Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Point and Click

Aiming without the sights. You don't have to see the sights to aim your weapon. When you were a child your mother told you not to point, because it was rude. It is rude. I won't contradict your mother. Sometimes it is also necessary, and pointing a gun is even ruder.

Look at a target ten feet away, then close your eyes and point to it. Open your eyes and chances are that you are pointing pretty close to your target. Your mind and eye work together with your hand to point where that target is located. Now think about how you manipulate your firearm. You keep your trigger finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Once you are on target and ready to fire, then you put your finger on the trigger.

Place your index finger alongside the frame of your pistol or rifle or shotgun. Make sure it is parallel to the barrel. Where ever you point your finger, your weapon barrel will point in that direction. You don't have to look at the barrel to know where the barrel is pointing. Practice this technique on the range. It is not precise enough for long distance shooting but it works for close up; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Give Yourself Some Lag Time

There are guns that are made out of cellular phones. There are guns made out of belt buckles. There are guns made out of canes. There are guns made out of pagers. There are guns made out of just about anything the size of a pack of cigarettes or larger.

Control of the suspects hands is essential. Is that cell phone clipped on his belt just a cell phone, or is it a gun? There is no way to tell from a distance, some disguised weapons are so good you really can't tell they are a weapon unless you hold them in your hands and examine them.

If the suspect has his hands in his pockets, don't tell him to remove them, it is the perfect opportunity to draw a weapon from his pocket that he may already be holding. Rather, have him turn and face away from you. As soon as the suspect turns so that they can't see you, tell them to slowly remove their hands from their pockets. The instant you say that, step quickly to the right or left so that the suspect won't know where you actually are. Then if they do draw a weapon, their lag time will be greater than yours; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Old Murder

Lee Anthony Evans and Philander Hampton Charged in 1978 Slayings of 5 NJ Teens - AOL News

A case that is over thirty years old and they cops found the suspects, made arrests and are pressing charges. There are still relatives who needed closure for this case and now they are going to get that closure they deserve. The case was broken by a witness who came forward and gave police the information that they needed to crack the case.

Evidence needs to be carefully collected and carefully stored. It needs to be kept in a secure location, climate controlled forever. As long as the suspects or family could still be alive, the evidence should be stored properly. You never know when a case a hundred years old will have a new development and the evidence needs to be checked.

Murder cases should be kept open forever. At least once a year, detectives should review every open murder, even if it is fifty years old and check the evidence, run a lead, check the fingerprints, the data bases and see if something comes up. This is an excellent use of retired officers, particularly retired detectives who want to continue to contribute to the department. One way to prevent future murders is to get murderers off the streets, even if it takes thirty years to do it, and the crooks need to know we will never rest until they are caught; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


People who carry weapons often carry a lot of weapons. On duty, I carry three knives, one duty handgun, one backup handgun, one Taser, one baton, OC spray, and a patrol rifle and shotgun in the car. That's a lot of weapons.

When you search a suspect, remember, suspects sometimes carry a lot of weapons too. Like a suspect, I carry most of my weapons on my waistband. The most likely place for a suspect to have weapons on them is the waist. Weapons are easy to access, and they hang well on the belt. But there are other choices too.

Shoulder holster, or an ace bandage can hold a weapon between the body and the arm. An ankle holster can hold guns inside or outside the ankle. A string or chain can hold a knife around the neck, down the front or back. Suspects can put blades inside their mouth, or between their buttocks, or in the groin. Suspects know officers may be reluctant to search those areas. Even a hat band can hide a weapon; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shooting Training Without Shooting

Range training can be dangerous. Not just for the rangemaster and the shooters, but for the little visitors in mommy's tummy. We really don't know what will happen to a the child of a female officer when she is training on the range. There are not any studies that are definitive but we do know that lead exposure is bad for big people, I can't imagine it would be safe for a child in the womb.

My suggestion is that as soon as an officer learns she is pregnant, she should be excused from regular range training. The lead is bad and the noise is bad for the baby. The rangemaster should find other ways to train the course of fire for the officer to stay up on their perishable skills.

