Tuesday, December 31, 2013


At a major incident a Logistics Officer is an important part of the command staff.  Major incidents can go on for days even weeks.  Even after the incident itself is resolved it may take more time to conclude the investigation.

Logistics Officers take charge of running the staging area.  Parking, and security are two of the first concerns.  Vehicles have to be able to get in and get out, and parking can be a huge nightmare at some incidents.  They have to direct the responding units to the staging area, including fire and mutual aid and even non-government agencies like press and Red Cross.

They need to set up the mobile command center, and determine how many officers are needed.  They need to coordinate with regular patrol and make sure there are enough officers for the incident.  They Logistics Officer needs to track officers as they arrive and depart, eventually everyone will want to get paid for their time.  Even the mundane things must be accounted for; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Good Police Work Memphis


The City of Memphis, TN has certainly had it's share of problem officer stories in the last few years.  Many of their officers have been suspended, fired, arrested for various ethical violations or poor judgement in the past few years.

Still, behind the headlines, most of the officers struggle day by day to do a good job.  No one hates a bad cop more than a good cop.  Police work is difficult most of the time, dangerous all the time and usually under appreciated.

These Memphis officers responded to a different kind of public need.  An old man could not longer decorate his home for Christmas, because he was too infirm.  These cops responded and helped him get his Christmas displays up for the holiday.  In the spirit of Christ and in the best traditions of American police work these officers when above the call of duty and helped out a member of their community.  Not every good piece of police work involves a car chase, a shootout or even an arrest; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 29, 2013



69. Some EOC and Command Post personnel will become overloaded; some will not be able to cope with the volume of activity and information they have to deal with, and some will not be able to cope with the noise and distractions.

70. Things will get better some time after they have become considerably worse.

Good training is one of the best ways to insure that personnel will be able to handle the strain of command.  The more realistic the training the more value in the training.  Message traffic should start slow and build to a volume that is intentionally too much for one person to control or even read.

Part of disaster response it to triage the important information, just like you triage the wounded and the dead.  A good incident commander will have information filtered before it gets to him because his staff will also be well trained in how to separate the good information from the useless.

No disaster lasts forever.  Take a look at Hiroshima after the atomic bomb, it was flattened and is now a thriving city.  No matter how bad it is, it will get better, eventually.  It might require days, weeks, even months of work.  Chernobyl has taken decades and is still a disaster area, but in many ways it too is better.  Don't let any crisis take over your ability to deal with the problems.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time; that's what that SGT Says.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tactical Efficiency


Memphis, TN has reorganized their tactical unit.  They have had a few problems recently and like any organization with problems the first thing they did is, reorganize.  The next thing they did is ask for more money, just like any other government agency.

Times are tough and public agencies need to learn to do more with less.  They need to be able to operate at the same or higher level of efficiency as before with less money.  Some agencies use their tactical units as patrol officers part time and tactical officers only for training and call outs.  A core of full time tactical officers with the rest of the team as part time tactical officers can provide cities with staffing that is top notch and yet enough men to deploy when needed.

Training does not need to be expensive.  In house trainers can be sent out to become master trainers and they can return and train the rest of the team.  Local agencies can train each other.  Shifts can run short staffed during slow periods and those officers not on duty can then be trained on regular time, not overtime.  Sometimes surplus equipment can be obtained from the Federal government or even other local agencies, it's all about being innovative; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Car Upgrades

While watching Adam-12 with MRS Bunkermeister I noticed something about the patrol cars right away.  They are very uncluttered.  Sure, they have a radio, but it is simplicity itself.  There is the main frequency and a couple tactical frequencies and that's all.  They can't contact other agencies and they don't have a scanner to listen to nearby units either.

There is no computer.  They have to run everyone and every car by radio, which can be time consuming.  They have a hot sheet of recently stolen cars printed out and kept on the dashboard.  Still, the run a car with dispatch if they want to be sure a car is stolen or not.

They have a shotgun rack, and a ring in the door for their batons.  But they don't have a cage or a cup holder.  I don't know how you can patrol without a cup holder.  A cage is both a huge advantage and a huge bother.  It makes it harder to see out the back, and the cage takes up a lot of room inside the car.  Still, it does make a much more secure environment for the suspects placed there.  The cars have standard back seats and I do recall seeing Reed taking the seat out to check for contraband before going on patrol.  I like the molded plastic back seat better, much safer; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Shoot Consideration

Shooting must be reasonable.  If you shoot someone it must be because a reasonable person would shoot the same suspect in the same circumstances.  You must reasonably articulate why you shot the person.  That typically means you were in fear of your life, or the life of another person.

You don't have to employ other options if you can reasonably articulate why any other options would not have worked under the circumstances.  You have to take the full circumstances under consideration.  A giant suspect is more dangerous than a small one.  A suspect with a weapon, a gun, a knife, a bottle is more dangerous than an unarmed suspect.

You have to explain why you shot based on what you knew when you shot the suspect.  If you find out later that the suspect had previous murder convictions that is information that did not play a role in your decision to shoot.  Using force is a serious decision, think about it before hand so you are ready when you need to make the decision to shoot or not; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


While watching Adam-12 I was impressed by the number of times Reed and Malloy were turned on to good intelligence by informants.  It's a good idea to get to know the people who live and work in the area you patrol. 

Delivery people who drive around in your area often know what's normal, and they can provide you with information.  Petty criminals who you have arrested and who live in the area might be able to provide you with good intelligence in the future.  If you give them a break once in a while or at least treat them with a certain dignity and respect, maybe you can gather information from them in the future.

The more eyes and ears you have on the street the easier your job is to get done.  Sometime you can prevent crimes when you hear in advance of a major incident going down.  Other times you can capture criminals or recover stolen property if you have people who will contact you when they know something; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Foot Pursuit

While watching Adam-12 I notice they go in foot pursuit of suspects a lot.  I am not afraid on anything enough to run away from it and there is nothing I want bad enough to run after it.  Still, sometimes you may need to chase a suspect. 

Radio in the chase, we have hand held radios now, so we can do that even while we are chasing.  Don't lose sight of the suspect.  If they go over a fence or around a corner you are no longer in pursuit.  You are in tracking mode.  That means you stop running.  You start searching and tracking.  The suspect might be laying in wait.

In Adam-13, Officer Reed chased a suspect over a fence and ended up in a swimming pool.  You could jump a six foot tall fence that's 20 feet high on the backside.  Today, it's best not to chase much, if you don't get the guy in a few moments, set up a perimeter and track him down; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Adam-12 shows a lot of exciting activities that police in real life often don't have happen very often.  One of them is rolling code-3, red lights and sirens. Only the most serious calls require that type of driving.  Pursuits of course require red lights and sirens.

They show driving in pursuit and in response to a major call as a two man operation.  Often driving with code-3 equipment is best when done with two officers.  The driver should concentrate on driving.  The partner has other, important work to do too.

