Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mini Gun

The Swiss Minigun is so small it is the sort of weapon that can be hung on a key chain. This is a real revolver and it fires real ammunition. The power of this weapon is pretty low. I doubt that it could actually kill anyone. I think that it could provide a great distraction if one of these tiny guns was fired into your face.

This gun is not legally sold in the United States, but they are sold in Canada, and being so tiny you could get an awful lot of them in one car trunk. There are many such weapons that are very small or otherwise look as if they are not real weapons. Recently, one of my brother officers took a ball point pen off of a suspect, and found it to be a small single shot pistol.

Firearms and edged weapons can be disguised in many ways. A lipstick can hide a knife, a cell phone can contain a small firearm, a belt buckle can hide either a knife or a gun. The best way to avoid these weapons is to control the suspects hands. Their steely gaze will not harm you, but their hands can quickly go for a disguised weapon. The double surprise of making a seemly innocent item into a weapon can give them the lag time they need to successfully assault you or to escape. Control the hands and you control the weapons, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Correct Way to Arrest a Terrorist

YouTube - Correct Way to Arrest a Terrorist

A CBS news video posted on YouTube reminds us that everything we do while on duty may end up on television, all over the world. A group of police have cornered a bad guy with a hostage. The bad guy asks for a motorcycle to make a getaway and they police give it to him. After a short distance they arrange a traffic collision and the bad guy is captured.

While we all like to see justice done and we all like to see the bad guys suffer, this was probably not the best way to capture this criminal. Perhaps they could have given him a motorcycle with about two ounces of fuel and so he could have escaped for about two hundred yards. Maybe they could have given him a motorcycle with slow leaks in the tires so he could not have gotten very far. Perhaps deploying spike strips on likely avenues of escape would have been a good idea.

The suspect would almost certainly have been injured in this crash, if not killed. The use of force in this instance in my opinion was at the extreme outside edge of reasonable. There were many other options available to the officers and this certainly was not the best of them. Stopping the bad guy was a good idea, crashing into him probably was not; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Discount Scheme

I got this email recently and thought I would pass it on. If you use these products it may be of some value to give them a try. I have never used them, but their website looks nice.

"We at are reaching out to influential law enforcement blogs and came across SGT Says. We have launched a new free service called that should be really valuable to your audience. hooks up law enforcement officers with deep discounts on gear and apparel from top brands like Ogio, Skull Candy, Princton Tec, Helly Hansen, Vans, etc. You can check out what your audience will experience and get the same discounts by going to with this code: 4D2067F7-B6F42B92-788A8531. (On the website some application questions may not apply to you because they are designed for law enforcement officers but you will be automatically approved to get discounts)

We’re adding brands weekly and you can hook your audience up with these discounts. There is no cost to you or your readers so we hope that you’ll feel comfortable telling them about Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, or would like more information on how to share this benefit with your audience.

Barrett Edgington"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Survival Lesson

Lessons In Survival Print Article

These lessons in survival indicate that training hard will make it easier to function under stress in the real world. If we experience a situation more than once, it often gets easier as we continue to have it happen. This is particularly true if we are able to reflect and internalize the information we have gained from each time it happens.

When we go to the range the first time we might be scared of the gun, the noise, the recoil, the smoke, the power of a firearm. The firearms instructor can provide us with an intellectual understanding of the firearm and even have us dry fire an unloaded weapon. Firing the first bullet from our own gun will provide us with an experience that is much more effective at internalizing what we have learned than any of the verbal or dry fire instruction.

Once we have mastered the techniques of basic marksmanship the firearms instruction should advance to include stress inducing aspects to our shooting skills. Adding a time restriction to our course of fire can often cause shooters to feel great psychological pressure to finish in the allotted time. Having two or more shooters fire at the same time while encouraging them each to be the first one to finish can also induce pressure on the shooter. These drills can help the shooter to function better in the stress of a real shooting situation; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Magazine Ban

"On Tuesday, April 28, the Senate Public Safety Committee will hear Senate Bill 776 and Senate Bill 697.SB776, sponsored by State Senator Loni Hancock (D-9), would mandate the registration of all magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. The possession of unregistered magazines would be a crime and punishable up to a year in prison."

