Friday, December 31, 2010
Get a job as a security guard. You will be able to develop many of the skills that will help you and an officer. Get a job at a reputable company that won’t bounce your paychecks or otherwise act in an unethical manner. There are many excellent security firms out there and some really terrible ones too. Don’t work at bars, don’t work in low income housing, don’t work in banks and don’t act like a cop. Usually the duty of the guard is to patrol around and report problems to management or to the police. Shopping mall security is a good place to work. You will interact with the public and most of the work is day or swing shift. You will have to work weekends and every holiday, so don’t even ask to take them off.
As a guard you will wear a uniform, talk on the radio, write reports, deal with the public and respond to emergencies. Much of that is just like police work, but don’t make it out to be more than what it is, especially when talking to police. Most cops have a low opinion of security guards, but if you phrase things right during the interview you can show you have learned many important lessons and are ready to take on more responsibility as a police officer. Strive to be the best guard in the company so when the background investigator comes the company will only say good things about you; that’s what the SGT Says.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Get a job as a jailer, records clerk, parking control, Explorer Scout, police cadet, or other non-sworn position with the agency. You learn how the department functions, you get to use the radio, write reports, maybe even write tickets and tow cars and ride along frequently with officers. It is a great way to learn more about police work and an excellent way to weasel into the department. When you interview for these jobs you need to be willing to devote at least a year and perhaps two in order for it to be worthwhile for them to hire you. Working as a parking control officer or dispatcher for two years may not be working as a cop, but it will make your time as a cop much easier because you will already know much about the routine procedures used by your agency.
When you look for these jobs, don’t be too particular about where you work. Most agencies are not that different from each other an each one has certain advantages and disadvantages. Once you are into the police world it is much easier to get hired if you are already working as a cop. Agencies often take lateral hires from other departments so get hired, do a great job and then lateral over to the agency you want in a few years. That may seem like a long time, but you will be working for twenty-five or thirty years so spending two or three years to get two where you want to go is not that long of a time; that’s what the SGT Says.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Fifty officers were killed inside their cars in traffic collisions and fifty-nine were shot to death this year. We don't need those numbers to increase, it is a huge jump over last years officer deaths and we still have a week and New Years Eve. I challenge every one of you to survive the rest of the year and to encourage all your partners to survive too.
Ask your partner to wear a seat belt, at roll call, mention to your partners to wear it whenever the car is moving. Wear your armor and encourage your partners to wear theirs too. Roll to back your partners on calls so they don't have to handle calls alone. Ask for back up if you get a call. Watch the suspects hands, control the suspect. Do a good search. Don't park in front of the address, stop down the block and walk up to the scene using cover or concealment if possible.
Look for lay off suspects, look outs, and get away drivers as you approach any call. We all know this stuff but sometimes we forget. The average officer killed last year had twelve years on the job. Those officers knew what to do but they may have forgotten or gotten complacent. A gentle reminder to your partners may save their lives; that's what the SGT Says.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
If you have never fired a gun before, or have very little handgun experience, then go take a short firearms training class. Many community colleges offer courses for security guard firearms training and that is a good place to start. What you learn will be similar to what they teach the police but in a much shorter version. It will teach you safe gun handling, cleaning, nomenclature and a little bit of functioning and marksmanship. It will help you get over the fear of guns some people have and it will show you how safe, easy and even fun firearms can be at the range. Most shooting ranges also offer classes too, but you don’t need 200 hours of training. Eight to twenty four hours is more than enough to get you familiarized and get you to a low level of proficiency. You don’t need to buy a gun, most agencies will issue one to you. Most training courses will rent or loan you a gun for the class.
Strange though it may seem, some people don’t actually have a driver license. Learn how to drive and get a driver license. You will have to have one to be a cop and you will drive, a lot! If you don’t have one, don’t even apply to an agency before you get one. Along with that, buy a car. You need your own reliable transportation to get to the police academy and then to get to work. Don’t depend on your friend, neighbor, mom, wife, sister, public transportation. Cops work weird hours and you can never be sure if you are going to have to work overtime, so you need a car. Go buy one now; that’s what the SGT Says.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Learn simple math and how to read and write and put simple sentences together to make a paragraph. If you can’t write a short story telling what you did on your summer vacation, then how can you write about a complex crime, traffic collision or other major incident? While computers are very helpful in teaching use how to spell and even checking our grammar, they can’t do everything. A good solid knowledge of the English language is very helpful when describing a crime scene, or explaining why you shot someone with a Taser. Your reports will be read by your supervisor, his supervisor, your chief, the district attorney, the defense attorney, perhaps members of the press, the jury and any number of other people. If you write poorly you will not seem competent.
Simple math is important too. If the car weights 2,347 pounds and is travelling south bound and leaves skid marks 257 feet three inches long, and the driver is six feet tall, then how far did the suspect have to run to avoid getting hit by the car at 10:13 a.m.? You don’t have to be a mathematical genius but the ability to do simple arithmetic is important for traffic collisions and sometimes other crimes too. Other skills, like learning the law, shooting guns, driving at high speeds can be taught in the police academy; but they won’t teach you to add or to spell; that’s what the SGT Says.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
I always carry a notebook and two pens on duty. I also carry several field interview cards on my person. In my gear bag I carry more pens and another note pad. Inside my clipboard, one of those big aluminum ones, I carry another pen. I keep a piece of blank paper on my clipboard and in our cars we usually have a little note pad mounted on the center console. When dispatch puts out an address, location or description, even if it is not my call, I try and write it down. If the neighboring units ask for back up, I want to be able to refer to the notes rather than tie up air time asking for a repeat of the location or description.
When I ask suspects for their names, typically I hand them the paper and pen and tell them to write down their name as it is on their driver license along with their date of birth. This puts the information in their own handwriting and makes it hard to say later that I misunderstood what they told me if it turns out they gave a false name or date of birth. In California our systems like a name and age, but giving an exact date of birth and exact name really helps narrow down the field when you get a hit on a possible wanted person.
