Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Range training should be frequent, fun and realistic.  If the range training fails in any of these then you are doing it wrong.  Officers should look forward to going to the range because the rangemasters should make the training interesting and challenging but without making the officers feel bad or have to endlessly go over and over the same material.

Once officers have learned basic range safety, reasonable firearms handling skills and achieved basic firearms proficiency, it is time to move to more advanced training.  Officers should shoot at targets other than just paper tacked to a board.  There are companies that make three dimensional foam mannequin targets.  It shows perfectly that a hit on the "edge" is not a hit that will bring down the suspect.  They also show how to shoot at people from the side, the back, the top and other angles.

The rangemaster can use an old tee shirt and pair of pants filled with balloons to simulate a body if you don't have the money for 3-D foam targets.  Then the shooter has to shoot the target and pop some of the balloons to bring down the suspect.  It makes the range more interesting and provides some degree of immediate feedback to to the shooter.  It's cheap, clean and easy to do and you can use cadets or others to help with the balloon work; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Halloween night approaches and with it more police problems.  People spend more money on Halloween than any other holiday except Christmas.  That means more parties, more people out trick or treating and more police issues.  Starting about an hour before dark, officers must begin patrolling residential areas to provide extra coverage for people taking their children out door to door.  Look for possible drunk drivers and possible child molesters out to snatch a kid.  It is a great PR time so have foil badges for the kids if possible.

Officers need to be extra alert in all areas for people driving under the influence.  Halloween parties, and particularly teenagers partying can put more drunk drivers on the road.  Drunk drivers kill people and injure many more.  DUI enforcement is a life saving duty.  Extra officers during Halloween can certainly be used for that duty too.

Reports of tampered candy deserve careful investigation.  Officers need to conduct careful interviews and try and get good information on the person who may have offered the tainted product.  Officers should make every effort to find the house where the tainted goodies came from and should do so Halloween night if the reports come in that early.  Having detectives on duty for this purpose is a good idea too.  Halloween is a good time for many and a great time to have extra officers on patrol; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Rioting gets out of hand very easily.  As soon as a crowd realizes that they can break windows, set cars on fire without consequences, then they will do just that.  The more time this continues the more rioters will join the riot.

As social media, the news media and other sources of information get out that the authorities are not responding to control illegal behavior, there will be more people arrive to the venue simply to participate in illegal behavior.  Just as the police call for back up the rioters will call for back up.

Officers need to have plans in place at large venues in case the situation turns ugly.  Individual officers and agencies need to be willing to call for help right away in the event of a riot.  Allowing things to burn out on their own will not solve the problem and will often only make it worse.  This is especially true of the scene is not contained, others will arrive from outside to continue the rioting.  It can take hundreds even thousands of police and sometimes even troops to contain a riot; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I carry a gun.  Off duty, on duty, at work, at church, at the store, at the movies, shopping, driving, walking.  If I leave the house I always take a gun with me.  I serve the altar at my church and when I am there I am carrying a gun.

We cannot predict when we will be involved in a traffic collision.  As a result, we wear our seat belt for every trip in the car, no matter how short.  I cannot predict when I will be involved in a shoot out and so I carry a gun all the time, every day.

Criminals are everywhere the general population is at, they are indoors and outdoors.  In the last year we have read about shootings at churches, supermarkets, movie theaters.  All of those places were once thought safe, no longer.  Carry your gun all the time; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


People who work in an all night gas station often are in an armored booth.  A small box of bulletproof material to keep them safe while they provide fuel at all hours of the day and night, often in bad neighborhoods.  Police officers work in an office that moves. 

The average police car provides no protection beyond that provided by any other automobile.  Police cars should provide protection for the officer.  They need to be fireproof, bullet proof and accident proof.

Race car drivers wear special uniforms and wear special equipment to keep them safe in a collision.  Police are expected to drive at high speed, not on a closed track but in public while responding to calls or chasing suspects.  They get no helmets, no four point restraints and no flame retardant uniforms.  That needs to change; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Police Uniforms

The police uniform must be instantly identifiable as a police uniform.  Too many agencies are going to uniforms that look like soldiers and not police.  Police are not soldiers and their uniforms should not have a military appearance.

Police uniforms should always have a badge on the chest, a name tag, agency patches on the shoulders as minimum identifiers.  "Police" in large letters on the back and even the front is also a method to make police look less like soldiers.