The partner is the navigator.  He can check the map and give directions.  He should be the radio operator also.  The partner can take notes on what is happening for the report later.  The partner can look down the street and check the cross traffic.  The partner should have the shotgun or patrol rifle ready when the pursuit ends or they arrive at the location of the emergency; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


While watching Adam-12 with MRS Bunkermeister, I noticed that the actors have no idea how to apply handcuffs.  Whey they manage to handcuff someone in almost every episode, they really needed a couple real cops to spend an hour with them showing them how to slap on the cuffs.

Of course, slap on the cuffs is only a phrase, because slapping on a pair of handcuffs hurts.  You need to hold the handcuff and the suspects wrist and firmly push the single gate against their wrist so it swings around the clicks on the other side.  Then you adjust the handcuff and double lock it.  Always double lock the handcuffs.

Sometimes it is difficult to get the handcuffs on, so you need to get them both on before you do much adjustment or double locking.  Nearly anyone you arrest should be handcuffed.  It's hard to know how people arrested will react, so it's a good idea to handcuff everyone for your safety and really for theirs too.  You don't want to have to fight someone who you arrested who was compliant when you started the process; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 20, 2013


While watching Adam-12 with MRS Bunkermeister, we noticed they typically search the suspects they encounter.  Since watching police search a procession of officers conducting careful searches of people gets dull quickly, they do a rather cursory search of people.

When you search people, do a careful search.  Start at the top and work your way down.  Do it methodically and completely.  If the suspect has a hat, start with the hat.  If you get interrupted, start over.  When you find something, keep looking.  If the suspect has one gun or knife, he likely has another one too.

When someone hands over a suspect to you, search them.  Just because your partner searched him does not mean you searched him.  If you hand over a suspect to your partner or the jailer, expect them to search him.  It's easy to miss something, so search carefully.  Searching is an important part of your job, do it well; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 19, 2013



The old Adam-12 TV show was filmed in the early 1970's.  It was before police were carrying patrol rifles, but they still had the old standby, the 12 gauge, pump-action shotgun.  Often when responding to dangerous calls, like a 211, robbery, in progress they take the shotgun out of the car with them.

Still, they too often leave the shotgun in the patrol car.  When dealing with armed suspects the shotgun is both intimidating and effective.  Everyone recognizes the sound of the shotgun round being racked into the chamber and that alone can frighten a suspect into surrendering.

A couple times, Officer Reed has the shotgun and Officer Malloy sends him back to the patrol car to put out a broadcast or to direct other officers.  In those instances, Officer Malloy should holster his handgun and take the shotgun from Reed.  Keep your firepower where you need it most; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Seat Belt

Watching Adam-12 I noticed that they make a point of showing the officers buckling and unbuckling their seat belts.  It is not unusual for half of the officer line of duty deaths in a year to be the result of traffic collisions.  Wear your seatbelt to keep that from happening.

Traffic collisions can happen almost anytime you are in the patrol car.  Even sitting at a red traffic signal a bad driver can crash into your patrol car and kill you.  Responding to an emergency call, another driver may fail to notice your red lights and siren and crash into you.

When driving a car you are often at the mercy of other drivers.  Your own excellent driving skills may not be enough for you to avoid a collision.  Erratic drivers, drunk drivers, can come out of nowhere and crash into your car.  Overconfident officers responding too fast to an emergency call can lose control and crash.  Every year a few officers kill themselves this way; don't let it happen to you; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One Adam Twelve


My wife and I have been watching Adam-12 for the last couple weeks.  Watching that show is one of the reasons I became a cop and even today many of the adventures had by Officers Reed and Malloy are very much like police work is today.

I think part of the reason for that is that people don't change much.  So family disputes, robberies, burglaries, kids getting their head stuck in a wrought iron fence are all the kinds of calls officers get even today.  Police work is all about helping people, keeping a lid on the violence in the bad neighborhoods and doing what you can to make things better.

The officers generally follow good procedures but a lot has changed since then.  Officers in the show carry a straight baton, revolver, and a pair of handcuffs, with a shotgun in the car.  They don't wear body armor, they don't have handheld radios and they don't carry less lethal weapons like Mace, OC, Taser or similar weapons.  All these tools have made police work better, saver and more efficient, but it's the officers that make the most difference; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 16, 2013



66. Individual public safety officers will be asked to do the work of squads or companies; they will have to recruit volunteers on the spot to provide assistance to their efforts.
67. The message flow to, from, and within the EOC and Field Command Post will break down and become inefficient and unmanageable.
68. There will be an over critical desire to verify all incoming information. If it is received from a field unit, it should be considered as verified.
Individual police officers will need to deputize people and put them to work in the field.  They need to block traffic, move debris or search for survivors then they need to simply sweep up whoever is standing by and put them to work.
The command post can often have information overload.  Have a good ratio of people to send and receive information just like during normal times.  Don't overlook the importance of gathering and disseminating information.  Have people screen the information so decision makers are not overwhelmed with unimportant details.
When police officers or firemen make a report, they need to be believed, just like in normal times.  Don't try and verify information if it comes in from an officer, just act on it.  Dangerous situations can wait around for verification, that's why you already have officers there; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sims Training

Recently, I went to the range and trained with the Surefire Institute.

When training with Simunitions or similar non-lethal marking projectiles, like paintballs, officers should wear the proper protective equipment.  In this photo the officers are wearing body armor, face protection and head protection as well as neck protection.  No one should participate in this type of training without proper protection.

Training with simulated guns that shoot a real projectile is an excellent method to depict the stress of actual incidents.  The officers have to use good tactics in order to win the scenarios.  This type of scenario is great training but it also requires excellent instructors to coordinate the actions of the actors and the trainees.  The closer training simulates real life, the better prepared the offices will be; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Drop the Gun


Police responded to a family dispute call and when they arrived they found a man with a gun outside the home.  When the man refused to put down the gun, and instead raised the gun as if to shoot, one of the officers shot the suspect.

Domestic violence calls are very dangerous.  They can be extremely emotional and both sides might attack the police.  A man with a gun on the lawn who refuses to drop the weapon is also very dangerous.  If the man appears to aim the gun towards police and refuses verbal commands then officers have little choice but to shoot him.

Always try and give verbal commands.  It's okay to give commands while actually shooting.  The suspect might be only wounded or you might miss him completely and so verbal commands would be helpful.  Consider the us of the public address system on your car, rather than just yelling at him.  The PA can be heard over traffic and other background noises and witnesses would have a better understand of why you had to shoot.  "Police officer, drop the gun."  Is an excellent phrase to use, it identifies yourself and gives a clear instruction to the suspect; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 13, 2013


On a major crime of violence in progress there are many tasks that need to be performed and dozens, even hundreds of officers may be needed to handle the call.  Determine what you have, a shooter running through a mall will require officers to go inside and hunt him down and stop him immediately.  A sniper holed up in a tower or a house will require officers pin him down and evacuate the area.

Move all responding units to a single tactical frequency if possible.  Establish an inner and outer perimeter.  Inner perimeter keeps people inside and screens them if they must exit, and the outer perimeter keeps people and vehicles out and screens those who need to be inside.  Officers on the inner perimeter should have rifles if possible.  Officers should evacuate anyone who is in the line of fire of the suspect or the officers.  Be aware of schools and hospitals that may require extra help for evacuation.  Notify bus lines and other rapid transit, they may need to detour around the incident.

