Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tick It

When I contact the driver of a vehicle that has been stopped for a traffic violation, I greet them, "Hello," and ask them for their Drivers License, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. If they question me about anything I ask them again for their paperwork and tell them that we will start with them producing their paperwork and then I will answer their questions. If they ask my name and badge number, I will point to my name tag and tell them Officer Creek, and my officer number, and again insist on their documents.

If they continue to question me, then I take continued questioning as a form of resistance, evasion and delay in the performance of my duties. It is not safe to allow the driver to control the nature of the interview. It is up to the officer to control the nature, pace and direction of the contact.

Subjects who delay the traffic stop could be trying to confuse the officer in order to attack the officer. Suspects who continually question officers may be taping the contact, they may be planning a lawsuit, they may have a political agenda, or they may be planning an attack; or they could simply be jerks. In any case, in the absence of a direct threat, officers should be polite, professional, firm and safe. Be certain that you have the authority to write your citation and the driver does not have the right to stop you from performing your duties by delaying you; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Invest At Home

The California Public Employee Retirement System invests over $224 billion in taxpayer money to pay for the retirements of government employees. Seven years ago twenty percent of this money was invested in California. Now only ten percent of that money is invested in California.

The people who manage this money have an obligation to the fund to get the highest return on their investment as possible to keep the principle safe. As a result, ninety percent of their money is invested outside the state. What does this say about California? Even those who run the state know that California is a terrible place to invest your money. That California is getting worse, rather than getting better. In a few years, there may be no more investment in California at all.

I would really like to know how that ten percent is invested here. Is it invested in state issued bonds? Is it invested in companies that are owned in part by Californian politicians? What is it about these few companies that are good enough to be invested in by CAPERS compared to the other companies in the state? I think that all of this money should be invested in the USA and most of it should be invested in California; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Police Screening

In the continuing check for terrorists the FBI will be checking all those who put in claims for injuries received on 9/11. At first I was outraged that first responders would be suspected and subjected to a screening process. After a little reflection I came to realize that many of the terrorists have hidden in plain sight and it is only prudent to take every opportunity to screen people who have any connection to 9/11. There are still suspects out there and who knows if one of them was at the scene monitoring the attacks.

The terrorists have been very good at blending in with other Americans and using our own laws and infrastructure against us. The 9/11 hijackers learned to fly planes at schools in America. They signed up, took classes and learned to fly in the open. They went on test runs to fly in the same routes as they would use on 9/11. They drove on our streets and were even stopped by local police a few times and cited.

It only makes sense to try and find them mixed in with regular Americans, trying to blend in with the rest of us, because that’s what they have done in the past. The radical Muslims who attacked us still want to deliver blows to us. Every time they take advantage of the West in some way they consider they have made a small victory. We must continue to work hard to deny them those victories until the war is won; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Illegal Police


An illegal alien was working as a police officer in Alaska. This is very troubling on many levels. What type of background check do they do at that agency? Making certain that an officer is in the country legally is certainly one of the most basic items to check in a background check. Making certain of the identity of the persons who work for your agency is also a critical factor. Fingerprints, document checks, and interviews all work together to verify the identity of the persons who work for our agencies.

A careful and complete background check is an essential part of the hiring process. Past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. You want to verify everything the applicant says to you about themselves. You need to use the same investigative techniques to verify your applicants that you would us with a major suspect. We don’t want an illegal alien, gangster, or terrorist to get a job as a cop. It is a significant failure to not detect this problem.

The reports are that this person is a good police officer, but I disagree. Good offices don’t disguise their identity. Good officers don’t lie about who they are and what they are doing in this country. Good officers don’t lie, deceive and manipulate the system to get what they want for themselves. Good officers don’t break the law. This may have been a competent officer with regard to the basic police skills, but he was not a good officer, that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

When I first started working as a cop there was a prank that officers used to play. They would drive the patrol car from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and take a photograph of themselves and their patrol car in front of the Las Vegas sign. This is a round trip of about 500 miles. In the course of an eight hour shift a police car could just about make it if you drove as fast as you can.

