Thursday, May 31, 2012

Suicidal Subject

Police responded to a man who was threatening to harm himself with a knife.  He stabbed himself and threw parts of his own body at the police.  The officers withdrew and called for the SWAT team.  They tried to use OC spray on the subject but with no effect.  This may have been a good opportunity to use a Taser, but they may not have had one, or there may have been a reason it would have been impractical.
There are several dangers with this type of call.  A man with a knife can cover a lot of ground in only seconds and can turn from threatening himself to threatening others very fast.  He may also try and become a suicide by cop victim.  There is also the problem of HIV or other disease or drug exposure to the police.
In my opinion, backing off was the right call.  Clearly the subject was on drugs or mentally ill or both.  A SWAT team has training and equipment that street cops don't have. They really needed a prison extraction team, the type that pull recalcitrant inmates out of their cells.  Using special shields and puncture and liquid resistant clothing they can close grapple with prisoners armed with edged weapons and are unlikely to be injured.  I have even known of instances of officers using a fire hose or a ladder to pin a knife armed suspect against the wall or the ground and disarm them.  The key here is use your imagination and don't get yourself killed trying to save someone from trying to kill themselves; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Treat all guns as loaded.  Treat all possible guns as real.  If you think a gun is a real gun, then treat it as a real gun.  There are guns that look like toys.  Guns that look like squirt guns.  Guns that look like cellular phones.  Anyone can paint a gun orange or red to make it look fake.  Take into account the totality of the circumstances when confronted with a gun.

A five year old is unlikely to be able to pull the trigger, even on a real gun.  A ten year old may be able to pull the trigger and shoot you.  Someone facing away from you is less dangerous than someone facing you.  If you have good cover you are in less danger than if you don't have cover.  If you are responding to an armed robbery with the suspect displaying a gun you are in more danger than a parking complaint call.

Control the suspect.  Demand to see their hands.  Have them face away from you.  Have then get on the ground.  Have them stop some distance from you.  Take time to call for back up and move to cover.  Have your weapon out and in a low ready position if you suspect a weapon.  Use of force incidents happen quickly and you have to take control quickly.  Retreat is a valid option in many cases rather than force an incident.  You don't want to shoot someone who turns out to be unarmed, but you don't have to take the first bullet hit to prove they have a gun; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Marijuana Legalization

There has been a move in America to make the use of marijuana legal.  It has already been decriminalized for small amounts for personal use, and even legal in some states for medical use.  It as been a disaster.  Marijuana is a worthless drug and the only reason to use it is to get high.  There is no legitimate medical purpose for it, and any minor medical value can be done better by other drugs.
Marijuana is a gateway drug.  Nearly everyone who uses heroin, cocaine or other hard drugs started with marijuana.  That does not mean that everyone who used marijuana will go on to other drugs, but many will.  Drugs are a danger and a scourge to our society.  Pilots crash planes, drivers crash cars, bus drivers crash buses.  Workers make mistakes at work and damage goods and products and increase work injuries. 
Police unions need to fight marijuana decriminalization and legalization.  Police are on the front lines in the drug war.  Making marijuana legal is not the answer.  We used to make every marijuana arrest a felony.  People who did drugs were faced with harsh punishments.  Those who were dealing drugs went to prison for a long time.  Drugs destroy society, kill people and lead to government corruption.  Marijuana legalization is a bad idea; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Concealed Carry

Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Officers who leave their agency with ten years in good standing can carry a concealed weapon in all fifty states.  Did you know that?  Most people don't know that.  The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act was intended to put thousands of armed, trained people into the population to prevent, or stop terrorist attacks.

Even reserve officers after ten years service, once they leave the job can carry a concealed weapon.  They have to meet a few requirements but those requirements are very low.  Mostly they have to qualify periodically and have an ID card from their agency.  Few agencies have been proactive in notifying current and especially separated employees about this new law.