Information needs to be recorded quickly and precisely and so having an FI card can really help. I use them to gather data on suspects, victims, traffic collision drivers, passengers and witnesses and just about anyone else I contact. While I may not turn it in as an FI card, it helps me later when I fill out a report form so I have complete data. Most cards don’t have it but it can be useful to ask people for their email, web address, even their Facebook or other social networking pages can be helpful in some cases. Jot things down, it’s much easier and more accurate than trying to remember everything; that’s what the SGT Says.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
It is easy to rationalize why someone is doing these odd but not specifically illegal things. The guy under the bridge could be looking for his lost dog, or maybe he is homeless and looking for a place to stay. The guy taking photos of the shopping mall could be preparing a study to remodel the mall or perhaps paint the walls, or rearrange the planters. The guy measuring the fence at the power plant could be the contractor who will install a new higher fence. The guy in the middle of no where could simply have been cooling off after a fight with his girlfriend, got lost and made a wrong turn, or perhaps setting up his telescope to get good views of Mars away from the city lights.
People who exhibit odd behavior that is not illegal need to be checked out. We know what is normal for our beat. We know what people do in our cities and rural areas. If someone is doing something that seems outside the norm, it is our duty to insure they are not doing anything wrong. Most people when approached in a friendly manner will be happy to explain what they are doing. I like to ask, “Can I help you?” or “Are you lost?” or even “Whatcha doin’?” All the while I have my guard up, but I present a helpful and even ignorant manner that will put both good people and suspects at their ease. Suspects will often appear nervous, jumpy, fail to make eye contact and they will want to leave right away. There is nothing wrong with filling out a Field Interview Card on them to document your contact. Perhaps only later will there activity be clear, then you have their information; that’s what the SGT Says.
Friday, December 24, 2010
There are many reasons for these bad things to happen and nearly all of them are out of our control. For a group of people like police who like being in control, it is very difficult to realize how few things car are really under our control. We need to deal with these feelings and emotions in a positive manner or we will be subjected to stress that can undermine our ability to cope with the job or even our home life. Too many cops get divorced or get fired, or kill themselves because they don’t deal well with the stress of the job.
There are few problems that are not made worse by the addition of alcoholic beverages. One of the few things worse than that is doing illegal or sometimes even prescription drugs. Talk to your friends at work, your supervisor, you chaplain or your agency psychological counselor. They can help you deal with these issues and may times have had to deal with them too. Talk to your wife and share your problems with her; just talking to her can make her understand what you are dealing with at work. You can also get down on your knees and pray to God for guidance and help; that’s what the SGT Says.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Speed is important too. Get them away from the scene as quickly as possible. It makes it harder for other gangsters, family or friends to get your prisoners away from your custody if you move them away from the scene in a timely manner.
Speed is important for another reason too, only in a custodial setting can your prisoners be properly and completely searched. Hidden weapons, drugs, or evidence can be discovered only if the prisoners are subjected to a custodial search. You can also verify the identity and criminal history of your prisoners only in a custodial setting. The DUI arrest may turn out to be a wanted murderer; that's what the SGT Says.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Handcuff and search everyone you arrest. There is no reasonable way to determine which prisoner will attack you or will try to escape. Many will start off appearing to be harmless and act as if they have given up, but if you have arrested an adult or teenager, they need to be searched and handcuffed for your safety and for theirs.
Silence is golden and so don't let your suspects talk to each other or to bystanders who have not been arrested. You don't know if they are going to plan an escape or if they are going to plan to attack you, or simply coordinate their false stories. This is particularly important if you don't speak their language or understand their slang; that's what the SGT Says.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
A sheriff's office has ordered 100 AR-15 style weapons and is deploying them to their deputies. This is long overdue. Every police car in the street should have a patrol rifle in addition to the side arm carried by the individual officer. The long gun has many advantages over the pistol. The only real advantage of the pistol is it's small size, light weight and ready availability.
The rifle has a longer range, more ammunition and is more accurate, as well as greater stopping power when compared to a pistol. The greatest asset is the greater accuracy compared to a handgun. Often when at the range, I have my officers fire their handguns and then give them the patrol rifle. Many of them have fired handguns for years, even decades, and when given the rifle they will nearly without exception fire better with the patrol rifle.
Every agency that spends money purchasing patrol rifles, and then training the officers, and maintaining the weapons is spending that money well. The rifles must be deployed in the cars, they have to be available for every officer in the field for them to be useful. The officers must get several days of practice and then continuing practice to stay sharp. Doing so will pay off in greater effectiveness with firearms; that's what the SGT Says.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
When shooting from the barricade the natural inclination is to hug close to the wall. The natural instinct being that by being close to the cover we are safer. This is not the case at all, as long as the cover is between us and the suspect we are protected by it. In fact, being too close to the cover can actually act as a disadvantage. If there is spalling, that is the suspects bullets hit the wall and knock pieces off the back at you, you could be severely injured.
When shooting from around the barricade, don’t allow your gun, hands or arms to protrude in front of the barrier. A suspect could fire at you, miss and hit the barricade. The resulting ricochet or other bits of the wall could injure you are disable your gun. I generally do not support the use of the barricade as a prop to help hold the gun steady. I prefer the shooter continue to use his natural shooting stance, rather than adopt a stance specifically for use on the barricade. Most of those techniques in my opinion lessen the grip on the pistol and do not significantly improve the shooters accuracy; that’s what the SGT Says.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I had him fire a few short courses of fire with his .40 caliber handgun just to get him warmed up, and so I could asses his basic marksmanship, reloading and general gun handling skills. He shoots reasonably well, was very safe and attentive, so I went on to some more advanced techniques. With only an hour we had to move fast, so he got little more than an overview of each technique and a bit of practice for each one. I first showed him how to scan prior to reholstering his gun. Most cops killed by suspects’ gunfire are killed due to the presence of multiple suspects. By scanning left, right, and rear he can avoid surprise by a second or third suspect and be prepared to shoot if the need arises. Next, I had him take a short step to the right or to the left as he draws his weapon. Part of the way to gain the advantage over the suspect is to make the suspect react to your moves, so by stepping while simultaneous drawing and firing of the duty gun the suspect is forced to reassess the position of his target and then change his point of aim. Hopefully by moving a bit the officer can avoid getting shot while shooting the suspect.
Since we seldom get to choose the location of a gun battle, I offered him the chance to shoot from several different types of cover. Standing and firing from both the left and right barricade. Kneeling and firing from both the left and right barricade. Kneeling and firing both over and around a short barricade, such as a car fender or low wall. Then placing a bit of cardboard target backing on the floor, bending one end up and telling him it was a curb and then making him use the curb as cover. In the field we don’t always get much cover to protect us and a curb is better than no cover; that’s what the SGT Says.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Once back at your car you can deploy your patrol rifle or patrol shotgun to bet back into the fight. I keep both extra magazines and extra ammo in my gear bag. I have at least two loaded magazines for both handguns and an extra box of duty ammo and a sleeve of shotgun shells in my car. Spare ammo should be rotated annually. In normal conditions so it will last much longer than a year, but better to rotate it and know it is fresh, than have it go bad because you forgot to change it out.