Recently, three officers were fired for driving to Las Vegas during a shift. While at first glance this many seem pretty harsh for a harmless prank, but lets examine it further. In an eight hour shift the officers would have had to average nearly seventy miles per hour. That’s very fast and that means they probably had to drive much faster than that for much of the distance. Presumably they have roll call, they have to check out equipment, make sure their buddies are going to cover their calls and finally get back before shift change. That means they almost certainly drove with red lights and sirens on and probably drove over a hundred miles an hour for at least part of the trip, very dangerous.

It also means that they used a city vehicle, and city fuel and city tires to drive over 500 miles to no department related purpose. It also means they were being paid to goof off rather than do their work, thus defrauding their employer. They also left more work for their partners and would not have been there if a major incident happened. Also if they crashed or got involved in a major incident hundreds of miles outside the city, it would have been an embarrassment to their agency. They deserved major discipline for this foolish act; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pepper Spray

In general you should not spray someone with pepper spray unless they have committed an arrestable offense. If the person you are spraying has not done anything that is bad enough to get them arrested, then how can you justify spraying them with a weapon? The offense that they commit could be the reason they are being arrested.

Once sprayed with pepper spray, make the arrest and handcuff the suspect. Do a good search incident to arrest to look for any potential weapons that the suspect may have. Then you need to decontaminate the suspect. Turn their face into the wind and encourage them to be still and allow the air to blow the pepper spray away.

If you have access to a water hose or bottled water that can be used to rinse off the pepper spray too. Sometimes suspects may have a greater than normal reaction to pepper spray and sometimes they can even have trouble breathing. Carefully monitor the person until they are turned over to the jailor to insure they are breathing without difficulty. I like to call the paramedics to check the subject out before I transport so they can decontaminate the suspect and they can clear them of any allergic reactions or breathing difficulty. He’s your prisoner; you are responsible for him; that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cite It

When writing a ticket to a driver, where do you stand? Where does the violator go? I like to keep the driver in the car while I am writing a ticket, unless there is a specific reason not to do so. That gives me a tactical advantage. If the driver wants to attack me, they have to exit the car, they have to turn around and those two actions will provide me with the ability to respond to the potential attack.

When writing a ticket I place my ticket book on the open passenger side door frame. That way I can watch the suspect vehicle out of the corner of my eye. I can glance up and see the suspect vehicle. If I do have to use the trunk lid to write a citation, I turn my body as much to the direction of the suspect vehicle as I reasonably can while writing the ticket. Again, the goal is to allow me to write while watching the suspect vehicle.

If the driver exits the vehicle I stop writing, put the ticket book down and order them to get back into the car. If they are too far from the door to easily get back into the car, then I direct them to the curb. The idea is to continue to control the actions and location of the violator. Keeping them away from you gives you the lag time you need to respond if they attack you. It’s all about keeping the advantages on your side; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Miranda Says

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney.” We all know these famous few phrases are part of the Miranda Advisement. Most police have read this advisement to suspects many times. Most citizens have heard the phrase on television and in movies for decades.

Do you realize these rights don’t stop just because you wear a badge? You have the same rights as everyone else. You don’t have to incriminate yourself and you have a right to an attorney. If you are involved in an incident were your actions could result in some civil or criminal liability you have the same rights as most other people. Certainly we have an obligation to provide that information that is necessary for officer and public safety purposes. You don’t want a dangerous criminal to escape because you are worried about your liability; the protection of the public is paramount.

Your police association should be able to provide you with a representative to insure compliance with your agency collective bargaining agreement. The will usually also be able to provide you with an attorney. It can be very important to insure your rights are respected to consult with a union representative and an attorney before you provide much information to your agency about any potentially controversial incident. Some agencies can even legally command you to provide them with information despite Miranda but a consultation with your attorney should probably come before that. It can also be a good idea to talk with your union or legal representative occasionally, perhaps annually to update you on your duties and rights; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 23, 2011

15 Most Wanted

The US Marshal’s office has a list of their 15 Most Wanted Fugitives.


