Friday, August 31, 2012

Armed Bystander

A woman dropped her kid off at a school when the child's father showed up and they began to argue. The man pulls a gun and stabbed the woman. An armed citizen showed up and held the man at gunpoint. That enabled the woman to receive treatment and the police were able to take custody of the suspect. What would have happened if the citizen had not intervened?
Would the man continued to stab the woman? Would the woman have survived the incident? Would the man have gone into the school and kidnapped or murdered his kid? Would he have stabbed school officials or the child's teacher?
It only takes a moment for someone to stab another person. Multiple stab wounds can be inflicted in only seconds. A knife can be as deadly as a handgun, only the range is much shorter. If the victim had to wait for the witnesses to call the police and for the police to respond she could have been dead. Decent, honest citizens can save lives if they have the tools to do so; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

San Ysidro

In the mid 1980's a man walked out of his house with three firearms, telling his wife that he was going to hunt humans. A neighbor saw him leaving and called the police. The man went into a Mac Donald's in Southern California and began shooting people. He killed 21 people and injured 19 others.
He had a history of domestic violence and he even shot his own dog to death. Despite this the police did little or nothing to document that behavior and so he had no significant criminal history and was able to continue to buy guns. The wife heard him say he was hunting humans and she failed to call police. The neighbor who saw him leaving his home with guns did call the police, but the dispatcher sent the officers to the wrong location. Once the suspect began shooting he continued to fire for 77 minutes until a SWAT sniper shot him to death.

Domestic violence and animal cruelty are frequent pre-coursers to other, more severe violence later. Proper investigation and documentation can bring intervention prior to the suspect escalating into more violent behaviors. When a call comes in to dispatch, it is important for the dispatcher, when possible, to get a call back number. That way if information is incorrect, they can call back and correct it. If you get to a dispatched location and cannot find the address, or can't find the reported activity, dispatch should verify the location you are at with the one they wrote down and dispatched. If there is an active shooter, lives are likely going to be lost if you don't take quick action. You can't always wait for SWAT to get set up and ready; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Slow Down, Wear Your Seat Belt

An officer put out an officer needs help call. This is about the highest priority call that can come out on the radio. A second officer was on his way to the incident. According to some witnesses, he did not have his emergency light or his siren turned on, but he was exceeding the speed limit. The officer crashed into another car and two people were killed. The officer was injured but not killed.
If you crash on the way to the call for assistance you not only don't get there to render aid to your partner, but worse than that, you cause other officers to have to come to the scene of your traffic collision rather than aid the original officer. If you are exceeding the speed limit in your police car, you must use your emergency lights and siren unless your have an excellent tactical reason for not doing so.
The Memphis Police do seem to be handling the incident well. They placed their officer on administrative paid leave. He has the presumption of innocent until proven guilty. They have stated only general facts concerning the case and have not prejudged the incident. They have asked for an outside agency to conduct the investigation to minimize any favoritism towards the officer. Bad things happen at every agency, it is important to handle them professionally, and to respect the rights of the officer and the public; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Student Riots

A group of college students at Penn State gathered to protest the firing of their football coach. Eventually, they decided to overturn a news van and create havoc in a riot. One student was convicted of the rioting and now the media feels sorry for him.
He left his room to join the group. When they started to riot he did not leave. He had at least one of his hands on the news van when it was overturned. He was kicked out of their ROTC program because of his criminal conviction. He has to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money. He spent some time in jail. He was suspended from school for a while.
This article never mentions how much the damage costs that he and others did. They never mention if anyone else was either arrested or convicted of these crimes that night. They don't even show the video of the suspect committing the crime. They never speak to the cops about the riot. If he had just stayed home that night this would have all been avoided. The excitement and adventure of mass protest and riot was all too alluring. College student riots are not harmless pranks, millions of dollars of damage gets done, and people get hurt, even killed; they are serious crimes; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Luby Massacre

A deranged man drove his pick up truck through the plate glass window of a cafeteria. He exited the vehicle and began shooting people at random with two handguns he had with him. He ended up killing twenty people, wounding over 20 more before killing himself. A woman in the cafeteria had a concealed weapons permit, reached for her gun and then realized it was in her car in the parking lot. At the time it was illegal for her to carry the gun into the restaurant. Both her parents were murdered.