Exactly what criminal acts will be prevented by making this act into a law? The presence or absence of high capacity gun magazines is not a feature of criminal activity. There will not be any fewer murders if this law is passed. This is simply another chance for liberal state senators to pretend to do something about crime.

In California our prisons are under court orders to release prisoners to relieve overcrowding. Yet, our people have voted time and again for tougher sentencing, even for a three strikes law to keep career criminals behind bars for life. If our state legislature really wanted to do something about crime, they could increase the prison space, and legislate away the authority of judges to release prisoners before their sentences are finished, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Psalm 60

Psalm 60 King James Bible

11 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.
12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.

Too often police are called arrogant and jerks, if not worse. With the badge, gun, baton, Taser, and handcuffs we exercise great power enforcing our will on other people. The law gives us great authority to make people get out of the way of our vehicles, to make people allow us to search them and their property, to stop and arrest people. It even allows us to use force and even deadly force.

That authority is a great gift of trust from the people we serve. Most people are familiar with the motto of the Los Angeles Police Department, "To protect, and serve." This sums up what police work is all about. We are there to protect other people. Sometimes at the risk of our own lives. We are also there to serve other people too. Find lost kids, give people directions, help stranded motorists.

As police we have a great amount of power. That power does not come from our own physical strength. It comes from the society that grants us that power and from the God who is Lord and Master of us all. We need to remember that at anytime we could work our last shift due to a shootout, a car crash, or even a heart attack. Work every day as if it could be your last day; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 24, 2009

FTO Process

Once an officer has finished the police academy they usually participate in a Field Training program. This is, ideally, a structured training regime of all the tasks an officer will be expected to perform in the field and in the station on a regular basis. The training will be geared towards teaching the officer to work a single officer patrol unit alone. Most of the time simply handling those calls for service as they are dispatched will provide sufficient opportunity over a period of several months for the new officer to gain experience and expertise.

If the call load is slow or not of sufficient variety for the Field Training Officer to observe and train the Rookie in all aspects of the job, the FTO may simulate various responses and other police activities. These activities should be done with the utmost safety in mind. My preference is to do them at the police station or training facility using red guns.

Each day of field training should be documented by the FTO, reviewed by the Rookie Officer and filed in the employee training file. There should be a progression of competence or remediation if there is not. All remediation attempts should be documented to justify termination or demonstrate proficiency. Field Training should last not less than four months but up to a year would be ideal. Each Trainee should have at least two different Field Training Officers during his training cycle. This will minimize personality issues and show the Rookie different appropriate methods of performing the job tasks. Proper training of new officers is essential to the long term health of the agency; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Be Aggressive Enough

The police hit Rodney King about sixty times and did no major injury to him. If they hit him three times and broke both of his arms the incident would have been over in four seconds and no one would have cared about it. Sometimes you have to use force. When you have to use force, use enough force. You have to use an amount of force that is reasonable. You don't generally have to use the least amount of force.

If you hit someone with your fists, elbows, or baton, hit as hard as you can. Just as your gun only has one velocity, your impact weapons should have only one velocity. In the Rodney King incident officers were not hitting him hard enough. Sometimes officers think if they just "tap" the suspect with their impact weapon the suspect will comply. The opposite is often the case. If you hit the suspect they will expect you are hitting with all the force you can muster. If it is not a devastating blow, then they will not stop resisting.

You hit the suspect softly, then a little harder, then kind of medium, then hard, then as hard as you can and the suspect gave up. Think about how it looks on video and to on lookers. They only see that you hit the suspect five times. How about you hit the suspect as hard as you can, two blows in quick succession. He gave up. How does that look to the jury? You hit him twice. If you have to use force, use enough force to gain control right away; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Never Let Your Guard Down

Once the suspect is dead, or badly wounded or has given up, stay alert. "Dead" people come back to life and shoot cops. Bad guys give up and then sense weakness and attack again. Most often suspects have a partner that shows up a minute or two into the incident and they begin a second attack. Stay alert for the second attack and the second suspect.

