Monday, August 31, 2009

Have A Plan

When the big regional, national, worldwide emergency hits, will your family be ready? What is the plan for that? If you are at work, will you go home? If you are at home, will you go to work? Can your family make it without you? Have you even talked about it?

As a reserve officer, I am most likely to be at my regular job or at home. My plan is to stabilize my home life and then go into work. My agency is fifty miles from my home and so it may be difficult, even impossible to get to my agency. I always keep my gear at home so that in the event of an emergency I could even just provide one man mutual aid to my local department.

My family has been given a couple alternative plans depending on where I am, where they are and what we are doing. I have told them if I am at work, I probably can't come home. In the big earthquake, so many bridges would be down I could not get home in days. We have plenty of supplies at the house and a large regional hospital near our home. We have a plan, you need one too; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Look In The Car

The eye cannot trespass. Anytime I approach a car on duty I remember that phrase. I make it a point to look inside the vehicle. There is much to look for too. The most important thing to watch is the hands of the people inside the vehicle. The next thing to look for is contraband items.

When a driver reaches for their vehicle registration or insurance information, keep an eye out for duplicate documents, even multiple driver licenses. Also look for drugs, weapons, guns, or other suspicious items. I have found cars that contained drugs, "kiddie" pornography, and even a kidnap kit of ski mask, duct tape, and knife.

I try and see inside the glove compartment, center console, and door side pockets. I also check the floorboards, and I always look up at the visor and across the dashboard. The driver and passengers often conceal items by tucking them under their legs. I try and watch for that too. I remember several times seeing beer flow from under a car seat when a driver was trying to hide an open container. Careful observation can lead to arrests that would otherwise go past; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hand It To Me

Years ago I read a training manual about doing law enforcement in Japan. I remember it said to glare into the eyes of the suspect to force your will upon them. I am glad for the cops that there is little violent crime in Japan. While it is true that primates, humans, see direct, staring eye contact as a challenge and a sign of dominance, it is a poor officer safety tactic.

Watch the hands. The hands, or what's in them will kill you. Watch the hands and control the hands. Guns, knives, and the traditional blunt object are deployed by the hands. You must always control the hands, even if you can't always see the hands.

A suspect has his hands in his pockets and he is facing you as you approach. "Police, you, take your hands out of your pockets." So he takes them out of his pockets, and shoots you with the gun in his hand. "Police, you, turn and face away from me. Now, slowly, take your hands out of your pockets." If he takes out a gun while faced away from you, you have the advantage; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lull Me To Sleep

I hope something scares you. I don't want anything bad to happen to you or any of your folks. I just want you to do something routine and have something scare you a bit. Just for a moment. Maybe not even enough that you will even react externally, but something that will make your heart skip a beat or jump to your throat.

Every year you will do a zillon traffic stops, alarm calls, pedestrian stops, handle many calls over an over again, each one unique, yet each one remarkably the same, almost identical nature. As a result you will slip quietly into a routine. You will do the same thing, the same way, as you have always done, as a thousand cops before you have always do it. Nothing ever happens becomes nothing ever will happen.

Then one day something will happen. That guy reaching into his glove box for his registration will pull out his revolver instead. That guy going for his wallet, will pull out his Walther. That liquor store hold up alarm that you always get to ten minutes after the hold up man is gone; you will arrive at while the hold up man is walking out the door with a shotgun. You won't be ready. You pre-dispo'd the call in your head, if not on the radio. So, I hope something scares you just a little bit. Helps to keep you from falling into the deadly arms of routine; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's A Keeper

I still can't believe my eyes when I see some cops without belt keepers. Belt keepers are thin leather strips that fit around the gun belt and the trouser belt and keep the two belts together. Without them, the gun belt will tend to sag down in places were the belt is heavy, like where the gun is located.

Belt keepers will keep the belt in place. If you have difficulty drawing a gun or radio out of a stiff holster the keepers will keep the gun belt in place and not allow the gun belt and holster to ride up and interfere with your draw. It is a very practical bit of gear. I wear about six of them. One of them even has a little key clip on it that I tuck into my back pants pocket.