Similar to the 10 most wanted list maintained by the FBI this listing includes some of the most dangerous criminals in the United States. One of them is a former police officer who is wanted for the murder of his wife and molestation of children. Daniel William Hiers, Jr. is a white, male, 6’- 3” tall, and very fit. He has eleven years experience as a police officer and practices martial arts and carries a .40 Glock handgun.

There are thousands of wanted criminals all over the United States. With better dissemination of their information we can capture more of them. These people are living, working, travelling around the nation and around the world. Many of them are still committing criminal acts, including murder. The longer these people are on the lam the longer justice for their victims is delays. Check out these websites once in a while, maybe you will stumble across a big fish one day; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Handcuffs II

Sometimes I have linked two sets of handcuffs together to secure a large person who can’t easily put both arms behind their back. Running the handcuff links under the back of the suspects’ belt can help to further restrain the movement of a suspect. Thin people can sometimes slip their handcuffs from behind them around to their front. Suspects should never be handcuffed to the front, it’s too easy for them to pick the handcuffs or grab your gun, hit you, or just run away if their hands are to the front.

Once the cuffs are on they need to be adjusted properly. They should be in the little space on the end of the wrist where the bone protrudes. It makes a nice little channel in the arm to prevent the handcuffs from sliding around too much. Once in the right place, handcuffs should be double locked to make them harder to pick and to prevent them from over tightening. There should be a little play in the handcuffs; you don’t want to cut off the suspect’s circulation.

The suspect should be searched immediately after the handcuffs are placed on him. At the very least search the small of the back so that you know the suspect does not have easy access to a weapon while handcuffed. Even if the person is of the opposite sex your policy should permit that much of a search for your safety. Once a person is handcuffed, and even if they are placed in a police car with a cage, you still need to periodically monitor them to insure they are still restrained and are not experiencing a medical emergency. Suspects can pass out, vomit and suffocate while handcuffed or stop breathing for other reasons too. If you think the suspect has a medical condition or is on drugs consider having your paramedics respond to evaluate their safety. Once handcuffed, searched and in the police car, I like to get the suspect transported to jail as soon as I reasonably can do so. The suspect is in your custody and is your responsibility; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I usually work with a partner so I only carry one set of handcuffs on my person. I carry one or two additional sets inside my gear bag. Years ago when I works alone, I carried two sets of handcuffs and two sets of Zip Cuffs. My handcuffs are carried on my strong side, behind my firearm. I don’t anticipate having my gun drawn and having to handcuff someone one handed with my left hand, so I wear the on my right side.

It is important to inspect your handcuffs at least once a month if you don’t use them much. Make sure they are clean; it’s not hard to get fuzz and lint inside the case. Check them for rust and if there is any, clean them as you would your handgun. Generally you don’t need to oil your handcuffs, but if you do a tiny drop inside the keyway should be good for at least a year.

When I carried two sets of handcuffs, I carried them in separate, identical handcuff cases. The double handcuff case is uncomfortable to sit on. Hinged handcuffs are stronger than those with a chain but are not generally necessary. If you are arresting many violent mental or drug suspects they are a good idea but I would not carry them as my only set of handcuffs. Flexible nylon cuffs are a good tool for arresting people with a cast on their arm or other mobility issues. Keep them secure, that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Most Wanted

With the death of OBL it is time to look at other wanted persons. Many agencies issue most wanted lists and the Federal Bureau of Investigation publish the best know one, the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list. They post it on the Internet and posters go out to various agencies and the Post Office. Does your agency have a most wanted list? The Internet is a great tool because it gets the information out to people with little cost and can be accessed 24/7.

Once in a while I check the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List. As local police we contact many different kinds of people and you never know who is driving that speeding car, or has the car broken down on the side of the freeway. Many major criminals have been captured or contacted by local police and so it’s a good idea to know who is out there.

