Monday, April 30, 2012

Getting Hired

Some oral interviews will ask you mostly about yourself.  Where you went to school, what kind of work do you do general life story types of questions.  Others will be more inclined to ask you situational questions.  What would you do if you saw someone robbing a bank or how would you handle pulling over your mom?

They are looking for your ability to apply the law and common sense.  You won’t be expected to be a legal expert, you are not a cop yet, so don’t worry about technicalities.  Just give a reasonable answer to the question.

You should do some research about the opening.  Most agencies will put out a job bulletin and it will explain the duties, pay, and other information about the position.  Review it carefully and you should at least know the name of the chief of police and the mayor of the city.  Visit the department and city websites and try and learn a little about the agency and community.  Be prepared to provide an overview of what you know about the city and department.  Be ready to answer the question:  “Why do you want to be a police officer with our agency?”  If you are not sure about that basic question, then you are not ready; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Getting Hired

At the oral board you will be introduced to each member.  Often you will have an opportunity to shake their hand.  Look at each member in the eye and greet them.  When you take their hand, grasp it firmly and reach all the way to the web of the thumb and forefinger. 

A firm grip is not a death grip.  You will have an opportunity to demonstrate your power at the physical agility testing.  This is an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to interact professional with others, not a chance to show them you can crush their fingers.

A weak handshake is often considered a sign of weakness.  Ladies as well as men should practice this skill with another person.  A firm handshake, but not painful.  Not sweaty, that shows too much nervousness.  Wipe your hands by putting them inside your pockets as they call you into the room if you have too.  Your handshake is your first impression; make it a good one, that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Many people marry someone they met at school, or at work or in their neighborhood.  When you are a cop, meeting someone at work and then going out with them could be a real ethical problem.  First of all, never go out with someone you have to take enforcement action against.  This leads to all sorts of legal and ethical problems.  What if the person goes to court and says the officer made a pass at them?
What if the person goes to your supervisor and says the officer hit on them and said he would take away the ticket in exchange for a date?  These can be career ending activities, even if that's not really how it happened you never know how people will interpret a request for a date, when you are on duty.
It is also a poor idea to date someone you work with.  Police work is very stressful and by dating a dispatcher or other cop you run the risk of having your coworkers resent you.  You also have a lot of your personal business becoming the topic of conversation around the station.  In general it is best to avoid romance while on duty.  It worked for me, five years ago tody, that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Getting Hired

Ladies attending an oral board need to generally take the same steps as a male applicant.  It does not matter if your hair is long, short or curly.  It must be neat and conservative.  Giant voluptuous hair is very sexy but it is not “professional.”  Wear it back, or wear it up if your hair is much longer than shoulder length.

Wear a clear or subdued nail polish, with clean trimmed nails.  Wear light makeup.  This is not the time for ruby red lips and dark purple eye shadow.  You are not going on a date, you are looking for a job in a male dominated profession that is very conservative.

Wear a woman’s suit, with blouse, vest and skirt.  Wear medium color hose, with no pattern.  Button up the blouse.  Wear only a small conservative necklace, if any.  Heels should be easy to walk in no more than about two or three inches at the most.  Skirt should be about knee length; conservative is the look you should be going for, not quite like going to a funeral but certainly very dignified; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting Hired

The oral board will often consist of three to five people.  Usually they will be police officers; sometimes they will be people from human resources, often a combination of the two.  Some agencies will have other agencies assist them with interviews so you may be a mixed group.

As soon as you arrive at the location be polite and respectful to everyone.  If the receptionist thinks you are a jerk and mentions it to the board, you may have doomed yourself to failure.  Don’t sit down until they offer you a seat.  When they introduce themselves, look each one directly in the eye and say hello, or good to meet you.  Speak up, you are there to sell a product, you, and no one likes a salesman who mumbles.

