Saturday, December 31, 2011

Little Things

Police: Man Arrested For Carrying 23 Pounds Of Marijuana On Bicycle « CBS Los Angeles

A grown man was riding a bicycle at night on a public street. There was no rear reflector and no headlight on the bicycle. These are two very minor violations of the vehicle code. It’s the sort of minor offense that most officers would simply ignore. In this instance it was the probable cause for the stop that lead to a major drug arrest.

The state vehicle code provides hundreds if not thousands of opportunities for police officers to stop vehicles. Not just cars and trucks, but bicycles too count as vehicles in most states. This bike rider was out at 2:30 in the morning. That is an unusual time to be riding a bicycle but is not criminal.

What matters is the stop has to be objectively reasonable. Since the person stopped was committing two crimes, no headlight and no tail reflector, the person can be legally stopped while the officer conducts an investigation into those crimes. If during the stop the officer discovers contraband that can be used as the basis for an arrest. Minor crimes often result in the discovery of major criminals; that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Don’t do This


I don’t want to assume that your training was complete so please let me state this for the record. It is very poor police work to purchase drugs for resale on duty in uniform. An officer working for Memphis Police Department tried to purchase a couple different types of drugs for resale, while on duty in uniform.

This type of corruption is appalling. An officer who abuses his position this way should do double the time of other criminals for the same offense. I understand that sometimes on duty officers can be over zealous and use excessive force or make a mistake of face and arrest the wrong person. We all make mistakes. This was not a mistake this was a cold and calculated evil act that brings shame and dishonor to all those who wear a police uniform, especially the uniform of Memphis Police Department.

In a city where this happens the command staff needs to take drastic steps to weed out those others who must surly be out there committing similar crimes. I would recommend immediate drug testing for every member of the department, and a refreshed background check for every officer from Chief to Dispatcher. The background check should be performed by an outside agency and should especially target the financial position of each officer to insure they are not earning an unreported income, particularly by illegal means. I would freeze all hiring until these to minimal steps have been completed and fire anyone who failed the drug screen or background check; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Major Fire

Often we are some of the first ones to respond to a fire and even after it is under control there is a lot for the police to do at the scene. Remember there could be someone killed or injured in the fire, it could be arson or even an arson set to cover a burglary or murder; your fire may be a crime scene. Notify your arson investigator on all major fires. Notify the Red Cross, they can provide food, clothing and shelter to people displaced when their home burns and can provide food and coffee to first responders too.

Notify the gas company, they need to shut the gas lines off and make sure they are safe. Call the electric company, the cable TV company and the phone company. Often their lines are down, or poles are burned and they may have service interruptions down the line, and the electric company may need to shut off and redirect power. Notify animal control or the humane society, if the home or business has pets or livestock they will need care and shelter too. Finding a spot for a half dozen horses after a 3 a.m. stable fire can be a challenge. Advise the water company too, you may be putting a lot of strain on their system and they may want to shut off water to the site.

Deploy reserve officers or Police Explorer Scouts or other non-sworn people to control traffic and set up a perimeter. You will need to redirect traffic for a time, and may have to change bus routes, truck routes, school bus pick up spots too. Your state highway patrol and city crews and state highway crews can be helpful if major routes have be rerouted or closed off. The Salvation Army can provide shelter to people and also help to feed people on site. Child services may be needed if children are left without parents who are in the hospital or even dead. You may need the county coroner too if you suspect a death as a result of the fire. There are many resources to use, make use of them; that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Active Shooter, Follow Up

Twenty officers, five teams of four have arrived at the scene of the active shooter and you are officer number 21 to arrive, do you really need to form another team and go after the shooter? Maybe, or maybe not; if they have engaged the shooter or are chasing him away, then you may be of more help doing something else. Begin to set up a command post. Look for ways to coordinate the rest of the response. Get additional responding officers to escort EMS to the scene of the injured. Start a journal of what is happening on scene, and who is doing what.

Keep alert to additional suspects and the potential for bombs. Have additional responding officers start a slow and careful search of the location looking for additional suspects, suspicious packages, and even victims who are hiding in closets, under beds, or behind closed doors. Begin the triage of the wounded, have officers begin first aid on those with survival able wounds. Some injured can apply direct pressure to their own wounds if you just position them correctly and give them a bandage.

