Saturday, October 31, 2009

Riot Ready

When on patrol, I carry a helmet and a gas mask. My patrol car also has a 48 inch riot baton in the trunk too. It does not take much for a riot to break out. Fifty teenagers drink a few beers to celebrate a sports teams victory and after a couple hours they are throwing rocks, rolling cars over and setting them on fire.

When the police are called, having the right gear is essential. A beer bottle can be a deadly weapon if it hits you in the head. Rocks and bricks are also very dangerous. That police helmet comes in very handy when the rocks and bottles start flying. A face shield is a very important part of that helmet.

If you end up as one of the first units to respond, you may not have time to go back to your locker and get your gear. You gotta have it with you and be ready. If there is a riot, are you ready? I am; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Traffic Direction

Now that there is a little rain now and then, I have to consider traffic collisions and my response to them. One of the tasks that I often have to perform at some minor traffic collision is directing the other cars around the crashed ones. Frequently, I work at night, so visibility is an issue too.

In California we have to wear reflective high visibility vests at night. A high visibility vest is not enough when directing traffic. I like to place about a zillion traffic cones as well as road flares in the danger zone. Road flares are great, particularly at night, but there are some dangers too. Don't place flares where they can start a brush fire, or where the oil, gasoline or other fluids from the traffic collision can catch fire.

I also like to use a little yellow cap over the end of my flashlight. It makes for a much higher visibility light cue for the other drivers than just a regular flashlight beam. I also wear white gloves when I anticipate directing traffic for a while. Being visible is the biggest part of the battle, that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Watch Out

When on vehicle patrol, always be on the lookout for dangers from other drivers. At a stop sign or red light, watch who you stop next to. Look at the occupants of the vehicles to either side of your unit. Is it a little old lady or a car load of gangsters? Are they drinking a beer or smoking a Jay?

When you stop behind another vehicle, leave space to get around them if you have to suddenly take off to a call. Even better, leave enough space that you can make a u-turn if you need to because you see something good in the other direction. You don't want to have to back up and go forward and back up before you can make the u-turn.

Watch the people on the curb and the cars across the street. Keep and eye on your rear view mirror in case of threats from behind. If you work with a partner, you should each watch different areas, two sets of eyes are better than one. Always watch for danger, even at red lights' that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Leave the station on patrol and go pick up your dry cleaning. Stop by the bank and cash your paycheck. Write a check for a bill and then go to the Post Office to buy a stamp and mail the letter. Visit a restaurant, sit down in a booth in the back and eat lunch undisturbed. Phone home and talk with the wife for a while.

Return to the station to use the restroom, and then chat with the dispatchers for a while. Go back on patrol and head for the shoe shine shop. Pick up your dress shoes and drop off a pair of boots. Head over to the uniform shop and get fitted for a new uniform shirt.

Did you do any police work? Did you earn your paycheck? Was this an ethical way to do your work for the day? Do you work with this officer? I hope his is not you, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Armed and Retired

Congressman J. Randy Forbes has introduced the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act. The idea is that officers who are retired should be able to carry their weapons after they leave their agency. There are some agencies that make getting a carry permit difficult for retired officers.

No one is served by keeping qualified officers from being able to carry a firearm off duty. Crime, and even terrorism can happen anywhere and having an armed officer, even a retired officer, on scene when the event happens can make a significant difference in the outcome of a criminal act.

If the 9/11 hijackers were confronted by an armed retired police officer, the event could have been ended right away. Box cutter, vs Glock; Glock wins. Every day there are officers who are kept from having a gun by some bureaucrat who is more afraid of good guys with guns than he is about innocent people dying from criminal acts. This law will help to correct that problem; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 26, 2009

No Glasses

Do you wear glasses or contact lenses? Can you function without them? Can you shoot without them? Have you gone to the range without them? Some of the time we may find ourselves in a position where we have to run, jump, fight and then shoot. Being able to see is frequently an important part of firing a handgun, rifle or shotgun. If you have not gone to the range and fired your weapons without your glasses, then you need to do so soon.