The pregnant officer can use a Red Gun to practice the draw, presentation to the target, giving verbal commands, scan the area for other suspects and return the gun to the holster while watching the suspect. All these are part of the perishable skills of firearms training and all can be done without an actual firing of the weapon. The officer can achieve the various shooting positions and dry fire their weapon, in a safe environment, where gun handling is proper. The use of the firearms simulator would be another good training tool for pregnant officers. There is much firearms training to be done, even without shooting; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I am working patrol tomorrow. As a reserve sergeant I don't work every day, just a few days a month. I always have my mental checklist before I leave the house. Flashlights charged, I take a regular one and my back up light. Uniform clean, I have it dry cleaned after almost every wearing. Shoes shined, I don't have to see myself in the toes, but I want them all a nice dark black.

Handgun ready and in my gear bag. Back up gun ready and in my pocket, it's also my off duty gun. Nothing more embarrassing than being robbed on your way into the station and having the crook take your duty gun inside your gear bag! Handheld radio ready, we just got take home radios! Two knives ready and clean, I carry three, two in pockets and one on the belt. Black socks and white tee shirt, ready.

All of these items on my check list are all essential for use when on patrol. They are all items that I take back and forth with me from the station to home. Going over the checklist in my head helps me to mentally prepare for the potential challanges and dangers inherent in patrol duty. Mental preparation is the most important item on the list; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Traffic Stop

2 Baltimore Officers Shot During Traffic Stop - AOL News

Officers were searching a car on a traffic stop. They determined there were drugs in the car and were arresting the occupants. Suddenly the driver pulled out a gun and started shooting. Two officers were wounded and the suspect was killed.

Control of suspects at a car stop is very important. If I have to get anyone out, I always get the driver out first. It disables the car, so the vehicle can't drive away while I have the passengers in tow. I also try and control the car keys. I want them where they are not readily usable by the suspect.

Before you approach the suspect vehicle, you can order the driver to toss the keys out the window. The other option is to have the suspect toss them onto the roof of his own car. This way you don't have to look around the street, in the dark, for a set of car keys. Control the suspects, control their car; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Drug Crime

The bodies of two police officers have been found, dismembered in Mexico. These Mexican police are fighting drug cartels, without the money or gear that we have in the USA. While many of them are corrupt, many are honest cops doing a very difficult task. Drug cartels have a lot of money and it is very tempting to many to take that cash. Especially when Mexican police don't get paid very much money. The other factor is that officer may be placing their lives or the lives of their families in jeopardy if they don't take the money.

Drugs are a terrible, evil thing in a society. It has a terrible corrosive effect on everyone. People take drugs. They steal even from family members and fail to live up to their obligations. Law enforcement is compromised as police, prosecutors and judges take bribes so criminals can avoid prosecution. All the while, the media is playing movies, TV shows as if the drugs are glamorous.

Police need to fight illegal drugs when ever they are found. The penalties should be swiftly applied and they should be severe. Police internal affairs need to be diligent to avoid any corruption entering the department. Each individual officer must also be willing to resist the temptation and report corruption; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gun Sales

Some agencies sell the guns that they seize in the line of duty. Some people are against the practice. Most agencies sell their old police cars. They sell recovered bicycles and impounded cars. No one keeps track of those cars or bicycles when they leave police custody. No child is ever run over while riding a bicycle they got from a police auction, are they? No one driving a former police cars or impounded vehicle sold at police auction is ever arrested using that car in a crime.

Guns are just like cars and fire. Neither good nor evil. We know they both have dangers and we also know that they have benefits. A police agency selling a few guns to make some money will not have a measurable effect on crime. They will get a few bucks and a few law abiding citizens will get a good deal. Should we track all ex-police cars and if one is used in a crime, suddenly determine that it's not worth "the possibility of making a little bit of money from the sale..." Of course not.

Legal guns should be sold, just like legal bicycles, and legal cars and any other legal product they obtain. It is just another way to relieve the over taxed citizens of some of the burden they have to carry. There is nothing wrong with it; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Counter-Surveillance techniques can be used to prevent suspects from learning about police operations. In light of what is happening in Hemet, here are a few tips. Suspect may try and follow you home, so they can attack you there or attack your family. Vary your route home, watch your rear view mirror, look for vehicles that don't belong driving past your home on your commute. If you suspect someone is following you, drive to a police station or fire station and call 911 before you get there. Get as much of a vehicle and suspect description as you can and make sure a unit stops the vehicle and does good field interview cards on all the people inside the vehicle.

