Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Below 100

2014 is over and we failed.  We failed to keep our on duty deaths below 100.  Every year since 1943 American police have had at least 100 officers killed in the line of duty.  Tonight on New Years Eve there will be large numbers of drunken people on the road.

It's another opportunity for you to be injured or killed on the job.  Wear your seatbelt.  I know it's uncomfortable and can be hard to buckle and unbuckle. Wear it anyway.  Watch out for those drunk drivers, not only so you can arrest them, but so you can avoid getting hit by them.

Drunk people having New Years Eve parties sometimes get out of hand.  Don't be in a hurry to rush in and handle a large crowd on your own.  Do you carry your riot gear in the trunk?  Your helmet and riot baton?  Let's start the new year by driving safely, wearing our vest and seat belt and watching our for each other; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


LAPD officers on patrol saw a shooting happening and returned fire.  The officers said they were under fire but in that neighborhood, it's difficult to be sure.  It is a gang infested neighborhood and shootings are common.  A long gun was recovered and while the news media identified it as a rifle, it looked like a carbine to me.

Officers are killed in ambush nearly every year.  We need to be particularly careful as ambushing police seems to be on the rise recently.  If you are responding to a call that just does not seem right, it might be a good idea to take more officers with you than usual.  It might be a good idea to stop short of the location and observe the site before you respond.

Anti-ambush techniques include don't park in front of the address you are sent to and don't stand in front of doors when you knock.  Watch for people in or near your location.  Be aware of people who approach your vehicle.  I try to keep my vehicle running and in gear when stopped.  Approach calls from cover or concealment if possible.  Watch for ambush, don't be complacent; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Fire Department

An employee of the fire department posted an inflammatory photo against police on social media.  He did not identify himself as a member of the fire department directly, but he did post photos of himself on the same social media site.

Members of his local police department are upset at his postings.  Off duty behavior should generally not effect your job, but in todays litigious society and with social media, a seemingly private posting can generate an international reaction. 

This posting also shows that police have done a poor job of explaining our actions.  We need to do better about getting our side of the story out to the people.  Even our friends in the fire department don't seem to always know what we are doing.  We need to work on that more; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


For some people the holidays can be a bad time.  They remember previous holidays and good times they used to have, but don't have anymore.  Perhaps a loved one has died, or they have lost their job.  Sometime such problems will cause people to contemplate suicide.  Then it becomes our problem.

1. Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
2. Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or
obtaining a gun
3. Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
The website I linked to provides these three things that  might be indications that a person is planning on suicide.  When you respond to a domestic violence call, or other disturbance, be aware that it could involve a suicidal person.  Also be aware that some suicidal people want the police to kill them, so take precautions.  Suicide is usually preventable; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Why Are You A Cop?

Do you remember why you became a cop?  To help people?  To get a good job that pays well and has good benefits and a decent retirement?  Because it's exciting?  There is a comradeship with the other officers?  There is something different every day?

After a while, officers sometimes forget why they became cops.  They start to think of the citizens as the enemy rather than the people they have sworn an oath to serve and protect.  Officers begin to think they are not paid enough.  They find the majority of the time things are pretty mundane.  Officers make friends with each other and find there are some they don't like much.  Even though every day is different, they are seldom all that different.

Complacency is one of the greatest killers of cops.  We forget why we became cops.  We forget that anything can happen.  We forget that we are supposed to help one another and watch out for each other.  We stop wearing our vest, we stop buckling our seat belt, we don't roll to back up our partner and we don't call for backup.  Remember why you were a cop; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 26, 2014


This year the United States has again had over 100 police officers killed in the line of duty.  Some have been killed in just this last week of the year.  As always, many of them were officers killed in a one vehicle traffic collision. 

A young male officer in a police car, responding to a "hot" call runs off the road and crashes the patrol car; getting himself killed.  This exact scenario happens more than once, every year.  We do a poor job of instructing our young officers to drive safely, especially en-route to an urgent call for service.

Every year since 1943 at least 100 officers have been killed every year.  Many of those deaths could be prevented if we followed a few simple procedures. Wear your seatbelt, don't drive too fast, wear your body armor; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

"We beseech thee, Almighty God, to pour thy blessing upon the Police of our land:
strengthen and preserve them in every danger;
that they, who protect our lives and property while they faithfully perform their duties,
may so serve thee here that they fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Merry Christmas, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Off Duty

A police officer in Indiana owns a uniform and clothing store.  He is selling tee shirts with a message that some have claimed is offensive and divisive.  Some are claiming that he needs to stop selling them, maybe even terminate his employment.

Off duty behavior that is legal should not affect your on duty behavior.  Still, there are times when it might.  The best idea is to avoid behavior that might be considered inappropriate by your agency.  If that's not practical, then at least try to distance your agency from the behavior.

