Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cop Killers

2 Florida officers die after traffic-stop shooting -

According to the CNN report: "The man being sought was described as being in his mid- to late 20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing about 150 to 170 pounds. He was thought to be wearing brown shorts, a white T-shirt, a black vest and white sneakers, police said."

My question is what is missing from the description? Is he Black, White, Hispanic or Asian or something else? Political correctness hampers investigation and apprehension of cop killers. Many news agencies will not publish the race of a suspect because they are afraid it might make one race or another look bad to the public and raise the ire of activists. The police are there to protect all of us, and police, like the citizens of our nation, come in all colors.

Criminals come in all colors too, and in order to properly describe an outstanding suspect, the press needs to give a full and complete description. Height, weight, age, sex and race are all important considerations. I wonder what will happen if someone fails to recognize this wanted man because the witness did not know the race of the suspect, and someone else gets killed as a result. I don't want to insult people as individuals or as a group, but we need to publish what criminals look like not matter what their description; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Traffic Patrol

Two police officers in Tampa, Florida were making a traffic stop on a car with no license plate. Just a routine stop, made by thousands of officers everyday. Nothing unusual. Two officer unit and the stop is a woman and a man. Should be easy, write a ticket and on their way they go. Nothing to it.

Run the man through the system, verify his license status is valid. The dispatcher comes back with a notification that the man had a minor warrant for his arrest. No big deal, cuff him up, pat him down, off to the station, quick booking and off to lunch. The suspect will probably be out before the shift is over.

The man turns and pulls a gun, both officers are shot to at close range. The shooter and the woman flee. A passerby calls 911. Back up officers respond and begin CPR on the two wounded officers. The wounded officers are rushed to the emergency room, were they are both pronounced dead. They leave behind wives and children. Just a routine stop, and now two of our brothers are dead; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Don't Make a Federal Case Out of It

CIM Officer Robert McGowan was a prison guard who was accused of a civil rights violation; they say he assaulted two inmates. He plead not guilty and all local officials had declined to prosecute. The Federal Government then stepped in and tried him and sentenced him to over four years in prison.

The Federal Government should not prosecute individual officers for improper behavior while on duty. Local and state governments must hold their employees accountable for their actions while on duty. If they are satisfied that the officers acted properly then it should end there. The Federal Government should only step in if a state agency is corrupt. In the event that a state is corrupt there would be no alternative to a citizen to get justice. The Federal Government should only act if there is a long history of criminality on the part of a state agency. They should not concern themselves with individual officers, but rather agencies that are out of control.

The actions of a city police officer has to be passed by his agency, the local district attorney, the county sheriff, the state police and the state attorney general. That's enough review for anyone to have to satisfy. I think that these instances of the Federal Government arresting and prosecuting individual officers is an overreach of their power, a usurpation of states rights and a distraction from more important issues; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Predict Crime

This guy has prepared a map of San Francisco showing different crimes as different elevations of the city. This provides a visual representation of the location of the crimes, the type of crime and the frequency of crime. As a profession, we do a poor job of crime analysis. The wall map with a few pins in it showing the location of traffic accidents or major crimes for the month is about the extent of what we ever seem to do for analysis.

There are ambulance companies that have learned how to predict calls for service. They figured out where all the calls for service had been for a few previous years and then looked for patterns. What they learned was that depending on if school was in session, holidays, work days, committing and work would change the nature, frequency and locations of their calls for an ambulance.

Most of us know the dangerous neighborhoods, the stores that get robbed all the time and the intersections with more than their share of traffic collisions. Ambulance companies are to the point that they can actually pre-position ambulances in different parts of the city, at different times of day and different days of the week so that they are ready for the calls they know are sadistically likely to come. We need to be able to do this too, with decreasing budgets, and increasing threats, it can be a force multiplier; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Border Patrol

If we don't use the military to secure our border, how can we keep out illegal aliens and drug smugglers from Mexico? There are several things we need to do, some we can do right away, some we need to do over time. We need to expand and militarize the Border Patrol. They should carry patrol rifles and even light machine guns when they go on patrol. There should never be a time when the Border Patrol is out gunned by the drug smugglers. The Border Patrol should be allowed to arm their aircraft with light weapons. Often the smugglers operate in the wilderness and it is nearly impossible to catch them on the ground. A couple machine guns on board a Border Patrol helicopter would certainly stop their pursuits in a hurry. Certainly this would not be appropriate in San Diego, but in the wide open desert county, it could be very effective.

