Friday, April 30, 2010

Taser or Other?

A giant suspects punched a man and knocked him out. The responding officer fired a Taser at the suspect, but he only hit him with one probe. The suspect was on him right away. The Taser is an excellent tool, but it is only one of many we carry in our tactical tool box. The Taser works very well most of the time to protect officers, innocent third parties and even suspects from significant injury.

It is not a cure all for use of force incidents. There are many instances when the Taser won't work or does not work properly. Even when armed with a Taser, officers must have a follow up plan, and a back up plan if the Taser does not stop the suspect. Even when carrying a Taser, it is important to have a baton. A baton can keep a suspect at a distance and can disable a suspect if necessary to gain control.

OC spray is another less lethal weapon that we should continue to carry in the event the Taser is not effective. The spray can be used on more than one person at a time. A quick flick of the wrist can spray several people in only a second. The Taser is limited to one suspect at a time. The Taser is a great tool, but you need other tools too; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baton Training$51978

A trainee officer was injured in baton training and had to go to the hospital. I have done baton training for years and we never gave a trainee an injury that required medical treatment. Training officers should be a positive experience, beating an officer down will not teach them anything they need to know. It will only make them resent training and not want to continue any longer.

When I did active baton training the trainee was instructed for the full day in baton techniques and practiced on bags and with each other. Then at the end of the day the , we put the instructor in a full protective suit. The instructor would have a foam training baton, the trainee would have a regular baton. The trainee and instructor would fight for thirty seconds, on a large mat. All the trainees would watch, one would be the timer, and a senior instructor would be the referee to stop the training if anything dangerous was happening. Just as on the range, any student could call a "cease fire" and stop the training.

The trainee was told to go all out for thirty seconds. The instructor suited up in his suit was to try and parry the blows and only strike with his foam baton if the student failed to block or if he was not aggressive. If anyone went down, we stopped training immediately. Thirty seconds is a very long time in an aggressive fight. We would tire the trainee by making the training at the end of a tough day, and by having them fight hard for thirty seconds. Training can be tough, without hurting the trainees; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


In California we have what we term "Reserve" police officers. They work part time and have several levels of training and authority. There is a lot of variation, but here is the basics. Level one reserves have the same training, and authority as regular full time police. Level two reserves have a bit less training and typically work as a second officer in a patrol car with a regular or a level one reserve. Level three reserves have far less training and typically work special projects, like background investigations, canine, or scuba or other technical work.

Most cities don't pay their reserve officers, or they pay them less than they pay their regular full time officers. Sometimes they get paid for special duties, or special events, or they may get uniform or equipment allowances. Usually they get some amount of equipment provided to them and training is provided by the agency, after the initial academy training.

Reserves offer agencies the ability to field extra officers in times of emergency or special events that need more police. It allows the agency to bring on these officers who already know the policy and procedures of the agency. They also add additional staff, often on weekends to assist the regular department with both mundane tasks and regular patrol. Reserves, I am one, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RIP Chief Gates

Chief Darryl Gates was laid to rest today.

He founded many special units, and they send representatives today.

Under his leadership LAPD started their SWAT teams and assigned women to patrol division to work the streets alongside male officers.

The ceremonies were in downtown Los Angeles, in the shadow of City Hall. The same building that appears on their shield.

He was chief of police for Los Angeles for fourteen years. His influence is still felt today in programs like DARE. Rest in peace, Chief.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Arizona's New Law

President Obama has promised that the new law and those who enforce it will be subject to investigation by the Federal Justice Department. The new law makes it illegal to be in the state of Arizona as an illegal alien. It give the local police the opportunity to arrest and eventually deport illegal aliens.

There are some who claim that this law will cause racial profiling or that people's rights will be violated. There is no reason to be concerned about this potential problems. If every officer who contacts a subject simply asks for proof of US citizenship or legal residency, then no one will have their rights violated. At every traffic stop, every investigation, just like when we ask everyone for identification, their proof of auto insurance and vehicle registration, simply make it a common practice.

