Saturday, August 31, 2013

Drugs and Cops

http://wreg.com/2013/08/29/mpd-officer-in-custody-at-request-of-atf/

Do not give your duty gun to a drug pusher as collateral for the drugs you purchased from him for your personal use.  In fact, don't use illegal drugs at all, and then the issue never comes up.  Agencies should drug test their employees and should do background check updates periodically.

There are certain times when agencies should drug test their employees.  After any accident, no matter how small if it involves an injury, a motor vehicle, or a firearm discharge not on the range. Anytime a supervisor suspects an officer is on drugs, or alcohol and on duty.

A periodic background check should verify the officers address, his credit history, his criminal and driving history and his marital status and dependents.  The same things a new hire check would indicate.  Most of it could be done by computer and be finished in a few hours.  Keeping a police department clean is a very important duty; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Disaster Planning

http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/70-things-that-can-go-wrong-in-a-disaster/

No matter where you work there are potential disasters lurking around the corner.  Earthquake, flood, major fire, riot, war, mudslide, blizzard, hurricane, tornado, tsunami, volcano, even terrorist attack, or nuclear power plant meltdown can happen someplace in a career.  You never know which one or how many you will have to deal with over the course of any given shift.

Are you ready?  Is your agency ready?  Are your neighboring agencies ready?  How about your fire department, are they ready too?  And your emergency hospitals, and public works and everyone else in your city?  Is your family ready?

"Things that will go wrong in a disaster
 
1. In an earthquake, there may be violent ground shaking; it will seem to last much longer than it actually does.
 
2. Fires will occur, caused by electrical shorts, natural gas, fireplaces, stoves, etc."
 
Earthquakes typically last only seconds, but even a minute can seem like forever when you are in an earthquake.  Earthquakes can hit nearly every part of the USA.  Fires can be caused by nearly all types of disasters, even floods and blizzards can cause fires.  Plan for it and you are half way to solving the problem; that's what the SGT Says.
 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dangers

http://www.laphs.org/lest_we_forget7.html

LAPD Officer Crow with his partner was following two robbery suspects.  The suspects had fled to Mexico but were bouncing back and forth across the border.  The officers staked out the area, despite temperatures of up to 135 degrees.  After a couple days the suspects came back across the border and were arrested by the two officers.  Soon afterwards Officer Crow collapsed and died soon, despite being taken to the hospital.

Officers are killed in the line of duty many ways.  We generally recognize the dangers of being shot or being in a traffic collision.  In the last several years officers have died in aircraft crashes.  One officer was killed by an escaped cow.  Some have been beaten to death.  Others have died of drowning and heat exhaustion.  Still others have died of heart attack.

When on duty watch both yourself and your partners.  Be aware of the potential dangers apart from the usual ones we face every day.  It's very hot out. It puts a lot of stress on the body, chasing suspects, standing in the sun, wearing body armor on a hot day.  Take care of yourself and your partners, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Driving

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/22/local/la-me-lapd-traffic-20120123

Police drive a lot.  Groups of people who drive a lot will eventually be involved in traffic collisions.  Most of the collisions will be minor, some will be major.  The nature of police work is that we sometimes have to drive fast and have to drive in all weather, and all hours of the day or night.  Officers sometimes work long shifts and have to drive when tired.

In my opinion officers who are involved in a chargeable traffic collision should be giving retraining in driving.  Almost any collision where the patrol car is moving should be considered as chargeable, unless it was unavoidable.  When officers have to go to a boring training class on how to drive better, they will be more attentive to their driving.

Officers often do things they should not.  They drive too fast.  They drive with their headlights off trying to hide from criminals.  They are distracted by radios, maps, computers and other police distractions.  Officers often take chances because they want to try and get to emergency calls.  We need to do a better and safer job of driving; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

OK Shooting, Not Okay

http://kfor.com/2013/08/26/police-respond-to-possible-double-shooting-near-sw-44th-and-may/

Oklahoma City police were at location investigating a cold call when they heard shots fired around the corner.  Two officers responded and saw a man shooting at two other men, who were inside a car.  They ordered the shooter to drop the weapon and when he did not, they shot him.

The shooter was the store owner, and the people he was shooting at were armed robbers.  One robber was hit, but they made it a few blocks away until they crashed.  Robbers were captured after a brief foot pursuit.  The store owner and one robber had serious injuries.