The local police agencies that do not enforce Federal immigration laws should be denied Federal funds. This should extend to their parent organization too. If the California Highway Patrol arrests a suspect for any crime, they should be required to verify the person is in the country legally. If the person is here illegally, they should be arrested and deported. If the California Highway Patrol does not do that with those they arrest, then California should be denied Federal funds until they implement that policy.

The penalties for drug smuggling, sales, use and intoxication should be drastically increased. If someone is under the influence of cocaine, for example, then they need to go to prison. It is the users who begin this problem by buying the drugs in the first place. In too many places simple intoxication on an illegal substance is not treated as a crime or is treated as a very minor offense. Send a few high profile Hollywood celebrities to prison for five years for cocaine intoxication and the glamorization of drugs would very quickly decline. Sports stadiums are always built with taxpayers dollars. If you play sports and fail a drug test or are found intoxicated by drugs or commit any felony, like rape or spousal abuse, then you are banned for life from playing the sport. If the sports don't do that, then they can't play in stadiums built by public money. We need a drug free society; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 25, 2010

No Army at the Border

While I think we are losing the drug war and with it control of our borders, I oppose sending US military forces to the border. Rather, I favor the massive expansion and militarization of the Border Patrol. Drug smuggling brings large amounts of money to the drug pushers. Large amounts of money permit drug smugglers the ability to offer law enforcement bribes to allow the drug smugglers to get their product into the country. They also bribe officers to avoid arrest and to help them escape from prison.

That type of corruption is very bad for law enforcement. It is catastrophic for the military to have that type of corruption. The military deals with secrets that protect the nation. They have chemical and nuclear weapons. They have grenades and anti-tank missiles that could be useful to drug smugglers or to terrorists who may also smuggle drugs. By using law enforcement to protect the border, we limit the damage that can be done by a few or even a large number of corrupt officials. The damage that can be done by corrupt military men is much greater. Therefore we must not use the National Guard or the Federal Army to secure our borders from drug smugglers and illegal aliens.

Many of the people in the military are not just career oriented like members of law enforcement, they see it as a job to do for one or two enlistments. That makes them easier to bribe then career law enforcement. The background check for law enforcement in general is stricter than it is for the military as well. So it is easier for gang members or associates to infiltrate the military than it is for them to get into police jobs.

The military does not understand use of force in a police context, while our experience in Iraq and in Afghanistan is blurring the difference between police and military use of force, the military is still better at applying overwhelming force than law enforcement can apply. I would not want artillery barrages, or air strikes along the US / Mexico border. Mexico is not our enemy, and the average illegal alien does not deserve to die for crossing the border; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Drug War

The police arrested fifteen illegal aliens in their manhunt for the unknown person who shot and wounded a sheriffs deputy. The fight against illegal aliens and drug lords continues to spill over into the United States. The fight of the Mexican police and the military is increasingly becoming our fight.

The Mexican drug cartels are bringing their war against Mexican society to the United States. Mexican police retire and come to the US to hide out in retirement. The drug lords follow them here and participate in murder and kidnapping.

We need to make sure that we continue to fight drug crimes here. Even small amounts of marijuana are a tiny part of the larger picture. If that dope sale brings twenty five cents to a Mexican drug lord, that could pay for the pistol bullet that kills an American cop. Fight the drug war, every day, it has become a matter of national defense; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Death and Unions

Utah Firing Squad Executes Convicted Murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner

This criminal sat on death row for over ten years. He murdered two people and is described as having an explosive temper. Society is better off now that he his gone. Where are the police unions and the prison guard unions on this issue? They should bring pressure every day to get our legislatures, courts and chief executives to get the executions going.