Police responded quickly to the incident and fired at the shooter. Rather than face an armed person himself, the shooter killed himself. There is much to learn from this incident. First is that when the man crashed his vehicle, people rushed to help him thinking it was a traffic accident. They were the first to die. You can never know what kind if incident you are responding to, so always use reasonable precautions.

The second thing is that the woman with the concealed carry permit believes she could have shot and killed the suspect right after she saw him kill her father. Armed civilians, and off duty armed officers don't have a response time, they are on site immediately. Third, in an active shooter situation, you don't have time to set up perimeters, evacuate neighbors, you have to arm yourself and begin searching for and engaging the suspect in the shortest possible time. Any delay only gives the shooter time to murder or wound more people; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Off Duty

An officer on the way home from work was shot and killed on the street near the station.  Just because you are off work, does not mean that you have to stop being a cop.  You need to be aware of your surroundings at all times, on duty and off duty.

Criminals sometimes target officers and killing one off duty is easier than on duty.  When off duty be prepared to resist assault from suspects.  Suspects may want to kill you because you arrested one of them or one of their gang member friends.  Suspects may want to kill you to get back at your agency. 

Some suspects may want to assault you because they simply want to rob you or murder someone and you are the first potential victim to come along.  After a hard shift it is difficult to focus and the last thing most officers will want to do is continue in condition yellow or even orange.  You are not safe until you are back home.  You need to stay ready until you have finished your commute and made it to a safe destination; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Home Invasion

Often the crimes we deal with are one gangster beats up another gangster and so we might have an attitude of who really cares if criminals victimize each other?  In this crime a very elderly couple were in their own homes, minding their own business when a vicious criminal broke into their home.  He raped the woman and beat the man.  Terrible violence that happened to very innocent victims.

Indirectly, this crime is why we need to do a careful job of investigating the criminal gangster who attacks another criminal gangster.  Just because the career criminal has selected another career criminal for his victim this time does not mean that he will always choose career criminals for his victims.  This gives you an excellent opportunity to put away a gang member before his crimes begin to effect the decent people in your town.

I have worked some of the worst neighborhoods in my career as an officer.  Even in the most terrible gang infested neighborhoods there are still a few good people.  The good ones are their because the bought the house 50 years ago and can't afford to leave.  They live there to be close to their church, their grand kids, or their friends.  The good people always deserve our best efforts to find and convict criminals.  Sometimes we can best serve them by catching the bad guys when the only victims are other bad guys; so next time their victim won't be a good guy; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Man With Knife

NYPD noticed a man smoking marijuana.  When they confronted him, the man pulled a large knife and ran off.  The police chased him.  They tried to pepper spray him six times but it was ineffective.  Pepper spray can be excellent or useless, depending on circumstances and the individual ability to withstand the effects of the spray.  Eventually the man stopped and the police shot him to death.
The baton is a very dangerous choice when confronted by a man with a knife.  The baton user must get good hits on the right places to be effective.  The knife armed man needs only make contact to cause significant, even fatal injury.  This would have been an excellent time to use rubber bullets, a shotgun with bean bags, or a Taser.  This is exactly the type of situation that could have saved the life of the suspect had he been shot with a Taser, however, the specific tactical situation may have mitigated against it, given that the suspect was running around and there were many people in the way.
Another disturbing element to this incident is that people were running after the foot pursuit trying to get video footage of the incident.  While I believe in a free society, the public should be permitted to monitor the activities of the police, I think in this instance the presence of people actually following a foot pursuit could have hampered the response of other officers, and limited the ability of the officers on scene to maneuver to the best location.  It may also caused the suspect to act out for the cameras.  I would support some limitations on filming police in the performance of their duties, such as a minimum distance away, for officer and public safety; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Meth Lab

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Keep and Bear Arms

Decent, honest, competent people who do not own guns contribute to crime in society. They contribute to accidental gun deaths and they increase the chance of genocide, oppression and gang activity in their neighborhoods. They also must dis-proportionately rely on the police and other authorities to protect them when crimes happen.