Robert William Fisher is wanted by the FBI for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, murder and arson. He is a male, white, 6’-0”, 190 pounds, athletic build, brown and blue. He is known to carry weapons. He is wanted for the murder of his wife and two children and blowing up their house in Arizona in 2001. He has been on the FBI list for over eight years and it’s time he was found and brought to justice; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Explorer Programs

Agencies with Explorer programs need to have good policies in effect to prevent the Explorers from being subjected to abuse by the members of the department that supervise the program. The first thing to do is to select officers who are proper choices to supervise children. They should receive special training on how to recognize abuse and how to prevent abuse and even the appearance of abuse. Contact your local school district for information on how they train their teachers to avoid problems with teachers and child abuse.

There should be strong agency policies that punish officers who participate in sexual relationships with any under age persons, especially Explorers, to include termination and prosecution. The policies in effect should protect both the Explorer and the officers from allegations of abuse. Officers should generally never be alone, in private with an Explorer. They should not be together except on duty, they should not see each other outside of their official duties. The under age Explorers should generally work in pairs so there is little opportunity for them to be abused by an officer.

Officers and Explorers should be encouraged to document and report immediately any inappropriate remarks, touching or inappropriate activity. We need to learn from the agencies that have had Explorer scandals and make sure they don’t happen any more. The safest place for a Police Explorer should be at the police station; that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


What should I do to educate myself so I can get through the police academy? Take a Basic English grammar, spelling and composition class. You need to be able to read, write, spell and put a simple sentence together. Attending an English class will assist you in doing that and it is a skill set that will not be taught in the police academy. You will be required to be able to write reports and many officers have a hard time with report writing. New officers reports are often carefully scrutinized and if you write poor reports that may be the first impression that you make to your field training officer, your sergeant and the district attorney. You want that first impression to be a good one.

The other suggestion I have is to join a gym and get into the best shape you have ever been in. You need to have tremendous upper body strength to get through the academy with ease. Recruits often have to perform push ups and pull ups as part of the training and physical testing. Arrest and control training also requires a certain level of fitness to perform arrest and control techniques properly. The police academy will get you into better shape, but you should not wait until the academy to get into shape.

Your ability to read and write and your physical fitness will be greatly tested at the police academy. Most agencies will also test those skills in written tests and physical agility testing before you get a job. Those two sets of skills need to be honed and readied so you can get the police job you want. Take an English class and join a gym and you will be much more likely to get a job, pass the academy and pass probation; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Long Range

Police range training is often done at a distance of twenty-five yards or less. While it is true that most police shootings happen at less than ten feet, is it also true that most patrol rifle shootouts happen at a range of over thirty-five yards. That means there are a substantial number of suspects that need to be engaged from a great distance away. With handgun shooting seldom being taught beyond 25 yards there is an obvious gap in our training.

Handgun shooting should be done out to fifty yards. Rifle shooting should be trained out to at least one hundred yards, if not two hundred yards. While handgun shooting at long ranges is difficult, it is far from impossible and I have practiced out to as far as a hundred yards with a four inch revolver. That level of shooting requires an outdoor range and the ability to spot each round is very helpful, since the shooter may likely miss the whole target before they develop their skills.

Long range pistol target shooting requires some additional skills to be accurate. Take time to get a good sight picture. Take a moment to super elevate the sights. Then squeeze the trigger. By super elevating the handgun, you take the sight picture, then without changing your sight alignment raise the muzzle of the handgun above the intended target. The rounds will actually rise up and then fall back down to strike the target. Long range pistol shooting, it’s a skill you should have; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Multiple Suspects

You respond to a bank robbery alarm. As you approach the bank a man carrying a hand gun in his right hand and a money bag in his left hand runs out of the front door. You shoot the suspect and he goes down. As you are concentrating on him a second suspect runs out the same door with a revolver in his hand. Do you notice or are you so focused on the first suspect that the second suspect is able to shoot at you?

You respond to a liquor store robbery in progress. As you approach the front doorway a man wearing a ski mask holding a shotgun exits, you shoot him and he goes down. The get away car driver exits his vehicle and approaches you from behind, do you see him or are you focused on the first suspect?

While making a high risk traffic stop on a vehicle wanted in a drive-by shooting that happened about an hour earlier the driver and three passengers jump out of the four car doors and all of them start shooting at you. Can you take on four suspects at one time and win? Do you train to overcome multiple suspects? Many times when officers are killed in shootouts it’s because there is more than one suspect. Officers need to train to fire at multiple targets both in sequence and at the same time; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ticket Quota?