No one should sit on death row for ten years. There was no doubt that he murdered an attorney while trying to escape from jail. He was trying to escape because they were going to try him for the murder of a bartender. This just shows how dangerous it is to allow murderers to live after they are convicted. This was a career criminal who used drugs and killed two people. No prison guard should have to guard someone like this for ten, twenty, thirty years.

Our nations law enforcement officers must demand that the law be implemented. Too often our police unions speak out for higher taxes and better pay and benefits. I did not become a law enforcement officer for the great pay and benefits, did you? Our unions must join the fight to get the death penalty to have real meaning and to execute prisoners in a timely manner; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bonnie & Clyde

I watched the old movie "Bonnie and Clyde" today. It is very important for us to remember that the media is generally not a friend of law enforcement. The movie was made in 1967 and portrays the two as fun loving, misguided youth just having a good time. It is important for us in law enforcement to remember our history. It is when we forget our history that we let crime get out of control and officers die.

The real Bonnie and Clyde probably murdered at least twelve people, including nine police officers. Think about the magnitude of those crimes. Nine uniformed police officers were probably murdered by these two and Hollywood makes them out to be hero's for what they did. There is no sympathy in the movie for the police at all.

In the 1920's the police had given up the lever action rifles we carried in the cowboy days. We had to face criminals who had Browning Automatic Rifles, sawed off shotguns and even Thompson Sub machine guns with only revolvers. After the lawless acts of evil criminals, like Bonnie and Clyde we eventually evened up the playing field and got patrol rifles and sub machine guns of our own. Over time, we dropped them again in the 1960's. Then the North Hollywood shooting came along and demonstrated that we never should have left our long guns in the station.

We have always needed patrol rifles and now most agencies have them. We need to make sure that they stay in good condition and that our budgets allow us to keep training with them with a reasonable amount of range time. We need to replace stolen or damaged patrol rifles with new long guns or we will lose them again. You won't ever have to face Bonnie or Clyde, but certainly we will face other heavily armed criminals, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Light Sabre

There is a new weapon out there that is being sold on line. It is a Star Wars Lightsaber. Just like the ones that were used by Luke Skywalker. It won't actually cut your arm off, but it will burn your skin and will probably even blind you. The information that I have read on this item is very limited but it seems a very scary weapon. It is supposed to be able to set clothing and skin on fire!

How would your use of force policy allow you to respond to a teenager with a light sabre toy? How about if the toy suddenly blinded you or your partner? How about if it set someones clothing on fire or burned the skin of another person? I have many questions about this "toy." How long does it take for it to burn skin? What is the extent of the damage to burned skin? How long will it take before it sets clothing on fire?

I would think that blindness or skin burns could be considered great bodily injury. Having your retinas burned is very dangerous and could be irreversible. At the very least someone using that weapon should be subjected to being Tasered as soon as they try and deploy it. If someone has a light sabre and is going around setting people on fire, you might have to consider shooting them with your duty firearm; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Long Range At the Range

What Really Happens In A Gunfight?

One of the bits of information in this article is that officers who survived gunfights were frequently very far away from the suspect. An officer who is twenty feet away from the suspect has a great advantage. The officer is highly trained in shooting, where the suspect may have little or no training. While we can't count on meeting suspects without firearms training, certainly the officers are more likely to be well trained.

Officers need to be trained at the range to be able to fire at reasonable engagement distances. What do we do that can get us involved in a shootout? Traffic stops, certainly, approaching an unknown violator in a vehicle may get us into a shootout. The distance between two vehicles and the distance between the suspect driver and police driver position can be twenty feet or even more.

Response to a robbery alarm at a liquor store or bank could also result in a shootout. I think that the distance from the police car parked across the street to the front door of the bank is certainly a reasonable distance to train to shoot from. About fifty yards is a reasonable distance. We need to make sure that we train our officers at least annually to shoot at that range. While most shootouts still happen at close distance, we can't forget the longer ranges; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rough Neighborhoods

Are America's officers at war?

