Thursday, March 31, 2011

NY, NY Officer Pushed Down Stairs

An emotionally disturbed person has killed a New York City Police Officer by pushing him down stairs. Dealing with emotionally disturbed people can be tricky because their behavior can be difficult to predict. There are several steps to take that can minimize the dangers.

First of all, try not to approach EDPs closely unless you really need to be close to take them into custody or render first aid. Talk to them from a distance, even twenty feet away is not unreasonable if there are no obstacles between you. Keep a barrier between yourself and the EDP. Be prepared for potential attack.

Stay in a location that is tactically should. Don’t stand near a curb or stairway where you could be pushed over backwards. Keep your eye on the EDP’s hands and be ready with less lethal weapons like OC spray, Tazer and baton. Try and have at least two officers if not four or five on site before you make an approach. EDP’s can be very strong and impervious to pain. Most EDP’s are harmless, but be ready incase you get one of the few who is not; that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2 Officers Killed in Rural VA

Two officers responding to a call were shot and killed by a man with a rifle. When responding to calls, think about where you are vulnerable. If someone had a rifle at the scene, could they shoot you from where you park your patrol car? Do you park in a location where you have some measure of concealment or cover? Park behind a large vehicle, or even around the corner or at least down the block a bit so that you are not immediately visible from the suspect location.

As you get within a block of the suspect location, notify dispatch that you have arrive so you are not bothering with the radio at the same time you are parking or stopped at the scene. Get out of the patrol car as soon as you arrive and close the patrol car door quietly. Move to a position of cover and listen and observe the scene before you move closer. As you walk up to the suspect location, try to avoid using your flashlight. Keep your radio turned down low and don’t let keys and other gear rattle. You ability to move quietly, and invisibly gives you a great advantage.

It’s okay to stop and simply listen and observe the suspect location before you make the final approach to the front door. As you approach the front door, walk along the front of the house, up close to the building. Look and listen for sounds of an argument, glass breaking, a dog barking or any other potential threats. When you prepare to knock on the door, don’t stand in front of or even very near to the door or windows. I often hold the end of my baton and use it to knock. If someone tries to shoot you through the door or walls they are less likely to hit you. Use cover, concealment and stealth to give yourself and advantage; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rodney King, 20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago the California Highway Patrol got into a pursuit of motorist Rodney King. Los Angeles Police got involved and eventually after high speed pursuit on both freeways and city streets, running red lights and endangering others, the suspect stopped. The occupants of the car were all taken into custody without incident as they obeyed the orders of the officers. The driver failed to obey the officers’ commands and as a result they ended up firing at him, twice, with a Tazer and hitting him scores of times with their batons. The incident was caught on video and released to the media. The only sound was the comments of the man taking the video and the noise of the police helicopter overhead. It was one of the first times that a video showing police striking someone with batons was shown on television. There were many mistakes made both during and after this incident.

Several of the officers struck the suspect with their batons, but did not use their full strength when they hit him. Their blows were ineffective, but from a distance on camera it still showed the officers hitting the suspect, so after so many blows it really looked bad on the video. The Tazer batteries were old and did not hold a full charge; the shock was only partially effective. The officers were at best vague and at worst deceptive in their report writing and so it gave the appearance of a police cover-up rather than an accurate reporting of the facts. The officers made foolish statements of bravado to the suspect once he was in custody, making them appear cruel. Many police command staff and elected officials when confronted by the media made damaging statements rather than refuse comment until the investigation was concluded. The media further inflamed community outrage by playing the video frequently and by looping the video so that it appeared that the officers were constantly hitting the suspect without stopping.

The Tazer has since been re-designed to solve the low battery problem. Officers are being trained to provide more detail in use of force police reports. Command staffs are learning to avoid making comments on open investigations. Officers are cautioned not to make statements to suspects that are not related to work business. Community policing has been implemented to try and work better with community leaders to avoid or minimize violence in the event of a police incident. The Rodney King Incident was not very good police work but we have managed to improve in the last 20 years; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What, Me Worry?

If you do that you might get sued. If you don’t do this you might get sued. Don’t worry about getting sued. Worry about doing the job well. Worry about doing the right thing. Worry about being safe and keeping your partners and the public safe. Worry about treating your prisoners properly.

