Universal Translator

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Brooklyn Bridge


Officers watch the Brooklyn Bridge twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  It is a major terrorist target, in a city that has probably seen more terrorist attacks than any other city in America.  Recently, two large flags that fly on the top of the bridge were replaced by heavily bleached out American flags.

How can such a carefully guarded bridge, a structure known all over the world, that is a huge building that is critical to the smooth operation of New York City have such a thing happen?  Is is just a prank?  Is is it a warning?  Is it a message?  We don't know, but what we do know is that security made a major blunder that night.

Complacency is a killer of officers.  Watching a boring bridge day in, day out, night after night is dull, tedious project.  It is the type of job that may never result in any terrorist attack being stopped.  It may never be a target.  It might be destroyed along with the officers guarding it who may be powerless to stop it.  Still, it is an important job and one that needs to be taken seriously; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, July 28, 2014



Officers responded to a report of a murder suspect having been sighted at a home.  As soon as they arrived, he started shooting at them and hit two of them.  More officers responded and were pinned down.  Additional officers responded with armored vehicles and rescued the pinned officers.  The wounded officers were taken to the hospital.  An armored vehicle crashed into the building, they inserted tear gas and the suspect came out shooting and was shot.

Officers often respond to calls that could be serious, but they act as if everything will be okay.  They pre-judge the call to be nothing important or dangerous prior to arrival.  If you are responding to a report of a dangerous murderer, then act as if a dangerous murderer was actually on site.

Make sure you have enough officers at a staging area away from the actual site were the suspect is supposed to be located.  Then move in together in a coordinated manner, as if you really expect to find a murderer.  Complacency gets officers killed; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Winning Mind

As police officers from time to time we may be involved in dangerous encounters with people.  We might have to wrestle someone into handcuffs.  We might have to fight them into handcuffs.  We might even have to use weapons, even deadly weapons, to win the fight against the suspect who does not want to submit.

We have to work for twenty or thirty years in order to retire.  And we have to win every encounter we have in those thirty years.  If we lose, criminals can escape to do more harm to others, or we may be injured or killed.

We need to develop a winning mindset that says we will overcome resistance.  That we will always succeed in our encounters with suspects.  We will never underestimate suspects and will call for help when needed.  We will wear our body armor and carry less lethal weapons.  We will use no more than reasonable force, yet we will use enough force and soon enough to minimize harm both to ourselves and fellow officers, but also to the suspect, and to the public; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


A local agency has a Retired Senior Volunteer Program as part of the police department.  They perform various crime prevention and public awareness functions as volunteers.  They wear a uniform, but one that is different from the police officers.

They don't get paid, so their cost to the agency is low.  They use old police cars that have been retired but are still in good condition, a bit of an analogy to the people in the program.  They have retired from their original profession, but now perform public service helping the police.

They carry a police radio, but no other gear, they are never expected to use force or participate in arrests.  Residents of the city can phone in that they are going away on vacation, and these folks check on the property a couple times a day to insure everything is okay.  They give out crime prevention tips at local fairs and gatherings.  It's another way to involve the community and reduce crime; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Crime Prevention

Crime prevention can be better than catching criminals.  From the standpoint of the citizen do you want to be a victim who has had the criminal caught, or do you want to avoid being victimized in the first place?

There are many things officers can do to prevent crime that we really, seldom do on patrol.  Look for homes with open doors, open windows, and open garage doors.  Open doors are perfect access for burglary, even home invasion or rape.  Encourage people to keep their homes closed up, particularly as night approaches.

Look for signs that people are out of town.  A stack of yellowed newspapers in the driveway, mail hanging out of the mailbox and a horde of pizza flyers stuck in the front door certainly screams that people are away from home.  Encourage people to have papers and mail held and have a neighbor or friend pick up the pizza ads from the front door.  I have found people have left their car doors open for the night, their car keys in the trunk of their cars, and many other invitations to crime.  Get out of the car and knock on the door.  It's an opportunity to prevent a crime and do some good PR for your agency; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Report Writing

When writing a report narrative, make it in chronological order.  Tell the story as it happened to you, as you experienced it.  That makes it easier to write and easier to remember.  When you write the report, sometime it can be helpful to make a rough draft.

Jot down a few thoughts so you can be certain to include them.  I like to write my report narrative on computer so I can edit it later, easily as I put my thoughts together and organize the correctly.  Don't worry about format and spelling at first.  You can always go back and change things as you work on the report.

Include your thoughts that you had at the time of the event.  Include changes to your opinions as events change or as you gain more data.  Be sure to write how far away the suspect was, and describe his body language and how you interpreted it.  The suspect balled his hands into fists, he was five feet away from me and I feared he was going to hit me.  Clear writing about what actually happened can make your cases easier and keep you out of trouble; that's what the SGT Says.