Officers retain a fair amount of their training, experience and desire to do good, even after the job has ended for them.  It is a fantastic resource that has been wasted for far too long.  Agencies need to be more pro-active about getting the word out to their current and former employees who meet this criteria.  Police unions could also be very helpful in notifying members and former members of this law. Police unions could also make a few bucks off this by providing liability insurance to their members who qualify; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


One of the interesting aspects of police work is that odd things happen.  A small herd of cows crashed a back yard party and started drinking the party guest's beer.  They called the police.  How do you handle a herd of cows?  I am a city boy, I only handle cows when they are on the BBQ grille.  So what do you do?

Call dispatch, ask them if anyone has reported cows that are missing.  If they receive any such reports, tell the caller we found them.  Call neighboring agencies and ask the same thing, certainly the cows did not go too far from home.  Call animal control, they have the gear and training to deal with big animals.  Just because a cow is a rather tame domestic animal they can still kill you, even accidentally, they are huge.

Get people away from the location.  There is no reason people should be agitating the animals, and that includes other officers.  Unless one of your partners was  REAL cowboy at sometime, keep back.  If you do have to herd them, it's best to do so from inside your patrol car.  Just stepping on your foot can end your career.  Don't shoot them, cows are expensive and your agency does not want to have to pay for them.  Unless there is real danger to life you don't want to harm them.  If you can't find the owner in a reasonable time or animal control is not available, other local ranchers may be willing to lend a hand, it does not hurt to ask, usually they are good folks and will help out in an emergency.  Whenever you get a weird call, just remember taking a few mintues to plan your strategy can be very helpful; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Car fires are pretty common and can be very dangerous.  Burning cars sometimes have people inside them. The single most important thing in a car fire is to get any occupants out of the car.  After that you can consider other issues.  Approach a burning car from the same side as the wind, so you are outside the smoke.  Burning cars are full of plastic and other materials that will create toxic smoke that can kill or injure you.

Take your fire extinguisher with you, it can push back the flames long enough to get a victim out.  Move the victim away from the vehicle, away from traffic, away from the smoke.  Make sure that fire department and paramedic won't be impeded by your location.  You can place the victim on a blanket and drag them to escape the fire.  Dragging a victim laying on a blanket can be easier on a burn victim than trying to carry them.

Fire can cause firearms to cook off.  That's why you keep your patrol rifle and your shotgun in the patrol car without a round in the chamber.  Motor homes can have propane tanks that can explode in a fire.  Electric cars and hybrid cars can have various toxins and fumes from the batteries.  Car fires can be dangerous, rescue the victims and get away; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 25, 2012


This video shows a woman attacked and kidnapped at a railway station.  It takes only a couple mintues from their first contact until they are gone.  In most cases unless the police just happened to be right there as it happened.
One thing I always recommend it that officers get out of the patrol car.  Too often I have seen them respond to an incident, drive up to the front, and then give dispatch the disposition that they don't see anything wrong and drive away.  If you don't check the back, the sides, the areas behind the dumpster, ask the people in the shops if they saw anything, it is easy to miss incidents.
In this case, I could see the officers respond, look around the front and drive off.  If they got out of the car, and contacted the clerk, asked about security camera footage, they may have been able to notify units in the area and stopped a kidnapping.  Go the extra mile and check the places that are not obvious when responding to a suspicious person call; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


How many times have you trained with those hostage targets?  A suspect with a gun or a knife is holding a human shield and has put the responding officer into a position to shoot or not shoot to avoid hitting the hostage.  This is one of those cases were the suspect and hostage were real and an officer ended the standoff with one well placed round, killing the suspect immediately.

If a suspect has a hostage, should you take the shot?  Maybe.  You need to balance the possibility that suspect will hurt or kill the hostage against your ability to shoot and immediately stop the suspect.  If you miss the suspect or if you only wound him, he may try to kill the hostage.  If you don't shoot at all, the suspect may try to kill the hostage.  Much of the decision depends on your assessment of the risk to the hostage.  If you think that if you don't shoot, the suspect has a high likelihood of killing the hostage then you need to shoot.