Don't use your agency name, or your uniform in your advertising or in your business.  Don't use distinctive agency insignia or markings at your business, or otherwise tie the two together.  Once you start to mix the two, you run the risk of the agency thinking your off duty behavior is part of their concern; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

National Police?

The President tried to nationalize health care with Obamacare.
The President tried to nationalize education with Common Core.
The President wants to nationalize the police.  

He wants to take away local control of the police and sheriffs because he knows they are a last stand of government against the power of the Federal Government.  Each city or county gets the type of police they want.  But control from Washington in the form of consent decrees from judges, lawsuits from DOJ, and Federal money with strings attached is making local police the tool of Washington.  

Why is the President paying for cameras for local police? It's not the job of the Federal government.  If local agencies need cameras local taxes should pay for them.  If the President wants to put cameras on police, then put them on the Border Patrol, or other Federal agencies.  Local police forces are the responsibility of the local governments, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Permit

The Permit, by William B. Scott, published by Pygmy Books, Woodland Park, CO, copyright 2012, ISBN 978-0-9842063-5-3

This book was sent to me free by the publisher in exchange for a review.  The book is about a man who was shot to death by police who were responding to a man with a gun call at a store in Nevada, the man had a concealed carry permit.  The man's father wrote this fictionalized account of the incident and it's aftermath as part of his attempt to obtain justice for his son.

Most of the book reads as a screed against police officers.  Police are generally considered to be criminals, bullies, and just looking for an opportunity to get into a shooting to kill someone.  The book also includes Federal authorities from the NSA who go around, vigilante style, murdering police with high tech weapons to infect them with deadly diseases, including mad cow disease.

The final straw was the end of the book when the main character sees the police involved in this shooting, in the afterlife.  The author describes their evil lives and the toll it has taken on their souls.  Their lives are so corrupt that they may not even be allowed to be reincarnated into new bodies after a period of rehabilitation.  So just to re-cap; the police are bullies and murderers, the Federal government murders American citizens using high technology weapons, and the God of the Bible is false, but reincarnation is true.  While I am sorry this man's son was killed, this is a terrible book and I do not recommend it to anyone; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Anything you do can get you killed, even doing nothing.  Two of New York Cities finest were sitting in their patrol car when a man walked up to the vehicle and shot them both dead.  The killer was a career criminal who murdered his girlfriend, posted threats on line and then drove to NYC and killed two cops in cold blood.  He then killed himself when confronted by responding officers.  He claimed the murders were in response to the events in Ferguson.

It's a sad state of affairs when a large segment of our population is so alienated that they can't accept the lawful actions of police officers, even when a grand jury finds their actions were reasonable and legal and video shows the man shot was a thug and robber.  This is more than a police problem it is a problem for all of society.

If police officers are going to be murdered in cold blood, because another officer was lawfully doing his job, then there is a huge issue  that needs resolution.  Civic leaders need to be clear in their desire to work within the system to resolve problems.  People should not take to the streets in lawless rioting and protesting.  They should vote, they should run for office, they should serve on juries, and pass laws.  We have a system, it works, and taking the law into your own hands is anarchy; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Federal Police?

Why are college students rioting and protesting over Ferguson?  Why are these rather small incidents getting so much media coverage?  Why is the president and so many other national figures making statements on what is essentially a local matter?

I believe that just like the Obama Administration has worked hard with Common Core to nationalize education and with Obama Care to nationalize healthcare, President Obama wants to nationalize police services.

Law enforcement is a local responsibility.  It is paid for and controlled by local politicians and local police chiefs.  Your local small town does not need a bureaucrat from 3,000 miles away to micromanage the hiring, firing, promotion, pay, benefits, policies and procedures of your local police department.  Police need to answer to local authorities, not Washington.  It is an important part of our system of government that local politicians oversee their own police, not the federal government; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Two armed terrorists are holding up to fifty hostages in Australia.  This tells us that radical jihad can attack anywhere, that even with strict gun control, terrorists will get guns if they want them, and we must be ready everywhere to stop a terrorist attack.

Every agency, no matter how small should have a protocol in place to deal with people who take hostages.  Will you negotiate with them?  What are you willing to negotiate about?  Will you exchange the hostages for other people?  For food, or weapons, or other equipment?

What do you do if the hostage takers start to kill hostages?  What if they only wound them, or sexually assault them?  Will you raid the place or shoot the terrorists if they are raping the hostages?  Can you raid a building with your agency or will you need help?  Have you a mutual aid protocol in place to get help quickly in an emergency? Figure these things out before the incident happens, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


There have been several controversial police use of force incidents recently.  One thing that people seem to forget is that police officers have right too, just like everyone else.  That includes a right to counsel, a right to remain silent, and a right to a presumption of innocence as well as a right to due process.

Many in the media don't seem to understand any of that. Or if they do, they seem to think it's not right for police officers to assert their rights just like anyone else.  I think that police unions need to do a better job of communicating with the media.