Not wearing keepers often gives police a "wild west" look to their gear. It is not really a very professional look for today's law enforcement. There are some belts that are integral to the uniform or that have Velcro on them so that the use of keepers is not needed to accomplish the same goal. Keepers, get some, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Traffic

Traffic enforcement is a very important aspect of law enforcement. About twice as many people die in traffic related events than are murdered. One way to reduce these deaths is to enforce traffic laws. Many traffic collisions are the result of inattention, use of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or failing to obey a traffic sign or signal.

By enforcing traffic laws we give people an opportunity to reflect on their driving or to accumulate enough points to have their driver licenses taken away. There are many ways to conduct traffic enforcement. One is to simply drive around and look for other cars that violate the law, or have equipment violations. This is a good way to find subtle violations that are hard to see from a distance.

Another way is to sit in one place and observe a controlled intersection. Vehicles that run the stop sign or red light are good candidates to stop. You can also sit in one place and work radar or laser. Speeding is a prime cause of accidents and a very good enforcement stop. You can also do checkpoints for DUI, seat belts or child seat usage. The checkpoint is very labor intensive, but is an excellent method for finding people driving under the influence; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Planning for the Unthinkable

Your agency says they have no money and you are laid off tomorrow. What do you do? Can you get by without your paycheck? Will you lose your house, your spouse, or your life? Can your survive the loss of identity as a cop? What if you are fired and can't work in law enforcement again? What if you are hurt badly and can't physically work any longer?

The loss of a police job is more than the loss of an income, it is also the loss of your identity. It is always important to have a survival plan. If it is a car stop, an alarm response or the loss of a job. Have a survival plan. Have a discussion with the family so they have an idea what could happen if you lost your job. Have a plan to deal with the financial, and psychological impact of that loss.

Build a network of people who can help you. Connections with people on other departments who may be able to help you get hired there if your agency won't employ you any longer. Connections in private industry who can use you as a security expert if you don't work on PD anymore. Develop interests that can pay outside of law enforcement. Some officers make things they can sell, or sell real estate, or have other part time jobs while they work as officers. These part time jobs can be turned into full time jobs if needed. Planning is important, even for the unthinkable; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Check It Out

Can a male officer search a female suspect? Of course. Your need to search needs to be balanced against the right to privacy for the female suspect. Once the suspect has been handcuffed, the first thing you can do is a visual search. Look for obvious weapons or subtle signs that they have concealed a weapon on their person.

The most obvious thing you can do it hold the suspect by the handcuffs and wait for a female officer to conduct a search. If this is not practical, you can use the back of your hand to check the small of the back area where a suspect could reach a weapon while wearing handcuffs. You can also perform the search using your flashlight or baton so that you are not actually touching the suspect with your hands. In any case, try and have the search witnessed by another officer or other trusted person.

If the incident is one of violence and the female suspect has a high level of violence and a good likelihood of being armed, then you may have to search her quickly to insure your safety and that of other innocent people. This is not a preferred tactic, but sometimes you have to search to insure safety. Just be sure to document the reasons in your report, and stress the need for safety, and the lack of time to wait for a female officer. Not searching can get you killed. Not documenting the search properly can get you fired; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gather Information

Gathering information is something we do all the time. Two of the best ways are to copy information directly from official documents, or have people write it down for you. When I am collecting data, I try and get their state issued driver license from the person I am talking to, even if it is not a traffic offense. I then copy down all the information I can get off the license. Even the driver license number can be important if you need to find the person again, people with similar names may be difficult to sort out.

If the person has no documents on them, I have them write down their information for me. Giving false information to a peace officer is a crime in California. If I have a document in the suspects own handwriting that says they have given me a false name and date of birth, that's pretty good evidence of that crime. Sometimes I actually give them a Field Interview Card and have them fill it out. This way they will spell the names correctly it eliminates any misunderstandings. Later I will transfer the information to a fresh card in my handwriting and add the police information.

Once I collect the information that I need, I then go over it a second time with the person there, so that I can make sure it is correct. Misunderstandings do happen and even those who want you to have the correct information will sometimes misunderstand questions or I may hear their response improperly. Gathering accurate information is basic police work; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Officer, Do Your Duty

"For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." Romans 13:4

Typically, when an officer uses deadly force, he will have feelings of guilt, sadness, remorse. There is no reason to have those feelings. If you lawfully use deadly force against a violent subject, then you as a police officer are doing the work that God has given you do to against those who do evil. It is not up to the individual officer to determine when he will use deadly force. That determination will be made by laws, agency policy and training. Police officers are the instruments of those laws.