Make note of where wounded people were found and those hiding out too. It is hard to piece it all together later without at least a few notes. Make sure the chief of police and fire have been notified; begin setting up inner and outer perimeters to keep victims, witnesses and suspects inside and friends, parents and others outside. Coordinate with the press and assign someone to talk to them, keep it simple, there has been a shooting and we have one in custody with more information coming soon. Someone has to take charge of the scene so that the assets can be better utilized; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Grenades, Rifle & Handgun

In Belgium a man with a FN rifle, a revolver and at least three hand grenades tossed the grenades at shoppers and opened fire on them with the rifle. He killed or injured well over a hundred people. An active shooter of that type has to be stopped immediately. You can’t wait for back up or even for another unit. You need to deploy your patrol rifle if you have one, or your shotgun, if you have one and go directly to him and shoot him until he is no longer a threat.

My concerns are that this shooter might also be a suicide bomber and could explode as you get close, or he may be working with others who could engage you with fire as you try to take him into custody. First call for all the back up you can get and EMS, with an estimate of casualties. Then move towards where you thing the shooter may be at, the crowd will often be pointing in his direction or moving away from him.

Suspects with this level of determination and planning will often be wearing body armor, so it is a good idea to consider a head shot, you would also avoid shooting explosives that may be on his body. Use cover when you approach and engage at the maximum distance you can. By distracting the suspect and letting him know police have responded, he may stop killing innocent civilians and either concentrate on you, or perhaps even kill himself at that time. Even if you bring the suspect down quickly, keep a distance from him, he may explode or other suspects may reveal themselves. Now it is time to wait for back up to arrive before you move in to take him into custody or give him first aid. Once the suspect is immobilized, time is more on your side; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 26, 2011


The Occupy Movement has created some problems for police. This is intentional; the protestors want problems with the police. They know they will get media coverage if they have confrontations with law enforcement. A group that is peaceful, stands around, makes a few speeches and leaves, picking up their trash behind them won’t get must air time, ask the Tea Party. The more you inconvenience regular people the more air time you will get on television. If you block a street at three in the morning no one cares. If you block a street at evening rush hour, many people care about that. If you camp out in a public park and deny others the ability to go for a walk, walk their dog, feed the pigeons then people care about that too.

Protesters want the police to react to what they do and no matter what the police do they and the media will say it was wrong. Protestors sit down and block a sidewalk. The police ask them to leave and they don’t. Police tell them to leave and they don’t. Police order them to leave or be arrested and they don’t. If the police pick them up and carry them away then the police were denying then the “right to protest.”

Police threaten to use pepper spray, pepper balls, batons, rubber bullets, bean bag projectiles, Mace, dogs, water cannons, or any other weapon then the police will be called brutal and repressive by the media. Remember a free society does not give people the right to do anything they want to do, whenever they want to do it. Even protesters have to conform to certain norms and can’t take rights away from others. In many nations police just show up and start shooting real bullets to end the protest; that’s real police brutality; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bullet Proof

Human skin embedded with spider silk can stop a bullet Raw Replay

Various organizations are working to make a better set of body armor. In this case it’s the body armored. We need better body armor for police. We really don’t protect the head at all; even the ballistic helmets are of minimal value and are not practical for day to day police work. The area under the arms is a huge hole that leaves a big part of the body unprotected. The body armor stops at the top of the belt line, hardly covering the whole body.

We need a lightweight, cool, flexible garment that is bulletproof, fireproof and non-compressible. I have been shot at and I have run into burning buildings. Both are very dangerous activities and armor only provided limited protection. Armor must be comfortable or we won’t wear it. It has to be non-compressible so it will protect us when we are punched or in a traffic collision.

