Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tax Protest

Gordon Kahl was part of a movement to not pay Federal Income Taxes.  He refused to pay his taxes and went to jail as a result.  Later he was conspiring with others to not pay taxes in violation of his parole.  US Marshalls set up a roadblock to stop him.  Kahl and his son were armed with rifles and managed to murder two of the deputies.

Later, Kahl holed up in a home in another state and held off police in a second shootout.  A sheriff deputy was murdered but not before he was able to shoot Kahl to death.  The remainder of the suspects, including Kahl's son were arrested and convicted of various offenses.

Just because someone is suspected of a non-violent crime, such as tax evasion, does not mean they won't be violent.  Don't underestimate suspects ability to use deadly force.  When making an arrest, try and find out if the suspects have a history of violence, threats or weapons use.  Even a tax dodger can be a cop killer, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Vaporize Alcohol

We have so many methods of ingesting drugs that it's hard to keep up with them.  Now a new technique for taking in alcohol is in use.  There is a product that takes liquid alcohol and turns it into a vapor.  Then you inhale the vapor.
The advantage is that the user gets the vaporized alcohol straight into the lungs, so the effect is much more rapid than having to drink it.  The downside is that the body will not vomit and so the alcohol will be rapidly absorbed into the system and the user can keep inhaling until they have alcohol poisoning.
This product is being sold as a fashionable, hip, trendy product for beautiful people.  It is sold on line and would be likely to be used by young people, even under age drinkers.  The device looks like a hookah and uses any liquid alcohol to vaporize.  Just when you think you have seen it all, they come up with something else; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Traffic Stop

Police were searching for a domestic violence suspect.  An officer staked out the suspects house, and when the vehicle the suspect was riding in pulled into the driveway the officer pulled in behind him.  The suspect exited the pickup truck and pulled a large knife from a sheath on his belt.  The officer commanded him to drop the knife and put his hands up.  The suspect did neither.

The officer fired over a dozen rounds and hit the suspect with about half of those fired.  The officer was less than 20 feet from the suspect when he fired.  The officer left the cover of his patrol car as the suspect was exiting.  The officer said he was afraid the suspect would run away.

A single officer alone with a known violent felon, who already had two strikes against him is poor odds.  If you decide to wait for the suspect at his home, then have a second officer with you.  When you make the traffic stop, consider it high risk, and get everyone out of the vehicle at gun point.  Get the suspects on the ground and don't leave cover.  Use your patrol rifle or shotgun to cover the suspect.  Don't get so focused on the apprehension that you forget about your own safety; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


In the state of Mississippi they are going to have an open carry law.  That means any law abiding citizen can carry a gun, essentially anywhere, as long as it is exposed to view.  In a society that is perfect from an officer safety point of view, no one would have guns.  No one would be allowed to have a knife.  No one would be allowed to drive faster then fifteen miles per hour and everyone would obey the law.  Then of course, there would be no need for police.

In a free society people should be permitted to carry weapons for their personal defense.  More people died from totalitarian government oppression in the world in the 20th Century than any other man made cause.  Nazi Germany, Turkey, Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, Communist China, Cambodia and many other nations murdered their own citizens in the millions during the last century.  One of the common denominators was that the people were not allowed to own or carry firearms for their protection.  One of the other common denominators was that everyone said, it can't happen here in this law abiding, civilized nation.  Until it did happen.

Police officers need to adapt to the changes in the law.  When approaching any subject we should have always assumed they might have had a gun on them.  Now, at least in Mississippi, many more will have guns, but most of those will be good people.  Other states have open carry laws, including Arizona.  We should learn from what officers have done in those other states to protect themselves.  In a free society, police officers will always be at a disadvantage compared to someone who wants to attack us, it's the nature of police work; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Are You Ready?

Some police agencies maintain intelligence gathering units to warn them if something bad is in the works.  Sometimes gang wars or civil unrest can be predicted when the warning signs are observed and interpreted.  Today, watching the mainstream media and social media is a good way to keep informed about what's happening in peoples minds and what may transpire on the street.

Are the main stream media going to whip people into a frenzy over the Zimmerman trial? Is the Zimmerman trial going to be another Rodney King event?  Will social activists demand a guilty verdict under the threat of rioting in major cities?