If your store is robbed and the robbers exit the building, let them leave.  Don't chase them.  Officers responding to a shots fired call have no way to tell who is whom.  As responding officers we have only seconds to figure out who is who, and when one of them is shooting we have even less time to decide what to do.  This is one reason why verbal commands are so important, so that good people have a chance to comply; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tickets

Working traffic is not too hard, it's kind of like fishing.  You have to go where the fish are and be patient.  First, look at a map of your city and look for places that have had a fatal or injury traffic collision in the last year.  Those are the prime locations because when people complain about the citations you can say you are working those areas because they have a dangerous history.  By making people pay more attention in those areas, traffic collisions, injuries and deaths can be reduced.

Find a spot where you can observe the traffic signals or stop signs, and see the vehicles that are subject to those signs.  You want to be in full public view.  You want people to see your car sitting in the open.  It will have a deterrent effect, and it means the people you stop are paying the least attention.  It also prevents allegations of a "speed trap" when you are right out in the open, not parked behind some billboard.

Determine before hand what you want to see in order to write a ticket.  A technical violation of the law is certainly legal, but in general, it's best to write the most egregious drivers a ticket.  Someone who approaches a stop sign or red signal and makes no effort to break, someone who skids to a stop and ends up past the limit line need violation citations.  Drivers who violate the law and cause another driver to have to maneuver to avoid them are also good candidates, you want to write tickets to people who drive poorly so they will alter their behavior in the future; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Save Lives

Despite all the concerns over terrorists, and murder, the largest cause of death in the United States that can be reduced with police intervention is traffic collisions.  The way to reduce traffic collisions is to enforce traffic safety laws, educate the public, and work to stop drunk driving.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a huge factor in those who are involved in fatal traffic collisions.  More people are killed in traffic accidents than murdered every year.  So what can we do?  Erratic driving, inattention, and driving too fast for conditions, and speeding are some of the most common causes of traffic collisions.

One of the most common forms of inattention is people texting or talking on their cell phone while driving.  Having a dog in your lap, or performing other tasks while attempting to drive can also be very distracting.  Driving in poor weather should result in people driving slower than the speed limit.  If they continue to drive that fast, you can cite them for driving too fast for conditions.  Sit near an intersection and wait for people to stop for a red light and skid way past the limit line, good indication they are driving too fast and not paying attention.  These kinds of tickets either change behavior or get licenses taken away, both of which save lives, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kidnap Police

http://m.nbclosangeles.com/nbclosangeles/pm_107885/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=l6UpwUrf

People often tend to view child molesters as people who are dangerous to children, but not particularly dangerous to adults.  Police often dismiss sovereign citizens as fringe groups who are of no real danger to anyone, just people who don't believe in driver licenses and paying taxes.

People who hold those views are wrong.  In this instance a convicted child molester, and sovereign citizen conspired with a woman to kidnap, torture and murder police officers.  Never underestimate criminals or what they are willing to do to you.  In this plot they wanted to show that the police had no authority over them, by killing them.  They were intending to make a political statement, in their minds.  In some parts of the world the kidnapping of police and subsequent murder is not too unusual.

When you make a traffic stop, think about what would happen if the driver or passenger were armed, not with a gun, but with pepper spray or a Taser.  Most of us have been hit with pepper spray to some degree and could probably fight through it.  Can you fight through a Taser strike?  Probably not.  Will your department policy permit you to shoot someone who has pepper sprayed you or hit you with a Taser?  I think you might make a reasonable argument that you were in fear of your life if someone sprayed a uniformed officer with OC or hit them with a Taser.  It might be a good time to review your local laws and agency policy; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Good Cop, Bad Cop

One reason to call for back up on a burglary alarm call is to avoid liability.  If you perform an interior check on a home or small business, you may be accused to taking something.  People think that because you were alone inside you may have taken something.  Everything the victim can't find, every item they have misplaced, they will blame you for taking it over the next two weeks.

If you have another officer there, you have someone who can say you did not load the TV into your patrol car.  Part of officer safety is to avoid being sued, or fired, or even prosecuted.  If you have taken reasonable precautions when you have opportunities to be accused of a crime, you are less likely to have a problem.

