Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Rangemaster

No one should ever be a Rangemaster anymore.  All firearms instructors should be use of force instructors.  They should be able to explain why one type of force is more appropriate than another in any given situation.  Use of force training should not be compartmentalized into aerosol weapons, impact weapons, arrest control techniques, Taser and firearms. 

Compartmentalization leads to each discipline working at cross purposes, one to the other.  When confronted by a suspect with a knife, always use pepper spray on him, the aerosol weapons instructor says.  A well trained officer can always use his baton to disarm a suspect with a knife says the impact weapons instructor.  A suspect with a knife can stab you at 21 feet, so you have to shoot him, says the firearms instructor.

Which one is correct?  How can the academy cadet, or a jury for that matter decide what is right and what is wrong?  Even the experts disagree.  The way to avoid this conflict his have the same staff teaching all these disciplines.  Then the academy cadet, the seasoned officer and the juries all hear a unified voice telling them why it is proper to use a baton, gun or OC spray on a suspect; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Officers typically train with their Taser at some initial class and then never train with it again.  Some agencies have obtained the targets to practice with the Taser and train with it at least occasionally.  I think that every time officers go to the range they should train with their baton, Taser, OC and firearm. 

These are all perishable skills and need to be kept up.  We train with our firearms because the liability of making a mistake or missing is huge and could mean an officer gets killed.  We should train with these other weapons frequently for the same reasons.  An officer who relies on his gun might wait too long to use force and might be forced to kill a suspect.  An officer who is quick with the Taser or OC spray or baton might use force much sooner, and even more often, but is far less likely to kill anyone.

The FBI places the use of the Taser very low on the use of force scale.  I think officers need to be trained to use it frequently to avoid having to escalate incidents into deadly force incidents.  I think more research needs to be made to permit the Taser to fire multiple times, and at a greater range.  All of these might create more use of force incidents, but a lower level of force overall, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Range Training

Range training should not consist solely of standing in front of targets in broad daylight and firing a few rounds.  One exercise I like is having the shooter face away from a series of targets.  One of them is a shoot target and the others are don't shoot.  The rangemaster talks to the shooter and then interrupts his conversation with a "threat" response.  The shooter then turns, finds the "shoot" target and then fires several rounds, center of mass.

The shooter is training to look for potential targets both in front of him and behind him.  The shooter has to draw, keeping the safety of the rangemaster in mind.  The shooter also has to look for the "shoot" target.  The shooter has to develop an awareness of danger from any direction, be mindful of the danger of drawing the holster when others are in front if him, and selecting a target out of many potential threats.

The rangemaster should discuss the need for keeping the firearm holstered until facing in a safe, downrange, direction.  At the beginning of the course of fire the rangemaster should talk to the shooter about a fictional crime.  The shooter should take notes so that he is distracted.  The intent is to introduce a short period of lag time in the shooter.  A little creativity on the range makes for realistic training and does not have to cost much; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


A hiker got lost in the wilderness and the police responded to find him.  They used a helicopter to evacuate the hiker.  One of the officers somehow fell off a cliff during the rescue operation.  He was killed in the fall.  Anything you do can get you killed, even doing nothing. 

Wilderness rescue can be very dangerous.  Snake bites, mountain lion or bear attacks, cliffs to fall off of or rivers to fall into can all take an officers life.  It only takes a moment for these things to happen and often there is little you can do about it once it starts.  Even heat or cold can kill you on a wilderness rescue.  In the summer it is important to remember that heat kills more people in the USA than any other kind of weather condition.

When operating in the wilderness there are several safety considerations to remember.  Always try and travel with another person.  It's harder to get lost if there are two of you and one of you can aid the other if there is an injury.  Don't step backwards, even one or two steps, walk forward or turn in place and then go forward. It makes it more difficult to stumble over a rock or step off a cliff.  Have a plan and communicate that plan, if you get lost, others will know where to look for you.  Always be prepared to spend 24 hours in the wilderness.  Overnight it might get very cold, you may need food or water.  Take some with you when you are in the wilds, even on a short journey; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Work Stress

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.  This deputy was only on the job for only five months before she resigned.  This article gives no indication as to her performance as an officer or why she resigned.  A couple days later the police were called to her apartment for a suicidal person.  Later, she was stopped by police for speeding and threatened them and taken into custody a second time.