If you are involved in a shooting and the suspect is down or has given up, make sure they are proned out. Take a moment to take inventory. Are your hurt? You may be injured and not even realize it. Have you notified dispatch and your back up officers that there has been a shooting? Do they know where you are at? If you shot one round, reload. If you counted that you shot one round, you may really have fired ten, reload.

Unless there is a good reason not to do so, wait for back up before you approach the suspect. It is better to have two of you there to perform contact and cover on an armed suspect. Scan the area, even behind you, for additional suspects. If you must approach the suspect, use as much cover as you can. It is better for them to move to you, even if they have to crawl, so you don't have to give up cover. Be careful, they are the person who almost murdered you; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Glock Magazines

Milwaukee Police Department Finds Problems With Guns: Top News Stories at

I was forwarded an article today from a couple folks about a manufacturers defect in .40 caliber Glock handgun magazines. It seems that Milwaukee, Wisconsin Police discovered a defect in their .40 caliber Glock magazines that could cause a casing to stovepipe and jam the weapon.

The department has know about the problem since January 2008 and has been gradually replacing their magazines, having replaced about a third since that time. A few days ago they had an officer involved shooting with the Officers Model 22, .40 caliber Glock jamming, perhaps due to the magazine malfunction. Since that incident they have been operating their range on a 24 hour basis to get all of the Glock magazines switched over right away.

They said that the problem had only happened at the range so they did not see much urgency to get the problem fixed right away. I would think that if it is a problem that involves officer safety at the latest they should have swapped out the magazines at the next range qualification. I would hope that their officers qualify at the range at least quarterly and so within three to six months every officer should have had their magazines replaced if they believe there was a defect. I cannot imagine why it has taken sixteen months and only one third of the magazines had been replaced. In fact a problem of this magnitude should have been handled within a few weeks of the arrival of the new magazines; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, April 20, 2009


YouTube - Crazy Orange County Police Pursuit

Police pursuits are very dangerous and dynamic events. By their nature, the situation changes rapidly as vehicles speed down streets and highways. It can be difficult to keep dispatch and other officers informed about what is happening. At the very least you need to start the pursuit with a general overview to dispatch about what is happening.

The reason for the pursuit, the nature of the offense, the number of people in the vehicle, the license number and description of the vehicle are all important. The location the pursuit started, the direction, speed, and general driving of the suspect are critical. Also include the nature of the weather, lighting, roadway surface conditions, and traffic conditions.

The second unit in the pursuit can be the unit calling off the pursuit. That will allow the primary unit to watch the suspect and their driving. An air unit can be essential, and they can also call the pursuit if they are familiar enough with the area. The termination of the pursuit can be chaos. Watch cross fires and generally officers should not rush up to the vehicle. Stay in cover behind your unit and order the suspects out. Take your time; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guns & Alcohol

Alcohol-related arrests of off duty LEOs a growing problem

The Los Angeles California Sheriffs Department has reported an increase in alcohol related arrests of off duty employees. Some of them are actual sheriff deputies and some are civilian employees of the Sheriffs Department. Most of them are a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or disturbing the peace incidents; some involving firearms.

The Sheriff wants to prevent the deputies from carrying guns while drinking. Their union is fighting the plan. I nearly always carry a gun when I am outside my home off duty. I almost never drink alcohol. On the rare occasion that I go to a bar, or club or similar venue, I typically leave my gun at home. While I recognize the possibility of a confrontation, the mixture of guns and alcohol is seldom a happy one. If you are concerned that you are going to a location where you may be drinking alcohol you have several options.

I can understand if you are going to a typical middle class place with the wife and 2.5 children that you may want to have a beer with your dinner. Limit yourself to one 12 ounce beer, or small glass of wine. Another option is to go with someone else who can carry a gun and have them avoid alcohol, like the designated driver, they can be the designated gun carrier. Go there with your gun, but don't drink alcohol. If the place is so dangerous that you need your gun, then maybe you should stay home, or go someplace else; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Move To Cover

I try and train my officers to use essentially the same shooting stance all the time. When wearing body armor having the armor towards the suspect is generally a good idea. I train an isosceles type shooting stance most of the time. It keeps the armor towards the threat and allows the officer to use two hands, in a very stable position.