The vast majority of officers are honest, decent people who don't steal, and don't take undue advantage of their position.  There is a miniscule fraction of officers who are bad apples, and it is those of us who try and do a good job who are their worst enemies.  Too often the entertainment media paints a picture of bad cops and so people expect that is the norm, it is not; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Burglar Alarms

Burglar alarms go off all the time.  Still, every one has to be treated as a real alarm.  Park your patrol car down the street, keep the radio noise down and close your car door quietly.  Look around at the parked cars as you approach the scene of the alarm.  Sometimes get away cars will have a driver in them.  Approach the location along the side, not to the front.  Check the gates, the windows, walk all of the perimeter checking each one.

Look for signs of entry.  Broken locks or chains on gates.  Open doors, unlocked gates, footprints on window jambs, or on the ground next to windows.   Don't use the flashlight at night unless you really need it.  It's best to use ambient light. 

Look for dogs before entering a back yard.  Rattle the gate and most dogs will show up, often bark.  The test mode on the Taser will often freak out a dog so that he will run away from you.  You don't have to zap him, just let the noise work for you.  Check with dispatch every ten minutes so they know you are fine.  Don't go inside without first notifying Dispatch and getting back up if you can.  The largest danger of burglar alarms is your attitude that they are all false; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Information Security

When you speak on the radio do you try and make sure no one around you can overhear your conversation when you run a license plate or driver license?  If not, how are you protecting the privacy of the person you are running?  If you want your dispatcher to make a phone call for a disabled motorist, how to you prevent others from intercepting the number.  When you take notes at a crime scene, what do you do with those notes when you are done with them?

When you are done with notes, you can attach them to the original report as evidence.  You can shred them, you can keep them.  Don't just toss them in the trash. The important to keep in mind that you need to try and protect your information from unauthorized usage. 

In some places radio transmissions are encrypted so you can talk without having to safeguard what you say.  In those places where radios are not encrypted there are several work arounds that you can use to protect privacy.  One way is to break the data up into several smaller transmissions that are a couple minutes apart.  You can also use a cell phone instead of your radio.  Protect information; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Off Duty Shooting

http://southpasadena.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/offduty-officer-shoots-and-kills-suspect-in-south-Pasadena

An off duty cop was sitting at home when a car pulled up out front.  He went outside to check on the vehicle and the driver pulled a gun.  The officer returned fire.  The office had minor injuries.  The suspect drove away, but crashed right away.  The police arrived and took the driver into custody, he died soon afterwards at a local hospital.

The most important lesson here for us is to let on duty officers perform police functions unless there is an immediate emergency.  The officer who went outside was not likely wearing body armor.  He had no back up on the way.  He had no uniform to immediately inform the suspect he was an officer.  He may not even have had a flashlight.  He was on his own.

As on duty officers we need to be certain that we treat every call as if the suspect involved might pull a gun.  We don't have to be paranoid, we need to be vigilant.  We don't have to be scared, we have to be prepared.  We don't have to be trigger happy, we need to be ready.  Don't get complacent, don't let your guard down; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Private Security

When I consider force I try to use the force that will cause the least damage to the suspect while achieving my goal of keeping myself safe and keeping other innocent people safe.  I also never use force on anyone unless I intend to arrest them and have the legal authority to make an arrest.  OC spray will usually leave no lasting effects.  After a quick wash down, most people are fine.  The baton will almost certainly leave a bruise, maybe break bones, perhaps even kill someone.  The other advantage of OC is that you can use it from a distance and maybe avoid getting hit by the suspect.
 
You might also temporarily blind the suspect which can allow you to escape, or to then employ your arrest and control techniques to handcuff them.  When someone has had OC used on them  you should always attempt to render first aid to them once they are handcuffed and cease resistance.  I always try to call for paramedics too, that way a medical professional has looked at them. 
 
Remember as private security our goal is to protect our client and his property.  Making arrests is generally something to avoid if possible, as long as we keep the client safe.  Always know you local laws, your agency rules and regulations and your clients requirements too; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Private Security

Often private security is denied the use of firearms, and Taser.  The law, the agency we work for and our clients often restrict our options.    As a result we have to work around that as best as we are able.  Your brain and your mouth are your two best weapons.  Being alert to your surroundings and keeping aware of what his happening can often avoid problems.  A couple teenagers loitering in the parking lot can lead to trouble.  Walking up to them as saying hello or asking them if they need any help or directions can avoid the two teenagers from becoming ten teenagers.
 