Look at people when they talk to you.  They will probably take notes.  Listen carefully to each question.  Pause briefly to think about your answer and then give them your best answer, explain your reasoning.  “Because the suspect is armed and poses an immediate danger to myself, I would be forced to shoot him.” is a much better answer than “I would shoot him” that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting Hired

The oral interview will also go better if you look like you are in good physical condition.  They don’t want to send someone to the academy who looks too weak or too overweight to pass the training.  The training has a limited number of spots and it’s expensive so they don’t want to risk sending someone who looks like they will fail.

A few days before the oral interview get your hair cut.  You don’t need to have it all buzzed off, but a close trim so you look like a cop is a good idea.  You need to wear a suit.  A dark blue or gray suit is excellent.  It should be conservative, with black dress shoes.  The shoes need to be shined.  Wear black socks.  You want to look very traditional and conservative, not fashionable and trendy.  Do not wear any body piercing, have no visible tattoos, and don’t chew gum or have anything in your mouth. 

Leave your phone in the car.  Bring your identification with you, sometimes they ask for it.  Arrive about twenty minutes early.  Don’t wear more than one ring per hand, no thumb or pinky rings.  No bracelets or visible necklaces.  Don’t wear a flower in your buttoner, or any pins, with the exception of a small American flag.  You want to look like an insurance salesman or banker, someone trustworthy; that’s what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Getting Hired

The most common items is a job application.  It must be completed exactly as they instruct you to do it.  If the document says to use black ink, then don’t use a blue pen because that’s all you have. 

Go buy a black ink pen if you have to in order to use one on the application.  Even small details are that important.  If you use blue ink when they ask for black, then it shows you can’t or won’t follow directions.  The Social Security Administration can provide you with a list of employers if you think you may have forgotten one.  Gaps in time make them think you are hiding something negative.

Fill out every section of the application completely.  If it asks for zip codes, make sure you fill in the correct zip code.  If you are not sure about a phone number, address or zip code then look it up.  Make sure you spell everything out.  The only abbreviation that is generally acceptable is the two letter state abbreviation.  Get it right, following directions is critical, that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting Hired

When preparing for an exercise program, don’t forget to obtain an excellent pair of running shoes.  Go to a running shoe store.  Explain to them you are training for the police academy.  You will be running on concrete sidewalks, asphalt parking lots and grass.  You need good shoes and good socks.

You will probably have to buy a specific pair of shoes for the academy.  Some agencies specify only a color, others want a particular brand and model.  When training before the academy, just wear what you determine to be the best for you, knowing you will probably have to buy a new pair when the academy starts.

Wear comfortable clothing and drink plenty of water.  You don’t want to drop over on a hot day during training.  You need to train at least a little bit every day.  The academy won’t usually stop training just because it’s cold, hot, humid or smoggy.  Police work is 24/7 and so they train you in whatever conditions exist, that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Getting Hired

Get your body ready for the academy.  The police academy is usually physically demanding.  It is not unlike military boot camp.  There typically is a lot of running, doing pushups and pull ups.  The defensive tactics classes are also highly physical.  The police academy is not a good place to get into shape.  You have too much else to do to worry about exercise as well.

Join a gym and start jogging and running.  You need to join a gym because you have to work on general fitness.  A personal trainer at the gym can assist you in working out and making sure you don’t hurt yourself.  You need to work on your upper body strength in particular.  The ability to shoot, to do handcuffing, and to do pushups is greatly enhanced by your upper body strength.

You need to be able to jog at least a couple miles before you enter the police academy.  You also need to be able to sprint short distances, quickly.  Sprinting is running as fast as you can, as if you were chasing a criminal.  Jogging will be done in the academy in a group and they won’t go too fast but they will go long distances.  Near the end of the academy you may run five or ten miles or more, the more of this you can do before you begin the academy, the better off you will be, that’s what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Getting Hired

You have to make sure you are intellectually prepared to be hired.  Almost every agency will want you to have a high school diploma or GED and some even require college.  If you are in college it is good to major in something that can assist you in law enforcement but a degree in criminal justice is not really that helpful.  A degree in management, business, or public administration is probably better. 