The officers decision to use deadly force will simply be the application of those laws, policies and training to the situation created by the person who has done that which is evil. The use of deadly force will be the logical outcome based on the requirements and expectations of society and the actions of the evil ones who have intentionally done the evil that subjects them to deadly force. Never feel guilty about doing your duty; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Get Out

When responding to a dangerous crime in progress calls, as I get close to the location, I watch for vehicles that may be leaving the area. It could be the suspects on their way to escape. Once I get about a block away, I take off my seat belt. It is not likely that I will crash in the last 100 yards, but it is likely that I will want to jump quickly out of the car.

It is also difficult to draw a handgun from the holster when seated in a car with the seat belt on. While I strongly support the wearing of seat belts in vehicles, it is also important to know when to remove them to gain a tactical advantage.

Once you arrive at the dangerous call, be sure to rapidly exit the vehicle. While the patrol car can provide cover, it also acts as a bullet magnet. The bad guys will see the car and shoot at it thinking you are in it. Getting out and getting some distance from it can give you a tactical advantage; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sneaky

Sometimes the silent approach is the best approach. When you get a disturbance call at a residence or a burglary at a home, it is best to try and maintain your element of surprise. When you approach the location, watch the addresses so that you don't pass the home and don't park in front of the house. Park a few homes down the block so that the residents can't see you when they look out the front window. Keep the car lights turned off and your radio volume low. Close the patrol car quietly so that you don't alert the residents or burglar that you have arrived.

Keep your handheld radio volume turned down low too. Make sure you don't jingle or jangle when you walk. I like to get quickly onto the sidewalk and even up onto the neighbors lawns. That helps to keep my approach hidden. I like to walk slowly and listen to the sounds coming from the residence.

I approach the location from the side. Look at the side fence or gate and make sure they are closed. I try and get a glimpse into the windows if I can too see a burglar or an arguing couple inside the house. Even standing by the front door for a few seconds or even a minute or two can allow you to gather information about who may be inside the home and what they are doing. It is amazing what people will say to each other when the don't know the cops are there; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cop Killers & Unions

http://hometownstation.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17473:newhall-incident-clarita-2009-08-17-16-03&catid=26:local-news&Itemid=97

This is an excellent example of how our police unions have let us down over the years. The surviving cop killer from the Newhall Incident finally died in prison, decades after the event. He was given four death sentences and yet he is dying, probably by suicide, decades after the sentences were passed down. In California our police unions constantly act like unions rather than like police that make up their membership and endorse anti-death penalty candidates.

Why does a union endorse candidates that will not stand up for the very lives of it's members? Isn't a union support to both represent it's members and do what is best for them? They why when it comes to keeping police officers safe do police unions constantly promote political candidate who are opposed to tough law enforcement, favor criminal rights over citizen and police rights, oppose the death penalty for cop killers and oppose deportation of criminal illegal aliens?

Our unions do all this because the union wants us to vote for the party of big government. They want us to vote for liberal Democrats who will constantly raise taxes and increase police pay and benefits, but will in every other way work against the desires of police officers. The Democrats in the California Legislature want to release tens of thousands of prisoners from state prison to save money! How many police do you know who support that plan? Probably none, yet I suspect that when these same legislators come up for re-election our unions will endorse them and their soft on crime agenda. We need to communicate to our unions and tell them we don't want politicians who are simply trying to buy us off while supporting laws that make our streets more dangerous; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Police Cars

Police Car for Police Carbon Motors Corporation

A new company is working on developing a new purpose built police car. They think that the market of about 65,000 cars per year will be enough to support their making a new car. In the world of car sales, that is not really very many cars in a year.

A new police car should be large enough for the largest officers to enter and exit quickly and safely. The smallest officers should be able to reach all the controls. The car must be able to have great acceleration, high speed, good gas mileage, low emissions, be durable and be able to support all the electrical needs of police cars.