Evacuate the injured as soon as possible and have the fire department and paramedics set up near the inner perimeter.  Tear gas or even the suspect may set a building on fire.  Have a pursuit team ready if the suspect has the ability to get to a vehicle and drive away.  Make contact with the suspect by phone if possible and ask him to submit to lawful arrest.  Call for a SWAT response and mutual aid if your own agencies patrol officers are not enough to deal with the incident.  Don't leave officers on the perimeter for hours at a time without rest and relief; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


63. Emergency equipment will not be able to reach some locations because of traffic jams. Tow trucks will be at a premium. Parked or abandoned vehicles will block streets, and emergency responders will be the worst offenders.
64. Even though there will not be enough people to initially deal with emergencies, many available personnel will never be identified and never used. After the initial shock, there will be too many volunteers.
65. General information will be offered in response to specific questions because field units cannot verify the requested information.
Traffic jams, downed trees and debris can all create problems for access. Tow trucks can be helpful for both moving vehicles, but also for pulling trees out of the road.  Civilian trucks with winches can be useful too for pulling vehicle out of the road too.  Make police and fire park in designated areas only and keep a lane open.
Neighborhood watch captains should have a list of who lives in their area and what skills they have for use in an emergency.  Reserve police and volunteer firemen are an excellent resource and every agency should have them.
Public Information Officers should not answer questions if they don't know the answer.  Give what information you can, and they say you don't know or will have a statement later.  Don't speculate and don't lie; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mass Killings


The FBI says a mass killing is one where four or more people are killed at a time.  Mass killings happen every few weeks in the United States.  That means it is not unlikely that you might be involved in a mass killing.

These events are frequent enough that you might encounter one.  The first priority is to stop the killing.  Just like any active shooter, you must stop the killer.  That means you usually have to shoot the shooter.

Second priority it to tend to the victims.  Stopping the shooter has to be first, because every delay to help a wounded person just means more wounded people.  After the incident, take care of yourself.  Know that these things happen and they are difficult to prevent.  Know that it's normal for you to feel sad, happy, depressed and glad all at the same time.  Seek professional counseling if you have any post traumatic stress, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch can be a powerful tool against crime.  Officers should attend meeting with the people to offer suggestions, and keep them apprised of crime trends.  They can also explain police activities and procedures.  At your meetings insure everyone knows they have two jobs:

Observe threats to the community.
Report those threats to the police.

Tell everyone to stay inside their house or car.  Don't confront people.  Remind them they are not the police, they don't wear body armor, carry guns, or know the law or tactics as well as the police do.  A stolen car radio is not worth getting killed or hurt over.

Ask people to use their camera or cell phone camera to take pictures of people or vehicles that are suspicious.  They don't have to write down a license plate if they can take a photo of it.  The group should prepare reports at least monthly and report crimes and crime prevention tips to everyone.  Make a website, or Yahoo Group, for all your members to keep up to date on crime information.  Make sure the HOA has good insurance.  Crime drops when the community works with the police to stop it; that’s what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Officer Prosecution


A group of officers beat a homeless man and he died a few days later.  The DA determined it was a crime and several of the officers are being prosecuted.  There is video and audio of some of the encounter. 

I have followed the case since the beginning.  The DA made a good case in his press conference when he announced the prosecutions.  Based on what he said, I thought he had a good case against the officers.  Of course, that's only looking at the evidence through his interpretation and without any rebuttal.

The man who died was homeless.  He had a history of drug abuse and of violence.  Some of his relatives said he was a good guy and others said was a problem.  The other problem is the officers said and did a few things that made them look bad.  Keep in mind when you talk to people that what you say or do, may be recorded or quoted later, perhaps even out of context; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Officer Down


Officer J.D. Tippit was on patrol looking for a suspect in a shooting with multiple victims.  The suspect used a rifle to shoot at people in a passing car.  The officer noticed a man walking down the street near the scene of the shooting.  He looked a little bit like the shooter so the officer called to him to stop.

The officer got out of the car and the suspect pulled out a handgun and shot the officer three times, once in the head.  The headshot was the fatal wound.  The suspect ran away, and bystanders used the officers car radio to call dispatch for help.  Back up responded quickly but the officer died.  Other officers arrested the suspect in a movie theater nearby, without further incident.  Ironically, the suspect himself was murdered not long afterwards.

The suspect was Lee Harvey Oswald, who was suspected of shooting President Kennedy.  The officer approached a suspect, in broad daylight who had used a rifle in a shooting.  Since the officer saw no rifle, he probably believed the suspect was unarmed.  Just like us, suspects often carry more than one gun and he used his handgun to murder the officer.  In a shooting investigation, consider all suspects as being potentially armed with a deadly weapon until you know otherwise; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


A group of pro-abortion protestors assaulted a Roman Catholic Church in Argentina.  A large contingent of Roman Catholic men stood arm to arm outside the church to protect the building.  The women were yelling, spray painting the men, taunting them by being topless, hitting the men and throw things at them.  The police response was that they could not do anything because the assailants were women!
I suspect the police or politicians were either pro-abortion and just don't want to get involved.  This was a planned event, that's why the Church was able to mobilize a large counter-protest.  This is not a difficult situation to deal with from a police perspective.
Form two lines of barricades all around the church building.  Put police inside the two lines of barricades.  The Catholic people stay inside the inner fencing and the women stay on the outside of the outer barricade.  Anyone who violates the inner or outer perimeter goes to jail.  Have a couple aisles for people who can legitimately enter or leave the buildings.  It's just a matter of being willing to take care of people, no matter who they are, that's the sign of being professional; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Knife vs Gun


An Anaheim police officer was in the department parking lot working on the computer in his unit.  A man with a knife approached him and the officer shot the man to death.  That's the initial outline of the incident as reported in the papers and on line.

The important thing here is to read the comments by the people.  Many were unsure why a police officer had to shoot a man with a knife.  They did not understand why the officer could not employ another, less lethal option.  We have done a poor job of explaining to the public the dangers of a knife wielding suspect and the uncertainty of using less lethal weapons against a lethal weapon.

There were also many complaint that police use excessive force against the people of their city.  Certainly officers need to use force that is reasonable, but again, we do a poor job of explaining to the general public the need to use force and the dynamics of use of force incidents.  Our public affairs officers often do a poor job of explaining what has happened and that makes all of our jobs harder; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


People who drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs frequently kill people.  Get them off the street.  Don't drink and drive yourself either.  There are many signs to look for when working patrol.

Almost any erratic driving can be a sign of a possible driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Weaving is the classic sign, but driving anywhere other than in the roadway is also a sign.  Sometimes they will stop well beyond the limit line because they are not paying attention or their reflexes are poor.

Sometimes they will even sit through a green light or at least have a delayed respond to the green from red signal.  Swerving badly or making poorly executed turning movements are also a possible indication that the driver is driving under the influence.  When in doubt, stop them and investigate; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No 2 D Cells Will Do

How many flashlights do you carry?  I carry at least two and typically one more on my patrol shotgun.  If your flashlight dies, it's hard to replace it with anything else.  A flashlight is imperative for illumination at night and while directing traffic at night.