The reason is that they will teach you all the “police” stuff in the academy and so an administration of justice degree won’t give you as many benefits as the other degrees.  Also as you get promoted in law enforcement your job will be less street cop and more business.  A criminal justice degree also won’t help you much in the business world if you don’t make your career in law enforcement.

Get yourself ready before you start applying to agencies.  Officers write a lot of reports, and so the testing process often has writing as part of the testing.  If your ability to spell, read, comprehend, simple English is poor, then you need to go to a local community college and take a Basic English composition class and learn to write stories.  If you do this you will be better prepared when you have to write reports.  The police academy will teach you what needs to go into a police report, but they won’t teach you about grammar, spelling and how to write a paragraph.  They will hold it against you if you don’t do it well, that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Getting Hired

Police testing generally has a number of steps.  Some agencies use all of them, some use a few of them, and some use other steps that I won’t list here.  The first step is often the job application.  Next is a physical agility test.  Many agencies do a psychological series, including a written test, and discussion.  Some agencies perform a polygraph test.  Nearly every agency does an oral interview.  A complete background check is pretty universal.  Most agencies will do a medical exam.  A few will conduct a chiefs oral.

Nine steps more or less just to get hired.  If each one takes two months, which is not unusual, you can spend a year and a half or more before you are placed on the hiring list.  Just because you pass all these tests does not always mean you are going to be hired.  If they have no openings, then you may wait a long time until someone retires, gets fired, dies, resigns, or the budget is expanded making a new position. 

Sometimes these steps can be scheduled at greater intervals, making it years before you complete them all.  Some agencies don’t use all these steps and some do even more.  Often the process can take so long that they may have your repeat some steps you did near the beginning of the process to make sure you are still qualified.  A failure on any one of these and you are out of the running, that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Getting Hired

Young people often ask me what they can do to get hired by a police agency.  In these times of small budgets and cut backs and lay offs it can be impossible to get hired by some agencies, they just are not hiring.  That said, there are plenty of law enforcement jobs out there but you have to be ready for them and you have to know the tricks of the trade to get hired.

Make yourself ready to complete the hiring process and successfully finish the police academy. It does no good to get hired only to fail the academy.  Some agencies take years to hire someone, others will take as little as a couple weeks.   Some agencies will put you in the field right away with no real training and others will train you a year before you get a chance to work in the field.

If you want to be a cop, then you must commit yourself to a lifestyle that will get you hired and out of the academy.  This process will take at least one year and as many as five years.  You cannot rush the process.  Know and accept that most of the process is outside your hands and you can only affect it slightly.  Know also that your ability to get hired is a combination of your skill and abilities, luck, and other factors that the agency controls and that you don’t, that’s what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


If you respond to a fire and are first on scene, you need to determine if you need to go inside or not.  If the people who live in the house tell you they have all evacuated then there is no reason to go inside.  if the building has substantial flame and smoke then don't go inside. 

The fire department does not need another victim.  If you do go inside, notify dispatch what you are doing so that the fire department knows you are inside.  Stay low, be aware that smoke and heat rise and temperatures can be hundres of degrees and immediately fatal. 

Smoke can be toxic and immediately fatal.  Your only reason to enter is to save people.  Don't enter to save pets, property or to fight a major fire.  You can try to contain a very small fire, but in general leave fire fighting to the fire department; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Officers on patrol will almost certainly respond to fires several times in their careers.  Officers sometimes even discover fires before they have been called in.  I have been on scene at structure fires several times and the first thing to do is call it in to dispatch.  Describe what type of structure is on fire as well as the address.

Single storey, stucco residence with wooden shingle roof has smoke and flames visible coming from two front windows.  Park your patrol car in a location that won't interfere with the fire department.  Don't block access to the fire hydrants or to the property, especially the driveway. 