Mexico is having a terrible crime problem, associated with drug gang warfare. That problem is starting to spill over into the United States. The Federal government has been too slow in taking care of it. I hope that other states will follow Arizona's example and give us the tools to stop this crime wave from crashing on our shores; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

One or Two?

One officer cars or two officer cars? The age old question of what to do? I generally favor one officer cars in low crime areas, as a single officer can handle most problems. Simple reports, minor traffic accidents, barking dogs, most minor crime calls can be handled with only one officer. The single officer unit puts more cars on the street and has more officers in more places than the two officer car. Response time is critical in most major events and having more units spread out on a given area will give you a faster response time.

Two officer cars have the advantage of having two officers together all the time. Crimes in progress are better served with more officers. Most single criminals will be less likely to confront two officers than one. I favor two officer units in moderate to high crime areas.

I don't support only fielding one officer units. In those areas were one officer units are the norm, twenty percent should still be two officer units. Those units can the be primary units for the more dangerous calls for service. All traffic stops and urgent calls should have a second unit dispatched until the incident is resolved; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Often we are the first to arrive at many medical emergencies. It is important that we know first aid and are able to give the proper medical attention for common medical situations. One of the most common and dangerous situations is a victim with heavy bleeding. We have to have the proper first aid supplies in our vehicle and we need to take them out when there is a potential to use them.

There are several methods to control bleeding. Most bleeding can be controlled by direct pressure on the injury. Use a sterile dressing and place it directly on the wound. Press firmly on the wound. Wear protective gloves to keep the victims blood from contacting your skin. Hold the bandage over the wound until the paramedics can arrive and take over. In some cases you can even have the victim hold the pressure on the wound. That will free you up to help other victims.

Elevating the wounded area can reduce blood flow to the area. An injured hand, arm or leg can be raised up above heart level to slow the bleeding. In an extreme injury, a tourniquet can be used, particularly in a traumatic amputation. Even when the paramedics are only a couple minutes away, we can save lives by using these few techniques; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Enforce Laws,0,3286125.story

Here in California they are considering putting speed sensors on red light camera so that they can cite drivers for speeding as well as for running a red light. I am unalterably opposed to red light cameras. I think that adding speed sensors to them simply makes a bad idea, even worse.

If there is an intersection that needs additional enforcement, it should be done by real, live officers. Red light cameras are a method of taxing the population, under the guise of safety and traffic enforcement. The only reason the state is permitting the use of speed sensors is because they have so little money now.

Some cities have altered the yellow light time just to get more money. They shorten the yellow light time knowing that some close calls will fall into the violation category. Traffic enforcement should be about safety and about opportunities for officers to investigate drivers. It should not be about raising money without raising taxes; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Police execute warrants and don't inform the local police agency. To me, this is just plain wrong. Unless you are arresting officers from the local agency or their known associates, then you need to notify the local agency prior to executing the warrant. If there are concerns that the local agency is tipping off the crooks, there are still ways to make the notification.

Just before your officers are ready to go in, you can phone the local agency watch commander and inform him of what you are doing. There are many reasons to inform the local agency. If things go sideways, they will be needed to back you up. If the neighbors spot your officers creeping around in the yards, they may phone the locals. You don't want them responding with red light and sirens just as you are ready to break down the door.

Arrest and search warrants need to be confidential for as long as possible before they are served. The suspect can flee or dispose of the contraband or evidence if he is warned prior to the warrant being served. If you suspect the locals are passing information, the timing of the notification of the locals does become critical; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vehicle Code and Stops

Civilian vehicles equipment is heavily regulated by the government. The Federal government and state governments determine things like the height of a bumper or the permissible window tint. Know your vehicle code and you have probably cause to pull over all kinds of vehicles doing all kinds of things. In California, we can stop any vehicle as long as we have probable cause a crime has been committed, the stop must be objectively reasonable. So if we see the car fail to stop for a stop sign, or if we see a required light is burned out, we can stop the car. If the car matches the description of a wanted vehicle, we can stop the car.

The more you know about the vehicle code, the more opportunities you have to stop cars, because the more potential violations there are you can observe and cite. Just because you stop a car does not mean you have intend to write them a ticket, you are simply investigating and can determine what course of action you will take once you have stopped the vehicle and spoken to the driver.