The car must be very large inside to carry two officers, two prisoners, shotgun, patrol rifle, all the radios, computers, cameras, flares and all the other gear that officers use on patrol. If someone could make a car like that, not just police would buy it, but so would everyone else. I don't hold out much hope that this company will actually be able to do what they say, but I hope they can; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Criminal Aliens

http://www.apbweb.com/featured-articles/1186-policy-is-a-cop-killer.html

Illegal aliens by definition are criminals. Just by being here in the United States they are violating our nation's laws. Yet, many jurisdictions will not allow officers to investigate or or arrest illegal aliens for violations of immigration laws. Many illegal aliens commit other crimes in the United States and are threatened as if they are citizens. Why do we give the rights of citizens to people who are not citizens and who are not even here legally?

Every year criminal illegal aliens attack and sometimes murder police officers. Yet, well meaning mayors and city councils prevent local officers from enforcing immigration laws. If illegal aliens are attacking and murdering our police, where are our police unions? Why aren't our police unions pressing for immigration reform to start with the deportation of all criminal illegal aliens?

Why don't our police unions act like cops and press for our lawmakers to allow us to do our jobs. There are 800,000 sworn officers in the United States. There are 12 million illegal aliens. If we each arrested one a month in less than a year and a half they could all be gone, and no more police would have to die at the hands of criminal illegal aliens; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ford Police Cars

Ford may be planning on dropping the Police Interceptor from their line up. The rumor is that they will make a Police Ford Taurus. Ford used to make a police package Taurus. I ran a fleet of almost 30 private security patrol cars and they were a mix of regular Taurus and police package Taurus. The PP was much faster, and had good acceleration, but other than that was not really any better than the regular Taurus.

The Taurus trunk is too small, there is no room in the backseat for prisoner transport, and at 6-2 and 250 pounds not much room for me in the front seat. My agency has a computer, rifle and shotgun and cage in the car; with all the radio gear and camera, my partner and I barely squeeze into and out of the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.

We really need a revolutionary approach to police vehicles that will address crash survival, prisoner transport, radios and other gear and the need to allow large officers the ability to get in and out of the car quickly and access the weapons. Simply putting a second cigarette lighter power source, bigger tires and an oil cooler on a Taurus won't do it for me, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Old Age is the Only Death Penalty

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-death-row14-2009aug14,0,2959453.story

California has almost 700 inmates on death row and in the the 30 years we have had the death penalty we have only executed a bakers dozen of them. Far more of them die of old age then ever die in the execution room. In a state that has between two thousand and four thousand murders per year, that is a pretty sad attempt at a deterrent.

Our voters have consistently voted in favor of the death penalty. Even our legislature and our Governor have been in favor of the death penalty for murder. Yet as always one or two or three State or Federal judges stop the process, often for years on some minor issue. The most recent was years ago when they said the lethal injection was cruel and unusual punishment. I think not.

Just because a procedure is painful does not make it either cruel or unusual. Is dental work cruel and unusual? Other states and other nations execute criminals, we should be able to do so also. These activist judges simply want to stop executions in direct opposition to the will of the people. Our state has many police officers murdered every year. Where are our police unions, are they fighting for justice to put their killers in the death chamber? They should be; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Food Riots

Hunger hits Detroit - Aug. 6, 2009



Times are hard from many people as unemployment edges towards 10%. That's about six million people who want jobs who don't have them, that is the highest unemployment rate since 1983. With six million unemployed, that's probably close to twenty million in households without jobs. Then there are many who don't have full time work, but are working part time, that's millions of underemployed.



When times get hard, people sometimes get desperate. Otherwise law abiding people sometimes turn to crime when they can't find another way to feed the family, keep up the car payments or mortgage payments. More people with limited or non-existent criminal histories may be committing crimes in the near future. That could make it harder to uncover leads during investigations.



People also become irrational when they are hungry, unemployed and scared. If these trends continue the possibility of urban unrest, food riots may happen. The time to prepare for these problems is now. Start working sources at rescue missions, soup kitchens, homeless shelters to determine the mood on the streets. Start preparing mutual aid responses for riots; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Homeless

Your body armor is layers of fabric. Homeless people often wear many layers of clothing and frequently have all the pockets filled with stuff. Homeless people can be nearly bullet proof. Given that many are mentally disturbed, on drugs or alcohol they can be a difficult opponent. The streets are a rough place and the homeless that make it very long are often pretty tough.