Some aspects of law enforcement must use weapons and equipment that is similar to that of soldiers.  Despite this police should make an effort to look like police.  Part of the nature of American law enforcement is that it is carried out by local civilian police, not soldiers from the central government.  That's something worth preserving; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Officer Injury

An officer injury requires a lot of work for an agency.  The first thing is to insure proper care for the injured officer.  Once that has been taken care of there is still much to get done.  Call in reserves or other off duty officers to cover the open shift and have a supervisor create a shift to cover any projected future openings.  Notify the family.  It is best to notify the officer's family in person if possible.  If he lives close by, a member from his agency can make the advisement.  If he lives a distance away, see if the local agency is willing to perform the notification.

In a critical injury, it may be best if the family member does not drive to the hospital themselves.  An officer should drive them if possible so they can arrive quickly, get updates on the radio and get the VIP treatment when they arrive.  If they live far away other agencies may be willing to drive them or you may even consider bringing the next-of-kin by helicopter if death may be close.

The officer may want a spiritual advisor nearby.  Your agency should have a chaplain who can assist him or call others to help.  The media will want to know and you need to both keep them informed without compromising your investigation or your notification of relatives.  Your chief and your workers compensation carrier will need to know immediately of major injuries.  Your state OSHA may also require immediate notification in event of serious injury.  All of your staff members will need to be screened for post-traumatic stress to insure their mental well being afterwards.  Officer injuries are serious in many ways; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Back Up

At a critical incident there are many resources that you can call upon to help you.  Public transit and school buses can be used to move large numbers of victims, suspects, evacuees and even officers as needed.  Your county sheriff, state police and large nearby agencies can provide dozens even hundreds of extra officers to assist you.  Your own agency can provide intelligence about the suspect or the location.  Gang and narcotics teams often have good intelligence but often don't share unless you ask them for it.

Specialized bits of gear may be necessary.  Your city crews can provide dump trucks to block roads, or bulldozers to knock down fences that might protect the suspect location.  You may need a bomb robot to sniff out the location, or an armored car to help you get close in security.  The FBI may be able to help you to monitor telephones or Internet traffic.

The fire department can provide hazmat assistance, ladders, and fire hoses for washing down locations.  They also have ropes, hammers, pry bars and loads of other heavy gear for making entry into secure locations.  You may also need to call for tow trucks.  Suspect vehicles may need to be impounded, vehicles might simply be in the way and have to be moved.  Don't be afraid to call for as much back up as you need; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Major Incident Ending

At the conclusion of a major incident there is still a lot of work to do.  The suspect is in custody, the victims are at the hospital, the area is all secure.  Hold the perimeter and have the CSI and detectives review the scene.  Have them take video of everything that could be of interest before the perimeter is opened.  Open the outer perimeter as soon as possible. 

Once the CSI people, coroner and detectives have cleared the scene close out the inner perimeter.  Make sure that the real estate is secured by the owner or that you have closed and locked everything.  Call for a board up service to secure broken windows or doors if necessary.  You don't want to have criminals return and do additional damage after you leave.  If there has been a fire you may need to coordinate with the owner of the property for private security guards.

Prepare a final press release to inform the public that the area is now safe and that they can return to conduct their lawful business.  Patrol officers can even go door to door in the local area to notify the neighbors that everything is now back to normal.  Have supervisors make a check on their people and equipment to insure everything made it back to the station okay.  It's embarassing to have to return to look for a missing radio or gun other bit of gear; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Foot Patrol

Back in the old days, before police cars, officers walked a foot beat.  Walking a foot beat is still a good idea.  It is the best way to learn a neighborhood and to learn about the people who live and work there.  A foot beat officer needs to have a base of operations.  If the foot beat is permanent, it can be a small closet sized office near the middle of the beat.  It should have light, heat, air conditioning, water, a restroom and computer to write reports and a phone.  It does not have to be large, it can be just large enough for a couple desks, a 12 x12 area is enough.

While on patrol the officer should carry two sets of handcuffs and ideally should work in a pair with another officer.  They should have extra ammunition, perhaps four magazines each rather than two.  They should walk into every open business as they walk by and say hello to each business owner or employee.  Over time you can find out their concerns, learn about the crime trends in the area and offer information on how to avoid crimes or how businesses can respond to crimes.