If the officer it trained in many different subtle shooting stances for many different situations, he may spend too much time worrying about his position and not enough time on his aim and his movement to cover. Lateral movement to cover is one of the best options an officer can choose in a shooting situation. Frequently, good cover is only a side step or two away and movement to that cover, often while shooting, is a very good tactical option.

Increasing the distance between yourself and your attacker is also a good idea, but too frequently officers simply back up while receiving fire from their attacker. Backing up is often a poor tactical plan. It is difficult to see where you are going when backing up while shooting at someone in front of you; which could cause you to fall over something or interfere with other officers. Lateral movement is better generally because you can see where you are going while continuing to engage the suspect; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not So Smart Guns

According to the National Rifle Association, Institute for Legislative Action:

"SB697, authored by State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-7), would prohibit the sale of handguns other than "owner-authorized (or “smart”) handguns" -- that is, handguns with a permanent, programmable biometric feature that renders the firearm useless unless activated by the authorized user. No proven, viable handgun of this type has ever been developed. The bill would require the California Attorney General to report to the Governor and Legislature on the availability of owner-authorized handguns; once the Attorney General finds that these guns are available, only “owner-authorized” handguns could be approved for sale in California."

The California State Legislature wants to pass a law to mandate that all guns sold in California are smart handguns. They want to make a law that says that it will be legal only to sell handguns that include a technology that does not actually exist. What criminal acts will be prevented if this law passes? Why do members of the Legislature keep passing firearms laws that will have no effect on criminal activity? Why do they keep passing firearms laws that will not make us safer?

Why not pass laws that require all cars get 100 miles per gallon? Why not pass laws that say everyone must be nice to each other? Passing useless laws only serves to violate the rights of honest citizens, make law enforcements job harder and waste police resources. Government should not pass laws that will not serve to make us safer. Smart guns are an unproven technology, that is why the military and police departments don't use them. They would add a massive price increase to the cost of firearms. Smart firearms are a dumb idea; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

No Money Down

Bills, broads and booze kills most police careers. How's your credit? I checked mine recently and it was so good it surprised me! Agencies like applicants with good credit. Good credit shows you are a responsible adult who can handle money without getting into trouble. Good credit shows you keep your word and pay your bills.

One of the things that often gets cops into trouble is their financial situation. I was looking at police want ads a couple days ago and there were agencies paying $100,000.00 per year. That's a lot of money. That's without overtime. Why would anyone in law enforcement let their finances get out of hand? One thing that sometimes happens is young officers get hired and have more money than they ever had in their whole life. So they go out and buy a house, a car, a jet ski, a boat, a summer cabin, and all kinds of things they don't really need. Then they realize that they can't make all the payments.

That shows a lack of responsibility on their part. It also shows that agencies don't do a good enough job of training our officers how to handle their money. If we all know that finances are a big reason for officers to fail, why don't we train them how to handle their money? Why don't we check up on them every year by doing a credit check, rather than wait until they are stealing or taking bribes to make ends meet because they are drowning in debt? As a profession, we let our officers down by not helping them to take care of themselves in this critical area; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gunfight Information

When on duty it is best to carry at least two guns. I used to know a cop who carried four on his person. Duty gun on his hip, backup gun on his ankle, wallet gun in his hip pocket and hide out gun in his jacket pocket. He could walk up to a car with his hand in his jacket pocket and his hand on the gun, pointed right at the driver and the driver never knew it.

I don't recommend that, you don't really need to point a gun at everyone. Four guns may be a bit of overkill, unless you work a very dangerous place. I suppose if you were worried about being taken hostage the extra guns might be an advantage. A duty gun and back up gun should be enough for most purposes. If you need more guns, carry a shotgun or patrol rifle.