Turn on your overhead lights to alert responding fire units of the location.  Use your siren and air horn for a couple seconds so that you can alert anyone inside the burning buildings.  Ask anyone around if there is anyone inside the home.  Your next big decision is to determine if you should go inside the structure or not; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, April 16, 2012


One of the most common crimes is burglary.  There is much that an be done to prevent it and to detect it.  Burglars don't want to be confrontational, if they did, they would be robbers.  Burglars want to enter, get the loot and get out without being detected.  Lighting can deter burglars because it makes it easier for someone to see them.  Cut down landscaping that hides doors or windows, it gives burglars someplace to hide.  Keep vehicles and materials from blocking the view of the buildings from the street.  Don't give the burglar a place to hide. 

Motion activated lights are good because it gives the impression that someone is inside watching and has turned on the lights.  Lights should also have a day/night sensor so it comes on automatically at night and turns on automatically in the daytime.  It saves energy and unlike a timer does not have to be adjusted at the days grow longer or shorter. 

Good door and window locks slow down a burglar.  They cause the burglar to risk observation or to make noise.  Burglars don't like that. A ladder can allow easy access to the roof.  Ladders should be locked up or kept inside.  Retail and commercial buildings in strip malls often have drop down ceilings.  That disguises the fact that the interior walls may not go all the way up to the roof.  Enter one store and gain access to all of them.  Walls should be remodelled to go up to the roof, but alarms in the ceiling can provide warning of an intruder.  Burglary can be prevented, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back Up Gun

All officers should have at least two guns on their person whenever they are on duty in uniform.  Officers should carry their regular duty firearm and a back up gun.  A back up gun should be carried concealed on the body in a place where you can get to it quickly and preferably with either hand.  You should be able to shoot it with either hand.  The gun should be at least .380/9mm short in caliber.

Ideally it should be the same caliber as your duty handgun and be able to accept the same magazines.  You should carry the same ammunition in your back up gun as you do in your duty gun, even if they are different calibers.  If not identical ammunition, then a similar ammunition.  You should shoot your back up gun at least annually, if not quarterly, to stay proficient with it.  Your qualification should begin with it in your holster as you would normally carry it on duty.  I carry a full size Glock .40 caliber duty handgun.  Therefore I should carry a small .40 caliber Glock as my back up gun.  I do not. 

I carry a .380 Walther PPK/S as my back up gun.  I carry the Walther because this Glock is my sixth duty handgun in my career, but the Walther has always been my backup gun.  I have been carrying it for over 20 years and I have become very proficient with it.  I have made the judgement call that I am better off with a gun that I shoot very well than changing to a new gun and having to become proficient with over again.  Still, if I was starting over, I would not pick the Walther; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Drunk Driving

A teenager was given a suspended drivers license.  He then went to a party where alcohol was being served.  He got into his car with three other teenagers and he crashed his car into a tree.  One of the teens was in a coma for a while.

The judge in the case give the teenager a lifetime ban on driving in the state of Rhode Island.  I think that is an excellent sentence.  There is one problem with that sentence, the teen was already willing to drive with a suspended license, what guarantee is there he will refrain from driving just because he has not valid drivers license? 

I think he should have been required to do more to insure he is not driving.  Perhaps wear and ankle bracelet for a year or two.  Maybe have him post a bond of a million dollars that he would forfeit if he were caught driving again.  Perhaps there is some kind of probation that will put him in jail for five or ten years if he is found driving again.  Teenagers and adults have to get the message that drunk driving kills people.  Even with decades of publicity and enforcement we still have a massive toll of death on our highways due to drunk drivers.  We need tougher laws, we need safer cars and safer highways, we need media that will produce movies and television shows that rather than show drinking as a rite of passage, show the effects of drunk drivers; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Election 2012

President Obama is asking his Black Brothers and Sisters to band together to vote for him.  It is my understanding that we vote as Americans, I did not realize that we are supposed to vote by racial identity.  Does this mean all the White people have to vote for someone else?  Does this mean that Black people who don't share President Obamas' political views must vote for him anyway because their racial identity trumps their value system?
A person who desires to be president will be president of all the American people.  He will represent all of us, no matter our race, creed, national origin or religion or any other feature that may divide us.  As a nation the president is the only person who represents us all.  The president can take pride in our heroes who win medals and can take shame in our murderers who do evil deeds.
Anyone who runs for the office of president should explain how he can be impartial and represent all of us, not only those that share his race or other characteristics.  I understand that some groups may have special needs, desires or concerns, but making an appeal to race to gain votes strikes me as un-American.  I voted for Alan Keys, I would have voted for Herman Cain, not because they are Black, but because we share the same values as Americans, unlike President Obama and I; that's the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Drug Vaccine