Criminals don't want their victims to be armed, because it makes resistance to crime more likely and more effective. Criminals want potential victims to be disarmed so that it makes their job of rape, robbery, murder, and assault easier and safer for them. Criminals can use a pipe, a knife, or a gun to threaten unarmed victims and the victim has few options apart from surrendering to the demands of the criminal.

 When children are not raised around guns, when they finally are exposed to a gun at a friends' house or other venue, they are less likely to handle the gun safely and more likely to accidentally injure themselves or other innocent person because of their lack of experience. In a nation with an oppressive government, genocide is much easier if the government does not face an armed populace. That's one of the reasons that Switzerland has not been invaded in modern times, you can't fight everyone. If an unarmed person hears a suspicious sound, they are forced to call for the police to investigate and them just sit and wait for rescue, unable to protect themselves in the event of an assault. In some jurisdictions police response can be so long that the suspect could easily rape or murder the reporting party long before police could likely respond to aid them. The law abiding citizen should never be denied the right to keep and bear arms; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pony Patrol

A police officer saw men on horseback riding in and out of vehicle traffic.  A horse is a big animal and can be very dangerous.  Just like when a car hits a deer, it can kill the driver, not to mention the animal.  A horse is even more dangerous because it's much larger than a deer and is under some degree of control by a human.  In this instance the rider is alleged to have rammed the police car with his horse.  Get a hoof through your drivers window and see how the rest of your day goes.

The officer was able to unhorse the rider and effect the arrest.  This may have been a good use for pepper spray, a Taser or even a bean bag shotgun round to the driver.  The horse is an innocent, and certainly you don't want to hurt the horse, however, the horse is also dangerous and part of the instrument of the crime.  Horses are alive so you don't want to be cruel to them, but you also don't want to let them harm any humans.  Horse can also be very expensive, and I certainly don't know how to tell a cheap horse from a million dollar one.

Given the opportunity to injure innocent people, it might be necessary to ram the horse with the patrol car, or even shoot it to stop a rampaging rider.  Certainly that would be a last resort and something you want to avoid if you can, and still protect innocent humans.  Once the rider is arrested, you still have the obligation to care for the horse.  It has to be captured and tied up so it does not continue to harm people.  If the horse could have been injured it should be checked at least by an animal control officer if not a veterinarian.  You also need to coordinate transportation for the horse to either the animal shelter or back to it's owner; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 20, 2012


A group of under age teens attacked a man and beat him almost to death.  They said they were bored and wanted something to do and that seemed like fun.  Some crimes seem to have little or no motive.  This is one of those types of crimes.  When doing an investigation of a beating or murder, keep in mind that the motive may not be readly obvious.
Sometimes the suspects motive may not even make any sense.  Criminals typically commit an assault for financial gain, or perhaps because they are angry at the victim or have a grudge against the victim.  Sometimes a suspect will commit an assault for a reason that makes no sense to the investigating officers.  It's not important that the motive makes sense to the officer, it only matters that the motive made sense to the suspects at the time of the assault.
Criminal investigation does sometimes require that we investigate the motive.  Some acts are only crimes depending on the motive.  Sometimes motive can mean enhancements to the penalty.  When discussing the crime with suspects or witnesses, don't dismiss an odd motive, just because it makes sense to you that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Onion Field

Gregory Powell is dead, and I am glad.  He murdered a police officer decades ago.  He should have been executed but the weak willed members of our state legislature and judiciary won't permit executions in California.  The people want murderers to die in the death chamber but the politicians won't let it happen.  Powell and his partner criminal were both sentenced to death and the death penalty was struck down.
This crime was a very well known crime.  The criminals captured a police officer.  Then his partner showed up and eventually he gave up his gun to the criminals.  The criminals then started shooting and one officer was killed and the other one was lucky enough to run away and escape.  The officer who gave up his gun was very despondent and died at age 59.
Officers have since this shooting, in 1963, have been trained to never give up their guns.  If you give up your gun you are at the mercy of merciless killers.  This incident was also a great shove to the concept of wearing a back up gun.  Every officer should carry a back up gun on duty.  We also learned a lot about post traumatic stress.  Officers involved in a major incident need our help, not our ridicule; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