If your glasses get broken, if you lose a lense, if your glasses get knocked off, you may still need to shoot. While shooting with your glasses or contacts on is the best method of training, you should still train without them once in a while. Just as we sometimes have to shoot in low light, officers may have to shoot with obscured vision.

Instinct shooting is a good technique for close up shooting and certainly it can mitigate the need for glasses. Practice pointing your finger at things without looking at them first. You can even close your eyes, point at something you remember in the room and then open your eyes and see where you are pointing. It is a skill that can be developed over time. Later, you can use that type of skill on the range. Naturally, shooting on the range should be with your eyes open and range training should be well supervised; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

More Dogs

Dogs bite the first item presented, make sure it is your baton and not your leg. If you have a dog charge at you, stand your ground and use your baton as a lance. This is where the full size PR-24 works well. The side handle allows you to hold one and poke it at his face. Most dogs will bite it.

Dogs used to be wild animals similar to wolves. They still are like wolves. Wolves eat caribou. The wolves show up and the caribou run. When you see a dog and you run, they don't see a cop. They suddenly become wolves, and you become a caribou. And they will chase you. And they will bite your ankles to bring down the "caribou." You don't want to be a caribou, so don't run. It makes you look like a caribou to German Shepherds, and poodle dogs alike if you run. Stand your ground.

Fire extinguishers filled with CO2 are good for preventing dog bites. The cloud of carbon dioxide will scare off most dogs. Your police car probably has a dry chemical fire extinguisher, so don't use it. If you know there are going to be dogs the first choice would be to call animal control and let them deal with Fluffy the Rottweiler. A good second choice can be to call you fire department and borrow a couple CO2 extinguishers. Of course, some bad dogs just have to be shot, but try and avoid it if you can, that's what the SGT Says.


I have probably entered into 5,000 backyards, parking lots, and buildings with various levels of watchdog inside the property. In all that time I had my ankle bit while standing next to the owner who was telling me how safe his dog was and that the dog would not bite me, and no other dog bites. Dogs can be a problem in law enforcement. Dogs are territorial and when we respond to an alarm, a domestic dispute, a crime in progress, or warrant service we are violating their territory.

When we go to an unknown property, it is important to check for signs of a dog. A "Beware of Dog Sign" is a is one of those signs. Look also for doggie doo, doggie toys, dog bowls, worn parts of the yard that might indicate a dog on the property. If you think there is a dog on the property, rattle the gate, tap on the fence. Often the dog will make himself known if you make it seem as if you are violating his territory.

If a dog does show up and you have to check the property there are many options. Dogs hate the TASER. Remove the darts and "test" the TASER so the electrical sparks make that crackle noise. I have had some pretty bad dogs run away, tremble and hide because of that noise. I have never had to zap a dog, just the noise is frightening to most of them. OC spray works well on dogs too. Spray them in the face, or open mouth, just like you would a person. Most dogs will leave you alone and just like people they will be all better in an hour or less. Dogs can be overcome without firearms most of the time; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 23, 2009


TASER is recommending that officers and their agencies may be able to avoid some liability by training officers to aim at places other than the chest. The concern is that some people think that the TASER may cause heart problems in some people. TASER says it does not cause heart problems, but to avoid the appearance of an issue, shoot suspects in the back or the leg.

The TASER is an excellent tool to gain compliance from suspects that are potentially or actually violent. Police careers are expected to last twenty or thirty years. Officers are frequently threatened and even attacked. Officers have to win every single attack to make it to retirement age. Officers need every tool at their disposal to enable them to gain compliance from suspects and violent people.

Survival to retirement is very important, but survival is more than just not being killed. Survival is not being severely injured. Survival means don't get an accumulation of small injuries over a career. Survival means not being fired. Survival means not getting sued. If there are tings you can do to avoid getting killed, injured, fired or sued, then I am all for it. TASER them in the back, or in the legs, if you can, that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


One of our officers who had over 30 years on the department as a patrol officer and supervisor recently retired. He immediately was sworn in as a reserve officer. At his retirement party, they showed us a PowerPoint presentation showing his career as an officer.