Having a firm legal basis in a traffic stop is the first step in a successful prosecution. Many times officers have come upon drug smugglers, people with warrants, and even serial killers and were able to make an arrest as a result of a traffic stop. The Oklahoma City Bomber was arrested during a stop due to a loose license plate. Learn the vehicle code, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Criminal Modifications

Criminals with tinted windows you cant see inside but they can see you! A flashlight even in the daytime can help you see inside. Rather, the best technique is to have the person who stopped the car to roll down all the windows. You can also simply invite the driver and occupants to exit the vehicle so the windows are irrelevant.

Criminals with rear view TV camera with screens that can be seen by the driver, they can see you coming, and you can't see them. Again, you can have the driver and passengers exit the suspect vehicle, order them on your loudspeaker, rather than approach the car, if you suspect there is a camera in the back of the suspect vehicle. Often they are located in the license plate frame or where the trunk lock would be located.

Concealed people in the trunk of the vehicle can pop out while you are talking with the driver. That puts a suspect in front of you and behind you too. The DC sniper modified his vehicle so they could shoot people from inside the vehicle, by laying down inside the trunk of their car. Gang members could also do that and a large SUV would be and excellent choice for this kind of attack. Be careful when approaching cars, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Car Windows

While driving around today, I saw an officer driving his patrol car with all four windows down. Driving with the windows down is quite the trade off. Driving around with all four windows up and the air conditioning blowing it is difficult to hear things happening outside the car. People yelling for help or other indications of criminal activity.

I like to keep my windows rolled up in front and down a bit in back. The front windows rolled down allow suspects to throw things into my car or at me. It also creates wind noise that makes it hard to hear the radio.

By having the windows down a bit in the back, I can hear what is happening outside. I can smell smoke or other strange odors from outside, but I don't have the the wind noise. Suspects don't have direct line of sight to throw things at me. Your windows are your first line of defense, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


After a number of attacks on police, the city of Hemet, California has declared a state of emergency to deal with security issues. That will allow them to put up fences and take other measures to security their facilities without having to go through the bidding process. This is a great idea, they are under siege and need to fortress up a bit. But, there have been at least four attacks before the precautions. Maybe some of this should have been done sooner.

How is your agency secured? Are there armed officers on duty at the station 24/7? Is there camera coverage of the full exterior and public access areas of your station? What about the parking lots, both where the units park and where the officers have to park? Is the parking secured? Can anyone drive in? Can anyone walk into your parking lot?

Could a car bomb simply drive into your parking lot and blow up the building? Can a terrorist walk into your parking lot and plant a bomb under your personal car? Can a man with a gun walk into your lobby, start shooting and shoot his way into the police station? How secure is your facility? It's an important question in these times of terror; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Watch the hands. It's is generally those hands that will attack you. Years ago I remember reading an article about police tactics that said to stare your opponent in the face and back him down with your fierce glare. Maybe in snake charming, but in law enforcement, watch the hands. Not just the hands, but the fingers, palms and thumbs are all critical.

Suspects can palm a weapon and so you need to see the palms of the hands. Suspects can curl one finger under and hold a weapon with only one finger. Suspects will generally move their thumbs towards the center of their body if they are reaching for something in a pocket or waistband. That's because the fingers curl back towards the body to grasp the weapon they are after.

Suspects who seem initial cooperative may suddenly become hostile, seemingly without reason. A person who is mentally disturbed, on drugs or just having a bad day may lash out when they find out you are going to give them a ticket. Suspects know if they are bad guys, and if they think you have figured out that they are wanted for some crime, they may attack once your guard is down. Treat every person with dignity and respect, but be prepared to defend yourself if attacked; that's with the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Guns & Guards

A security guard was shot and killed in a shopping mall in Tennessee. A circumstance that seems to be happening more and more frequently. Security in shopping malls in the USA seldom carry guns, because the mall owners are too afraid of the liability in having armed officers around the customers. Yet, the only way to stop an armed suspect is with a gun.