I have always been concerned that law enforcement needs to take better advantage of technology.  This is an excellent method to to use technology.  Create a vaccine that makes illegal drug use unpleasant or ineffective.  Then people won't buy drugs and drug lords won't have endless supplies of cash.
Drugs are destroying Mexico.  Many of the big cities in the US and much of our border is involved in drug wars, big and small. A technique that would eliminate the need for drugs, and therefore the money  in their sales would be an excellent tool for law enforcement.  This is a national security issue, and a law enforcement issue.
Take our prisons for example.  Imagine how better they would operate if a once a monthly or annual injection could take away the physical dependence on illegal drugs.  Or jails are filled with drug users and drug sellers.  Many other crimes are tied to drug use.  The solution is not making drugs legal, the solution is making drugs unpleasant or ineffective; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Don't Sue

The Supreme Court has said that police can't be sued because of a defective warrant. The police asked for and received a search warrant. They conducted a search. Eventually the warrant was challenged and the Ninth Circuit said the officers could be sued. Naturally, because the Ninth Circuit is nearly always anti-police, even when logic and common sense are against them.

The police want to search. Naturally police always want to search a lot. But because in our society we choose to limit police power we require police to get a warrant from a judge. If the judge gives them a warrant, then why should the police be sued because the warrant is defective? It makes no sense, the judge is supposed to be more knowledgeable about the law than police. That's why he is the judge.

The Supreme Court then overturned the Ninth Circuit and said that the police can't be sued over the warrant. There are many reasons police get sued but suing them over something they did in obedience to a court issued warrant is crazy. I am glad the Supreme Court overturned the Ninth Circuit opinion, but someone needs to overhaul that court. The Ninth Circuit is out of control and needs to be replaced with more conservative judges who will follow the law not make the law, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More News

California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation.  It is almost impossible for anyone who is not a cop to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.  It is illegal to carry even an unloaded weapon openly in most places.  California requires a background check and a ten day waiting period to buy a gun along with a $14 fee.  California has it's own list of banned long guns and only allows new handguns to be sold in the state that have passed an expensive safety testing process, the cost borne by the manufacturer.

Guns are illegal in government buildings, airports and schools, despite all these laws a Korean-American took a handgun to school and murdered seven other people before he surrendered to police.  All these gun control laws proved useless because they only apply to the law abiding citizens of the state.  The criminals will obtain guns anyway they can and will use them for evil purposes.  I suspect this guy will be convicted on seven counts of premeditated murder in the first degree with special circumstances. 

He will probably be sentenced to death and forty years from now he will die on death row of a heart attack.  In the meantime police unions will continue to endorse the failed policies of anti-gun and liberal politicians like California's Governor Gerry Brown and President Obama.  They will be endorsed because they care more about police pay and police pensions than they do about justice or law enforcement or crime prevention; that's the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.

Monday, April 9, 2012


A young man was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch member.  What did your agency do about it?  Did you reach out to all your local neighborhood watch groups?  Did you remind them that neighborhood watch is supposed to observe a suspicious activity and then phone it in?  They should not arm themselves and follow the subject or go look for the subject.  Leave it for the police, especially if the subject in not involved in any obvious violent criminal act.

Did you reach out to your local minority community after this happened?  Many people had questions.  They wanted to know why the shooter was not arrested.  They wanted to know that there would be a fair and impartial investigation.  They are concerned that this could happen in their neighborhood.  You should have developed answers to those reasonable questions.