After a recent remodel of the police department, they found a large pile of photographs from the 1940s and 1950 inside the ceiling of the basement. They showed traffic collisions, officers standing around, shooting at the range and doing all kinds of various police tasks. What was mundane at the time, is now interesting. The uniforms are totally different, the equipment is so sparse! No radios, not much gear on the belt. Motorcycle officers without helmets, even some officers apparently on horseback.

I realized that I only have a tiny handful of photos of myself and of my agency. So recently, I started carrying a small digital camera in my gear bag. I have started taking photos of my partners, my patrol cars, the station. Just don't take photos of people posing doing things that will get them in trouble.It is nice to have a few photos of my work, after nearly 20 years on the job; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A few firearms training tips. Use your duty magazines when on the range and use your duty gun. It gives you a chance to make sure that the magazines and the gun function and that you get used to the feel of your own weapon. I have seen magazines fail on the range that the officer was carrying on patrol only moments before the shooting training.

Clean your weapon before you go back in service or store the weapon for more than a day. Dirty weapons can malfunction and you don't want a failure to feed or extract in a shootout. Be sure to check your weapon before you return to patrol. Don't go back into service with an unloaded gun or a gun loaded with practice ammunition.

Don't practice with your gun in the field. Only practice with a real gun on the range or other appropriate controlled environment. It is easy to have an unintentional discharge, or other problem when training in the field. Practice is supposed to make you safer, not get you killed; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Front Sight

The front sights are the most important of the two sets of sights on your handgun. While a perfect sight picture is ideal, if you are in a hurry and don't have time to carefully line up your sight picture, look at the front sight. Bring your handgun up to your eye. Place the front sight on the center of mass of the target presented to you.

Naturally, if you have time to align your rear sights, front sight and target, then do that before you shoot at the target. Practice shooting at the range. Once you get good, it is time to start working on speed. Getting onto target quickly is an important skill. Bring the weapon up and place the front sight on target and pull the trigger. It can cut your lag time to getting the first round off by as much as a second or more.

Since most police gun fights last only a couple seconds, being able to get your first round off quickly is important. Start your practice with your gun in the holster and the weapon snapped inside. You hands at your side and ready. Once you start to move, unsnap the weapon, bring the gun up rapidly, and when your front sight is on target, operate the trigger. As you fire the first round, you can continue bringing up the weapon and using the front and rear sights, fire the second round; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Begin at the Beginning

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A man reports his child has been carried away in a hot air balloon and the world watches as the child turns up in the attic of his own house. When dealing with lost, stolen, missing children, remember the words of Glenda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz; "Begin at the beginning."

In addition to chasing the balloon, putting out a broadcast to everyone to look for the kidnapper, always search the house, top to bottom, front to back, check the neighbors kids homes, and the local schools, playgrounds, and places the kid likes to hang out. Children get into all kinds of trouble and often we get called to try and fix it.

A systematic approach to missing children is important. Collect all the data you can get and look for the child at home. Many times I have responded to missing children calls and they were at the Laundromat where the kids hang out, at the playground, in the laundry hamper in the bathroom hiding from their mom. Look for the kid while someone collects the crime or missing persons report, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Auto Safety

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According to a recent test automobiles are significantly safer now than they were 50 years ago. Traffic deaths per mile are greatly reduced, in part, as a result of these safer vehicles. The other reason that traffic deaths are down is harsher penalties for driving while under the influence of alcohol. Along with that we need to continue to enforce DUI and other traffic laws.

They say that at some times of night perhaps as many as half of the drivers have been drinking. So that means you need to be out stopping cars and getting that half to walk the line and touch their nose. If they fail the tests, they need to go for a ride in your police car.