Police work can be very stressful and officers are always around cars and firearms.  Two very dangerous tools that can be used for suicide.  Officers need to be carefully screened prior to hiring for psychological stability.  I think generally that officers who are former military are often very good candidates because they have had to deal with difficult and often dangerous situations prior to being hired as police.

Officers should have counseling available to them that they can access without jeopardizing their careers.  I favor mandatory counseling after critical incidents so that officers don't have to ask for it, and worry about their peers or their jobs.  In fact, officers should have at least two sessions after a critical incident, one right away and even if they don't want counseling, they should have to go back in a week or so to see the counselor.  Often, the stress will build up and not be a problem until some time after the incident.  The counselor should be someone who is a former police officer or former military who has the respect of the officers who work the street, not just someone with doctor in front of their name; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, July 26, 2013


A police officer has been accused of soliciting prostitutes, one of whom may have been underage.  He was involved in a fight over a woman, and he was stopped for drunk driving, waving a gun around and eventually fired over that incident.  He was later re-hired.  Somewhere along the line he was even promoted to sergeant.
Officers who participate in activities that would have stopped them from being hired in the first place, generally should not continue their employment with an agency.  I wonder about the drunk driving arrest.  The article does not say if he was convicted or not.  I would think that if he was convicted he should have been fired and not re-hired.  I would certainly not hire new officers with a drunk driving conviction.
This officer seems to have impulse control issues.  This is a terrible trait for a police officer who often has to act quickly and often has to act alone.  It may lead to officers using excessive force or arresting people who have committed either no crime or who were egged on into committing crimes they otherwise might not have done.  Agencies need to be careful who they hire and who they retain; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sexual Assault

German police officer attacked with sex toy
A police officer in Germany confronts a drunk in public suspect.  The officer asks him to stay put but the suspect begins to walk away as soon as the officer turns his back on him, and walks towards his motorcycle.  The officer catches up to the suspect and parks him along a planter.  The officer takes out his phone and begins to make a call, again he turns his back on the suspect.  The suspect removes a sex toy from his pocket and pokes the officer with it.

The officer takes the sex toy from the suspect and puts it in a bicycle basket nearby.  The suspect reaches for it again. The suspect also removes a pair of panties from his pocket and rubs them on the officer.  Imagine if either of those objects had been a knife.  The officer could have been seriously injured or killed.

I don't know the law in Germany, but in California, a guy that drunk it probably going to jail; for his own protection.  On first contact, I would have handcuffed and searched the guy.  On the second contact, if I had not already cuffed the guy, he would have been cuffed then.  If he pulled out a sex toy, not only would I have taken it away, I would have tossed it far enough away that he could not get it again.  The other serious issue is turning away from the suspect.  Watch the suspect, and watch his hands particularly; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


This video, I Am The Police starts with a police pursuit and a voice reciting a poem over it.  It ends with a shootout.  Apparently it's from a movie, I have had people tell me it's from a TV show and that it is real, since a careful web search shows no LAPD shootings on that day, I suspect it's fictional.  Still there can be much to learn from a movie.

The officers are chasing two suspects, we are not told why, but it better have been for something very bad, since they are endangering a lot of lives with the way the suspects are driving.  Roaring down those narrow alleys is dangerous.  There does not seem to be an air unit involved, they are not always available, aircraft use fuel quickly and only have limited time aloft.  There does not seem to be any back up officers, unusual in Los Angles, but it does happen.

The pursuit does not end until the suspect crashes his car.  That is very typical, suspects often don't stop until they crash or run out of gas.  The suspects exited their vehicle but did not really have anywhere to run to, so they turned and started shooting.  The officers returned fire quickly and fired until the suspects were no longer a threat.  The officers handcuffed the suspects after they were shot.  There are two schools of thought on that.  Some say handcuff them because they are under arrest and suspects sometimes "come back to life."  Others say it looks bad to handcuff a dead guy and it interferes with the crime scene.  I think if the suspect is obviously dead, there is no need to handcuff him.  If he may still be alive you need to handcuff, search and do first aid, in that order; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Police or Military?

This article discusses something I have had concerns about for some time.  As local police take more and more money from state and federal agencies the police have become more and more like the military.  The federal government particularly has been giving or selling at low cost military equipment for local police.  They also are training officers to behave in a more military fashion.

