Thursday, September 30, 2010

On Duty

Officers dropping off their dry cleaning.
Officers picking up their dry cleaning.
Officers getting their personal car repaired.
Officers going to parties.
Officers sleeping at the station.
Officers sleeping in their patrol cars.
Officers going to the uniform store.
Officers going to the hardware store.
Officers going to the grocery store.
Officers going to the liquor store.
Officers buying a lottery ticket.
Officers watching television.
Officers playing video games.
Officers visiting their old girlfriends.
Officers visiting their ex-wives.
Officers visiting their new girlfriends.
Officers visiting their new wives.

Over the years I have seen officers do all of these. Which ones are proper behavior while on duty in uniform? None of them, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pursuit, Memphis News, Weather, Sports & Traffic - WREG

Police chase ended in a fiery crash in Tennessee. The police used spike strips and managed to flatten three tires, but the suspect still kept driving away, finally crashing into a truck and having his vehicle burst into flames.

Vehicle pursuits are dangerous to the public, the officers and the suspect. This pursuit was a good example of that. Many times officers who are placing spike strips miss the timing and they are struck by the suspects car, or sometimes even civilians or other officers. The suspect will sometimes try and avoid the strips and strike others.

Many officers fail to wear their seat belts. They claim they will put them on if they have to go in pursuit but they won't wear them at slow patrol speeds. Putting on a seat belt is a huge distraction while trying to talk on the radio and drive at high speed. Keep your seat belt on at all times when the vehicle is in motion; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tires and Shooting

Shooting at moving vehicles is not usually a good idea. A handgun round will seldom do enough damage to a car to disable it in a timely manner. If you shoot at the driver, rather than the vehicle, you may cause him to stop out of fear or injury. Just as our police cars offer limited cover, so do suspect vehicles.

Shooting out the tiers looks great in the movies, but what about real life? We have all seen video of suspects driving away in a vehicle pursuit by driving on the wheel rims. Many tires are reinforced with steel, even Kevlar! Many of you will remember seeing pistol ranges with tires as part of the back stop. Some bullets will actually bounce back after being shot into an inflated tire, and that’s not good!

Shooting out the radiator will eventually stop the car, but to get a good hit will require that you shoot at the car from the front. Do you really want to be in front of the suspect’s car when you are shooting at it? As in most shootings, if a suspect tries to run you over, lateral movement to cover is one of the best options. Even if you shoot and kill the suspect, the momentum of the car will likely run you over. Still, if you must shoot at a moving vehicle, shoot at the driver, not the car; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Facebook and other social networking sites can be a lot of fun. Sharing information, photos, birthday greetings and other social pleasantries on line is easy and free. There are several problems with these site that many officers overlook.

A network is pointless unless it connects people together. Lots of people. Any people who know your name can look you up. How many criminals, suspects, victims know your first and last name? Do you want every child molester you arrest to have photos of your children he downloaded from Facebook?

The things you write on Facebook stay there until you take them down. So an off hand comment you make five years ago is still there. The photo of you drinking a beer that was taken when you were not yet a cop is still there. Do you want a defense attorney to have those photos and comments? Something to think about, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Armor All

Old armor can also be donated to reputable organizations that can give it to agencies that need it, often in other countries. While our budgets are not large, imagine how low they are for police in Third World nations. Old armor is better than no armor. Old armor should not be given to other agencies in the USA, we are rich enough to afford armor for all our officers.

Old armor should not be re-sold or given to people outside law enforcement. While I support the right of every American to buy and own armor, they should buy it new. Used police armor should be used by police or disposed of properly. Contact your armor maker for information on how to dispose of old armor, rather than toss it in the trash.

I don’t believe that an agency should make routine wearing of armor mandatory; however, they should take every step to make officers want to wear it. I used peer pressure to make my officers wear it, both when I was an officer and later as a supervisor. Almost all of them wore armor, eventually. Officers who are killed while wearing armor should get more life insurance. Even if their death would not have been prevented by wearing armor, officers who do not wear it are taking more of a risk than those who do wear it. Officers should have it noted in their annual performance review that they do or do not wear armor. Officers who do not consistently wear their armor should receive smaller raises and fewer, if any, promotions; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More Armor

What do you do with old body armor that has been worn and fitted to an officer? If the officer is terminated or quits he should turn in his old armor. If the old armor is simply replaced with new armor because it has been five years, the officer should be allowed to keep his old armor, if he wants it.

