Sunday, September 30, 2012

Don't Sue

 
A man with his two children in the car crashed through a large metal gate, a deputy heard the crash and responded to the location.  He called for backup as the man ran off into the darkness.  The deputy checked the car and saw the kids were okay.  Two more deputies arrived and soon the man returned.  The man refused orders to stop, had something in his hands and seemed angry.  As he tried to leave with the kids in the car he was shot three times, and died.
 
The district attorney has cleared the officers of criminal wrongdoing.  Naturally, the family is suing.  If someone is acting in the commission of a crime and is injured or killed, he or his survivors should not be permitted to sue.  If he was not doing his criminal acts, he would not have been killed, it's that simple, he was the cause of the whole incident and he could have changed the outcome at any time during the incident.
 
The officers could have done better.  Every officer in the field should have a Taser or similar device to use on suspects so they don't have to shoot so rapidly.  Officers need more training in their batons so they are more willing to go with the baton.  Since the officers were concerned about the safety of the kids, they should have been placed inside a patrol car, and perhaps even driven from the scene, or at least a safe distance.  Always look for options; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Command Post

In an active shooter or other mass casualty even, build a command center.  While is it difficult to go past injured, even trapped persons, the overall mission takes precedence.  Again, follow-on staff will have to handle that mission.  Fire department and EMS should not enter the danger zone until the suspects are neutralized or at least, no longer threaten that area.  If needed, police can escort fire into the area to provide protection.

A command center should be far enough away to be safe, but close enough to exercise control.  It also needs to be large and secure.  Mobile command posts can be as large as a bus and even an 18 wheeler and trailer.  Large numbers of people, the press, ambulances, communications vehicles, politicians, and victims, witnesses and families may be at the command post.

Armored vehicles can be used to pull wounded from dangerous areas.  Sometimes you can obtain a civilian armored car from a money transport company.  Sometimes armored shields and body armor can be placed on a regular car to provide limited protection.  If no armor is available, then a wall of gunfire can be used to provide cover while causalities are evacuated; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mass Casualty Event

Since police are out in the field patrolling, we are usually the first ones on scene in a mass casualty event. It can be a bus crash, passenger train derailment, plane crash, active shooter, explosion, or any number of incidents. Your first problem is to determine scene safety. Is there fire, an active shooter on the loose, additional bombs likely to go off or toxic substances leaking into the air?

If it's an active shooter the first duty of law enforcement is to locate and stop the shooter. Leave other tasks for follow on officers. Wait until there are three or four officers to confront one active shooter. Bring rifles or shotguns if possible. Wear ballistic helmets and hard body armor if available. If the active shooter is no longer a threat, consider that many active shooters have also deployed bombs, with the intent of killing first responders.

When you are reasonably sure the scene is safe or if there are enough officers to handle the shooter, determine the approximate number of victims in need of care. EMS will need to know in order to respond enough paramedics, ambulances and air ambulances to evacuate the wounded. They will also have to notify local, even regional hospitals. At first, just get a gross count, even an estimate if there are hundreds or thousands of victims., that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wheelchair Suspect

 
A group home called police on a resident who was creating a disturbance.  The man in the wheelchair had only one leg and one arm.  He had a shiny object in his had and threatened the officer and refused to obey the officers commands to stop or back away.  The suspect backed an officer into the corner.  His partner shot the suspect.  The object in the suspects hand turned out to be a pen. 
 
A man in a wheelchair can be very dangerous.  Advocates for the disabled try and tell us all the time how capable and useful disabled people can be, until something bad happens.  A man with a shiny object in his hand could have a knife.  A metal or even plastic pen can be dangerous.  Take a
Bic pen and hold it in your hand, it can penetrate an aluminum can.  Imagine that plunged into your stomach.
 