I believe there is a role for ballistic helmets, armored cars, external body armor, and patrol rifles.  What concerns me is that too many agencies are using them when they are not really necessary.  The problem is that SWAT teams are being used to arrest everyone at their home or to serve search warrants.  The threat of a suspect should be analyzed and a determination made at a management level if that level of force is really needed.  People who are not suspected of crimes of violence should not generally be subjected to a SWAT raid.

The other concern I have it many SWAT teams and even regular officers are dressing more and more like a paramilitary group or the armed forces.  I don't see the need for SWAT teams to be dressed in clothing that does not look like police gear.  The average police uniform colors are good enough for street cops, I don't see why SWAT teams should wear green, all black or camouflage.  In fact, SWAT teams should look more like police than police so that their identity is never in question; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, July 22, 2013

2 Shootings

Recently LAPD had two shooting incidents in one day.  The first one was an ambush, attempted murder of two police detectives as they were in the station parking lot.  The other was a shooting and barricaded suspect that started with a check on a parolee.  No officers were killed in the incidents.

This is a great reminder that if you are on duty, you are a target.  Even in the station parking lot, even in the station lobby, you have to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to respond to an attack.  In the ambush LAPD responded two hundred officers to the location to search the neighborhood.  That's a huge number of officers to try and coordinate and control.

In the second incident the officers were inside the suspects home and the shooting started.  The officers returned fire and withdrew.  Again a large number of officers surrounded the building to contain the suspect.  Multiple police shootings on the same day for the same agency.  That requires massive police resources and interagency cooperation.  The time to plan for that is months, even years before it happens; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Kidnapping & Shopping Carts

I was listening to the police scanner today.  LAPD hotshot frequency was busy.  They were responding to a man with a knife, domestic violence call; a group fighting in the street; a burglary in progress call with the homeowner and suspect inside the residence, and a kidnapping in progress call, two men forcing a woman inside their car.

My agency was calling for helicopter support for a shopping cart theft.  Employees of a store spotted a suspect on a bicycle pulling one of their shopping carts down the street.  They lost him just as the police car arrived.  A shopping cart is expensive, they can cost over $400 or more.  Still, it's hardly a kidnapping.

One huge advantage of small agencies is their ability to provide excellent customer service to the people who live in their city.  Because the officers know the area and are always nearby their response times are very fast.  Since they arrive quickly they often catch the criminals in the act or very soon afterwards.  It may not be as exciting, but it's still police work; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Retired Police Dogs
The City of Memphis, TN has several retired police dogs who have been adopted by former dog handlers when the dog became too old or infirm to handle the rigorous duties of being an active police dog.  It costs as much as a couple hundred dollars per month per dog for food and medicines for these retired police dogs.  The city has until recently paid for this expense.
Now the City of Memphis has said they no longer have the money to pay "pensions" to retired police dogs.  These are dogs who have saved the lives of human police, have prevented police from having to shoot suspects because they were taken down with a dog bite rather than a bullet.  Dogs who's police careers saved the City of Memphis millions of dollars in expenses relating to human workers compensation costs and lawsuits.
Now the city is so broke they can't cough up a thousand dollars a month to support a few old dogs.  The mayor of the City makes $150,000.00 per year, plus benefits.  How about a 1% pay cut for Mr. Mayor instead of a 100% pay cut for the retired police dogs?  According to their website the city police have a budget of $200 million, perhaps the Chief and his command staff could take a .25% pay cut to pay for a few police dog retirements.  Show some leadership; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, July 19, 2013


In this video, Los Angeles Police and the California Highway Patrol do an excellent job of handing this protest, which has been declared as an illegal assembly.  Peaceful protestors left a park where they had a permit to protest and as they marched other, smaller groups, broke off and began creating problems, throwing rocks, breaking car windows and other acts of violence.

The police moved in using several ranks of officers.  The arrest teams identified leaders in the protestors or protestors who were violent or who specifically challenged the police.  The ranks would then open, the arrest team run through, snatch the person to be arrested and retreat behind the lines again.  The person arrested was then handcuffed and searched behind the lines, whenever possible.  That way the arrest team was safe.

The LAPD took the first rank and the arrest team.  The Highway Patrol took the second rank.  As the primary agency, the majority of the danger, responsibility and arrests were therefore taken by the LAPD.  The Highway Patrol was there to help the LAPD, but not take over from them.  This allowed the LAPD to spread their manpower over a larger area and still maintain control over events.  This video shows some excellent work on the part of two large agencies; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


LAPD and the California Highway Patrol have been dealing with people protesting the jury verdict in the case of the State of Florida vs George Zimmerman.  The protestors claim that justice was not done.  It is also interesting to note that a spokesperson for the protestors says they are fighting for justice for Trayvon Martin, as well as immigration rights and gay rights.