Try and get as clear a shot as you can.  Try and work around to the flank or rear of the suspect.  If there is more than one officer on scene, then they need to separate so the suspect has to watch in two different directions. Distractions can confuse the suspect and interject more delay time before they can act.  Order the suspect to drop his weapon.  Order the suspect to release the hostage.  Tell the suspect he can't get away.  Get close so it will be harder to miss.  This is a good use for the patrol rifle over the pistol, more knockdown power and greater accuracy.  Don't give up your gun to save the hostage, he just has two hostages then; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lights, Dogs, & Alarms

Make the house a harder target.  Have a residential burglar alarm.  It should be monitored by a local alarm company that will dispatch the police and perhaps their own security guards.  Most burglars will be scared away by a ringing alarm.  A dog that will bark will scare away many burglars before they even enter the house.  Crooks don't like attention and alarms and dogs bring attention to them.

Lighting that shows most of the exterior of the home are good.  I like lights that are given sensors that turn the lights off when it is daylight and turn the lights on when it is dark.  That's much better than just a timer.  I like lights that turn on with motion, so they give the illusion that someone has seen the burglar and has turned on the light.  Often that will scare crooks away.

Plants, fences, and other items should not block the windows of your house.  They will allow neighbors to see the burglar trying to get inside.  Cut back the plants as they grow in front of the lights and windows.  Burglary prevention is one of the best way to deal with burglary; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Locks on doors are a good idea.  You home needs locks.  When you visit a burglary victim you can do a vulnerably survey of their home and tell them how to stay safe in their home in the future.  If the door lock is near a window, then there needs to be either a double cylinder deadbolt lock or perhaps a floor lock that can't be reached from the window if it were broken.

Having more than one lock on a door can be a deterrent from crime.  Two locks is harder to get open than one.  Every exterior door should have a dead bolt lock on it.  I like to have dead bolt locks on some of the interior doors too.  The door from the house to the garage should be locked.  It is easy to get into a garage, with a good lock on the door into the garage from the house, it makes it that much harder for the crooks to get into the house.

I have a deadbolt lock on the bedroom door.  It is good to use when you take a nap during the day and much of the house is open.  It is good at night when the house is locked up, but it provides that much more protection than just a locked front door.  It also shows determination of the criminal if they break down the front door and then a bedroom door.  Locks only slow down the criminals, so there are other things you need to do too; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Firearms Safety

When loading your semi-automatic duty sidearm, keep you finger off the trigger.  Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.  Watch who is around you and when in an administrative location, like the range or locker room, watch what you are doing.

You need to learn how to do this in total darkness.  When you are in a shootout at night, you can't turn on your flashlight to look at your gun.  You need to be able to do this with one hand, and with both either the right hand or the left hand.  If you get wounded in one hand you have to continue to fight with the uninjured hand.

You need to be able to reload your unloaded handgun in only a couple seconds.  You don't have time in a gun battle to fumble around reloading.  The suspect my be attacking, moving, escaping or harming others.  You need to be able to get back into the fight quickly; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Little kids drown in water all the time.  Half of them drown in pools at home.  Many live near other people's pools or near rivers, ponds, lakes and streams.  My own nephew drowned and suffered brain damage at his parents home.
"Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
  • All caregivers should learn CPR.
  • Never leave a toy in or around a pool.
  • Never leave a child alone in or near a pool.
  • Make sure an adult is always within arm's length.
  • Children ages 1 to 4 years old should take swimming lessons. But remember that teaching children to swim does not guarantee their safety in the water.
  • Teach children to never run, push or jump on others around water. Teach them never to swim alone.
  • Keep a phone by the pool, along with rescue equipment, such as a life preserver and a shepherd's hook -- a long pole with a hook at the end.
  • Pools should be surrounded by a fence at least 4-feet high. Pool gates should self-close and self-latch at a height unreachable by small children.
  • If you have an inflatable or plastic pool, empty it after each use and turn it upside down."

All police officers and first responders should know how to swim, know how to render CPR.  Many of us would be reluctant to do CPR on anyone who is not an officer due to the fear of disease, but what about a little child?  Swimming should be taught in the police academy and swift water rescue should be common among police; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


There is a new M1911 style .45 acp pistol that his two barrels side by side. It is an interesting concept but too big and heavy for a duty weapon. When officers have to shoot at someone what we want is for them to stop doing what they were doing, immediately. Not in ten or fifteen seconds, not in three seconds, but right now.

