Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Welfare Check

Check the welfare calls, they fall into three categories most of the time, nothing to worry about, no one home or really bad. Typically a friend, relative or neighbor calls and says they have not heard from someone for a suspiciously long time. It may be a day, it may be a month depending on the lifestyle of the person they are worried about. Information gathering is a critical part of this type of call.

Who is calling and what is their relationship to the person they are worried about? Who else has contact with this person on a regular basis and why are they worried about them? What is the address and phone numbers of the person? Easiest thing to do is have Dispatch call the phone numbers and if the person answers, then the problem is resolved.

When you arrive at the scene the easiest thing to do is simply walk up to the door and ring the bell and knock on the door. If you knock and the person opens the door, case closed. If they don’t answer the door you need to do some investigation. Inspect the state of the doors and windows. Is there any evidence that people are coming and going from the residence? Spider webs on the doors are a good clue no one have entered or exited, and the more there are and the more dirt and leaves in them, the longer it has been. Look for pizza ads and other leaflets attached to the door, check the mail, look at the postmarks on the mail for an idea as to how long it has been since the mail was picked up. Look into the windows for anyone on the floor, in a chair or on the bed, hope you find someone alive and well; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Information Security

Information security and privacy rights are two topics we don’t think about much in patrol, but they are important. All day long we deal with information with varying degrees of confidentiality. It is a part of our duty to safeguard that information. Computers, hand written notes, and even verbal and radio conversations can contain information that the general public should not have access to all the time.

As we use more computers in our work we must be sure they are safe. In patrol, if we have a laptop in the patrol car, we need to make sure the screen is not viewed by people who don’t have a need to know the information we have displayed. A suspect in the backseat of the patrol car might see dispatch information about who called the police on him. Turn the screen so he can’t see it or minimize the screen, or even better, go to a blank screen before putting him in the car.

Your notes and draft reports are also gold mines of information in the wrong hands. All notes should be retained by the officer, attached to the report or shredded. They should not be simply thrown away. Telephone numbers, suspect and victim information can be gathered by going through the trash at the police department and so need to be safeguarded. Information security, its part of the job, that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Family vs Job

Did you kiss your wife and kids before you went to work today? There is an old saying, "Don't go to bed angry." It was a way to help you have a good marriage. Don't go to work mad, either. It is a good way to have a good marriage and a good police career.

If you are angry when you go to work, you may be tempted to take it out on your co-workers or your boss or the public, or the crooks. There is nothing good about that. You need to be in a good frame of mind to do your job. You may try and repress your feelings, but there are dangers there too.

If you go to work and something bad happens to you, do you want your wife's last memory of you to be that you had an argument? If you get fired, get hurt, even get killed, you will need the assistance of your family and you don't need them to be unhappy. Your family is more important than the job, but too often officers forget that. Remember it, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Am Helping.

On of my partners used to work a special patrol detail that included about two dozen 7-Eleven stores. It was a two officer patrol car and they were very busy, mostly with nuisance activity. Panhandlers, drunks fighting each other, beer runs and other minor offenses. Sometimes, they did actually have an armed robbery. At one store, there was an on-site private security guard. He was often calling them to help him with some minor problem at the store. He would get in over his head and then call for help. Once help arrived, he acted like the big man and kept interfering in the work my partner was trying to perform.

This was a simple problem to solve. Nearly every private security guard wants to be helpful and wants to do a good job. So when you find one who gets involved in your work, give them something useful to do. I told my friend, tell the security guard that the problem in the parking lot could be a distraction, a ruse to lure him away from the cash register to allow a robbery or a cash grab to take place. Tell him that whenever they responded to the location, his position should be near the cash register to prevent that from happening, and leave the responding officers to deal with the minor offense.

Everyone won. The responding officers got to handle their calls without interference. The security guard felt like he was doing something useful and helpful. The store owner got good service. And who knows, maybe he did prevent a robbery; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Driving

Driving is an important police skill. How often do you get retrained in driving? Driving skills are used just about every shift. Often we drive in in bad weather, snow, narrow winding roads and heavy traffic and at very high speeds.