If I had to speculate, I suspect Trayvon Martin was not an advocate of either immigration rights or gay rights.  What this tells us as law enforcement is that the people doing the protesting are part of a coalition of people who seem to show up at every opportunity to protest against almost anything.

There is a core group of anarchists, immigration rights, gay rights, animal rights and other groups that seem to come together whenever there is an opportunity to protest.  This means the people gathered to protest the precipitating issue, such as the Zimmerman verdict, might be only a small part of the people gathered at the protest.  It also means that while many of those involved might be committed to non-violent protest, there may be others in the group who are equally committed to violent protest.  We saw this last year with the Occupy Movement.  While the vast majority of them were non-violent, there was a core group who was committed to violence who often co-opted the Occupy protests and would throw rocks and set fires.  Whenever confronted by a protest, even a non-violent one, be prepared to escalate in response to the actions of the protestors; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Murder Season

Chicago has had an epidemic of murder and shootings in the last two weeks.  Most of the shootings have been gang related.  This type of activity is dangerous to regular citizens as well as criminals, because a stray bullet can hit anyone.

They way to stop this type of crime is to stop all crime.  Vast numbers of officers need to be deployed in small areas.  They need to stop everyone they can and anyone who has probable case for an arrest needs to be arrested.  Every ticket that can be written needs to be written.  Drug dealers often drive cars that are not registered, have bald tires, cracked windshields, no car insurance, no drivers license.  Give them tickets, impound their cars and it increases the cost of doing business. 

Disrupt their activities, put them in jail for minor crimes and they can't do bigger crimes.  Traffic tickets will go to warrants and they can go to jail again.  Use animal control to write tickets for pit bulls and other gang dogs.  Use code enforcement to close businesses and houses that attract criminals.  Use alcohol licenses to close businesses that serve alcohol and attract gangsters.  Agencies have many tools, but they have to use them, too often they don't; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rest & Unrest

Officers should generally not be expected to work more than twelve hours at a time, but in an extreme emergency can work up to 24 hours.  Managements failure to plan for more officers to cover an incident does not constitute an  emergency.  Request mutual aid if necessary, officers who work more than twelve hours at a time will have slow reaction times and may make poor decisions. 

Officers should have a place to sleep if they are expected to work more than twelve hours.  Even a short one hour nap can make a huge difference in alertness.  Officers can be rotated back to the locker room to shower, change uniforms, and eat before they return to duty. 

Freshening up can make a big difference in the ability to work a long shift.  On hot days, a rotation like this after six to eight hours can help to keep all officers sharp and comfortable.  Take care of your people, even in an emergency; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rest & Civil Unrest

There is so much going on in a major incident that we forget some of the simple things that need to be done.  If you have a major protest, or civil unrest and officers are deployed in a large group for hours at a time you have to consider some of the administrative and biological needs of the officers.  Officers need to be able to take a short break, at least every two hours and every hour is better. 

Wearing a helmet and all that gear is tiring and uncomfortable.  Officers need someplace to go to the bathroom that is clean, comfortable, and secure.  You might have to order portable toilets and assign someone to guard them.  Officers should be given beverages.  Water and sports drinks, like Gatorade are important.  Officers may need coffee or fruit drinks too. These should be provided at least on every break.  At least every four hours officers need to be able to remove their tactical gear, sit down or even lay down and relax and eat something.  The agency should provide a hot lunch, if possible. 

Officers use up a lot of calories in major events and will eat a lot of food.  Some large agencies can actually cater food, if you are too small for that find a local shop or maybe several that will allow a massive take out order.  Officers need to be fed, even on graveyard shift when many businesses will be closed.  Plan for incidents to last at least 24 hours in advance; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Homeless With a Knife

A homeless, mentally ill man was shot to death when he confronted six police officers with a knife.  Homeless, mentally ill people can be very dangerous.  They can also be very unpredictable.  It is important to maintain distance from such people when they are obviously armed.  A man with a knife can cover 20 feet or more and stab an officer in most cases before the subject could be shot and fall to the ground. 