A hostage may be endangered so the officer has to shoot right away. A suspect may be an active shooter killing and wounded people and so has to be stopped immediately. A suspect may be a serial killer who could escape and kill again.

As an officer I don't care if the suspect dies or not. I want him stopped. If there was a Star Trek phaser that would fire fifty yards and paralyze the suspect, that would be the perfect police weapon. Until that day we are probably going to have to use lead projectiles to cause tremendous, probably fatal damage to suspects to get them to stop, we shoot to save lives, not to kill; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Police Jobs

If you want to get hired by a police department the single most important thing is to tell them everything without avoidance, or evasion of any kind.  Don't lie, don't exaggerate, don't minimize problems or mistakes.  If they ask if you have been contacted by the police, detained, arrested, used drugs or have been fired, tell them the truth as you know it.  They will talk to your former boss, your ex-wife, your former girlfriend, your neighbors, people who used to work with you and read your employee file.

They will check with local agencies, and look at their own records.  It is important to them that they hire people who have integrity.  There is an excellent chance they will find out about what you did.  So tell them up front.  Some things will always get you disqualified.  Some things may get you disqualified.  Lying nearly always will result in you not getting hired no matter what you lied about.

I have known officers how have done a lot of pretty bad things in their lives before they got hired.  They got hired because they disclosed it right away and had a good explanation as to why that incident should not prevent them from getting hired.  Smoking marijuana one time ten years ago when you were in college is not a big deal to most agencies, if you disclose it.  If you fail to mention it and they discover it, after you have told them you never did drugs, then you probably won't get hired; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Illegal Turtles


Sometimes we have to enforce laws that seem a little less serious than others.  In my city we have a law against selling things on the street.  All vendors must have a license and a store.  So those guys standing on the freeway off ramp or alongside the large intersection selling flowers or peanuts or cherrys have to have a license, pay taxes and get a store.  Frequently we encounter them, check them for warrants and make them move along.

In several states street vendors are selling small turtles.  It is illegal to sell turtles that have the largest shell length that is under four inches long.  The reason for that is very small turtles often carry salmonella.  It is a germ that causes a disease that can be fatal, patricularly in small childern.  Who gets small turtles?  Usually parents buy them for small children.

These street vendors illegally sold small turtles that lead directly to outbreaks of salmonella.  They also directly lead to the death of several small children.  If the officers in those areas had been more vigilant in enforcing both the turtle law, and probably numerous other laws concerning street vending, then I suspect those children would be alive today.  Now I don't blame the officer.  Cops are busy, street vending may not be a crime in those areas, and selling illegal turtles hardly seems like selling illegal assault rifles or meth.  Still, the result is the same, innocent children are dead; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ray Gun

US Military Unveils Heat Ray Weapon Straight Out Of Science Fiction

by NTEB News Desk

New technology can have fantastic results for law enforcement.  This new military weapon causes a sensation of extreme burning on the skin, without actually burning the person.  This type of weapon could have tremendous implications for law enforcement.

It could be used in prisons.  Direct the beam, point to point along the perimeter fence to keep the inmates away from the wall.  Direct the beam into unruly crowds of inmates so they will disperse.  Direct the beam into areas where inmates are not permitted to be so they will keep out.  Turn it on inside their cells if they refuse to leave their cell for a search.

It could be used in civil disorder situations.  Turn it on a crowd and force them to back away from a building, police line, or other location.  Turn it on in front of businesses to prevent the crowd from looting.  Use it to disperse crowds who have unlawfully blocked a street or government office building.  We need more less lethal weapons; how about a hand held version, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Catalytic Converter Theft

There is a new crime sweeping the nation, catalytic converter theft.  While it has been around for a few years now, with the rising costs of precious metals, catalytic converter theft has become more common.  It is also an easy crime to commit.