The first thing to consider is the role of the security guard.  If you are there to control entry to a building and there is a fight between a couple gangsters in the parking lot, it may be best to simply call the police and let them handle it.  Be a good witness and make sure the problem does not fall into your building.
 
The next thing to remember is always give verbal commands whenever possible.  "Stop.  Don't come an closer.  Drop the weapon."  Sometimes the suspect will actually obey your commands.  Witnesses will have a better understanding of what you are trying to do and later if you go to court you can show you attempted to stop the attacker without using force; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Active Shooter

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/16/denver-shooter-south-irvi_n_3768907.html

A man in Denver apparently shot a woman, booby trapped the house and then went outside and started shooting other people.  Police found a live grenade.  The shooter actually phoned police and asked for a shootout.  There was a police shooting and the suspect was hit, perhaps killed.  This is a breaking story and the information may be inaccurate.

The police responded to the scene and asked people to remain in their homes.  They sent out Tweets to notify people of what was happening.  They responded the bomb squad when they came upon a suspicious device.  The suspect was down fairly quickly.

When dealing with an active shooter, it is not unusual to be facing someone who has been planning the event for weeks, even years.  They often have explosive devices, even grenades and booby traps.  The often have multiple weapons, rifles, shotguns and handguns.  Be aware of the potential for explosive devices.  Don't burst through doors at locations where the suspects lives or might spend a lot of time.  Take your patrol rifle and at least a couple other officers with you so you have a tactical advantage.  It can be very difficult to wait those few extra seconds for back up to arrive but it's critical to gain the upper hand; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Burglary Prevention

Sometimes people ask us about home crime prevention.  There are may ways to keep valuables safe.  Of course all the usually things we do to protect our homes apply first.  Good locks on doors and windows, lights around the house, an alarm system, a dog, good neighbors, keep shrubs trimmed from doors and windows, don't advertise you have nice things at home.
 
A hollow book on a book case with 1,000 books is pretty good.  A  special soda can with a special screw off lid for storage in a cabinet with 50 sodas is a good plan.  Keeping guns, jewelry, and important papers inside a fireproof safe is a good idea.  Most burglars are kids or drug addicts and can't either open or carry off a big safe.  Most of us don't have anything that "real" professionals are likely to want.  How many million dollar tiaras do you own?  A small safe is okay, but it should be either mounted in the floor, the wall, or chained to the floor.
 
A safety deposit box at a local bank is a good idea. If the end of the world comes, your marriage certificate, your jewelry is not going to be as helpful as canned food.  And bank safe deposit boxes are rarely broken into. Part of the plan is to analyze your risk.  What are you trying to protect?  Who is likely to take it?  If you have crazy children who will steal from you, or employees who have access to your home as cleaning staff or care providers, then keeping stuff in a safety deposit box makes a lot of sense.  Crime prevention is not as exciting as apprehending burglars, but it's better police work, that's what the SGT Says.
 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Transition

Use of force training should teach you to transition from one weapon to another.  It should not just consist of going to the range and blasting off a few rounds.  Give verbal commands, if that does not work, try arrest and control techniques.  Do you know how to go from baton to Taser?  How do you go from Taser darts in a suspect to handcuffing?

When is it time to stop all that and go to your duty firearm?  How many times do you shoot?  How many bullets is too many?  When do you need the shotgun or the patrol rifle, rather than the pistol?  When do you use your back up gun?  You do carry a back up gun, don't you?

Is it better to reload your rifle or draw your pistol?  What do you do with the shotgun when you have to go in foot pursuit?  If your rifle malfunctions, how do you use your pistol with a rifle in your hands?  The answers to all these questions need to be trained when you go to the range.  Not every time, but over time; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Just an Opinion

http://savingourfuture.com/2013/08/florida-cop-fired-for-calling-trayvon-a-thug-on-facebook/

A police officer was fired for his remarks on his personal Facebook page.  Many times I have cautioned people for what they post on line.  Many agencies troll the Internet looking for information on their officers and will use that information against them, up to and including, termination.  Some agencies forget that freedom of speech applies to their employees too, not just the general public.