Are any police agencies preparing for such an event?  Usually agencies will practice riot control and stop vacations if they anticipate any problems is anyone doing that now?  How long is the trial expected to continue?  If a verdict is given that is not guilty and it is given on a hot July day, will there be unrest in your city?  If there is rioting, is your agency ready?  Are you ready?  Unemployment is high and there are many disaffected people in this nation, those are a poor combination for peace in our cities; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ready Cuffs

Recently I ran a review of Ready Cuffs.  I got an email back from Ryan and here is what he said:

"Thanks so much for the post, I really appreciate it. If you are interested, I would like to send you a free sample of Ready Cuffs. Just let me know where to ship them. Additionally I see a few people has some questions:

When used correctly the have an unsurpassed breaking strength on 800 lb.
They do not require a special tool to remove, scissors, knife etc. will remove them. 
As for the media, not really sure what to say but it will be perceived better than holding them at gun point. 

If you are interested SGT Says readers can now save 10% until July 15 using code "SGT Says"

Thank you again for the review and post.

Once the sample arrives I will write another review, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Digital Divide

If you make work related phone calls on your personal cell phone you personal cell phone records may be subpoenaed in court if the phone calls are important to the case.  Do you call your girlfriend and wife on the same phone?  Having both is a very bad idea, and called both of them on the same phone that you use for work calls can be embarrassing, even dangerous.

What you post of Facebook or other social media can show up in court.  If you talk about how you hate your supervisor, goof off on the job or call in sick when you are just going to the beach, that might appear on your next evaluation, or in your next court case.  Taking a photo of your scantily clad wife on your cell phone and then taking an evidence photo on the same phone might make those photos of your wife subject to review by a defense attorney.

If you make anything digital you should consider the possibility of it becoming public information.  The digital world has made information sharing too easy.  If you write an email to someone at work you might have it or all your email records made public or subject to review in an investigation.  Have a separate cell phone for work and for duty.  Have separate email addresses.  Don't mix your personal and work live anymore than you have to; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Put It Back Where You Found It

A couple officers in California conducted a search and arrested a homeless man in a vacant house.  They searched his things for drugs.  One officer took the suspect back to his car to take him to jail.  The second officer brought out a large fancy cigarette lighter thinking his partner might want to book the property.  The first officer did not want it and drove away.  The first officer tossed it up to the porch area rather than return it to it's original location.  Later the suspect asked about the lighter and claimed the second officer was leaving it on the porch to go back later and steal it. 

As a result the officer was investigated.  He was then arrested and charged with attempting to steal the lighter.  He was fired from his job because he had been arrested and charged.  The went through a complex series of court trials and internal investigations and hearings.  Eventually, he was cleared of all charges and returned to work as a police officer.

All of this got started because the officer was too lazy to take the lighter back inside the house where he got it from.  If police come to perform a search warrant or make a search incident to an arrest they should not unnecessarily destroy, vandalize, damage or endanger private property.  The officer has a duty to secure the property at least in a manner similar to the way it was when he found it.  Just because the person had a warrant and was a transient is not reason to discount the amount of trouble he could cause.  Getting lazy can get you killed, in this case the officer was just fired and then reinstated; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I have taken CPR training since high school, in about 1970 and it changes every few years.  Mostly the trend has been to make it easier for people to perform CPR on those who need it.  The University of Arizona, Sarver Heart Center has a new technique for Adult CPR.

They say you don't need to do any breaths.  They say you only need to do chest compressions.  The chest compressions are done at a rate of 100 compressions per minute.  That's pretty fast, but not too fast.

They also say you should come up off the chest after each compression so that you can allow the victim's chest to expand and bring air in.  Most people don't like to do CPR, especially with the breaths.  This technique might be more assessable most people.  As always conform to your training and you agency policy; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Stay Home

I work in a small city.  Only 3 square miles, 25,000 people live there, on graveyard shift sometimes it seems like the whole city is closed.  I have left the city many times.  There are some places you can't really get to unless you leave the city.  The city is almost a square, some streets are ours on one side, and theirs on the other side. Sometimes on a slow night we might make a food run a couple miles outside of town, or we might patrol a bit into the neighbors town to see if anything is going on.