The agency I work for is small and the station is close to all parts of the city.  I can return to the station and get a replacement if mine dies, but if I am in the middle of a call, that's not practical.  My second flashlight is the one I use for directing traffic or for searching a large location.  That way my primary light is kept fully charged.

I also have one of those yellow cones that goes over the nose of the light for traffic direction, it really helps at night.  Don't skimp on your light.  Carry a durable, quality flashlight.  Always have extra batteries in your gear bag if you don't use rechargeable batteries.  Get a good light, it may save your life, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Flash Mob Crime


Some cities are having problems with a new flash mob problem.  It used to be that people would form a flash mob and a few dozen people would show up and dance or sing.  There might be a few people inconvenienced due to the mass of people or the traffic disruption, but generally it was harmless, if sometimes annoying.

Now flash mobs are being organized for criminal activity.  This was something I predicted a long time ago when the phenomena first started.  One criminal calls a few friends, they call all their friends and at a specific time 20 or 30 criminals converge on a store and begin stealing from the shop.  A couple shop keepers can't stem that tide.

The police respond, but the hit is just a grab and go.  The suspect are hardly there a few minutes, everyone taking a few hundred dollars worth.  So the shop loses thousands of dollars worth of goods and the cops get no one in custody.  This is a disturbing new development in crime; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Robot Police


There is a company that is trying to build security robots.  Their initial plan is to have a 300 pound robot that is equipped with cameras and other sensors that sends data back to a central location for monitoring.  Their initial thought is to patrol schools in case of an active shooter.  I think this is a very poor idea for several reasons. 

Robots malfunction and can't go up and down stairs and other obstacles.  What happens when an active shooter stacks ten chairs in a hallway and the robot can't get around or through them?  The robot does not carry weapons.  So when the active shooter comes, the monitor can watch the shooter run around the school or mall and watch the shooter murder people but be unable to do anything about it.

At many active shooter incidents, police or guards arrived within a few minutes but by then there were many people killed or wounded.  I think a robot guard might work fantastic in a warehouse or a closed mall where it only has to drive around and look for problems, then on-site people can respond to clean up a spill, or capture the burglars.  Having them control active shooters is worthless; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 1, 2013



California is in the top three states for human trafficking.  It is amazing to me that in the 21st Century there are still slaves in the United States.  It is a terrible crime for people to be owned by others in this enlightened age.  As officers we should be vigilant to stop this type of crime.

There are an estimated 15,000 slaves in the United States.  It seems to me that with a concerted push by law enforcement that number could be reduced to essentially zero.  While most slaves are aliens and many are illegal aliens, not all of them are non-US citizens.

There are also many Americans, usually women, who are enslaved by their boyfriends or husbands, typically as sex slaves for prostitution.  Slaves often are used by their masters for criminal activity.  Sometimes slaves are arrested but they typically don't trust the police and often will not indicate their status.  Homeland Security and INS can provide additional information and training on this problem; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Range Training at Night

When shooting on the range in the dark, there are several techniques you should try and see how they fit into your tactical tool box.  Use the flashlight sparingly.  If you don't need it, turn it off.  It is a beacon showing the suspect exactly where you are standing.

If you shoot from behind a wall or barrier, direct your flashlight in such a way that the beam is not hitting your wall, it will only illuminate you to the suspect.  When ducking behind cover to move or re-load, turn off your light.  You should be able to re-load without watching what you do.

You should be able to use your flashlight to see the suspect, but you don't necessarily need to use the light to shoot.  Once you determine the target, your light can be turned off so you can shoot with your night sights.  Use your sights whenever you can for more accurate shooting; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


60. Emergency responders (public safety and medical alike) will not be adequately trained to respond efficiently.
61. There will be initial chaos; supplies, materials and equipment needed will not be readily available.
62. There will be a general lack of necessary information; coordinators will want to wait for damage/casualty assessment information to establish priorities.
Disasters happen infrequently and there are many different kinds.  A mass shooting takes a different kind of response from a chemical spill.  Officers seldom train for more than a few types of disaster and may not have the right equipment for some types of disaster.
Gas masks always seem in short supply and the filters don't last long.  In a regional disaster, it may take days for more help to arrive.  After a large storm or earthquake railroads and highway bridges may collapse and delay help.  You will have to improvise and prioritize your response.
Planning is important but planning is no substitute for action.  Have the first responders provide information to the command center to get an overview of the situation.  Cable news can provide regional information.  Don't spend all your time on planning and fail to act.  At least begin gathering wounded and clearing roads, those are always important jobs, along with security for critical infrastructure that's still working; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wear Your Vest


The news media did a great job in investigating this officer involved shooting.  Too bad the media does not do this more often.  The media investigated the background of the shooter and of the officer.  As is nearly always the case, the officer comes out looking fine and the shooter comes back as a crazy, drug user.

The shooter was shown to have been lying about his income, his military history and status and was using "medical marijuana."  The shooter was driving over 70 miles per hour on the freeway when he was stopped by the police.  The officer started to call off the stop but the shooter exited his vehicle right away.

The officer exited his vehicle right away and ordered the suspect back into his car, several times.  The suspect then started shooting at the officer for no obvious reason.  The officer returned fire.  The suspect received a fatal wound but was able to return to his vehicle, drive miles down the road before he died.  The officer was hit in the vest and got a minor wound in his side.  Wear your vest; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Domestic Disputes


Police responded to a domestic dispute and they had to shoot the man they encountered.  The man ran away and while he was running he kept reaching for his waistband.  The man had an unknown weapon that was recovered at the scene.

Domestic disputes are very dangerous because the people involved are often very emotional.  They are often angry, and frustrated.  When third parties show up, they are often seen as intruders on their private business.  Those involved in the dispute might both turn on responding officers.  The woman who sees her man being arrested might turn on the officers, because her real loyalties are with her man.

When in foot pursuit, always watch the hands of the suspect.  Always call off the pursuit to your dispatch.  If you lose sight of the suspect, stop running, track him, don't chase him.  Suspects can run around a corner and lay in ambush.  It's best to set up a perimeter and search, rather than chase whenever possible.  In a domestic dispute, we almost always know the identity of the suspect so it's easier for detectives to capture him later; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, November 25, 2013


57. There are no critically injured in a disaster; only those who are dead or alive.
58. Handicapped and disabled persons will probably die unless personal family and friends can care for them and maintain their life-support systems.
59. Management will not be familiar with field response procedures, and may attempt to change standard operating procedures.
There is little time to spend on those who need a lot of patient care.  Someone who needs ten doctors and fifteen nurses will have to be left to die.  Those ten doctors can treat ten people.  It is the cruel math of the emergency.
People who depend on machines for life, or wheelchairs and other aids will need friends and family to take care of them.  There just won't be enough professionals around to save them and help them with normal life functions in a disaster.  It's the cruel math of the emergency, doctors have to see as many patients as they can in the shortest period of time to preserve life.
Management will want to change things on the fly.  Unless an SOP is really messing things up, the middle of the disaster is not the time to change things.  You can shorten requirements and cut red tape, but don't change up things too much.  It only creates more confusion; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Van Shooting


A woman was pulled over for going 71 in a 55 mph zone.  She has her five children in the car.  She refuses to sign the ticket and drove away.  She stops again and gets out of her van to confront an officer and so does her 14 year old son, who is nearly as tall as the officer.  They get back into the van and drive away again as another officer fires at the van.

