also currently available on those sites electronically. The motivation for this book was to detail and record for history the true story of how the Beltway Sniper Investigation was conducted and the fine work that was done by law enforcement in an effort to bring the killers to justice.

Author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers Part 3 of a 4 part series of articles written for Homeland Security Today

The Inside Story of Snagging the Beltway Snipers: Developing Tools to Sort the Tips

December 14, 2018 David Reichenbaugh

This is Part Three of a four-part series on the 2002 Beltway Snipers killing spree in collaboration with the former criminal intelligence operations commander for the Maryland State Police and commanding officer at the scene during the snipers’ capture in Myersville, Md. Read Part One and Part Two

The Beltway Snipers investigation, which lasted 23 days in October 2002, is believed to be the largest multijurisdictional, multi-agency criminal investigation in American law enforcement history. During the manhunt, shootings occurred in eight local jurisdictions spanning two states and the District of Columbia. There were more than 1,000 federal agents, troopers, deputies, and police officers involved in tracking down the killers. In all, there were 32 federal, state, city, county, and local police agencies involved in the investigation, which ultimately became the SNIPMUR (Sniper Murder Task Force). The logistics alone for trying to manage an ongoing investigation of this size under the pressure of the continuous shooting of innocent citizens going about their daily lives was daunting.

The case began on Oct. 2 during the early evening with a bullet that exploded a window at a Michaels craft store in Aspen Hill, Montgomery County, Md. Less than an hour later, the snipers claimed their first victim at a Shoppers Food Warehouse parking lot in Wheaton. By 9:30 p.m. the following day the snipers had shot five more people: four in Montgomery County and one in the District of Columbia. This many shootings occurring in such a short period of time, which were obviously connected in some way, was extremely troubling and foretold the possibility of some more sinister plot. The victims were being shot with high-speed bullets coming from some sort of rifle fired at a considerable distance. The randomness of the shootings also ruled out motives normally associated with shootings and killings.

Coming a little over a year after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., which was followed by the anthrax attacks that were still unsolved and under investigation, this appeared initially to be the work of another terrorist plot to instill fear in the citizens and erode public confidence in the ability of the police and/or the government to protect citizens. The Montgomery County Police Department, which caught the initial cases quickly, asked for help from both federal and state police agencies. Also fearing this was the start of another terrorist attack, the agencies quickly came to the support of the Montgomery County Police Department. The initial response from the federal agencies consisted of lending their forensic capabilities and the response from the Maryland State Police was to flood the area with road troopers to increase police presence and attempt to suppress the snipers’ ability to easily acquire targets.

READ: Pro-ISIS How-to Guides Show Lone Wolves Beltway Snipers’ Techniques

In the coming days, the killings did not stop – they only expanded into additional jurisdictions, thus bringing in more and more law enforcement agencies and resources. To try to organize and coordinate this rapidly expanding investigation, the SNIPMUR Task Force was formed and very quickly organized. This effort required the vast resources of the federal government.   

Due to the randomness of the killings – and the only information that police had to work with was the repeated sighting of a white van or box truck leaving the vicinity of each shooting – law enforcement needed the eyes and ears of citizens in an effort to develop any viable leads that would lead to identifying the killers and putting a stop to this nightmare that had quickly paralyzed the DMV. Tips and information from a panicked and extremely concerned citizenry began to quickly pour in, which created another logistical challenge. Every tip and bit of information had to be cataloged, reviewed, and followed up where appropriate, since we had no way of knowing which tip or bit of information might be the missing pieces that would break the case wide open.

This task alone was going to require human assets, technology, organization, determination, and time – which we did not have. It was going to require thinking outside of the normal investigative thought process to separate useful, valuable, and actionable information from what we used to call noise. Since tips were coming into the Task Force literally by the thousands each day and growing as the days and nights dragged on, the job was assigned to the criminal intelligence section which I was assigned to supervise. Using police officers, agents and civilian intelligence analysts from all these allied agencies, we began the process of turning the tons of information received into an organized investigative effort.

It was obvious immediately that we needed to use technology to assist in what was referred to as link analysis: in short, the ability to connect the dots with the now tens of thousands of tips and bits of information that not only was received from the public but was also generated by the intelligence section trying to find the electronic footprint or bread crumbs left behind by the yet-to-be-identified killers. Existing software was not able to perform what we needed it to do. 

