Universal Translator

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


One way for agencies to do more with less is to have a Retired Senior Volunteer Program.  This allows old people to contribute time to your agency at little cost to the agency.  They can perform duties that are not likely being done now, or only done occasionally.

RSVP people are screened, tested and trained.  They wear a uniform and drive an agency vehicle, that is marked differently from a police patrol car.  It usually is a retired police car.  Their uniforms should be recognizable, but again different than the police uniform.

Their duties can include responding to report only, non-injury traffic collisions, checking homes of people on vacation.  They can do any non-confrontational police duties that don't involve any enforcement action.  They don't write tickets or make arrests or carry guns.  They can be a valuable and inexpensive tool; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Small Crimes

People who do big crimes, don't generally care about little crimes.  People who do bank robberies don't care about their car registration.  When on patrol, look for minor crimes, they often lead to major criminals.

The Watergate burglary eventually lead to the resignation of President Nixon.  It was discovered by a security guard who found the door latch taped open.  The Oklahoma City Bomber was captured by a police officer who stopped a man for a loose license plate.

Minor offenses often lead to major discovers.  Run everyone you stop to see if they have a warrant.  Sometimes criminals will be on the run, even for decades.  By looking for tiny violations, you can often unravel string of crimes that will get a very bad person off the streets; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Use of force can sometimes be avoided if the officer can maintain control from the beginning.  Stay focused on the issue.  If the contact is due to a traffic violation, don't get distracted by the suspect saying he does not have to comply.

If the suspect says he does not have to comply, that's a danger cue.  A foreshadowing that the suspect is unlikely to comply with other instructions.  That means you may need to insist that he complies with the traffic violation protocols or you need to move on.

The officer would do well to call for back up.  He should have his less lethal weapons ready to hand.  Too often we see videos of officers wrestling around on the ground with people, their pepper spray, their baton, their Taser unused.  Be ready to escalate if needed, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ask, Tell, Require

Police use of force can often be prevented from escalation if use of force is applied sooner, rather than later.  When contacting a subject, in general, they should be asked to perform a act.  If they do not, then they should be told to perform the act.  Finally, they should be forced to perform the act.

I always try to be nice to people.  I ask them to give me their license, or to put their hands up.  My preference it to not be confrontational.  I would rather talk someone into handcuffs than hurt them and I see no reason to start off hard, making people angry or resentful.

Still, I expect compliance to my lawful and reasonable instructions.  If I don't get compliance, I become concerned that they may be planning to attack me, or distract me.  I don't beg people to do what they need to do; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Side Handle Baton

The type of impact weapon you carry is irrelevant.  Side handle baton, straight baton, nun-chucks, or any other kind.  The key is that you carry one, and carry it all the time.  The other important factor is to practice with it.

Frequently I see officers on video where things go badly and they don't have a baton on their belt.  They then are forced to wrestle around with people, often on the ground.  Sometimes they have to shoot people they might have avoided shooting if they had a baton.

How often do you train with your baton?  We train with ours at least annually and often twice a year.  I try to train a few extra times at home on my own time.  I carry a hard wood straight baton, but have carried a side handle, in plastic and metal expandable, soft wood straight baton, and nun-chucks.  They all have their advantages, but they are all useless if you don't have them with you; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


What is your agencies pursuit policy?  What is your agencies use of force policy?  If you can't rattle them off, perhaps there is a problem with you not reading them enough.  Maybe your supervisors don't review it enough.

Or perhaps your pursuit policy and use of force policy are simply too complex.  The law, agency policy, and best practices, as well as training need to flow together.  If your policy is too complicated for people to remember, it is a major problem.

If people don't know policy, it will be serendipity if they actually follow it.  Policy needs to be easy to understand, and easy to remember.  A policy that tries to cover every potential eventuality is only there to keep the lawyers busy and protect the agency; that's what the SGT Says.