You get a call of a burglary alarm and when you arrive as a small office complex you find a door ajar. No sign of forced entry to the door. What do you do? First you should have parked your car so it is not visible from the location and exited your vehicle without slamming the door to maintain the element of surprise. Once you find the open door, notify dispatch and ask for back up. A canine search dog is best, but certainly they are not always available. Wait for your partner from a position of cover where you can see the door and hopefully two sides of the location.
When your partner arrives, check the full perimeter of the location, the door may simply be an exit not entrance spot. Talk to your partner before you make entry about how you want to handle the search. Then make entry, with your loaded shotgun with a round racked into the chamber. Some say you should announce “Police” in a loud voice to warn innocent people and perhaps make hiding criminals give up. Others say you should not announce. I have done both, if I have a tactical advantage I prefer to announce, if I don’t have the advantage, then I would rather not give up the element of surprise. If I do announce, that’s a good time to rack the shotgun, loudly, just inside the door.
Check carefully, and look in any space that can hold a person. Small humans fit into very small spaces. Don’t hesitate in doorways, get into the room quickly. I like to turn on the lights as I enter rooms. It cuts the night vision of the suspect and allows me to see the whole room. Use your flashlight to see into closets, corners and even false ceilings. Don’t be in a hurry to search. If possible, check the roof, sometimes it’s used as a point of entry. A call of the fire department to bring a ladder may be needed if no air unit is available. I used to carry a folding ladder in my supervisor vehicle for just such occasions. Once you have determined the scene is safe, notify the owner. Someone should stay on site until a responsible party arrives. Offer to check the property with them before you leave. They may notice something out of place or missing that someone unfamiliar with the location might miss. Careful checking to catch the crooks and keep yourself safe, that’s what the SGT Says.