The police union representatives should have spokes people on retainer that can be called any time to respond to controversial police actions.  Controversial is not the same as illegal, immoral, or unethical.  Part of the reason there is controversy is the police side of things is not getting out to the people; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


PCP is making a comeback.  Back in the day, the call that there was someone on Angel Dust, a Duster, was known by officers to be a dangerous call.  It causes people to not feel pain, they make poor decisions, they think they are invulnerable, and often suicidal.  They also feel hot and one of the reasons we get called is that they take off all their clothing and run down the street.

Remember to ask someone to do something, then order them, then compel them.  This is true with people on PCP just like anyone else.  The difference is that you don't need to hurry each phase.  People on PCP sometimes need time to process information.  Keep your voice low and ask them to turn around and put their hands behind their back.  Sometimes they will.

If you think you have a suspect on PCP, try to get at least four officers on scene, more is better.  Also ask for paramedics right away too.  Suspects can be very violent and the drug itself can kill.  Their heart-rate can be very high and because they don't feel much pain, baton strikes, even gun shots can be ineffective.  Suspects can sometimes break handcuffs and even break their own wrists trying to get out of handcuffs.  These suspects sometimes die in custody due to hidden injuries or the drugs.  Get them to medical care or have the paramedics respond as soon as possible; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Police Brutality

Many people think that giving cameras to police will solve all the problems with complaints about excessive use of force.  They will not.  In fact, I think they will only make them worse.  What will happen is every use of force will be reviewed and anything that simply looks bad on camera will be another opportunity to complain.

The people rioting in the streets don't care about police brutality.  They want to disrupt the nation, burn down buildings, and steal a television and a pair of shows.  The people that care about police brutality attend public hearings, run for office, vote for candidates and lobby for support of effective policing, strong laws, and good schools.

They don't throw rocks at police and burn police cars thinking that such actions will make the streets safer.  They don't intimidate witnesses, make threats, and shoot at cops.  They don't ignore the physical evidence, the forensic analysis, the coroners reports and the grand jury testamentary.  They educate themselves about what happened and they take legal action in accordance with the law; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Don't Take a Camera From This Man

President Obama is asking for tens of millions of dollars to be spent on cameras for police.  Law enforcement is a local duty.  If President Obama wants video on police, he can put it on the FBI, the uniformed Secret Service, the Park Police, the Border Patrol and any other Federal Agency he wants to wear cameras.

It is not the job, the duty, or the business what local police wear.  It is not the duty of the Federal Government to fund local police.  No agency should accept these cameras.  I am certain that if they do there will a host of rules and regulations to go with them.  There always are when the Feds pay for something.

Local agencies and their local governments should decide if they want cameras or not.  If they want them, then budget the cameras and let local taxpayers pay for them.  Too often the Federal Government uses their money to get their way with local agencies and that should stop.  The people of Tennessee, New York, Wyoming, or Iowa don't need someone in Washington, D.C. telling them how to run their police department; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Love Being A Cop

I love being a Cop is a positive Facebook page for law enforcement.  It is an opportunity to share experiences, problems, jokes, questions, and comments with other police officers, present, and former.

No cop haters are allowed and it's run by a great guy that I used to work with here in California who has since moved to Free America.  It's a closed group so you won't be bombarded with spam and problem posts.

Mention you heard about it here and are a reader of SGT Says.  So come and visit us there; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Always behave as if you are on camera.  Between security cameras, police cameras, cell phone cameras, news media cameras you are likely on camera.  Nearly everywhere in the world you are on camera in some way.

If you don't want your mother, wife, daughter, watch commander, and priest to see what you are doing, then don't do it.  There are too many officers out there doing stupid things because they think no one is watching or listening.

Everyone is watching and listening.  How many times have you seen a video of an officer saying or doing something stupid on video because he did not think he was being filmed?  You are always being filmed so act like it all the time.  This means verbal commands are more important than ever.  Express what you want the suspect to do and give a reasonable time for compliance.  Ask, tell, require; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Traffic Direction

Directing traffic can be dangerous.  I try to position my patrol car with all the lights going, directly in the path of at least some of the oncoming traffic.  That way they have to slow down to go around me and they are alerted to something happening ahead.

Keep your eyes moving.  Cars will go around barricades, go the wrong way, ignore you yelling and waving your arms.  You don't want to get run over so don't stand in front if cars if you can avoid it.  Look behind you and turn around often.

If you have a partner, be sure to communicate constantly with them.  Don't change the traffic flow without telling them what you are going to do first.  If you are not sure, or if things get confused, stop everything.  It's easier to sort it out of everyone is stopped.  Safety is more important than traffic flow; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Traffic Direction

Directing traffic can be a tiring job.  There are several techniques you can employ to make it easier on yourself.  First of all, position your unit and traffic cones or barricades as best you can to make the traffic flow where you want it to go.  Sometimes you can make the cars go where you want them without having to do anything else.