In many states you can have your vehicle license plate information made confidential. Have that done so that people who try and run your license plate can't get your home address. Many officers have as much of their mail as possible sent to a post office box.

If your agency may have been targeted there are several things to consider. Sometimes police officers or police employees may be compromised. Run a check for warrants on all people who enter your police station to do work, all city employees and contractors. Update background checks on all police officers, and police employees. Sometimes gangsters will target women as girlfriends so they will spy on the police for them. Dispatchers, records clerks, file clerks, parking enforcement, and other non-sworn police department may be spying on the police, stealing records and gathering intelligence for their gangster boyfriend.

Check on your parking lot and lobby security. People who don't park in your parking lot don't need to be hanging out there. Respond units and do field interviews of anyone loitering on or near your agency property without visible lawful business. Good camera coverage of your parking lots, both for your personal cars and the police vehicles is essential. The entire exterior of your station should also be covered by cameras. You may miss a bomb being planted, but at least you will have a record of it once it is discovered or exploded. Cameras are cheap and full coverage is necessary; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hemet Attacks

Hemet, Calif., Police Department on Alert for Deadly Booby Traps - AOL News

Police in Hemet, California are facing real terrorist attacks. Attacks like this are very rare in the United States, but some evil doers are actually making a project out of trying to kill any officer who works in that area. They have attempted to blow up a police building with a natural gas explosion that could have killed a number of people, they have tried to set a bomb in a car and they have set up a device to shoot someone opening the gate to a police office. They have also tried several other methods to kill officers.

One or more motorcycle gangs are suspected in these attempts to kill an officer. They are ruthless criminals and they don't care how many other people are killed or injured, just so long as they can kill a cop. Local, state and national authorities have targeted some potential suspect groups and are conducting sweeps to violate parole, probation and arrest those with warrants.

When an agency comes under an attack of this magnitude, the response by officers must take many angles. Officers must exercise their own counter-surveillance techniques, and report any suspicious activity to the proper authorities. They must work with all other agencies in the area to track down and arrest the suspect and their associates. The stress must be reversed from the officers back to the gangsters responsible for this type of attack; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Car Stuff

What do you carry in your car? Not in your police car, but in your car? You are always a cop when you are on duty or off duty. No matter what the specific law says in your jurisdiction, you still have the same instincts, same street smarts, and the same desire to suppress crime as when you are on duty.

I always carry a hand gun. Usually it is on my person, sometimes it is in my vehicle. I carry it to defend myself and those in my party. I carry pepper spray in my car. I carry handcuffs in my car, and a raid jacket, and water bottles as well as a first aid kit. I carry road flares and jumper cables.

If I have to take some kind of enforcement action, I have a raid jacket, a windbreaker with POLICE on the back and a badge on the front. I don't want to be mistaken by responding officers as just some guy with a gun. The handcuffs and pepper spray are to give me the ability to restrain a suspect and the ability to us force levels below that of a handgun. It's all about the options; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Watch Their Hands

For thirty years I have been telling officers to watch the suspects hands. The suspects hands are the most dangerous part of the suspect. The suspect is most likely to kill you with his hands. This article tells officers what it is they should look for when they are watching the hands. The gist of the article is that the elbows will tend to go outward and the hands will go inward, but read the article.

Suspects will kick and head butt officers, but still the majority of attacks will occur either using the hands, or fists, or with a hand holding a weapon. Guns, knives, and clubs all require the use of the hands, no one shoots you with their toes. So watching the hands is critical. That does not mean that the other body parts cannot also provide clues to a potential attack.

I like to have suspects sit on the curb, legs straight out in front of them with their hands on their legs, just above the knees. In order for a suspect to attack from that position, they have to move. Move their hands up to the waistband or down to the ankle to reach for a weapon, or bending at the knees to bring their feet up underneath them, so they can run away or stand and fight. I often stand behind and offset about 45 degrees so I can see them and they can't see me. Take all the advantages you can get; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Back Up

An officer in Ohio was murdered by a violent sex offender. The officer called for back up and the back up officers killed the suspect. When dealing with potentially violent suspects, unless there is a violent crime in progress:

1: Call for back up.
2. Wait for back up.