Worry about how things look to the general public when you are working. Worry about keeping your supervisor happy. Worry about keeping your dispatcher informed. Worry about keeping an eye on the new rookie cop out on patrol on his own for the first year.

Worry about keeping your skills up. Worry about staying sharp on the long shifts. Worry about the lost children. Worry about driving safely. Worry about wearing your body armor and your seat belt. Do a good job and act in a reasonable manner and you won’t have anything to worry about; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Criminal Illegal Alien Guilty of Officer Murder

How many police officers must be murdered by illegal aliens before the police officer unions will take illegal immigration seriously? Many chiefs of police also argue against local officers taking an active role in the enforcement of the nations’ immigration laws. In the meantime out in the streets illegal alien criminals are creating crime waves against our people.

There are some estimates that as many at 30 million illegal aliens may be present in the United States. Many of them are committing crimes apart from immigration offenses. Many of them don’t pay their full share of taxes, but they still receive government services. That means less money and more work for local agencies.

There are almost a million law enforcement officers in the United States. If every one of them were to contact and deport only one illegal alien a month, then we would be free of illegal aliens within three years. The drug cartels, radical Islamic terrorists, and many other criminals are in violation of our immigration laws and by not allowing those law enforcement officials who contact them every day to investigate their immigration status, and deport those that are here illegally we are doing a disservice to our nation and to every police officer killed by an illegal alien; that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Car Crashes Kill Officers

Police cars and uniforms need to be much safer. Police uniforms should be flame resistant if not actually fireproof. There should be a federal standard for flame resistance for police uniform items. Officers’ body armor should be tested to protect officers in car crashes. Armor already does provide some protection in a traffic collision but there is no real standard or even expectation that they are designed to protect officers from injury in a collision.

The single greatest cause of police officer on duty deaths year after year is usually death in traffic collisions. This underscores several things. Officers don’t wear their seat belts often enough. They should wear seat belts nearly all the time when in the patrol car. Officers are driving too fast for conditions too frequently as their accidents are often single vehicle collisions. Officers often lack the skills they need to drive at high speeds in pursuit situations. Finally, the patrol cars we use are not safe enough given the nature of police work.

The makers of body armor need to start designing armor that will not only protect against bullets, but also against the injuries sustained in traffic collisions. Agencies need to provide better training to officer so they can do a better job in pursuit driving. Supervisors need to be trained on methods to employ to reduce the need for pursuits. The Federal Government, private companies and large agencies need to look for ways to end pursuits quickly; the car tazer or other method to disable a moving vehicle safely and quickly needs to be developed and fielded. Finally, the Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security and private industry needs to develop a safer patrol vehicle that can survive a high speed crash and keep officers safe; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Off Duty Chicago Bogus 911 Call

An off duty officer makes false 911 calls. With tight budgets unethical behavior will only increase the ability of those who want to cut police budgets by showing that the police don’t deserve large salaries and lavish retirements. Officers who don’t do a good job and who actually do crimes will hurt all the other officers on the department because the unethical behavior of a few will tarnish the badges of us all.

Each officer has a duty to perform their job in an ethical moral manner. Off duty the officer is also held to a high moral standard of behavior. If you know of officers who use illegal drugs, then you need to encourage them to stop using drugs and even report their behavior to your internal affairs section. An officer who is impaired by drugs who crashes the patrol car could hurt himself, other officers in the car with him and innocent people. In the disaster that follows, the money paid out to the injured are only part of the problem. Those who want to cut your budget will use this example of the low quality of employee at your agency.

If you have officers who do anything that violates the law enforcement code of ethics, then you need to take steps to stop them. Notify the officer that their behavior is unacceptable. Model proper ethical behavior yourself. Have the moral courage to report inappropriate behavior if the officer won’t stop. I am not saying you have to snitch every time someone fails to put gasoline in the patrol car at the end of the shift. All serious moral misbehavior needs to be stopped. Fraudulent time cards that cost the agency money, false police reports, officer theft, and unnecessary force are serious and can lead to the destruction of an agency if left unchecked; that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wiki Leaks Cyber War

The Wiki Leaks scandal released tens of thousands of pages of secret documents from the Federal Government has shown the scope of damage that one person can do with a computer. In this case it is alleged that one disgruntled homosexual private soldier gathered this information and gave it to an activist group. What would happen if on disgruntled low level police department employee were to download tens of thousands of documents and released them to a local activist group?