During the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the FBI utilized a program called Rapid Start. It was a great program that was a way to catalog and organize all the calls and tips that came into law enforcement. However, it did not have the means to conduct link analysis and look for the common thread. For that, we utilized and radically modified a drug enforcement software program called Case Explorer. It had the ability to conduct link analysis but lacked the diversity to accept the data from RapidStart and to read other data sets coming in from allied agencies and other law enforcement databases and civilian databases that we were searching, looking for the electronic footprint. Under the extreme pressure of the continuous shootings and the need to get the data immediately, some extremely talented programmers were able to help the Task Force write code to make Case Explorer fit our needs. 

Their work under extreme pressure ultimately paid off and greatly assisted in identifying the snipers. Using the link analysis concept, the Intelligence unit was able to classify the value of the thousands of tips using a simple color code of green, yellow and red. Green information was low-priority. It was information that did not match any other tips or known information. Yellow was information such as two or more tips about the same person or persons with maybe another factor thrown in, such as a criminal record for violence. Red information was hot with multiple links: known violent felon, owned a white-panel truck, maybe a known owner or known to use a .223 caliber rifle. The more data that matched, the higher priority was given to the tip. Red was worked on immediately. A full rapid background check was completed for the person and the red packet was given to field agents to run down as soon as possible.

The SNIPMUR Task Force came together with multiple agencies and a lot of working parts. The level of cooperation and teamwork was incredible under the crisis of the sniper case, and the task force was turned into a functional working group within a week of the initial shootings. The success of the task force was unprecedented and speaks to the level of professionalism of all 1,000 cops working the case.

  • Sarah Ramos crime scene. Her shooting was initially reported to the police as a suicide. It did not take long for Montgomery County Police to realize that something major and very violent was happening in their community.

In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers by David Reichenbaugh recounts the terrifying crimes through the eyes of one of the few people who know the complete details of the investigation. The book is currently available on Amazon.

  • David Reichenbaugh

  • Latest posts

David Reichenbaugh's passion for law enforcement started at a very early age which led him to seek a degree in criminal justice. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of North Western University Traffic Institute School of Police Staff and Command. David retired after 23 years service with the Maryland State Police as a Lieutenant and Barrack Commander in Cumberland Maryland. David's career started as a road Trooper and continued on as a criminal investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, major violators supervisor, homicide and high profile case investigator, and assisted in the development of the intelligence unit of the MSP post 9/11. He is the author of "In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers."

Dave's Head Shots, Hypnotic Imagery, LLC, Rebecca O'Neill,

I will be posting my 2019 scheduled book events in the coming weeks. In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers is currently available in book stores and also on line. This is the true story of how the beltway snipers were brought to justice as told by the Trooper and his team that locked them up and ended their reign of terror.

Retired State Police Lt / Author writing for Homeland Security Today

The Inside Story of Snagging the Beltway Snipers: Stopping 23 Days of Random Terror

November 29, 2018 David Reichenbaugh

This is Part One of a four-part series on the 2002 Beltway Snipers killing spree in collaboration with the former criminal intelligence operations commander for the Maryland State Police and commanding officer at the scene during the snipers’ capture in Myersville, Md.

October 2, 2002, a Michaels craft store window in suburban Montgomery County, Md., exploded from a high caliber bullet.  Later that same day, 55-year-old James D. Martin, a program analyst for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was shot in the parking lot of Shoppers Food Warehouse in Wheaton, Maryland.

And so began a manhunt that shattered nerves across the D.C. area that would only begin to calm after an intensive monthlong, multijurisdictional cat-and-mouse hunt to stop the terror.

The shot into the craft store missed its target. But over the course of 23 days, 10 citizens in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia had been shot and killed with another four victims surviving their wounds. The shootings were completely random, without regard to race, sex, religion, or gang affiliation. All the victims were shot using a high-power .223 caliber Bushmaster rifle fired from a concealed location, without regard to the time of day —  a string of shootings in rapid succession to kick off the spree in Montgomery County unfolded in broad daylight.

In October 2002, a little over a year since the terrorism attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia across the river from the nation’s capital, and the foiled attack on the U.S. Capitol or Camp David in the mountains of Maryland that ended in a field in Shanksville, Pa., the nation was holding its collective breath. We were also only a few months removed from the deadly anthrax attacks and the case was still very much open with a motive shrouded in mystery.

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Since the worst domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history may have started in our own backyard, along with deaths associated with the anthrax case, the Maryland State Police was in the process of rapidly standing up a long-dormant Criminal Intelligence Division. The goal was to get boots on the ground infiltrating known nefarious groups, identifying any newly identified potential threats, listening, and disrupting any potential terrorist threats that may still be lurking in Maryland. It was painfully obvious that we could not depend on the FBI on their own to do this type of work in our own backyard and it was our responsibility to do what we could to protect Maryland from the new terrorist threat that had landed in our laps. Cooperation across jurisdictional lines would be needed.