The most important part about police driving is to avoid being in a collision. About as many officers are killed in car crashes as are shot to death. The first thing to remember is to wear your seat belt. It is a critical item.

The next thing officers must do is try and pay attention to the driving. With radios and computers providing us will all kinds of information, it can be very distracting to careful driving. Often dashboard cameras are placed on the windshield and reduce our vision. Don't over drive your headlights. You need to see far enough ahead to be able to stop in time. Use extra caution at intersections, they are a very common place for police collisions. You can't help or catch the crook if you are in a collision on the way to the call; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Help Your Partner

Get a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. When you are working, you are supposed to work. You get paid to do your job, and that is why we call it work. If you were having fun, you would pay your employer and call it play. Work at your job and you will get to keep your job. Play is what you do at work to get fired.

Those who do police work should do so because they have a calling to be peace officers. Those who do police work because it is a way to feed their families, to advance their careers, to keep busy until something better comes along, don't belong in police work. It is like being a doctor, nurse, soldier, priest; people who do law enforcement should do it because they love it.

If you love something, then don't harm it. If you love law enforcement, then don't harm it. By doing stupid things on duty, that you know are wrong, you harm not only yourself, your agency, but all of law enforcement. In the last few days we have had several videos surface that show police officers acting foolishly. Don't do this, and don't let your partners do this either. Save your partners career by stopping them when they do something stupid; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Smile You Are On Camera

Polk undercover drug investigators play Wii during raid

Okay, can't you guys stay away from cameras for a day? It is bad enough to do something stupid, but to then get photographed doing something stupid is a really good way to get fired. A group of officers raid a drug dealers house and then play the Wii in the location. The drug dealer had a camera in the room and of course, the video is made public.

If you are going to a house to serve a search warrant and look for drugs, then you should go to the house and look for drugs. Don't play the suspects Wii. Don't watch the suspects DVD collection. Don't use the suspects Playstation. Don't surf the Internet on the suspects computer. Search the house, look for drugs. That's why you are there.

Cameras have been a great boon to law enforcement. They allow us to record evidence. The allow us to record the stupid behavior of criminals. Like so many technologies, it has always provide evidence of police doing criminal or stupid acts. We need to behave ourselves all the time as if we are on camera. Then you don't have some of these problems; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Camera Foolishness

Bambi Get Your Gun

A group of police go out of town for a firearms training seminar. On the way the officers stop at a restaurant where the waitresses are scantily dressed. At some point the officers determine that it would be a great idea to take a photo of one of the waitresses sitting on their police car. Then, they determine it would be an even better idea for her to be holding a loaded patrol rifle.

Naturally, someone calls the local police who respond and find a waitress holding a loaded assault rifle. At some point the officers agency was notified and the photos are made public. Why do officers fell compelled to do something stupid, in public and then take photos of it?

Don't do anything that is a violation of your department policy. Don't take photos of yourself or others who are violating your department policies. Don't do things outside of your jurisdiction that will cause people to call the local police. Unless you want to get fired, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Don't Chase

SC mayor defends no-chase policy for police - Yahoo! News

An officer in foot pursuit falls and hurts himself. The city has to pay medical bills and so the mayor determines the police department won't engage in foot pursuits any longer. The officer was chasing the suspect because he had drugs on him. The mayor determined that a drug arrest did not warrant an injury to an officer.

Officers should be free to chase suspects on foot or in vehicles if they think they can do so safely or if the risk is balanced by the reward. Officers should think about the dangers of pursuit. Can you catch the bad guy and if you do, can you get him into handcuffs at the end of the pursuit. Often it is better to back off and search for the suspect inside a perimeter than just chase.