The officer who fired said he was trying to shoot out the tires of the van.  Shooting out the tires of a van with a handgun is a poor tactic at best.  Radial tires are often made with steel belts or Kevlar.  Kevlar is the stuff they make body armor out of, so it makes them pretty bullet resistant. 

A shotgun to the sidewall might work, but there is danger in a ricochet coming back and hitting you.  In any case, firing a gun at a van full of people is not really a good idea unless they are very dangerous felons.  As if often the case in incidents like this, I am not sure the officer did any thing criminal, but his tactics were very poor; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


When training on the range, don't look at your holster.  Don't look at it before you draw, while you draw or after you are done shooting and try to re-holster your handgun.  You should be watching the suspect or looking for more suspects.

You should be able to manipulate your duty handgun and your holster without looking at what you are doing.  You need to be able to reload and come back up on target without watching what you are doing.  Nearly all your firearms manipulations should be done without watching your own activities.

Before you re-holster your duty handgun, scan the area for other threats and information you need.  Most of the times when an officer is killed in a gunfight there are multiple suspects.  If you knock one down, look for the others.  Then check to see the one you took down is still  no longer a threat before you re-holster.  Also look for other victims and check on the location of your partners; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Drug Testing

On a Yahoo Group a young man recently said he failed a pre-employment drug test because he had some protein in his system.  He wrote that they gave him a week to retest for drugs.  He wanted to know what he could do to pass the test.

Others gave him advice about drinking more water to dilute the protein.  Some said he could cut his protein intake for the next week.  Others said he should consult with his doctor.  No one said he should stop using drugs and stop being around other people who use drugs.

I don't know why his drug screen test came back as a failure, or what the specific protein might mean.  I do know that too many agencies will look the other way with minor drug use and years ago, they did not.  Police agencies need to be a drug free workplace.  Driving cars, carrying guns, arresting people all require a steady hand, a sharp eye, and a clear head; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


The officer is alone, the suspect failed to obey his commands. The suspect did not respond to the mace. The officer hit the suspect once with the baton and only then did the suspect go to the ground, but face up. The suspect was hit a second time and then rolled over and put his hands behind his back. The officer appeared at one point to be warning someone over by the escalator, he points his baton in that direction.
The officer and the suspect are about the same size, sex and age, but the officer does seem to have a slight advantage. The news footage does not show the beginning of the incident, nor does it show the end, the handcuffing, searching or turning him over to the on duty cops. The audio is very poor and the news does not enhance it or show subtitles. The news footage is edited into pieces and who knows what it looks like when it's shown all together.
My initial impression is the officer did not do anything wrong, but maybe could have done things better.  Use of force never looks good, because we are not used to seeing officers hit people.  Sometimes it's the only reasonable way to gain compliance; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Police Corruption


Memphis, Tennessee Police have indicted an officer who was said to have arrested people for no reason, fabricating evidence.  This is some of the worst kind of mis-conduct on the part of an officer.  The officer gains nothing by doing these crimes.  The officer further and further compounds his crime every time he moves along the criminal justice system he commits another set of crimes and does not gain anything for himself.

When an officer knowingly makes a false arrest he is committing a crime.  When he writes a false police report, he is at least violating department policy if not actually committing another crime.  Then when he testifies, under oath, about the "crime" he is committing another crime.  All along the path the officer is simply compounding is crimes.

If the officer does this more than once, his crime is more likely going to be discovered, if it was not discovered the first time.  Then every crime the officer worked on, every bit of evidence he collected is tainted and hundreds, maybe thousands of criminals could go free.  Police corruption is a terrible thing; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fire Response


Officers and firefighters arrived at the scene of a burning house.  A stepfather tried to return to the home and save a three year old child.  The police used a Taser on him to keep him from going back inside.  Police said they had to stop him from going back inside because he had no chance of saving the boy and would have been killed or injured himself.

The firefighters on the scene were prevented from entering the building because the heat was too intense.  What else could police do in this situation?  Allow him to enter and get himself killed?  This is not a movie where people run inside, despite warnings and come out okay.  I have been in house fires and they can kill, quickly.  Before the Taser the stepfather would likely have been knocked down and beaten to be kept away.

I have known many officers who have run inside burning buildings to try and save people.  I have run into burning buildings several times and it's very dangerous and scary. No officer wants a child to die in a fire.  The family is saying they might sue the police.  Instead they should be thanking the police that they were spared a second tragic death; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Red Light Camera Scam


In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, there are people campaigning against red light cameras.  I have always said they are a terrible idea.  While they are always sold as being for public safety, they are in reality a scam to make money for the companies that run the systems and for the city that installs them.

Some cities print tickets that have false or misleading information on them.  In California, they were printing a requirement for the registered owner to either pay the ticket or identify the person driving the car, if it was not them, under penalty of perjury.  Apparently, that is not a legal requirement.

In Tennessee they were claiming a license can be taken away or credit history negatively impacted, which is also untrue.  Police and police unions need to fight red light cameras.  They have only a limited impact on public safety, but more important they create disrespect for the law.  Traffic violations should be enforced by real people who can go to court and testify about the incident, or who can show discretion and waive the need to write a ticket in the first place; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Goodbye Carbon Motors


Carbon Motors was going to make Cop Cars from the ground up.  It was a great idea, but they only made one car and now it's up for auction.  My agency uses Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler model vehicles and I am not happy with any of them.

At six-two and well over 250 pounds a little police car just does not fit me will.  It's hard just getting in and out and once inside with rifle rack, computers, and all the other junk it's a tight squeeze.  Sometimes I can barely get the seatbelt on.

A purpose made police car is just the thing law enforcement needs.  Large enough inside to take care of all the gear and small enough outside to get through traffic.  It needs to have a heavy electrical system, powerful breaks, and at least the front end should be bulletproof.  I suppose we won't get one in my lifetime, but I can still dream; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jurisdictional Disputes


Two agencies respond to a call.  The responding officers get involved in a shouting match and it ends up with one officer being arrested by another officer.  The sheriff responded to a call in the town when people called in to say the town police were taking too long to respond.  They both arrived at about the same time.

The SGT's theory of police work is never force your help on anyone.  Larger agency should let the locals hand the call if it is in their jurisdiction.  If it's in the city, let the city cops handle the call.  If it's in the county, let the sheriff handle the call.  If it's on the highway, let the highway patrol handle the call.  Arguing over who will investigate the crime just makes everyone look stupid and unprofessional.