In California ticket quotas are illegal. They should be illegal. There is no reason for agencies to have quotas for the number of tickets that officers write in a shift. If there are quotas violators can use the defense in court that the officer was only trying to fill in his ticket quota not actually ticketing a violator. It also causes officers to be tempted to write tickets that are marginal.

Officers who are generally tasked with writing tickets, such as motor cops, can be evaluated properly without simply counting the number of citations they write per shift. Officers or their dispatcher should be keeping a log of the officers’ activity. Overall activity is a better measure of the officers’ performance than the simple number of tickets they write in a day.

The number of traffic stops is a better measurement of officer behavior and performance, no matter what the outcome. Not everyone stopped is deserving of a ticket. Some people stopped may not get a ticket; they may instead be arrested for some other offense not directly related to the stop. The officer may also write crime reports, traffic collisions or other time consuming reports that take them from the field. I would rather rate officers on the total of their self-generated activity, not just tickets; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Promotion Strategy

One of the best ways to insure a promotion is to do the work of the next highest position in your organization. If you want to be a sergeant, then do the work of the sergeant. Talk to your sergeant and find out what they do that you don’t do now. Often they have to perform evaluations, write scheduling, perform training, and even submit budgets. Can you do all those things? If you cannot, then see if you can “desk along” with your sergeant and learn those skills.

Some agencies or states may require special training to be a supervisor. Apply for that training even if you don’t anticipate a promotion soon. When it comes time for a promotion, you will be ahead of all those who don’t have the training or certification. If your agency does not require special training, look to your local community college to provide supervisor or business training that can help improve your skills.

As you move up the ranks, your tactical skills are less important than your ability to organize the work of others, schedule shifts and keep costs under control. Smaller agencies may require front line supervisors to manage a fleet of vehicles, or supervise not only police, but perhaps dispatchers, parking control attendants, jailors, and records clerks. Knowledge of those jobs, particularly jail operations, can be crucial in getting the promotion. If a supervisor goes on vacation, see if you can fill in for a few days as supervisor, a sort of test drive for the position. Preparation for promotion is essential to get the job you want; that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Peace Officers, God’s Servants

“For they are God's servants working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for it is not without reason that they bear the sword. Indeed, they are God's servants to administer punishment to anyone who does wrong,” the Epistile of St. Paul to the Romans 13:4. Have you worked your job as the servant of God? Have you worked to administer punishment to those who do evil? This is the mission statement and authorization to use force for every police agency. It comes directly from God that we are to be peace officers, to defend the good.

The society that employs us depends on us to defend them from the evil doers in our society. The gang members and those who do violence and destroy lives need to be stopped from doing the destruction they bring to society. People who do drugs have more accidents than people who do not; sometimes injuring themselves, sometimes other people.. They provide money to national and international criminal syndicates that are used to corrupt officials.

Drug use is a terrible evil in our society. Nations that let drug trafficking get out of hand create societies that can barely function. Some of the most dangerous cities in the world are in northern Mexico as a result of the drug trafficking. Peace officers have been charged with fighting evil. Illegal drug use is a terrible evil and we must redouble our efforts to fight it; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bike Stop

If you stop someone on a motorcycle, how does this vary from a regular car stop? Motorcycles have several differences. The first advantage you as the officer have is that you can see the driver and any passenger better than you can if they were inside a car. There are some problems however. Motorcyclists often wear lots of heavy leather clothing and a helmet. In a fight or even a shootout that can give them a significant advantage. A thick leather jacket can act as armor against baton blows and can clog the hollow points and diminish bullet penetration.

A helmet can be used to disguise the face, can be used to head butt you and will provide protection in a counter-attack. The helmet shield can make pepper spray useless. Even in the hand of the motorcyclist the helmet can be used as a weapon. Motorcycle riders also often wear heavy boots. These boots can deliver strong blows to the lower body and will resist attacks on the feet.