Officers should contact all the private security guards that work in their beat.  They should learn if the guards are armed and get a general idea of their training and area of responsibility.  Officers should learn the layout of each of the businesses.  Where the back doors are and where they lead to.  Learn the back alleys and short cuts.  Patrol not only the store fronts, but the dark corners and places where gang members and juveniles might congregate.  Foot patrol is a different kind of a patrol, but a helpful type of patrol; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Gear

When I started in law enforcement police work was not much different than it had been for 100 years. A badge, a baton, a six shooter, badge, and a pair of handcuffs. That's about all the gear we carried, that and a pen and paper. We had radios, but only in the car.

Now we wear body armor, carry hand held radios, 15 shot Glock pistols and patrol rifles. We have computer's in our cars and write reports using word processors. We run suspects in seconds rather than in minutes, and even have special scanners that read license plates automatically.  We carry Tasers and pepper spray.

There is still much to do. Uniforms should be fireproof. We should be able to breath for limited periods in smoke filled rooms when trying to rescue people from fires. We need lighter, more flexible body armor that covers more of the body. We need a wireless Taser with a 50 yard range.  We need to be able to scan everyone to verify their identity. We need devices to sniff for drugs, bombs and guns in a way that is non-intrusive and fast. A flying car would be nice too; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Atypical Weapon

This home made weapon is simply a bit of wood and some rubber tubing. The sort of thing that could be whipped up in any home garage in a few hours. The wooden part could even be done in metal. I suspect the device is so simple most prisons and some jails could see inmates making them without much trouble.

These sling shots are so powerful they are breaking large bottles. Imagine if a few protesters, gangster, or even just bad kids had them and used them against police officers. They could stand in the back of a crowd and launch ball bearings or large glass marbles over the crown and into the police. The ammo would be untraceable and cheap.

The effect would be not unlike a low velocity bullet. I suspect it would penetrate skin, put out an eye, maybe even break facial bones. I don't think it would penetrate armor but I would not want it hitting my helmet face shield. They other thing is they are quiet, so you would not hear them like a gunshot and so the crowd would not react. They are so cheap that they would be disposable. Atypical weapons can be very dangerous; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 19, 2012

End-X Systems

It seems that at least once a year and officer is killed while trying to lay down spike strips. Ending pursuits quickly is in the best interest of everyone. Officers get killed responded to the pursuit, suspects get killed running off the road, pedestrians and motorists get killed when the suspect hits them. Stopping a moving car is very difficult and one of the best ways is to let the air out of the tires.

Shooting at tires is often ineffective. Tires often bounce the bullet right of the surface, they are rubber and filled with air after all. They are also often made with steel belts or even Kevlar! Spike strips are a great tool, but very limited in their deployment. The officer has to be very far in front of the pursuit and yet not have any other cars coming that could hit him or also get a flat tire.

This new product from End-X Systems is three small spike strips that are launched out of the front bumper. They are ejected out the side and the idea is that the suspect will run over them and flatten his tires. This seems to be an excellent product that will not only be a more effective method of deployment, but since the officer remains inside the patrol car, a safer product for officers to use; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Years ago there was a famous football player and actor named OJ Simpson. He was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her boyfriend by stabbing them to death. The murder weapon was never found. While he was acquitted of the criminal charges he was convicted in civil court of the murders and sentenced to pay tens of millions of dollars. He has spent years afterwards claiming to be hunting for the "real killers." In reality he has spent years trying to hide his assets so he can avoid paying the judgement against him.

During some of that attempt to hid assets, he was involved in a shady deal and eventually was convicted of a number of serious crimes and sentenced to a long prison term. Now he is allegedly trying to sell the murder weapon for cash. He wants to keep the deal off shore so he can avoid the judgement against him.

If this is true, where is the FBI? This is an international crime, trying to sell a murder weapon and avoid paying a judgement in the United States. OJ Simpson would also have to be admitting to a pair of murders. Since the prosecution of police officers seems to avoid double jeopardy when done at the state and federal levels in separate cases, how about a civil rights case against Mr. Simpson? Generally, I am opposed to these kinds of cases, but if the federal government is going to use this theory against police, then they should use it against criminals. If not, then they should drop the pretense and stop prosecuting police this way; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Motorcycle gangs are just like all other gangs, except they ride motorcycles. This group of gangs have been doing weapons trafficking and drug trafficking. The drugs and arms help to support the gang members and to finance their other criminal operations.