Even old armor will provide some measure of protection for about ten years after purchase. It is not good enough in my opinion that it should be re-sold or re-issued. Officers deserve new armor. I keep my old armor at home. If there is an incident at home or between work and home I can put it on to protect me. My regular armor is at work in my locker, I don’t drive it back and forth between work and home.

Retired armor can be used for several purposes. It can be used to permanently armor your vehicles. A five year old piece of armor can be put into a new police car door or firewall to provide protection for the expected life of the car on traffic stops or anytime on patrol.

Old armor can be shot at the range by the former wearer. It gives officers a better feeling about the ability of the armor to stop bullets if they get a chance to shoot at it. They should first shoot their duty weapon, back up weapon, patrol rifle and finally shotgun slugs into their old armor. They should inspect the armor after every type of round has been fired to see the results of the different kinds of weapons. The armor ideally should be mounted on a simulated human shaped target stand with a firm back. Armor that is not supported will not function properly, as it would while being worn.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Armor Issue

Companies spend a lot of money every year, as does the government trying to develop better body armor for police. We lose about 120 officers a year, killed in the line of duty. Many of those who are shot and killed would be saved if they just wore exiting armor. Many still complain that armor is too hot, too stiff, too heavy, and too uncomfortable. That’s all true. It’s also true that compared to even a few years ago, armor is more flexible, lighter, and thinner than ever. It also highly effective at stopping pistol rounds.

As a piece of safety equipment, agencies should issue customer fitted armor to every officer and replace it every five years. No uniformed employee should work a single sift without armor. I include every uniformed police employee who works in the field, regulars, reserves, parking control, animal control and anyone else who makes arrests or writes tickets.

The whole agency should not get armor all at once. Every year 20% of all existing and all knew hires, should get new armor. That makes it an ongoing expense that is easy to plan for at budget time. It also makes it easier to coordinate measuring and distribution of the new armor. By doing 20% per year it also prevents the cost from being a huge balloon in the budget, which sometimes delays the purchase of armor. Buying armor for everyone all at once can be so expensive that some agencies, especially when budgets are tight may not have the funds to spend on armor, so everyone gets their armor held back, sometimes for years.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Want Work?

Want to get hired by a police department as a cop? There are many steps to take to get to that.

Don't use drugs. Not any. Even if marijuana is given to you at a party and you intend to use it only once, the answer is no.

Pay your bills. Good people pay their bills, on time, every time.

Get and keep a job. Almost any job will do as long as it is good decent work.

Start getting into shape now. Run, do push ups and pull ups, a lot of them, right now.

Take an English course at the local community college. If you have trouble reading, writing, spelling, or putting together a paragraph then go back to school and take a class that will help. Don't take police science classes, or go to the range, until you can write well.

Go on a ride along with a few agencies. Target at least three agencies to apply to and ride with them at least once. Learn about the agency and about the city or area they work, including the city government.

Obtain and fill out applications fully. Have someone else look over the application before you send it in. Go to all the appointments for testing. Failing to show up, is failing.

Plan you work and work your plan, that will get you hired; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Many agencies when they send the fire department to a fire alarm at a residence call, will also notify the police department. One thing to remember about fire alarms made for home and small businesses is that sometimes they are a push button and it may be located next to the “emergency” alarm button. This will sometimes result in the homeowner intending to push the emergency button for a criminal act, but pushing the fire button by mistake.

When responding to a fire alarm, until you are certain it is a fire, consider that it could be a crime just occurred or in progress. Remember too that arson is a crime and sometimes other crimes are concealed by arson. Burglary and murder are common crimes that a criminal may attempt to cover up with an arson fire.

