Universal Translator

Sunday, July 20, 2014



The Supreme Court of the United States has said that officers can't search cell phones on anyone in custody.  The officers require a warrant to search the cell phone of suspects in custody.  I think this is a reasonable requirement.  Just because someone is arrested for a minor traffic warrant does not mean officers should have the right to gather up all the data on their electronic devices.

It used to be that cell phones only had cell phone numbers inside them and gathering that information is not much more than getting a paper address book.  These days, cell phones contain texts, phone messages, photos and videos.  Much more than a simple phone would contain.

If there is a reasonable law enforcement reason for gathering the information on a cell phone, then it should not be too difficult to get a warrant.  I think the legal standard to get such a warrant should be low, given that it is only data being seized and not physical property or people.  Part of the way we can keep getting this data warrants is to keep the information obtained secret.  Don't release nude photos and sex videos sized unless they relate directly to the specific crime; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Public Image


One violent criminal gang threatens the police so their rival criminal gang says they will protect the police? I would rather they pledge to give up their criminal street gang affiliation and lead the straight life instead. 

Certainly they won't follow laws, department policy or rules of evidence or the general safety of the public. This is just one way that sophisticated gangs are using the media to improve their public image. Of course, it is a satire site so that may have some bearing on the article.

During the Vietnam War the Hells Angels motorcycle club asked to go to Vietnam as a group to fight the war.  Of course they were not really sincere, and were simply looking for a way to improve their image.  Some gangs are very aware of the value of public relations and they use social media and other methods to get their message out of the public, often distorting their image as an ongoing criminal enterprise.  Your agency also needs to work with the public in enhance their image; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Arrest Techniques


It is the duty of a citizen to comply with the lawful orders of a police officer. He was being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes, which is big business in the north east and finances organized crime and even terrorist organizations. Put your hands behind your back and go quietly. The suspect even said he was not going peacefully. The cops did not beat him, they did not shoot him. It's hard to handcuff a large adult man who does not want to go to jail. How many men tackle a quarterback in a football game? Life on the streets is no game.

It is also the duty of police officers to take the proper care of citizens, even the criminals.  There are procedures in place for making an arrest.  In the NYPD the choke hold is prohibited.  Sometimes when people are choked their windpipe can collapse and they can suffocate.  Also large suspects in particular can suffer from positional asphyxia and die because they can't breath in the position they are placed in after arrest.

When a suspect suffers injury, even stops breathing it is the duty of the police to take proper care of the suspect.  There are several alternatives.  Render first aid yourself, CPR is often taught using only chest compressions now.  Use a breathing bag, use a face shield, or simply do CPR.  Snatch and run, put the suspect in a police car and race him to a local emergency room.  Waiting five or ten minutes for the paramedics when a suspect is not breathing is not a good idea; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stop Killing Ourselves


An officer was responding to a traffic collision when he ran off the road and his patrol car rolled over several times.  The officer was ejected from the vehicle and was killed.  What does that likely tell us about this incident?

The officer was likely driving too fast for conditions.  He was driving so fast that he lost control and ran off the road.  His car rolled over several times, that tends to indicate that he was driving very fast.  The officer was ejected from the car, that would seem to indicate he was not wearing his seat belt.

No matter how important or dangerous your response is, you have to get there in order to help.  Don't drive too fast for conditions, it's easy to want to arrive sooner, but dropping a few miles per hour won't make a significant difference in how long it will take for you to arrive.  Wear your seat belt.  Never take it off until you have slowed and are just ready to stop and get out.  We have to stop killing ourselves; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Seated In the Patrol Car


A civilian found an officer dead of gunshot wounds, seated in his patrol car.  The officer had been investigating a shots fired call in the area along with other officers.  There were empty shell casings outside the patrol car.

If possible, don't let people walk up to your patrol car.  It's a very dangerous position for you to be in because it's hard to get your gun out and it's hard to move away to cover.  The car door and car window are poor cover.

If you have to stop your car and work on paperwork, consult your map or otherwise look down for a few minutes, try and do so where you can see around you and see people approaching you.  If someone walks towards you either drive away or get out of the car.  If you have to look down, then look up every few seconds so you are not surprised; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014



Officers in Indianapolis, Indiana responded to a report of shots fired in an area.  They attempted to contact several men in an alley and were met with gunfire.  The officers returned fire.  The suspect was wounded and one officer was killed.

A shots fired call is one of the most dangerous calls we respond to, you can't be sure it was not firecrackers or cars backfiring or real gunfire.  Since there is often no particular victim or suspect, officers are left to look about hoping to find some kind of evidence of a crime or that it was nothing.

Approaching people in an alley can be very dangerous.  They are often in dark or low light.  They know who they are, and they know who you are, but you don't know them, or what they are doing.  Try to call them out of the alley out to the street if your are reasonably close to the end of the alley.  Use your flashlights away from your body to illuminate them; watch their hands.  Have them face away from you, you are responding to a report of shots fired, so extra precautions are a good idea.  Bring the unit around and use the spotlights, and take down lights and high beams to blind the subjects if possible.  Look for positions of cover, trash cans, telephone poles.  Alleys are dangerous; that's what the SGT Says.