This type of gang is very unpredictable, they can be very violent and often attack police officers with no obvious provocation. Some gangs actually require pledges to attack, even murder police to join or move up in the ranks of the gang.

When making a traffic stop on motorcycle gang members, have them turn off the motorcycle. The noise can make communication difficult. Get good information, and run them for wants and warrants. Be aware of the potential for a following vehicle, particularly a van. If you have the suspect stay on the motorcycle then you can maintain a tactical advantage. Call for back up if you can get one there in a reasonable time. Treat them as any other violator, but keep alert to possible assault; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Marijuana Arrests

The pro-marijuana legalization people like to play games with the numbers.
If you murder a drug lord who is encroaching on your territory is that a marijuana drug offense that would not happen if marijuana were legal?

If you have a meth lab in your house that the police find when they arrive after you beat up your girlfriend, is that a drug offense?

If you are caught with a freighter full of marijuana worth millions is that a simple drug offense?

 They also count drug arrests rather than people in prison for drug offenses. Most drug arrests are people who get a ticket for marijuana possession and they pay a small fine and don't serve any time in jail or only serve a few days in jail, maybe a weekend. That really runs up the numbers.  Few drug offenses are done in isolation. People who grow a small amount of marijuana in their closet and smoke a couple joints at home everyday are almost never going to be caught by the police. How would they? They are not in public and the police don't go door to door conducting searches for marijuana in your closet.

The ones that draw police intervention are almost always either driving under the influence, usually driving badly and get stopped thinking there is a drunk driver, or they are smoking or dealing drugs in public, or finally are involved in some other offense, like a robbery and the drugs are found during the arrest or investigation into the other crime.  Marijuana use is dangerous and needs to stay illegal; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Active Shooter

A young man from a small town joined the Army.  He served overseas during the war.  He traveled some after leaving the military.  His relatives described him as "a little off."  He returned to his hometown and he kept complaining that people were following him, drugging him and preventing him from acheiveing the success he should have gotten.

He purchased a double barrel shotgun and an H&R handgun.  He also purchased ammunition for both weapons.  At about 9:30 p.m. he approached the venue of an outdoor band concert. He fired about eight times from his shotgun and then shot himself with his handgun when he thought he was about to be captured.  Nine people were killed and twenty-five were wounded. 

While this story sounds like something from todays headlines, it's was in Winfield, Kansas in 1903.  Several armed officers and armed citizens responded but they were too far away or were unable to determine what was happening before the suspect shot himself to death.  When faced with an active shooter, rapid response and fast identification of the location of the shooter are two of the most important factors; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Spree Killer

A teenage man and his minor girlfriend went on a murder spree in the late 1950's.  The man had murdered a shop attendant several months earlier.  They killed her parents and several other people, mostly strangers.  They were caught by the highway patrol after a high speed chase.  They used their bare hands, knife, rifle and shotgun to murder their victims.  The man was sentenced to death and he was executed very soon afterwards.  The woman was sentenced to life in prison, but was released on parole after less than 20 years.

This incident tells us that in a major incident the number of police is to properly cordon off an area and to conduct a proper search is huge.  Hundreds of officers were used in this search and hundreds more could have been used.  Being able to call and coordinate the activities of that many officers is a very difficult task.  Command staff should practice these skills at least annual and they should have agreements in place with other agencies to make it happen.

The suspect was found guilty and executed within a year of the crimes.  That was justice for the victims and kept society safe from any further rampage.  The woman was given life in prison, but was released after only 18 years, still very young and certainly young enough to pick up and do more heinous crimes.  People don't realize that life in prison does not typically mean that.  The death penalty should be used instead and should be swift in implementation.  Police unions should work hard to make that happen; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Young men in the military are continuing to commit suicide at high levels.  Many of those are done with firearms, often their own personal weapons.  Police officers often commit suicide.  Sometimes when they are on the job and sometimes after they have retired.  People commit suicide for many reasons but often it is because they have many problems and they see no positive resolution for them.

Every police agency should have a police chaplain and a police psychologist on staff.  Any officer should be able to talk to either of them without any appointments, records or reporting of what is said in their conversations.  Often a potentially suicidal person may be able to feel better is he can talk through his problems confidentially.