In some cities the police are almost universally disrespected. When the police show up, a crowd will always gather. They pull out their cameras and cell phone cameras and start taking pictures of everything the officers do at the scene. When something happens, they scream and yell and taunt the police and after the event they will complain about everything that happened.

When faced with policing these types of neighborhoods there are several tactics that can be effective. The first thing to remember is that even in the worst neighborhood in the world there are good people, cowering in the corner, afraid to do anything, but praying that the police will restore order. They are too afraid to help, they have to live there, and they don't belong to a gang or carry a gun.

Go into those areas and bring plenty of back up. Take charge of the scene and do the same good police work that you always do. If you know there is likely a confrontation, bring your own video unit. Suspects and bystanders always show the cops hitting the suspect, but they never capture the suspect hitting the cop first. Make sure you use plenty of verbal commands, and make them clear and concise. Video works against the suspects if the suspects fail to obey your lawful orders, given two or three times prior to your use of force.

Your enforcement should not be any less than in any other area. Often bystanders will double park their cars and yell out the car windows. Write then tickets for blocking traffic, open containers, and don't be afraid to tow cars. Suspects hate to have their cars towed. Some neighborhoods are difficult, but just do the job and you will be fine; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Many Guns

I went to the range tonight. Fired several different kinds of handguns. When was the last time you fired your duty weapon? Range training is a perishable skill and should be practiced at least every quarter and every month is best. When was the last time you fired your back up weapon? How about your off duty gun? What about the gun you keep in the night stand?

Once in a while you need to drag out all the guns you night use and fire them. At least once a year, if not a couple times. You also should borrow a few guns and fire those. A revolver shoots much differently than a semi-automatic. Get both and fire them.

Borrow the guns from the other officers you work with and fire them too. Take your partners to the range and switch off with each others guns and fire a clip, magazine or speed loader full at least. Get familiar with their duty and back up guns. If you work together you need to know how to use each other's guns. It also makes it easier to handle suspects, and victims guns if you need to, if you have broader firearms experience; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cold Case Cops

Cold homicide cases deserve to be solved. In my opinion, every county sheriff in the nation should maintain a Cold Case Squad. They should be make up of retired full time officers who are not paid, or only paid a small stipend, and be sworn in as Reserve Officers. They should be armed, but generally should wear civilian clothing and avoid making arrests. Their role should be to review cold cases, and follow up all the possible leads. When time for an arrest, the regular full time officers should take over.

Prior to working their first case, the officers should complete a course designed specifically for cold case detectives. How to work old leads, how to handle evidence, what to look for in the physical evidence of a cold case that may turn up new leads, and the use of fingerprints. Every unsolved homicide less than 100 years old should be reviewed at least every ten years, every five years, or more frequently would be even better.

As reserve officers, the cold case detectives could work at their own pace and follow up leads as they are developed. They can computerize information that was in old paper files to enable cases to be better cross referenced, as new cases are done. This way older cases could be tied to existing investigations or to closed cases, where the suspect is known. Homicide victims and their families deserve justice; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fight The Drug War

A group of Mexican Federal Police were on their way to Mexico City and they were ambushed. Their convoy was stopped when the ambushers rolled buses into the road and then opened fire on the police. At least ten of them were murdered and more were wounded. At least one report says that perhaps 16 of the attackers and perhaps some bystanders were also killed in the ambush. I can think of no more difficult job than being an honest police officer working in Mexico. My prayers go out for those officers who were murdered and their families. May God have mercy on their souls.

Drug money buys a lot of weapons and the ability to bribe district attorneys, judges, and police. Billions of dollars, all in cash are used by the drug gangs to buy weapons and people to use them. With so much money at stake, they can't afford interference by the police, and so they will stop at nothing, even ambush and murder of large groups of police.