Armor must be flexible or we can’t move around and do our jobs. It must be lightweight or we won’t wear it because it will cause too much fatigue. Better armor has the potential of saving most officers killed in the line of duty, and even saving suspects. We don’t have to be as quick to shoot if we can survive an attack. Better armor, we need it, right now; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


When Things Go Bad - Training -

In a major incident, sometimes there is multiple life threatening events happening all at the same time. So you have to triage. The first thing you do is stop more life threatening events from developing. In an active shooter situation, you deal with the shooter and leave the wounded for follow up officers and medics. Every moment you stop to render aid gives the shooter more time to kill and maim others.

Once things are stabilized you need to do triage. Some people can help themselves. A minor flesh wound to the arm and the victim can apply direct pressure and walk to the paramedic van unassisted. A major arm wound and someone may need to assist them. Victims that are obviously dead or nearly dead should be bypassed in favor of others that you can save. Your rudimentary in the field first aid will not be good enough to save everyone. Save as many people as you can, but don’t spend twenty minutes with one person while three others that you could have saved bleed to death.

Don’t rush into the kill zone to save a partner. Neutralize the threat first or find a proper way to move there with an armored vehicle or shield to protect yourself while you rescue the downed officer. Keep dispatch informed so they can continue to update paramedics, emergency rooms and other EMS personnel. The more they know the better they can help you. Consider body armor and shields and training with your paramedics so you can better respond to an active shooter or similar incident that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Interior Check

You get a call of a burglary alarm and when you arrive as a small office complex you find a door ajar. No sign of forced entry to the door. What do you do? First you should have parked your car so it is not visible from the location and exited your vehicle without slamming the door to maintain the element of surprise. Once you find the open door, notify dispatch and ask for back up. A canine search dog is best, but certainly they are not always available. Wait for your partner from a position of cover where you can see the door and hopefully two sides of the location.

When your partner arrives, check the full perimeter of the location, the door may simply be an exit not entrance spot. Talk to your partner before you make entry about how you want to handle the search. Then make entry, with your loaded shotgun with a round racked into the chamber. Some say you should announce “Police” in a loud voice to warn innocent people and perhaps make hiding criminals give up. Others say you should not announce. I have done both, if I have a tactical advantage I prefer to announce, if I don’t have the advantage, then I would rather not give up the element of surprise. If I do announce, that’s a good time to rack the shotgun, loudly, just inside the door.

Check carefully, and look in any space that can hold a person. Small humans fit into very small spaces. Don’t hesitate in doorways, get into the room quickly. I like to turn on the lights as I enter rooms. It cuts the night vision of the suspect and allows me to see the whole room. Use your flashlight to see into closets, corners and even false ceilings. Don’t be in a hurry to search. If possible, check the roof, sometimes it’s used as a point of entry. A call of the fire department to bring a ladder may be needed if no air unit is available. I used to carry a folding ladder in my supervisor vehicle for just such occasions. Once you have determined the scene is safe, notify the owner. Someone should stay on site until a responsible party arrives. Offer to check the property with them before you leave. They may notice something out of place or missing that someone unfamiliar with the location might miss. Careful checking to catch the crooks and keep yourself safe, that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Value for Services

A city in Minnesota is using private security guards as their police. The guards will not carry guns and will have only limited abilities to perform police functions. They will not work 24 hours per day. They have the sheriffs department to call for incidents that they can’t handle. The guards are substantially cheaper than police.

This happens when people don’t perceive value for the services they receive. People also think that there need to police services is low. It is a low crime area with a very small population so police services were very expensive for them. As a result people felt it was safe and economical to go with private guards.

People want value for their dollars. If they perceive poor value they will look for alternatives. Most police functions will be able to be done by these guards. They can take reports, provide high visibility patrol and respond to minor incidents. All major events will be handled by regular sworn officers. Make your public aware of the value of the service you provide and save you job, that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Someday The End Of The World As We Know It may come. It has been on the way for may entire life. In some ways it has come and gone several times. As a kid we worried about the Soviet Union striking us with strategic missile attack and atomic weapons. TEOTWAWKI came when the Soviet Union collapsed. We used to go to the library to borrow a book. Now the whole world of information, movies, television is right at our computer fingertips.

While I think preparedness is a good thing, I also realize that age, location, health, fitness and motivation play a role too. I am no longer willing to be a survivalist, roaming the wilderness fighting the invaders from Mars, Cuba, Iran, or an oppressive government. Instead I plan on being able to survive any short term disruptions in life. As a result I don’t keep a hundred thousand rounds of ammo, a hundred guns and tens of thousands of dollars worth of precious metals in the house.