In the SLA shootout thirty years ago or more, the Los Angeles Police fired five thousand rounds at the suspects. That’s a lot of ammunition. Between primary gun, back up gun, shotgun, and patrol rifle I have close to 200 rounds on my person, in my guns or in my gear bag when I go out on patrol. That seems like a lot but when you compare that to the ammo expended in a major incident, it’s not all that much. How long does it take to fire off 200 rounds? At one round every four or five seconds that’s only about 15 minutes of sustained fire; and that means changing guns every 50 rounds or so. Does not seem like so much when you place it in that context does it? Better load up now while you can; that’s what the SGT Says.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
How can you stop a moving vehicle? You best bet is to block all vehicle access to the area where large numbers of people will be walking where vehicles could run them down. K-rails or permanent barriers are best. Some K-rails are made of plastic and can be filled with water once they are in place, this means you don’t need a major forklift to move them into position. Large concrete planters can be placed to block roads, alleys and even wide pedestrian walkways. If you can get your police car there, then the suicide car bomber can get his vehicle there too.
If the vehicle gets through the barriers, shooting the driver is one of the best ways to stop a vehicle. What does your agency say about shooting a driver who is trying to run people down? What if it is an old person who is just pressing the wrong pedal and has no criminal intent, are you still going to shoot them? If not, why not? If you do shoot a vehicle, don’t stand in front of it as you shoot, it won’t stop right away, even if your first shot kills the driver. Shooting tires is often ineffective; bullets often bounce off of steel belted radials. Shooting engines often does not stop the engine right away either, unless you are using a rifle. Hitting the radiator will eventually cause the engine to overheat and seize up, but that can take a very long time. Time you don’t have if someone is running people over. If a driver is using his vehicle as a deadly weapon, then shoot him to save lives; that’s what the SGT Says.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Wear your seat belt every time you get into the car.
Wear your body armor every time you get into uniform.
Repeat these instructions a hundred times every day. That’s the number of officers who die in a year from gunfire and auto accidents. While not every one of them would have been saved by wearing a seat belt or body armor, indeed some of them were not, many of them would have survived. You owe it to your agency, your family and yourself; that’s what the SGT Says.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
We practice contact and cover. One of does all the work and the other does the security function. On a traffic stop usually my partner will contact and talk to the driver, collect their license, run their information with dispatch and write the ticket. I normally ride as the passenger and work the radio in the car. That leaves them free to watch the road and leave two hands on the wheel with I take notes. As we make the stop, I put the passenger side spotlight on the center rear view mirror and I am out of the car, often before he has it in park. My goal is to be up on the suspect vehicle before they have a chance to realize I am there.
I approach from the passenger side, observe the truck to insure it is closed, and then check the back seat of the car as I continue my approach. When I get to the passenger side front door, I stay back behind the door jamb, as if I was on the drivers’ side. Most drivers will be looking in their rear view mirror watching my partner exit the patrol car. I will usually tap on the window or speak to get their attention off of him. My right hand is usually on my duty pistol, but still snapped in the holster. Depending on the nature of the occupants, I may have them put their hands on the dashboard and front seatbacks. By approaching in this fashion, I am normally able to observe them before they realize I am there and then I can distract them while my partner approaches. Keeping the vehicle occupants unsure of where we are and what we are doing helps to keep us safe, that’s what the SGT Says.
Monday, December 13, 2010
The most basic skill is knowing where you gun is at all times. Make a habit of placing your arm against the butt of your gun so that you always can feel it in your holster. This will alert you if someone from behind you tries to take your gun away. It will also make it harder for someone to grasp your gun because your arm will be partially blocking the gun. Don’t use your gun hand for anything if your other hand will do the job just as well. By keeping your gun hand free you can grab the gun if someone tries to take it away and you can draw faster if you don’t have to let go of something else first.
Keep people, especially suspects, at least an arms distance away from your gun as much as practicable. Keep your gun hand alongside the car or a wall, it makes it harder for people to walk up on you and grab the gun from that side. Keep you gun side back, away from other people, it makes them have to reach farther if they try to grab your gun and places them in a disadvantageous position. I practice this with nearly everyone I contact, even victims. If someone does try and grab your gun, you are facing a deadly force situation and so you need to react as if they were trying to draw a gun to kill you. Only rarely will a criminal take away an officers gun and not shoot the officer. Keep your gun, save your own life, that’s what the SGT Says.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Run the license plate, does the vehicle come back expired but nothing else? Is the vehicle registered and simply does not display the correct sticker? Is the vehicle local or from out of town, if it is from far out of town, it could be a danger cue. The vehicle may be stolen, recently sold and not re-registered or in California they may be having trouble getting the smog certificate; particularly if it is an older car. Look for a good place to make the stop, flat, level terrain, open space way from bars, schools, gang hang outs and were there is room to safely approach the car. Notify dispatch of the stop and activate your lights. If they don’t pull over right away, or if there is suddenly a lot of movement and activity inside the vehicle, that could be a danger cue. If the vehicle does not stop where you want it to stop, use your public address system to ask them to move to another spot more to your liking.
When they do stop, is there still activity inside the car? Is everyone looking at you as you approach, especially if they turn around in the seat; that could be a danger cue? Does anyone exit the car, do they yell or walk back towards your unit? If they do, that’s a danger cue. Direct them to move to the curb and order them to be quiet and keep their hands were you can see them. Take control quickly, because defiance of this type can be very dangerous and distracting. Remember on a car stop you are making a detention while you conduct an investigation because you have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, even if it is only a traffic offense. Take control and run the scene to your advantage; that’s what the SGT Says.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
As a result of a back injury he was medically retired and then died only a few years later, he was not even 55 years old yet. They say that police officers get divorced more frequently than the general public, and he was divorced. They say that police officers often retire and die only a few years later, he did that too. They say that officers are more likely to have alcohol or even drug problems and suicide as a result of the stress of the job. I don’t know if that’s true but I have certainly seen some offices over the years demonstrate those kinds of problems.