No pursuit policies simply mean that suspects will always run and always get away. If officers are having too many on the job injuries then they need additional training or supervision. That's how you reduce injuries and still get the job done, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

lights

Some officers like to carry a large flashlight because they think the large light will make a good weapon. Since you have to carry a flashlight in your hand, there is a certain amount of value in having a dual purpose device in that, non-gun hand. Being able to illuminate an area and have an impact weapon in your hand in the event that someone jumps out at you is a bonus.

There can be some disadvantages to using a big flashlight as an impact weapon. What is your agency policy on hitting someone with a flashlight? Many agencies prohibit the use of a flashlight as an impact weapon and so if you are forced to hit someone with your big flashlight in an emergency, then you are in violation of your agency policy. While your safety is paramount, it is best to be safe and be within policy.

A big light is heavy and clumsy, so it can be hard to keep it on target for a long time as you get tired. How much training have you had with using the big light as an impact weapon? Probably not much, and that can leave you open for an inadequate training lawsuit. What does the maker of your big light say they are making, a weapon or an illumination device? They probably will not help defend you in a lawsuit, because they are making lights, not batons. A small light may be a better choice, that's what the SGT Says.

When the Shooting Stops

If you are in a shootout and the suspect goes down, wait. Officers will most likely be scared, excited and nervous. Take a moment to do several things. Communicate with other officers to stay behind cover. Take cover yourself if you have not done so already. Update dispatch on the status of the event. Make sure you and your partners are all okay.

Look at the suspect, make sure he is incapacitated or has surrendered. Look left, right, beyond the suspect and behind you for additional suspects. Most of the time when officers are killed there are multiple suspects. Once you are certain the scene is safe, give the suspect verbal commands. You want him on the ground, in the open, in the light. You want to see his hands. Give the commands several times if you need to gain compliance.

Only approach him when you have officers who can cover you. Use a ballistic shield or even your car if needed to protect yourself during the approach. Don't be in a hurry to get within his kill zone. You may need to redeploy to the other side of him if it gives you a tactical advantage. Once you are ready to apprehend the suspect be sure to handcuff them and search them for weapons. Render first aid and get the paramedics there as soon as it is safe to do so; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Don't Drive Sleepy

How much overtime will they let you work? Being tired is a major cause of traffic collisions. Think about how often you see one vehicle traffic collisions late at night when a driver has fallen asleep at the wheel and then drove off the road. Worse, think about how many times a driver falls asleep and drives into on coming traffic!

Generally, in my opinion, I don't think officers should be permitted to work more than about twelve to fourteen consecutive hours in a day. If they have to work longer than about twelve hours, they should be allowed to sleep for a couple hours at least to refresh themselves. And I would pay them for their sleep time, just like we pay firemen to sleep on duty. The officer can be awakened and they can respond in the event of a major emergency.

When people are tired they don't drive well. They also have slower reaction times, and sometimes don't pay attention. Those are critical skills for people who drive vehicles and for people who carry guns. Truck drivers in the USA are usually limited to only eleven hours of driving out of every 14 hour day, why should police be different? Sleeping while driving is not recommended, that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shoplifting

Shoplifters are an easy arrest. Non-confrontational crime, probably just a couple kids trying to steal a few CDs or something. Or not. Shoplifting is a multi-billion dollar industry. Shoplifting is often done by organized rings of criminals. Even criminals who go so far as to set up their own shops to sell the stolen items. Some rings even keep lawyers on retainer.

Sometimes gangsters turn to shoplifting to help to finance their other criminal enterprises. Sometimes they farm out their women and children to shoplift to supplement the drug income. What all this means to the line officer is that it is a mistake to think that shoplifters only consist of a few kids trying to steal their favorite music.

They could be hard core street gang members or associates. They could be only a part of the gang that hit a shopping mall. So while you are expecting an easy arrest, you may be confronted with a large, organized and well armed gang. Check security video footage to try and identify lay off suspects or drivers. Search suspects carefully, they may be armed, particularly with edged weapons. Knives and scissors may be used to cut off price tags or security devices. They can also be used to cut you; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Illumination

Fenix's homepages

A new flashlight company has appeared. I know nothing about them except what I read on their website. I don't own one, I never handled one, I probably won't buy one. The point is that you need a small flashlight. The day of the big flashlight is rapidly fading.