Just because you have called for back up does not mean they will be there when you need them. Call for back up is only a third of the back up equation. Wait for back up is the second part of that equation. They can't help if they are not there. If back up will be there in a couple minutes, then you can wait a couple minutes. If back up won't be there for a while, then you certainly can't count on them being there soon enough to help you.

The other part of the back up equation, is talk to your back up officer. The responding officer needs to know what you are doing, who the suspect is, the nature of the crime you are investigating and what your plan is to contact the suspect. This means you must have formulated a plan before you contact the suspect. Don't just think I will walk up to the door and see what happens while my back up is on the way. That's not a plan, that's a recipe for disaster, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spray, Beat, or Tase?

Chicago is buying 400 more Tasers for their officers. This is a very good idea. Every uniformed officer should have a Taser or similar device for their use in the field. Back in the old days, LAPD used to give the Taser to a supervisor. If something happened, they had to wait for the supervisor to arrive and hope he brought it out of the car.

Use of force situations are very dynamic and often unfold in only seconds. There is no time to wait for the supervisor to arrive. A suspect tries to take a swing at an officer, prepares to fight and officer, pulls a potential weapon, the officer can't wait for a supervisor to arrive.

The alternative to the electronic immobilization device is typically pepper spray, or the baton. Pepper spray often contaminates others, does not work well in high winds, and a determined suspect can fight through pepper spray. The baton will almost certainly result in injury to the suspect. Bruising will usually result, and broken bones, even death are potential outcomes when officers have to strike a suspect with the baton. The Taser is almost always a better choice, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Photo: A Bartlett police narcotics detective killed a 43-year-old man Thursday in the 1300 block of Standridge. - Memphis, TN

Police kill a man. The headline screams at us, police kill! The headlines seldom say, man attacks police with knife. Man shooting at police is killed when they return fire. It is always Police Kill Man.

The media is in the business to get people to read their stories. They want stories that are controversial because people will be more motivated to read those stories. Media often slant stories to whip up emotion. Mother claims police murdered her son. It never says mother of police officer says criminal tried to murder her son.

If you are involved in a major use of force incident, don't read the papers about it. Don't surf the Internet following stories about the incident. What matters is that you have survived the initial encounter. Then you must survive the aftermath. You must write reports, talk to your attorney, deal with co-workers, family and friends. What matters is that you did what you thought was right at the time. You use your training, skill, perception to make decisions, often in a split second. Don't let the guess work of others who were not there and who are not qualified weaken your spirit; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 15, 2010


This blog is designed to be used as a roll call training topic. To inform the public about public and private law enforcement. To give guidance to those seeking a career in law enforcement and to provide some insight to the families of those who wear the badge. It also serves to remind those with experience in the field that we need to stay sharp so we can come home at the end of the shift.

If you find this blog interesting, or if you know someone else who may want to read it, pass along a link to this blog. Become a follower of this blog and keep up with every post. Link this blog to your blog or website.

There are half a million police in the USA and even more private security guards. I suspect most of them would get something of value out of this blog, so do us both a favor and pass it along. Thanks for reading; that's what the SGT Says.

Manly Police Man

You husband is a policeman. It is his duty to protect others. He is very manly. It is his duty to protect his wife. He will protect others. He will protect is wife. It is not his duty to protect himself. He will not protect himself.

A policeman will run into a burning building to make sure that there are no total strangers inside the building. A policeman will respond to a medical emergency and give a total stranger first aid, even CPR without hesitation. A policeman will run through a hail of gunfire to save another officer.

A policeman will be too tired when he gets home to exercise. A policeman will want to have a couple beers, or more after a stressful day at work. A policeman will not want to talk about the stresses he has to endure at work. A policeman would rather die, from heart disease, stroke or suicide than do something to fix the problem. His wife has to be brave enough to confront him; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

We make choices every day. Police have a lot of discretionary power. Give this person a warning. Write them a ticket. Take them to jail. Ignore it and hope they go away. Each of these police activities take place after someone else has made a decision to break the law.