Perhaps the Force Science Institute, Calibre Press, the FBI or the National Institute of Justice or even California P.O.S.T. needs to do some studies on police. Rather than use having “heard” that cops get divorced frequently, commit suicide, take drugs or drink and die soon after retirement, perhaps it would be a good idea to perform a long term study on a few small, medium and large size police agencies to see if any of these rumors are true or not. Once we have hard information about these problems then we can begin to solve then or put the rumors to rest; that’s what the SGT Says.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Once I get the license I always compare the description and photo with the person. Often the photo can be many years out of date, women change their hair color, men cut long hair short, or grow or shave beards and people gain or lose weight. One way to check is look at the eye color, and even quiz them on their address and their date of birth. Everyone knows when they were born and they should be able to tell it to you right away no matter how nervous they are that they have been stopped by the police. As the person to get out of the car so you can better assess height and weight. Height is hard to change, and people using their older brother’s identification may be much smaller than the real owner of the identification card.
Generally, I run everyone through dispatch so I can verify their identification is correct. I also will ask, “What is your present address?” or “Where do you stay now?” on the assumption that their address has changed since their drivers license was issued. Don’t just assume it is correct by asking them “Is this your correct address?” because everyone will answer “Yes.” If the name on the license is different from the name on the vehicle registration, then inquire further. “Whose car is this?” “Does the owner know you are driving your car?” If you are not certain of a suspect’s identification and you are taking some enforcement action, take them back to the station for photographs and fingerprinting and proper booking. You need to know who is really getting the ticket and if they have questionable paperwork then you need to document who they are in a positive manner. Know who you are dealing with, that’s what the SGT Says.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
A deputy sheriff has been killed in a shootout with a criminal. The officer stopped for a truck that was sitting in the middle of the road, apparently unoccupied. The officer and the suspect apparently shot and killed each other.
The officer was doing his job. He was investigating something suspicious and ended up dying as a result. One of the best attributes of a good officer is curiosity. It is easy to dismiss almost anything as normal or routine if you are not curious enough to investigate.
Unusual circumstances are out there and it is part of our jobs to investigate them. Strange lights, odd noises unusual, weird smells, out of place people and things can all lead us to crime or people in trouble. I have smelled car fires before I could see the smoke. I have heard gunshots that could have been a backfire. I have seen suspect with flashlights in closed buildings. Check it out; that's what the SGT Says.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Portland, Oregon and a radical Muslim has tried to kill dozens of men, women and children at a the lighting of a Christmas tree. San Diego, California and they have arrested a man who is working with international Muslim extremist terrorists. Neither of these areas are what most of us would consider hotbeds of terrorist activity.
The War Against Radical Islamic Terrorists has come home. The enemies of the West have learned to recruit both naturalized American citizens and native born Americans into their midst. They know that only people who have lived here a long time will be able to easily move about the nation to perform their illegals terrorist activities.
The 9/11 hijackers were stopped several times by local law enforcement. They committed minor traffic offenses as they were going about their business. You never know who is in any vehicle you approach. Be alert not only for attack by common criminals, but be alert for signs of terrorist activity. Prevention and early detection of terrorist conspiracies is the best defense against them; that's what the SGT Says.
Monday, December 6, 2010
A hotel caught fire and the police were called when a bloody room was found during the fire fighting. The police investigated for hours before they realized the scene was a fake movie set. Naturally the media tries to make it seem as if the police were stupid for investigating the scene.
When you are not sure what is going on you have to investigate. Police need to gather information to determine the facts of what happened and they have to gather that information in a manner that is carefully documented so that it will hold up in court. Often the documentation includes photographs, drawings and other non-invasive information gathering that is done by experts. Then more intensive and sometimes destructive evidence gathering is done, again often by experts.
Often, patrol officers have to wait for detectives to arrive, then they wait for crime scene investigators and photographers and other experts when it is a major crime scene. A preserved movie set could look very much like a real crime scene, that's why it looks so real in the movie. Criminals do all sorts of odd things, even videotape their crimes. Don't be afraid to look foolish on the job; it's your duty to investigate when public safety is involved; that's what the SGT Says.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
If someone fails to move there cars there is a lengthy procedure that I follow to get rid of the car. First of all, drive the route of the parade or event and see how many cars are in place at least an hour before the event is to happen. If the event route is long you will need several units to do this or start very early. Using a marked police unit, park behind the car, and a little off set like you were doing a traffic stop. You are investigating an illegal activity after all even if it is only parking. Car thieves don’t care much about parking tickets they get on cars they have dumped. Then activate all your overhead lights. Often, especially at night, the driver will show up to find out what you are doing to his car.
Run the license plate and find the address of the registered owner. Usually it will be right where the car is parked. If it is, then go knock on the door. Ring the doorbell politely and if that does not get a response pretty quick, then lean on the button. Then if you are still waiting, knock, loudly, bang on the door with your open hand, it makes a very loud noise. When the apparent owner appears, ask them if they own that car. If they do, then tell them they have to move it immediately to avoid a citation or even getting towed. They will almost always move the car right away. If the car is not registered to a address in your area, then honk the air horn a couple three times. Most people will look out the window to see what the noise is and often the owner will come out. If the owner still does not appear, then drive around the block, often people will try to avoid a confrontation with the police and wait until you leave in order to check out what you were doing to their car. By the time you get back, the car will often be gone. Unless it’s upside down, you seldom make friends by towing someone’s car; so I try to avoid it if I can and still get the job done; that’s what the SGT Says.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Show up to work on time. That means in uniform, ready to go. Shoes shined. Uniform cleaned and pressed. Equipment is ready. It does not mean that you need to go back to your locker to pick something up. It does not mean that you walk into line up snapping your belt keepers. It means you have car keys, a radio with fresh radio battery, and all your gear with you so you can roll straight from roll call with all your gear. At my agency they assign cars at roll call so we have to get our gear into the car, and shotgun and patrol rifle after line up. That still means you have all your stuff by the back door ready to run out if something happens at the beginning of shift.
Work the whole shift. If the shift ends at noon then write tickets at 11:45. Don’t be in a hurry to return to the station to fill up the car with gas and unload the junk in your trunk. Bad guys are out there 24/7 and they don’t take time off for shift change. Do the work in the time allotted. When you get a call, write the report before moving on to the next adventure. You never know when you will get tied up with some big mess and you don’t want to have to go into overtime unless there is a good reason. Writing some simple auto burglary report for a call from six hours ago is not a good reason. Cops make decent money and you don’t need to milk the overtime cow. Show up to work on time, in uniform ready to go and work the whole shift without unnecessary overtime. Your supervisor and co-workers will recognize and appreciate that you are a good worker. Being a good employee is part of being a good cop; that’s what the SGT Says.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Your patrol car should have a clean warm blanket in the trunk. Maybe even a couple blankets if you work alone. Small heat packs can be helpful too to keep shock or cold victims warm.