The small flashlight is much better for use with a gun in your hand. The big flashlight is very heavy and hard to aim alongside a gun. Some small flashlights even go on the gun. The small flashlight does not weigh much and can be held up for a long time while you cover a door or window and wait for the criminal to exit.

The small flashlight is several ounces you don't have to wear on your belt. The traditional police belt is way too heavy and way to much stuff on it. The small flashlight reduces that strain on the hips and back. The small flashlight does not bounce against your leg as you walk, or fall out of your sap pocket. The small flashlight does not get left in the car in the daytime. The big flashlight gets left in the car when you need to check an attic or basement in the daytime. The little flashlight is a big improvement; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Long Gun

If you know you are going to have to shoot, don't use your handgun, use the patrol rifle. Under most circumstances the rifle will be a much better choice. The rifle will allow you to shoot more accurately at longer distances compared to the handgun. The rifle may also have a larger magazine capacity.

You also should not underestimate the psychological advantage of the rifle over the pistol. The rifle can be very intimidating to a suspect. With an officer armed with a rifle, the suspect knows the officer has come to play to win. Unless the suspect is killed outright or heavily disabled by your gunfire, the psychological advantage is very important.

When you are in a gun battle, you need to insure you have every advantage you can get. Multiple back up officers, long guns, good cover, good communication between officers. The fewer rounds you have to fire the better. The gun battle is a very dynamic activity; take all the advantages and put them on your side; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Buzzed

In California they are showing billboards that say, buzzed drinking is drunk driving. How much do you drink when you are off duty? Do you drive when you have buzz on? Do you let your partners drive with a buzz on? Do you let your partners drive on duty with a buzz on?

I worked for a private patrol service a few years ago. Turned out that a couple times we had officers who were drinking on duty. They were on patrol, carrying guns, responding to calls, and half in the bag. Everyone knew it, but it did not percolate up to management until it had been going on for a while. Once I heard about it, I sent a supervisor out to check on the guy that same day, and request he take an alcohol test. He refused and we fired him.

Imagine the liability for the agency if he had a traffic collision that resulted in the injury of another person. Imagine the liability for the agency if he had shot someone while on duty. Imagine the liability for him, his supervisor and beyond that the potential for injury and death because of an impaired officer. His co-workers knew it and did nothing because they thought they were doing him a favor. They were not; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Stop, Look, and See

Look for the bad guys. Go out there and find some, discover the evidence you need, and arrest them. When you make a traffic stop, look for more. Run the license plate. Make sure the VIN matches the plate. Run the driver. Make sure they don't have any warrants.

When you ask the driver for driver license, vehicle registration, and car insurance, look into the glove compartment, their wallet, their purse, their center console when they go for the papers. Look to see if they have more than one driver license. If they do, call them on it, find out why they have more than one, maybe they have multiple names, multiple identities for criminal purposes.

Look in the console for weapons and drugs. Look in the glove box for drug paraphernalia and weapons. As you talk to the driver, inspect their manner, see if they are the person on the driver license, watch their hands and check out their eyes. See what you look at everyday, and make more arrests; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

FI Gangsters

Gang members can often have enhanced penalties to their sentences if you can prove in court that they are actually gang members. This is where good intelligence gathering is important. When you contact gang members, make it a point to complete a field interview card on them. Include as much information as you can about them, particularly anything that ties them to the gang or to other people or vehicles.

Gang members like to have tattoos, write down a description of their tattoos, particularly those that are readily visible and those that identify their gang membership. Gang members generally only spend much time with other gang members. So write down the names of all the people they are with at the time of contact.