The division also had the responsibility of identifying the hundreds of potential targets for future attacks located within the state’s borders, working with those companies and agencies in hardening the potential targets, and coordinating with our many allied federal, county, and city police agencies to work together in a united effort to prevent the next terrorist attack that all of us knew deep in our gut was coming. It was not a matter of if, but when – and could we disrupt it before it gets started.

As Operations Commander for the Criminal Intelligence Division, it was my job to help make some sense out of gathered intelligence, which resulted from our covert activities as well as intelligence gathered from open sources. Oct. 2 started like any other day for me, going over intelligence reports from the night before and making notes of which allied agencies I needed to reach out to that day to compare notes. Those relationships, forged out of necessity with our allied federal and surrounding state and local agencies since the tragedy of 9/11, would ultimately prove fruitful as the Beltway Snipers case unfolded.

Initially, it was suspected that the shootings had to be the work of an organized terrorist cell that had infiltrated the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with the goal of instilling fear in the citizenry and showing the citizens that their police and government were helpless to protect them. Initially, nothing else made any sense. If that was the plan of the unidentified cold-blooded killers, it was certainly working. Citizens were in fear, squatting behind their cars as they filled the gas tanks. Gas stations and business erected tarps to help shield their customers from view or placed paper over the windows to prevent the killers from having a view of the inside of their businesses.

Schools in the D.C. area, known as the DMV, were locked down and in some instances closed. All extracurricular activities including the fall scholastic football season had been canceled. The few shoppers who were still out there ran from their cars to and from the stores. Employees ran in a zigzag manner to get inside their building as quickly as possible. The economic impact of the sniper’s reign of terror to our nation’s capital region was never calculated but had to be immense. Life as American citizens knew it came to a complete stop for those 23 days in October.

The sniper investigation from the onset quickly became one of the largest, most intense manhunts in American law enforcement history. At the height there were close to 1,000 agents, troopers, officers, and deputies working the case, from federal agencies to local police departments. The relationships formed as the result of Sept. 11 played a key component and helped keep the SNIPMUR Task Force focused, and the participants from all the agencies working together as a unified team. It was this team that ultimately led to the snipers’ capture and brought to a close to their 23-day rampage.

As I indicated, initially all of us including federal agencies that went all the way to the attention of the president thought this was a well-planned terrorist event. As the shootings continued over the three-week period, the killers began to leave us notes. It became clear these were not terrorists. They were two people with a god complex who enjoyed killing, enjoyed their newfound publicity as this case was on the 24-hour news cycle, and were hoping to extort money out of the government.

The killers were certainly not sophisticated by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, their notes decorated in a child’s star stickers demanding that we get them the money thru a stolen debit card showed their complete lack of sophistication. However, they were smart enough to carefully plan their attacks and fitted out a rather run-of-the-mill blue Caprice to use as a sniper platform. They listened very carefully to the round-the-clock news coverage and knew they were safe since the task force spent most of the 23 days of this investigation looking for two shooters in a white van or box truck.

They responded to the idle threat of the Maryland governor calling them cowards, and vowing that authorities would protect our children, by shooting a 13-year-old child the following day as he exited his mother’s car to run into his middle school.

The Beltways Snipers case became an obsession for those of us working on the task force. Unidentified killers were killing our citizens randomly and it did not seem like there was a thing we could do to stop it. However, determination, guts, and the full resources of the federal state, city, and county governments – and the bloodhound mentality of some of the best cops in the country – would ultimately lead to their capture at a mountainside rest area in Frederick County, Md

Check out Homeland Security Toady under the Law Enforcement Section to see article 1 and all of the pictures associated with a four part series about the beltway sniper investigation and the impact of the multi-jurisdictional task force concept on law enforcement today. The author, Retired Maryland State Police Lt. David Reichenbaugh and author of In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers has completed the four article series with article #1 getting published on November 29th. Check out Homeland Security


Eileen Haavik Mcintire Critically acclaimed author Reviews In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers

Last Month I had the pleasure of attending a book event at the Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop With Author Eileen McIntire and two other great authors. During the panel discussion we discussed our latest books. Ms. Mcintire who is an acomplished and successful author (see her books and book series below advised that she writes book reviews for After reading In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers she has written a glowing review of my new book and it is posted and can be found on

This old State Trooper is humbled to get such a great review from this well known author.