The other thing you need to go with the guns is ammunition. Most shootouts involve about three rounds being fired by the police. Most, is not all, however, and some shootouts involve hundreds even thousands of rounds being fired. If you get stuck behind cover, but can't go forward or backwards, you may need to conserve you ammunition and fire a few dozen rounds over several hours. Having extra ammunition on your person and in your gear bag and back at the station are all essential' that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Never Forget

A judge in Philadelphia was holding court in a police building and he asked that the photos of a slain police officer be taken down while court was in session. The room is used for several purposes but it is in a police station. The officers in the court refused so the judge turned the pictures to towards the wall himself. He said it was necessary that the court be unbiased so the pictures not be displayed. The judge is wrong.

A court should be unbiased, but unless the person accused of murdering that police officer or another cop was on trial in that court there was no reason that the photos should have been taken down. The judge showed tremendous sensitivity towards criminals and cop killers and none towards the brave men and women of Philadelphia who have to deal with them in the dangerous environment of the streets.

Too many judges forget the sacrifices made by police and law abiding citizens but remember every jot and tittle of rights both real and imagined of the criminal class. Too often they forget the victims and turn career criminals back on the streets to kill again. Just as the criminal who murdered for police officers in Oakland recently was out on parole, murdering and raping; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Customer Service

Cop arrogance gets cops killed. Some agencies and some officers are arrogant. This is not good for us as a group nor for us as individuals. Sometimes after dealing with career criminals all day, officers act brusque, even rude to regular citizens.

Customer service is not just something for the counter girl at MacDonalds to offer. Customer service is something that police have to offer too. We simply offer a different service. Just like selling a ticket, we sometimes need to spend a few minutes providing services that have little or nothing to do with suppression of criminal activity.

Giving directions to lost people, looking for lost people, explaining why we can't arrest someone who has not committed an arrestable offense all call for a little customer service on the part of the officer. Citizens vote on tax increases. They have a say in police salaries, and budgets. They can become upset because an officer was unnecessary rude to them and then make it their role in life to make things hard on law enforcement. We work for the good guys; be nice to your boss; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Hoarder And Packrats -- Mental Health Explanation And Real Life Stories - AOL Health

OC Foundation :: Hoarding Website

Have you ever gone to that house full of newspaper? How about the house full of cats, the smell is unbearable? Then there is the house with six cars on the lawn in the backyard and all sorts of unrecognizable junk all over the inside of the home. What about the house so full of papers, mail, phone books and books that the inside of the home is just little trails from the front door to the bathroom to the back of the kitchen?

If you work as a cop for very long, eventually you will go into a house or apartment that will be filled with stuff. Someone will be collecting and saving things to the point where the inside of the home is nearly filled up. Residences like that pose dangers to responders, the residents and the neighbors. Tall stacks of books can fall on someone, paper provides homes for insects, rats, mice and a huge fire hazard. Big collections of animals, dogs or cats provides a health hazard from droppings, fleas, ticks, and even rabies.

Homes like these require the intervention of skilled specialists who can deal with the underlying mental problems that create these conditions. Others must be called in to immediately eliminate health and safety problems. The fire marshall can cite homeowners who maintain a fire hazard, the health department and building inspectors can require running water, heating and properly working toilets, animal control can round up pets that are not cared for or unlicensed dogs. Local senior centers and mental health professionals or even child services can provide services for the health and welfare of the people involved in hoarding. There is not much we in law enforcement can do in these situations, but we do need to report the situation to those who can fix it; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Sell the ticket. Cause the violator to thank you when you give them a ticket. Recently, when on patrol a woman made a U-turn from the parking lane across two lanes of traffic, a center left turn lane and across another lane of traffic and into the next lane, in a business district. She did not signal. That's at least four violations all at once, it was not only illegal but unsafe as well. It was nighttime and traffic was moderate.

She did all this right in front of the police car. I flipped on the lights and pulled her over. She said she was running late and had just returned some videos to the rental shop. She said she did not see me and she was in a hurry. I asked her for her driver license, car registration and proof of insurance. She gave me her paperwork. I asked her if she knew why I stopped her and she said "The U-turn." I asked her to wait in the car.