There is enough crime for everyone.  There is no reason for an incident to escalate into a shouting match, let alone an arrest.  If the officers are having trouble, just back off and let the management determine who will handle the incident.  There will be plenty of other crimes; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 15, 2013



There is a new trend for people who are trying to commit suicide.  They take a collection of household chemicals and they mix them together.  The chemical release toxic gases and kill anyone in an enclosed space like a motor vehicle, or a bathroom.

Often people who are doing this type of suicide will post a warning label on the window of the apartment, home, or automobile that they are releasing toxic gases.  Take these warnings seriously.  The gases are so toxic even a small exposure can lead to injury or death.

If you encounter such a suicide attempt, don't break the window glass, rather evacuate the area, officers included and call for a hazmat team to respond.  If the person is still alive in a car, try to convince them to come to you, rather than go to them.  Your riot gas mask is unlikely to provide any protection.  This is a dangerous situation and the best you can hope for is the keep others from getting hurt; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ammo Supply

An officer was unloading his pistol and the bullet in the chamber separated.  He unloaded the magazine and another bullet separated in his hands.  He unloaded the rest of the rounds out of the magazine and it was obvious which bullets were at the bottom of the magazine as the bullets were not as tarnished. 

The officer was given two new boxes of ammunition.  The cause may have been from loading and unloading of the same ammunition over and over again.  The officer said that he unloads his pistol each night and then loads it again when he comes to work.  Apparently, he uses the same two or three bullets.

Bullet primers can malfunction, bullets can be set back creating additional pressure in the barrel, and bullets can come off the brass.  At the end of the shift, if you must unload your weapon, unload the whole magazine.  Then over time, cycle all your ammo and all your magazines through the day to day use so that no one round is worn too much.  You also should change out your duty ammo annually if possible, and certainly no more that every two years; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cops vs MMA


A mixed martial arts fighter takes on two police officers in the training facility.  It takes both officers to subdue him and get him handcuffed.  The officers work well together and are both young, in good shape and are reasonably skilled.  I have had to fight a suspect like this recently and I am old, and out of condition but I am reasonably skilled.

At least one of the officers in the video had a Taser.  It is an excellent tool and one that officers don't employ often enough.  This guy would have been a perfect Taser subject.  "Turn around and put your hands behind your back."  "No."  Zap.

Fights over before it starts.  There were also several times when the officers could have broken away and used the Taser or even used a contact Tase to subdue the suspect.  Once officers go hands on, they often forget their other tools.  In my recent event, I was the guy on the legs and one thing I did that this officer did not, is punch the suspect in the legs, with my fists, as hard as I could.  The most important thing is to communicate with the suspect, the other officers and keep your head; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Single Officer Response

In the event of an active shooter incident the suspect will frequently kill himself when confronted by police.  This is even true when the suspect is confronted by an armed citizen.  The new tactic is for officers to respond to the scene as quickly as possible.

Don't wait for additional officers to arrive.  Don't form a team of four in a diamond formation.  Simple run to the sound of the gunfire.  At the Virginia Tech shooting the suspect was killing people at a rate of one person every 30 seconds.  If you have to wait three minutes to get a four man team together, eight people could be shot.

The first three or four officers should park as close to the entrances as possible and enter the location looking for the suspect.  Take the patrol rifle or shotgun with them so they have sufficient firepower.  Subsequent officers can set up a perimeter, form four officer teams, perform searches and evacuate victims.  The first few officers should seek the suspect immediately so they will be triggered to kill themselves or engage them as necessary; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Immediate Entry

Acting under the assumption that active shooters were like robbers, police initially responded to them as they had always done.  They surrounded the building, contained the location, called for SWAT and only when SWAT was ready was an entry made.  By that time, most of the damage was done and the suspects were usually dead.

Responding to that new reality, officers changed tactics.  They formed ad hoc units of four man teams and made entry as soon as the fourth man arrived on site.  They took their patrol rifles and shotguns, or handguns, and went straight for the shooter.  When confronted with an active police response, the shooters often took their own lives.

We in law enforcement were often training for the wrong threat.  We trained for robberies gone bad, we trained for Islamic active shooter terrorists who never really have been active in large numbers here in the USA.  The active shooter we typically face has been one or two disturbed young men who are looking for a high body count before they kill themselves.  We can now employ a new tactic to defeat this threat.  The single officer immediate entry; that's that the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Active Shooter Response Teams

After the Columbine shooting, police departments revised their tactics.  They devised a plan to confront active shooters.  The first four officers to arrive on scene don't set up a perimeter.  The active shooter is not interested in getting away, so there is no need to contain the location to prevent his escape.  He is interested in a high body count as quickly as possible.

The officers then form a team with patrol rifles, shotguns or handguns, depending on their weapons availability, and they make an entry into the location.  They disregard the wounded, and those sheltering inside the location.  Instead, they head directly towards the sound of gunfire or if there is no gunfire, towards the most likely location for the shooter.

The team relies on follow up teams to care for the wounded and direct the other hostages out of the building.  The do little if any searching behind them, follow up teams have to do that also.  The officers go straight to the shooter, and engage him, usually they have to shoot him to get the shooter to stop.  At least, that is what we believed but there is a new dynamic at work now we did not anticipate, the shooters, kill themselves; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Active Shooter Response

At the Columbine shooting the suspects were engaged outdoors within five minutes of the initial shots being fired.  By that time they had already killed two people and wounded ten others.  The officer waited outside for backup.  Within a couple minutes two more officers responded and they too engaged the shooters from outdoors.  Neither the shooters or officers were hit.

The officers contained the scene when the suspects returned to the inside of the buildings.  The officers waited for more backup and for SWAT, just as they had been trained to do in this type of situation.  The shooters returned inside the school and killed 11 more people and wounded another 11 people.

A couple hours later the two shooters killed themselves just about the time the SWAT teams made entry.  The shooters had been wandering the buildings and killed and threatening people all that time.  This crime was the catalyst for officers to develop the new tactic to enter as soon as possible when there is an active shooter and to move towards the shooters; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bank Robbery Gone Bad

In the old days, when there was an active shooter, we handled it like we did a bank robbery that went bad.  If the bank teller hit the alarm button while the robber was inside the bank, and a police car happened to be down the block, sometimes the robber would be stuck inside the bank.  The cops would set up a perimeter, and try and negotiate with the robber to release the hostages.

The robber would always ask for a car or a helicopter and a couple million dollars in cash.  The SWAT team would assemble and look at blueprints of the building.  They would practice a dynamic entry of the location while the negotiators would try and talk the robbers out.  They would sent out a couple pregnant women, children and old people in exchange for some pizza. 

In a few hours the suspect would get tired or bored or scared and would give up and walk outside with his hands up and no one would have been hurt.  Or he would get angry and shoot someone and the SWAT team would make a dynamic entry and kill him.  This general scheme worked because the robbers motives were to get away, with money.  They were not to achieve a high body count.  Our tactics have had to change in response to the new reality of active shooters; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Save Your Magazines

Tactics during an active shooter situation may be different than when shooting during a traffic stop or facing some other individual threat.  When shooting the handgun and you need to reload, try and keep the empty magazine.  Drop the magazine into a pocket rather than drop it on the ground or back into the magazine pouch.