We can help fight this drug war here in the United States. We need to fight it because it is coming here. The stronger the drug lords get the more likely they are to bring their evil to this nation. As officers here in the United States we need to look for drug users, sellers and smugglers here. It is American dollars, a few bucks at a time for cocaine, and meth, and other drugs that are fueling this war. We can help our Mexican brothers, and ourselves by fighting the use of illegal drugs in this nation; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Check It

As a supervisor have you ever gone back to a crime victim and asked them how a officer handled a call? Were they helpful, compassionate, safe, efficient? The citizens, particularly the victims are our "customers" and customer satisfaction should be a priority. Sometimes officers think of crime reports or victim contacts are a bother, but that's what the job is all about.

Officers who are good with the victims are more likely to get them to cooperate in later court appearances, and in providing additional information that may turn up later. The good supervisor will check on the performance of his people now and then, rather than simply assume that the officers are doing a good job because there are no complaints.

When doing a follow up, the supervisor does not have to tell the victim the real reason for the visit, simply tell they you are following up on the incident. Tell the victim you want to know how they are doing and if they have resumed their normal lives. Find out if they need any information about the court process or crime prevention tips. Ask if the officer who initially responded answered their questions and was polite and courteous. It is good PR for the department and allows the supervisor to include specific examples of good police work when he writes an annual review of the officer. A particularly good or bad bit of police work can result in a commendation or additional training; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 14, 2010


It's summer time, and time for fun in the water. Swimming pools, lakes, rivers, oceans of fun for everyone, until it's not. Can you swim? I think swimming should be taught in every police academy. Officers are often the first responders to a drowning victim and may have to perform a water rescue. Being able to swim would sure be helpful. Just about every year one or two officers drown.

Did you know there is body armor that will float? If you work on a boat or where there is a lot of water, maybe you should consider getting that type. If you work around a lot of water, maybe you should keep a life vest in your trunk. Grab it out of your car, throw in your Sam Browne and then go do the rescue. It does not pay for you to jump in and become another victim.

Can you do CPR? We do CPR training every two years. Drowning victims are often little kids. While my enthusiasm for giving CPR to some junkie who just got shot is low, a six year old who got pulled out of a pool is a different matter. In our most recent class they said some places are teaching 200 chest compressions before any breaths. That can go a long way towards keeping a little kid alive until EMS can arrive and take over; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Top 4 Newest Trends For Car Thieves

Car theft is actually going down nationwide. The effects of better anti-theft technology, three strikes laws to keep car theives locked up and better policing are driving auto theft down. The new cameras that read license plates and run them for wanted vehicles will be the next big thing. It will dramiticlly increase the rate of vehicle recovery. Simply driving down the street and running every plate you pass is a great system.

One of the major trends that is continuing to be a problem is carjacking. This is a particularly dangerous crime. Carjackers are frequently armed, often with guns, and will often use violence to get the car that they want. Carjackers sometimes become kidnappers when the vehicle they steal has a kid, often in a car seat, inside.

When a carjacking is reported and the time delay is not great, try and intercept the suspect vehicle. Rather than have ten cars race to the scene of the crime, have units respond to freeway on ramps, major intersections, and wait for the stolen vehicle to drive past. One unit should go to the scene to get good information. Not only the basic make, model, and color of the stolen vehicle, but anything distinctive about the vehicle. Big antennas, bumper stickers, roof racks, and such can all help to differentiate one grey Honda Accord from another. Carjackers are dangerous criminals, not just ordinary car thieves; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Sometimes a suspect pulls a weapon, maybe not a gun, maybe a bottle or a knife. Perhaps they have a club, or, even one I had to deal with once, a can of spray adhesive. Or maybe they just ball up their fists and want to fight. Sometimes, the pepper spray is not appropriate. Sometimes, you don't have a Taser, or maybe there is more than one suspect to deal with.

Sometimes, you just have to hit someone with your baton. When that time comes, hit the suspect as hard as you can. There is no half-power hitting. When you hit with the baton, use all your strength. One good, solid hit will often end the fight. A baton is a very good weapon, but only if you use it properly. If you hit a suspects wrist hard enough to break it, but you make him drop that broken beer bottle, then you may have just saved his live, because you did not have to shoot him. If you don't hit him hard, and he keeps threatening you or someone else with that beer bottle, you may have to hit him again and again, until he drops the bottle.