Leaving the city where you work is not necessarily bad. In California, my police powers are the same everywhere within our borders.  Still, the officer in this news story seems to have gone too far.  He was out of his city visiting a friend.  He had been warned about leaving the city before.  He was not responding to radio calls and they had people looking for him.  Those things are a problem.

If you have been told not to leave the city, that's an easy one, don't leave the city.  If you have to do anything that takes you out of town, notify dispatch.  Nearly everyone has a cell phone, Hey, dispatch, I am going to the taco place, out of town, you want a taco?  Ask Sarge if he wants a taco?  Very simple, and monitor your radio, and make sure Dispatch has your cell phone number.  If something major happens, you don't want to miss it because you were out of town chatting with your girlfriend; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ready Cuffs

There is a new product called Ready Cuffs.  It's a small nylon restraint designed to take the place of handcuffs.  They fit into a tiny pouch that can be carried off duty or in plain clothes.  They weight almost nothing and don't look like police gear.  I have never used them, but they seem a good product.

Metal handcuffs are heavy, uncomfortable to wear off duty and so most of us don't wear them.  I keep a set in my car, but that's not exactly ideal.  If I make an off duty arrest, I have to be near the car, or take the suspect to my vehicle, or have someone get them for me. 

These products are designed to overcome those problems by being there on your person when you are off duty.  This product is disposable so when the on duty cops show up, you don't have to swap cuffs.  To remove the Ready Cuffs, just cut them off, their are cheap, so you don't have to worry about the cost.  Ready Cuffs seem a pretty good product; that's what the SGT Says.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gunshot Victim

If you are the first to reach a gunshot victim there are several medical factors to consider, apart from the danger at the scene from additional attack.  A gunshot wound can look very bad and yet still be survivable.  Don't fail to render aid as long as the suspect has a pulse and seems to be alive.

Make sure the victim has an open airway.  Do what you can to control the bleeding.  Quick clot, tourniquet, are good but direct pressure is quick and effective in most cases.  Sometimes massive bleeding can cause death faster than the lack of an airway.  Notify your dispatcher so she can call for EMS as soon as possible.

Check for an exit wound, but realize there may not be one.  Bullets travel in strange ways when they hit the body and may not exit.  If they do exit, the exit wound will need treatment too.  Most gunshot victims die due to blood loss, so rapid transportation to a hospital is important.  Paramedics are best equipped to handle that, but sometimes if you are very far from help or if the emergency room is right down the street, it can be better for police to transport.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Officer Down

When you have a partner who has been shot you need to be sure the scene is safe and that your partner is attended to.  Call for paramedics and plenty of backup.  As soon as possible the victim officer needs to be transported to an emergency room that can handle his injuries.  Make sure dispatch knows an officer has been shot.

You should immediately begin first aid on the scene, direct pressure, elevation of the wound, clot control and a tourniquet should all be considered.  You even want to grab and go, either take him to the hospital yourself, or perhaps meet the paramedics somewhere in between.  This is especially true if the scene is unsafe, or if you are in a rural area.

Other responding units would be well utilized performing traffic control.  They can block intersections so that you can more safely respond to the emergency room.  Consider a medevac helicopter if practical.  Rush hour traffic can make a ten minute drive into a thirty minute drive.  Every three minute delay in treatment cuts out one percent off his chances of survival.  Take care of your partner and maybe you can go to a retirement party instead of a funeral; God willing; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 17, 2013


In a recent video, a doctor who works in emergency medicine said that six out of seven gunshot victims, shot with a handgun, in the United States survive.  Now think about that.  That means that 87% of the time if someone gets shot, they survive.  That's very good odds.

That does not even include the fact for officers that we are wearing body armor.  The radically increases our chances of survival.  Then too, there is the fact that your brother officers will try hard to get you the best and fastest care they can.  So your chances of survival are even greater than the average gunshot victim.