Author of Shadow and the Rock, The 90s Club and the Hidden Staircase, and The 90s Club and the Whispering Statue

17 NOVEMBER 2018 In Pursuit – The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers

If you lived in the D.C. Metro Area in October, 2002,  you remember the terror you felt as the Beltway Snipers killed people randomly on the street, in a store, filling gas, loading groceries into a car—17 killed  in all with 10 wounded. I was afraid, as we all were, to walk from my car to my house or anywhere else. If you were at the gas pump, you stooped to hide behind your car. You ran zigzaggedly into a store, kept your kids home from school, and prayed you wouldn’t be the next victim.

So this month I had the pleasure of being a panelist at the Mechanicsburg, PA, Mystery Book Shop. I sat next to David Reichenbaugh, also a panelist and author of In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers. Dave served as the criminal intelligence operations commander for the Maryland State Police and as the commanding officer at the scene during the Beltway snipers’ capture in Myersville, MD. I found him an enthusiastic, pleasant, entertaining, and knowledgeable fellow panelist. He didn’t talk “copspeak” and he never once called me “ma’am.” Of course, I bought his book.

And what a read it is. I couldn’t put it down till the last page. This is a behind the scenes, first-person account, from day one to the capture and ultimate fate of two psychopaths, written by a man who was a leader in the local, multistate and FBI search across three states for the killers. The account conveys the frustrations, anger, and helplessness felt by the police officers with each murder. Everyone involved worked long hours, sometimes around the clock, in a race to prevent another killing.

The investigation involved organizing and coordinating the efforts of local police units, the state police, and the FBI despite territorial claims and ego interference The investigators had to deal with the media, too, scrambling after every scrap of information, insisting on more, giving the killers media attention, and offering media time to any self-proclaimed authority to second-guess what the investigators were doing.

As killing after killing occurred, the investigators realized they needed software that linked the various databases kept by the different departments. Computer programmers were hired to streamline and digitize the data collected.

Profilers were used who concluded that the killer was a white man working alone. The killers turned out to be a black man and a black teenager working together. After each killing, witnesses said they saw a white van with two men drive away.  The killers’ car was actually a blue Caprice, but the witnesses’ reports of a white van put investigators on the wrong track for weeks.

The author writes in a straightforward, highly readable style, and he doesn’t use “copspeak.” He expresses the rage and fear and frustration he felt as the investigators explored one blind alley after the next. He does give full credit to the other organizations and people involved in the investigation. I found his account fascinating and highly recommend In Pursuit – The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers by David Reichenbaugh.

I also recommend the Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop in Mechanicsburg, PA. This is a well-organized, neatly arranged shop with pleasant staff.



Eileen McIntire

Eileen has ridden a camel in the Moroccan Sahara, fished for piranhas on the Amazon, sailed in a felucca on the Nile, and lived for three years on a motorsailer, exploring the coast from Annapolis to Key West.  Eileen has many years experience writing, editing and designing all manner of publications for nonprofits and professional associations. She is now co-owner of Summit Crossroads Press, which publishes books for parents, and its fiction imprint, Amanita Books.  The inspiration for her 90s Club mystery series springs from meeting a slim, attractive woman at a pool party who was the only one actually in the pool swimming laps, and she was 91 years old. Since then, Eileen has collected articles about people in their 90s—and 100s—who are still active, alert and on the job. She often speaks at retirement villages on “Old Dogs, New

Dave's Head Shots, Hypnotic Imagery, LLC, Rebecca O'Neill,

Also don’t forget and mark your calendar on December 8th at Noon I will be at Turn The Page in Boonsboro Maryland with the great Nora Roberts for a book signing. This will be a great and exciting event. Stop by and share this event with me and get a signed book from not only me but the great Nora Roberts

David Reichenbaugh Maryland State Police Retired to appear at the Mechanicsbug Mystery Book shop this weekend

Author Retired Lt. David Reichenbaugh will appear this Saturday November 3rd at 1PM at the Mechanicsburg Mytery Book Shop as a member of a 4 author panel to discuss their books and answer questions from a moderator who will lead the discussion. Reichenbaugh presenting his book In Pursuit the Hunt for the Beltway Snipers will be there along with Mystery authors Sarah Caine “The 8th Circle”, Eileen Mcintire “90’s club mystery series, and Eliot Pattison “Savage Liberty”. The authors will also sign their latest works. All of their books will be available for purchase.

If you are in the area stop by and heare from all 4 authors at the Mystery Shop’s Christmas in November Book event.

Their location is 6 Clouser Raod Mechanicsburg Pennsylvania


Listen to the author discuss the investigation and the hunt for the Beltway snipers who were responsible for the cold blooded murder of ten people and the wounding of 4 more in the DMV area. Here from the Trooper that brought their killing spree to a close and brought the two ruthless snipers to justice.