Gang members often have girlfriends that they get into arguments with from time to time. Scorned girlfriends are excellent information but we need to know the identity of these women. Write down the names and relationships of the women you find in company of gang members. Gang members can be sent to jail if you gather good information; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Than You Want to Know

Goddess says: "When you shoot a gun, where does the residue go on your hands? And is it possible to completely wash it off? I know with blood they have a special light they can use to examine a crime scene, is there anything like that they use for gunpowder? I'm asking because I was watching a Dateline and the woman was suspected of shooting the gun that killed her husband and the gun powder residue was found in a small amt on the back of her hand."

When a gun is fired the primer is hit by the firing pin and the tip of the firing pin compresses the primer material causing it to explode. That material inside the primer turns from a solid into a gas and then the gas is directed into the air spaces between the granules of gunpowder in the casing. The gunpowder is then burned at a high rate of speed. The gunpowder turns from a solid into a gas. That gas is very hot and takes up much more volume than it does in a solid form. That gas forces the projectile off the end of the casing and down the barrel and out the muzzle of the gun.

The process is very fast and not all of the gunpowder will burn. Just as a small amount of the gasoline in your car engine will not burn and will travel out the exhaust, the unburned, or incompletely burned gunpowder will go out of the end of the barrel. On revolvers some of the powder and gas will also escape out the chamber near the forcing cone. The forcing cone is the back end of the barrel where it meets the chamber. Watch a gun being fired in the dark. That flash you see is these gases escaping the gun.

The bullet will fly out the muzzle of the barrel and the gas will follow it and expand out in all directions, but mostly forward along the general path of the bullet. A close up shot will cause some of the powder to hit the target also. This is highly predictable and can tell scientists how far away a target was shot at by the pattern of unburned powder on the target.

Unburned powder will also get on the hand, arm, and clothing of the shooter. It is very small, like dust. It can be washed away like any other dust, but most people don't wash their hands very carefully or very far up in their arms. Few people wash the back of their hands well when they wash their hands. These particles are usually detected by using little sticky devices to pick them off the surface of the skin and then examine them under magnification. A shooter who fired a gun then took a shower, washed their hair and ran their clothing in the washing machine would remove pretty much all the residue in most cases.

When going to the range to practice, it is important to avoid chewing gun, drinking liquids, or eating or smoking. Doing those things can transfer these unburned particles or lead particles from the air into your system. They can be very toxic and over years on the range can build up to damage your nervous system, and even cause brain damage. Washing the hands and face after range training is highly recommended, that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11

On September 11, 2001 police responded to the World Trade Center and went inside to try and help those inside the building. The building started to collapse and they were ordered to evacuate. Officers ran for their lives out of the building as is collapsed. Many of them were killed or seriously injured as that first tower collapsed.

As soon as the tower settled, the same police who moments before ran for their lives, turned around and ran back to the rubble to search for survivors and back to the second tower to help evacuate it. They ran back inside a tower they now knew could collapse.

They ran into those towers, because that is what we do. That is who we are. Good cops go towards the danger when everyone else is running away. Not because we are so manly, brave or macho. It is because it is who we are, and we could not live with ourselves if we did not do anything else; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Housing Complexes

If there are large housing complexes in your area, you should get to know the property management. They can provide you with information on tenants, their regular visitors and other goings on at the property. You can also usually get maps of the property. Large complexes can be hard to navigate and a good map can be very helpful.

It can also be good to get access codes and perhaps even gate keys to the property. Sometimes keys can be kept in a key box near the entrance so you don't have to carry keys to every complex in your beat, just one key to the keybox. Fire departments often do that too, so a little liaison with them can sometimes be helpful.

In gang infested complexes, you will often be under observation by lookouts whenever you enter the complex. It is a good idea to take several units at a time and stage the units a few blocks away and everyone enter together. It is a good idea to have units at each entrance and exit if you are looking for someone in particular. That can take a large number of units and significant planning to pull off. Careful planning will make an important difference when entering large complexes, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Strong Man

YouTube - Echauffement du matin

How do you deal with the guy in the video? He is very strong and if someone like him was very determined or on drugs would you be able to stop his attack on you or another innocent person? If the suspect had someone on the ground and was punching them in the face, what would you do?