While babysitting a 14 month old girl, Betty Smithey murdered the baby.  She was sentenced to life in prison.  Now after 49 years in prison she is being released.  I am opposed to her release.  I think she should have been executed 49 years ago.  Barring that, she should have been kept in prison until she died.
I don't have much sympathy for people who do murder and then get released just because they are sick or old.  To my mind, anyone who does a murder should be executed within a couple years of their conviction.  Justice delayed is justice denied.  The political elites like to tell us that the death penalty is cruel or unusual.  Those same people don't work as cops, they don't work as prison guards, and they never had anyone they loved killed by some ruthless criminal.
This article is totally slanted towards the criminal.  They talk to the people who are close to the criminal but they did not speak to anyone related to the victim.  It is the victim who we should be concerned about, not the criminal.  The criminal deserves her punishment and I am sorry she was released; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Officers responded to a report of an officer down.  When they arrived they spoke to several men one of whom pulled out a rifle and started shooting at the officers.  Two officers were killed and one wounded, two suspcets were wounded.  This was a deliberate and pre-meditated ambush intending to murder police.
This is one of the most difficult type of assaults to avoid.  Most of the suspects we confront just want to escape.  They may shoot at an officer but their plan is primarily to escape, they may be willing to kill to do that, but they are focused on escape, not murder.  An ambush is different.  Thier is no other motivation apart from killing an officer.  By the nature of police work our actions are very predictable.  We have to respond into the kill zone when we are called.  We can't just go in shooting on every call.  We have to be reactive to what we know about the circumstance.  That always gives the suspect some lag time on our part to do us harm.
When you receive an unknown trouble call, an officer down from a shooter, sometimes it is a good idea not to go directly to the incident.  Stop some distance away and observe what is happening.  In the two minutes it took you to respond, the suspects could have moved, they could have set up an ambush, if you drive in blindly you may go directly into the kill zone.  Just as we don't park in front of the business when the burglar alarm rings, don't fell compelled to rush into the center of the action on other calls either.  A stealthy and silent approach can help you to gain the advantage; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Firearms Safety

Basic firearms safety rules apply to everyone who handles firearms.  It is a good idea to review them from time to time.

Always consider every firearm as loaded all the time, even if you unloaded it.  Use a red gun or other simulated firearm for training that may involve pointing guns at each other.

Do not point a gun at anything your are not prepared to shoot.  Even an unloaded gun can be dangerous, because you may have failed to fully unload it or others may have loaded it without your knowledge.

Do not place your finger inside the trigger guard or on the trigger until your are ready to shoot.  Your sights will usually be aligned with the target by that time also.

Always be aware of your background.  There may be people downrange or other dangerous circumstances that may cause you to hold your fire.  Total awareness is important when handling guns; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


A family had a relative go missing. They waited for months to notify the authorities because the relative was one who would come and go in their lives and so being gone for a while was not too unusual. They found out that the man had been dead for many months and the police had made only a minimal effort to find a relative to notify.
Death notification is a matter of life and death. It's a matter of death, specifically. It means a relative will never come home alive again. It is often the worst news a family can receive. It is important that the information is given in a timely manner, in a way that is sensitive to the emotional needs of the family. It is also important to insure the property of the decedent his been properly accounted for and safeguarded.
Usually it is the job of the police to make death notifications. Certainly their are few other agencies available 24/7 who can give someone a face-to-face notification of a death.  In Orange County, CA, they have a Public Administrator who handles this problem.  They also secure all the persons property until it can be properly disposed of in accordance with law.  This is a good idea; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Roasted Baby