The officers were in close quarters with the suspect.  Perhaps they could have called him outside.  Maybe the officers could have asked the caregiver to ask the suspect to come outside before they entered the building.  Perhaps the officers could have used OC spray, Taser or even batons to keep the suspect at bay.  There are many possibilities, but officers have to do whatever is reasonable to protect themselves, even from suspects who on the surface might at first seem non-threatening; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Taser Use

http://www.policemag.com/videos/channel/patrol/2012/09/sovereign-citizen-tasered-outside-courtroom.aspx

A "sovereign citizen" tried to take a camera into a courtroom and was arrested by two men who were working to provide security for the venue.  The sovereign citizen is under the mistaken notion that they are not subject to most of the laws of the United States of America and it's sub-divisions.  There are several problems with hat.  The first problem is that all persons physically within the borders of the USA are subject to the laws of the nation, the state and locality.  This even applies to illegal aliens and in most cases to ambassadors.

The other problem is they are confused about sovereignty.  While the whole people of the United States are sovereign, the individual is not, sovereignty rests in the collective people, which gives our democratic republic the legitimacy to make laws.  As a result of this improper understanding of their status, sovereign citizens often disobey the statutory laws and refuse to obey the lawful commands of law enforcement.  They even resist to the point of murdering police.

Taking a camera into a courtroom can be disruptive.  While I think all public hearings should be televised, that does not mean that everyone should be able to bring cameras into court.  They can conceal guns or other weapons.  They can be noisy.  They can be used as a weapon since some cameras are heavy.  I think the officers in this video did very well at remaining calm, instructing the person what their expectations were to not bring in the camera and that he would not be permitted entry with the camera in his possession.  The officers only used the Taser after the man attempted to push his way inside.  The protection of the court is their responsibility and I think they did a good job; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Copy Cats

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Alabama_spree_killing

A 19 year old man took a gun and murdered several members of his family.  He burned down his mother's house and killed or wounded several people as he moved from place to place.  He had a shootout with the police, and eventually killed himself.  The police asked for help from the local US Army base and they provided soldiers to act as guards at intersections and a temporary morgue.  The actions of the soldiers were later deemed to be illegal under the Posse Comitatus act.  The next day a man in Germany went on a rampage and killed over a dozen people.

If a major shooting or terrorist incident happens it is a good idea to be alert to similar incidents happening at the same time of year or as a trigger for incidents soon after the initial event.  The criminals involved in the Columbine shooting did so in the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing.  The US Embassy attacks in the Middle East this year were on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

The weeks of 9/11 and 4/20 are a good time to have extra staff on hand, to have extra supplies in stock.  The weeks before those are a good time to pay extra attention to your intelligence sources, particularly in the Muslim and high school communities. Vacations and other time off should be delayed until after those windows have passed.  Even just having a few extra officers on the street patrolling can be a comfort to civilians and a warning to potential terrorists. that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tickets

When you make a traffic stop and decide a citation is warranted, do not get emotionally involved with the ticket.  Conduct your investigation of the incident.  Memorialize the facts on the ticket and in your comments on the back of the ticket.  Then present the ticket for a signature to the motorist. 

Explain the reason for the ticket and have them sign it.  If you can, sell them the ticket, let them know of any other violations they committed that you did not write them up for, so they know you are not being unreasonably harsh.

Tell the motorist how to pay the ticket, if they have to go to court, tell them were the court is located.  Let them know they can fight the ticket, but don't become confrontational and tell them to "Tell it to the judge."  Keep your conversations professional and focused on the violation.  The comments on the back need to be enough for you to remember the incident for the next couple years; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Credit Office Killer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Edward_Pough

A man went to a car credit office and murdered nearly a dozen people.  In less than two minutes he shot over a dozen people.  The killer was a career criminal that managed to murder people and escape justice.  He committed a series of crimes all through his life but due to poor investigations, liberal district attorneys, or lenient judges, allowed this dangerous man to slip through the system and perpetrate a mass murder.

Convicted felons are not permitted to buy guns.  This criminal managed to avoid felony convictions, and when he was finally convicted of a felony the system failed to enter him as a felon and take away his firearms rights.  The criminal was able to get several guns as a result of this failure.

The people in the credit office had no chance to defend themselves because they did not have the legal right to carry guns at that time under state law.  Now, the people have the right to self defense so they don't have to cower under desks while a mad man, career criminal stands over them shooting them to death; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ethics

http://wreg.com/2012/09/17/mpd-officer-charged-with-sex-trafficking/

An officer on Memphis police department was arrested for taking women across state lines to use them as prostitutes.  Police officers need to have a moral compass that his better than the average person.  On duty they need to obey the law.  Off duty they need to obey the law.  They need to set the example for others, and not break even minor laws.