Make note of vehicles leaving the scene, just as you would with a robbery or burglary alarms. Approach the location with caution, even if you see smoke or fire. An arsonist will often stay to watch the building burn. Don’t park out front and don’t block the fire hydrants. The fire department will respond a large number of trucks to a structure fire and you don’t want to be trapped inside their perimeter. I like to drive past the location and get a quick look at the front and check for fire and smoke. Take the fire extinguisher with you as you run back to the location. A real fire is noisy and will often draw neighbors to look. I always ask if anyone is still inside, my primary goal is getting the residents out over making an arrest for arson; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Budget Time

In these times of declining budgets it is important to show value for the money spent on the services we perform. On way to do this is to document everything that we do at work. Call in everything to dispatch. It’s a good idea for officer safety; it is a good idea to document activity too.

Supervisors and managers often use statistical analysis to show the need for more officers or to justify existing manpower levels are needed to maintain service. The bean counters in accounting use low activity levels as a justification to cut existing jobs. If they show that one hundred officers handled one hundred calls, wrote two hundred tickets, and made three hundred traffic stops, that’s only six incidents per officer per shift.

By documenting every time you stop for a citizen flag down, give directions to a lost tourist, push a disabled car off the road, stop a car but don’t write a ticket you can greatly increase your statistical profile and better document your activity to reflect your value. Rather than avoid taking reports, write a short report to document the activity you perform. Showing productivity is important; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Firearms Safety and Responsibility

An off duty officer placed his duty rig in the back of his personal car. His Glock was loaded and in the holster. There were several toy guns in the vehicle as well. He also put his three year old child in the back seat of the vehicle too. The child was not in a child seat as required by law. After a little while, the child took what he thought was a toy gun and shot the officer in the back, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Toy guns should never be co-mingled with real guns. The chance for error is too great. Children should never handle real guns without the direct supervision of the parent or firearms instructor. There is no real reason to place a loaded weapon in a duty rig on the floor of a vehicle. It should be either unloaded and secured in a gun case or worn on the body or concealed in the center console or glove box; depending on the local laws and your intent for having the gun. Children less than four years of age in California have to be secured in a child safety seat whenever they are in the car. Traffic collisions kill and injure thousands of children per year in the US and these seats help to prevent that from happening.

This entire incident was fully the responsibility of the officer. He failed to secure his firearm. He failed to unload his firearm. He failed to properly supervise or secure his child. If he wanted to leave his loaded gun in his duty rig he could have put it in his trunk or at least on the floor on the front passenger side where it would be out of the reach of his child. The officer then had the gall to sue the firearms manufacturer, the holster manufacturer, the agency he worked for and the gun shop that sold him the firearm. The suit was thrown out of court. If you are responsible enough to carry a firearm, then carry it responsibly; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Card Keys

Many offices are increasing security to try and prevent active shooters from gaining access to their property. Some are using access cards as a way to restrict entry to any but authorized persons. The access card system is a very good way to keep low level entry attempts from happening and to monitor when authorized person enter and leave.

There are many drawbacks to these systems, however. Employees will try to be polite and will hold the door open to people they assume are authorized; they will press the elevator button to allow access to floors for others when requested. Unauthorized parties will loiter near doors and wait until an authorized person enters or exits and then will piggyback on their access badge. None of these methods of gaining entry require any particular planning or expertise.

Second tier entry techniques can also be used if the employees have modest security awareness. Suspects will attempt to steal badges from employees’ purses or coats at local restaurants. Suspects will break into cars parked in nearby parking lots to steal badges left in cars while employees are at lunch. Some suspects will also enter via the lobby and pretend to be employees, contractors or other authorized visitors on the hopes the receptionist will allow them entry. An access system can be helpful, but it is of no real value against determined suspects; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Death to Murderers

Washington state is using lethal injection that involves one chemical injected into the person to be executed as their method of execution. I support the death penalty. Those who do not support the death penalty, but rather say that such persons convicted of terrible crimes should be kept in prison forever should be required to guard those prisoners.