Frost bite can happen to people left too long outside in the cold. It can also happen to those stranded in their cars after a crash or heavy snow. To treat frost bite remove wet clothing from the victim. Make them warm by soaking the frostbitten part in warm water. Don't rub the body part or put snow on the injured parts. Give them warm drinks but don't let them consume alcohol; that's what the SGT Says.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
When you change into cold weather gear, take several factors into consideration. Are you wearing gloves or mittens? Can you unsnap, draw, fire and reload your handgun, shotgun and patrol rifle with mittens or gloves on your hands? Your winter range training should include shooting with whatever hand wear you use. Shootings happen too suddenly for ou to take your gloves off before you shoot.
Warm and comfy in the patrol car with the heater on it is easy to under dress for the cold weather. It’s one thing to be out of the car for ten minutes to write a ticket, it is another to be stuck on a perimeter for six hours, waiting while other units search a warehouse. I keep extra clothing in the car, so if I am going to be on scene for a perimeter or traffic accident for an extended period of time I am able to bundle up. Don’t just plan on staying warn when it is cold plan on working and staying warm; that’s what the SGT Says.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
How big is the knife? While small knives can be deadly, the larger the knife the more dangerous it is to you. A small knife may not deliver a deadly stab but a sword, machete or very large knife can cut off an arm or your head. A highly skilled opponent, with no obstacles to overcome to get to you, wielding a large knife is extremely deadly and is probably worth shooting right way, once he displays deadly intent.
Using several officers at once against a man with a knife is a good idea. If one or two are using pepper spray, or batons, or even a Taser, a third officer can be prepared to deliver deadly force if the other less lethal weapons are ineffective. A suspect with a knife who is cornered can be distracted by a bean bag projectile, or have a dog attack him. He can have a fire hose directed on him, or he can be shot with rubber bullets. Again, deadly force should be at the ready if the suspect makes a break for it and attacks; that's what the SGT Says.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
All these rather ordinary edged weapons are deadly weapons. They are deadly threats when you face them on the street. Too many officers discount the deadly nature of edged weapons. They think they can respond with open handed techniques, pepper spray or batons. While any of those could be effective, the cost of failure could be death; your death.
I am no saying you have to shoot every person with a knife. A Taser can be an excellent tool to stop a man with a knife. Pepper spray, baton and empty handed techniques can work in some circumstances too. Deadly force is also reasonable depending on the specific circumstances; that's what the SGT Says.
Monday, November 29, 2010
A man in San Diego is accused of having the largest bomb making factory ever found in the United States. He was discovered as a result of his gardener accidentally causing an explosion. He was also the subject of a bank robbery investigation. Be ready for anything because you never know what is going to happen. Bank robbers are not generally known for their use of bombs.
Sure sometimes a guy will walk up to a bank teller and say he has a bomb, hand over the cash. But you don't have that happen very often and you don't need a real bomb to do that, just a couple road flares and some wire. Most bank tellers will hand over the cash on a simple note, they are not there to take chances.
This is very disturbing because this suspect is not some terrorist or radical Muslim. He seems to be just a 'regular' criminal who is building bombs. He was building them in California were the terrorist and militia types don't usually hang out. We have very strict gun control and in San Diego there are few legitimate uses for civilian explosives. It's not like he was blowing up stumps for the farm. There are some really bad people out there in very unexpected places, be careful; that's what the SGT Says.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
He was always trying new weapons, new techniques. I think he must have used ten different batons over the years looking for the perfect police impact weapon. Straight, side handle, extra thin, wooden, metal, plastic, and even nunchucks.
Last night I heard he had been found dead at home. He was a couple years younger than me. At this time we don't know the cause of death. He had been medically retired a few years ago with a very bad back. He had many surgeries and was taking massive amounts of pain pills. He was a very active man of action and it must have really hurt him to take it easy. I was planning on calling him tomorrow. Can't do that now.
SGT Gabriel Thierry, rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon you; that's what the SGT Says.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Those old flashlights were big and heavy. Often if you dropped it once, the bulb would break. They usually had a little bit of foam rubber in the butt of the light and you could replace the bulb. Be careful not to touch the bulb with your bare hands or the oils from your fingers would cause them to break we were told. It’s pretty hard to replace a light bulb the size of a kidney bean without touching it with your fingers. Almost no one carried two lights and the big ones were so huge we carried them in our sap pockets in our pants. They were so long and so heavy we often carried them instead of a baton. Even security guards without a license to carry a baton would carry a big flashlight and I don’t think there was a tow truck driver who worked nights who did not have one.
Now there are at least twenty different lights out there and many companies make several models for different purposes, even different colors. Back in the olden times they were only black, just like the Model T Ford. I still find that most of the time when searching around at night, the ambient light is good enough. Unless it’s totally black, like under a house or in a rural area, the moon and city lights provide enough light to use for getting around. Wait two or three minutes or more before entering a dark area to let your eyes adjust. I find that walking very slowly and listening, and scanning left and right are very helpful at night. Close one eye to preserve night vision if you have to turn on a light for a moment. Cup your had over the light and just let a tiny sliver of a beam come out to inspect a close up window sill or other small area. Those tiny key chain lights can be helpful for that too. Remember also to carry your flashlight even during the day, you never know when you need to enter an attic or basement; that’s what the SGT Says.
Friday, November 26, 2010
A man wants to "scare" his friend by waking him up by shooting him in the chest with an air rifle. Turns out the air rifle was a .22 caliber rifle and the friend is now dead. Toy guns are toys for children to play with. All other guns are not toys and should not be played with by anyone. That includes firearms, air rifles, BB guns and anything else that shoots a projectile.
This type of "prank" is negligence to the point of criminal behavior. The friend deserves to go to jail for the killing of his friend. Guns are great tools and I think every responsible adult should own at least one for defense of himself and his loved ones. They also have great responsibility as part of their ownership.