Police agencies that have on going problems with corruption have several options.  The first thing is to make sure their actual standards are high so that they are not hiring people who may be or may become criminals.  No drug use, good credit, no criminal history, good marriage or relationships with family, good work history.

The next thing agencies can do is conduct a background investigation of existing employees, starting with the chief and working their way down.  The investigation should be done by an outside agency, county or state agency.  Then, the agency needs to write an ethics policy with zero tolerance for criminal activity and have training, testing and make everyone sign it.  Supervisors must be trained and held to a strict standard too, and they need to monitor their officers behavior all during the shift.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stop Stick

http://www2.wnct.com/news/2012/sep/08/25/trooper-stuck-car-killed-during-suspect-chase-ar-2589757/

State troopers were chasing a suspect in a high speed vehicle pursuit.  In order to stop the suspect, they tried to deploy a stop stick to deflate the suspects vehicle tires.  While the trooper was deploying the stop sticks the suspect ran over the officer and killed him.

Too often officers are killed while trying to deploy stop sticks.  In my opinion the technology is not advanced enough to warrant continued use.  Frequently officers are killed or injured while trying to deploy stop sticks.

Equipment that will stop a moving car is a badly needed technology.  There needs to be a way to stop vehicles using equipment that does not endanger officers lives. Pursuits are dangerous enough without having to deploy stop sticks at the risk of your life.  If stop sticks are to be deployed they have to be emplaced miles before the suspect will arrive.  A suspect driving 100 miles per hour can travel a whole mile in about 90 seconds.  Deploying stop sticks can easily take several minutes.  Stopping pursuits is an important duty, but it needs to be done safely; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Quiet

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haiqFcIXTqs

This You Tube video shows that with a few seconds worth of work a silencer can be attached to a handgun or a rifle. The primarily part is an ordinary car oil filter.  The regulated part is a little screw attachment for the gun and filter.  Any machine shop or large garage shop could probably make one of these without much difficulty.

A silencer is always portrayed in movies as being a way for an assassin to kill someone without anyone knowing where the shot came from.  That certainly is one use for them.  They are also excellent tools for police work.  A silenced gun is much quieter.  It is much safer to shoot a silenced weapon because there is less damage to the ear drums of the shooter and others around to hear the sound.

A SWAT team with silenced weapons can better communicate with each other and can better give commands to suspects and others without having to shout over the sound of gunfire.  A silencer is an excellent tool for law enforcement that most people don't even think about.  I would even lobby to have them de-regulated at the Federal level because I think they are so valuable; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Motorcade

http://www.lawofficer.com/article/news/florida-officer-killed-while-e

President Obama was in a motorcade in Florida when an officer in the motorcade was hit by a pick up truck and killed.  The officer had 18 years experience in motors.  This is a very common experience that officers are killed while protecting the president in a motorcade.  Dignitary protection can be a very dangerous business.  Even if there is not attack against the dignitary, there are many other pitfalls.

Motor officers are excellent at traffic, but it's best to have cars and multiple motors as part of the traffic control program.  Motors can be almost invisible to traffic.  People can hit them without even realizing they were there until they make contact.

Motors work best in a pack.  They stand out more if there are a lot of them together.  Traffic lights can be switched to flashing four way red.  That causes people to stop at intersections and makes the route move slower.  Dignitary traffic control requires planning, coordination and caution; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mass Shooting Event

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Aurora_shooting

In Aurora, Colorado a man went to the movies.  He exited the theater a few minutes after the movie started, and returned to his car in the parking lot.  He came back to the theater and re-entered via the emergency exit he had propped open as he left.  The man started shooting and shot more people than any single incident in the United States.  Police were called almost immediately and arrived in 90 seconds.

The man was arrested without incident soon after the police arrived.  Then what do you do?  Seventy people have been shot, hundreds are witnesses, and everyone is scared and running around in the middle of the night trying to find safety.  As soon as the suspect is arrested, handcuff him, search him, and get him away from the scene.  You don't want him to by lynched and you don't want him to escape, or have other suspects try and help him.