Look for drivers with their headlights off at night, for drivers who are not tracking within their lanes. Drivers that are slow to start from a red traffic light and drivers who drive too fast or too slow for conditions. Really, any erratic driving behavior can be a result of an impairment caused by alcohol or drugs; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Use of Deadly Force

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says "The prohibition of murder does not abrogate the right to render an unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. Legitimate defense is a grave duty for whoever is responsible for the lives of others or the common good." Sounds like a pretty good use of deadly force policy for a police department.

The officer has the right to render a suspect unable to inflict harm. That often means that the officer would have to shoot a suspect, and perhaps even kill him to stop the suspect from inflicting harm on others.

The use of deadly force is probably the most serious decision and officer will have to make while on duty. The decision will have to be made often in great stress and with very little time to weight the various options. This is why the law and agency police must be ingrained into every officer and should be a constant part of their training. Not just training how to shoot, but when to shoot; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Night Perimeter

Sometimes we have to do a foot patrol someplace in the dark. I like to use ambient light whenever I can. Searching a building for example; I like to stand out front for a couple minutes and just wait. In the dark. And listen. Often you can hear people inside the buildings or nearby who can be helpful, or who might be suspects.

Walk the perimeter without the flashlight turned on. I keep it in my non-gun hand, but not turned on, my finger on the button to turn it on immediately if I need it. If I do turn the light on, I close my dominant eye to retain my night vision in that eye; that is my shooting eye. The super powerful light can also be used to gain a momentary advantage over another person by shining it in their face and blinding them.

Walk the perimeter slowly. Stop every few steps and look and listen. Scan the area, and don't forget to look behind you. Check your footing carefully before you take each step. Don't hurry, you can see a lot if you don't hurry. The tactical advantage of being able to sneak up on a suspect is huge. Once you complete the perimeter check, go back and check a second time with the light on. There may be pry marks or other evidence that you missed without a light. This system is time consuming, but trading a little time for a tactical advantage is worth it; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Patrol in the Wet

One way to stay safe while on patrol in wet weather is to not drive around so much as usual. Rather than constantly drive, sit in a favorite spot and work traffic. Make sure you are parked safely and legally. Watch a traffic light, stop sign or work radar / lidar. This will reduce your actual drive time and cut your chances of being in a collision.

Sit at high crime areas and just watch from a distance to gather intelligence. Fill out Field Interview Cards on suspicious characters and their vehicles. Watch for specific crime related activity and if you see something good, move in and make an arrest. Sit in the middle of the high crime area to suppress crime and take back the street. Liquor stores, convenience stores, and schools are always good places to park you patrol car.

Make shop keepers and shoppers happy, do foot patrol in shopping centers. Business districts, strip malls, shopping centers are great places to go for a walk. Go into each store, speak to the shopkeeper, especially the manager and ask how things are going. Give them a pamphlet on crime prevention. This is good public relations for the department, makes shop keepers and shoppers happy, and that's always a good thing; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Driving in the Wet

The weather is getting wet. Time to drive safely. When the streets are wet, we need to drive slower. When the streets are wet, it takes longer to stop the car, it is harder to turn the car and even acceleration is more difficult as the wheels will slip.

The other drivers are driving cars that are often not as good as the patrol cars. They often don't have the driving skills that the patrol officers have. The other drivers will not slow down and so they will skid past limit lines and into intersections. The other drivers will not slow down and so will have rear end collisions when the car in front of them stops suddenly. The other drivers will not slow down and so they will spin out during turns or even lane changes.

About five dozen officers a year are feloniously killed at work each year, and a similar number are typically killed in accidents, usually traffic collisions. Drive slower, wear your seat belt, watch out for the other drivers. Make sure your car windows are clean, particularly the inside. The glare on a windshield can create a major blind spot. Make sure your windshield wipers are in good repair, check them out at the beginning of the shift, before you leave the station. Little acts of preparation can prevent the rest of us from going to your funeral; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cold Shooting

With cold weather here, it is important to wear the proper clothing to keep warm and dry. Here in Southern California we don't get snow and seldom get much rain. It can get cold and even a little rain means it's time to wear the rain jacket. Officers often wear gloves as well, and in some places, even mittens.