One technique is to keep your police car between yourself and the suspect.  In this case the suspect was in a parking lot, it should not be too difficult to park your car sideways to the suspect and talk to him over the hood of your car.  With three to six patrol cars the suspect could be almost surrounded.  A man armed with a knife is at a great disadvantage if he has to climb over a police car to get at you.  In fact, you could simply remain in your car and use the public address system to order him to drop the knife. 

Less lethal weapons such as PepperBalls, bean bag shotgun, rubber bullets can be very helpful in a situation like this one.  The Taser is limited because the range is very short, often only about 15 feet.  However, if the patrol car were deployed as a barrier the suspect could be allowed to get closer and then be hit with the Taser darts.  I am sure these officers had no evil intent.  The way to avoid shootings of this type is for agencies to properly train and equip their officers before this type of event; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Man With A Knife

A homeless, mentally ill man with a knife in a parking lot was threatening six police officers.  When the man moved toward the officers, they opened fire on him.  In five seconds the officers fired 46 rounds and he was struck over 40 times.  No officers were injured and the suspect was dead at the scene.  The district attorney determined the officers would not be charged in the incident.

What could these officers have done better?  There was no immediate threat to life when the officers arrived, the suspect was alone in a parking lot.  They may have been able to plan their response better.  On thing to do as the supervisor or as the handling officer is to designate who will shoot, if shooting becomes necessary.  The designated shooter or shooters can then deploy a patrol rifle or his handgun.  The other officers keep their guns in their holsters.  The designated shooter maintains a position of cover and a position of advantage as much as possible.  This may require several officers designated as the shooter and they may have to move around to keep their advantage.  These officers are then relieved of having to interact directly with the suspect and can concentrate on the officer safety aspect of the incident. 

Having only one or two designated shooters also limits the likelihood of firing an excessive number of rounds at the suspect.  With six officers, I would suggest two designated shooters, one on each flank.  They need to take care not to become in a crossfire and need to be aware of the locations of the other officers.  Assigning an officer as a designated shooter does not mean he is obligated to shoot, or does in prevent other officers from shooting.  It simply means that the designated shooter needs to be prepared to shoot as his role in the incident; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dog Shooting

Recently, police from the City of Hawthorne had to shoot a large dog that officers said was attacking them.  A video was released that was a little vague about the dog attack.  Now a second video has been released that shows the dog is clearly attacking one of the officers who fires his duty handgun four times and kills the dog.

One of the officers has the suspect in front of him and seems to be using the suspect as a barrier between himself and the dog.  The suspect can be heard yelling "Don't shoot my dog."  That could be interpreted to indicate that the suspect believed the officers were fearful of the dog.  Earlier in the video the suspect had the dog out on a leash and did not seem to have good control over the dog.  The suspect put the dog in his car, but failed to roll up the windows.  So the dog simply jumped out the window then the suspect was arrested.

It is the duty of a dog owner to properly secure and control their dog.  This dog owner failed to do that.  There were many people around besides just police and this dog could have attacked one of them.  Shooting a dog is almost always a public relations nightmare unless the dog has already severely mauled an innocent person.  Shooting a dog is a reasonable course of action when a human is threatened with great bodily injury; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Smart People Need Not Apply

A city has said they don't want to hire people as police officers if they have a high IQ because they will be bored on the job and leave soon after they are hired.  The agency is doing that to avoid the expense of hiring someone who won't stay very long.  The courts have said this is a legal procedure.

Legal or not, it's a dumb idea.  What happened to the idea that we want to hire the best and the brightest for public service?  What happened to the idea that we should strive for excellence in everything we do?  Perhaps if you have employees who are smart they will find innovative solutions to perform the job.  Maybe they would be smart enough to realize that there are better ways to solve crimes, catch criminals, prevent crimes from happening.

If your loved one was murdered would you want some average guy as the homicide detective or a genius?  Perhaps if you have high IQ employees a good supervisor could groom them to work as investigators, or promote rapidly to become supervisors and managers.  Having a chief of police who is a smart person might be a good idea; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


A blog is a World Wide Web Log.
I write three of them and I post to all three every day and have for over five years.
Hysterical Right Wing is about politics, social commentary, and current events.
SGT Says is about public and private law enforcement.
Bunker Talk is about miniature wargames, toy soldiers and military history.  On Bunker Talk I usually include five photos of my collection, in five years that's 10,000 photos of toy soldiers, tanks and such.
I write these blogs as a way to give back some of the information I have been able to gather in my 57 years as a person and to try to inform folks about ways to stay alive, give back to their community and to worship God, and to have fun.  Unless you have tens of thousands of readers per day, you can't make a living at it.
Visitors can also make comments about each blog entry.  Some comments are moderated to keep out the wackos but I try to read every one and respond to every comment.  I ask that comments be kept shorter than the blog entry.  Thanks for reading, tell all your friends, I am still hoping for tens of thousands of readers, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Don't Die on Duty

About 120 officers die in the line of duty every year in the USA.  About half are murdered.  About half are killed by accidents, disease, and other reasons.  There are several things we can all do to keep that number lower.