Mall owners need to worry more about protecting their customers and worry less about the possibility that a guard with a gun may turn out to be the problem. There is no reason why private security guards cannot be screened, hired and trained and supervised to the same level or better than the local police. None of this is particularly expensive, and if the company will invest in the training of the guards, then the potential for liability will decrease as will the turnover.

Some places security guards will turn over 200% of their staff every year. By paying the guards a decent wage, and screening and training them this can be reduced significantly. Guards don't have to be as good as police in every aspect of what they do at work. Guards don't have to be good at high speed pursuit driving, or vehicle code enforcement, or do much investigation. Those are jobs for the police. With all the concern about terrorist attacks on malls, having armed officers there on site can save lives. They don't have to be police but private security can provide reasonable armed security at a far lower cost than police, and do so with limited liability to their employers; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Once you have the handgun out at some point, you have to put it away. There is training you need to have to be able to put the gun away properly. You can't just fire off a few rounds and then put the gun back in the holster.

When the gun battle is over, don't be in a rush to put the gun back in the holster. Officers are often killed when there are multiple suspects. That means, even if you overcome one suspect there could be one or two or more still out there. So, don't be in a hurry to put the gun away.

Once you have subdued one suspect, look for other suspects. Look to the left, the right and the rear to insure there are no suspects who could approach from any direction. Once you determine the threat is over and there are no additional threats, then replace the gun in the holster, without looking at the holster. If you don't train to do this, you won't do this; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fast Range

Range training does not have to be expensive to be good. Practice drawing and not shooting. We draw our guns all the time and we seldom actually fire them. How quick can you draw your firearm? Most gun battles take place in three seconds or less. Can you draw your gun in three seconds? It better be in a lot less time than that or you will be too late! Stand on the firing line, when the rangemaster gives the word, draw the weapon from the holster, achieve a proper shooting stance and give the verbal command, "Police, don't move." or "Police, drop the weapon."

When we go to the range the training should reflect what we do and what we may have to do. So we need to practice getting the weapon out of the holster quickly. Range training should be done with full duty gear. Body armor, uniform, Sam Browne, including baton and radio.

The weapon should be snapped into the holster, and your eyes should be on the target. Draw the pistol from the holster without taking your eyes off the target. And don't shoot. Just give a verbal command. Get the handgun out of the holster as fast a possible, but don't shoot. It's good training; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Break In

Sometimes you have a reason to break into a house. A check the welfare call, and there is someone on the floor of the living room, for example. The first thing is to pound loudly on the door, I use the palm of my hand or even my baton. The baton may leave some marks on the door, but compared to letting someone die on the floor, a few marks are a fair trade off. Ring the bell, knock, ring and make an announcement, "Police, open the door!" Your dispatch may also have the phone number or can get it from the reporting party or reverse phone directory. Dispatch can phone the residence and get someone to open the door. It never hurts to check the top of the door frame, mailbox, and under the mat for a key.

If none of that works, run around the house and try the door knobs, maybe a back door is open, and check for open windows. Naturally, you want the paramedics and fire department on the way. They have all kinds of cool tools that will pry open doors. If you have a person down, you really should not wait very long, if they are not breathing or have major bleeding or a heart attack, you may be able to save them, but you can't wait more than about a minute.

Break open a window in a door, you can hit it with your baton, or large flashlight. Hit it hard and near the center of the window. Reach in and unlock the door. If you have to climb into a window that you broke out, then make sure you break out all the glass, top, sides and bottom. You don't want to cut yourself or have a bit of glass fall on you. Put the welcome mat or other piece of cloth over the bottom edge of the window to protect you while you climb through. Once inside, the first thing you should do is make an announcement and go open the front door for the follow up units and paramedics to use. Then check on your victim; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nothing Call

I think you should go to every call. I hear officers complaining that the dispatcher should not have dispatched an officer to this or that low priority "nothing" call. I have a different mind. Officers should be sent to every call. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is the citizen is paying for police protection and should get some kind of response when they call.