So if you get shot, don't give up.  Don't just die.  You will survive.  Statistically, you will be saved.  If you were not killed immediately, you almost certainly will live.  Most gunshot victims who die, are either killed right away, or they don't regain consciousness after getting shot.  So, if you get shot, stay in the fight, keep fighting to stay alive.  Your job is not done until you testify against the criminal who shot you; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hard Economic Times

The City of Memphis is facing a possible take over by the state due to financial problems.  Many states and cities are broke.  They can barely pay their bills or they have to borrow money to pay their bills.  Many cities are cutting services.  Employees are having to take pay cuts or are being laid off.  As cops we need to stick together to help one another and to provide good police services to our communities.  There are several ways to do this and help our agencies retain services.

First, don't ask for raises our increases in benefits that come at the expense of laying off officers.  If agency cuts have to happen, they should not be at the expense of jobs.  Even a small pay cut is preferable to laying officers off.  Laying off officers just means more work for everyone else, and less safety for the public and the remaining officers.  If staffing cuts have to be made, then do them by attrition and retirements rather than by actual layoffs.  If possible, make the cuts by replacing officers more slowly rather than eliminate positions.  Suspend promotional opportunities or look to hire only experienced officers who won't have to attend a police academy and who will finish training quickly.

Officers can generate revenue by spending a few minutes a day doing traffic and parking enforcement.  My old FTO used to say he liked to write one moving violation, one parking ticket every shift.  Most cities share in the revenue generated by writing tickets.  If you have 20 patrol officers writing one parking ticket each, at only $10 per ticket then patrol is paying for one officer per shift with their parking tickets.  They are pretty easy to find in most towns and seldom go to court.  It's an easy way to save your job or your partners job; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Plain Clothes

This clip is a TV show, but it does point out a real problem.  With so many types of criminal enterprises operating not only across state borders but national borders too, and with the concerns of terrorism many investigations require many different organizations to work together.

Agencies need to have systems in place where they can coordinate their efforts so they don't step on each other.  My agency is part of an inter agency task force.  The people within the task force perform duties that our agency can't actually do by itself, because they lack the resources.  It may be necessary to have pods of cops or judges who can be trusted to learn of the various investigations and so coordinate them without having to tell everyone who may be involved.

When working in plain clothes, and taking down the suspects, if at all possible wear your badge so it is visible.  It should be in the front, near where it is worn on the uniform.  Wear body armor if you can, and if you have time put on a raid jacket with POLICE or SHERIFF on the back.  Being in plain clothing and waving a gun around is a good way to get shot by uniformed police; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pursuit and Shooting

An officer performed a traffic stop at night.  He contacted the driver and smelled marijuana, and received evasive answers to his questions.  The officer wisely backed off and called for back up.  When the second officer arrived, they approached the car and the suspect drove off.  After a short chase the suspect crashed his car and jumped out shooting.

In only seven seconds the suspect fired eight rounds and one of the officers fired six.  The second officer was not in position to fire.  The suspect was killed the officer hit in the arm and chest.  His badge was hit and his body armor saved his life.  The officers performed first aid but the suspect died anyway.  The suspect may have been a gang member, according to police.  The suspect had a handgun with the serial number filed off.  The suspect jumped from the car, firing right away. 

When you are suspicious of someone it's best to call for backup whenever possible.  In this instance the officer was hit and his backup was able to help him.  When the suspect vehicle stopped, the first officer following him should have either stopped so close the suspect could not open the car door, or have stopped far enough back to make a high risk car stop.  By being in the middle he did not either trap the suspect in the car or be back far enough for his suspect to have a shot at him.  Pursuits are difficult and dangerous; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Police work is more than just a job.  It's not bagging groceries at the local supermarket.  It's a calling, a lifestyle.  You have to live, eat, sleep, police work.  Sure you can do lots of other things, and don't neglect your family and your church, but police work is not just something you do for money.

You can't arrest dope users on duty and go home and smoke a few joints.  Don't think you are fooling anyone with the prescription for marijuana.  You can't arrest drunk drivers and then go have three drinks on the drive home.  I does not matter how short the commute is for you.  You can't bounce the wife around and expect not to be arrested.