All the personnel records of your department downloaded and shipped off to an anti-police newspaper. How would that go over? All your home addresses and phone number. Your payroll information in the hands of unauthorized persons, to include not only how much you get paid, but your Social Security Number too. Your health coverage information with the names, Social Security Number of you spouse and children all given to the newspaper to publish.

Think about every crime report and confidential informant information in the hands of a hostile on line publication. All the investigation information that your detectives keep on their contacts, witnesses, suspects and victims could be stolen. Published on line where you can’t stop it from being disclosed to gangsters, suspects, criminals and others. How many people would be at risk from criminals if that kind of information were made public? Is your agency doing all it can to keep data out of the hands of unauthorized persons? Do you use 13 character passwords? Do you encrypt your computer systems? Do you screen those who have access to systems? Do you use computer technicians you can trust? Keep your data secure from attack, that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is Your SWAT Team Ready for Jihad?

The USA is now fighting a war in Libya. The US has been attacked by Libyan terrorists in the past and the US has had to respond to those attacks. The Libyan leader has said that those nations who have attacked him are going to suffer retaliation. Is your SWAT team ready for a major Libyan or Jihad attack?

In the past Libyan terrorists have attacked nightclubs, and commercial airliners. Is your city ready for a major bomb attack on a nightclub? What can you do to protect your local night spots? Most night clubs don’t like a heavy police presence. It’s hard to party hard if the police are there watching you. Does your agency reach out to private security guards who work at nightclubs? Often nightclub security is not well trained and often not regulated. Most of their efforts are designed to catch under age drinkers, toss out drunks and brawlers. They seldom know anything about terrorist attack prevention.

If there are several incidents at the same time, can your agency cope with them? The North Hollywood Shootout drew four hundred or more officers to the scene. There were only two men involved in that, although at the time there was speculation that there may have been six suspects. Can your agency field 100 officers for every suspect if there are six or eight or ten armed suspects? The potential need for a massive response has never been greater; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cut Wisely

As agencies consider budget cut backs, they need to consider how they can continue to provide excellent police services, with less money. Cut programs that don’t work, cut pay and benefits that are too expensive and reduce other expenses. The City of Costa Mesa, CA is considering the elimination of their helicopter program. One of the sergeants working the program makes over $180,000 per year. That’s a lot of money for one officer, but will cutting the program really make that great a difference? Will that officer be terminated, transferred or simply retire if that position is no longer available?

If that officer retires, then the city won’t save much from his costs and will get no more work from him. If the other officers in the helicopter unit just transfer then the savings will be small. The other issue to look at his how much value does the helicopter provide to the city? Officers don’t have to check building roofs; they just call the helicopter to take a look from above. An officer checking a roof that falls off the roof could cost the city millions in workers compensation costs. That would pay for a helicopter.

How often does the agency capture criminals that are located by the helicopter? Air units can see over obstacles that ground units can’t see over. Helicopters with various sensors can see in the dark and direct ground units in pursuits. This allows officers to back off in a vehicle pursuit and avoid injuries to themselves and innocent drivers. Again, great value for the money expended. Cuts can be made in police budgets, but it is irresponsible to cut budgets in such a manner that the public and the officers will be endangered; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Galco Holster

A few weeks ago I got a new holster from Galco Gunleather. It was an off duty belt holster for a small semi-automatic that I carry both off duty and as a back up gun. The holster was mailed and received very quickly.

The packaging was great. The holster was inside a plastic package, which was then inside a cardboard box. That way the holster was kept clean, dry and did not rattle around inside the box. The holster was excellent, the gun fit perfectly, snapped in good and firm and secure. The holster was made in the USA using natural leather.

There were a couple little extras inside the box too. Naturally they included a very nice product information guide, but they also had an invitation to join the National Rifle Association, with a $10 off coupon. Galco also sent a full color catalog of their products. They included a copy of the US Constitution which I thought was pretty interesting. They also tossed in a couple little chocolates. Galco Gunleather, a class act; that’s what the SGT Says.

2019 W. Quail Avenue

Phoenix, Arizona 85027

National Rifle Association of America

c/o Recruiting Programs Department

11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shoot Fast

How quickly can you get your gun out of your holster? The average shootout takes place in three seconds or less. If you spend one or two seconds to get your gun out of the holster, then you only have one or two seconds left to win the gun battle. Getting your gun out of the holster quickly gives you more time to aim, and to fire more rounds within that three second window.