When we make the decision to take them to jail, they are then faced with a second decision to make. Will they submit to our authority or will they resist? If they choose to submit, hands behind your back, handcuffs on, cursory search for weapons, in the police car, off to jail, and no one gets their hair mussed.

If the suspect decided to resist, then it is the officers turn to make a decision. What level of force is reasonably necessary to take this person into custody? I don't want to get hurt. I don't want to hurt any third parties, I want to subdue the suspect but don't want to hurt them more than I have to in order to take them into custody. I may need to pepper spray them. I may need to zap them with the Taser. I may need to hit them with my baton. I might even have to shoot them. The decision of the officer will be precipitated by the decision of the suspect to resist the lawful commands of the officer. It is the suspect who will start the escalation, it is the duty of the officer to end it; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

No Toe

In deadly force encounters, officers often under react to the cues that they need to either use force or use more force. A suspect comes at you with clenched fists, threating to attack you and disregarding your commands to stop. Many officers in this situation fail to react quickly or firmly.

A command to "Stop! Don't come any closer!" should cause the suspect to do just that. If they don't the officer needs to escalate his force levels. An officer at this point needs to implement an arrest control technique, go to his OC spray, baton, or Taser. The suspect is by word and body language threatening the officer. He is failing to stop when ordered to stop.

This is a significant series of danger cues. Many officers would simply stand there and allow the suspect to walk right up to them and perhaps even strike the first blow. Officers don't have to take punches from suspects. At this point if the officer is in a good position, he can take the suspect into a control hold and arrest him. If the officer is not in a good position to do that, he should deploy another weapon. Officers should not go toe to toe with suspects, that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 12, 2010


"Amnesty International claims that more than 350 people in the U.S. have died since June 2001 after being Tasered by cops."
How many people have not died since June 2001 after being Tasered by cops?
How many people have died since June 2001 after being arrested who were not Tasered by cops?
How many people have died since June 2001 after being hit with batons by cops?
How many people have died since June 2001 after being OC'd by cops?
How many people have died since June 2001 after being shot by cops?
How many people have died since June 2001 after having empty handed arrest control techniques used on them by cops?
How many people have died since June 2001 after having some other weapons used on them by cops?
How many people have been arrested since June 2001 by cops?
If OC, batons, and Tasers are out of bounds, what does Amnesty International suggest we do with people on drugs who resist arrest?

These numbers for the Taser deaths are only valuable in context. Police kill about 600 people per year in shootings. The 350 people who died after being Tasered is only 35 per year, much lower than the number who are shot to death by police in that same period. The Taser saves lives, both suspect lives and police officer lives; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Price of 911

Tracy Residents Now Have To Pay For 911 Calls -

Another city has determined they are going to make people subscribe to emergency services or pay a big fee if they have to call 911. This is such a bad idea on so many levels. If you collapse on your lawn, do you want your neighbor to consider the value in saving your life?

While I understand that cities have to get enough money to keep essential services running, to me the only to services a city has to provide is fire service and police service. Everything else is a bonus. Roads, parks, recreation, paid city councils are all extras compared to essential life services.

Any of these other services can be eliminated or cut back without endangering the lives of the residents of the city. Only police and fire services are essential to life, and providing essential life services is the first duty of a city, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Cars

Ford says they are going to reveal a brand new police car. They did not ask me what I wanted but here are a few things I think are important in a police car.

We carry a lot of junk in the trunk, a big trunk is very important.
We use a lot of electrical power in a police car, the radio, computer, blinky lights, and so you need a large powerful battery and a good recharging system. I hate coming back to the car after a foot pursuit and finding the battery is dead.
Police cars carry a lot of junk in the passenger compartment. The shotgun, patrol rifle, batons, clipboards, ticket book, maps, coffee cups, computers, radios, spotlights, interior lights, and there better be enough room for two large men to fit inside, the driver officer and his passenger officer. With all that junk, it would be nice if we could still see out of the car and that the two front airbags would deploy. Comfy seats to park your butt in for 12 hours shifts would be good also.
Very good visibility is critical, huge door posts and such are a problem, I also like to see the rear end when I am backing up. Sitting up high enough to see a bit over traffic is nice too.