I keep enough things on hand to survive a few months after a massive earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, riot, revolution, war, or other disaster. If it lasts longer than that, then I will just have to trust in God for either his protection or his mercy. I keep food in the house that stores well, but not freeze dried; I am not fleeing into the hills. I keep what I eat normally in large quantities that can keep me and the wife going for a long time. In my life I have had just about every emergency at one time or another and I have managed somehow, by the grace of God. I would rather have a big screen television than five new assault rifles. Not that there’s anything wrong with owning five assault rifles, it’s just a choice I have made; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Shooting: Shots Fired At Virginia Tech, At Least 2 Dead

A police officer was murdered on the Virginia Tech campus. He was inside his patrol car on a traffic stop when a third party approached his unit and shot him to death for no apparent reason. The suspect then left the officer and after a little while shot himself. This is the same Virginia Tech that was the scene of the mass murder of 33 people only a few years ago.

This is an excellent example of how liberal reaction does nothing to prevent violent crime. This campus completely reviewed their procedures on security and crime prevention after the last event. As a result they continued their policy of a gun free campus. Students, teachers, administrators who had concealed firearms carry permits were denied their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms in the vain hope that this prohibition would keep bad men with evil intent from doing harm. While the specific motives of this suspect are not yet known, he certainly did have time to go on a killing spree had he wanted to do that, before the alarm was raised.

We saw the result when an armed man murdered a police officer for no reason. The gun free zone concept once again failed to protect a single victim from a criminal with no regard for the law. A little painted sign will not stop a criminal. Students huddled, unarmed in classrooms relying on locked doors for protection. Police swarmed the campus and while the suspect was seen alive by and officer he had killed himself prior to being confronted by the officer. Law enforcement is not just the job of the police. We need all good people to notify the law enforcement when they see suspicious behavior, protect themselves with lights, locks, fences, dogs and alarm systems. They also need to reserve the right to protect themselves with firearms; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Crowd control in 2012: Are you prepared to face the great noise?

Back in the day, when police faced an angry crowd there was usually no camera coverage of the event. Certainly no live coverage and any news coverage that happened was delayed in its broadcast so that the incident was typically hours over before it was seen by anyone. Later as technology has developed, we are faced with instant communication all over the world. As a demonstration happens it seems everyone there has a phone with a camera there and many are streaming live video feeds to people all over the world.

This can cause tremendous problems for law enforcement. The first problem is that people interested in the cause may flock to the scene to assist the protesters. Others who are more interested in violence or looting or even just entertainment may show up to see what is happening first hand. That means a small group of only a few people can swell to thousands on only minutes.

Another new phenomenon is the professional protestor. People who travel the region, even the world to participate in protest, for or against any number of causes are becoming a greater problem. They train to fight the police; they come with equipment to protect themselves from batons and teargas. They are looking for ways to escalate the incident to make the police react. They don’t care about property damage, they don’t care if they get arrested or even hurt, they just want a “good” riot to occur. That means we as law enforcement need to be better equipped, better trained and more professional than ever; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


In police work we are becoming more and more dependant on technological gadgets to help us in our daily work. We drive cars with computer navigation systems. We use the Taser to subdue combative suspects. We write reports on pre-generated computer forms. We collect and retrieve data from massive computer data bases. We use facial recognition and remote fingerprint readers to determine who we are contacting.

What happens on the day all that crashes? If a massive EMP were to happen all the computers could die. A huge virus could crash systems. Even sun spots could bring down network systems over large regions of the country. Sabotage by internal bad actors or even an attack on our systems by a foreign government or transnational group could bring down our computers.

Can your people function without all the gizmos? Do your officers know how to use a baton effectively? Can they find their way around without a navigation system; can they actually read a paper map? Are they able to write a decent report by hand, without a spell checker, and grammar checker? Can you function your dispatch, your jail system without external electricity or without computers? You have to find out some day; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Son Dead

A Chicago police SGT responding to a call of shots fired found his stepson dead of gunshot wounds at the scene. The officer himself had been shot in the same neighborhood over a decade ago. Some areas we work in are very dangerous. Some of them we call home. Sometimes home is in a dangerous area, sometimes crime happens even in nice places.