Don't wave your arms around unnecessarily.  Keep your hands below shoulder level.  The more you raise your arms, the more quickly you will get tired.  Wear white gloves if you have them.  Get a light cone for your flashlight so you can direct traffic at night.  Visibility is important.

Only wave cars through the intersection once, if they are moving there is no need to wave at them a second time.  You will only tire yourself out.  Use your whistle to get peoples attention.  You will go hoarse yelling at people in cars because they often can't hear you over the rolled up windows, air conditioning and music.  Sometimes you have to direct traffic for hours, any little advantage pays off, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Active Shooter

A gunman tried to set the Mexican consulate on fire and shot more than 100 rounds in downtown Austin, Texas recently.  The police eventually shot and killed the suspect.  Are you ready to respond to this type of incident?

Clearly this suspect was determined to kill people and was ready to take on the police.  Still, the police were able to respond quickly and take him down.  When faced with an active shooter in a public place it can be difficult to find him and determine where he is at at any given moment.

All he has to do is throw down his gun and take off his jacket to blend in with anyone in the crowd.  Identification of the suspect apart from the bystanders will be one of the most difficult parts of the response. It would also be easy to drive right past him if he is moving around in a downtown area.  Get good information from dispatch and then from responding units.  Most people will be running away from the suspects and seeking cover.  Look for the person who is not doing that; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, December 5, 2014


Your agency likely has a policy manual.  Everything in that manual is there for a reason.  Sometimes it's there because it's a good idea.  Show up to work on time.  Sometimes it's to comply with the law.  Not sexually harass the other employees.  Sometimes it's because they don't want you to do something.  Don't use a chokehold.

It is your job to know your department manual, but typically, departments don't always do a good job of making the manual available to officers.  Most of us know much of what is in the manual, it's the same for most jobs.  Show up in uniform, on time, every day you are scheduled.

Other policies are more obscure, but don't need to be memorized; you get 8 hours sick pay for every 500 hours worked.  Other polices are more critical and should be reviewed frequently.  Use of force policy, pursuit policy, weapons policies.  Do you know what your pursuit policy is?  Do you have it memorized?  Does everyone else on your shift?  Maybe you need to do some training if not; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Illegal and Homicide

"Garner, 43, was being arrested for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on July 17 when New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed him in an illegal chokehold. The medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide, but the grand jury said Wednesday it would not indict Pantaleo."

This paragraph is typical of the anti-police news media bias.  Officer Pantaleo did not do anything illegal.  The "chokehold" is not illegal.  New York City Police Department policy forbids the use of a chokehold.  So at most, Officer Pantaleo was acting outside of police department policy.

By using the word "illegal" the media are either ignorant or they are lying.  In either case, they are being inflammatory against the officer, because his use of a chokehold was not illegal.  The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, which is true.  However, homicide only means the deceased was killed by another person.

The use of homicide in this article gives the impression to the average person that the deceased was murdered, as most people equate homicide with murder.  Murder is the felonious killing of another human being.  Homicide is the killing of one human by another, and is not always illegal.  Articles like this are one reason why people riot, the media leads them to believe crimes have been committed, when they have not been; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


How do you deal with stress?  Every day on the job you have a little bit of stress.  I read that just putting on the body armor and uniform and gun will cause your blood pressure to go up.  I have also been told that you may have a heart attack from work stress as much as 24 hours after your work day is over.

Don't medicate your stress with alcohol.  In the long term it will only make it worse.  Don't medicate your stress with illegal drugs, it will kill your career if you are found out, and by if, I mean when you are found out.

Try to get a full nights sleep before each work day.  Try and eat decent meals, even on work days.  Try and get some exercise a few times per week.  Even once a week is better than none at all.  Try to have a diversion to take your mind off of work, collect stamps, toy soldiers, sail a boat, or go surfing; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Body Cameras

President Obama is talking about providing police with more body cameras.  I think this is a waste of money and resources.  People who don't like the police will take the few incients that are vague or where the police look bad and blow them up out of proportion to their numbers.

In the United States every year the police kill about 600 people.  The vast majority are justifiable homocides.  Just over 100 police officers are killed every year in the line of duty, about half are the result of deliberate murder of a peace officer.

Doctors kill a couple hundred thousand people per year due to malpractice, yet President Obama is silent on that issue.  Who is in more need of cameras, police or doctors?  Law enforcement is a local responsibility.  If President Obama wants police to wear cameras, maybe he should get as job as a mayor or chief of police; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Who Do We Blame?

Who is to blame for all the foolish things we see happening in police work in the USA today?  Blame the people who elect stupid politicians like Bloomberg who make selling a 32 oz soda a crime. Blame stupid politicians who won't enforce the death penalty. 