My personal opinion is that the First Amendment gives us freedom of speech.  As long as we are not on duty, or in uniform, or claiming to speak for our agency, officers should on their off duty time, using their own resources, be able to speak or write whatever opinion they choose.  No matter what side of an issue an officer is on personally, he has a right to speak out as any private citizen in any public matter; without fear of reprisal from his agency.

On this blog for example, I don't mention the agency I work for, I am not writing for them, nor am I writing in any official capacity.  Sometimes I agree with my agency and sometimes I don't, but the Internet is not the place to argue publically with your agency or to make them look bad.  I believe that Florida agency was wrong to terminate their officer, based on what I read in the article.  As a governmental agency they should enforce the law without regard to the political or social beliefs of the people they serve and their employees should reflect that diversity; even if their opinions are unpopular; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Strays

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/14/sandra-coke_n_3755869.html

The body of an investigator has been found in the woods.  She was last seen with her boyfriend, a person in interest in the case, who is in custody.  The boyfriend was someone she knew from years ago who recently re-appeared in her life.  He has convictions for kidnapping and rape.  He was a registered sex offender.

Sometimes being a cop means cutting some people out of your life.  If you used to hang out with someone who is now a criminal or who has a significant criminal past, you need to distance yourself from them.  It is your duty to do your job.  It is not your duty to help out relatives, old boyfriends, ex-husbands or neighbors who got themselves in trouble with the law.

The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. If your old friend was a gangster, then he probably is a gangster now.  If he used to do drugs, then he probably does drugs now.  If he used to do sex crimes, then he probably does sex crimes now.  Certainly as a Christian, I believe that God can work miracles in people's lives and help them to change.  Certainly you have a certain duty to a child or a spouse.  You do not have a duty to take in strays and they can harm your career and even your life; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kidnapping

http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/08/02/i-am-not-a-monster-ariel-castro-as-sinner-and-sociopath/

Ariel Castro kidnapped three women and kept them in his house as sex slaves for a decade.  Eventually one of them escaped and the crime was discovered.  He has been sentenced to live plus 1,000 years.  Police and neighbors searched the neighborhood each time a woman was taken.  They even when to the door of the house where the kidnapper took the women. 

This type of crime is almost unbelievable.  If someone phoned your dispatch and said that they were being held as a sex slave for ten years, what would your dispatcher do about it?  Would they take the call seriously and actually dispatch an officer?

What would you do if you were dispatched to such a call?  Could you reasonably search the house?  What if no one answered the door?  Supposed someone answered the door and would not let you inside?  This type of odd call can be a puzzler, something to think about and something to use to review your local laws; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Knife


A friend sent me this photo of a simple looking mechanical pencil.  They type of thing people might carry in a notebook, backpack, or even in a pocket.


Push the button and instant weapon.  Imagine getting this this thrust into your face, or your eye in particular.  The next move would be to take your gun and shoot you.

When conducting a search, look for anything that might be a weapon.  I often don't let subjects keep combs, pens, pencils or much of anything else that could hurt me.  A weapon like this could be easily overlooked, or assumed to be harmless; especially at night or in low light.  Always be aware of new weapons; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Crime Scene Sketch

http://www.breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2013/07/24/Gang-Member-Convicted-After-Tattooing-Murder-Scene-on-His-Chest

A gang member committed a murder.  He was so proud of that murder that he tattooed the event on his chest.  An astute police detective realized what the tattoo meant and was able to get a conviction, using this and other evidence.

Gang members like tattoos.  They like to write their life story on their body.  We use computers and paper files, they use tattoos.  When you contact probable criminals, ask them about their tattoos.  Sometimes they will tell you about them.  Take photos of the tattoos and make sure the photos are referenced to the story they tell you about them.

Tattoos can help to explain relationships between gang members.  It can tell you who their girlfriends are, or used to be, and ex-girlfriends are often very helpful about telling on their former boyfriends.  When filling out a field interview card, you might want to ask the subject to take off his shirt, or roll up his pant legs to get a good view of tattoos.  If the suspects are foolish enough to record information on their body, make use of it when you can; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Slap Un-Happy

http://www.infowars.com/video-of-cop-slapping-10-year-old-boy-stirs-outrage/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx4rc4y9504

An officer responds to a report of child neglect and decides to take a ten your old boy into protective custody.  In this video we see the officer struggling to bring the child into control and at one point, early on, he seems to hit the kid in the face.  Later the officer said the child bit him; if a kid bit me, I might slap him in the face too.  A human bite is dangerous and painful.