Two things to do right away would be to give a verbal command for the person to stop, while identifying yourself. "Police, stop, put your hands up!" Contact your dispatch and ask for back up, a formidable person could mean six or more officers to take him into custody. Then it would be a good idea to deploy a less lethal weapon.

Pepper spray, baton or Taser would be three choices most of us carry. OC spray would probably get on the victim and unless your suspect was particularly susceptible to OC than that is unlikely to work. The baton may require some substantial strikes into some dangerous areas to stop this type of person. The Taser would probably be the best choice; it will generally disable suspects without having to really hurt them; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Guns and More

I carry a gun with me nearly all the time. And if I don't have it with me, it is usually close. But just a gun alone is not enough. So I shoot at someone but then what? I have to have a way to identify myself or responding units or other citizens will think I am just some other criminal. I always carry my flat badge and identification when I carry the gun.

Just having identification is not enough either, I also try and carry a cell phone too. If I am not in a shooting situation, but holding someone at gun point, it would be nice to be able to call for help. Relying on a citizen to call may get you some help, but it is not the same as the information you can tell the dispatcher first hand about the nature of the event and who you are and what you are doing.

I also have handcuffs nearby too. It can be difficult to hold someone at gunpoint for a long period of time. Suspects get bored, start thinking maybe they should just take off and leave you there. Also other people can show up and give you problems so you have too much going on. Off duty, you need more than just a gun; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 7, 2009

How to Get Hired

If you want to get hired as a cop, take an English composition course. One of the most important things you can do is write a good paragraph. Police testing often includes written tests. The ability to read and understand the questions is important to be able to provide the correct answer.

Written test from many agencies require that you read a short paragraph and then write a report about it. Being able to put your thoughts down on paper is very important. Police work involves a lot of writing. You have to write about everything you do and if you can't spell, or organize your thoughts on paper, you won't pass probation.

Police work is all about story telling. It is telling what you did, what people told you, what you saw and all in writing. You have to tell what happened and why what happened is a particular crime or even no crime. You have to explain what you did, and what your partners did, and you have to do it quickly, usually before the end of your shift. Learn to write; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Trunks and Compartments

Now that you have inspected your patrol car and made sure that everything works, what else do you need in your unit? Check the glove box, there should be some disinfectant and rubber gloves. If you have to render first aid or pat down someone, it is nice to have an extra pair of gloves handy to replace the ones you use.

Check the trunk, I like to have at least a case of flares. I work a lot of nights and a crash on the freeway can really eat up the flares. Crime scene tape is essential. I like a full roll in the trunk. A big crash or other large scene can use up a lot of tape. I also like a few traffic cones. Flares are good, but if you are only going to need them for five minutes, especially during the day, a few cones are very helpful.

Our units also carry a fire extinguisher, make sure it is charged, a first aid kit, and tire chalk. A big chunk of chalk is useful for marking tires, drawing outlines on the pavement to indicate where cars or gear is located at a scene. We also carry 48 inch riot batons in the trunk. Nice to have when things fall apart. Finally, we often have a catch pole in the trunk, very handy for that bad dog or injured animal. Check for these items before you go 10-8, too late to look for them when you need them; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Car Check

At the beginning of your shift, check out your patrol car. The first thing to look for is all your lawfully required equipment. If your headlights are out, turn signals don't work, or windshield is cracked, take another vehicle. It is not ethical to cite others for illegal equipment when your own vehicle has the same or similar problems. Be certain to check the brake lights!

Then check out the police equipment. Make sure the radio works by calling your dispatcher and listening to her response. The radio is your lifeline and perhaps the single most important item in the car. The shotgun, patrol rifle, spotlights, overheads, siren, and various blinky lights all need to work properly. Sometimes you can see them reflected in other vehicles, or against walls, or other times you have to ask your partner or even get out of the car and check for them.