Don't point a gun at anything you are not willing to shoot. Consider all weapons as loaded all the time. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. Be sure of your target before you shoot. This applies to all guns, all the time; that's what the SGT Says.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Before I ask the subject if I can search him for weapons I always like to have a little conversation about it first. "You don't have any reason to be carrying a weapon on you, do you? You don't have any weapons on you now, do you?" "Well, if you don't have any weapons, you would not mind if I verify that would you?" Then I ask them for permission to search. Search for permission when you can, that's what the SGT Says.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
It will be harder for them to run, harder for them to fight, harder for them to get to any weapons they may have on them. If I know the person is going to go to jail, then I always handcuff them before searching. I know that I am going to have to handcuff them at some point anyway, so I just do it right way.
Always cuff the suspect behind his back. It's so much harder for them to fight that way. A quick check of the small of the back and then I can take my time to do a complete and careful search. Handcuff, then search, that's what the SGT Says.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Can you use a hand pump to get the fuel out of your underground tanks? What does your fire department plan to do for fuel in an emergency? Without gasoline your fleet is going to be stuck in the parking lot pretty fast. What plans do your neighboring agencies do for fuel in an emergency?
There is much to plan for in a major emergency. Fuel for the fleet is only one problem. With debris on the ground, how are you going to drive around if the roads are blocked by downed trees or building rubble? Does your agency have a bulldozer, or your city yards? Do you keep extra spare tires? You drive over much debris and you will need them; that's what the SGT Says.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Officer J.D. Tippit went to his assigned location on the perimeter. He had a fair description of the killer and was looking for the man. Officer J.D. Tippit saw a man who looked like the suspected killer, so he stopped his patrol car. The man stopped and walked up to the car. They spoke for a moment and then Officer Tippit exited his car. The man pulled a gun and shot Officer Tippit. The man then walked up to the Officers' body and fired again to insure he was dead.
How different history could have been if Officer J.D. Tippit had been a bit more cautious. He thought he saw a presidential assassin. Rather than simply get out of the car, he could have got out of the car with the shotgun. He could have gotten out of the car with his handgun drawn. When confronting a possible killer, don't be afraid, and don't be afraid to use reasonable force, pointing a gun at a possible killer is not unreasonable; that's what the SGT Says.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The State Supreme Court of Tennessee has said that lethal injection as a method of punishment may be unconstitutional as it is set up in Tennessee because it may allow the prisoner to suffer. The say that the amount of drugs given the person to be executed may not be enough to prevent suffering and insure a quick death.
This is of course simply a dodge so they they can delay the death penalty. These liberal judges, like almost all liberal judges, simply don't want the death penalty to be used so they make up reasons why it is unconstitutional. They simply delay the executions with legal wrangling so that the prisoner will not be executed.
If they really cared about the will of the people they would have prescribed a remedy and told the state how to execute the prisoner. They do that all the time with other types of cases. If it was discrimination, the court would say to hire a certain number or percentage of minorities as the appropriate remedy. In this case the court could have said how much of each drug had to be administered and then let the execution proceed. The death penalty is not unconstitutional. The founding fathers intended a death penalty for treason and other crimes, so clearly they did not write the Constitution to contradict that intention.
There was no lethal injection in those days, it was firing squad, hanging, or decapitation. On the face of it those three methods were considered as reasonable, and lawful. Lethal injection is much more humane than any of those three. There is no requirement that the person to be executed feel no pain, they should simply not be tortured, but a quick and relatively painless death as found in lethal injection, firing squad, hanging or a quick decapitation are certainly constitutional and better treatment than the killer ever gives to his victims; that's what the SGT Says.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Police work often comes with a probationary period. A time of one to two years where the officers performance will be evaluated and he can be let go for almost any reason. This is not the best time to buy a house. The value of a house will not likely rise much in the first two years of ownership even in good economic times and the officer who fails probation is not in a good position to return to work quickly. In my opinion it is best to spend those two probationary years looking for a new house, learning about the housing market, about financing and saving up a large down payment than it is to buy aright away.
New cars and jet skis are fun, but somehow you got through the academy without them. The first year of police work is the most critical. If you make it through that you are likely to make it the rest of the 30 year career. Again, save up some money and wait until the end of the first year to buy a new car. That fast sports car that seemed like the perfect car when you were in the academy can get you killed when you are driving too fast on the way home from a graveyard shift. Wait a year, when your finances are in better shape. You will have more money for a down payment and a better idea of the type of car that is right for you.
Two can live as cheaply as one, well not quite but that’s not as far off as some like to think. If your girlfriend stood by you and helped you make it out of the academy, then she is a real trooper. You won’t have any time for a real honeymoon before you go to work as a rookie, but if you love each other and are ready to make a life time commitment to her in front of God and everyone, the by all means get married the week you graduate from the academy. Having a wife who will stand by you in the difficult times of the academy means she is a good one to have when you have to face the difficulties of police work. She will also help you determine when you should by that house, that car and maybe the jet ski or the stroller; that’s what the SGT Says.
Friday, November 19, 2010
"Unless you can ascertain where the shots are being fired from, it's always best to retreat to a place of cover and concealment to establish where the shots are coming from. There you can gather your wits, re-assess the situation then, develop a plan to tactically take out the shooter, Unless you feel your life is in grave danger, by all means, engage but retreat is still an option where you can wait it out for additional units to get 10-97. It would be a disaster if the person who was firing was actually a kid with a pop gun. Albeit, maybe a good shooting, but the public would not see it that way and the city would incur a huge liability for you actions. Additionally, when you are driving to the location, you should run similar scenarios in you head as to what you maybe encountering upon arrival there.
By no means am I condoning not engaging with the suspect, but you have to be absolute certain that you know where the suspect is holed up or where the shots are being fired from.
First and foremost, get down, away from the line of fire and put out over the radio, "shots fired". Help will be on the way.
A very knowledgeable Sgt once told me that 80% of all officer deaths involving shootings were when the officer was in the driver seat of his patrol unit. If this would be the case, get down low and exit the patrol car immediately...away from the danger to a location of cover. There you can assess what your next course of action would be. Don't apply "tombstone courage" as we will be able to get this suspect at another time. You can't engage with the bad guy if you're dead.
Remember, our primary duty as police officers is to "get home safely, to our loved ones at the end of the shift" and that's what this sergeant says..."
Thursday, November 18, 2010
That employee could work for the city, as a contract employee or a police department employee. They could screen mail for the whole city government so as to provide them with enough work if your agency is small. All incoming delivery's should be checked, not just the US Mail. Think about all the people who bring stuff into your station house, it's probably a lot of folks. Mail, FedEx, UPS, other overnight or local couriers, office supply deliveries, vending machine people, and many others. Any one of them could bring in a bomb or poison.