It is always a possibility that we may come across a friend or relative who has been killed or injured while we are at work. We respond to traffic collisions, domestic disputes, shootings, robberies and it certainly is possible one of the victims or even one of the suspects is a family member or friend.

It is important in those times to allow as much of the call as possible to be handled by other officers. We don’t want to taint a crime scene or be accused of excessive force against a suspect because we were personally involved. Certainly we have to maintain our professional demeanor as much as possible until the situation is stable, at that time we should take a break and become a grieving member of the victims’ family and not try to remain a cop. It is best to avoid doing things that may require us to testify later, we should avoid witnessing the autopsy, reading reports that would not be available to the general public. We need to maintain our distance so we can maintain our sanity; that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 16, 2011


A police officer came home from work, slipped and fell and accidentally shot himself in the wrist. Firearms accidents are rare but they do happen. My sympathies go to out to the office as well as my hopes for a speedy recovery. Perhaps we can all be reminding of the importance of safe gun handling. I don’t know any details about the incident apart from those in the article linked above.

One of the first rules of firearms safety is to treat all guns as if they are loaded, even if you know they are unloaded. That means walking around with the gun; you will keep it pointed in a safe direction. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are actually ready to fire. When we slip or fall our hand muscles often grab for something to hang onto and so if we have a firearm in our hand and our finger on the trigger, we may close our fingers and pull the trigger.

When you get home from work the duty weapon should be in a safe place. There are many safe places for the gun depending on your circumstances. Unloaded inside a gun safe is an excellent place for the gun. Unloaded and inside a locked gun box is another good spot. I don’t like to use my duty gun for home defense, because if I am at work the home defense gun is not there for others to use who may still be home without me. Before you start wandering the house with the gun, it’s probably a good idea to unload it. Keeping the duty gun in the duty holster is not a good idea; it should be inspected every day before going on patrol. Duty holsters can also allow a build up of moisture leading to rust, even on guns that are stainless or mostly plastic. Be safe with your guns, don’t fall to condition white until you know everything is locked up, put away and safe, that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


An officer has a take home car and keeps his patrol rifle in the trunk. The officer noticed after a few days that the patrol rifle was missing. He waited a few more days and eventually reported the loss of the gun to his agency, a couple weeks after he last saw the weapon.

An officer with a take home car should inspect his patrol car every time he enters the vehicle, just as he would in a patrol car that he uses at the station. The officer should not simply assume that nothing has transpired since he last saw the weapons. We do things and forget about it, or others may have access to the vehicle and do something to the equipment.

You should not trust your life and other people’s lives to a gun you have not touched in days or weeks. Every time you go out in that take home car you are in a sense on patrol. So you should be checking on that weapon every time. Make sure it is loaded, make sure it is functioning and make sure it is there. Check your gear, that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Huge Award

Los Angeles Police Department failed to pay officers for overtime they earned as a result of working through their lunch. One officer was awarded over three million dollars because of retaliation against him that resulted in his termination. Three million dollars paid to the officer, millions more in overtime and attorneys’ fees too I am sure.

Police need to make sure that they conform to the wage an hours laws. These types of errors result in costs that don’t serve the public. I understand the nature of police work is that sometimes people have to work through lunch. As a good supervisor you need to take care of your people. That means making sure they get their breaks and their lunch and start and end their shifts on time.

As a field supervisor I used to keep a checklist and make sure that everyone got their lunch. Officers who are hungry will not work at peak efficiency. Even if calls are holding supervisors need to manage their officers’ time and make sure everyone is being taken care of, it’s part of managing your people; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Glock, Smith & Wesson or Colt .45?

This month I got to attend Glock Armorer School again. It is a one day class that teaches how to clean and repair the Glock. It is a very simple gun and is an excellent choice in 9mm for a police recruit. Over 60% of police agencies in the US use the Glock. I am often asked the question, “What would you choose, for yourself, if given the choice of any gun out there?” A complex question that can be answered many ways.