On your off duty time you have to live a clean and moral life, as best as you can.  We all make mistakes, but something you do three times a week is not a mistake.  You can't have affairs, pad your overtime slips and speed in your car and expect to be setting the good example as a cop.  Then when the earthquake happens, the fire, flood or hurricane, you have a duty to do, and it's not run home to take care of the family.  You need to get your family ready for the emergency ahead of time so they can function without you.  You have a duty to perform; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Social Media

An officer on Memphis police department was suspended for his remarks on Twitter.  There was a KKK rally in the city and the officer suggested that people might want to assault the people attending the KKK rally.  This officers suspension is not about the KKK.  It's about suggesting that people commit crimes against other people.

Every group has a right to assemble and to free speech.  The KKK or any other group, they all have this right, it's in the Constitution of the United States.  No police officer should ever advocate criminal behavior by anyone, or against anyone.  Free speech is important, and protected, but speech that advocates violence is not always protected and officers who advocate illegal violence should not be police.

Police agencies are monitoring social media.  Some agencies have officers who monitor it full time.  We have seen the uprisings in the Middle East and they were coordinated by using social media.  Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media are often used for criminal purposes.  Using social media can get you fired, if you use it for criminal purposes; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Night Stalker

The Night Stalker died of natural causes in a California prison at age 53.  He was convicted of 14 burglaries, 11 sexual assaults and 13 murders, in 1984.  Yet despite all this, he was allowed to live nearly 30 years in prison.  Justice was not served.  The victims still cry out for a state to give them the justice they deserve.  As recently as 60 years ago, one rape or maybe two would be enough to bring a swift death penalty.

Now California has become so liberal, so tolerant, so foolish, so opposed to justice, so indifferent to the suffering of innocents that they will allow someone to terrorize the whole state, murder people in their beds, over a dozen times and still they won't execute him.  There was never any doubt of his guilt.

This fiend was even allowed to marry while he was in prison.  This sick, twisted individual was able to marry a woman, despite his murder, torture, mutilation, and rape and sexual assault of other married couples.  The prison system in California is broken.  There is not justice as long as inhuman criminals such as this are unable to be executed in a timely manner; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Line of Duty Death

K-9 Officer Jason Ellis was murdered on his way home from work one night.  He stopped to remove some debris from the roadway and was ambushed and murdered.  He is survived by his K-9 partner Figo who attended his funeral.  In a photo published the dog is shown with this paw on the casket.

The dog was retired and now lives with his handlers family.  Dogs get very attached to their handler and to their family.  Officers also get attached to their agencies dog.  It is always a trauma when an officer dies in the line of duty.  It is even worse when a police dog is involved, they always seem so sad that their master is dead.

In a line of duty death, agencies need time to heal, but they also need to continue to provide good police services to their communities.  Officers often don't want counseling and many times won't go when they should.  Stress will often build up and officers can get high blood pressure, heart attacks, turn to drinking or drugs.  Supervisors need to be especially alert to officers with a change of behavior.  Counseling and chaplain services need to be available too.  Officers need to go to the funeral.  We need take care of each other; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Stay Alive

This link talks about the 5 Tenents of law enforcement.  There idea is that if we all follow these five tenents we can reduce the number of officers killed in the line of duty every year to below 100.  I have been working for years to get that number down, particularly the number of officers who are feloniously killed in the line of duty.

They say to:
  • "Wear Your Belt
  • Wear Your Vest
  • Watch Your Speed
  • WIN—What’s Important Now?
  • Remember: Complacency Kills"

  • None of this is new, most of this I have been writing about for years.  Still every few days or weeks an officer dies from a survivable traffic collision because he was not wearing his seat belt.  Then another officer dies because he was not wearing body armor and was shot in the chest by a small caliber handgun.  Then another officer speeding 110 miles per hour wraps his vehicle around a tree and he and car are disintegrated.

    The last two are a bit more complicated, but just as important.  What is important now?  Finding cover, tactical retreat, waiting for backup, calling for help, making the suspect lay down on the ground, controlling the hands?  We often get too far into incidents without thinking about how things are going.  Finally, complacency kills, that's why rookies are seldom killed because of a poor search or failure to control the suspects hands, but officers who have done this a million times stop doing a good search or let suspects reach into places where they hide a gun.  Think about the five tenents and then put them to work for you; that's what the SGT Says.