The people watching from across the street will not see you using half-strength when you hit the suspect five times. They will only see that you hit the suspect five times. They will see you hit a suspect five time, who only have needed to be hit once, if you struck with full strength. If you have to use the baton, use it full strength; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Don't Take Chances

Don't give the bad guys a chance to kill you. Dress well in your uniform, shined shoes, sharp leather gear, clean shaven and well rested and alert. Look like you know what you are doing and you have won half the battle. If you can't shine your shoes, why would a killer think you can shoot?

When you arrive at the scene, take charge. If it is a traffic collision, traffic stop, suspicious person, robbery, or any other incident. People call the police because they can't deal with the problem and they want someone to come and fix it for them. You are a peace officer, restore the peace. Too often officers are murdered because they allow the suspect to run around out of control. They let the suspect get to a gun or other weapon, the fail to control the suspects hands.

When I am on a traffic stop, I make the occupants stay in the car during the whole procedure. It keeps them together and it means they have to move quite a lot in order to make an attack on me or my partner. I check the trunk, and the back seat as well as the floor. Suspects sometimes hide in the trunk or modify the vehicle to shoot out the back. Some suspects are using rear facing cameras now to observe the police on traffic stops. While running the plate and writing the ticket, make sure to observe the occupants. Approach the car the second time, with just as much caution as you did the first time. Don't give the bad guys a chance; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Booby Traps, Bombs, Bazookas

The city of Hemet, California and Hemet police department have been under siege for the whole year. Someone or some group has been attacking them with booby traps, rockets and bombs. So far, no officers have been killed, but it is just a matter of time. Any of these attacks could have been fatal. The suspects have not set a pattern of attack, they are using a variety of techniques to try and murder officers.

The department has had a number of leads and they have made many arrests, but the attacks keep on coming. Street gangs, biker gangs and others have been targeted in sweeps but they have not lead to those responsible for the attacks. They now have a reward of $200,000 out for the arrest and conviction of the suspects.

Terrorism has come to American shores. Fifty years ago, this kind of thing did not happen here, but it is on the increase and it seems we are powerless to stop it. But we do have techniques and methods. Awareness is the first step. Know that someone may be targeting your agency. Watch for snipers, and bombs and booby traps in your agency parking lot and near the entrances to your agency buildings. Watch your car and park it where it is protected whenever possible. Investigate suspicious persons and packages, don't dismiss them as probably nothing. Complacency kills, don't let it kill you; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Glock Gen 4

Gen 4 Glock: A Look at the New Features :: Guns Holsters and Gear

The most popular police firearm in the USA is getting some new features. My agency uses the Glock and I am a Glock armorer. It is a good gun, but it does have some limitations. We issue both the .40 caliber Glock 22 and the .45 ACP Glock. Both have large pistol grips and can be difficult for most women and small men to grasp well. The magazine well and back strap are very large. We have female officers who shoot it and shoot it well, but I think it would be better if the grip could be a bit smaller. It seems to be one of the things they are fixing.

I have never liked the magazine release, it is just too small and so difficult for many people to operate. Since you have to use the magazine release frequently, it should be large and easy to get to it, on either side of the frame would be best. I also don't like the slide release very much. We train using the support hand to function the slide to chamber a round, in part, because it does not take fine motor skills to do that movement. A larger slide release would be welcome.

Each of us is at least a little bit different. That's why shoes come in different lengths and widths. Hands come in different sizes too. Having everyone fire the same basic gun is a good idea, interchangeable magazines and ammunition are a great idea. Having the ability to use your partners gun is a good idea too. Having guns that adapt to the shooter is also a good idea; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bomb Attacks

Retail's BIG Blog Dept of Homeland Security asks retailers to step up vigilance

The Department of Homeland Security put out an alert to retailers. They have indicated that there may be attacks on retail stores. One of the big concerns is attacks that use explosives. Materials to make bombs can be as simple as fertilizer and fuel oil. Small purchases over a period of weeks, months or even years can build up a significant stockpile.