The most important thing you can do is to wear your body armor.  Even when it is hot.  Even when it is not a busy day.  Even when you are on a special detail.  If you are on duty, in uniform, wear your body armor. 

Wear your seat belt.  All the time, every trip in the car, wear your seatbelt.  Officers die every year in traffic collisions that would have been saved had they had been wearing a seat belt.  Get a check up, every year officers die of heart attacks and other disease on duty that might had been prevented if they had a check up.  Learn to swim.  Officers die in the water, often because they can't swim.  Don't speed.  Speed kills, slow down and arrive alive.  You can't save your partner if you crash the patrol car; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Multiple Suspects

When facing multiple suspects it is important to gain and maintain control quickly.  The hands are the first thing to control.  Order them to keep their hands where you can see them.  The suspects need to be in one place and close together so you can see them all at one time.

Maintain a reasonable distance from them.  Make them all sit on the ground, perhaps the curb, with their hands on their knees.  Be sure to notify dispatch and ask for back up.  Don't permit the suspects to talk to one another; it's a good way for them to plan to attack you or coordinate their story.

If you need to continue alone, bring each suspect up to you in turn.  As you perform a cursory search, or complete an FI card, keep the suspect between you and the other suspects.  That way you only have to look in one direction.  It's all about control, and you need to be the one in control; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


An off duty officer had his uniform, leather gear, and gun stolen from his car. I don't ever think it is proper to blame the victim in a criminal case, but there are times when the victim does have some responsibility. 

Police gear should not be displayed in your personal vehicle so that it is visible to someone next to your car, in another vehicle or someone walking past.  If you have to hang a uniform in the car, at least either cover it with a clothing bag, or turn it so the patches are not visible.

Guns and other police gear should not be left in a vehicle unless they are in the trunk.  I have an SUV, so no trunk, but I do at least put it at the back and the windows are so dark you can't really see what's inside.  I use a plain all black roller case, like a small suitcase, for my gear so it does not look like a police gear bag.  I try not to leave my gear unattended in the vehicle, it goes from my home to my truck, and from the truck to the locker room.  Watch out for your stuff, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


When deciding to initiate a police vehicle pursuit there are many things to consider.  The first thing to consider is the nature of the crime.  Vehicle pursuits can be very dangerous and chasing someone at a high rate of speed during rush hour for a broken taillight violation is not a good idea.  Chasing a murder suspect is a greater reward for the capture.  Think about the traffic, pedestrians, weather, night vs. day, and road conditions. 

When starting the pursuit, call off the nature of the crime, the location, the direction of travel, the speed and the traffic conditions.  That way Dispatch and your supervisor will have the information.  Give the vehicle license plate and description along with the number and description of the occupants.

Coordinate with other units so that the number of vehicles involved in the pursuit is reasonable.  A single person in a car who has traffic violations would only need fewer pursuing vehicles.  A pair of armed bank robbers who shot a guard would require a large number of officers to confront them at the termination of the pursuit; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dog Avoidance

Police officers were working a barricaded suspect incident when a man illegally parked his car at a corner and got out of his car.  The man had his music playing so loud the officers found it distracting to them.  The man took his 80 pound Rottweiler dog out of the car, on a leash, and started videoing the officers.  As the officers approached the man, he put the dog in his car.  They took the man into custody but the dog jumped out of the car and attacked the officers.  One of the officers shot an killed the dog.

There are several ways to deal with a dog, one of these officers used a gun and that is a valid tactic to use against a big dog.  Dogs can be very dangerous and in the United States every year, several people are killed in dog attacks.  The officers knew there was a dog present.  They could have gotten their baton, OC spray, or Taser ready to repel the dog.  It does not appear that they did that.