You need to set up a command post and coordinate the response.  You need dozens, if not hundreds of officers.  You need dozens of ambulances and every paramedic you can find.  Triage is important, some victims need immediate transport, some need first aid and can wait, even be treated on scene.  You need officers to provide security in case there are other suspects.  Your dispatchers need to call for more dispatchers to come into work and every officer for your agency and many surrounding agencies will probably need to come in too.  You need to establish a media center, and notify your chief of police.  You need to preserve evidence, even during the rescue effort, get photos taken early so that locations that may become contaminated will be preserved in pictures.  There is a lot to do, but you don't have to do it all yourself; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Questions?

 
An officer was involved in a 30 minute pursuit and at the end of the pursuit he fired 41 rounds at the suspect, and missed with most of them.  He reloaded at least once.  The suspect may or may not have had a weapon.  There are several concerns here with this incident.  This article is very incomplete but it does raise some questions in my mind.
 
Where is the officers back up officers?  Where is the supervisor?  Why would an officer fire 41 rounds at a suspect and not actually know if he was armed or not?  How can the officer fire 41 times and miss nearly every round?
 
Sometimes in a pursuit officers can outrun their back up officers, sometimes they have trouble calling the pursuit locations and so other officers can't find them.  Sometimes the officers get so excited or the driving is so difficult they can't radio the information to dispatch.  If the officer was very frightened, and excited and alone he may have been unable to aim and unable to think clearly about the actual danger posed by the suspect.  Realistic training can help to minimize the fear and nervousness of this type of critical incident; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Crime Scene


Police on patrol spotted a stolen truck in the parking lot of a hotel. They checked the security camera footage of the parking lot and observed the suspects and determined which room they were in. Officers entered the room and found a man and woman. The woman went into the bathroom because she said she had to vomit. The officers then followed her and found the third suspect who shot at them and hit one. Eventually the suspect was shot and taken into custody.

Officers need to recognize the need for control and for information. If you have entered a room with two people inside that have been riding inside a stolen pickup truck then you need to handcuff them right away. Then you need to sweep the room, closets, bathrooms, ceiling crawlspace to make sure there is no one else there. Suspects, even full grown men, can hide in very small spaces.
 
If you know there are two suspects, then you need at least four officers, minimum. Security of the crime scene is important. How many officers were outside in case another suspect walked down the hall to get ice? How many officers were outside in the parking lot in case the fourth suspect made the cops and returned to the stolen truck to drive it away? Control the suspects, control the scene; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Michigan Shooting

 
Michigan police responded to a shots fired at a home.  When the officer entered the home, he was shot to death.  Active shooter cases are very dangerous.  There are two conflicting problems.  The first is the need to move swiftly to prevent the deaths of more innocent people.  The other is the need to gather information and form a plan that will achieve a successful outcome.
 
One of the initial reports stated that there were people inside the house who were potential victims.  That would be a huge incentive to try and rush inside and try and save people.  Often officers become so focused on one aspect of a problem, they lose sight of other aspects of the situation.  It is important for supervisors to be aware of what their officers are doing.
 
The supervisor should ask what his officers are doing.  He should coordinate the officers response and insure a balance between both public safety and officer safety.  Older, more experienced officers need to watch out for the newer officers, even those who may have a few years on.  Even the younger officers need to voice an opinion if they think their peer is going to do something unsafe; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Safe Gun Handling

 
An agency started using new holsters.  Some of the deputies wondered if the guns could be fired while they were still in the holster, as if a suspect was trying to take away the gun.  They got the answer when one of the deputies reached for his partners gun and shot his partner in the leg.  The agency may want to consider new holsters and better training.
 
A new holster should be treated like a very important piece of equipment because it is important.  New holsters being issued to officers need to be practiced with and broken in.  New holster designs being issued to a department need new training.  Agencies should not assume that officers will fully understand the benefits and drawbacks of a new holster.  It should be explained to them and they should practice dry firing on the range and then live firing on the range until they are proficient with the new design.
 