Guards on death row are zookeepers in the worst zoo in the world. They are dealing with the most intelligent, most dangerous predator in the world. They are dealing with animals that have shown they will kill humans without any remorse or hesitation. Would you like to swim with sharks every day or walk with wild tigers in a locked room with you? That is what prison guards working death row face every day.

What happens when a prison who has done murder, kills again? They kill their cell mate, another prisoner or a guard? How do you punish that person more than you already have if you have no death penalty? No matter what you do, there is always the possibility that that criminal could be let go, escape or kill inside the prison. The death penalty is the only way to be sure the criminal will not kill again. With elections coming up here in the US we as law enforcement need to make sure that those our unions endorse support the issues important to us, including the death penalty for cop killers; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Burglary

Short of a medical emergency or an active shooter, time is usually on our side. When you have a potentially dangerous call, but don't have a lot of resources, remember, time is a resource too. When I arrive at a burglary alarm call, I turn down my radio volume and stand near the front of the premises and listen. For breaking glass, voices, barking dogs, anything that will tell me there may be people still here.

I move slowly and keeping under cover or concealment as best as I can, I check the front of the property. Knowing that the front door is often the point of entry or point of exit I like to check it soon. I then move to the side of the house that will allow me to enter the back yard without having to go over the fence. I stop and listen several times when I am checking, sometimes you will hear the homeowner talking and it is obvious there is no crime.

On doors and windows look for dust and spider webs that have been disturbed. Check the window screens and see if they have been cut or if they have been pulled away from the window. Look at the ground under the window and see if there are footprints on the ground in the direction of the window. Be sure to check near the house too, the burglar or a lookout can be waiting in the yard, on the roof, in an outbuilding or even in a tree. Careful and slow checking will find what you are looking for; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Burglary Investigation

You are on patrol and receive a call of a burglary alarm. Most burglary alarms do not indicate a burglary, but most do indicate something has happened that set off the alarm. Most of the time they are user error of some kind. The homeowner locks the lock in the doorknob and closes the front door on their way to work. They set the alarm, but failed to latch the door. Soon after they leave the property the door blows open and activates the alarm.

When you arrive, the front door is open, the knob is locked and there is no forced entry. This is not an alarm caused by a burglary but is still an important alarm. The homeowner will not have to be gone at work all day with the front door of his home open to the elements, wind, rain, criminals. This type of alarm is very common in residential activation.

The front door is also one of the most common points of both entry and exit of criminals. Many crooks like to enter via a back door or window and then exit by the front door. The rear yard entry allows the crook to enter unobserved. The front door allows them to exit quickly to a waiting vehicle and carrying a heavy load they may not be able to drag over a fence. The front door, and important part of burglary alarm investigation; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Burglary Response

An officer in Louisiana was murdered by three armed suspects while investigating a burglary in progress call. A brave officer gave his life to perform his duty. A neighbor reported the sound of broken glass. There are some noises, like the racking of a shotgun, that are very distinctive, the sound of glass breaking is one of those noises. When someone reports breaking glass, it indicates a very high likely hood of an actual crime in progress. Vandalism if not auto or residential or commercial burglary often feature broken glass as a major element of the crime.

When responding to a burglary in progress call there are several factors to take into account. How long has it been since the crime was reported, and is there an obvious point of entry into the property? If it has been a short time and there is a known point of entry, then the officer should generally not enter the building.

The best tactic is to surround the building, deploy shotguns and patrol rifles at likely exits and wait for the suspects to attempt to exit. Ask for both air units and dogs to respond. Most burglars don't spend very much time inside. They know the longer they are inside the more likely it is they will be captured. Usually you won't have to wait long. From a position of cover you can order the suspects to the ground and take them into custody, because you have the advantage. If you have to go in, you can send the dogs. If the suspects escape your perimeter, you have the air unit. Burglars can be dangerous, take every advantage; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lead By Example

Are you living by example? Do you buckle your seat belt, it's not just a good idea, it's the law. Do drive the speed limit? Do you signal your turns? Do you keep your car registered and insured? Is your car registered in your state, not out of state where the registration fees are lower?