All this goes without saying that the car must be reliable, get good mileage, be fast and have great acceleration.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who's the Victim?

Officer involved shootings are difficult for agencies, as well as for the officers involved. The concern should primarily focus on the officer. The first thing to remember is the suspect is the suspect and the officer is either the officer or the victim. Even if the officer shot the suspect and the officer escaped harm, the officer is still the victim. The officer only had to shoot in response to a perceived deadly threat presented by the suspect. So even if the suspect ends up seriously wounded or killed, it is still the officer who is the victim. It is not about the final result, it is about who initiated the series of events that lead to the shooting.

The suspect always has the opportunity to lay down his weapons and come out with his hands up. The officer has no such option. The officer is following his training, his supervisors instructions, his departmental policies, the law and his own good judgement. All of that is designed to minimize the potential for injury to himself, the general public, and yes, even to the suspect.

When an officer is investigating a stolen car, he is performing his duty. When the driver of that car pulls out a gun and threatens the officer, it is the suspect who has made the decision to move to the level of a potentially deadly encounter. At that point the officer becomes the victim of an assault, or even of attempted murder. The officer is no longer investigating a stolen car, he is defending his life against attack by the suspect. The officer has become the victim of an unprovoked attack and is simply defending himself, as all victims have a right to do; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Tie is Not a Win

An suspect tries to run down some people with his car. Two officers are dispatched to his home to arrest him. One officer is murdered and the suspect is killed by the second officer. A tie is not a win. Two officers were sent to capture a dangerous attempted murder suspect.

One officer had his Taser ready while taking the suspect into custody, yet the suspect was able to draw his gun and fire. A suspect this dangerous should not be approached by only two officers. This type of contact should have been made by at least a dozen or more. He tried to murder people with his car. He has shown poor judgement, and the willingness to attack others in a manner likely to produce death.

A suspect this dangerous is too dangerous not to be confronted by a group of officers. Officers should not walk up to the door and knock. They should surround the house and then phone him. Order the suspect to leave the house with his hands up and prone him out on the lawn. All the while the officers should have had their patrol rifles and shotguns trained on him. Think about the worst case scenario when you respond to a call, and plan for it; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shooting Car

Two suspects driving a stolen car entered a military base and when confronted tried to run over the officer. The officer shot at the car and the suspects crashed. Cars can be deadly weapons just as any gun. A two thousand pound projectile coming at you is very dangerous and unlike a bullet can change it's flight path to try and hit you.

Shooting at a car is often a very poor way to immediately stop the vehicle. The best way to stop the vehicle is to shoot the driver. It is the driver of the vehicle who is the deadly threat, the car is not attacking you, it is the driver of the car. Today's steel belted radial tires are very difficult to puncture and shooting at them may not do more than create a very slow leak. Tires are resistant to puncture and the bullets may even bounce back.

Firing into the front grille may puncture the radiator. This will eventually stop the car and in a long term engagement, like a pursuit where deadly force may be an option, shooting out the radiator will eventually get the car to stop. I would not shoot at a radiator unless you were authorized deadly force, a miss could kill the driver or other person. Naturally, the shotgun at close range or the patrol rifle would be your best bet, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

On Your Toes

2 Pentagon Police Officers Shot Near Metro Station - AOL News

Two police officers guarding an entry were attacked without warning by a man who simply walked up and pulled a gun and started shooting. The officers were able to return fire and kill him. Much of police work is mundane, and routine. It is sometimes, even boring.

Complacency is one of the greatest dangers we face every day. We have never had a problem, so we will never have a problem. Nothing ever happens, so nothing never will happen. I never had a problem at a car stop, so I will never have a problem at a car stop.

Every encounter is potentially deadly. Every suspect can have a gun. Every search may reveal drugs, or a knife or a gun. Every person we attempt to arrest, may resist with violence. Every call could be an ambush. We have to be ready, every shift, every day, every encounter; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Guard License

A licensed security guard was arrested for rape, after a previous conviction for a sex crime. It causes the company he worked for to have to close down after they lose their only client. The company did a background check but it did not turn up the employees conviction.