These officers also bear some responsibility too.  Training with loaded weapons is a potentially deadly mistake.  I almost never use real guns to train anymore unless I am on the range, even then I use red guns to demonstrate as often as I can to avoid shooting someone with an unloaded gun.  This officer is lucky to be alive; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Good Investigation


A man purchased a gun a month ago. He took it home and eventually decided to clean the gun. He then accidentally shot himself in the penis and testicle. One of the first rules of firearms safety is to treat all guns as if they are always loaded. That means you need to only point it in a safe direction, which is another one of the basic rules.

The police responded and he told them a lie; he said he was a shooting victim. The police investigated further and eventually determined that he was lying and they learned the truth about the incident. This is an important reminder to officers, always take the victim statement and compare what he says to the physical evidence. Victims often lie about the circumstances to save embarrassment, defraud their insurance company or otherwise hide or distort their stories. Sometimes they simply forget or unintentionally confuse the story.

During the investigation the responding officers kept their eyes open. They were where they were lawfully permitted to be. They saw that the roommate of the suspect had drugs in his home. As a result they were able to arrest the roommate. The officers in this case did a very good job; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Home Made Guns

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF9CuXorkbI&feature=related

This five minute video shows why gun control for the purpose of stopping criminals from having guns is pointless.  There are photos of guns that were manufactured at home.  While several of these I recognize as modifications to commercial guns the majority of them seem to be home made.  That is, they are made at peoples homes, in small machine shops or in some cases, even made in prison by the inmates.  No serial number, no ability to trace them, no record of purchase, often not even rifling to leave marks on the bullet to tie the bullet to the gun.

If prison inmates can make guns, then almost anyone can make them.  Criminals only need a gun that will fire a couple shots.  They make a threat to a shop owner and run out with the cash does not even require a functioning gun in most instances.  Many of these guns fired a single shotgun shell and appear as if the recoil would be tremendous.  Imagine facing one of these single shot shotgun pistols on a traffic stop.  The suspect reaches into the center console, glove compartment or under the seat and comes up with this weapon.  It would be devastating at close range.  I would also be an excellent close range murder weapon to use against rival gangsters.

The other thing to see is how many used a .22 caliber round.  These would have very little recoil, would be very quiet and are very small.  The other group seemed to be mostly a 9mm size sub machine gun looking weapon.  A small machine pistol with 20 or 30 round magazine that can be easily hidden in a coat or briefcase could be employed and spray a room full of people in seconds.  Gun control does not disarm the criminals, they will make guns at home if they have too, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Police Chief


The retired chief of police of Thompkinsville, KY was murdered in his driveway. The suspect was a former inmate that was sent to jail by the chief years ago. The suspect did this as a drive by shooting. This shows that police need to keep a weapon and police mindset even after retirement. This shows how important concealed carry is to former and retired officers.

Recently in Philidelphia an off duty officer was murdered while walking home after work. Officers need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Certainly anyone can be a victim of crime, even police. But police have an extra set of worries. Some criminal organizations want members to kill or assault police as a rite of passage or as a way to increase their status.

Police have an even more dangerous concern. Individual criminals who may want to do us harm. They might want to prevent us from testifying or investigating a case. An individual criminal may target your agency or even specific officers for revenge for previous police activity. Just because you are off duty, does not mean you are out of danger; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Death Penalty

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/08/01/execution-method-for-canadian-cruel-unconstitutional-aclu-says/?intcmp=obinsite

A criminal convicted of a double murder is scheduled for execution in Montana.  The case is held up in court while death penalty opponents try and get the lethal injection declared unconstitutional.  Police unions and other police organizations need to work harder to insure the death penalty is implemented.  Too often police unions endorse big government Democrats who don't believe in the death penalty.  This criminal is a double murderer.  He does not deserve to live, he has taken the lives of two innocent people.

The lawyers and judges have tied up the death penalty in the United States for decades.  We have 20,000 murders a year and in a good year we execute a dozen murderers.  We should be executing a few thousand criminals per year for the death penalty to have any deterrent effect.  Once society shows that murder will not be tolerated, then there will be fewer murders.