Next, check the interior of the car for safety, cleanliness and contraband. You don't want to reach under the seat for the pen you dropped only to cut yourself on a knife someone else did not secure. You also don't want to reach into the glove box only to find a baggie of weed. The "I did not know it was in there" excuse does not work in the field for the crooks, don't try and use it yourself. And finally check the back seat for drugs, weapons or other things suspects may have dropped trying to escape being caught with it in the jail. Officer safety starts with a pre-shift vehicle inspection; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 4, 2009

T-Stop

When you are ready to make a traffic stop, spend a moment observing what you are stopping. How many people are in the car? Are you outnumbered? What are the people in the car doing? Are they sitting in the car waiting to be pulled over, or are they looking at you, looking at each other, waving their arms, or moving around as if they are hiding something or getting something?

Are they throwing things out the window? Could they be tossing drugs or weapons out the window? Make sure you call the plate and vehicle and location information in to dispatch before you activate the emergency lights. If the suspect vehicle seems odd, then you may want to call for back up before you stop the car.

Stop the vehicle where there is plenty of room to safely conduct the stop. Make sure there is light if it is nighttime. Make sure you are not on some dead end alley with no escape route for yourself if things go bad. Be careful when you make a stop; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Armor Up

It was 101 degrees today, did you wear your body armor? We need technological solutions to several problems that face modern law enforcement. One of those problems is that body armor is too hot two wear comfortably, and on a hot day it is very uncomfortable. It is still necessary to wear it.

No matter how hot it is, the bad guys can still shoot you. When it is very hot, people are often cranky. Cranky people sometime go off and shoot someone. So you need to wear your armor. Even when it is hot.

On hot days I bring a couple extra tee shirts and I change at least once per shift. I drink plenty of water, I have a water bottle with me all shift long. I also will try and have a Gatorade or similar sports drink. I go back to the station house and lounge around in the air conditioning a few times per shift. Wear your armor and drink your water; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Point At Targets

When you are investigating a scene where you need to have your gun out, where do you point the gun? For decades I have practiced quick draw. So when I walk around an unfamiliar yard or building I don't feel compelled to have my gun out all the time. I know that in an instant I can whip it out, aim and fire accurately. I also know that if I fall down or stumble I won't have an untended discharge of my firearm.

Sometimes you really do need to have your gun out. In those times you need to control the muzzle. Think about what will happen if you discharge your weapon? Where will the bullet go? How many times have you seen officers walking around searching and they have their weapons pointed into the air? If one of them fell down, would they shoot themselves or their partner in the head?

Point the gun at a dangerous armed suspect, suspect location, or down at the ground. If the dangerous suspect is coming out of the house, point the gun at the suspect. If the armed suspect is standing at the window, point the gun at the window. If you are moving across the lawn, point the gun down at the ground if you have no clear target. Shooting yourself or your partner in the leg is much more survivable than shooting them in the head; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sun

Heat cramps: First aid - MayoClinic.com

It is hot out there this summer. Where I am the temperatures have been as much as 100 degrees Fahrenheit and very humid as well. Fifty miles from my home there are huge brush fires that are taking out thousands of acres and hundreds of homes.

Be aware of the dangers of heat. Drink plenty of water. I am drinking two to three times the amount of water that I usually drink. I am even drinking it at home after I am off duty to rehydrate from the day. Drink sports drinks sparingly, they often have a lot of calories, but they are a good substitute for soda and coffee. Drinks with caffeine are not good for you in hot weather.

Wear a hat, wear sunscreen, I wear baby sunscreen with SPF 50. Wear wrap around sunglasses, I actually wear range type eye ware that protects against the sun and projectiles. Even went it is hot, I will frequently wear long sleeves for further protection from the sun. The sun can kill you, so be careful of it; that's what the SGT Says.