Putting them into the magazine pouch might cause you to draw them out again by mistake.  If you retain your empty magazines, then you can reload them later.  Consider that if you carry three magazines with 15 rounds each you can fire all of those rounds in less than a minute.  How long can you hold out with a barricaded suspect with no ammo?

If more ammo is brought up, it will likely be in boxes, not magazines, you will need to refill your own magazines.  It's a good idea to top off with a new magazine after a few shots if there is a lull in the action.  You don't want to toss off the partial magazine either.  Save your magazines, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shotgun, Patrol Rifle

Penetrate the cranium, break the spinal cord, break the femur.  Those are the ways to stop some one immediately.  You can't stand up with a broken spinal cord or femur.  Not just nibbled at, but severed.  It's difficult to do that kind of damage to a human body.

Break through the skull and scramble the brain and the suspect will usually die immediately.  Often it will take multiple shots to accomplish those goals.  Sometimes you can inflict fatal damage to a suspect, and they can still continue to fight and kill people.  It can take a long time to bleed out of a damaged heart.

It is difficult to achieve those kinds of hits in combat or police work.  Some criminals, or soldiers, get shot four or five times or more and keep coming.  I remember reading about a suspect who was shot 20 times before he fell over.  Drugs, adrenaline and determination are very powerful forces.  The shotgun, and the patrol rifle are excellent tools and you should employ them if you anticipate a shootout, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013



This is a recent study about burglars.  It tells us much about them that we have long believed is generally true.  Burglars often commit many crimes besides burglary.  They are typically drug users who are looking for a quick score.  They are deterred by the presence of witnesses and by alarms and cameras.

When we respond to take a burglary report, take a few minutes afterwards and do a walk around of the property with the owner.  Explain to them the value of cutting back bushes, installing lights, alarms and cameras.  Electronic security protection is very inexpensive and reliable these days.

Most burglars enter by an open or unlocked door or window.  Most of the rest of them force their way in by a door or window. All exterior doors should have a dead bolt lock on them.  Burglary prevention is part of our job, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Traffic Stop Shooting


A female officer in Texas approached a vehicle with three males inside and as she neared the car, she got a feeling there was something wrong.  As she got to the drivers side window, the passenger reached over and shot her twice, once in the vest and once in the face.  She called off the shooting and as the suspect vehicle drove off she went in pursuit.  She captured the suspect after a 20 mile vehicle pursuit.

The article in the link mentions the traffic stop was "routine."  A traffic stop can only be said to be routine after the stop is concluded and there was no unusual occurrence.  It is a mistake to consider any traffic stop as routine until you are done.  It may have started as a routine stop, but it ended as a shooting and a pursuit, hardly routine.

Complacency is one of the most frequent cop killers.  This officer felt there was something wrong about the stop but did not mention changing her tactics as a result.  If you think something is wrong, or strange, then change up your plan.  Have the suspects wait in the car until you can get back up.  Take your patrol rifle or shotgun with you.  Upgrade to a high risk stop, or have your duty gun in your hand.  Approach from the passenger side, or have the driver get out and walk back to you rather than approach the car.  Listen to the little voice in your head that whispers danger; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Honor for Criminals


Harvey Milk was the first openly homosexual elected to public office in the United States.  He was also a sexual predator.  He would lure young, drug addicted, runaway boys to his home and then have sex with them.  Not just one time, but he did this many times to many boys.  Harvey Milk was eventually murdered by another Democrat politician over an unrelated matter.

Now the US Post Office is issuing a stamp with his picture on it to honor him.  As police officers we should be opposed to this glorification of a criminal.  I don't care what other things people have done in their lives, if they are known felons, and especially sex offenders, they don't deserve to be celebrated or have their picture on a stamp.

Over 100 officers are murdered or killed in the line of duty every year.  Scores of officers risk their lives to save others in fires, gunfights, and assaults.  How many of them have had their pictures on a US Postage Stamp?  Another injustice police should oppose; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Red Light Camera Fraud


The City of Memphis, TN has red light camera enforcement.  The national standard for yellow lights is one second for every 10 miles per hour.  On roads in Memphis, with 50 miles per hour speed limits they use three to four second timing lengths.  Having short times on the yellow lights means more people run the red lights and that generates more money for the city.

The city claims that the cameras have reduced traffic collisions, yet they provide no actual evidence of that.  This is one of the many reasons that I don't think that red light cameras should be legal.  The cities claim they are increasing safety, but they are really increasing their bottom line.  How many of these red light cameras would be out there if they cost more than they collect?

Police and civil rights activists should be on the same side on this issue.  Only those who have properly registered their vehicles are caught.  The people driving someone else's car, or who don't have their vehicle registered don't have to pay.  What percentage of the tickets are actually paid compared to how many get sent out?  How many are found "not guilty" compared to people who get a ticket from an officer?  I suspect less than half pay the tickets and I suspect almost no one is ever found not guilty; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Retired Employee Benefits

I wonder about this actual story.  A firefighter has been medically retired due to a major work related injury. They say he is having his health insurance cut and will be given $200 a month to help pay for health insurance.  Then they talk a lot about his injury in the video and how he is retired on disability.
I suspect that all retired employees of the fire department are getting the $200 a month to pay for health insurance, including the disabled ones, HOWEVER, at least in California, (granted this event is not California) his work related injuries are covered by Workers Compensation which will continue for as long as he is disabled from his work related injury.  So his 9 hours of physical therapy will still be paid for by Workers Compensation.  The $200 per month would be to defray the cost of his health insurance for other new physical problems.
The city is bankrupt.  They have to get the money from someplace.  Public employee unions have gotten very high wages, benefits and pensions that far exceed private sector employees for decades.  Now the chickens have come home to roost and many people will suffer; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Taping Police


A group of rappers were on the street and police received complaint calls after they had been there for several hours.  Police arrived and at some point determined to take one person into custody.  A second suspect was arrested after he refused to leave.  The local news media decided they needed to investigate.

The TV news spent over 2 minutes talking to some of the rappers and even let them sing a little song.  They did not talk to the complaining parties and they just quoted the police, but did not interview them on camera.  They showed brief clips of the incident, but as usual, they did not show the full incident, nor what precipitated the arrest.  I am okay with police video and I am okay with people taping police actions, but they should not interfere with the incident.

I think that no one should be allowed to record police activity with in fifty feet of the incident.  The act of an incident being filmed changes the behavior of the people at the incident, seldom for the better.  Police unions should be working to get these types of laws enacted; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Swat Team


Memphis, TN is conducting an internal review of their tactical unit.  Recently they had a standoff, that ended with two officers being shot and the suspect burned up in his house.  Tactical units are difficult to run because they deal with the most difficult and dangerous suspects on a regular basis.

Too often these incidents don't end well.  The suspect gets killed, officers get killed or hurt or innocent bystanders or hostages get killed or hurt.  These things will happen because of the nature of the incidents.  There should be procedures in place to debrief and review every call out of a special team.  Not just the ones where things go bad and not just the ones that go well.