Blame politicians who make stupid laws that police have to enforce, like making it illegal to sell a few loose cigarettes because the tax per pack it very high. Blame the cities who won't pay enough to attract quality officers. Blame the states who won't require police academies to do realistic training. Blame the big government police unions who defend every crooked cop. 

There are 700,000+ cops in the country and the vast majority do a great job. 1% are stupid, foolish, corrupt and have no business being cops, but that's still a lot of people.  Do a better job of training your partners.  Don't let them do anything stupid, if you see them making a mistake, jump in and save them from themselves; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


If you did not write it down, it did not happen.  My agency no longer does paper daily activity reports.  In fact the officers don't keep any kind of log.  Unless you take paper, get dispatched to something or write a ticket there is little evidence you even came in to work.

Dispatch, however, does log everything you tell them on the radio.  So I make it a point to try and contact them at least every 30 minutes with something of value.  Make a traffic or pedestrian stop.  Go out on an open garage door, or other suspicious circumstance.

Do a foot patrol of a local business, or even just walk up to the counter of a shop and say hello.  Do a drive in of the golf course, or one of the parks, just to let them know I am out and around and patrolling.  Sometimes I just give the hundred block of the street and let them know I am extra patrolling the area.  This is particularly good if there has been recent crime on that block; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fleet Management

I used to be in charge of a fleet of patrol vehicles.  Every officer, every shift had to do a full inspection of his patrol car. That included all the fluids, oil, radiator, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield wiper fluid.  I kept a supply of each on hand and they had to add them as needed.

I made a deal with a local car wash and anytime a patrol car was dirty the officer only had to drive in and sign a sheet to verify the wash was done.  No one was allowed to drive a dirty car.  The fleet looked good and officers had clean window glass.  Every beat was assigned a full time car and a part time car.  The beat supervisor was responsible for keeping them in good shape, and reporting any problems.  By having assigned cars, the same people drove them frequently and could tell if there was a problem.

Officers had a checklist to use to insure there were flares, a fire extinguisher, a full size spare tire, jack, and lug wrench, and first aid kit.  Officers could go to the storage room and get a replacement any time theirs was out of service.  It helps keep your cars in good shape if everyone can keep their car running right; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Current Events

How many friends do you have that are not cops?  Do you have friends at church?  Do you go to church?  Do you tell your friends you are a cop?  Have you stayed away from relatives because you are a cop and don't want to here them complain about cops in the news?

If you don't have non-police friends then who will tell the public the truth about police work?  If you don't go to church then who will show the people who go to church about the peacemakers?  If you don't want to engage in conversations about your profession, then who do you think they will talk to about police work?

Recently I have had several conversations in person and on line about several high profile police incidents. I made it a point to read up on what happened from a number of sources so I could get a pretty good idea about the full facts of the incidents.  Then I stuck to those facts and to those specific incidents and explained the law, the agency policy and the standard of reasonableness, and finally asked the other person for options.  I think I did a good job of education, even if I did not actually change everyone's mind, I at least made them think. Sometimes that's enough of a start; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Off Duty

Do you carry a gun off duty?  Where do you carry it?  Is it in the car?  In your briefcase?  Can you get to it quickly?  Do you only carry it when you think you will need it?  How good are you at predicting the future?

Do you carry extra handcuffs off duty?  Do you carry extra ammo?  Do you carry a phone so you can communicate?  Do you wear body armor off duty?  Do you have a way to identify yourself off duty?  Do you carry a badge and ID card?  How about a raid jacket?

I carry a gun all the time off duty if I am outside my house and off my property.  I keep extra ammo, handcuffs and a raid jacket in my car.  I carry a cell phone to call for help.  My first intention is to call for help and be a good witness.  Only if there is a major threat to safety do I have any intention to get involved more that that; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


We have all seen the comedy routine where a city working shows up at a curb an installs a no parking sign.  Then a cop rolls up and writes a citation for illegal parking for a car that was parked there prior to the sign installation.

Does this happen in your beat?  We have a policy of not ticketing or towing unless the sign has been up for at least three days.  When we have an event, like a parade or a road race we have the city crews put the signs up three to four days ahead of time.

Then about two days ahead of time we have an officer go by and insure the signs are up and in the right place.  We want to be able to say we gave everyone a chance to move their cars before they had to be towed.  Even then we will run the license plates, honk the airhorn and even go door knocking rather than cite or tow a car on a temporary no parking zone.  We really don't want people to have an excuse when we tow their car away; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


It is an unusual year that a police officer in America does not have his gun taken away and used to kill him, often from inside the holster. Brown was wanted for robbery and he attacked the officer, punching him in the face and running away only after the officer shot at him. How many times can you be punched in the face before you pass out and are helpless? 