I work as a Reserve Officer for a small police department that borders Los Angeles. We issued the .40 caliber Glock 22 and recently started buying the .45 ACP Glock. For years I have carried the Glock 22 because as an agency firearms instructor I think it is reasonable that I set a good example and carry what the agency issues. I have asked for the .45 when it is available.

As my full time job I work for a major private security company as an armed guard at a Federal facility. It is an office building in Irvine. I carry the S&W 625JM, it's a large frame .45 ACP revolver, six-shot using moon clips. I carry 6 extra moon clips with a total of 42 rounds. I am very good with it, I can shoot 12 rounds in less than 10 seconds and that includes the reload time, starting from a holstered weapon.

As you can guess, I like the .45 ACP round for duty use. The 9mm Glock is good as an academy gun because it is inexpensive to feed, and because the Glock is easy to shoot. Since so many agencies carry it there is a good likelihood the officer will end up at an agency that will use it and he will be well trained in it from the beginning. Different weapons, different circumstances must be considered to find the best gun for a given task; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mind Reading


Several researchers are working on methods to control devices by simply using your mind. They take a net of sensors and the subject wears the net like a cap. The sensors detect changes in the electrical impulses in the brain. Using this technology they have had subjects operate various controls just by using their brains. They operated the gear shift on a car in one test. They are also working to learn what a subject is thinking about and make a three dimensional image of those thoughts. Finally, they are working on techniques to determine what a subject is thinking about.

Ponder the implications for law enforcement if these devices become portable, reliable and inexpensive. Officers could hook witnesses up to machines and learn their story by watching their recollection of the event. This will minimize the need for a skilled interrogator and will insure witnesses are telling the truth.

When officers make an arrest, could suspects be required to wear this device and then made to think about the crime? Or would that violate their right to avoid self incrimination? Could officers involved in an on duty shooting be required to use this device on themselves to discover what they really think happened? Or would police unions argue that cops should be exempt? New technologies and new frontiers of law and investigation might make our jobs easier in the future. Or they may never work in our lifetimes; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wasp Knife

There is a new product out designed for divers to use underwater. It is called the Wasp Knife. It is a large dive knife with a special Co2 cartridge affixed to the knife. The concept is that the diver will stab a big fish and then inject the fish with Co2 gas. The inside of the fish would be frozen by the Co2 and will float to the surface of the water.

This system used on a person would freeze the inside of the body and a strike to the body would probably result in almost instant death. Knife attacks on officers are always very dangerous and this particular knife is even more deadly. There is no real difference in how officers should respond to an attack by this type of knife. Any knife this size is very dangerous.

Officers who find this type of knife need to make sure they contain the knife and handle it carefully so they don’t accidently shoot themselves with the Co2. Officers who find knifing victims who have had a stab wound accompanied by frozen tissue should consider this type of knife as the possible weapon. At just under $500 each this is an expensive weapon and we are not likely to see them used much, but in diving communities they will be around and officers need to be aware of them; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Street Gang, White Collar

Street gangs are adding to their criminal menu. No longer content with drug dealing, drive by shootings, spray painting walls and robbing people in the neighborhood, they are now involved in white collar crime. Rob a liquor store and get thirty dollars and risk getting shot by the owner or the police. Counterfeit a credit card and you can get thousands with very little physical risk. Gangsters who make a lot of money selling drugs have a problem. How do you spend all that money?

The IRS and other agencies are watching large sums of cash as they move about the economy. By performing banking fraud, credit card scams and other financial crimes they can hide some of their criminal gains. Officers who work with gang members should be aware of this move to white collar crime. Identification of while collar crime links can provide a method of stopping gang funding, solving large numbers of crimes and putting criminals away for a long period of time.

White collar crimes can take time to unravel, but often have a paper or electronic trail that can be followed by forensic experts. Look for gang members in possession of financial instruments with other people’s names on them. For in custody suspects, check on the status of financial documents in their possession to insure they are legitimate. Banks and credit card companies have fraud departments that can assist with that investigation. Those red or blue gang colors may indicate a white collar criminal; that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Firearms Safety

A police firearms instructor took his girlfriend to the range and a hot ejected cartridge case went down her blouse. She was so startled that she fired a round through his wrist and into his chest. This is an excellent opportunity to review some safety rules. COL Jeff Cooper has four rules of gun safety:

  1. All guns are always loaded.

  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.