The officer walks the kid a very long way back to the bus where the child lives with his mother.  It is a long time before back up arrives.  During the walk a number of people confront the officer and at one point he actually takes out his pepper spray and threatens to spray one young male.  The incident goes on far too long and they allow the child to be walked around far too much.  They should bring in a vehicle, stuff the child inside and drive away.  All this wandering around with bystanders shouting insults and threats is poor police work.

Taking children away from their parents is very dangerous.  If you have to do that, expect the parents, neighbors, other children, and relatives to offer potentially violent, even deadly resistance.  This is not a one officer job.  If the child is small, a female officer could be helpful.  Asking for child services to be present is also a good idea.  If the child is not in immediate danger or is not likely to leave, then you really should wait for back up, a supervisor and child services, if you can; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Killer Phone App

http://www.idownloadblog.com/2012/11/22/this-case-swiss-army-knife/

Thanks P&S for forwarding this new tool information to me.  I suspect many of you carry an iPhone with you while you are on the job, well, this little accessory turns your iPhone into a tool box.  It has a wire stripper, needle nose pliers, screw driver, Phillips screw driver and drop forged knife with a 2 1/2 inch long serrated blade.  Wait, what?

Yes, the simple, innocuous, harmless iPhone, is now, potentially, a deadly weapon.  With the slide of a finger the knife blade protrudes far enough from the case to kill you if stabbed into the right place.  How often do we approach people with a cell phone in their hands?  All the time.  When you do a cursory search do you take away their phone because it could be a weapon?

This $75 item looks like it's pretty sturdy and might be useful.  I would suggest that it would not be unreasonable to suspect knock off versions for less money might be close behind this one.  I suspect other types of phones might have their own version soon too.  Always watch the hands, and now, watch the phone; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Social Media

Does your agency use social media?  All the juveniles and criminals in your area are using it.  Every time there is a big party of drinking teenagers, it will be on social media.  Every time there is a big drag race, gang party, or planned disruption of an event there will be information on social media.

I suggest whenever you have an event; a parade, a high school dance or football game, fair or other large gathering, check social media.  Get with your younger officers and ask them what type of social media is popular.  Facebook might be popular today, but by tomorrow some other site may be the favorite.  You need to be tuned into what the kids are using and for that you have to ask them; ask your own teenagers, or your Explorer Scouts at your agency.

Sometimes I have tasked one of my younger officers to check social media during a high school event to insure there are no problems planned.  Other times I have had my dispatcher checking for me. Some large agencies are even tasking officers to check social media all the time.  Crime happens all the time so that may be a good idea; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cocktail Hour

I read an article recently about officers dealing with protestors.  The article asked what will happen when an officer shoots a suspect with a Molotov Cocktail?  Many officers rightfully consider a Molotov Cocktail to be a deadly weapon. 

So a protestor appears with a Molotov Cocktail.  Do you shoot him before he lights it?  A protestor lights his Molotov Cocktail, do you shoot him now?  He reaches back to throw his Molotov Cocktail, do you shoot him now?  He throws it at you and it's flying through the air, do you shoot him now?

I think you could reasonably shoot him, depending on the circumstances, right up until he lets go of the Molotov Cocktail.  Once he throws it, he no longer is armed.  Shooting him after he throws it would be like shooting a suspect after he throws a knife, he's unarmed by then.  Situations like this should be discussed with use of force experts and the decision provided to your officers.  There are many shooting circumstances that could be problematic; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Child in Car

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2347536/Baby-3-dies-left-hot-car-parents-attended-funeral-family-member.html

Twenty years ago fewer then ten children died in a car as a result of being left alone in the heat of a locked vehicle.  Now the number has averaged about three dozen for the last several years.  Every summer for years I have reminded officers to check parking lots in areas where they work to see if kids are left alone in a car.

Children who are too young to be able to open the car door on their own are too young to be left alone in a car by themselves.  If the car were to catch fire, or if it got too hot, how would they escape?  If you would not leave a five year old at home alone, why would you leave a five year old alone in an automobile?