When I stop a motorcyclist I use several techniques. First thing no matter what is to have them turn the motorcycle engine off. One is to keep them on the motorcycle with booth feet on the ground, no kickstand. Most motorcyclists don’t want their motorcycle to fall over. Or remove them from the motorcycle, direct them to the curb and have them take off their helmet and leave it at the motorcycle, then have them sit on the curb. I put them several feet away from the motorcycle, since that is a good place to store weapons. Stopping motorcycles has its own challenges, that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The air traffic controllers of the FAA have recently been under scrutiny because they have been found sleeping on the job and watching television on the job. At least seven of them were suspended for sleeping on the job in the last couple months. Are your officers sleeping on the job? Shift work can be hard on the body and it can be difficult to stay awake at night when most people are sleeping. Just like air traffic controllers, people’s lives depend on police being awake and alert.

There are things you can do to stay awake. The most important thing you can do to stay awake at work is to sleep when you are at home. That sounds obvious but getting a good eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at home is the best thing you can do to stay awake at work. Make getting enough sleep a priority. Too often it is an afterthought or sleep is done a couple hours here and a couple hours there. That’s not as good as continuous sleep.

If you have to sleep in the daytime, set your bedroom up to facilitate your sleep time. Use heavy, dark curtains, or even aluminum foil to make the room dark. Keep the room cool enough to sleep in, I use a room air conditioner in the summer to cool the bedroom and don’t have to cool the whole house. A towel at the bottom of the door can also black out the room. Sleep deprivation can lead to poor driving, poor decision making, and when you drive for a living and carry a gun, you need to be awake and alert; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


As supervisor you often have to deploy units. Sometimes you don’t have enough officers to handle every call. Usually your dispatchers will assign calls based on agency protocols but sometimes the supervisor has to make a judgment call. You have four officers on duty. A liquor store calls in that they have just been robbed. A citizen calls in a report of shots fired in his neighborhood, nowhere near the liquor store. Where do you send your four officers and why?

Send one officer to the shots fired call and three to the liquor store robbery. One officer goes directly to the liquor store to get more information, verify the crime and get as much suspect and suspect vehicle information as possible. The robber is a verified crime of violence that just occurred. The shots fired call could be shots fired, it could be a car backfiring or any number of other loud noises. Most of these calls turn out to be other than real shots or someone fires one or two rounds into the air and it can be impossible to find them.

The officer who responds to the liquor store needs to quickly confirm that an actually robbery happened and get a description of the suspect and his vehicle along with his direction of travel. If the shots fired call turns out to be a real crime, the two officers who are looking for the robber, can then respond to that incident if it turns out to be real. The armed robbery is more likely to be a real crime with some chance of catching someone. Making the hard decisions is part of the job; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 9, 2011


One of your jobs as a supervisor is to keep overtime expenses to a minimum. There are several strategies to save money. First, limit the number of officers who can be on vacation at any give time. Every officer on vacation will cost you overtime to back fill there shift. Spread the time off throughout the year, rather than let everyone take off during the summer.

Monitor the activity of your officers in the field. One way to avoid overtime is to prevent them from waiting to write reports. If officers write reports as the incidents occur they can do the reports throughout their shift. If officers wait to the end of their shift to write reports, they may get busy and so might have to stay overtime to finish their reports. Rather than keep officers overtime to write reports, you can also have them write their reports at the beginning of their next shift, particularly if it is a minor offense and their next shift is the next day.

Talk to your district attorney. Make sure they subpoena only those officers who are likely to testify in a give case. Too often they will subpoena everyone involved in a case and so the agency will incur court time. Talk to your training staff. Try to coordinate training so it can be done on duty, on a slow work day. During the day on a Tuesday or Wednesday is often a good time. Watch the overtime, it’s a sergeants’ job; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


All over North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Africa there is great unrest. The military is fighting insurgents, the police are shooting protesters, and rebels are attacking the government. The US has had a civil war 150 years ago and only 50 years ago during the Viet Nam War American cities were burned in riots and protests.