Do your have kids? Are you raising them right? Are you living with their mother? Are you married to her? If not, why not? If not, ask her to marry you today. If she is good enough to have your kids she is good enough to marry, right now, today. As cops we blame the parents and one of the best things parents can do is take care of each other for the sake of the kids.

Do you pay taxes on all your income? Even the side jobs? Even the little side jobs? Do you have receipts for all those income tax deductions? Do you smoke dope? Do you drink and drive? Do you go to church regularly and take the wife and kids? You should, start today, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Florida Deputies Handcuff 7-Foot Alligator - News - POLICE Magazine

A large and dangerous alligator was nearing school children and so a group of deputies captured the animal and waited for animal control to come and take it away. All in a days work for those in alligator country. If you work patrol for very long you are bound to encounter animal problems. I have found that a good pair of leather gloves, a catch pole, rope and dog biscuits and Taser and baton will handle most animal problems.

The leather gloves allow you to remove the dead cat or possum from the roadway without having to touch it and get fleas or worse on you. It also protects you from the claws and teeth when it turns out to be not quite dead. The catch pole can help capture that loose dog, or even alligator and get a rope around the neck or mouth. A baton can keep a dog at bay, most will bite the baton rather than your leg.

A scared house pet who has escaped or who is keeping you out of the yard can sometimes be calmed down with a dog biscuit and a few soothing words. If not the electrical crackling noise of the Taser test will normally scare most dogs back into their dog house where they will remain long enough for you to check the property for a break in. A rope can help tie up a loose dog who just wants to go home, and make a leash so you can get him back where he belongs. I have also been known to just sit in the car with the windows rolled up until the Rottweiler's got bored and ran off too; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What Else?

Other than read this blog, what else did you do today? Today was Sunday, did you go to church? Did you spend time with the family? Did you go to a ball game, watch TV, read a book? Did you do anything that was not police related?

One of the reasons the divorce rate is high and the suicide rate is high for cops and retired cops is we eat, drink, sleep police work and set everything else aside. We are on the job 24/7 and all our friends and often relatives are in security, the military, police work or firemen. We don't know anything else. While I think law enforcement should be a lifestyle, not just a job, we need to remember we are people too.

Take care of the family. Spend time with the kids and the spouse, even if you are divorced, especially if you are divorced. They need you and the guidance you can give them, even if they say they don't want it. You need them too. It keeps you from just talking to cops all day. And get a non-law enforcement hobby. Read science fiction or westerns, go to a movie without police cars in it, collect stamps or ride a jet ski. Become a more well rounded person; and it will help keep your stress level down; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Rookies don't get killed very often. Officers who have 5 or more years in service seem to get killed with greater frequency. Officers near retirement often get killed too. Complacency is the common factor there. Rookies see everything as new and potentially dangerous. Older officers worry about the "kids" and so they are more likely to back them up.

Officers with lots of experience are less likely to call for back up. Their partners are able to dismiss the need to check on their partner because they know what they are doing. Older officers often let their pride get in their way without asking for help on a simple traffic stop or burglary investigation.

It is complacency that gets use killed. It is the desire to do it alone that gets us killed. It is our pride that gets us killed. It is our ignoring danger cues that gets us killed. It is our failure to take due care of ourselves that gets us killed. We stop calling for backup. We stop searching carefully. We think we can handle anything that comes our way. We learned on 9/11/2001 that some things are beyond our ability to take care of on our own. As nation we acted like an officer who was near retirement. As individuals and as a nation we need to stay sharp, stay aware, stay safe; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 10, 2010


When you search a suspect, search all of him in a systematic manner. I wear rubber gloves when I can. Anything in their hands, purse, or backpack gets secured in or on the patrol car or on the ground away from them before I begin. I like to start by handcuffing the suspect first if they are under arrest. So I do a quick search of the small of the back and waistband near the handcuffs. I ask if the suspect has any guns, knives, bazookas on them or anything else that may hurt me. Anything they respond yes about is removed immediately. I then start at the top and work my way down. Hat gets removed and inspected.