    Saturday, June 8, 2013

    Shooting Video

    In this video a car parks in a busy parking lot sometime at night, in Philadelphia.  A moment later an second car pulls into the parking lot and double parks, with the door open.  A man exits and begins shooting at someone standing next to the parked car.  He fires at least seven shots.  The man returns to his car and backs away from the scene.  All of this happens in less than two minutes.  Once again, this tells us how fast shootings happen.  If someone on scene heard the shots and phoned 911 by the time he spoke to the dispatcher and gave a location and description the shooting would have stopped.  The suspect would have driven away.  Even if a police car was two blocks away the suspect would be gone before the officers arrived.

    This tells us there are several things to keep in mind in a shooting call.  First, unless two people are shooting at each other, the incident might be over in seconds, not minutes.  Next always respond one unit to the scene to check on the victims and gather witnesses; often they will disperse quickly.  I walk up to everyone present, ask for ID and don't give it back until I can interview them.  That way, even if they leave, I have their ID. 

    When on the way to a shooting call, be aware of passing cars, you might drive past the shooter.  I was observed a fight in a park from a distance, and by the time I got there the guy who hit the victim in the head with a baseball bat was already getting into his SUV and drove past me.  When on regular patrol always look for the unusual.  People don't pull into parking lots and then stop and open their door and walk around.  That's a warning sign of potential criminal activity.  Maybe they are asking directions, or stealing a car stereo, or catalytic converter, or shooting someone; that's what the SGT Says.

    Shoot Back

    A clerk at a gun store and range was shot once in the chest when a customer came out of the range and fired at him three times for no apparent reason.  The customer pointed the gun at the clerk and started firing.  The clerk returned fire and killed the customer.  It took over two months for the clerk to recover from his gunshot wound enough to return to work.

    The clerk was hit and the customer was hit and both went down.  The shop owner drew her gun and immediately covered the customer to insure he was out of the fight.  Once she did that, the returned to the clerk and rendered first aid, applying direct pressure to his wound.  The vast majority of people who are shot by handguns in the United States survive, at a rate of about seven to one.  Quick medical attention is one reason why.

    The clerk later said that "If you shoot me, I am going to shoot you back."  That shows a determination and will to survive that police should have too.  If the criminal shoots you, shoot him back.  That is excellent advice for officers; that's what the SGT Says.

    Friday, June 7, 2013


    The police in Cincinnati have installed cameras in certain high crime areas.  One of those cameras just paid off by capturing video of a murder.  Police cameras can be placed anywhere that police officers could reasonably be expected to go on duty.

    To be effective, cameras must be high quality, in color, with the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom in many applications. Data storage must be huge so that video from weeks ago can be reviewed, without having been taped over.  Cameras must also be simple to use so that many employees can retrieve data when needed.

    While I don't think police should put cameras everywhere, certainly there are locations in any city were crimes happen over and over again.  Locations that have to be painted over because of constant graffiti are good examples, they get good intelligence on who the taggers and gangsters are as well as actionable evidence against them.  Locations where gangsters hang out, where drug deals are always going down and where traffic collisions are common are also good spots for cameras.  Any good beat cop can tell you where they should be installed; that's what the SGT Says.

    Thursday, June 6, 2013


    Video: Drunk lawyer takes off panties, attacks cops

    The advent of video everywhere has been a great benefit to police work.  Years ago I used to
    tell people stories about criminals and other contacts in the field and the would not believe
    how strange people would behave. 
    In this instance a lawyer got drunk, took off her clothing, shouted threats and obscenities
    at police and then attacked them.  Police were forced to take her to the ground and arrest her.
    Later, she admitted she did not even remember much of the incident.  I could see this going to
    court 30 years ago and she might have been able to give reasonable doubt to a jury.  Now after
    seeing how people behave a jury is more likely to believe even outrageous stories like this one.
    Video has generally been vary favorable to law enforcement.  Police nearly always do the right
    thing.  Sometimes they make decisions that are not the best, or may not be what everyone would
    do, but that doesn't mean they are wrong.  Still, video does not tell the whole story.  It only shows
    what the camera sees, not what the officers and others see; that's what the SGT Says.

