The police department leading the investigation into the Long Island Serial Killer is in some fairly serious disarray. The New York Post reported today that the head of the investigation, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer, has been removed not just from the case, but from his job, because he let slip too many details to the press. He's the one who told reporters that some of the bodies were wrapped in burlap, that the victims were prostitutes, and that the killer found them on Craigslist. He "embarrassed the department," the Post's source said.

With the investigation apparently stalled and the police fighting amongst themselves, who's left to protect the women this killer preys on? It would appear that job has fallen to--or rather been seized by--a vigilante group calling itself the New York Initiative. Posing on their Facebook page dressed in retro-futuristic body armor and steampunk goggles, and calling themselves superheroes without irony, the group posted an ad on Craigslist last week offering its advice and services to sex workers:

If you absolutely don’t have a friend to help you [track your movements while on a date], you may use the services of the New York Initiative as your personal log book, as well as your rescue team in the event of an emergency. If you choose to do this, we will provide you with a number to call and a few one-number or one word codes you can say or text to us so that we can contact someone to assist you with a possibly violent date. Another idea is keeping us on speed dial, and if things get weird just call us and let the line open. We’ll know what’s going on immediately.

We also have other techniques which we can explain to you after confirmation via phone.

These guys obviously take themselves pretty seriously, but would some homicidal maniac do the same when they show up with their homemade armor and (presumably kind of foggy) goggles? And how long does it take to put all that stuff on, anyway? Regardless, they have a point: Letting somebody know where you are at all times and keeping in contact with a third party while on a date are both good techniques for sex workers to stay a little safer and still do their jobs.

Still, it's hard to respond in earnest to the call from sex-worker advocates like writer Violet Blue to spread NYI's message when they look like 12-year-olds at a Robocop-themed birthday party.