Witch Watch Briefing



  • Fill your tank just prior to reporting for patrol. This is important for two reasons:
    • It avoids unnecessary delays in initial deployment
    • If LCSO is going to top off the tanks, they must be full when you start.
  • The following items are recommended for participants:
    • mobile 2 meter radio with external antenna
    • Clipboard with paper and pencil.
    • County Map with street names (should be provided, but just in case)
    • A second person to help observe, read maps, log activity, and avoid boredom.
    • A small flashlight to read maps without disturbing the driver. We recommend something with a red LED — red does not ruin night vision.
  • Other items that may come in handy:
    • A handheld or dual band radio for local communication with other units
    • Binoculars
    • Spotlight or large flashlight.

Start of Patrol

Advise Net Control:

  • Callsign of Driver
  • Callsign of Rider
  • Beginning mileage
  • License Plate, Year, Make, Model, and Color of your vehicle
  • Cell Phone number

All these may be provided prior to deployment to preserve privacy, but can be provided by radio if joining late.

Places to Patrol

  • Patrol only areas that Linn County Sheriff covers.
    • Exclude CR, Marion, Hiawatha, Robins, Mt. Vernon, Lisbon.
    • Other cities and all rural parts of the county are in play.
  • Early Evening – Patrol residential areas with children Trick or Treating
  • Late Evening – Wherever there seems to be activity, usually downtown areas of small towns.
  • Cemeteries – Drive by but do not drive through unless instructed.
  • Avoid getting close to areas that may be highly patrolled as a terrorist target:
    • Duane Arnold. Their security is armed, and they are unaware of our activity. It should not be necessary to drive on any of the roads that lead directly to the plant. DAEC staffers will handle those themselves.
    • Other power plants
    • Substations
    • Water treatment plants.
  • Avoid getting into areas where you may be reported as a suspicious vehicle.

How to Patrol

  • Keep a low profile. No markings or spotlights.
  • Log anything suspicious that may be of later interest. If you can’t safely log it because you are driving without a rider, have Net Control log it for you.
  • Report to Net Control anything of immediate interest, including activity levels (or lack of it) in individual towns.
  • Make clear whether you think your report should be relayed to the Sheriff’s Department dispatchers.
  • If suspicious people become aware that you are observing them, move away and call in a second mobile.
  • Assignments will be traded throughout the evening. This is typically coordinated by Net Control, but you are free to request it if you feel it is necessary. It makes the night more interesting.

End of Patrol

When budgets and circumstances allow, LCSO will cap off our gas tanks. This typically happens at the city’s public works department on 6th Street SW. We need to rendezvous there after the event so they can do all cars at once. NCS will inform everyone of the salient details. Please indicate at that time if you are going to accept a refuel or not.

If you need to secure from the event earlier in the evening, that’s fine, but your vehicle will not be refueled if you do.

Report ending mileage to Net Control when you check out.

Communications Protocol

This will be a formal net.

  • Tactical calls will be used for the entire event. Call net control by saying “Net Control, this is [your tactical call]” or just use your tactical call — Net Control will presume it is directed at them.
  • Per Part 97, you must use your complete callsign when clearing. NO EXCEPTIONS, these are the rules. Example:
    • NCS, N0GUD.
    • This is net control, go ahead.
    • A truck full of pumpkins has just entered Central City.
    • Roger. Advise if anything happens.
    • Understood. N0GUD
  • Please note that only the vehicles must complete with callsign. As this is an active, formal net, the NCS station is considered “on” at all times and therefore must only identify every ten minutes. Thus, you may not hear net control’s call often. Short version: do not follow net control’s example on this.
  • Ask Net Control for permission before talking to another car direct on the event frequency. If another car is near enough to you, you may call that car directly on a designated simplex frequency without permission, but let Net Control know if you will be off the main frequency to do this.
  • Advise Net Control if away from your vehicle, even if still in contact by HT. When leaving, give Net Control your exact location.
  • Also advise Net Control when you have returned to your vehicle. This is for your own safety. If we lose contact with you, we will know exactly where to look for you.
  • Report license plates with Phonetics first, then repeat without phonetics.
  • Always monitor 146.745.
  • Use 146.505 simplex for mobile to mobile chat.
  • Use plain language. No Q-codes, 10-codes, or any other codes.
    • Why? Per the National Incident Management System, any event involving more than one agency must use plain English. This is because agencies don’t use the same codes, or use the same codes with different definitions. Granted, we don’t communicate directly with LCSO from our cars, but it’s a good habit to form for these events.
  • Be professional! Be brief and to the point. Please don’t comment over the repeater how stupid some people may be acting. We are there to observe and report only.