Dispatch told me her license and vehicle were clear in the system. I wrote her a ticket for a U-turn in a business district. I walked back to her car window and explained to her that I could have cited her for at least four violations, including unsafe turning movement. I told her that because she had her paperwork and because she told me the truth I was only citing her for the U-turn in a business district. I told her I thought the fine was less than the unsafe u-turn but that she did need to be more careful, I did not want her to get in an accident. She signed the ticket and thanked me for not writing her for more violations. Sell the ticket, make them feel like they got a break. It makes the citizens feel like you are not being a jerk; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why Carry a Gun

I did not write this, I got it as an email today. I agree with it.

"PEOPLE ASK WHY? Why I own a Gun? I don't carry a gun to kill people. I carry a gun to keep from being killed. I don't carry a gun to scare people. I carry a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place. I don't carry a gun because I'm paranoid. I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world. I don't carry a gun because I'm evil. I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world. I don't carry a gun because I hate the government. I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government. I don't carry a gun because I'm angry. I carry a gun so that I don't have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared. I don't carry a gun because I want to shoot someone. I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon. I don't carry a gun because I'm a cowboy. I carry a gun because, when I die and go to heaven, I want to be a cowboy. I don't carry a gun to make me feel like a man. I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love. I don't carry a gun because I feel inadequate. I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate. I don't carry a gun because I love it. I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me."

Sounds like pretty good advice, that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

No Angel

No Angel, My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels, by Jay Dobyns, ATF Special Agent, and Nils Johnson – Shelton, Crown Publishing, New York, 2009. Thanks to Alisha Burns from Crown Marketing for providing me with this book to review.

One of the dangers of being undercover for a long period of time is that we are all creatures of our environment. After spending months with criminals, it is easy to become more like them, and less like the person you once were. ATF Special Agent Jay Dobyns spent nearly two years with the Hells Angels and other motorcycle gangs building cases for murder, drug possession and illegal firearms possession. During that time he slowly began to pull away from his average, middle class guy with a wife and two kids, with a house in the suburbs, next to a golf course existence, and replace it bit by bit with the lifestyle of an outlaw motorcycle gang member.

Motorcycle gang members seem to just hang around drinking beer, and whiskey, using drugs, having sex with drugged out women and talking about how much they respect each other. It seems anything but a glamorous life or life that anyone would choose who had other options. While on the surface there does seem to be camaraderie among the gang members even that is mixed with fear and violence. It seems that being members of an outlaw gang is really the only thing most of them have going for them.

The wasted potential of so many of the people involved and the strange hero worship exhibited by those on the fringe of the group are explored throughout this book. Agent Dobyns provides clear self examination of his feelings and attitudes as he worked undercover. He is highly critical where there is fault to find, and much of the criticism he levels at himself. If you have many dealings with motorcycle gangs in your jurisdiction, or if you are just looking for a good book to read, I recommend that you pick up a copy of this book; that's what the SGT Says.

This book is sold by Amazon and other fine book retailers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Oakland & Pittsburgh

Trust Fund Information for the Fallen Officers

Bureau of Police - Fallen Officers

Every time I go on patrol, I know it could be my last time. I have had few close calls in this business that I know of and who knows how many that I don't know about. I have always had pretty good officer safety and so there may have been bad people that I have contacted that just did not get a chance to attack me or my partners.

I have read interviews with bad guys who sometimes said that if the officer had given them an opening they intended to attack them, but that the officer had good tactics and failed to give the bag guy a chance. Every 57 hours in the United States a police officer is felonious killed in the line of duty. That is a statistic that we should all remember and try and extend. This year, lets try and make that 58 or 59 hours; or how about a whole three days in a row?

I have posted links to those who are collecting for the recently murdered Oakland and Pittsburgh officers. Send them a card and a couple dollars as a reminder that they and their families are not alone at this time of despair; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hostages Japanese Hostage Negotiations

This series of pictures has been swirling around the Internet for years. It is variously attributed to different places, but it is from China. A man has taken some children hostage and threatens to kill them. The hostage taker sits in a window and a police officer in an adjacent room leans out the window and shoots the hostage taker. The hostage taker falls five stories to the ground, but amazing is not killed.