The officer chased Brown to arrest him and only shot at him again when Brown turned and charged at him. Six witnesses testified under oath that the officer shot in self defense. All of the rounds the officer fired were probably fired in less that two seconds after Brown started to charge him. Police are trained to shoot until the threat stops, it does not stop until the suspect decides to stop. 

There were over 110 police officers killed in the line of duty in America this year, can you name any of them?  The news media does a poor job of showing America the true face of violence in our nation.  Too often the thug is the focus rather than the innocent victim or the hero; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Choosing a new handgun can also be an opportunity to construct a full weapons system.  Many handguns like the Glock, have both full size and compact versions.  The advantage is that if your duty weapon gets taken, dropped, lost, damaged, you can continue the fight with your compact gun.  The compact gun will accept the full size magazines and allow the individual to fight on.

Guns can also increase in size, you may be able to find a carbine that will take the same size magazines as the duty weapon, and operate in the same caliber.  This gives greater range and accuracy than the regular handgun.  Three guns, same magazines and same caliber.

Finally, think about cleaning kits and how hard or easy the guns are to clean.  Look into the availability of magazines.  Each officer should have at least five magazines for his duty weapon, and two for his back up gun.  Sometimes magazines can be expensive, or hard to get.  There is a lot to think about with a new duty gun; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


When looking for a duty handgun, look for things beyond the initial purchase of the guns.  Can you get factory authorized armorers training?  Can you get a supply of spare parts so your armorers can fix any broken guns?

Can you get holsters in the style and color your department authorizes?  New guns especially often don't have duty holsters from all the major companies.  Don't forget holsters for use by your tactical teams, bike patrol, boat patrol, K-9 handlers and other special units that use a particular duty holster.  Also your detectives and off duty carry will require holsters too.

Don't forget transition training to the new weapon for all those who will carry the new weapon.  It does not matter how similar it is to the old weapon, transition training needs to be done so that the officer will be fully able to deploy the weapon.  Plan on extra ammo for that training too.  Along with that, does your duty ammo come in a caliber that you use?  New guns mean more expenses; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Duty Handgun

A duty handgun should be totally reliable under the conditions you intend it use it.  Officers seldom like to clean their guns and so you have to inspect them from time to time.  That means you need to have a staff of armorers who can check out the guns and do minor repairs.  Armorers should be trained by the company that makes the gun.  They should be re-certified as often as the maker says they need retraining.

Duty handguns should not be brand new designs.  As tempting as being cutting edge technologically may be, guns are not fully broken in until they have been carried on duty by either a large military force in combat or a number of large police departments have used them for a few years.

Sometimes hidden defects or poorly designed features are not obvious until the guns have either had some wear or been fired many times or carried by a large number of people.  After a few years of service, most gun makers will review their designs and update them in response to reports from the field.  You don't want to field a gun with a hidden flaw that appears at a bad time; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Best Handgun

What is the best handgun to use?  The best handgun is the one that suits your purpose, perfectly.  To discover the best handgun, answer some important questions.  A duty firearm for a large department should have adjustable grips so that officers large and small can hold the weapon properly and easily.

A duty firearm should be at least .38 special or 9mm in caliber.  Larger calibers are good too, but there are extreme handgun calibers that are not appropriate for duty weapons, like the various .50 caliber handguns.

Firearms for personal defense, on or off duty, should be manufactured by a reputable firearms maker.  They should be made in the USA for American law enforcement, so that parts and repairs can be made easily and quickly.  You don't want to have to wait for a spring to come from Sweden or Brazil to fix your gun.  American taxpayer dollars should be used to buy products made in America; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Best Handgun

What is the best handgun?  That is like asking what is the best automobile?  The best handgun depends on many factors.  One of those factors depends on what you are going to do with the handgun. 

Just as you would not use a Corvette to move a piano, you don't use a .380 as a duty weapon.  Will the weapon be carried in the open or concealed?  Will the weapon be for your personal use or will it be a standard for a large and diverse group of people?

Navy SEALS can be expected to be large men, who train frequently and who will take excellent care of their weapons.  They will practice until they get the maximum performance out of their firearms.  They will need guns that can get wet and that will withstand extreme conditions of weather and temperature.  The best gun for them, may not be the best gun for you; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Modern handguns are generally revolvers, semi-automatic and high capacity.  Typical handguns for the last 100 years include the S&W Model 19 dates from 1899 and is still in production.  M1911 dates from about 1911 and is still in production and the Glock 17 dates from 1982.

These are the military and police style handguns that would be popular in the USA and much of the Western world the last 100 years.  Other handguns are similar in design, range and accuracy.  All three weapons have a range of about 50 yards with a skilled shooter. 