If it takes you three seconds just to draw your weapon, then statistically, you may already have lost the gun battle. Start with your hands at your side, not at attention, but in essentially that position. The rangemaster gives you the command to fire. You reach up, unsnap your weapon, draw the weapon, present the weapon, and fire one round into the target. The first round should go off in no more than one second. This gives you two more seconds to fire two additional rounds.

Every officer should perform this drill at least annually. It should be the baseline course of fire for all others. Other range training should build on the marksmanship course and rapid course of fire training. The majority of this course can even be practiced without ammunition in any safe environment. A will to fight, accurate shot placement, and speed are the three essential elements of firearms training; that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Safety & Marksmanship

All shooting skill training starts with safety and marksmanship. At least once a year every officer should fire a marksmanship course of fire. Annual marksmanship shooting should be done from various positions, standing, kneeling, one hand, two hand positions from several different distances. Shooting should be done from several distances, as close as a yard and as far as 25 yards. This is an opportunity to determine how well officers can hit a target under good conditions. Once that data is assembled then the rangemaster can determine how to teach the shooter to shoot more accurately.

When out if the fields, in real shootouts, the majority of attacks happen within six feet, but many do happen from greater distances. When doing marksmanship training take full advantage of the distances available on your range and shoot pistol at least out to 25 yards. Good shots can be made out as far as 50 years with the handgun but those should be trained on another day since they require special skills.

Officers should shoot at distances that reflect the different potential scenarios. One yard, three yards, five yards, ten yards, fifteen yards, twenty yards and twenty-five yards are the distances that most officers should shoot from on a marksmanship course every year; or at least similar distances. Shooting at suspects up close, or suspects inside their car during a traffic stop, or suspects as far away as across the street are simulated by shooting at these distances. Marksmanship training, don’t forget the fundamentals, they are the basis for all the rest of the shooting skills; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Where are your handcuffs? Some carry them in front. Some carry their handcuffs in the back, some on the sides. Some carry a bikini handcuff case; others carry a double cuff case. What’s good and what’s bad about carrying them in different ways? Carry your handcuffs so you can reach them when you need them and so that they won’t be too uncomfortable when you sit in the patrol car.

The covered case looks professional and keeps the handcuffs clean and dry. The bikini handcuff case makes it easy for the officer to grab the handcuffs without having to open the case up. They are exposed to the air, water, and dust and dirt in a bikini case. Two sets of handcuffs are good and I prefer two single cases to one double case.

Carrying handcuffs on the side can interfere with the ability to get to the firearm, or other tools. Wearing the handcuffs at the front on the gun side allows you to easily reach the handcuffs with your gun hand. Since you are unlikely to be using handcuffs in one hand and the gun in the other hand at the same time, this seems a reasonable arrangement. Having handcuffs in the center of the back can be uncomfortable, and a double set at the back can be even worse. If you fall over backwards and land on your back you can injure your spine if you land on your handcuff case. Handcuffs are important tools, plan on the best place to keep them; that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Traffic Stop

A traffic stop on the freeway requires a little different planning from the regular traffic stop. High speeds, and limited access make the freeway a potentially dangerous place to stop a suspect vehicle. My preference is usually to stop the vehicle off the freeway and turn it into a regular traffic stop. Without that option there are other factors to consider.

Stop the suspect vehicle in a well lit stretch of road if it is dark out. Freeways can be very dark. Try not to stop on a curve, not everyone makes the curve and they may plow into you rather than the guard rail. Try not to stop on an overpass, in a fight, either of you could end up on the roadway underneath.

Try to pull over as far to the right as you can reasonably get the car, but still leaving room for a passenger side approach. Make sure you are near an on-ramp that will allow back up units to arrive without having to drive three miles to get to you. Keep the other driver in the car unless you need them to get out for field sobriety check. Remember you control the stop, make the suspect do what you want to make the stop safe for you both; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Prison Sex

There is a campaign to keep prisons free of sexual material. I did not realize that various types of pornography was even permitted in prisons. Apparently, it is! Prisons are for punishment of criminals. It makes no sense to me to lock up a rapist or child molester and then let them read sexually explicit materials all day. It seems to me that it will only stir up their passions and make the prisoners that much more difficult to control and more likely to engage in deviant behavior when they are released.