There are dozens of police feloniously killed every year and how many of their killers are executed?  Virtually none.  The Onion Field killer just died of old age in California.  He should have been executed within a couple years after he was convicted.  Police need to speak up and tell our elected officials that they need to execute cop killers and other murderer; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shooting

 
Police responded to a report of a naked man with a gun, shooting and launching fireworks.  When they arrived the suspect pointed his gun at the police and they had to shoot him.  The officers fired five rounds and hit him twice.  Three misses.
 
Police firearms training needs to include more than just standing and firing on command.  Shooting should include dynamic situational training.  Standing and moving to cover while firing.  Standing and moving towards the suspect to close the distance.  Standing and moving laterally to cover and firing at a distance.
 
Police should get sim-munitions and decision making training too.  Officers need to have range training that reflects more than just marksmanship.  They need to have training that realistically duplicates what they have happen in the field.  Officers who work on small boats should train shooting from a small boat.  Officers who work on horseback or on motorcycles should train from those methods of transportation too; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Active Shooter Video

 
This video explains how civilians should react to an active shooter situation.  It's something I think every civilian should know.  According to this video, civilians should run, hide or fight to save themselves from an active shooter.  Civilians as soon as they become aware of an active shooter situation should try and evacuate from the building.  If they cannot evacuate, they should try and hide from the shooter.  If they try and hide, they should lock and barricade the door, if possible.
 
If they have no other choice, they should fight to save themselves.  If they determine fighting is the best procedure, then they need to arm themselves with any weapons available and fight with the intent to disable the suspect.  Fighting can use any available weapons, fire extinguishers, or even chairs.
 
The video also shows the role of first responders.  They explain the first responders are to locate and stop the active shooter.  The first responders are not to evacuate people or to treat the injured.  It is important for the responding officers to keep focused on the shooter to avoid more victims.  Subsequent officers can evacuate people or treat wounded; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Bullet

Police work can use some new technology. There are many things that we do that can improve the way we do our work and they safety we enjoy at work. A bullet that does not miss the target would be a significant advance. Recently, in New York City the police responded to a man with a gun call and shot several bystanders.

In many SWAT stand offs it would be great to have a sniper who could not miss the target. While SWAT snipers are usually excellent shots, they can still miss, particularly if the suspects move. In this instance the target is designated and the bullet is fired and can change direction as it flies through the air.

A bullet that can change direction would be particularly useful for hostage situations, and situations where deadly force is needed but the suspect is far away. Police can clear a building, even a block or two and isolate the suspect. They still need to be able to bring the situation to a conclusion and sometimes deadly force is the only option; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hands

http://watch.discoverychannel.ca/clip664678#clip664678

The Force Science Institute is doing great work with bringing science to police work.  They are proving much that many of us have long suspected and now someone can prove it.  Much of what police worry about is split second incidents that result in deadly force encounters.  They are doing studies that prove reaction times are critical to officer safety.

One of the main things that their research has shown is that officers need to be aware of the hands and position of the suspect at all times.  The officer needs to control the contact and insure that he is safe.  The suspect who is intent on attacking an officer will typically use his hands to carry out the attack.

Suspects have to be watched as much as possible.  When they can't be watched closely, like when they are in their car and you are writing a ticket, then you have to re-approach with the same caution as you did on the initial encounter.  Watch the hands, the hands sometimes hold knives, guns, or even attack without a weapon; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Child in Car


A child left unattended in a hot car will die in minutes. Most people would not leave a dog in a hot car, and yet every year people allow their children to die in hot cars. Police and security guards should check parking lots in the morning. After people make their commute to work, go through the parking lot and look for kids in car seats.

If you receive a call of a child left in a car on a hot day, to my mind it is a life threatening emergency. I would suggest you respond with red lights and sirens to get there as soon as possible, pursuant to your agency policy. The child will only have minutes to live.

Once you arrive the obvious thing is to check all the doors and windows to see if they are unlocked, or not. You also need to make sure there is really a child inside the vehicle. Keep your siren on so that you might attract the driver of the car. If the child is in distress, then break the window, pick a side window away from the child. Your cars tire iron is better at breaking the window than your baton. This happens too many times a year and every one of these deaths is preventable; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Man in Car


An officer stopped a man walking on the freeway. The officer put the man, who was detained, but not under arrest, in the back seat of the patrol car. The man kicked out the window and attacked the officer. The officer was knocked down and the suspect stole his police car. Naturally the police car crashed soon after being stolen.