A baton can be used as a lance to fend off a dog.  Most dogs will be stopped by spraying pepper spray in their mouth, nose and face area.  Many dogs can be stopped by testing the Taser without the darts, the clicking electrical noise is enough to make most dogs back off.  If necessary a dog can be hit with the darts and knocked down.  Even when a big dog is directly attacking police, it always looks bad when the police have to kill the animal; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Off Duty Carry

This link is to an article by an expert in firearms who recommends the North American Arms NAA .22 Magnum Mini-Revolver as his number one choice for a concealed carry firearm.  He makes a good case for it, but each of us must analyze our personal needs and determine for ourselves what works for us and what does not.
Any gun, even a tiny, five shot, .22 caliber revolver is better than no gun at all; if you need a gun.  I think that is the gist of his argument and he is correct about that.  North American Arms is a quality gun maker and that is a quality firearm.  Certainly the .22 is not a big man stopper but in most cases simply displaying a gun will be enough and if you have to shoot even a .22 can kill someone.
A back up or off duty gun that you don't carry all the time is of limited value because you can't know when a gunfight is going to happen.  A gun is like a fire extinguisher, you don't know when things will catch fire so you need the fire extinguisher all the time.  Even a small one is better than none at all, but like a small fire extinguisher a small gun may not be enough to handle the problem; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

FBI Shooting

This video is an old training film made by the FBI in the 1950's.  It shows how to train to fire the double action revolver for police and FBI agents.  Despite the age of the film, many of the concepts are still the same as we use today.  They talk about the great seriousness of using deadly force and the need to practice frequently to stay proficient.

They use holsters that have very poor gun retention, but the concept of quick draw is still very valid.  Since many shootings last only seconds getting the gun out rapidly is essential.  They only shoot with a one handed stance, but they do discuss training to shoot with either hand in case the officer is wounded in the strong hand.

The film discusses the need to use cover, such as telephone poles or cars and even shows the value of the prone position.  They show an officer confronting multiple suspects as well as individual ones.  These were the days before body armor so their concept of crouching down was to create a smaller target.  Today, in some ways a chest hit is preferable to others because a solid hit on the armor is generally survivable.  Be sure to wear your armor; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


A 37 year old convicted felon, drug user and crazy person took a 2 year old hostage in a WalMart store and threatened the child with a knife.  There was no apparent logical reason for the hostage taking.  The man rambled on about George W. Bush, the FBI and the Illuminati.  Officers responded rapidly to the hostage situation and cleared the store.  They confronted the man and talked to him for some time.  The officers locked the store down to keep the man inside and to keep others from trying to get inside who might interfere with their conduct of the incident.  Eventually they convinced the man to sit down in a chair.

The man moved the knife from the child's abdomen to her throat and said if his demands were not met in one minute he would kill the child.  The man began a countdown.  One officer to the right of the suspect was crouching down to talk to him.  Another officer to the suspects left distracted him and the crouched officer stood up and fired one round into the suspects temple, killing him instantly.

Placing the suspect in a chair put the child closer to the floor so she would be less likely to be hurt if she fell to the floor; it also restricted the suspects movements.  Having two officers standing apart from one another made it difficult for the suspect to focus on both at the same time, giving the officers a tactical advantage if one could distract him.  By standing up and moving rapidly towards the suspect the officer was able to lessen the danger to the hostage and increase the likelihood of a rapidly incapacitating shot to the suspect.  A near contact shot to the temple would be an excellent way to insure the safety of the hostage.  The suspect died and the child survived unharmed.  These officers did a great job; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, July 1, 2013

License Plate Scanner

Some agencies use license plate scanners.  They are mounted on the roof of a patrol car and they read all the license plates that the police car drives past.  The computer then runs the license plate and if the plate is associated with a wanted person, or shows as a stolen car then the computer alerts the officer.  The computer will also take photos of the license plate and the car, as well as a small area near the car. 

These images and data are stored for some span of time.  There are few regulations about these images and data.  The data could be useful for criminal investigation.  If someone reports a suspect vehicle at a particular date and time, detectives could go back and check vehicle license plates scanned in the area for suspect vehicles. 

This information should only be made available to officials who need it for their actual duties.  It should be protected just like other confidential data, such as DMV records.  I think this information should be maintained for only a finite period of time.  I am not sure how long the data should be stored, but certainly if it is not used within a month, 60, 90, 120 days from the time it was collected, I can't imagine much legitimate law enforcement use for it; that's what the SGT Says.