Prisons should be places where convicts go to reflect on their lives, as in the original concept of a penitentiary. They go there to become penitent. They are there to contemplate the nature of their behavior and the effect it has on others and on their soul. They should go there to learn to be sorry for what they did so they won’t do it again.

Prisoners should be given job skills that are in demand for dangerous, difficult jobs that no one else wants to do on the outside. They should be able to fend for themselves when they get out, and the prison should not be a pleasant experience. It should be a place where no one will want to have to go back into ever again. Prison does not have to be cruel, but it should be something like a military boot camp; an experience that created new learning and new insights into oneself but not something you would want to ever have to do a second time. Sitting around looking at sexual material does not seem to fit that bill; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Supervisor Gasoline Savings

In these days of tight budgets, how can you reduce fuel expenses, look good in front of the chief and still provide excellent police services and keep the troops happy? There are many strategies you can employ. Start or increase your Segway / T-3 Motion patrol. These vehicles use no gasoline and can be used even by officers with little training and who are not in the best of shape. These are great for urban areas, campus environments and even parks, malls and schools.

Officers with greater skill can perform bike patrol, motorcycle patrol, and horse mounted patrol. They require an investment in time, training and equipment but if fuel becomes scarce, rather than just expensive, they could be lifesavers. Each of these types of patrol provides unique advantages and often brings officers closer to the public. Motorcycle patrol will also bring in greater revenue with the writing of traffic tickets and they are able to get quickly through traffic. Foot patrol was the primary method of police patrol a hundred years ago. It provides an excellent chance to interact with the public.

Advise officers to work traffic at dangerous intersections by sitting at a corner waiting for violators to save fuel. Double up officers in two-officer patrol cars, either for the whole shift or for part of the shift. Taking units out of service will reduce fuel use. Put new guys back with an FTO once a week. Put an old guy with a new guy so they can learn from each other. Have the supervisor ride with an officer to get a first hand look at how the officers perform in the field. Save gas, maybe save your budget and police officer jobs, that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gasoline Police

Many agencies have to do more with less money. With the recent jump in gasoline prices it will be even harder to live within their already restricted budgets. I read recently that the largest expense of a patrol car is no longer the price of the car; it is the price of the fuel used over the life of the vehicle. This is the first time ever that operating expenses have been so high for vehicles in the United States.

What can individual officers do to reduce their fuel expenses to help their agencies to save money? Don’t drive the car hard unless you need to in order to get to a call or participate in a pursuit. Quick starts and constant acceleration are not necessary for routine patrol. Don’t leave the car running unless you need to keep it running. When you leave the car, turn the motor off unless you have a legitimate reason to keep it on. Frozen temperatures and the difficulty of getting the car to start or the need to keep the car warm are legitimate. Simply leaving it on because you can is not a good reason to keep the motor running. Turn the motor off if you are going to sit for a few minutes and the weather is mild. Certainly if you need the A/C or heater, keep the motor on, but turn it off if you don’t expect to race off and catch a speeder.

Park the patrol car and get out and walk. Schools, parks, and business districts are excellent places to walk around. It gives you a chance to see better what’s going on and even sneak up on crooks who are looking for a patrol car, not an officer on foot. At schools you can park in front when the kids are coming and going to monitor the traffic and keep the pedestrians safe. At parks, check the rest rooms, trash bins and playgrounds. In business districts, stop in the shops and say hello, shop owners like to see the police on foot patrol. Save fuel, save your agency money, that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gasoline Police

With gasoline prices at nearly unprecedented rates there will be more gasoline related crimes. Pump and dash, forcing others to give up their pay pass, credit card or cash to pay for gas at the pump. Credit card fraud at the pump and robberies at gas stations are all likely to increase. Gasoline trucks may be hijacked so that unscrupulous gas stations can buy stolen gas. Watch if gasoline trucks are at truck stops or if they are stopped in unusual places, run the license plate and check on the vehicle and driver.

Extra patrol the gasoline stations in your patrol zone. Drive in and stop. Get out of the patrol car and speak to the person working inside the store. Remind them to call the police to report any criminal activity or even suspicious activity. Since gas stations stay open late, be sure to check all the shifts.