The screening room should have excellent lighting, blow out panels in the event of an explosion, no glass windows, a telephone and a CCTV being watched by dispatch. There is a big difference between a million dollar x-ray machine and doing nothing; that's what the SGT Says.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Items enter our buildings everyday. UPS, US Mail, FedEx all send big and little boxes and envelopes into the station. That's in addition to Staples, Coca-Cola and the coffee guy. There needs to be a screening process to determine that our facilities are secure. Can a gang member mail a bomb to your chief of police? If there is no mail inspection then the gang member can be certain his mail will be delivered. If a murder suspect mails anthrax to your homicide detective will the letter arrive safe and sound?
Does your city hall, fire department, dispatch center and other essential public services all get mail and deliveries without any kind of inspection? Can a bomber simply send a package to your mayor, or chief of the fire department and blow them up? You are the security experts, what are you doing to protect that critical infrastructure? It's part of your job, that's what the SGT Says.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
One officer approached three suspects. That's not good odds. One of the reasons we approach people like that is because we think they are doing something criminal. Be careful what you wish for, is what I am reminded of in those circumstances. What would have happened if there was two robbers and one victim rather than the other way around? I am not saying that you can't ever approach a group alone, but there are options to consider.
I am not saying don't approach people but there are things to think about and do before you make the approach. Call for backup. Watch them from a distance before you approach. Drive past and look for a reaction to your presence. If you do approach, don't feel compelled to chase one who runs away. Call for more units and set up a perimeter. Let the air unit or the dog chase him. You still have two other suspects to worry about; that's what the SGT Says.
Monday, November 15, 2010
The firearm should be inspected at least annually by a qualified armorer who can determine if the weapon is safe and functional. It should also be inspected and test fired before it is carried on duty for the time. The officer carrying the weapon should also test fire the weapon before carrying it on duty. He can verify the magazines work, that it fits in his holster and that it shoots where it is pointed.
Generally speaking, you should never carry a weapon on duty that you have never personally test fired, if possible. It's the only way to be certain that it works properly. Guns are complex machines and there are many things that can go wrong with them; that's what the SGT Says.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
If the suspect is a suicide bomber, then we need to stop him from being able to move. In essence, we need to kill him. Any ability to move even a finger could be enough to trigger the bomb and kill himself, us and maybe dozens of other people. If you reasonably believe a suspect is a suicide bomber, then you need to shoot until you reasonably believe he is no longer able to detonate the bomb. In my mind, you need to shoot until you reasonably believe he is dead.
That means unlike with a suspect who has a handgun as their weapon, a suicide bomber who is down may need additional shots to the torso, or better yet, to the head to insure they can't detonate the bomb as their last movement. Shooting a bleeding suspect who has fallen to the ground and is motionless is not going to look good on the evening news. Having him blow up and kill five or six people because you did not shoot him will look even worse; that's what the SGT Says.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Every patrol car needs to have a full size, properly inflated, ready to go spare tire in the trunk. Those little donut spares are just too small and unsafe to leave on for any length of time and it is foolish have a unit out of service due to a flat tire. The needs to be a reasonable number of spare tires, inflated and ready to go at the station as well. In the even an officer runs over a spike strip or a spilled load of nails, the vehicles need to get back in service right away. Having a few extra spare tires at the station is a good way to make that happen. Every officer needs to be trained in how to safely replace a spare tire. Each type of car and jack is a little different and it is not reasonable to expect officers to replace a spare tire at three a.m. in the rain, never having done that task before then. Every supervisor car needs to have a floor jack in the truck. I am a big proponent of having the supervisor drive an SUV type vehicle so he can carry lots of extra gear, a floor jack is one of those things. A big floor jack is much safer than the crummy little car jacks that come with most cars today.
Every patrol car should have a can of that spray that inflates a tire and repairs a small hole. It’s not a substitute for replacing the tire but it’s much faster and can get you back on the road in a couple minutes. In the event of an emergency it can really make a big difference. Officers need to be able to replace the flat or fix it in the event of a major incident they can’t wait for a tow truck, but that is my preferred method. Finally, the agency should have a service agreement with the Auto Club or some other towing service that can come out and replace the flat. They do flat tires all the time and they know how to replace a tire quickly and safety. The small expense is well worth it in reduced Workers Compensation claims and officer satisfaction; that’s what the SGT Says.
Friday, November 12, 2010
My reserve partner and I sometimes stay out on patrol for an extra hour, just to cover that shift change time. Since we don't get paid anyway, there is no overtime involved. You could also schedule a few officers to come in early every day and leave early for the purpose of covering shift change.
Back in the day when I was in charge of scheduling and deployment, I scheduled half of my officers to shift change every four hours. That way at least half of the officers were on duty, in the field able to handle any calls. It really decreased our response times. Plan for the worst things to happen at the worst times; that's what the SGT Says.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Drinking a beer now and then is not a problem. Having a whole six pack on a hot summer day, when he is off and at home and working in the yard is not a problem. When was the last time he went to work hungover? If you have any answer other than "never," then he has a problem and so do you. When was the last time he drove, legally intoxicated? If you have any answer other than "never," then he has a problem and so do you. When was the last time he was on duty and legally DUI or even actually drinking? If you have any answer other than "never," then he a problem and so do you. Alcohol has probably killed as many officers as criminals.
He's your partner, it's your duty to insure he is safe at work, and that means confronting him about his alcohol problem. If that does not work, then go to the supervisor or even Internal Affairs. You could ruin his career, but you could safe his life; that's what the SGT Says.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
You will have some advantages. You will be pre-screened to insure that you are physically and emotionally fit to participate in this competition. You will be permitted to wear body armor, but it is optional. You will be trained for months to insure you understand each of the aspects of this competition. You will have the moral authority of society on your side, unless you make an error, in which case society will turn against you.
Welcome to the world of law enforcement. You may or may not face this test every day that you don the uniform of your agency. This test may also be given more than once. It may come when you are tired, exhausted, scared, or simply distracted. So you must be ready, every day, all day for twenty or thirty years; that's what the SGT Says.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Alcohol abuse often starts with drinking too much alcohol to cope with the stress of the day. Drinking a beer now and then is not a problem. Having a whole six pack on a hot summer day, when you are off and at home and working in the yard is not a problem.