The revolver holds about 6 rounds and is the slowest to reload.  The semi-auto holds a couple more rounds but is usually faster to reload.  The high capacity will hold 12 to 20 rounds depending on the specific model.  It can be reloaded as fast as the semi-auto.  Under most conditions these three classes of handgun are not that different.  I am an expert in all three and the shooter is the greatest variable; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Walking Around

When patrolling residential neighborhood look for things that appear out of place.  Very small children outside after dark, particularly if they are not really dressed.  Sometimes little children wander away.  Sometimes they open the door and go outside when everyone else is asleep.

Dogs running loose can be a safety hazard in many ways.  They might bite someone.  Drivers might run them over or swerve to avoid hitting them and crash into someone else.  Contact animal control and in the meantime perhaps you can round them up or notify the owners.

People carrying unusual burdens.  When was the last time you walked down the street carrying a television set or a full pillowcase?  Burglars often steal televisions and pillow cases make great bags for loot.  Those folks are probably good for at least a field interview card, if not an arrest.  You can see a lot by just looking; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Crime or Irritation?

All over the nation cities and states are passing silly laws and expecting the police to enforce those laws.  No skateboarding in the school parking lot after school.  No leaf blowers that use gasoline.  No construction before 7:00 a.m.  No 32 ounce carbonated beverages can be sold in the city.

Not everything that is a good idea should be a law.  People drive cars, have children, vote, join the Army and do all kinds of very resonsible things every day.  I don't believe that the government needs to be involved in the mircomanagement of everything people do with their lives.

As police we get tasked with enforcing these laws. Then when someone becomes irate about it, we are suddenly the bad guys for doing our jobs.  Perhaps before any law becomes law, responsible legislators will ask local law enforcement if this is a good idea or not?  I did not become a cop so I could enforce law that are not only victimless crimes, but in many cases hardly come to the level of minor irritation; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


What do you look for when on patrol in a residential neighborhood?  Open garage doors, open house doors and open gates can all mean trespassers or even burglaries and home invasions.  Stop, notify dispatch and investigate.  Be ready for anything, but also be aware that the most likely scenario is that the homeowner left the gate or door open.

Look for cars with the keys in the trunk or the door look.  Cars in the driveway sometimes have the car keys in the trunk.  Busy housewife comes home from the store and has to deal with bringing in the packages and the kids and just gets distracted.  That makes it easy for a car thief to steal that car. 

Don't assume the owner will be back.  Sometimes I just stop in front of the driveway and wait for a minute and usually the owner will return.  If they don't I either honk the air horn or park and walk up to the house to tell them the keys are in the car or their trunk is open.  I don't remove the keys or close the trunk.  It's just another way to show people they get value for their police services; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Crooks and Good Guys

If you keep your public happy, they are more likely to trust you.  If your public trust you, they are more likely to support you when you ask for a raise in pay.  If they trust you and something bad or questionable happens they are more likely to either side with your agency or forgive the mistake.

Some officers drive around with a frown on their face and the only time they contact the public is when they respond to a call for service or stop someone to write them a ticket.  Every contact they have is at best professional and neutral or hostile.

Those officers end up disliking people and hating their jobs.  They are not much fun to be around.  Sometimes I think they are likely the ones to be involved in bad police work.  When you see everyone as a threat, rather than as a person, it's easy to react to threats that are not there or overreact to real threats.  Not everyone is a crook, even in the worst neighborhoods; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Open Garage

The agency I work for does predictive policing.  We field an extra officer to provide extra patrol were the computers say crime is predicted to happen again.  I sometimes work this detail.  I usually does not take the whole shift to perform the extra patrol, so I always do a few extra things.

When cruising the residential areas where burglaries have happened recently, I look for opportunities to speak to people.  If I see an open garage door, it could provide access to a burglar.  An attached garage door is an open invitation for a burglar to enter, close the door behind him and use the garage tools to open the door to the house.

I call off to dispatch that I am out checking on the open garage and then after a quick check, it could be a burglar after all, I knock on the door.  I explain to the resident that the open garage is an invitation to burglary and advise them or recent crime trends in the neighborhood.  The typical reaction is a very happy homeowner; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eye Protection

A friend of mine sent me this photo of a Glock.  It has apparently suffered a cataclysmic internal explosion.   The original caption said it was the result of reloading ammo.  I suspect that is true.  Som people who reload ammo have little or know idea about the kinds of pressures that can build up in a bullet.  Unless you know a lot about ammo, reload to factory specifications.  Better still, use only factory ammo in your duty guns, even for practice.

This exploded gun is a Glock, but this happens to all kinds of guns, even those without any plastic in them at all.  This is one reason why we always wear eye protection at the range, even if someone else is shooting.  An explosion powerful enough to blow this gun apart is powerful enough to send bits pretty far to hit your eye.

I have even been wearing eye protection on patrol.  A traffic collision may result in glass in your face.  A shooting on duty might result in a need for eye protection.  Wear quality eye protection to insure it can take a hit from something like this; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


In Long Beach, CA a DHS agent pulled a gun and shot his supervisor.  A second DHS agent fought for his gun, and then ended up having to kill the initial shooter.  A deadly force incident that involved blue on blue workplace violence.