Drive through the gas station and check on those pumping gas. Be aware that gangsters or other criminals may try to intimidate citizens to pay for their gasoline. Watch for that when you are driving through the stations. Look for pan handlers intimidating vulnerable people to give them gas money. High gasoline prices are another opportunity for crime; be aware of the enforcement opportunities; that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Warrant Service Safety

When doing a warrant service there are several factors to consider. The first thing to think about is the nature of the suspect. Does he have a history of violence, weapons violations, drug use, gang affiliation, resisting arrest or escape from custody? All of these should raise a red flag that the suspect may react violently to an attempted arrest. Is the best place to attempt an arrest inside his home, at his work or in a public place? If he is in hiding you may not have many choices, however, you may be able to lure them outside with a clever ruse. Relatives or associates of the suspect may be willing to phone him and ask him to meet them someplace where you can arrest them in an area of your choosing.

Rather than do the knock and notice and burst into the suspects’ apartment, you may be able to ring the doorbell and get them to come to the door were you can grab them at the door, rather than inside where they would have more opportunities for concealment or weapons access. Of course, this will require extensive planning and the people at the door may be observed by the suspect so they really can’t look like police.

The main aspect of warrant service is to be prepared for active resistance. Too often a couple detectives will grab a couple uniformed officers and go knock on the door of a dangerous suspect. A warrant service should start with an off site briefing, there should be photos of the site, and a plan for dealing with active resistance. The beat units, and dispatch should be informed, the paramedics should be aware of the even, if not actually on site, patrol rifles should be deployed, the location should be surrounded, neighbors may need to be evacuated, everyone should be wearing body armor and the entry team may want to consider wearing external tactical armor and perhaps a ballistic shield; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Too Many Deaths

2011 has not been a good year, there have been a larger than normal number of officers feloniously killed in the line of duty. There are several things we can do to reduce these numbers for the rest of the year. Wear your body armor. While it does not protect against everything, it can be a literal life saver in both a shooting and also can be helpful in a traffic collision. Encourage your partners to wear their armor.

If you are a field training officer, require your trainee to wear his armor. Lower his evaluation if he refuses to wear armor. If you are a supervisor, make sure your officers wear armor, if they do not, note it on their evaluations and make sure their rating is lower for failure to work safely. If you are in a command position, don’t promote officers to routinely refuse to wear armor.

Money is no excuse to not own and wear armor. Agencies should provide body armor to all officers when they are hired. Agencies that don’t should be encouraged by your union to buy you armor. In the meantime your union could start an armor fund and provide armor to their members. Armor is only a few hundred dollars and so officers should be encouraged to buy it themselves if there is no other options. It’s cheap insurance; that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Social Media

Criminals of many kinds are using social media to determine if there is a criminal opportunity. A teenager posts on MySpace that they are having a party because their parents are out of the house for the evening. So 300 kids show up ready to drink, use drugs and even steal from the house. A kid on Facebook says the whole family is going to visit grandma in another state and they will be gone all month. A burglar reads this and knows he has the time to back up a moving van and take everything from the home including carpets and light bulbs.

A woman brags on a social media site that they have a small business and they do very well financially. She mentions that they will be enjoying some alone time because her husband will be out of town on business. Kidnappers can use that information to plan on capturing a woman alone who has a husband who has the ability to pay a large ransom for her return.

Officers need to be particularly careful to keep their personal information confidential. Tell everyone about your three week vacation when you get back, not before. Keep your address confidential. Don’t let people on social media know that anyone will be home alone. Brief your kids and spouse on the potential dangers and check the sites they use periodically to insure your information is kept safe; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Active Shooter

An active shooter started shooting American Airmen at an airport in Germany. The suspect is a Muslim extremist who showed up with a handgun to murder as many Americans as he was able to kill. He shot four, but his gun jammed. The suspect was taken into custody by German airport police. This incident saw four people shot by a suspect who only stopped because his gun jammed at a major international airport with police all over the location. This shows how quickly an active shooter can kill and wound people in a very short period of time.

Active shooter response requires an instantaneous response. Some agencies still rely on a SWAT team to form and go into the active shooter event. That’s just too slow. Some agencies rely on patrol rifles kept at the station in an armory. There is just not enough time to go back to the station, pick up and load rifles and then intervene in a timely manner.