When was the last time you went to work hungover? If you have any answer other than "never," then you have a problem. When was the last time you drove, legally intoxicated? If you have any answer other than "never," then you have a problem. When was the last time you were on duty and legally DUI or even actually drinking? If you have any answer other than "never," then you have a problem. Alcohol has probably killed as many officers as criminals; that's what the SGT Says.
Monday, November 8, 2010
An officer responded to a report of a hit and run driver. When he arrived the officer confronted a truck driver who may have been responsible for the accident. In the ensuing shootout, the officer was killed. Anything you do can get you killed, even doing a simple thing like responding to a traffic accident.
Complacency is one of the most dangerous aspects of our job. In life we learn by our experiences. If we do something a certain way, and it works out, then we will continue to do it that way forever. Police work can be that way too.
If we handle calls alone and confront suspects alone and it works out every time, then we will get used to handling calls by ourselves. So we don't call for back up. We don't wait for back up if we do call for it. We rush in to chase people, rather than set up perimeters. We don't take the patrol rifle or shotgun when we are confronted by a potentially dangerous criminal. Every officer who falls in the line of duty needs to teach us a lesson so that their courage will not be in vain. Be careful out there; that's what the SGT Says.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
A police officer was killed and a police dog injured in a shooting in San Diego, California. Officers were doing a probation check and things just went horribly wrong. Probation officers were checking on someone on probation and they got the door slammed in their face. The kicked open the door and took one into custody. Other doors were closed and so they called for more help.
In most major incidents there are decision points. Times when officers have to make a decision about how to proceed in the incident. This was probably that moment. Often officers are keyed up and ready to go. By nature officers are oriented towards the resolution of the event. Get it done, handle it, finish the job, get it over with. This would have been a good time to call for back up, which they did, and then wait. Waiting is not in our nature, but sometimes it's a good idea.
This was not an active shooter. They had time. They could have waited to take the remaining people into custody. They knew the people inside were resistive. They could have evacuated the building, while they waited for a SWAT team. They could have slowed down and thought out a plan to take the subjects into custody that did not involve going in with guns blazing. Calling out the suspect and having them come to you is typically the better option. Waiting them out when then can't go anywhere and are not a danger to others is a good idea. I was not there and we don't know the full details of the event. I may have done what they did, but there are always other options. My condolences to the survivors and to San Diego Police Department, they lost a brave officer; that's what the SGT Says.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
The patrol rifle could be fired from the hip, rapidly, and accurately using the laser as the aiming point. Simply put the laser on the spot to be shot and pull the trigger. The bullets went where the dot was placed. While moving it was somewhat difficult to keep the laser on target, but it was easy to tell where the dot was located.
This is a very good tool to put on a weapon. I like it. I think there could be a problem with the same red dot if there were several officers carrying the same laser on the weapon. I would like to see the dots in different shapes or colors or some other way of determining mine from yours; that's what the SGT Says.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Basic police work, we were told to stop every single Daihatsu Charade we found and do a field inteview card on the drivers if they were even close to the suspect. In California, ten thousand of a specific make and model is a very small number. It's also a very large number when sifting through them. Detectives ran every license plate, every registered owner, every ticket that had a Daihatsu Charade as the suspect vehicle.
Imagine sitting at a computer terminal for the entire shift running ten thousand license plates. Boring, no real skill involved, just tedious work. Basic police work. Not everything is gun battles, stick time and car chases. Much of it is boring. And the basic boring stuff catches the crooks, they got the Daihatsu Charade too; that's what the SGT Says.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The terrorists are also taking large numbers of people hostage. The often make demands and pretend to negotiate while raping, torturing and murdering the hostages. They hope to generate news coverage and increase terror in the population. They plan on killing the hostages rather than let them go, so negotiation is pointless.
On Halloween night in Baghdad a similar incident happened that left over 50 killed and another 75 wounded. The responders lost ten killed plus more wounded. The terrorists used bombs, suicide vest bombs and rifles to attack the stock exchange and to capture a church congregation and hold them hostage. They detonated their suicide bombs when the rescuers came to save everyone. Are you ready for that, you need to be ready for it; that's what the SGT Says.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Later, during the course of the shooting one instructor told one of the students to show how he shot a target. The student fired a couple rounds to demonstrate. The instructor did not intend for the student to fire any rounds. The line was clear, no one was forward of the line of fire and the rounds were fired in a safe direction.
Even experienced instructors can mis-speak or mis-understand an instruction. It is critical for instructors to watch how their students behave, handle their weapons to insure safe gun handling. In this incident there was no injury, the discharge was not unsafe, but it was unintended, and this was with experienced range instructors. Always put safety first when at the range, that's what the SGT Says.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Meet with the person in charge and ask them to explain to you why the think the package is suspicious. They know what is normal for their location . Ask them to show you the package, but don't touch it. If based on your interview and observations you think there could be a problem use a land line phone to advise a supervisor what you have and ask for a bomb squad to respond. Bombs go off every day in the USA and so don't discount the possibility that it could be a real device. Too often we are worried about looking stupid for calling out the experts for what can turn out to be nothing. That can get people killed. When in doubt call an expert, that's why they are the experts so they will know what is real and what is not real and what to do with the real ones.
If you think an evacuation is necessary, then try and get the person in charge of the facility to make that call and get everyone out as calmly as possible. Station people at entrances so no one comes back inside. Have EMS and fire respond to a site near the location where they can stage in the event of an explosion. Have responding units set up a command post nearby and determine if you need to evacuate a larger area and stop traffic. A very small bomb won't require much evacuation to be rendered ineffective. More than just the check is in the mail, it could be a bomb, that's what the SGT Says.
Monday, November 1, 2010
A few things to think about for next year. Some of our streets get so crowded that it is very unsafe for people to drive, with all the kids running around in the dark. It might be a good idea to block off some of the streets in the areas that get the heaviest traffic, set up parking a distance away so people can avoid having to drive into the area and maybe even run a shuttle bus or two into the area. Anything that would reduce traffic so that emergency vehicles could get around better would be helpful.
Officers may want to consider walking a foot beat our deploying T-3 Motion or bicycles. The traffic is so heavy that it is difficult to get around in a car. More Reserves should be deployed and perhaps a few Regulars on overtime or switching their schedules around. We never got really busy, but there were a few times when everyone was doing something. It was a good night, but sometimes scary things can happen, that's what the SGT Says.