Every year I write about children left alone inside cars on hot summer days.  Every year parents leave children alone in a car to die in the heat.  Children should never be left alone in a car, ever.  Children should never be left alone in a car on hot days because they can die very quickly.  Leaving the window cracked or down is not enough to protect infants alone in a car.
Infants should not be left unattended, even at home.  There should always be someone with them who can prevent them from being kidnapped, from being trapped in a fire, from a dog attack, from choking on a toy, from any number of bad things that can happen to an infant.  An infant left alone in a car for even a minute should be cause for a police investigation, particularly on a hot day.
A parent leaves to run into the store and they intend to be right back.  The temperature is 80 or 90 degrees.  With every minute that passes that temperature goes up and in as little as ten minutes the temperature can soar to over 100 degrees, enough to kill an infant.  I always recommend to officers that they patrol large parking lots on hot days and look for kids in cars.  If you find an unattended infant in a car, check to see if the doors are unlocked, if not, I recommend you find a window away from the kids and break in immediately.  Your baton will break a car window, but tire iron will work better if you have ready access to one.  I also suggest you turn on your lights and siren as a way to gain the attention of the parents.  You may want to obtain guidance from your supervisor prior to an incident of this type, but you only have minutes from the time the child was left alone in the car.  Even if the child does not die, they can suffer brain damage.  I recommend you do not release the child to the parents until the child has been cleared by paramedics and you at least have all the parents information, assuming you don't take them into custody for child endangerment; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 13, 2012


The man charged in the murders and shooting of people at a movie theater has a fan club.  People are signing on to various computer sites and talking about how wonderful, and interesting the suspect is in this crime.  Facebook is the main location these people use to connect with one another.  Facebook showing no social responsibility has refused to take down the site.
Our society is sick, we worship that which is evil.  The face of this evil man has been plastered all over the media and we are learning details of his life that are not relevant to this criminal act.  He has become a celebrity criminal.  Just as the Joker character in the Batman movies, this evil man has achieved the same status.
In law enforcement we need to be aware of the dangers of the celebrity criminal.  People who are unhinged enough to love an evil murderer are dangerous to society.  They could try a rescue attempt.  They could try to gain access to him so they could simply be with him.  This could include anything from sneaking into jail to spend time with him to committing similar crimes so they could be imprisoned with him.  They may also try to disrupt courtroom proceedings or prisoner transportation.  I would recommend officers working this case watch the Batman movies to learn how prisoners behave, how they escape custody and assault police to plan for copycat behaviors. I would recommend additional security theaters for copycat killers.  I would monitor the social media and the people who visit the trial.  This is a dangerous and disturbing group; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


What was SGT Smith doing just before the moose killed him? In this video a moose has become entangled in a swing set chain. The officer uses bolt cutters to free the moose. The moose was free to charge him or attack him with at least his hooves if not his antlers. While I like animals too, risking your life to save a wild animal is probably not a good idea.
There are several alternatives to what this officer did. Perhaps try and blind the moose by tossing a blanket over his face so he will calm down. Waiting for animal control or perhaps a local veterinarian to anesthetize the moose. Get a rope around the moose so he can't move around so much, making it easier to cut the chain.
Officers are men of action and they want to jump in and do things right away. The average officer wants to do something, they don't want to just stand around. They want to handle the call and get on with the next incident. Sometimes it's better to wait a few minutes and think about your options. In this case everything worked out just fine, but it could have gone horribly wrong; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Armed Citizen

Friday, August 10, 2012


Washington, D.C. officers escorted a television star from the airport to his concert because they were concerned he might be late to his concert.  So a couple hundred or a few thousand people will have to sit in an air conditioned room in a comfy chair and wait to be entertained.  Police cars are emergency vehicles.  When the red lights and sirens are on people need to move out of the way because there is an emergency.  People waiting for entertainment is not an emergency.
Police emergency vehicles should be reserved for emergencies.  An emergency is a circumstance where a life or significant property is in danger.  If two people are fighting with knives and the police are responding, that's and emergency.  If there is an armed robbery at a liquor store, that's an emergency.
Police should almost never escort anyone in my opinion.  If you have someone who needs to get someplace, they should ride in the police car.  You can't control what the other driver will do, so driving ahead to clear traffic is dangerous.  The ability to require people to move out of the way is a privilege.  A privilege that should not be abused by escorting movie stars and others who don't have a real emergency; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shop Owners

65 year old woman hero uses gun to defeat 5 armed robbers

Five men armed with guns entered a jewelery store and were preparing to conduct a smash and grab robbery.  They had pillow cases and were getting ready to smash the glass display cases, grab the jewels and run out.  Several of them brandished firearms.  A sixth suspect was in the get away car, backed up to the front on the business.