Every beat patrol officer must have a loaded patrol rifle in their vehicle. They must be trained in active shooter response and rifle marksmanship. They need to be able to assemble a team to three to five officers at the scene in a couple minutes and then enter the scene to put the active shooter down. Every minute wasted in response to an active shooter situation is more killed and injured people; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 7, 2011

School Bus and Gun

One of the most basic rules of firearms safety is to never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. The use of a firearm is a serious business and should be reserved for those potentially life or death situations. A sheriff used her duty firearm to threaten her son to behave, on a school bus. This is a very dangerous abuse of power and a very serious mis-handling of a firearm. Don't do anything you would arrest other people for doing.

I would question this person’s ability to make reasonable use of force decisions to the point were I would be reluctant to have them continue their employment as a sheriff. The use of a gun to threaten children is especially egregious. This is one of the reasons to have a psychological evaluation and drug testing for employees of police agencies.

As an officer we are given great power by the state. We are allowed to detain people and deprive them of their right to move around freely. We can search their persons and belongings, we can even use force against them, including deadly force. As a result we must be held to a high standard of behavior or risk losing our position; that’s the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bad Things

Bad things happen someplace every day. They happen for a reason, but we don't always know what the reason is, but that does not change the fact that there is a reason.
Every bad thing is an opportunity for us to make things a little better. We can comfort the loved ones, we can save our partner, we can provide closure to victims, we can give advice to the troubled, we can catch the criminals. By our presence, police help to restore the peace, we are peace officers.
As a professional, you revert to your training and do the job that must be done. If you are angry, sick, upset, shocked, you try to control it and do your job. Sometimes that means you take a moment, perhaps even just one or two seconds, and say a quick prayer to God, take a deep breath, or even hold your breath for a moment and just go take care of it.
Don't be afraid to call for help. Ask advice of your sergeant, your training officer, even other officers. The department chaplain, attorney, or psychologist can help you too, sometimes at the scene and sometimes later. You are not alone, you are not the only one out there, there are plenty of others who will help you, but you have to handle your calls. They are your calls but not yours alone, you can get help, think of it as managing the scene, you don't have to do all the work, you have to coordinate it all.
The coroner does his part, the detectives do their part, child services do what they need to do. In most cases the bad things are not happening to you, so don't make their trauma your trauma. If the bad thing happens to you, a shootout, injury, citizen complaint, you still are not alone. You have doctors, attorneys, union representatives, and friends who will stand by you.
Whatever you do, don't turn to alcohol or drugs, there is no problem they don't make worse. Don't cheat on your wife, tell her about the problem, don't worry that she will not understand. You have to share your police life with her from the beginning and then when the bad things happen she will comprehend what happened and be there for you.
Firemen, soldiers, emergency room doctors all have to deal with similar situations. Go to church every Sunday. Stay off the booze. Stick with one woman. Don't spend more money than you make. Stay ethical in your behavior. Then you won't have additional outside the job stress to add to the work stress. Stay in good shape, have a few friends who are not cops, get a hobby, and remember the most important thing in your life is not your job, it is your health and your family, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hide Behind Cars

Watch videos of police shootings. Often officers will take cover by hiding behind cars. Sometimes they even return fire by shooting under the car. This can be an excellent strategy since car bodies are thin sheet metal and provide little cover. There are some important tactical considerations when shooting under a car. The view of the suspect may be quite restricted, but if you have a clear shot, then this can be an excellent tactic.

Remember that many roadways are higher in the middle than they are along the curbs. Make sure you have a clear shot at the suspect; you dont want to hit the center of the roadway. Watch the underside of the car. The movement of the slide can break sights off the weapon, bend them or knock them out of alignment if they strike the underside of the vehicle. Its not a good idea to knock you sights off during a shootout.

I teach officers to try and keep the same grip on the gun in the prone position as they have in the standing and kneeling positions. No need to reinvent the grip simply because you are lying down on the ground. If you need to in order to get a good shot, lay on your side rather than on your stomach. If you lay on the same side as your pistol ejection port, make sure to keep the slide at least an inch if not two inches from the ground. You dont want to induce a malfunction because your spend casings cant eject. Make certain of your sight picture, it is often the case that shooters will tend to ignore the rear sights, so make sure you have a good sight picture when shooting from under a car. Shoot from the location that gives you the advantage, thats what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Check It

Years ago my back up officer and I were doing an interior check on a house. The burglar alarm had sounded and I found the front door open. He arrived quickly and we were looking for a burglar. About half way through the interior check he stopped me and said to wait. He then loaded his gun! Often the basic stuff gets us into trouble. When you start your shift, inspect your gear. Is your gun loaded? If you are faced with an armed confrontation, thats not the time to find out.