If you find a young child alone in a car, I suggest notifying your dispatcher immediately.  Next, turn on your lights and siren to attract the attention of the parent, a couple hits on the air horn might help too.  Investigate the vehicle, there may be an unlocked door or a window may be cracked a tiny bit for air.  It is very difficult to break a car window with a baton. There are specialized tools for that.  The tire iron or even fire extinguisher in your trunk might work better.  Ask permission from your supervisor before breaking a window unless the child is in obvious distress.  If the child is fine, the fire department can always break a window, easily.  Don't break a window near the child, you don't want to spray them with glass.  If the child is in obvious distress, call for paramedics to respond immediately.  Saving the child is the most important part, do what you need to do to save a life; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Range Training

Training on the range does not have to be expensive.  It has to be job related and realistic.  It has to be repeated frequently enough that the trainees learn how to perform the tasks indicated in the training.  There are certain tasks that are common to police shooting that should be trained frequently.

Most shootings are fast and so officers should be encouraged to shoot quickly, one to three rounds in one to three seconds.  Many shootings happen with little warning and so officers should practice removing the duty pistol from the position of a snapped in handgun, hand off the gun, and relaxed at their side.

Most shootings happen at very close range and so officers should practice firing from as little as one foot from the target.  It would seem impossible to miss at that range but officers do miss that close in real life.  The sometimes shoot too early and hit the ground, or the move around as they draw their weapon and shoot to the left or right.  Shooting at very close range with one hand is an important skill.  It can be practiced from the holster, fire one to three rounds, center of mass, and repeated three times.  The trainee has only fired perhaps nine rounds but has learned an important skill.  In these hard economic times inexpensive training is important; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Gun Control and You

Many police officers are travelling on vacation now since it's summer time.  Many of them will take their guns with them and they should.  I would suggest a few moments of preparation prior to taking that trip is in order.  Under the provisions of HR218 police can carry concealed weapons in most of the United States.  This does not prohibit individual states from requiring certain regulations be complied with, however.

For example the State of New Jersey does not permit most people to carry hollow point ammunition.  If you are a retired police officer and you have your concealed carry permit in accordance with HR 218 can you carry hollow points in your handgun, or even have them with you?  Perhaps not, you might want to check.

The State of New York and New York City have very tight laws about handgun possession.  If you intend to go there can you carry your firearm concealed?  How many rounds can you carry in your magazine?  New York and several other states have passed restrictions on the number of rounds a magazine can hold, will you be in compliance?  Of course, the best way to avoid these problems is to visit Texas or Florida or other parts of Free America; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Police Scenario Training

Scenario training is great, but treat the scenarios as if they are real.  Do what you are going to do, don't just talk about it.  It's time for a little play acting.  Be serious.  If you need back up, a helicopter, or whatever, pantomime calling your dispatcher on the radio. 
 
Keep in mind what the law is, don't arrest people who have not committed a crime and be able to tell the controllers why you arrested someone, that is, what crime they committed.  Everyone arrested gets handcuffed, everyone handcuffed gets searched.  If you are male and arrest a female, at least search the small of the back area and then watch her so she can't get to a gun, and while you call for a female to search.
 
When you arrive at a call, you are in charge so take charge.  Control where people go, watch their hands.  Use cover, make people come to you, don't get sucked into an ambush.  Use your flashlight if it's dark to see into corners.  Use your baton, Taser, OC spray rather than the gun, if appropriate.  Don't rush, if you are searching a room or a person, search expecting to find something and if you find one gun, look for two, if you find two burglars, look for three; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Shooting

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/07/31/santa-ana-police-confirm-officer-shot-killed-unarmed-homeless-man/

Santa Ana, California police responded to a report of a man disturbing the peace and fighting with the patrons in a strip mall.  A female police officer arrived at the location and confronted the man.  The man ran from her and she chased in, into a juice store in the mall.  While there she shot him once in the chest.  The man was unarmed.  The officer carried a Taser in addition to her duty firearm.

This is still a breaking news story so we don't know much about what happened other than this general overview.  I certainly would have several questions.  How large was the female officer in comparison to the suspect and what is their age differences?  The officer was carrying a Taser, why did she not use that on the suspect?  Why didn't she use her OC spray or baton, assuming she carried those, which is common here in Orange County.

Why was only one officer on scene at the location of a fight call?  Why did one officer confront the suspect alone?  How far away was backup?  My wife drove past the incident some times afterwards and said there were 30 units there after the shooting.  Perhaps having two or three units there at the beginning might have prevented the shooting; that's what the SGT Says.