Suddenly, from out of the rear of the business shots rang out.  The suspects began to flee the location.  As they got to the front door they practically clawed one another in their haste to escape.  The sixty-five year old woman who owns the store came out from the back of the store, brandishing her handgun.  She ran to the front of the store to insure the criminals had left.

Later, they interviewed several police officials who were not very encouraging of shop owners who want to use guns to defend their stores.  Had this store owner not had a gun, who knows what else could have happened?  What if the robbers broke some display cases and wanted more?  What if they wanted into the safe?  What if the shop owners were a little too slow in opening it?  Rather than find dead shop owners we have criminals on the run and police officials making pompous statements about letting the police handle their jobs.  Police need to work in partnership with the community.  Shop owners are generally pro-police, it's too bad these police could not be more supportive of shop owners; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Parking Lot

A man previously arrested for marijuana and other charges took a tractor to the police station.  He drove the tractor over the parked police cars and a van.  He did tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.  This is a serious problem for that agency because their fleet was destroyed.  Thanks to their neighboring agencies mutual aid, they were able to capture the suspect.
Police parking lots should be secure.  Police should be able to enter and leave their vehicles without being seen by the public.  That includes both their personal cars and their police vehicles.  It is too easy for a terrorist, or local criminal to ambush an officer on his way home or on his way to work.
Police need secure parking for their vehicles too.  A parking lot that can be entered by anyone and they could tamper with police car brakes, leave a bomb under the car, or otherwise endanger the lives of police.  Police parking lots need to be fences, and monitored by cameras to protect the cars, and the officers; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Three minute medicine.  It takes three minutes in most urban areas for the paramedics to respond.  Sometimes the police are already on scene.  Sometimes the police get there first.  Sometimes the police are the ones injured.  Sometimes it's your own family.  If the victim does not last until three minutes are up, it does not matter that the paramedics are only three minutes away.

Three minutes is a good response time.  At rush hour it will be longer.  In rural areas, it will be longer.  During a major disaster it will be longer still.  Know the A-B-C's of lifesaving, Airway, Breathing and Circulation.  Make sure the victim's Airway is clear, tilt the head back, clean out the moth if there is blood, or mucus or whatever inside.  Be sure the victim is Breathing, start rescue breathing if they are not breathing.  Circulation, stop the bleeding and perform chest compressions if the person has no pulse.

These are general principles, they are no substitute for a CPR class or a Red Cross First Aid course.  Check your agency, many states require first aid training for officers.  I think it should be given to everyone in the population during high school and again in college.  I think everyone with a concealed weapons permit, everyone with a driver's license should get the training.  I think it should be given to every officer every year.  Police don't know enough about lifesaving for themselves, their partners, their families and other victims; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 6, 2012


People who have cancer are sick. Sometimes they die. We don't blame them for having cancer.

People who have been hit by a car often get injured. Sometimes they die. We don't blame them for getting hit by a car.

Smoking, working as an x-ray technician, or being out in the sunshine a lot might contribute to cancer, but not everyone who does those things gets cancer.  Not looking both ways before you
cross the street might prevent getting run over. Sometimes the car driver jumps the curb or runs the red light.  People who commit suicide are usually ill and because they don't or won't get treatment
or the treatment is ineffective they may be injured or die.  We should not blame those who get sick and die. Everyone dies. It's how we lived that is most important.

I feel bad that many officers have killed themselves.  Certainly not every aspect of their life is
worthy of emulation.  There are two problems in our society today, one is the condemnation of those with mental illness, the other is the celebration of death in abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, and suicide. Both are wrong, in my opinion.  We need to do a better job to insure our officers stay alive both on duty, off duty and after retirement; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

No Red Light Cameras
I am unalterably opposed to red light cameras on political and moral grounds.  Men should not become subject to machines.  That's what red light cameras do, there is no human determining if you should get a ticket, it is the camera and lights and sensors.  To my mind, that's just wrong.  You cannot face your accuser.  You can only face technicians who can speak about a machine, but not tell much about your specific case.  The ticket may come weeks after the event and so it could be difficult to mount a credible defense because you may not know when the offense happened.