Check your handcuffs and make sure they are not double locked in the case. It makes it really hard to put them on a suspect when they are double locked. Check out your radio. We have take-home handheld radios and I always just swap out a new battery every time I work. Are all your other bits of gear where they belong? OC spray? Baton? Knife and pen and paper and handcuff key and car keys and all the other little things. Does your flashlight work? Even in the daytime you need to carry a flashlight.

Check out your patrol car. My partner and I went through eight vehicles one shift before we left the parking lot! The radio was not transmitting. The tail lights were out. The breaks were bad. The car would not start. The overhead lights did not work. The radio would transmit but not receive! The car would not shift out of park. Finally we got one that would work. That takes a while to do a complete check on the car but its worth it. Check your equipment before you go on patrol, it may save your life, thats what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Watching YOU

Everywhere you go now there are video recording machines. The building I work in is covered by at least three different systems and probably more. Every bank, every ATM, every cell phone, police car, bus and large building seems to be covered with cameras. When you are working the field just assume that everything you do is being recorded on video by someone.

I don’t object to being video taped as such. Since I don’t plan on doing anything I should not be doing the fact that I am on tape is only going to show that I did a proper job. Perhaps not always the best possible job, but certainly that I acted in a reasonable and professional manner. The problem is that I don’t control the tape. So people can re-edit the tape to show anything. Years ago the news media re-edited the Rodney King tape showing officers striking a large suspect with their batons so it appeared the struck him more frequently and without pause.

I also don’t like the subject of an investigation to tape me. It interferes with the investigation. I want to talk to him, not his camera. I want his hands where I can see them, not shoving some camera in my face. It’s a matter of both efficiency and officer safety. I don’t want him playing up to the camera trying to get good footage because he will re-edit it later. I don’t want him to have a potential weapon in his hands. It’s about getting the job done without an additional distraction; that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mumbai at Home

Is your agency ready for a Mumbai type attack; a half dozen or so sites with multiple active shooters at each one? Think about small town America. A shopping mall, a couple elementary schools, a junior high school, a high school, a large office building or factory and city hall with police and fire located there or nearby and a hospital with emergency room.

A dozen active shooters, two each go to all those targets. The first ones hit the police department and city hall. That draws all your officers back towards the station. They carry large caliber semi-automatic rifles and wear suicide vests. Their mission is to draw the field units to the station, kill your command staff and blow up your dispatch center.

The next ones hit the elementary school and each school in turn a few minutes apart. They carry .22 caliber semi-automatic rifles and carry a thousand rounds of ammunition. Their goal is to shoot as many children as possible, even if the wounds are non-fatal. They take hostages to draw out the incident to gain media attention. That ties up all your school police, if any, and creates panic among the parents who will all rush to the school.

They hit your shopping mall and large office buildings but don’t stay long, they move to various targets around the city to keep responding units tied up. Finally they hit your hospital emergency room with a suicide bomber attack. That kills doctors and medical personnel who rushed in to help with the attack.

None of this scenario requires much in the way of planning and coordination. A dozen people willing to die for the cause, a few guns, a couple suicide vests and a couple afternoons doing dry runs and that’s all it takes. Your town could be the next Mumbai, are you ready? You better be; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Illegal Aliens

Congressional aide Chandra Levy was rumored to have been murdered by a congressman. They were said to have had an affair and that he killed her to keep the affair quiet. Now after years of investigation the real truth has been reveled. Chandra Levy was murdered by a gang member. An illegal alien gang member. An MS-13 illegal alien gang member.

The press has all but ignored the trail of this dangerous criminal. When there was nothing to report but salacious rumor and innuendo the press covered this story in agonizing detail every day. They hounded the congressman and forced him from public life, certainly he should not have remained a congressman but he was not a murderer.

Now that the press knows the truth about the case they are not interested. No background stories about the criminal gang member who did the crime. No long stories about the reign of terror conducted by the gang. No stories about criminal illegal aliens reaching even into the halls of Congress. This is an excellent reason why the FBI should be investigating international gangs, arresting their members and putting the gang out of business. This is an excellent reason why local law enforcement should be enforcing immigration laws; that’s what the SGT Says.