Each call is an opportunity. Someone calls in a guy sitting in a car, or walking down the street, or knocking at the door, the reporting party thought it was strange enough to contact the police. If that's the case, it gives us a valid reason to check the person out and make sure everything is okay. We get a call, we need to check it out. It probably is nothing. But it might be something.

One of my fellow officers got a call of a guy walking down the sidewalk. Walking down the sidewalk, in progress. A public street. Walking, in plain view. Not doing anything. Just walking down the street. The officer arrived and the suspect "pretended" not to see the officer. That just walk straight ahead and maybe I will be invisible to the police kind of walk. So the officer followed him for about a half a block and then called off a pedestrian stop. After a short conversation, the suspect attacked the officer, who was ready for the attack, and quickly subdued the suspect. Seems he was wanted for murder. Murderer, walking down the street, doing nothing, in broad daylight. Turns out it was a good idea to go to that call; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Time Is On Our Side

Former Memphis cop testifies of beating to prisoner by arresting officer » The Commercial Appeal

Don't beat people who are not resisting. We just got a ruling from the courts that we are not to use the Taser on people who are not resisting, then we certainly should not be beating people who are not resisting. Using the handcuffs as brass knuckles is also not a proper technique.

Passive resistance is still resistance, but unless there is an unusual circumstance, taking your handcuffs and beating the suspect in the head is not a good idea. Get another officer. Use leverage and pressure points to get the suspect to move. I use my knuckles or even a small flashlight to apply pressure to the suspects muscles so that they cannot maintain the tension. It hurts only while the pressure is applied and it does not injure them. The suspect will let go and can be forced to the ground for handcuffing.

Sometimes, like in this instance the suspect was already in jail. It's not like they were going to escape. The suspect was curled up on the floor of the jail. Just leave them there. Back off a few steps and let them sit there an whine. Eventually they will get tired, hungry, sore, thirsty and have to get up. There is no reason to beat them into doing what you want, and you don't have to give them what they want. Time is on our side. Use your time wisely; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tip Line

Memphis Crimestoppers worker warned suspected killer to flee » The Commercial Appeal

When people have knowledge of a criminal act, they can call Crimestoppers and report the criminal, and receive a reward, all anonymously. In this case, the person who took the call information passed the information on to a third part so the could notify the suspected murderer that the police were on to him. The suspect was able to escape police.

The person who released this confidential information was a police recruit on medical leave! There is so much wrong with this incident. The police recruit may not have had a proper background check done on him if he is the sort of person who consorts with murderers. His friends, relatives and neighbors needed to be contacted about his relationships and any criminal ties investigated before he started the police academy. He should also have been trained in how to handle confidential information. Certainly, he could also have released the information about the person who phoned into the tip line. Now the informant may even be in danger.

This also reinforces my belief that police department employees should have their background checks renewed every few years so that any bad apples can be discovered an removed. It is a common practice in the military for people to have their background check updated every few years. At the very least every officer should have his motor vehicle record checked, a drug test and a check for warrants and credit check done every year. This is quick, easy and inexpensive and can flag officers who should not be wearing the badge anymore; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ballistic Protection

U.S. Marine Walks Away from Head Shot in Afghanistan Source:

A US Marine was shot in the head. He survived the wound because his helmet stopped the bullet. This incident provides several lessons for us. The first is the value of a ballistic helmet when facing armed suspects. Most armed suspects faced by police will be armed with handguns. A ballistic helmet is great protection against handgun rounds. Keep one in your gear bag and wear it on a man with a gun call.

The Marine at first thought he was hurt and stopped fighting. As long as the fight is on, you need to continue to fight. The suspect will not stop because you are wounded, you can't stop because you are wounded either. The fight is over when the suspect is handcuffed, searched and secured.

Wear your body armor. Today's armor is lighter, thinner, cooler, more flexible and better than ever. Again, most suspects will be using handguns. Almost all handgun rounds will be stopped by a decent set of armor. Wear the best armor you can afford. Wear it all the time; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Drive Safely

Md. officer dies in crash after cruiser hits tree

An officer was responding to a call for back up and he ran his patrol car into a tree. The officer was killed. The officers who called for back up had one less officer to help them with their problem. In fact, they had a lot less officers to help them because other officers were needed at the scene of a traffic collision.