How would you handle a mentally disturbed subject holding two small children at knife point? What are your options and your priorities? First of all, we want to avoid hurting the children. We also want to avoid harming the suspect if possible, but not at any great risk to the officers. Assess the situation, is the man on drugs or mentally ill? Does he have a connection to the victims? Are they his kids or does he have any connection to the school?

Call for lots of help. Try and keep the situation from becoming mobile. Get everyone else out of the room, all the other kids, teachers, anyone who is not law enforcement. Deploy Taser and other less lethal weapons. Speak to the subject in a calm, quiet voice. Don't argue, try and get the hostage taker to give up the kids, perhaps in exchange for food or a beverage. Use lethal force only as a last resort if the hostage taker seems to be trying to harm the hostages; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Civil Defense

North Korea Launch

North Korea has launched a missile. Some believe that this is all part of a long term plan to develop intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles. North Korea has been a rogue state and is technically still at war with the United Nations over South Korea. North Korea has also been known to provide weapons, including missiles to radical Muslim nations. How about an Iran with nuclear weapons and missiles?

Is your agency ready for a nuclear missile attack? In the 1950's and until the 1980's major United States cities had various degrees of civil defense preparedness. If the world we live in becomes more nuclear, perhaps we will have to go back to that paradigm. In the 1950's American cities actually practiced evacuations and had bomb shelters in major buildings.

Many of the steps that we would take to defend our cities from nuclear missiles would stand us in good stead in other emergencies. Earthquake, major fires, civil unrest, terrorist attack, major flood have all happened here in the US in recent years. Civil Defense with basement bomb shelters and stockpiles of food, water and medical supplies may not be bad idea. It may be time to add one more danger to our list; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gun Rights - Obama Wants to Disarm U.S. Pilots

When the 9/11 hijackers attacked the pilots of the airliners they were defenseless against a couple men with box cutters. A box cutter is a vicious slashing weapon that can kill a person fairly quickly. Pilots asked to be armed with handguns so they could defend themselves and those in the plane against future attacks. The pilot is responsible for those in his aircraft and also for those on the ground that his aircraft may endanger. Their request seemed reasonable, after all we trust the pilot is not going to fly his airplane with 500 people into the ground, what damage can he do with a handgun?

Various regulations were enacted and pilots were allowed to carry guns on the plane. Now after years of pilots carrying handguns on board planes without any negative incidents, the Obama Administration is trying to disarm the pilots. They have not even taken the up front technique of actually trying to repeal the laws that allow pilots to carry guns. Rather they are creating administrative burdens that make it impossible to comply with the government regulations that the pilots are subjected to for carrying a gun.

One of my friends is a reserve police officer who works for a major private security company. For his work he has to fly all over California and he is legally permitted to carry a gun, as a police officer, even when he is off duty. However the red tape associated with carrying the gun, loaded and concealed or even in his baggage has become so burdensome that he rarely if ever carries it anymore. Too many people have come to think that guns are the problem. Guns are not the problem. People being unable to defend themselves and relying on the police to be everywhere are the problem; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

God Bless Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania Police Shooting

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania police officers were killed responding to a report of a domestic dispute. Three killed, one shot and wounded in the hand and one officer with a broken leg. So potentially five officers who may have had career ending events today all caused by one suspect. There may also be a couple other officers who will retire due to stress or who will quit the department over this event. So one lone gunman, one evil man, doing evil things potentially ends the career of at least three and perhaps as many as eight or ten officers.

My condolences to the men and women of Pittsburgh on the loss of their comrades and I hope those injured make full and swift recoveries. I also express my condolences to those who have lost hope, innocence, and the desire to go to work tomorrow. Police work can be a very dangerous job. One of the worst aspects to that danger is the seeming randomness of the violence that often takes the lives of our brothers in blue.