Are you ready if this happens here? I don’t think it likely, but it is our job to plan for the worst that can happen, not just plan for the most likely emergencies. Here in California, the most likely major problem is an earthquake. But in my lifetime I have been on tsunami watch, had urban unrest, major brush fires and major urban fires. I have lived through floods and budget crisis’s that cut emergency services.

As law enforcement officials it is our duty to be ready no matter what happens. If Godzilla shows up or a UFO lands in front of city hall, it is the police who will be the first to respond. Will your agency be ready? Will you be ready? Train your family to be able to take action if an emergency event happens. Discuss the best course of action with your co-workers, you supervisor, and even command staff about their plans for every type of disaster, imaginable and unimaginable. It’s your duty to be ready; that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

SGT Testing

Sometime in your career you are likely to want to take an oral exam to get a promotion. Treat it much like getting hired, don’t take anything for granted. Train for it like it is a major event, because that’s exactly what an oral board is, a time to show your knowledge. Get the job description for sergeant and make sure you are as qualified as you can be prior to taking the oral. If you need computer skills, certain classes or experience, then get that or at least sign up for it so you will be ahead of those who don’t have it. When you go to the oral board, be sure to mention your preparation.

They will likely ask you questions about your knowledge of the law; particularly case law, and your knowledge of agency policy and procedure. The second area they will try to explore is your ability to make a decision of the type a supervisor might have to make.

Can you speak on the following topics and provide information that indicates you know how to perform these tasks? If you cannot, you need more training; that's what the SGT Says.



Fleet management

Officer development

What new thing will you do

How will you solve an existing problem

Can you train and develop subordinates

Your goals for the future

Friday, May 6, 2011

Late Arrivals

When a fight between officers and suspects develops, everybody goes to help. Typically only the first few officers are really needed to help control the fighting suspects. What do the other 17 officers have to do at the scene? A responding supervisor needs to watch the event without getting directly involved in the event. A senior officer can do that if there is no supervisor present. An uninvolved officer can direct the actions of the officers using force and can insure compliance with the law, and agency policy on use of force.

One officer can keep dispatch in the loop and direct other officers to resume patrol duties. One officer can get the first aid kit ready to treat any minor injuries. Another officer can take photos of the event to document the actions of the suspect. Other officers can prepare other weapons or equipment, such as Taser, riot baton, large OC spray dispenser, shields, helmets and other gear depending on the size of the fight.

Other officers should watch the area outside the fight area. If there is a crowd, they may choose to get involved in a fight with officers. They may come out of buildings or even passing vehicles. Watch the scene, set up a perimeter that gives the officers involved enough space to use their weapons and end the fight quickly. Keeping others from jumping in is an important job; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Back Up Gun

Every officer who caries a gun should carry a backup gun. When you consider what gun to carry as a back up gun, and what gun to buy, ask yourself a few questions:

Have you ever fired that gun? Not every gun will fit your hand or eye.

Can you hit anything with it? Some guns are accurate but don't work well for everyone.

Where do you intend to wear it on your body? On the belt, the ankle, in a pocket, somewhere else?

Will you also carry it off duty? It makes a good transition if you use the same gun in two roles.

Why this weapon and not some other one? Is it just because you think it is cool?

A mini Glock uses the same magazines and same ammo as the duty weapon, functions the same way and is much smaller than the duty Glock, have you considered one of them if you carry the Glock as your duty gun?

What type of ammo will you carry? Something much like the duty ammo is best.

Will you carry additional ammo? On your body, in your gear bag?

What finish do you want on the gun? Scandia? Stainless steel? Blue? Other?

There's a lot to think about; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


How much ammo is enough ammo? Most police shootouts involve only a few rounds being fired. Most of the time the officer does not have to reload; so few rounds are fired. There are other times when officers are faced with many suspects or a barricaded suspect who is shooting at officers. Sometimes officers need a large amount of ammunition to deal with an emergency.

When I carry a semi-automatic handgun, I carry three high capacity magazines on me, one in the pistol and two in an ammo pouch. My agency is considering issuing four magazine pouches to all offices. I think this is a good idea. Most competent officers could fire off all three magazines in only seconds, perhaps thirty seconds to a minute at the most. That’s not much time.