The catalytic converter can usually be stolen in under a minute or so, just a couple quick cuts with a saw and $200 is in the hands of the criminal.  In most vehicles the suspect has to crawl under the car and reach up to the exhaust system to make the cuts. Vehicles that are high off the ground are therefore the preferred targets, pick up trucks, SUVs, and four wheel drive vehicles.

Patrol parking lots and watch for people carrying saws, or who are on the ground, either under or next to vehicles.  If you find someone on the ground, check under the vehicle to see if they have tampered with it or have tried to toss away a saw.  The replacement cost of a catalytic converter can be as much as a $1000 so you may have a grand theft suspect, a felony in in California.  Watch also for a get away vehicle, a car double parked in the parking lot for no particular reason may be waiting for the crook sawing off the catalytic converter.  Finding the get away vehicle may also lead to the recovery of additional catalytic converters; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Glock makes a model 35, it is the Competition Glock; does it make a good duty gun?  It is longer, so it takes more time to remove it from the holster. In a shootout lasting three seconds every fraction of a second you are not shooting you are wasting. Think of shooting in combat like the Olympics, swimmers do things like shave their legs to reduce resistance in the water so they can swim .01 of a second faster than the other guy. Shootouts can be decided in that much time too. A longer slide also cycles slower because it has to travel farther.  The longer slide gives a longer sight radius so it will be more accurate to sight and shoot.  A longer barrel will provide more velocity and greater accuracy at a given range.

Competition guns often have tighter tolerances than duty guns, that makes them more accurate but less reliable. They don't have as much space for dirt, water, rain, carbon, junk, blood, and stuff and fuzz to clog up the works and induce a malfunction as a duty gun.  A very light trigger pull is more likely to induce an unintentional discharge. When you are stressed in a shooting a 15 pound trigger pull would not be noticed. When you trip and fall and try to catch yourself a three pound trigger pull may not be enough.  A light trigger pull will allow you to shoot faster.

Competition vs combat are two different types of events, that's why we don't patrol in stock cars. Sure they are faster and handle better than police cars, but they don't have radios and a shotgun rack.  When you select a duty gun, make sure you take into account the circumstances that you work under and the degree to which the gun fits your needs; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Alcohol Abuse

Teenagers using tampons soaked in vodka inserted into the body, male and female, to get drunk. It makes for quick intoxication and may lead to alcohol poisoning, even death. Teens are also inserting a beer bong into their rectum to get drunk and again, risk alcohol poisoning.

The breath testing for alcohol is not fooled by these techniques because they measure alcohol in the blood stream, not in the stomach. With summer party time coming soon, this can be a real danger in our city. If you have a case of alcohol poisoning, ask how the victim consumed the alcohol, so that proper first aid can be rendered, to include removal of the tampon to prevent further alcohol ingestion.  At least begin the investigation, even if you leave the first aid to the fire department.
Alcohol abuse with teenagers is a serious problem.  They often binge drink and don't realize how dangerous alcohol can be, since it is a legal drug they often think it is safe.  Many teenagers every year die from alcohol poisoning or in alcohol related accidents and traffic collisions.  Strong enforcement and awareness of the problem is essential; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


There are rumors that the CIA has developed special weapons for decades.  One of the rumored weapons is a heart attack gun.  That is not a gun you are likely to find in your local gun shop, but if the CIA can do it, then perhaps others can also make such a weapon.

Police work can be very busy.  It can be difficult to get all your calls handled some days.  It can be easy to dismiss an apparent heart attack as a natural death.  It can be easy to dismiss a murder as a suicide.  A traffic collision under suspicious circumstances can be brushed aside as just an accident.