Do you practice your skills wearing all this gear? Do you go to the range and shoot with your big bulky jacket on ? Do you shoot the patrol rifle and shotgun while wearing a big bulky jacket? How about shooting with the gloves or mittens on? Can you work the decocker? Can you take the weapon on safety and put it back on? Can you reload, while wearing mittens?

How about your other weapons? Can you draw your baton with gloves on? Can you swing your baton without it flying out of your hands? Can you open your folding knife, one handed, while wearing mittens? All of your tools become more difficult to use when it is cold and your hands are covered. Practice your survival skills, even when it's cold; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chase and Run

When driving at high speed, as in a pursuit, watch the road far ahead. You need to look beyond the suspect vehicle, and look at what he may encounter. You have to watch to see if the suspect might crash into something or if he may turn off to the left or right. You need to be close enough to see him well and what he is doing.

Watch the driver and other occupants in the vehicle. What are they doing? Are they throwing things out the windows? Weapons? Drugs? Or just obstacles to delay or attack you? Are they trying to hide things inside the vehicle? Are they preparing to shoot at you? Turning around inside the car and facing to the back is a good sign of that.

Are they getting ready to stop the car and bail out and run? If the car slows down in an area with plenty of places to hide in on foot, they may be getting ready to do just that. If the doors pop open, they are getting ready to bail. If the suspects bail out, go for the driver. He is the one who is gets to go to jail for the pursuit. Better yet, get a helicopter, let them chase; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Most police shootouts happen in less that ten feet and even six feet is not unusual. Most shots fired miss. The shooting and the target are often moving and that makes them very hard to hit. If you have to shoot, moving to cover is an excellent tactic. Often cover is only a step or two away.

Greater barrel length, great velocity, longer sight radius are all going to improve accuracy. In real gun battles, the shooters often don't even aim, they just point and shoot, one of the many reasons they miss so frequently. All the fancy gun gear is great, unless you don't use any of it.

Practice on the range is not enough, dynamic training with simunitions and similar systems are really the way to go in advanced training. Those who remain calm and actually fire the weapon once they aim at the target are very likely to hit the target and win the battle; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Does Not Look Good

Okla.Trooper Involved With Medic Scuffle in Trouble Again (

An officer gets into a scuffle with someone and has to take anger management classes. When should that officer return to active field duty? If an employee has anger management issues should they be carrying a gun and responding to calls for service that may result in physical violence as an unavoidable part of the job? I don't know the specifics of this case and the second allegation may be totally false, the investigation is ongoing. I am only speaking in general about law enforcement.

This is one of the many problems we face in law enforcement is that anything that happens to us in the past will immediately be brought out into the public view if any similar incident happens again. The officer is tried in the public eye, and made to look bad without any chance to defend himself. The media will not generally interview the officer and often the officer is ordered not to say anything in his own defense by his agency or his attorney.

Most officers I know are more worried about the civil liability aspects of the job then they are about the dangers posed by criminals. Often, agencies only look at the initial reports and take action even without the investigation being completed. Year ago in the Rodney King Incident, officers were blamed without any attempt to find out what happened, what was going on that led to the incident or any analysis. Taking someone into custody who does not want to go simply does not look pretty. Too often police administrators forget that basic lesson; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good Employees

What do you know about budgets? If you want to get promoted in law enforcement, don't just keep learning more and more about guns and tactics and shooting. Look at what the higher level positions do, and then learn how to do those skills that differ from your skill set.

As police move up to higher levels, they have to perform other tasks besides patrolling and directing units in the field. Supervisors have to supervise. That job entails writing reviews on their subordinates. Can you write a decent review on another officer? What do you say, how do you start? Police work is a job, and good cops also have to be good employees.