A cop on site can see that what you did may have been technically illegal, but not unsafe.  A cop can use discretion and not ticket you.  A cop can look and see if you are intoxicated, carrying a car full of drugs or doing other crimes.  A camera can't do that.  A camera only sends you a ticket in the mail.  Red light cameras actually punish the good guys because the bad guys don't keep their registration and drivers license information current, so they never get the tickets in the mail.

 Cities play games with them and adjust the timing to earn more money when the income drops.  They adjust the length of time of the yellow lights so people have more time to get across the intersection, then a few weeks or months later they cut it back and get more tickets as a way to get more income.  No red light cameras, they are an affront to our liberties; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


I have seen people slip handcuffs from behind their back to in front, because they were so limber. Usually they have to be skinny young people to be able to do that.  If you suspect someone is that limber, then lace their handcuff through their belt, or use a flex cuff to zip tie the cuffs to their belt or a belt loop on their pants.

They said the officer got the suspect out of the car, searched him and put him back in the car. The officer did not search the car, the suspect could have left the gun on the back seat.  I always search everyone who goes into the backseat of my patrol car, and search the seat before they go back inside.

While it is suspicious and unusual, I wonder what motive the cops might have had to kill the guy? It did not say he fought them or taunted them or anything. So suicide makes more sense than a murder unless there is a lot more here than the initial investigation. Also how stupid would the cops have to be to handcuff a guy and shoot him in their own patrol car?  The forenssic evidence will show who fired the gun, the dead suspect or the officers will have gunpowder residue on their hands; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Murder or Accident?

A former police sergeant is on trial for the murder of his third wife.  His fourth wife disappeared and has never been found and is assumed to be dead too. During the investigation police found a short barrel rifle in his home and charged him with possession of a rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches.  Reportedly the barrel was only 11 inches long.

Police have traditionally been held to a higher moral standard than the rest of the community. I think that was a good idea.  An officer who has been married four times probably have issues with being able to get along with other people.  Certainly there are exceptions to everything, but four marriages is a lot.  This officer owns a tavern, not the sort of business that active duty police should own, in my opinion.  Too much goes on in places where alcohol is served that can compromise an officers' integrity.

An officer who is keeping a short barrel rifle is committing a felony in that state.  While many firearms regulations are complex the concept of illegal short barrels is well established.  When an officer is accused of a possible murder, having the investigation conducted by another agency is a good idea.  While I don't know if this officer is guilty or innocent, certainly there seem to be red flags that agencies should not ignore.  This is a good example why agencies should do periodic background checks on their officers to insure continued ethical behavior; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Patrol Rifle

A deputy takes out a patrol rifle while a suspect is being transported. While putting the weapon away, he ends up shooting himself in the leg, causing serious injury. Never point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to shoot. I doubt this deputy was willing to shoot his own leg.

Unless they were expecting an attack by outside subjects to try and free the prisoner, I am not quite sure why they needed a patrol rifle. Most handcuffed prisoners are usually not so dangerous that they need to be guarded by officers with patrol rifles.

When returning the patrol rifle to the patrol car, I recommend that it be unloaded first. Point the rifle in a safe direction. Remove the magazine, then work the operating rod or bolt to clear the chamber. Visually and digitally inspect the chamber to insure it is empty. Once the weapon is clear, then return it to the rack. Rifles on patrol should be patrol ready, that is, full magazine inserted, no round in the chamber. Safety in gun handling is critical; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


A document from the Department of Homeland Security tells all it's employees to run away and hide if confronted by an active shooter.  This ignores the fact that thousands of their employees are armed law enforcement professionals.  Police should not be trained to run away from an active shooter.  They are supposed to run towards the danger.

This is the kind of thing that happens when administrators who are clueless about law enforcement try and publish documents that apply to law enforcement.  Law enforcement is a complex and difficult profession.  When non-professionals try to administer law enforcement professionals they need to consult with those professionals before they do that job.

Law enforcement has changed every ten or fifteen years.  Even police chiefs are in danger of falling behind the current procedures, case law and best practices if they don't keep up.  Sometimes we have to manage from below and remind the command staff through our supervisors or unions to keep administrators from making work rules that are out of touch with reality; that's what the SGT Says.