Did you watch the follow up stories to the initial incident?  Did you know that there had been looting and a small riot associated with the incident?  Did you take this opportunity to review riot control with your officers?  You could check on their riot gear and make certain everyone has a helmet and gas mask.  Make sure your armory has tear gas, pepper balls, bean bags, riot batons, and any other gear you may need for civil unrest.  Even if an event does not happen in your neighborhood it can have an impact on your ability to do police work.  Keep up with the news and you will have fewer surprises, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Have a scanner in your patrol car and listen to the other agencies that work in or near your area.  It can alert you to crimes, pursuits, and calls for help.  I work in a small city bordered by four other cities.  We listen to their radio traffic because a crime on the border may spill over into our city.  A traffic stop initiated in their town may end up in our town.  If they go in pursuit that could easily come to our city and we know our city better than they do.  If they get into trouble they may call us for mutual aid.

It's nice to have listened to the incident develop so you have a better idea about what to expect.  Sometimes we even anticipate their call and prepare for their mutual aid request in advance.  There is a freeway in town.  It's patrolled by the state highway patrol.  Se we listen to them too.  It keeps us informed about traffic conditions on the freeway.  Also most traffic stops they initiate on the freeway will end up in our town because it's safer to stop cars on city streets. 

The county sheriff patrols the urban light rail system.  So we listen to their frequency also.  Finally we monitor our own fire department.  A major fire or traffic collision is going to require a police response anyway, so it gives us a couple minutes head start.  Listen in, you may hear something good, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stay Still II

If you are waiting for a car to drive by that was involved in a drive by shooting you must be ready to moving into traffic quickly and make a traffic stop.  Your probably cause to make the stop is that the vehicle fits the description of a vehicle wanted in connection with a drive by shooting only a few minutes ago.  Explain this to the driver and apologize for the inconvenience if it's not the right vehicle. 

At least record the license number for later investigation or to rule out that it was occupied by the shooter at the time of the stop.  You chance of actually stopping the right car is low, but it's worth the attempt.  It is certainly much higher than if you simply had ten units all rush to the scene of the crime. 

If you do stop a suspected vehicle, remember it is wanted in a drive by shooting.  It is a high risk stop.  Use the proper precautions and be careful, that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Stay Still

If a major crime happens and there is a good initial description of the suspects' vehicle and a general description of the suspects, sometimes you can catch them by just staying still.  Let's say you have a report of a drive-by shooting that happened about ten minutes ago.  Suspects are three males in a dark colored Honda. 

Driving ten minutes at sixty miles per hour puts them ten miles away.  Driving ten minutes at thirty miles per hour puts them five miles away.  That's a lot of territory but maybe we can narrow the search.  Who does drive-by shootings?  Gang members.  What gang was hit?  Who are their rivals?  Who wound not likely hit them?  Where is the rival gang territory?  What major roads connect the two territories? 

Go immediately to the major roadway that connects the two territories, at least five miles from the shooting scene and as much as twelve miles away.  Park you car and wait for them to drive past you.  Wait at least thirty minutes.  Stop any cars that fit the description, that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mistake or Evil

Officers conduct a drug raid.  They seize a million dollars in small unmarked currency.  An officer counts it and records it as $900,000.00.  At the station the money is counted and it is totaled up to $900,000.00, yet the suspect says there was a million dollars.  A search is made and a $100,000.00 is found in the trunk of the personal car of the officer who counted the money. 

A complete investigation must be conducted.  Ideally the investigation should not be done by the officers' agency, but by the county sheriff or state police, or even the district attorney.  That way there is no conflict of interest that the officer is getting special treatment or that the officers in his agency have to work with him again if he is not guilty of any wrongdoing. 

The officer should be suspended without pay until the investigation is complete.  If the evidence shows he stole the money, then he should be fired.  If there is enough evidence to go to trial the officer should be prosecuted.  Officers make mistakes, and mistakes can be corrected and officers can be rehabilitated from most mistakes.  Some officers consciously choose evil, those officers don't deserve to be police, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mistake or Evil

Sometimes people make mistakes.  Sometimes they choose to do evil.  When officer make mistakes they need counseling, retraining, better supervision and follow up.  When officer do evil they must be punished, often fired, even prosecuted. 