Police work is about justice.  We often are the only ones to speak for the victims.  We have to be suspicious of the way the scene looks.  We have to look a things as if they may have been criminal acts, we must make sure justice is done; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Good Deeds

Recently Hollywood put out a movie about the US Navy SEALS.  They are great heroes in the War Against Islamic Terrorists and I was glad that movie was made.  I do wonder why such movies have to be so few and far between.  There are heroes in the military, the police and fire services who risk their lives, even give their lives every week or so here in the USA.
One reason is the obvious problem with so many in Hollywood being liberals who don't like authority figures, soldiers, police and others.  There is also the problem that so many in Hollywood are drug or alcohol abusers or other types of criminals so they are reluctant to make heroes out of the very people who arrest them for DUI and other offenses.
The other reason we don't get such movies is that we do a very poor public relations job.  When an officer mis-behaves his information it made public and played on the news over and over.  Too often when we run into a burning building, do CPR on a child, or otherwise.  We need to work on our public relations and be less embarrassed about publicizing our good deeds, that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


There have been at least four instances of Communist Chinese spying for Communist China.  Does your jurisdiction have a significant Chinese immigrant population?  Does your jurisdiction have a significant manufacturing, research or military operation?  You may have Chinese Communist spys working in your community.

While many of us don't think about espionage, especially since the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, there are still many hundreds of people in the spy business and they are operating against the United States.  Some of what they do is directed against companies to steal their secrets and make money.  Some is more sinister and involves trying to steal military secrets and trying to subvert members of our armed forces.

Attempted crimes against sensitive targets many not have been a burglary to steal tangible goods, it may have been an attempt to plant listening devices, tap phones, monitor computers or download data.  Any attempt at trying to gain sensitive information should be passed on the the FBI, counter espionage is one of their most important missions.  Private security guards and local police both have a role to play in detecting, reporting espionage; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


My friend Terry sent these photos to me.

He runs Memphis Protective Services, out of Tennessee, USA.

A GPS device left on the dashboard in the sun exploded.

As you can see there is a lot of damage to the vehicle.

This much burning could have gotten out of hand and burned up the whole vehicle.

Imagine what would happen if you were going about 70 miles per hour at the time of the explosion?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Illegal Immigration


ICE will begin hormone therapy on illegal alien detainees.  In times of tight budgets it is even more critical that we spend our money carefully.  Transgender treatments for illegal aliens don't seem very high on my to do list.  People who are in this country illegally need to be removed and sent home.  I don't care how long they have been here, I don't care how many children they have.  I don't care that they have been good, hard working people.  If someone comes here illegally, they need to be sent home.
Those who have any kind of medical condition that requires treatment need to be sent home first.  Expedite their removal from the country.  I don't want to pay for their medical condition, particularly when it is an elective procedure like being transgendered.  We don't have a perfect health care system for our own people, we certainly should not be caring for people who don't belong here.
I have often wondered why every state does not follow the lead of Arizona and pass laws the permit local law enforcement from dealing with illegal aliens.  The Federal government certainly has failed to protect our borders.  At least two of the 9/11 hijackers were contacted by local law enforcement and perhaps they could have been intercepted and deported by local police had such laws been in place.  Illegal aliens take American jobs and often are involved in criminal activity.  Police unions should pressure state legislatures to allow their members to enforce immigration laws and help to make our communities safer; that's the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Electrical Problem

Another copper thief gets burned to a crisp while trying to steal copper.  This time from an Edison building.  Not only did he probably kill himself, the suspect was alive at the time of this report, but he cut the power off for thousands of people.  He is not really expected to live, his burns were very bad.

This type of crime causes not only the criminals to be killed but also cuts power to others homes and businesses.  All for a few dollars worth of copper.  Patrol those areas where there are power stations and light rail.  Power outages are dangerous and costly.  Frozen foods spoil, traffic lights are out, elevators get stuck between floors, there are many ancillary damages, that can be in the millions of dollars. 

Look for damaged fences, open gates and evidence that someone may have been climbing fencing around electrical buildings.  Pry marks on doors, are obvious but what about a carpet tossed on top of a chain link fence?  It means someone has tried to climb over the fence and avoid the barbs on the top of the chain link or the barbed wire.  Watch out for copper thieves, they are dangerous to themselves and to others, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


When you use force, you need to be sure your force is legal, within department policy and reasonable.  You need to properly document the use of force and be sure to explain why you needed to use force and why you needed to use the particular force you used.

In most circumstances you will have many options.  Withdraw, wait, use force, and often you have several force options.  Once force has been used and the circumstances have stabilized, make sure you get proper medical care for the suspect.  If there is any chance the suspect could have been injured, then render first aid as needed and call for paramedics to give you a clearance on the suspect.