I flip up the collar and check the inside. I work from the center out to the sides, from the front to the back, and from the top to the bottom. When possible, I turn pockets inside out and leave them that way. Anything in the pockets gets inspected if it could be a weapon or contain a weapon. Keep in mind that a cell phone or wallet can contain a gun, tear gas or edged weapon. Anything that could be a weapon gets removed from their person and secured. I typically give it to my partner if possible.

Pay special attention to pockets, waistband, under the belt and belt buckle. The shoes and socks often contain various weapons and should be carefully checked. If the suspect is wearing boots or big or thick shoes I will sometimes have them remove their footwear, but usually that waits for booking at the jail. Suspects hide weapons everywhere you can think of, so search there; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Traffic Collision

A police officer stopped to help a stranded motorist. He was killed when a hit and run driver struck the stopped car and hit him. The officer was 54 years old, had twenty years of service as an auxiliary officer. Same as me.

The most routine incidents can result in death when you work as a cop. Bad drivers and drunk drivers are very dangerous and they kill many tens of thousands of Americans every year. When we are on foot near a roadway, we need to remember those facts. We need to pull off the roadway as far as practical, or use our emergency equipment to warn approaching motorists that there is a hazard.

Keep in mind that a car blazing down the street may hit your unit or the other car. Try and place yourself in a position where you won't be injured in the resulting collision. Keep in mind that the vehicles that are struck may move a long distance and strike the officer or others near the vehicles. Anything you do can get you killed unless you are very careful and sometimes even then; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tactical Advantage

Shooting fast and accurately are excellent skills for an officer to have. As long as the officer's goals are met, it is better to avoid a shootout. Routine traffic stops happen every day. You only know when one has happened until after it is over. Keep your position of advantage, keep your weapon away from the suspect. Watch the suspects hands. Make the suspect obey your commands. Be aware of danger cues and respond to them.

Call for back up whenever you think you need it. Wait for back up unless it puts innocent lives in danger. Use your shot gun or patrol rifle whenever you think your suspects are armed with deadly weapons and more than only a few feet away. Use contact and cover tactics to maintain the advantage over the suspects.

Handcuff and then search suspects whenever you can. Do a complete search and do one every time you take custody of someone, even if your partner has already searched them. Never handcuff in front if at all possible. Maintain every tactical advantage and try to avoid giving the suspects the chance to shoot you; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shot Fast

Recently at the range I was able to get two officers to shoot at the same time. They were both good shooters and good officers. I had them stand at about fifteen feet from the target, their weapons holstered. I told them to draw and fire as many rounds as they needed to fire in order to get two center of mass hits. On the command "Threat" they were to draw and shoot. I told them there was no time limit as such for the event.

They did this a couple times. I then mentioned to one of them that each time he was the slower of the two shooters. I reminded him that while there is no time limit, had he been shooting against a suspect who was as fast as his partner, that he may have taken hits prior to his getting any rounds off. The next round of fire the 'slow' officer was much faster.

So naturally, I had to challenge the 'fast' officer to keep his speed advantage. I continued to remind them both that there was no time limit on the course of fire. I also reminded them that in the field there was no time limit either, other than the amount of time it takes to win the confrontation. They both shot much faster by the time we were done. A little competition can be a good thing on the range; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hi Rise Incidents

A man went into the Discovery Channel building and took hostages in a domestic eco-terrorist incident. He had a gun and some kind of explosive device around his waist. He threatened people and eventually was shot and killed by police. It was a high rise building with over a thousand people inside, there was some confusion about how and when to evacuate the building, but most people go out without incident.

Are the high rise buildings in your area ready for a major incident? Would a fire in the lobby prevent evacuation? Who has the authority to order the building to be evacuated in any given emergency? The building manger, the fire department, the police department or someone else? In a multi-tenant building their may be several different people who will want input on when to evacuate the building. Are there security guards there? Are they armed? How many are there?

Have your officers inspected all the high rise buildings in your area? Do you know how to get in, out and up and down, with and without elevators? Your fire department probably does that, but do you know how to get that information in the event of a terror attack? Terror attack, fire, gas leak and many other bad things can happen in a high rise building, are you ready, you need to be; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hop, Skip & Jump

There is a new sport called Parkour. It is running in an urban environment to include running up walls, over fences and obstacles of all types. It is great exercise and those who are good at it look as if they have super spider man type powers. Much of what they do does not seem possible.