Good employees show up to work on time, ready to work. They don't call off sick, unless they are actually sick and they bring in a doctors note. Good employees forward the goals of the organization. If the chief likes parking tickets, then a good employee will write a parking ticket once in a while. Good employees get along with the other employees and help the new folks do a good job; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Off Duty

While driving home from work today I noticed a police helicopter circling the street about a mile ahead of me. I checked my iron, checked my tin, checked my six, rolled down a window on each side to listen for a siren, scanned the roadway ahead for units, or unusual traffic patterns, all the while watching the helicopter go round and round.

Even off duty, it is important to think like a cop. I have had several instances of people recognizing me as an officer, off duty, in civilian clothing. Driving up to a potentially dangerous situation, even in my personal car could place me in jeopardy, the bad guys could think I am there to get them, despite the fact that I am just driving home.

Naturally, if there is a serious problem, I would be likely to jump in and help. But that means I need the tools to help properly. A gun, a badge are two of the most important, but being aware of what is happening may be the most important; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fire Detection

Fire is a great danger to life and property. When on patrol look for signs of fire. The winter holidays are good times for fires, with Christmas trees, and holiday lights and candles. At night the flicker of orange or yellow light can mean a fire. In the daytime the plume of smoke is quite the obvious clue. During times of moderate winds, the smoke may move in a more horizontal direction rather than vertically.

The main thing is to be on the look out for fire and if you see a fire clue, investigate. Over the years I have discovered a few fires. There are several areas where fire is more likely to be found by patrol units. Alleys and loading dock, trash bin storage areas are frequently the location of trash fires. A simple trash fire can spread to nearby buildings.

Residential areas in the wee hours of the morning are also good areas to look for fires. People often sleep through the initial stages of fires and many times they will be overcome by smoke and fumes and not call the fire department. Again, look for smoke and the light of the fire. Sometimes the first indication of a fire can be the scent of the burning wood or plastics. I have located many car fires because of the smell of burning rubber. Keep your eyes out for fire when looking for crooks, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


The Cops Get a Zeta Sedan#

The Chevrolet Caprice is coming back! A few years ago, Chevrolet left the police vehicle market and dumped the Caprice. Sure they had the Malibu, Impala and the Tahoe, but they were not real police cars. Ford kept us going with the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor model, but recently Ford said they were cutting the Crown Vic from their line up.

Now the cavalry has arrived in the nick of time to save us, sure the Dodge is a nice car to drive, but it is just too small. I can barely get into and out of that very low car. The back seat is also rather small, and hard to stuff large suspects into.

Police cars have unique needs. They have to be able to hold two full size men in the front seat, a patrol rifle, a patrol shotgun, a mobile computer, a couple cup holders for the big beverages, a place for a note pad, a place for two batons, a place for a Posse Box, a spot for the ticket book, and in bad weather maybe a raincoat and hat. All that's just in the front seat; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Document, Document, Document

Training is important, but so is the documentation of training. Read a short training bulletin in roll call at the beginning of the shift. Then drop a copy of the document in every ones file with a notation that you covered that material. Date it, have the officer print their name on it and sign it too. That shows it happened on a particular date, and shows evidence that the officer was actually there as well. Give them a copy to keep, so they can review it later.

If the officer ever has to go to court and show they have been trained in that topic, it is one more bit of information in their file that shows they have some knowledge of the subject matter. It is difficult to keep up to date on new laws, changes in tactics, department policy. Having a ten minute roll call topic and then documenting the training does not replace training courses, or range time, but it is a good way to show that you are doing more than just the minimum.

If you have a bit more time, have the officers take a short written test. I used to have my officers do three questions, I would write a statement and have them fill in the blank with the correct work to make the statement true. Use only that force which is reasonable. If they get the wrong word, retrain them and retest them; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Wear your body armor. Doing that will reduce officer deaths and decrease injuries more than almost anything else we could easily do in the field. Body armor is hot, it is not flexible and it is heavy. It does not cover enough and does not provide enough ballistic protection.