Four officers killed by one suspect in Oakland and then only a few days later a second single individual killed three more officers three thousand miles away. Neither of the suspects were doing anything that would cause the officers to initially consider this contact to be dangerous. A traffic stop for expired registration and a report of a domestic dispute. Hardly a shift goes by in a big city that an officer does not handle one or both of those incidents, sometimes several of them. Hardly the sort of events that would leave use with seven dead officers.

Every time, on every call, know that it could be a deadly encounter. The suspect knows if he is armed, you probably don't know if he is armed or not. The suspect knows if he is planning an attack against you, you probably don't know if he is planning to attack you. As an officer you are armed, you must have a plan in every contact to respond to a deadly force incident if you are attacked. Being armed is only half the equation. Being ready is the other half; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Riot Ready?

How's your riot gear? Some people are predicting a long hot summer. With the economic situation not looking too good and unemployment high there are concerns that this summer may see unrest, particularly in large cities. Is your agency ready for that?

First thing everyone needs is gear. Each officer should have a gas mask with fresh filters to protect against tear gas usage. Almost more important, every officer should have a helmet with face shield. Not just some National Guard Army helmet, a real police helmet with proper face shield, and interior padding, individually fitted to their heads. They also should have footwear that is suitable, good strong sturdy boots are best. They need to make sure their body armor is less than five years old and they need a good pair of leather gloves. Officers also need riot baton. Some types of baton, like expandables and nun chucks are not really suitable for riot duty.

Your agency needs gear too. At least half, if not more, of your officers should have a Taser with at least four sets of darts per Taser. At least a few of your officers should have a Pepperball gun with plenty of tear gas filled balls. Your agency needs to have a few shields, enough to make a decent shield wall to protect against rocks and bottles thrown by rioters. There is lots more the agency needs too, tear gas, OC spray canisters, the big ones, loud speakers, and mostly planning and training; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Burglary Tools

Burglar tools come in many guises. Many of them are seemingly innocuous devices but when used by criminals have a more sinister usage. A can of freon and a small sledge hammer can be used to break a steering wheel immobilization device. They spray the freon on "The Club" and when it freezes, they break it with the hammer to allow them to steal the car. The ceramic part of a spark plug can be used to break a car window. Throw the spark plug on the ground and shatter the ceramic part into pieces. Then toss the pieces at the side window of a car and the care window will shatter.

A small pocket knife can be used to jimmy open a gate or even some doors, and of course, it is also a potentially deadly weapon. A plastic card, not unlike a credit card, can be used to jimmy open a door. They type of locks with the keep in the middle of the knob are they types that are easiest to open with this type of devices. Of course, a tire iron can be used to pry open even big security doors.

A slam hammer is usually used to repair damaged car sheet metal. They are used to pull the dents out before the dents are filled with bondo putty. The slam hammer can also be used to yank out the ignition key switch or the trunk or door locks of an automobile. One of the most useful burglary tools is a big slot screw driver. It is great for prying windows, doors, car windows, and the screw driver is the second most frequently used edged weapon in fatal assaults. Not all burglars are non-confrontational, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rules For A Gunfight

A friend of mine sent me this poster. It is a good thing to remember. When the suspect has a gun, there are few substitutes for your having a gun. So you best get yourself a gun. As the poster says, bring two guns if you can. Guns are mechanical objects and sometimes they break. Sometimes you drop them. Sometimes they get shot our of your hand or just run out of ammunition. Drawing a second gun can often be faster than reloading. Time is very limited in gunfights.

If possible, have a long gun and a handgun. A long gun will give you a better ability to be accurate at long range. Even twenty feet can seem a great distance away when you are trying to shoot at someone who is shooting at you. The greater sight radius and accuracy of a rifle or shotgun will allow you to make shots you may otherwise miss with a handgun.

Bring all your friends with guns. Calling for backup is an important thing to do when faced with potentially deadly encounters. All too often officers don't call for backup or they do call, but don't wait for it to arrive. A major show of force is often enough to cause a suspect to back down when they realise they have no chance to win a deadly encounter. There have been many occasions where one or two suspects have taken on twice their number. Having at least three times the number of officer versus suspects is a minimum; that's what the SGT Says.