On duty, officers are willing to give their lives for each other in a dangerous situation.  Officer suicide is a dangerous situation too.  Retired officers often find retirement boring or meaningless so they end it all.  Alcohol and drug abuse can lead to intentional or accidental suicide.  Young officers or divorced officers often have money problems, those can sometimes lead to suicide.  The difficulties of shift work, court appearances and over time can create great strains on a marriage.  Officers in marital difficulties may consider killing themselves, sometimes their wives as well.  Every agency needs to have a suicide prevention program; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Officer Arrested

Memphis Officer Charged with Prescription Fraud | Memphis Breaking News, Weather and Sports | WPTY-TV | ABC24,

An officer at the Memphis police department has been arrested on four counts of prescription fraud.  The department suspended her with pay.  The department should have suspended her without pay.  If there was probably cause for an arrest, then she should be suspended without pay.  The arrest was not the result of work related activity.  No non-government employees would be suspended with pay if they were arrested.  Why should government employees get benefits that civilians don't get?

The granting of benefits while on a suspension for an arrest sends a poor message to the other employees.  The agency should at most suspend the suspect with pay, conduct their own internal determination and fire the employee long before the arrest and trial are resolved.  Criminals who are police don't belong in the department.  They are a stain on the badge we all wear.

Officers need to be drug free.  Drugs are a terrible scourge on our society and they are doubly bad for police officers.  This is another reason to do drug testing on troubled departments, especially.  An officer who has a drug or alcohol problem is a terrible danger to himself, and his partners and the public.  Carrying a badge, a gun and driving a car demand an officer be drug free.  It costs less than $40 to have a drug test done by an independent laboratory, that's money well spend to help bring a troubled department back in line; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Alcohol & Drugs

According to this news article, the city of Memphis, Tennessee has had nineteen officers arrested for various offenses this year.  That's about 1% of the police department.  That is both good and bad news.  We should not assume that any specific officer will be found guilty.  Maybe he did not do the crime, or perhaps there will not be enough evidence to convict him.  Perhaps he will make a deal and not be convicted.  Still, that is a bad statistic to have that many officers arrested in different incidents.
Many were driving under the influence of alcohol.  This can be a department cultural problem.  Officers work hard, drink hard.  They go out to drink after their shift and then drive home intoxicated.  This can be solved in several ways.  Anyone arrested for an alcohol or drug related offense is suspended without pay until the case is resolved.  They may not carry a firearm due to their affiliation with the department during their suspension.  If they are found not guilty, they return to work.  If they are found guilty they are fired, on the first offense.  Cars and guns go with police work, but not with alcohol or drugs.
Supervisors should be trained to recognize employees with alcohol problems.  Every employee involved in a work related accident or traffic collision should be drug and alcohol tested within one hour of the accident.  Those who fail the test should be suspended and fired on the first offense.  A sample should be saved that can be tested at the expense of the employee and if the sample is found to pass, then the employee can be reinstated with full pay and benefits restored.  The testing should all be done by an independent laboratory.  In an agency that has an on-going problem with drugs and alcohol, employees should also be tested annually, randomly and also whenever there is suspicion they are under the influence.  Employees who fail the test should be suspended and fired; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Non-violent Protest?

This website is by a group that wants to make your job more difficult.  They don't like the police and they want to use every evil trick to harass, delay and injure you they can in a surreptitious manner so they are about to attack you without seeming to attack you directly. 

On the first page they show how to fill a tube with ball bearings.  The tube is inserted into a wooden stick and a protest sign is then affixed to the wooden stick.  From a distance they look like any other peaceful protester.  Their real plan is to spread the ball bearings on the ground when the police move in to make an arrest.  That will cause officers to slip and fall.  Slip and fall injuries can break an ankle, a hip, your back or even cause a serious head injury. 

These people consider it to be a non-violent protest.  Of course, they are also armed with a metal pipe, filled with ball bearings.  A dangerous, even deadly weapon that looks just like a simple protest sign.  If they hit you with it during a confrontational arrest, they don't look bad on the news cameras, because the cameras show only a small wooden stick that could not hurt anyone.  Protesters can appear to be non-violent and still be very dangerous; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


How big was the suspect, how big was the officer, how fit were they, did the suspect say anything threatening? Was the officer small, female, or injured; all of these factors play into this type of confrontation. Was there any where else the officer could have gone? How far away was the suspect when the officer fired?

This article fails to mention many factors that mitigate the officers performance. Read the comments and see how many people think the office is to blame. Use of deadly force needs to reasonable to be lawful. You show that is was reasonable by doing everything reasonable to avoid it.  Those same people who blame the officer may end up on a jury if the district attorney determines the officer may have committed a crime.  Will your police report properly justify your use of deadly force?