Officers conduct a drug raid.  They seize a million dollars in small unmarked currency.  An officer counts it and records it as $900,000.00.  At the station the money is counted again and it is totalled as a million dollars.  The first officer to count the money made a mistake.  He counted the money wrong or he wrote down the wrong amount.

The officer had no obvious evil intent.  He just was not careful enough and made a mistake.  He should be counselled, retrained and more closely supervised for a while until he proves himself to be consistently competent; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


As police officers we are often anxious to make an arrest.  Many times an arrest is appropriate, but sometimes it is not.  I have always believed that unless an officer is sure of his authority, and has probable cause to arrest, it is not a good idea to arrest.  I have never believed suspects should be arrested so they can wait in jail while investigators figure out what happened.  If I thought someone was innocent, I would not have arrested them.

If you have a suspect but you are not sure you should arrest them, there are several things you can do to help the investigation.  The most important thing is to obtain positive identification of your suspect, in as many forms as you can reasonably obtain.  Copy their driver license information, including their name as written on the license, the operator number and their date of birth.  Get a photo of them, along with fingerprints and DNA if possible.  These may be needed to exclude them as a suspect.  Your supervisor and crime scene investigators can assist you with the gathering of this data. 

Remember, if the suspect drinks out of a coffee cup or soda can or smokes a cigarette he has left a sample of DNA you can collect if they leave it in a public place.  Write a complete report and the detectives or the district attorney can always conclude later an arrest should be made, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Yard Search

Listen.  Move slowly.  One officer moves while the other officer stands still.  Move from cover to cover.  Move rapidly but don't hurry.  You don't want to trip, stumble, or fall.  Don't speak and have your radio turned off.  Use hand signals.  Rely on your training and knowledge of your partner.

Searching the yard of a home at night can be dangerous.  You can slip and fall over kids toys, doggie doo, hoses, rakes, shovels or lawn furniture, even plants and lawn edging.  Wait before you enter the yard.  Give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. 

Treat a yard search much like a room search.  Search.  Stay close to the edges.  Search systematically, don't forget to watch the building doors and windows.  Watch out for the family dogs.  In most cases a firm verbal command will stop the family dog.  Watch out for the homeowner; sometimes they call 911 and then go outside with a gun.  I like to search a yard twice, once without light and then back the other direction with my flashlight on.  Be sure to look up into the trees and onto the roof; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Glock Book Review

GLOCK, the rise of America's gun, Paul M. Barrett, Crown Publishers, New York, 2012
ISPN 978-0-307-71993-5

This book tells the story of Gaston Glock and the development and history of the Glock pistol.  The Glock pistol was invented by Gaston Glock who had no prior history with firearms.  He simply was looking for more business for his company.  He purchased a lot of handguns and based on that research, he designed the Glock.  The book tells how Glock went on to market guns in the United States.  They reasoned that if they could get police departments to buy their guns, then civilians would buy them too.

In the US the civilian gun market is huge.  Because the Glock has few parts and many are made of plastic, manufacture is inexpensive and the profit margin is high.  That allows Glock to sell to police departments at a substantial discount and still make money.  I have long wondered why Glock never came out with many variations on their guns or ever moved into rifles, submachine guns or shotguns.  There seem to be two reasons for that.  Gaston Glock seems to think his gun is perfect and was unwilling to make many changes.  The second reason is that several of the top executives were embezzling from the company.  That took a lot of time away from the core business of designing and making guns.

The book is a quick read.  I learned a lot about Glock as a company I did not previously did not know.  I would describe the author as moderately pro-gun, but not as pro-gun as I am.  This is not a technical book.  It it the story of Gaston Glock and his company.  I got the book for free to do a review. I am a Glock armorer, I don't own a Glock but I carry one on duty that is a department issue weapon.  I have never been to a Glock class in Georgia.  I recommend the book to anyone who is interested in the gun industry or who does agency firearms recommendations or purchases.  It may change how you fell about the process, that's what the SGT Says.