  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

In this instance it seems the girlfriend violated all of them when she accidentally shot her boyfriend. As a shooting instructor when working with a new shooter I try to stand behind the shooter and to the left or right of them. I usually try to keep my hands free in case I need to grab the shooter or the gun.

It is not unusual for a new shooter to turn around and face in the wrong direction, and point their gun at people. It is not unusual for a new shooter to get an expended casing down their shirt or around their neck and panic. As the instructor you need to be ready for that and either direct their gun downrange or take the gun from the new shooter. It only takes a moment of inattention to get someone hurt; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stun Cane

The free enterprise system continues to amaze me with the ability to identify and market products that I would never have considered worthy of purchase. This is a black cane with a flashlight in the grip. There is also a stun gun in the lower end of the cane. The idea is that the stun gun portion is hiding in plain sight. It is activated by a button in the handle of the cane.

There are many devices that look like something safe but are in fact something different and potentially dangerous if not actually deadly. A few years ago there was a company selling pagers and later cell phones that were actually .22 rim fire guns. They were inaccurate; they were probably a danger to the shooter as much as the target, but they were real guns.

I have seen guns that fit into a special wallet and can be fired from inside the wallet. I have seen belt buckles with a gun displayed on the front that can be removed and fired. I have seen flashlights with an electronic stun device on the non-lighted end. There are many strange, wonderful and dangerous weapons out there. Don’t let suspects hold things unless you are certain you know what they are holding. It’s the hands that will wield the weapon, control the hands; that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Alcohol Crime

There are reports that teenagers are using new techniques to ingest alcohol. They are snorting alcohol, using tampons to absorb alcohol through their vagina or rectum and they are using a plastic tube to give themselves an alcohol enema. All this activity is designed to avoid the digestive process and provide faster intoxication with less alcohol.

The body can absorb the alcohol faster and get the intoxicant into the bloodstream more rapidly using these techniques according to those who have tried them. They want to get drunk faster than by drinking the alcohol. They also think that the police will be less able to detect their intoxication because they won’t have alcohol on their breath.

This type of rapid alcohol intoxication can lead to alcohol poisoning. Since the person ingesting alcohol won’t vomit when they drink too much they may continue taking in alcohol long after they have reached toxic limits. This may lead to an increase in alcohol related teen deaths. It also makes pumping the stomach ineffective because the alcohol is not ingested that way. This is a dangerous practice and one that needs to be discouraged; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

US Davis

The video is a longer look at the recent pepper spray use at the Univeristy of California, Davis. As a result of this incident the chief and the lieutenant who used the pepper spray were suspended. They are shown on the short version of the video as using pepper spray with little provocation and the school acted without doing any significant investigation.

This longer version shows the officers were being surrounded and the protesters were calling for them to release several prisoners they arrested earlier. The officers tried to leave and the protesters would not let them leave. Several sat down on the sidewalk to block their path while others stood with arms linked together preventing the police from leaving.

Just watching the actions, listening to the protestors is appears to me the protesters actions were scripted. They seem very well organized. They also by chanting what their intentions were they communicate to the whole crowd what they were planning so the whole crowd could join in. They covered up with hoodies, hats and face scarves when the pepper spray was about to be employed and turned their backs to the police. Regular people don't know to do that. I suspect there are anarchists, communists, and others in the group who were there intentionally agitating to get the police to over-react. I think the Davis police very much under-reacted in this incident and I hope no disciplinary action is taken against them; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Riots & Protests III

This checklist is not all inclusive but may provide a starting point for your planning when faced with having to remove protestors, rioters or even break up a large party. There is much to do to plan a riot response.

  • Have undercover officers in the crowd who can provide intelligence and watch for leaders, weapons and provide testimony about criminal acts.

  • Make certain crowds have an exit route to flee from police. Don’t box people in, desperate people often behave badly.

