Universal Translator

Friday, October 24, 2014

Dog Attacks


20 or more people are killed by dogs in the USA every year.  A quarter million people, per year, are bitten by dogs in the USA bad enough that they have to go to the emergency room.  Most fatal dog bites are from pit bulls. 

Most police receive little or no training on how to deal with dogs.  Pepper spray and the Taser work well on most dogs, but not all.  Many police vs dog encounters are the result of phone calls to police about dogs that have gotten loose and are threatening people, frequently in areas where animal control is slow to respond.

I have performed many training classes in the past 20 years, on how security guards and police can deal with dogs and not one officer who has attended any of these classes has subsequently shot a dog, to my knowledge.  It is one of several common gaps in police training nationwide; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Once video is issued to all patrol officers, what happens when the video does not work?  Machines break, things wear out, patrol is a tough job and things get wet and jostled around.  If your video camera does not work do you sit inside the station for the shift?

What happens when we find out that a camera mounted on the front shirt of the officer is not enough to document everything that happens?  Do we add a second camera on top of their head?  How about one with low light abilities?

Maybe every officer should be surrounded by three or four or more cameras showing everything around him.  How about if we have drones fly over the police all the time, looking down on them, broadcasting everything they do in real time back headquarters?  Then the supervisor could sit in his office and see everything that goes on and direct his officers from the comfort of the dispatch center.  Certainly greater situational awareness is a good thing, but how far do we go?  At one time just mounting a car in the front of the  police car was considered enough; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Suicide Prevention


Officers and retired officers are often a risk for suicide.  Officers have jobs that are dangerous and stressful.  Stress can come from just the potential for a problem, even if nothing actually happens.  Sometimes stress just comes from the job, supervisors who are jerks, administration that fails to back their officers and elected officials who won't give decent raises can all contribute to stress.

Officers can usually be prevented from suicide if we simply try to watch our partners and know the signs.  People seldom talk about killing themselves unless they mean it.  Officers have guns, so it's easy to shoot themselves. 

Officers sometimes have mood swings or talk about taking revenge or making people "pay."  Officers who feel helpless or use excessive alcohol.  If we have officers in these situations, we need to try and
prevent their suicide.  Normally we would do anything to protect each other from criminals, we need to learn to protect our partners from themselves; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Once officers start wearing cameras, what is to be done with all this video?  Is the supervisor supposed to watch all the video every day to insure every minor offense is document and discipline meted out? 

How long should the video be stored?  Forever?  For a couple months?  Who is to decide how long to keep it, and where, and who will have access to it?  Since it could be used as evidence, how much will it cost to keep all this video for years, even decades in a secure environment?

Can attorneys spend their days just watching police camera videos hoping to find an infraction that can be used in a lawsuit?  Who make the video available to them?  How about the privacy of victims, witnesses, innocent bystanders?  Video is much more complex than what most people seem to think about; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I read a lot about how police should be wearing cameras. I am only lukewarm to the idea.  They can be good in many circumstances in showing a use of force incident or if an officer was rude to someone.  They can also help to keep a few bad officers from doing bad things.

There are several problems with them, however.  Everyone we contact will be filmed.  Do you want every contact you have with the police to be on video?  Who owns the video and has a right to it?  Do you want the videos to be open source where everyone of them is posted to YouTube overnight?  How many people can say they do their job so perfectly that they could be videotaped, have the tapes shown to the public and withstand that level of critique? 

Certainly we want our police to be excellent, but I am not sure police officers should be subject to that level of Big Brother.  How about doctors, they accidentally kill about 100,000 Americans every year, should they all wear cameras around their necks?  Drivers kill about 40,000 American per year, should every car have a camera mounted on the dashboard?  Then all these videos could be made public for everyone to watch and critique.  I think the public is getting an unreasonable expectation for law enforcement to require everyone to wear a camera all the time; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 13, 2014



A homicide cop stole a watch from a murder victim.  Other officers noticed the officer wearing the victims watch and had him arrested.  Some people complain this is evidence of police corruption.  Certainly in the case of the thief, that's true, but not for the department.

Actually the system worked quite well.  The officer stole a watch.  His partners discovered the crime and got him arrested.  Every organization will have a few crooks, it's how organizations respond to those crooks that's important.  The right thing to do is to make sure that the crooked cop gets arrested and goes to jail.

These officers did the right thing.  Police officers who commit felonies in the line of duty should be fired, and they should not get a pension either.  No good cop likes a crooked cop; that's what the SGT Says.