While it is a good idea to get to know your homeless, you should use extreme caution when you first approach them. Many homeless have had bad police contacts in the past, so they may not see you as the good guy. Many homeless often carry weapons, I have taken many knives off of them over the years. Knives are cheap and easy to get. Watch their hands. Talk to them at a distance at first, even when trying to get friendly.

The homeless are often dirty and even carrying diseases and parasites. Proper precautions are a must. Wear rubber gloves if you think you may have to touch them. Wash your hands afterwards with warm water and soap. Use disinfectant on yourself and on your equipment and vehicle if they ride in your car. A handy spray can of Lysol can make your car smell a lot better after taking one of these folks downtown; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Homeless

We have all seen the man with a shopping cart, shambling along the street. The homeless are out there and sometimes they are victims, sometimes they are witnesses and sometimes they are suspects. Contacting the homeless can be dangerous. Most of them are on drugs, on alcohol, or crazy; sometimes all three.

To many people, the homeless have become invisible, so criminals often ignore them when committing crimes. The homeless can be a good source of information. It is a good idea to know the homeless who "live" in your area. Homeless are often territorial, so they frequently know their range. If something happens where they hang out you can interview them for leads, if you have already established a rapport with them. They may not be good witnesses in court, but you can work the leads they generate.

Contact your homeless on a regular basis. Learn who they really are and what their lifestyle is like. Are they drug uses, and what kinds of drugs? How do they support their habit, or even how do they get money for food? They often commit petty crimes, sell recycle items and even have money from friends, relatives or even an income. Use caution when making contact, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bills, Bills, Bills

Booze, broads and bills. You have heard me talk about the dangers of these three things before and they are still taking cops careers every day. How's your financial situation? In these days of recession, rising prices, increasing taxes, it is easy to get a little behind on the payments. How are you doing about keeping up with the payments? Do you want your lieutenant or chief getting calls from bill collectors?

Are you in danger of layoffs at your agency? Are you unlikely to get a raise this year? Are your health insurance premiums higher now than before? These are all things to consider in your financial health. My wife works part time and I work full time. We have devised a financial plan to pay off bills and get ourselves into a better fiscal position. Having fewer debts not only makes you more financially stable but it gives you a better position if you face lay offs or pay cuts.

Now is the time to look at your finances and determine if you need to sell your house, delay getting a new car, hold off on the remodelling, or pay down some debt. Could you make it if you lost your job tomorrow due to a lay off or disciplinary action or even medical condition? Can you keep up your bills if you don't get a raise for the next two or three years? Police work involves paying your bills on time. Keeping your financial word gives you more credibility, and we need that in law enforcement; that's what the SGT Says.

Dogs At Home

Dog attacks can also be fought off in other ways too. Most dogs will bite the first thing presented to them. The generally don't care if it is an arm or a leg or your baton. Use your baton as a lance and poke it at the dogs mouth. Let them bite it. Shake the baton once the dog bites down, dogs will respond to the resistance. Keep the dog biting the baton and you can slowly back away and out the gate.

Dogs are programmed to chase. If attacked by a dog, don't run unless you are positive you can get away. You are better off to draw your pepper spray or baton and back slowly away, while facing the dog. Use the OC to drive the dog away. Use your baton to keep the dog from getting too close while you back away.

I have used trash can lids to fend off dogs. Other items commonly found in yards can be used to hold a dog at bay, patio chairs, kids wading pools, brooms and other tools work to keep the dog away from your leg. All the time, speak to the dog. Tell them to "Sit," sometimes they do. These tips are for your encounters with the family dog. Naturally, you don't want to hurt the dog if you can avoid it. Of course if some gangster drug kingpin unleashes his attack pit bulls on you, then the shotgun may be your best option; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dog Attacks

Dogs are mans best friend. But not every dog is every mans best friend. It is not unusual to respond to a location and have to fend off the homeowners dog. In response to a burglar alarm, the family pet can be a real problem. There are several ways to deal with them to keep both you and the dog safe. The main thing to remember here is I am not talking about some gangsters attack pit bull, just the family dog who is doing his duty while you are trying to do your duty.