When writing a use of force report, include as much detail as you can, never assuming the reader knows anything about the incident, you, your agency, or the suspect.  Explain how far away the suspect was from you, what they said, their demeanor, their response to what you did or said to them.  Try and quote them as best as you can remember.  State your emotional response, were you breathing hard, were you scared, nervous, tired, afraid, feeling threatened?  Did you try any alternatives to deadly force and if not, why not?  The more detail you can include in your report to justify why your actions were reasonable, the better, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Naked Man Killed by Police

Naked man shot dead by police is never a happy headline.  The story says an officer whet to investigate someone tapping on the window and found an naked man who charged the officer despite the officer backing up and ordering him to stop.  Based only on what the article says it was probably a justified shooting but not a good shooting.
Why was one officer confronting a naked man?  A naked man in public is likely on drugs, drunk or crazy; none of those are the sort of person you want to confront alone if you can avoid it.  Why didn't the officer deploy OC spray or a Taser?  Perhaps he did and the article did not mention it, or perhaps the officer was not armed with these weapons.  Why didn't the officer use his baton?  Again, maybe he did and the article did not mention it, or maybe he didn't have it with him. 
Every officer who carries a gun should carry a baton and a chemical weapon.  Most should also carry a Taser or similar weapon.  If you are involved in a shooting the public will want to know why you did not use these other weapons.  If you don't have them, then you can't use them.  If your agency does not issue them, then they should.  If you are not skilled with them, then your agency needs to get you some better training, right away; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Flash Mob Crime

Criminals are more and more using social media to conduct criminal attacks on citizens.  A flash mob shows up at a train station and plays some music and does a little dance.  Forty people are inconvenienced for a few minutes, others are amused and it's no big deal.  Twenty criminals show up at a store with two or three employees and begin stripping the store of products, the two or three employees are powerless to do anything to stop them.  If the employees try to resist they are beaten down by the mob.
This is a dangerous problem that is new to crime.  It is very difficult to stop and almost impossible to predict.  There is little stores can do to protect themselves against such criminals.  Once the store realizes there are an atypical number of people in their store, it is too late to stop the crime.  If the employees try to respond, there is little they can do, how do you separate the few legitimate shoppers from the criminals?  If you lock the doors to keep more criminals out, how do you deal with the ones already inside the store?
Calling the police and trying to keep safe is about all the store employees can do.  I would suggest stores might want to consider installing a safe room for their employees where they can go to enable them to ride out such an attack.  Most stores don't have anywhere for employees to go, other than a bathroom or mangers office, both of which usually have weak doors and inadequate locks.  The recorders for the security cameras should be off site to prevent the criminals from taking the recordings.  Law enforcement should be called immediately and they should perform complete investigations; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bus Attack

A group of teenagers get off a bus and one of them punches the bus driver in an apparently unprovoked attack.  The teen did not pay when he entered the bus.  No one on the bus came to the aid of the driver and no one attempted to capture the teen.  The teen remains at large despite the fact that his photo has been on YouTube for a while now.

This is why it is important to have officers assigned to school campuses.  They get to learn who the bad guys are and what they look like.  Then when an incident of this type happens there is a good chance they will be able to recognize the attacker.  It is even a good idea to have officers assigned to middle schools or junior high schools, since juvenile crime starts very early.  A school resource officer can also respond to an active shooter, other crimes and even medical emergencies on campus.

Juveniles are unlikely to report they know the criminal in this instance unless they are asked directly by someone.  That's where school officers can be very helpful.  They may not know the specific attacker, but several of the others were in the camera view for a long time and identification of them should be less difficult.  Therefore a school resource officer could use them as the start of an investigation.  Even if they won't talk initially, chances are that they will still associate with the attacker and so the use of field interview cards and other investigative tools would probably turn up the assailant; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Most police who are killed by criminals are killed incidental to the contact.  The criminal kills the cop because they think the officer is about to arrest them, or will prevent them from escaping.  In most cases in the United States, the criminals just want to escape from the police.
That is not the case in all parts of the world.  There are many places where the criminals lay in wait for the police to come along so they can be ambushed.  Even worse, the criminals corrupt the police and the police themselves lay in wait to ambush other police.
The drug war in Mexico has become such a place.  Corrupt police ambush other police out of fear of the gangs or for money.  The United States needs to redouble our efforts to fight the drug war.  We need to stop the entertainment industry from glamorizing drugs.  We need to have harsher penalties for mere possession of drugs.  We need to stop making excuses for people with drug convictions.  We need to stop it now before we become the next Mexico; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Memphis, TN is considering a requirement that all new officers must have a four year college degree.  That department has had an on-going problem with officers being arrested both on and off duty for criminal behavior.  I am all in favor of education, however, basic police work does not require a bachelors degree.