I am not sure what reason the officer would have for putting the suspect in the back of his patrol car without arresting him. It may have been because he simply intended to drive the man off the freeway and let him go his way. In general I am not a big fan of putting people in police cars who have not been searched and handcuffed, but I understand it has to happen sometimes.

Once the suspect kicked out the window the officer should have been prepared for a fight. I have seen people bang their heads on windows and it is not too hard to kick out a car window. The officer should have immediately called for help, and prepared to use his Taser if he had one, or his baton if he did not; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dim Bulbs


I used two Mag-Charger lights over the years, they were good lights.  I now have a Streamlight Stinger in two versions and a Pelican light.  The smaller lights are much easier to use. They are very bright and last a long time. I carry one on me and one in my gear bag on duty. I have the little yellow cone for traffic direction too.

Using them as a weapon can be problematic. What is your agency policy and what training do you have using the flashlight as a weapon? The defense attorney takes the batteries out and the end caps and then tells the jury you beat his client with a metal pipe. That can be difficult to overcome.  Your agency may need to implement training and update their policies.

The smaller lights work better when searching cars and other confined spaces. They are also better when holding up a handgun and a flashlight. That big light gets heavy really fast.  I recommend that agencies issue a large and small flashlight to officers.  As part of their annual baton training they should get training to use both flashlights as impact weapons.  Their policy should be to permit the use of the flashlight as an impact weapon as necessary, but that the baton is the preferred impact weapon.  The flashlight should primarily be used for illumination, but can be used as an impact weapon in an emergency; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

PTSD Shooter


We tend to think of active shooters as a new phenomena. In fact it is a crime that has been going on for many years. This man was an Army combat veteran, homosexual and chronically unemployed. While he had no arrest history, he did threaten his mother with a wrench. Rather than report the threat, she went to a friends home. The man took a handgun and essentially went door to door killing people, some as young as two years old.

By the time police arrived he had returned to his home where he and police exchanged gunfire. The suspect was contacted by phone by a reporter and after a brief conversation, he surrendered. After several hours in custody the suspect was found to have suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh. He was eventually placed in a mental institution and stayed there for nearly 40 years until he died.

There are many things we can learn from this incident. The stress of combat can sometimes lead to post traumatic stress disorder and can cause veterans, and others, even police, to have depression and other mental disorders that can lead to violence. Domestic violence is a major indicator of a violent nature that may eventually lead to violence against people who are not family members. Mentally disturbed suspects may be able to work through substantial injuries and continue to function despite major wounds. Once captured, a careful search of the suspect should be conducted for weapons and injuries. I would have the suspect checked by paramedics to obtain a medical clearance to insure they were not injured. Officers involved in such incidents should also be checked for injuries. The adrenaline and excitement of a shooting can mask pain and other injury symptoms; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Active Shooter


A man went into an immigration center and started shooting. He killed thirteen people and then shot himself. Several others were injured. He entered the center at 10:30 a.m. and 911 calls came in right away. The receptionist called 911 at 10:38, police arrived within minutes. The police arrived at 10:33, and SWAT made entry at 11:13. The suspect had killed himself as soon as he heard the police sirens.
The police essentially did not save anyone after their arrival. The suspect killed himself as soon as he heard the sirens and never contacted police. The suspect did have plenty of ammo left and could have killed other people in the building had he continued firing. I certainly think that it is a good idea to respond with as much police light and noise as possible to scare the suspects into suicide, fleeing or even surrender. Since they are already killing people there is comparatively little risk that they might do something worse, in my opinion.
This type of attack is nearly impossible for police to resolve without great loss of life having happened prior to their arrival. The suspect simply came inside and began shooting. That would require on site armed security guards or armed citizens in the staff or guests. The SWAT team did not finish clearing the building until three hours after the incident began. A quick sweep of the major hallways and rooms to locate the suspect and victims, bypassing the little closets and coming back later to check them. The SWAT paradigm to slowly clear a building by checking every nook and cranny is not always the best response; that's what the SGT Says.