Any time I have to use pepper spray or a baton strike, I like to have a medical clearance.  Then if the suspect dies later, you have the opinion of medical professionals that he was okay.  When you write your report, include reasons why lesser force was likely to be ineffective.  Explain how afraid you were, how little time you had to react, how you felt the suspect was not responding to your verbal commands and how you knew that you had to use force to gain control; provided those circumstances were present.  Don't exaggerate, but don't understate what happened, that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I went to the range with an excellent shooter recently.  He was very safe and very skilled in basic firearms handling.  His depth of experience was shallow.  I had him perform some very basic drills and he had never done them before.  We need to make sure that those we train in firearms handling move beyond the basic point and shoot once they get good at that.

Fire from a barricade position, use cover whenever you can and train by shooting from behind cover.  Don't poke the gun out from behind the barricade, spalling and ricochets may injure you when the suspect returns fire.  Shoot from a comfortable position, just because you have a barricade does not mean you have to change posture.

Shoot from different positions.  How much time do you spend at work seated in a car seat or chair?  Have you shot from a seated position?  Don't point the gun at your leg as you draw the weapon, put your knees together to avoid that.  You will probably be lower than the suspect so remember to get a good sight picture and shoot upwards towards your target.  So much to learn, so do something different at the range this month; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guns & CCW

A court in Maryland has said that a carrying a concealed weapon permit could not be denied if the person could not show a substantial reason for need a gun.  I have always wondered about the arrogance of government officials who will tell you that you can't carry a gun for protection because you are not in danger, but will have police with guns and body armor to protect themselves.

Even a rabbit will fight when it is attacked and people are more valuable than rabbits.  Every law abiding citizens has the right to keep and bear arms.  There is no reason to have a right to own guns if you have to leave them at home.  We have to leave home to shop, work, and for many other reasons.  In those states that permit large numbers of people to carry guns there is generally less crime than other places.  Criminals don't like to attack victims that may be armed.

Police should embrace concealed carry as an important tool in law enforcement.  I think anyone who is responsible enough to vote and drive a car is probably responsible enough to carry a gun if they want to do so for protection.  Criminals will carry guns without regard to permits, restrictions, and laws.  Good citizens should be able to level that playing field, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Off Duty Carry

Disneyland and many other places don't allow officers to carry firearms off duty.  I recommend that officers nearly always carry off duty so they can protect themselves, their family and the public.  I believe that people are safer when officers are carrying off duty as well as on duty.  Too many times in public venues, such as Virginia Tech, and Columbine, murderers have rampaged though the location killing people at random and those inside the "gun free zone" were left helpless to defend themselves.

I support the right of Disney and other private property owners to determine who will carry a gun on their property or not.  Off duty officers should be allowed to carry on private property only with the permission of the owner.  In general, I think owners who do not allow officers and those with concealed carry permits to carry guns on their property are foolish, but I believe it is a matter of education not law that we need to work on.

If law enforcement officers were more respected, then perhaps more companies would allow us to carry on their properties.  How often have you heard of off duty officers killing themselves and their wife or girlfriend?  How many times have you heard of off duty officers getting drunk and shooting things up?  Certainly those two examples are not unheard of and in some agencies not even rare.  Carry off duty whenever you can and carry responsibly, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Horrific images on this link.

Two copper thieves were trying to steal a cable with high tension electrical energy surging through the wires.  They were electrocuted and burned instantly. This provides several lessons for us.  Many places have this type of electricity and many criminals try to steal copper to get money for the recycling.  Patrolling the area of high energy power lines can reveal people who may be about to steal copper.

The other area to watch is light rail systems.  They use electricity and the copper wires are thick.  There are usually small buildings along the right of way.  The small buildings are used to switch the rails and to provide electricity and other purposes.

The most important reason to be aware of these copper thieves is your own safety.  Copper theft is a serious matter.  Touching live electrical wires is very dangerous, it causes instant death.  When in doubt about these types of wires, have dispatch contact the electric company or the transit company to deal with the electrical energy; that's what the SGT Says.