This might be a good skill to try to teach in the academy. Teach our young recruits to run and jump over obstacles that the average person would have difficulty surmounting. In the academy here in California they train officers to jump a six to eight feet tall wall. This is an important skill but of somewhat limited utility.

We also need to be aware that this skill my be possessed by the suspects we are chasing. We need to be aware what a fit person who has these skills can overcome obstacles that most of use would never think about climbing over on duty. Suspects with these skills are very dangerous. They will be able to get away when suspects without these skills cannot; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Agent Sues ATF for His Trouble With Hells Angels - AOL News

An ATF agent was undercover investigating the Hells Angels motorcycle gang for nearly a year. Agents who go undercover run a tremendous risk to themselves, their sanity, and their families. There is a terrible strain on officers who have to pretend to be someone they are not. They often have to witness horrific crimes and be unable to intervene to prevent them. They have to participate in criminal activity and use drugs to insure their cover is not blown.

All of this can harm their psychological well being, their marriage, their health and even their lives. It is incumbent on the agency to insure that their people survive physically and mentally from an extended undercover assignment. To fail to do so is reprehensible.

Officers who have to be undercover for a long time should be provided with mandatory counseling from psychologists who understand and work with law enforcement. They should be there to determine fitness for work, but rather to insure the psychological health of the officer. Their reports should maintain a doctor / patient privilege. The officer should be given a shortened work day for a period of time while he writes his reports. He should also be given vacation time to bond again with his spouse and children. Take care of the troops, that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Search Warrant

Detroit Police Say 7-Year-Old Shot in Home Search - AOL News

A terrible thing. A child has been killed by police in a search of a home. The police responded to a home to search for a murder suspect. A female adult relative of the suspect was involved in a confrontation with officers and an officers gun when off. His round struck a little girl who was on the couch.

There is no way that the police intended for this to happen. There is also no reason for the agency to pay a large sum of money to the family, but I suspect they will. I would have the city provide a free funeral for the child with reasonable expenses, but no more than that. The actions of that lead to the death of this child are the direct result of criminal behavior on the part of the murder suspect and his relative.

That is not to say that as police we should not take a look at how we enter homes to serve warrants. Watch the location for a while and see who comes and goes. Phone them and listen to who answers the phone. Do you give enough verbal notice to those inside that the police are knocking down the door? How about a huge loudspeaker blaring out "OPEN THE DOOR, POLICE, SEARCH WARRANT!" Do this about three times in quick succession so that the whole neighborhood hears it. Then there is no doubt that they were warned. Wear the world POLICE on the front, back and sides of your shirt and front and back of your headgear, along with a real badge on your shirt front. Again, make is clear who you are, you don't want the I thought I was being attacked defense. How about a huge spotlight shining into every window so you can see everything, and an air unit overhead with lighting? We need to be certain the people inside know it is the police and these are some ways to do that without a sacrifice of officer safety; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Rioters storm streets after verdict in killing of unarmed black man -

Police brass need to keep an eye on the community when there are high profile cases working through the courts. Officers need to get the latest training in riot control. They need to have the latest in protective gear and less lethal weapons. They need to coordinate with other local agencies to insure mutual aid is ready to respond in an emergency. Extra gear and supplies need to be on hand to equip the whole department and perhaps some for officers from other agencies.

Officers on the streets need to talk to their people on the streets and find out what the word is out there. If tensions are high, local leaders should be solicited to speak to their people to insure things remain calm. The best conflicts are those that are avoided. School resource officers should speak to the kids, they will often tell you everything and know a lot about what is going on.

Individual officers can help too. Keep informed about events in your community. Talk to your co-workers about potential responses. Plan with your family how they will remain safe in an emergency when you are away for an extended period of time. Keep your go-bag ready so you can deploy in a timely manner. Be ready; that's what the SGT Says.