Some bombers will create a single massive bomb and use it to destroy an occupied building. The first attack on the World Trade Center in NYC or the Oklahoma City Bombing fit this profile. This type of bombing gains tremendous publicity, but is difficult to pull off an attack of this type. The target will usually be one of great financial importance or a government building. Large stadium type structures are also potential targets.

Smaller bombs are sometimes used as well. They are often placed on vulnerable targets. Aircraft and railway systems for example. Even a small bomb can bring down an aircraft or derail a fast moving passenger train or subway train. Sometimes small bombs are exploded at a target as a diversion, the real attack will happen elsewhere after all the first responders for an area have arrived at the scene of the first attack. The other scenario is the small bomb that is used to create an opportunity for a second attack. They set off a larger bomb to kill the first responders. Or they set off a bomb to explode in the evacuation areas. Be aware of potential bomb attacks; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cops on TV

Live action police shows are a good idea. I remember years ago telling my wife that we had arrested a man and once he was handcuffed and placed in the backseat of the police car he started banging his head on the side window of the police car. He banged his head on the window glass so hard that he broke out the window. She believed me, but could not really comprehend it until she saw something similar on COPS TV show.

Police doing their jobs, not always perfectly, but trying hard to protect and serve should be seen by the average citizen. The people we protect generally don't see the things we see, sometimes every day. They don't see doctors, lawyers, school teachers who are drunk, on drugs, insanely angry, as they fight police officers, drive drunk, or beat their wives. They can't believe that respected people can act in a foolish and lawless manner.

TV is a very powerful media. I was on television, in the background of a story once and I had numerous people call me about my appearance. There are over 800,000 cops in the USA and some of us make mistakes, but most of us do a good job. I support showing that good work on television so that the good citizens that we work for can see what they are paying for; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shooting Vunerablities

There are predictions that the radical Muslims who have been waging war against the West for centuries may follow the lead of Major Nidal. They might just go to the local gun store, buy a gun, and lots of ammo, and then start shooting up the local crowd of people. In many states, few people carry firearms. At many venues, even the private security guards don't carry guns. Many large gatherings don't have an armed police presence.

Your local shopping mall probably does not have armed guards. When was the last time you walked the mall so you know were the entrances are and the various stores? If someone says there is a guy in the Sears store with a gun shooting everyone, do you know how to respond?

Some mega-churches actually do have armed private security guards, but you probably have churches with five or six hundred people at a service and they probably don't have security. You local high school may have a school resource officer, but what about your junior high school and your elementary schools? Who is keeping your children safe if a radical Muslim with a Glock and a fanny pack full of loaded magazines shows up? Do a risk assessment of your jurisdiction and see how vulnerable, it's the first step in planning a response; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Concealed Carry

Local News Man accidentally shoots himself in testicles Seattle Times Newspaper

A man shopping at a home improvement store had a pistol in his pocket. At some point in his shopping experience, he managed to shoot himself. There are no other details apart from the fact that it was an accident. An accident of this type could be fatal to the man with the gun, or even to a passerby. Gun handling is an important skill, and there are certain things we can do to make it safer.

When carrying a firearm off duty, it should be inside a holster. There are pocket holsters that slide inside a pants pocket. They typically have rubber or similar material on the exterior so they stay in the holster when the pistol is drawn from the pocket. The holster will limit the possibility that the trigger or the hammer will get caught on something and cause an unintended discharge.

The other aspect of carrying a loaded, concealed weapon is to keep your hands off of it. It is there in the event of the need for a handgun, it is not something to play with in your pocket. Handling the gun in your pocket will also draw attention to the fact that you have a gun on you, and you don't want to advertise. Safe gun handling is the start of good tactics; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Long Range Pistol

The Patrol Rifle is an excellent tool. When you know there is a high probably of having to shoot, especially at any distance, the Patrol Rifle is a tremendous asset over the Duty Handgun. The accuracy of the rifle is much greater than the pistol, particularly at longer ranges. Not every officer will have access to the Patrol Rifle. When working as a school resource officer, or when on a low threat level call, the Patrol Rifle may be in the patrol car, or, even at the station.