  • Notify local agencies and request mutual aid, make sure you brief them on what you want them to do at the scene. Make sure they have the proper equipment and use them to watch the perimeter, or as guards for infrastructure if they are not well trained or equipped for riot control.

  • Consult with the governor and ask for National Guard assistance if necessary, if it is a major on going incident. Liaison with the National Guard should happen early, even if you don’t think you need them right away.

  • Have officers train as a team before instituting a planned operation. If rioters or protesters have been in place for a week, there is no need to rush your plan and break them up this minute. Practice your plan a couple times so you understand what to do when you go in.

  • Make sure officers have food, water and rest, don’t plan on riot control officers to work 12 hour shifts, it is hard physical labor. Really four hours is a long time in all that gear, particularly if it’s very hot or very cold. Plan on relieving officers for restroom breaks, in a safe place away from the protests. Plan on relieving officers for food, water, and just to rest a few minutes. Plan on replacing officers who are tired, injured, who need to write reports or are psychologically stressed out. Don’t forget to provide proper transportation and keep the cars maintained and gassed up.

  • Don’t forget regular patrol duties need to be continued even during periods of unrest. You may have to consider going to two officer units or even three or four officer units to insure the safety of officers during unrest.

Riots and protests are dangerous for both an officer safety and liability standpoint. Proper advance training and preparation can do a lot to minimize problems; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Riots & Protests II

This checklist is not all inclusive but may provide a starting point for your planning when faced with having to remove protestors, rioters or even break up a large party. Confronting a group is always challenging, gone are days of one riot, one ranger.

  • Try to have female police to remove female protesters, it looks better on camera.

  • Plan for injured officers and injured protesters and have paramedics and teams standing by for first aid and evacuation.

  • Use pepper balls to target specific individuals rather than tear gas of the whole crowd. Try and make arrests for specific crimes not simple trespassing.

  • Consider the use of pepper foggers to disperse agent onto the crowd, there is less chance of injury than shooting tear gas grenades into a crowd.

  • Use apprehension teams to grab specific individuals and arrest teams to cuff them and move them to waiting transportation. Make certain to document their crimes.

  • Transportation must be willing to do the job; some unions have refused to cooperate with police during certain protests. Have police or jail officers perform the transport if possible.

  • Protect critical infrastructure, use guards to watch power stations, city facilities and other infrastructure so they are not vandalized while you are distracted with the main protest.

  • Make public announcement so everyone can hear them before moving in to make arrests. Record your public announcement and make certain the crowd has time and the ability to leave the area; don’t block off all the roads and expect people to be able to leave.

  • Insure you have an arrestable offense before moving in on a crowd, you want to be able to take people to jail if their behavior warrants such action.

Riots are unpredictable but having the proper training and equipment makes a big difference in your ability to restore order; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rioting & Protest Checklist

There are many factors to consider when you have an illegal assembly. This checklist is not all inclusive but may provide a starting point for your planning when faced with having to remove protestors, rioters or even break up a large party.

  • When politics may play a role, have the mayor come to the incident to see for himself what is happening so they are more willing to authorize force and back force once it’s employed

  • Listen to people who live in the area to see what they want done to the protestors.

  • Video tape the protestors before the police move in to document protestors’ activity. Use several vantage points, from a distance if possible and even use an air unit to document the size of the protest.

  • Consult with your local jails and hospitals to insure they are ready for an influx of customers. Minor injuries to police and protesters are common in riot situations.

  • Consult with your local jail staff for tips on riot control. They often have specialized training in that and specialized weapons and gear that could be helpful.

  • Make sure you have plenty of less lethal weapons ready, tear gas, pepper foggers and pepper balls, rubber batons; whatever your agency uses.

  • Many agencies take away officers side arms when they are on the line so they don’t have their guns taken, don’t have to worry about protecting their guns and don’t get overly excited and shoot someone. They need to be covered by other firearms armed officers; your SWAT team is helpful in the cover role.

  • Video tape the police while they do the removal of protestors.

Controlling rioters and protesters is a complex task. Not all of these items will apply in every situation, but it’s something to think about; that’s what the SGT Says.