An officer calling for backup is one of the most important calls for service that we can get. That is why we hurry so much to get there. As important as that call is, you can't help if you can't get there. Watch your speed, particularly on the curves and at intersections. Use your high beams, even you take down lights and spotlights to light the road ahead at nighttime. Wear your seat belt until you are just arriving at the call.

Don't try and save a second or two by driving too fast for conditions, or by trying to read your map while racing down the road. When a neighboring unit gets a call, make sure you know where it is, before he calls for backup. If your next unit gets a call that sounds like it could escalate, start that way before he calls for back up. Even if you simply drive to that side of your beat, just be ready to go if he calls for help. Be ready to roll to back up your partner, and arrive arrive; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

70 Officers Killed in Shootout

India: Dozens of police dead after Maoist ambush -

Seventy police were killed in a four hour shootout in India today. Seventy police were killed in a four hour shootout in India today. Seventy police. Killed. In a shootout. 70. Can you imagine the effect such an event would have if it happened in the United States? We average fewer police than that feloniously killed in the average year. A years worth of officer deaths in a four hour long shootout.

I look at law enforcement in other nations as a guide to the types of things that could happen here. In India they have had a shootout that lasted four hours. How much ammo do you carry? Can you last in a shootout that lasts four hours? How much ammo do you carry in your car, or even at your station? Does your whole agency have enough ammo to last for a four hour shootout?

Seventy officers were killed, the article did not say how many were injured, but if that many were killed I think another seventy injured is a good estimate. Of those killed, certainly many did not die immediately and probably required treatment. Can your local EMS handle seventy officers wounded in a shootout over a four hour period? The shootout started with landmines being exploded and then small arms fire by Communist rebels. I don't know, but I suspect that many of the dead were killed right away.

There was no mention of how many Communists took part in the attack. At the North Hollywood shootout, LAPD and LA Sheriff and other agencies mobilized over 600 officers, several armored vehicles, aircraft and that was for only two suspects. Seventeen people were wounded in that event before the two suspects were killed. At that rate, a group as small as perhaps, six to ten attackers, focused only on killing officers, could inflict that type of damage on police. Are you ready? Is your agency ready? What are you going to do to get ready; that's what the SGT Says?

Monday, April 5, 2010


Suicide bomber kills 2 police in troubled Russian province -

Islamic radicals set off a bomb near a police station and killed two police officers. Later, a second bomb when off near the scene of the first bombing. This is an old trick, set of a bomb or attack someone, then when the first responders show up, set off a second bomb to kill cops, fireman, paramedics and anyone else who arrives to help. The IRA used this trick, 30 years ago, and cops are still falling for it.

We need to be more aware of the basics of terrorists tactics so that when it happens here, and it does happen here ever year, we are able to respond properly. This is similar to the tactic the Hutaree terrorists were planning before they were raided by the FBI. Kill a cop, then attack the funeral and kill more cops.

If a bomb explodes, and you are a first responder, one of the first things to do is look for other bombs. Look for other bombers. Often, suicide bombers travel in small groups, of two bombers. They often have handlers with them to drive them to the scene or direct them to the specific target. Watch out for people who don't fit the scene or who are running the wrong way. Check for cars or packages near the scene that could be additional devices. Create a large evacuation zone and get all non-essential people outside that zone.

Set up staging and triage areas far from the scene, where additional attacks would be difficult. Use locations that do not have direct line of sight to the scene of the attack. Search the staging and triage areas before bringing back up or victims there for treatment. Don't be shy about towing away suspicious cars and leaving them where they can't do damage if they explode. Bring in all your bomb technicians and dogs as soon as possible to check for other devices. Look for the second bomb, and the third one, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Big One

We just had a 6.9 earthquake. Initial reports are that there was no significant damage. Are you ready for THE BIG ONE? No matter where you live there is a possibility for an earthquake, volcano, tsunami, hurricane, tornado, blizzard, land slide, flood, wildfire or some other kind of natural disaster. Not to mention man made disasters, riots, or terrorism, or even nuclear accident.