A school can be a very large place, with massive open spaces. An active shooter situation could mean that you need to take long distance shots, with nothing but a handgun. A sports field, baseball field, football field, with a suspect on the other side, could mean using a handgun to stop a dangerous suspect who could be fifty, even a hundred yards away. Can you make a one hundred or even a fifty yard shot with a handgun? Have you even fired a handgun at a target that is a hundred yards away from you?

Long range shots can be made with a handgun, but they do take practice. When shooting at targets that far away, you must super elevate the weapons. You may even have to aim four or five feet above the target. Visit an outdoor range and try it sometime; you may be surprised at what you can do with a handgun; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Police Test So Easy, It's a Joke MyFoxMemphis Fox 13 News

Police testing should test the information needed by each level of command. So when an officer is testing for sergeant, the test should consist of information needed to perform the job of a sergeant. All of the information needed to pass the test should be freely given to the officers.

When I used to do promotional testing for security patrol supervisors, I had an extensive reading list for the candidates. They had to read certain sections of the State Penal Code that were listed in our Training Manuals, the Company Manual and the Patrol Manual. This had several beneficial effects. On their own time, the officers were reading company manuals! The tests were taken directly from the manuals. There were 100 fill in the blank questions. I took a sentence out of the manual, left on one key word and the officers had to write in the exact word that was missing from the sentence. A very close synonym was permitted, but I had to have at least two people give the same answer on a give test question in order to count it as correct.

To validate the test, once it was done, and graded, I would review all the incorrect answers, with special attention to any that were missed by more than one officer. If there was a typo or error in the answer key, the test question was thrown out. Passing score was 80%. It was only a part of the testing process. The other part was an oral interview. I always had myself, representing the training department, one other patrol supervisor or manager and an Human Resources person. With HR on board it helped to validate the testing process. Once the written and oral boards were done, it resulted in a list of officers who are approved for promotion. It was up to each regional patrol manager to then interview and promote from that list. The process seemed to work quite well; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Two For One

Back in the olden days the gunfighters used to carry several weapons. They knew it was often faster to draw a new weapon than to reload an empty one. Even today with speedloaders and magazines that's not bad advice sometimes. When using the Patrol Rifle or the Police Shotgun, if you run out of ammunition and the suspect is close by, it may be best not to bother to reload.

Draw your duty hand gun and continue to fight. Reloading the Shotgun or Rifle can take a couple seconds. You should be able to draw and shoot in less than one second. If you can't, you need to practice until you can. Gun fights are typically over in only seconds. If you have deployed the Patrol Rifle or Police Shotgun and it malfunctions, or runs out of ammunition, it is much faster to simply go for the handgun.

Sometimes when we look to our history we can find information to help us today. The law enforcement officers of the past often had to work alone, and often had to face dangerous armed men. They knew that carrying more than one gun was an important survival tip; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Running Up the Score - Article - POLICE Magazine

There has been a trend that started a few years ago to stop counting firearms qualification scores and just have shooters pass or fail. The agency I work for does this, they are concerned with potential liability if an officer who does not get a shooting badge is involved in a shooting and misses the target, but perhaps strikes someone else. They don't want to have to explain why this officer is not as good as the next officer who has a shooting badge.

To my mind there are many reasons to go to the range. The most important reason is to become proficient in the safe and effective use of the duty firearms so that if the officer needs to shoot, he can do so in a manner that is effective against the threat, and safe for those who are not a threat. I don't believe that this has to be in conflict with awarding shooting badges, or even increased pay for performance awards. I think shooting badges should be based on simple marksmanship. Marksmanship is the basis for all other shooting. It is a basic police skill, not an advanced tactical skill.

I see no reason not to perform Qualification of Marksmanship skills once a quarter, every six months or even annually. On the basis of that the officer can wear a little pin until the next year that attests to his proficiency. I never underestimate the value of rewards, and positive reinforcement that these little pins can provide. The other training all the other months of the year can concentrate on tactical skills, low light, multiple targets and the like; that's what the SGT Says.