Body armor needs to be improved. It should provide the same coverage as a tee shirt. It should be able to breathe so that body heat and moisture would not build up underneath. The armor should be as flexible as a tee shirt too. It should be thin and easy to keep clean. The armor should last at least five years, but ten would be better.

If an armor could be made that fit those parameters, it would be worth $5,000 per copy. Every police agency would buy it for their officers, or at least they should, if it existed. New technology can greatly increase the survivability of our officers, but in the meantime we need to use the technology we have; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Accident Prevention

Every couple of days an officer dies in the line of duty. Murder, traffic collision, accident, all take their toll. Wear your body armor, wear your seat belt. Doing those two items alone will save a couple dozen of us each year. When doing firearms training, remember to never point a gun at anything you are not willing to shoot. When possible, train with red guns or blue guns. I would issue one to every officer to use for training and to keep.

Accidents sometimes get officers killed. Keep your gun in the holster unless you need it. If you have your gun out and don't intend to immediately shoot, then place your finger along the frame of your gun, rather than on the trigger. If you are startled or fall down, you won't have an unintentional discharge of your firearm. Fatigue is a killer too. Get plenty of sleep, driving tired and handling weapons when you are sleepy are dangerous and lead to poor coordination and bad decisions.

Heat can kill too, when working in hot weather, make sure to keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water, or sports drinks to keep yourself from getting heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Cold is dangerous as well. Dress properly for cold weather, rotate into warm buildings frequently to stay warm. Work safe, and stay alive; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 2, 2009

1st Aid Things First

Which have you used more, your first aid kit, or your gun? I have certainly rendered first aid more often than I have had to shoot anyone. How often do you practice your first aid? There have been some developments in the field of first aid in the last couple years. It might be a good idea to take a class and learn about some of them.

The War in Iraq has pushed the development of some new techniques for handling major wounds. We see major wounds all the time, gunshots, car crashes, knife wounds and other kinds of accidental or intentional mayhem.

There are now first aid packs that can be poured into a wound to stop bleeding. There is a school of thought that says if you have a major bleeding wound that it is better to work on stopping the bleeding instead of trying to open an airway. Take a first aid class, update your first aid kit, you may save your partner, or your spouse, or your kid; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Making Entry on a Welfare Check

Once you finish checking the location exterior, check the neighbors. Even kids on the lawn can be helpful. The mailman or other delivery people can be useful too. Normally, you can check neighbors on each side and if you are lucky, they have some good information. Sometimes they even have a key, or phone numbers to people who can give you more information. There is no great hurry on these calls, taking twenty or thirty minutes to do a good investigation is time well spent.

Once you determine that there is no other choice, you will need to make entry. Contact the building management, or neighbor to see if there is a key. Check the mailbox, under the mat and above the door in case they left a key hidden there. If you have to break in there are alternatives to kicking down the front door. Check those windows again, maybe you can remove a screen and climb in. Check the front door, maybe it is unlocked. Call the fire department, they are very good at breaking into places, and their ladders are helpful for getting to open second story windows.

Once you get the door or window open, don’t just charge inside. Make an announcement of your presence, several times, loudly. You don’t want some shy recluse shooting you as you crawl through the window. Make sure someone else is there and makes entry with you. Another officer is best, but a fireman or even the landlord will do if that’s all you got. Wear gloves and a face mask can be good in some cases. Don’t make everyone go through the window, first person inside goes around and opens the front door. Do a careful search of the premises, including under beds, behind couches and inside closets. This could be nothing, it could be a death by natural causes, and it could be a murder with the murderer hiding the body in a small space under the sink.

Sometimes you find the person and they are okay. Other times you just find an empty apartment. Other times you find the person and they need the paramedics, or all too often the coroner. If the person is not there, your reporting party may want to file a missing persons report, so ask them if they want to do that. In any case, make sure the property is secured before you leave, that’s what the SGT Says.