Are you ready? Is your family ready? Is your agency ready? I am ready. I keep my gear at my home so that I can respond immediately. My agency is fifty urban miles from my home. In a big event, I won't even be able to get there. I anticipate that if I am home, I will work from home, assisting my local agency. If I am at work, I anticipate that I will work at work for a few days before I can even consider going home.

My vehicle has water, a raid jacket and other gear to keep me ready for at least a couple days. Since earthquake is my major concern, I figure I have to start where ever I am when the big one hits. When your big one hits you need to be ready, right then; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Knife vs Shotgun

There is an old saying, "Never bring a knife to a gunfight." But should you bring a gun to a knife fight? A suspect armed with a knife, even a little tiny knife, is armed with a deadly and very dangerous weapon. The use of deadly force when you think the suspect is in the process of a deadly attack is legal and moral in almost every circumstance. So shooting a suspect armed with a knife it generally legal and without most agency policies.

The question is, is shooting the suspect the best idea. People don't always fall down instantly when they are shot. Sometimes there are alternatives that may be better. The Taser will usually bring a suspect to a stop instantly. Zapping a knife armed suspect with a Taser may be a better idea then shooting the suspect. At the very least the use of a Taser will prevent the standoff of a knife armed suspect threatening the pistol armed officer from 12 feet away. The suspect is too far away from the officer to be certain he can attack without getting shot. The officer is too far away to be sure shooting is the best option.

The Taser does have a disadvantage, you only get one shot. If you miss, you probably don't have time to go to the firearm before you get stabbed. In situations like this, it is best to have one officer with the Taser and the other officer with a firearm. A shotgun would be my choice of weapon when faced with a knife armed suspect. It can be used as a lance to keep him away and a shot to the body or head will almost certainly result in instantly stopping if not actually killing the suspect. I don't want to kill anyone, but I want to get stabbed even less; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 2, 2010


The headline reads, "Man shot thirty-five times by police." Activists claim excessive force was used on the suspect.

Recently I took a young man to the range who had never fired a pistol. After a few dozen rounds and a little bit of instruction, we performed a little exercise. I told him that most police shooting take place in about three seconds and from about six feet away from the target.

I had him load a Glock Model 22, .40 caliber pistol and stand at the low ready position. Both hands on the gun, trigger finger indexed along the frame of the pistol, and the gun pointing about 45 degrees in front of him. I told him I wanted him to shoot the target, a standard, man size, photograph target, six feet in front of him, as many times as he could in three seconds. I told him to start shooting when I said "Threat" and to shop shooting when I said "Three."

He started shooting on command and stopped shooting almost a full second after I said "Three." We counted the bullet holes in the target and there were seven holes, all in a nice little group. Five rounds in three seconds, seven rounds in only four seconds. Two rounds, at least in theory, that were fired after the threat was discontinued. This from a guy who had almost no firearms experience prior to that day.

Now imagine this scenario. Seven officers are at the front of a house when the barricaded suspect bursts from the door and shoots at one of the officers. Five rounds, in three seconds, times seven officers and the suspect is shot thirty-five times! I suspect that trained officers would fire even faster, especially with the stress of their lives at risk. Is thirty-five rounds excessive? Maybe not, that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rail Bombs

According to Fox News, terrorists are considering using breast implants and butt implants to carry plastic explosives. The plan is that they can carry plastic explosives onto planes without having to worry about airport security.

As our enemies become more sophisticated, we have to be able to respond to these kinds of threats. How would you recognize plastic breast implants made with plastic explosives? How do they vary from regular breast implants? How would you proceed if you thought you found a woman wearing these kinds of implants?

This week in Russia, two women Islamic radicals blew themselves up on a train. Railways have been consistent targets for the Islamic radicals. They have made attacks on rail in England, Russia and Spain. Anywhere there are large numbers of people riding subways, or commuter trains there is the possibility that Islamic radicals could attack with bombs; in boxes, in briefcases or even breasts, that's what the SGT Says.