In this incident it took over a year for the officer to be cleared of any wrongdoing.  Why does it have to take so long in investigations like this?  A simple three minute discussion of what happened would clearly indicate that the officer did nothing wrong and is in fact a hero.

Justice delayed is justice denied.  This officer had to face the stress of having to fight for his life twice.  Not only to save himself in the initial attack, but then again in the legal battle.  This legal battle was at least quick compared to many others.  We need to be doing a better job of streamlining the legal system; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


How secure is you department data network?  How secure is your city data network?  One tactic in use now by criminals, terrorists, anarchists, and foreign governments are now using against organizations in the United States is to hack their data networks.

Do you want criminals to have your home address?  Your HR department has that information, along with the dependents listed on your health insurance coverage.  How would your wife like to receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from your department saying you were killed in the line of duty?  That's one of the things criminals can do with this information to harass you.

If they have your home address they can shoot at your home, or your family as you come and go.  They can vandalize or even burn down your house.  They can plant a bomb in your car to blow up when you start your vehicle.  Most local agencies have poor data security and most city governments are even worse.  Many experts recommend passwords for your computer that are at least 11 characters and even more is better.  How many of you have 1234 as your password?  Computer hacking is changing crime; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Chop Chop

How do you defend yourself against a man with a hatchet?  A radical Muslim man attacked four New York City cops with his hatchet.  He injured two officers and the other two killed the suspect with gunfire.

A man with an edged weapon is very dangerous.  They don't run out of ammo.  They don't jam.  They don't malfunction.  Edged weapons only suffer from the need to be at close range.  A hatchet does have more range than the average knife.

A hatchet will also cut off an arm, or break bones; the head can be very heavy.  I think that the only reasonable way to deal with a man with a hatchet is to shoot him until he is no longer a threat.  Distance or some barrier may provide some protection, but once the protection is breached, batons, and arrest control techniques would likely be futile; that's the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Violent Attack

If you are in a fight for your life, do what you have to do in order to survive.  While the nature of police work is such that you might have to be involved in dangerous situations, there is nothing that says you have to submit to injury or death.

I carry a knife on my belt and another one in my pocket.  The one on my belt is in the rear, on the right.  The one in my pocket is on my left and in the front.  If I am struggling with someone and I need a weapon, I can extract either knife with one hand and open it with one hand.

I have taken classes in knife fighting and so I am skilled in my use of the weapons.  I also train with them so that I keep my skills up.  I don't want to hurt anyone, but I want to get hurt even less.  When faced with a violent attack, your actions have to be reasonable, but it is not reasonable to allow a criminal to kill you; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Stick It

Since the Rodney King event, the baton seems to have gone out of favor with many officers and agencies.  Still a good old stick is a good persuader of men.  Too often we leave our batons in the car and when we need it, it’s not there.

Every time you get out of the car, try to take your baton with you.  There are so many kinds of batons in use now that it’s hard to say you have a good excuse for not having on.  The collapsible ones can be worn on the belt all the time and take up very little space.

I wear a wooden baton and I try and take it with me every time I an outside the car.  Even on a report call, you never know when something will appear or spill over from another incident.  You can’t use it if you don’t have it; that’s what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pepper Balls

Pepper balls are an interesting less lethal weapon.  It is similar to a paint ball gun, but rather than paint, the gun fires pepper balls.  Spheres that are filled with OC; or solid plastic balls are their projectile choices.  

The spheres hurt when the suspect gets hit with one and the OC can help to blind and incapacitate him too.  The range is much farther than just OC spray, and it works very well in a small space like a car.  The pepper balls can be fired in quick succession and can fill up a car with OC.

The solid projectiles are good for breaking car or home window glass.  They are also painful when they hit a suspect.  This is a good tool to use against rioters or people armed with a potentially deadly weapon like a knife, or stick, or in a standoff situation where officers with firearms are able to engage as needed.  It is a good addition to the tactical tool box; that’s what the SGT Says.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Individual Riot Control

Some items we think of as usable for riot control, can actually be useful when faced with an individual suspect.  A single suspect armed with a deadly weapon, but in a standoff is very dangerous.  Typically, we respond with deadly force, and rightfully so.

Still there may be other options we should not overlook.  A suspect with a knife in a parking lot might be hard to hit with a stream of pepper spray, but perhaps a couple tear gas grenades, like those used against rioters, might be useful.

Withdraw a few officers and have them don their gas masks.  Then have them go forward and replace those on the line without masks.  Those officers in turn don their masks and return with tear gas grenades.  Toss a few grenades at the suspect and envelop him in gas.  It may incapacitate him enough that he will drop his weapon and can be taken into custody without injury.  Look for other options to deadly force when you can; that’s what the SGT Says.