When I carry a revolver, I carry a double and quad pouch, that’s a total of forty-two rounds. That gives me just about the same number of rounds that I carry with the semi-automatic, and I can fire them off almost as quickly. I also carry additional ammo in my gear bag. For the semi-automatic I carry two full magazines and one box of fifty rounds. I also carry a back up gun with two additional magazines too. Have enough ammo to continue to fight, no matter what type of suspect you face; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cop Killer Killed by Federal Agents

The number one person on the Top Ten Most Wanted List of the FBI has been killed by Federal Forces. Osama bin Laden has been killed by US Navy SEALs in his compound in Pakistan. This suspect was wanted for the death of thousands of Americans including hundreds of police officers in the attack on the World Trade Towers in New York City. The officials at the scene removed large amounts of information from the scene for later analysis.

This one incident shows how important it can be for various agencies to work together to find and apprehend criminals. This incident just proves that if the US Government wants you bad enough they will eventually find you. There is technology that can greatly assist law enforcement depending on the nature of the incident. Monitoring telephone communications and computer traffic can yield a lot of information about the location and activity of suspects.

These days as we are more and more connected to the web our electronic signature can reveal much about us and our activities. Many cell phones track the location of the phone and store the information. It is helpful to know that the suspect was at or near the scene of the crime at the date and time of the event. All kinds of electronic devices, even automobiles may be tracking locations and it is helpful to keep that in mind when conducting investigations. OBL is dead, the rightful end to all who kill American police; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Three Years!

The end of April marks three years of SGT Says.

I post every day on all three blogs.

Bunker Talk,

Military miniatures, model kits, GI Joe and 1/6th action figures, HO scale vehicles, Roco and 1/72nd scale plastic and metal soldiers.

SGT Says,

Training and opinion about police work. I am a reserve police sergeant for a police department in Southern California and I share my thoughts and opinions on how to make it better.

Hysterical Right Wing,

As a conservative, traditional Anglican I speak on current affairs and issues of national and international importance.

Check out the other two, tell all your friends, and thanks for reading!

Tornados No Radios

If your dispatch radio tower goes down in a storm, you are not out of communication completely; there are still things you can do to communicate. Station a line of vehicles as far apart as their car radios will reach and dispatch from car to car to car. Use your personal cell phones. Have a few satellite phones available that you can use in an emergency and practice with them a couple times every year so your dispatchers know how to use them.

Station officers next to a working phone at a business, residence or pay phone and give them their calls by telephone. Identify a few working phones and simply have officers phone in to the station periodically, every thirty minutes to an hour to receive calls for service and report their status. Set up command post hubs away from the station and have officers patrol out of the hub and physically check back in every hour or two. Use motor units to ferry messages back and forth between the hubs and between the dispatch / command center.

A loss of communications can really make police work difficult. Keep in mind that other systems may still be operating and you may be able to make use of them. Private Citizen’s band radios, truck drivers, city public service crews and the fire department may still have working systems. Even private security guards and taxi services may have operational radios. Plan now for the worst to happen, because someday it will happen, that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


This has been a terrible tornado year. As law enforcement we are often the first to respond to a tornado event. Are you ready? Make sure you have discussed the proper safety procedures with your wife and kids so they know what to do if there is a tornado in your area. Be sure they have enough emergency supplies to last at least a week without outside help. They should even have enough in their car to last a day, water, clothing and blankets.

The first thing you have to do when you respond to a tornado touch down is to perform an assessment of the extent and nature of the damage. If it is significant, you can’t handle it alone, so you have to call for the assistance you need. With trees down it can be hard to drive around. With live power lines down it can be dangerous to move around. Notify your dispatch center about the extent of the damage, a few homes, blocks or even square miles of devastation can happen.

For a large event coordination of the responding units can be more important than actually physically helping individuals. Accurate information is critical in the early stages. Ideally an aerial survey is best but with high winds, darkness, rain that may not be possible right away. Police and fire stations may be damaged and radio and cell phones may not work.