I would suggest that a high school diploma is enough for police officers.  A two year degree could be required for corporal.  Additional responsibility and additional education is not unreasonable.  I would require a four year degree for sergeant, and a masters degree for lieutenant.  I would also permit the agency to waive the requirement one time, so that an officer could be promoted to corporal without a degree or a sergeant could be promoted to lieutenant without a masters degree.  Failure to obtain the needed degree would simply halt their additional promotion.

The real problem is the morality of the officers involved.  Their education is not the issue.  You don't have to be either smart or well educated to be moral.  A proper background check with very little tolerance for previous illegal or immoral behavior is the best way to have a good applicant.  Background checks should be done by a third party who will not be influenced by who knows who or who's related to whom on the department, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


A woman is spray painting a sign inside a subway. Two police approach her and arrest her. One of them puts the handcuffs on her and the other one talks to her and the other people at the scene. The suspect keeps asking why she is being arrested.

When making an arrest, tell the suspect, "You are under arrest for XYZ." That establishes your authority, and they are required to legally submit to you. When handcuffing a suspect, make sure you handcuff them on bare skin. The woman is handcuffed on one wrist over her blouse. That makes it easier for a suspect to slide off the handcuffs. When handcuffing a suspect, get both handcuffs on right away. This officer stands there with one hand cuffed and the other hand free. The suspect reaches into her bag and rummages around!

She should have had her bag removed from her shoulder, she should have been turned around to face the wall, and her second arm should have been handcuffed right away. She could have pulled a gun or knife out of that bag. An arrest, even for a simple crime can go bad very fast. Be quick, professional, decisive, and get the arrest over with; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Credit Where Credit is Due

My friend Terry Byrd has some insights about credit reports on background checks and I thought it would be good to further clarify my position on them. Credit score alone is not a sole indicator of reliability. Someone who is flippant or haphazard in paying their debts is obviously irresponsible. Others who suffer an unexpected hardship or catastrophic situation beyond their control should not have bad credit used as a disqualifier.

Someone who attempts to make things right and pay his debts, the credit report will not show that information. It will only indicate "Paid Collections" which is a negative. Anything on a credit report other than paid on time every time is a negative. There are only two marks on a credit report, good or bad, they don't take circumstances into account.

That's why there can be serious problem with credit scores being allowed to be used for backgrounds. There are so many reasons someones commercial credit score can be bad, that they have little or no control over, a major illness, divorce, crazy kids, identity theft can all cut your credit rating. Yet the person could still be a decent person and would be a good officer. Bad credit can tell two things about a person. One is that they are irresponsible with important decisions, by spending themselves into trouble or failing to make payments on time. The other issue is someone with poor credit may be an ethical risk as they may be more likely to take a bribe or steal from suspects, or victims. A credit check alone is important, but it should not stand alone; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wrong Way

Wrong way drivers on a freeway are very difficult to deal with safely.  They often end up in a crash and frequently kill someone.  Often they are intoxicated, or elderly or intentionally trying to evade the police.  Recently in Washington state and officer responded to a call of a wrong way driver.

Rather than allow the driver to continue the officer engaged the wrong way driver in an intentional collision, hoping to stop the criminal.  The officer's car was disabled but the officer was uninjured.  The suspects car was damaged but took a while to stop.  The suspect was eventually arrested and was very intoxicated.

Trying to stop a wrong way driver is very difficult.  Ramming them is dangerous for both of you and may be ineffective.  Running a traffic break so all the traffic stops behind you and blocks the roadway runs the risk of the suspect vehicle hitting the stopped cars.  Stopping traffic and setting up a roadblock of police cars is very time consuming and takes a long time to set up.  Firing at a moving vehicle is dangerous and spike strip emplacement gets officers killed every year.  Whatever you don't don't drive the wrong way also, that's what the SGT Says.