Security guards should be licensed by the state, but the license should mean something. If the officer is arrested, the officer should have his license suspended if the accusation is serious enough to cause him to lose his license. It should stay suspended until he is found not guilty or the charges are dropped.

If the officer is convicted of a crime that would deny his getting a license in the first place, the license should automatically be revoked. Any hearing on a reinstatement should only determine if he is the one convicted of the crime and if the crime is such that he would have been denied a license originally. Private security officers fill an important role in our society, but we need to have confidence in their suitability for the job; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stupid Laws

Bake Sales: Let Them Eat Junk! - ParentDish

The City of New York has prohibited school bake sales from offering the traditional home baked brownies or cup cakes because they are not healthy foods. Police could presumably be called if some soccer mom defies the law and bakes cup cakes for her daughters school bake sale.

Police unions are often very good things when they act like police. It seems to me that this is one occasion when a police union should step up and act like cops. There are too many cities, and counties and other governmental entities that are passing laws that are just too much micro-management. Not every good thing has to be mandated by law. I think kids should eat good, healthy, nutritious foods. I don't think we need a law to ban homemade cup cakes in schools.

Police unions need to be aware of changes to the law that may require the intervention of police. We already have too many times when citizens ask us if there is not something better we can be doing than writing them a ticket. We as police have a responsibility to our communities to help insure stupid laws don't get passed, because we are the ones who will look bad trying to enforce them; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Police Training

NATO is being slow about adding more police and army trainers to Afghanistan. This is all part of a lack of understanding on how police forces function and the amount of time it takes to rebuild a police force. To do a complete background check in a modern nation can take weeks, even months. In a backwards, war torn nation, with few phones, bad mail service, and even poor roads, I would anticipate it would take much longer to make sure the people you hire as police are not the enemy and are ethical enough to be police officers.

An initial training academy takes at least three months and really it is not unreasonable to train new officers for six months or even a year before they start field training. A field training program can easily go on for a year, in some agencies, two years is not out of the question. So before your new police officer writes even one ticket on his own, two or three years may have passed by from the day he applied for a job to the day he finishes field training.

This even assumes you have field trainers and supervisors and managers who can administer the agency. In a place like Iraq or Afghanistan, the foreign advisers have to perform most of these roles, that is why it is so important to have police from other parts of the world to help them. In my opinion it takes two to five years for a rookie police officer to gain enough experience to do his job well. Then it takes another three to five years before the best ones are able to function as first line supervisors. Each step of the command ladder will take another two to five years to gain the experience, training and additional education needed to move up to lieutenant, captain, and chief. New nations need outside police help for decades; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Extortion, Bad

Three MPD Officers Indicted - WREG

Three Memphis Police Officers have been indicted for bribery and extortion. Police are supposed to stop people who commit extortion. Good police are supposed to turn down and even arrest those who attempt bribery. I wanted this to be clear, so I figured I should mention it, in case you were not sure.

Before people go to the police academy, they should have a complete and detailed background investigation. Anyone who has done things that would get them in trouble if they were police should generally not be hired. Unless it was a long time ago, at least five years, and they have a really great explanation, and no further problems, they should not be hired.

Often, bad police officers can be traced to bad civilians who were hired to be police officers. A background check for police officers should go back as far as the birth of the applicant. Their schools, and jobs should all be verified, as well as their residences. Any material breech of fact on the application should also be grounds for failure of the background investigation; that's the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Night Sights

I did range training this past weekend. Range training is a perishable skill and needs to be refreshed often, at least monthly. There are many aspects to range training and during the course of a year, you should try and get in as many of them as you can.

We work at night, we should shoot in low light and in the dark. We have night sights on our guns, we need to practice using them. We have little flashlights on our guns, we need to practice shooting with those two. We carry flashlights, we need to practice shooting with those as well.

The flashlight should be used when searching for the suspect. It should be used when you try and identify if the suspect is about to use deadly force against you. Once you determine you need to shoot someone, you may consider turning off the flashlight. The night sights work very well went it is really dark. If you can still see where the suspect is at, you can "hide" in the dark by having your light turned off. The flashlight can even distract you from the suspect because your eye is drawn away from the sights and the suspect and to the place where the light is shining. You have night sights for a reason, use them; that's what the SGT Says.