Teams should have standard operating procedures for the most common types of incidents and should train for them as often as is reasonable.  Command staff and city attorneys should buy off on these tactics so they are not caught unawares.  Team leaders and officers should not be punished just because there is a because there was a bad outcome; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stress Shooting

Range training should be more than just stand and fire a couple rounds.  In real life, shootings often happen at the end of some other physical activity.  A suspect bails out of a car and runs.  The officer gives chase and they run a couple blocks.  The suspect turns and pulls a gun on the officer.  The officer has to shoot.

The officer will be tired.  The officer will have difficulty breathing and focusing on the sights.  The officers' chest will rise and fall and so will the pistol in his hands.  It will be much harder to hit that target than it was on the range, not just because the stress of a real shooting, but the physical activity. 

At the range, have the officer run in place, or use the baton on a dummy, or even run around the parking lot just before they draw and shoot.  It will bring them some level of stress as to their range training.  Teach them to control their breathing.  Use the front sight, even if they can't see the rear sight.  If nothing else, it will create an awareness of the difficulties of engaging in a stressful situation; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 28, 2013



There is a new device that is used to track suspects.  It is attached to the police car and when a pursuit begins, the police car launches the device onto the suspect vehicle.  The device then tracks the suspect vehicle and officers can back off.

This is a step in the right direction.  Police need something they can fire at a suspect vehicle, but the device should stop the suspect vehicle, it should not just track it.  Tracking is nice, but there are many problems with tracking.  If you only have one police car available and you have to get back to the suspects, then tracking might be okay.

The problem with tracking is that suspects can throw things out the window if no police are watching and it's evidence that's just gone.  Drugs, and guns, and even victims can be tossed out of a moving car and police need to be able to stop and pick them up.  Tracking is good, stopping is better; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


While the city I work in is not a hotbed of gang activity, our city borders other towns with significant gang presence.  Gangs can be very violent, and are frequently armed.  Many gang members have significant criminal history and study police methods and practice attacking police.  Many carry weapons.  Sometimes weapons are given to the children or the woman so the officer will be reluctant to search or assume they are not armed.
When you go on patrol, always take a patrol rifle, and magazines with you.  Make sure you have your ballistic helmet too.  If you encounter gang members, always call for back up so you are not confronting them alone.  If there is no obvious criminal offense, complete a Field Interview card on each gang member present.
Use good tactics.  Make sure you have enough help to enter gang buildings or even certain neighborhoods.  Write them tickets, they often lead to warrants eventually.  While gang members are dangerous, good officers using good police tactics confront them on a daily basis and take them to jail; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 26, 2013



Two officers and a sergeant responded to a report of a man with a knife, threatening his mother.  When they arrived they heard a woman screaming and forced their way inside.  The suspect stabbed the sergeant several times in the face.  The officers withdrew with the sergeant and called for EMS.  The officers then returned to the house and when the subject attacked them, they shot him to death.

Three officers with a suspect with a knife is a good number to have on scene.  Not too many to get people in the way, and enough to deal with the suspect.  In general, space is your friend when dealing with knife armed suspects.  A riot baton, a chair, can help to hold one away from you.  Wearing your helmet can be helpful too.  The key is to hold the suspect at a distance and then hit him as soon as possible with a Taser dart.

There should not be much negotiation, "Police, drop the knife, now!"  "No."  Zap.  Never underestimate a man with a knife.  The Tazer is only viable if at least one officer with a gun drawn, can cover the Tazer armed officer.  Knife wounds can kill quickly; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 25, 2013

School Response


A teacher murdered at a school.  An all too frequent headline.  Do you have schools in your patrol area?  If you are called on the radio and told to go to the office, do you know where the office is located?  How about the library, the gym, or the cafeteria?

When people call from a campus and ask for help, they typically will tell you where they are in relationship to places most people familiar with the campus know about.  You should consider visiting every school campus and taking a tour so you know where things are located, that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


"54. Representatives from public agencies throughout the United States and many foreign countries will want to come and observe the operations or offer assistance. They will be a significant problem.
55. Department heads (EOC) staff may not have a working knowledge of their assigned areas of responsibility, and will play it by ear.
Some citizens and media representatives will question your decisions because they will not recognize that the safety of field responders is paramount."
Compile a list of what you need as you go along.  When people from other agencies arrive, give them the list.  Select someone who is glib and have them do tours to get the VIPs out of your hair and your command post.  A group tour is fine too.  Don't let the waste your helicopters and your essential services. Set up a place away from the command post where they can have coffee and chit chat in safety, even if it is as a hotel miles away.
Department heads may understand their day to day responsibilities but may be over their heads in an emergency.  Allow them to designate a subordinate to help them if they are not up to the responsibility.  Pre-planning and documentation of necessary activities can be helpful to bring department heads up to speed on their roles in an emergency.
Don't worry about citizen complaints or press critics.  No matter what you do, you will be told it was wrong.  Your job is to save lives and property.  Rescue workers will be placed in a certain amount of danger, but if they get hurt they can't help, it's a constant balancing act.  Document everything you do and why so that you can later justify decisions in hearings or in court.  Try to get elected officials to buy off on risky, dangerous or expensive ideas so that they will support you later.  Emergencies require risk taking, but sometimes you can share that risk; that's what the SGT Says.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Good Witness


An off duty deputy arrested a woman at a bar.  She was creating a disturbance so the deputy went outside and got his handcuffs, badge and gun and came back inside.  The then handcuffed her and the local police came.  When they arrived they released the woman and arrested the deputy.

There is some speculation that this deputy had no legal authority to make arrests off duty.  The report is that the deputy used excessive force on the person arrested.  My concern is, why did the deputy arrest this person at all?  The deputy did not appear to have been the victim of a violent or major crime, the suspect did not seem to be making any reasonable effort to escape.  The local police were able to arrive in a timely manner.

They were in a bar, had the deputy been drinking?  Why make an arrest for a minor crime when the locals could easily have handled it?  Off duty you don't have body armor, direct communication to back up or a uniform.  In general, it's best to let the on duty officers deal with the problem unless there is a physical threat involved.  Otherwise, just be a good witness, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 21, 2013


I used to work for a security company doing firearms training, and we only carried Colt, S&W and Ruger revolvers, 4" barrel, in .38 or .357. I got so I could stand with my hands to my side, gun snapped in my holster, and draw on command, fire six rounds and then reload with a speedloader and fire six more, in under 5 seconds.  As a reserve police officer I carried that S&W 686 for a long time until we went to the Glock .40.   As a training example I used to "race" guys with their Glock loaded with 12 rounds and ask them to fire 12 faster and more accurately than me with my S&W 686.  I never lost.
I am not that fast anymore, because I don't practice that much, but a quick web search will show guys who are very fast with their revolvers.  The revolver is an excellent tool, not only reliable and inexpensive, but I liked being able to use .38 or .357 in the same gun.  You  can also get carbines in .357 too which is nice.
Training and practice are much more important than the specific caliber or type of gun.  Even a .22 is deadly, no one wants to get shot, even with the smallest gun; that's what the SGT Says.