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Water Hazard

    A sheriff deputy in Arkansas was in a boat with a wildlife officer looking for flood victims.  He was in the boat when it was swept away, he was killed and the wildlife officer is missing.  Every year a few officers die in the line of duty through drowning.  There are several things we can do to minimize these deaths.

    Every police academy in the nation should have swimming as part of their physical fitness program.  No officer should graduate from the academy without knowing how to swim and knowing how to survive in fast water.  They also should be trained in fast water rescues. 

    Every police officer working around water should have life jackets to wear that work with their police gear.  Body armor should be able to work as a flotation device.  Officers should not be in boats without wearing a flotation device.  Just as we can't be in the roadway without a reflective vest, we should not be around the water without a floatation vest; that's what the SGT Says.

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Dog Shooting

    Officers respond to a call and end up shooting a dog.  The incident is caught on video and it appears the officer is shooting at the dog while the dog is running away.  The news report and the video mixes two different incidents so the news story is confusing to those watching it who are not familiar with the two events.  Just one of many ways the media will mislead the public to make a story more inflammatory for higher ratings.

    In the video the officer is apparently shooting at a dog as it is running away.  It is on leash as well.  The person holding the leash seems to have little or no control over the dog.  The video begins well into the incident because the officers are already inside the garage.  We have no idea what transpired prior to the video clip.  The dog may have tried to bite the officers or someone else, or may have actually bit someone.  The media does not mention if anyone was injured or not.  Nor do they interview anyone who was there or the police supervisor.

    The media can be a great tool for law enforcement and it can be abused.  In this incident the public and the police were not well served.  It is possible the officers arrived and shot the dog for no reason.  It is also possible that the officers or someone else was attacked an injured and the officer decided the best course of action was to shoot the dog.  This clip does not explain police actions well; that's what the SGT Says.

    Sunday, June 2, 2013

    Reserve Officers

    At my agency, reserve offices work a minimum of 16 hours per month.  We perform many assignments.  I am a firearms instructor and work patrol.  We work patrol, we act as a second officer in the car, and we work one officer cars.  Frequently the reserve will work alone but not be assigned a beat.  That leaves him free to back up the other officers or to extra patrol high crime areas.

    Reserves also work nearly every special event in the city.  We work when they are filming a movie, and when there is a parade.  We work the home games for football and basketball and dances at our high school.  Reserves also perform extra patrol requests in certain neighborhoods, and have worked warrant service for misdemeanor warrants and alcohol beverage enforcement at restaurants and bars.

    One of the best reasons to have reserve officers is that in the event of a major emergency you have other people to call on who know the city and are already trained.  Reserves started during World War Two when many regulars were drafted into the service.  Our reserves have responded from home to landslides, major crimes, bomb threats, major traffic collisions, and riots as well as other incidents.  Reserves can be a great way for agencies to have extra manpower will a small expense; that's what the SGT Says.

    Saturday, June 1, 2013

    Budget Cuts

    There are many ways for agencies to save money.  One way is to have volunteer reserve officers.  I have been one for over 20 years.  Reserve officers in California are trained to one of three standards.  They get a short class in the law and maybe firearms and work as a level three reserve.  A level three usually works specialized duties.  Maybe a scuba diver, dog handler, photographer or other highly specialized job.  They often furnish much of their own gear.  It allows a small agency the ability to perform tasks that usually only big agencies can perform.  We used to have one who only wrote grant proposals and made the department a lot of money.

    Level 2 reserves are given over half the training of a full time officer.  In general they work with a partner, a regular or a Level 1 reserve.  A level 2 usually provides a second officer in the car so the regular full time officer has a back up there with him all the time.  This is very good in high crime areas or if they are doing a lot of DUI enforcement, the level 2 can provide extra security during the sobriety tests.

    Level 1 reserve officers have the same training and authority as a regular officer and on duty are indistinguishable from regulars.  They might work a patrol car alone, they might work with a partner.  Some of our level 1s actually work shifts and fill in when a regular is on vacation. Reserves are often volunteers and either don't get paid or only get paid for certain projects.  It's a way to stretch the budget a little; that's what the SGT Says.