Most dogs will defend their territory, that's why they bark at you, they are alerting the other members of their pack that there is an intruder. Most family pets won't do much more than bark at you. If you need to get past Rover to check a property there are many options. The easiest one is to ask the homeowner or Animal Control to round up the dog and let you do your work. Probably not an option most of the time.

Most dogs don't like being sprayed with the hose, use the family garden hose on the dog and frequently they will run away. Most dogs hate pepper spray, mailmen carry it to use against dogs. The pepper spray used against dogs is very similar to that used against humans and your regular OC will usually work just fine. Spray them in the face, mouth, eyes and nose. Most dogs will immediately run off and be all better in twenty minutes. Confrontations don't have to end with you or the dog getting hurt; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ambient Light

I do most of my searching in ambient light in the dark. Stop, look, listen are three most important things you can do when searching in the dark. Unless there is a need to search quickly, get out of the police car a few doors down and wait a minute in the dark. Let your eyes adjust to the night. The slowly and quietly approach the location with your flashlight off.

I like to start at a front corner and work my way across the front of a building. Burglars often both enter or leave by the front door, so it is not uncommon to find it open. I like to conduct a full exterior check without lights if possible. I feel it gives me a tactical advantage by not giving away the fact that the police have arrived. If I do need to use my light, some areas are just pitch black, I close my right eye and blink the flashlight on and off. My right eye is my dominant eye and the more important eye for shooting, so I want to preserve my night vision in one eye.

Typically, I will cover the flashlight with my hand so that it just emits a tiny amount of light to allow me to inspect a door lock or other small area. It prevents the light from drawing too much attention to my location. Often I will just stand still in the shadows and listen. If someone is moving around in the yard or the house I will usually hear them. Being invisible helps you to stay alive; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lights On

When entering a room, I want the advantage. I want to be able to see and react faster than the suspect. If I am searching a room looking for what may be an armed suspect, I will probably turn on the lights. A suspect who has been hiding in the dark will have his eyes adjusted to the dark. If I have been in the light or using my flashlight, his night vision is probably better than mine. If I turn on the lights, he has a moment of difficulty seeing.

If I have my flashlight on and sweep the room, he can observe me from the far corner and know exactly where I am and where I am looking. My flashlight will create shadows and leave places that are hard to see, so I may miss something. I is difficult to both walk and search at the same time in the dark. Do I use the flashlight to look for the bad guy, or look where I am walking?

Will I shine the flashlight on my partner or will he shine his on me? We are only making the bad guys job easier if we do that. Most light switches are just inside the opening of the door. You can usually just reach around the door and flick on the light without entering, even while kneeling in the doorway. Lights on for me, that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Light Them Up

Always carry a flashlight. Just because you work day shift on the long summer days does not mean you don't need a flashlight. If you end up with a long shift, late call, or working overtime you may end up working at night after all.

Flashlights are also useful in other scenarios. You can check someones pupils to see if their eyes react to light, or if they are under the influence of drugs. You can shine the light along a surface to look for fingerprints. You can look in the little nooks and crannies of cars to search for drugs or weapons.

I have had to search barns, garages, attics and basements. We don't even have basements in Southern California and I have had to search basements. Sometimes things happen and the power goes out. There is little natural light in a modern building and often the emergency lights are not much help either. Carry your flashlight on you, even in the day; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Getting Hired

Agencies these days are generally all hurting for money but many are still hiring. So they often make academies smaller or less frequent. Until the day you are actually working on their time, then you need to keep looking. Don't set you mind on one agency over another. While some departments are better than others, police work will be exciting and interesting no matter who hires you. Once you get hired, work until you are off probation and then do a lateral transfer to someplace you think you will like better.

Go to the POST website, they list every POST agency in the state. Then go to their websites and see if they are hiring. Also go to the PORAC website, it is a California police union and often has job openings.

Don't forget nearly every state agency has some kind of police, DMV, ABC, BSIS and they may have openings. The really big agencies are nearly always hiring because their turn over requires a few new folks coming in just to stay even. You can still get hired if you really want it; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

25 Years Ago

Slaughter at McDonald's changed how police operate - CNN.com

Twenty-five years ago and evil man walked into a MacDonalds in San Diego and murdered many innocent people. They police responded and were out gunned by the man with an Uzi, while the officers only had .38 revolvers. Since then police agencies have studied that incident and the response to it and added new weapons, new tactics and new procedures.

Police work changes frequently as we become aware of changes in criminal tactics and criminal trends. We have to add new equipment, new training and new ways of doing things. What we did thirty years ago may have some insights for us, but we also have to look to the future.

Simply adding guns with more bullets is not enough. We need officers who can shoot well, and who are brave enough to risk their lives to do the job when evil men do evil deeds. They must be overcome by brave officers willing to place themselves in jeopardy, and that's not something you will find with new technology; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Extras

Sometimes being ready has nothing to do with having enough guns. Sometimes it is just about having the gear you need to do the job. I have a few little extra things in the gear bag to help get me out of the station.

An extra pair of black socks. Particularly in the summer when I am wearing shorts and a pair of tennis shoes or sandals with white socks or no socks, having that extra pair in my locker has helped me out a few times. An extra set of work keys. At least the minimum to get you through a shift. An extra uniform. Go out in the field and get wet or really dirty or covered with dog hair and that extra uniform is a life saver.

An extra tee shirt. We wear a white tee shirt with the uniform and without one the scratchy vest cover is annoying. The tee shirt can really get soaked though on a hot day and having a spare to change into is a good idea. A few extra dollars in my locker in case I forget to bring cash. A razor in the locker in case I forget to shave. A pair of fingernail clippers in case I break a nail. I hate when that happens; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Target For Today

BBC NEWS UK Al-Qaeda 'seek to infiltrate MI5'

How much of a background investigation do you do on your department employees? Al Qaeda tried to infiltrate MI5 in the United Kingdom. Next time they may try to infiltrate your department. If there are significant military bases in your jurisdiction, then you could be a target. If there are large petro-chemical plants in your agencies area, you could be a target.

If there are large population centers in your area, you could be a target. If there are ports, or airports in your area, you could be a target. If you have a large prison in your area, or a large number of Middle Eastern immigrants in your area, you could be a target.

If you have big financial centers, or government buildings, or large schools or stadiums, in your jurisdiction, you could be a target of infiltration. You see, even from this partial list, there are many places where Al Qaeda would like to have police officers as part of their group. In reality, almost anywhere in the USA is a potential target; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

2,000 Pound Bullet

Practice, practice, practice. Some actions should be done without thinking. How long does it take you to get out of your police car? How quickly can you get the shotgun out of the rack or the patrol rifle? At the beginning of each shift you should check these weapons to see that you can get them out quickly.

If you conduct a traffic stop and the driver pulls over rapidly and jumps out and starts shooting, what do you do? You have several options. Jump out and return fire with your handgun. Jump out and seek cover behind your unit or some other close location. Stay in the car and return fire. Put the car in reverse and jam the accelerator to the floor. Put the car in drive and jam the accelerator to the floor.

Jump out and return fire, by then the attacker could be at your door. Same problem with seeking cover. Stay in the car and shot out the side window or even through the windshield. The engine block provides some cover but you are a stationary target. Driving backwards could get you out of the kill zone, but driving backwards into traffic may not be a good idea. Driving forwards will put you closer to the attacker, but most people will not stand in front of a car coming right at them; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Keep Them Locked Up

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Two recent news events have discussed the arrests and convictions of suspects in the cases. Both involve the probable kidnap and murder of a child and a teen. In each case the suspect was convicted of violence against persons crimes and got a very short sentence.

In California the Governor and Legislature want to balance the budget by letting prisoners out of prison early. Why is it that the people of California already suffering from high taxes, high unemployment, and oppressive regulations must now be victimized by criminals who have not paid their debt to society?

Many people have a criminal lifestyle and only fail to victimize the public when they are away from the public. Even in prison they continue their criminal ways, they simply rob, steal, rape and kill other prisoners, guards and visitors rather than the general public. While we hope that going to prison will rehabilitate the prisoner, the fact is few are rehabilitated. They simply become better at being criminals; that's what the SGT Says.