Monday, March 31, 2014

Medical Marijuana

In California a patient with a valid marijuana card is permitted to possess small amounts of marijuana for medical purposes.  A patient is permitted to possess eight ounces of of dried marijuana and six mature or twelve immature marijuana plants.  Their caregiver can also posses marijuana and plants for their patient.  A caregiver can be anyone, even just a friend.

The patient is supposed to have a medical marijuana card in their possession.  The card is supposed to have the signature of a physician licensed to practice in the State of California.  The card has the amount of marijuana the patient is allowed to have and a picture of the patient.  

This law is filled with loopholes and essentially allows anyone to possess and smoke marijuana for any reason.  The physicians who prescribe marijuana frequently prescribe it for essentially any purpose from loss of appetite to depression.  Of course, almost anyone can meet these criteria.  It’s all been a massive scam to prevent any significant tax burden on the marijuana industry, and to allow the maximum number of people to smoke dope all day, legally; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Robert Koga

Robert Koga was a pioneer in the field of arrest control techniques for law enforcement.  As police work became more professional, many realized that simply using a club to beat down every arrestee that wanted to fight was a poor response.  Often officers were hurt and it was easy to use excessive force on such a suspect.

Robert Koga developed the Koga technique and founded the Koga Institute to provide officers with training and equipment that would enable them to do a better and more effective job.  If officers are highly skilled in arrest and control techniques they are less likely to have to harm a suspect and less likely to get hurt while making an arrest.

Robert Koga passed away, but his legacy lives on in the Koga Institute.  Others have learned his techniques and are continuing to train them to new officers.  It is important that we remember where we came from and how we got here so we don't continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.  Many agencies would do well to be better trained and the Koga Institute is a good place to start; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Flashlights can give away your position.  Suspects can shoot at your lighting.  If you have a gun mounted flashlight your lighting will always be aligned with you.

Turning the lights on in the room you are checking is better than using your flashlight.  You will have both hands free and you don't become so much of a focused target.

If you have to use your flashlight, turn it on for a short period, even seconds, and then turn it off and move.  Use the light at different locations around your body.  Hold it high, or low, or medium height.  You may even want to use a low power setting on your light if you have one.  Light is very useful, but it can also be useful to your suspects; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Suspect Armor

A man murdered someone, then set his house on fire.  The man then left the scene and kidnapped two men at gunpoint, forcing them into a car trunk.  The two men later managed to escape.  The man had previously been arrested for possession of drugs, guns and body armor.  The man was released without charges.

The man then drove out of state into California where he tried to shoot a man in a store.  The civilian grabbed his gun and after a brief exchange of gunfire the suspect fled.  Police found the suspects vehicle and chased him at over 100 miles per hour.  Eventually the suspect stopped and police exchanged gunfire and both an officer and the suspect were killed.

While I believe that it should be legal for anyone who wants to own bodyarmor to own it, I do see more and more suspects wearing or possessing armor.  Keep in mind that most handgun bullets won't penetrate body armor but most patrol rifles and shotgun slugs will penetrate soft body armor easily.  Another good reason to take your long gun if you suspect a potentially armed suspect; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Police were called to a mountainside to deal with a suspicious homeless mentally ill man who was armed with two knives.  The officers spent hours talking to him and fired both stun guns and bean bags at him.  Eventually they fired six rounds at him and killed him.

The chief of police said the shooting was justified and the mayor called it horrific.  There are cries for an independent investigation of the incident.  The Federal Government is already investigating the police department for their use of force.

I think the Federal Government has no business investigating the police department.  Policing is a local government task and should be handled by local government.  If there is a problem with a local government then the county should handle the investigation.  If there is a problem with county sheriffs then the state should investigate.  Only if state police are corrupt should the Federal Government investigate; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sailor, Hero

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mark Mayo, a military policeman at Naval Station Norfolk was murdered while trying to protect his shipmates and his ship.  A civilian approached the ship and was confronted by security forces.  The civilian took a gun away from one of the security forces and Mary Mayo was shot and killed by the civilian, saving another sailor in the process.  The civilian was killed by security forces.

Police need to guard their own firearm at all times.  Even the most routine contact in a secure location can result in a shooting, as seen here.  Always try to stand with your firearm away from anyone you contact.  Keep your duty sidearm snapped in or your hand on it, preferably both.

Have a plan if you need to fight over your handgun.  I carry a back up gun and a knife.  I am confident that I can reach at least one of them in almost any struggle for my handgun.  Even a ball point pen from your shirt pocket can be used to stab a suspect in the eye while you fight over your pistol.  An attempt to obtain your duty gun is an attempt to murder you; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

BASE Jumping

Three thrill seekers jumped off the new world trade center site in New York City, aided by another person on the ground.  They were BASE jumpers looking for a thrill of parachuting off a building.  The problem is that they could have injured people on the ground, or they could have been caught up on something and required rescue.

People post videos of this type of thrill seeking activity on line all the time.  Jumping off bridges, leaping off cliffs, falling off buildings, all for the fun of it.  Many times people see these videos and are impressed with the daredevil actions of the jumpers.

They forget that these people are not only endangering themselves, but endangering others.  They forget that police, and paramedics and other rescue personnel must often take dangerous risks in order to save foolish people who did something dangerous that did not end well.  People who take these types of foolish risks deserve to be prosecuted; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Avoid backlighting in a low light environment.  We make an easy target when we are backlit.  You look just like a silhouette target on the range when standing in a doorway with the lights behind you.  Turn the lights off behind you, or move low and fast through a doorway. 

You can also dominate the room you are entering with light.  You and your partner can use gun mounted lights or hand held lights to illuminate the interior and to make the doorway a lighted area so that your body is not actually silhouetted.   

Turn lights on in a room you are about to enter, light switches are nearly always just inside the doorway.  Light can be a strong ally or a great foe.  Always consider lighting and use it to your advantage; that’s what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cuff Key

Photo: Attention all Officers... Keep your eye's                    open for these tiny cuff keys. Be extra thorough on                    your pat downs. Please help spread the word and share                    this post.

When you search a suspect do you do such a good job that you would catch this little handcuff key?  Handcuff keys are very small to begin with and this particular one is designed to be hidden from detection. 

It clips to a belt look, as in the lower photo.  The handcuff key can be used by a suspect to get out of their handcuffs while in custody.  A suspect who unhandcuffs himself in the back of a patrol can can present quite a surprise to an officer who goes to remove a suspect from a vehicle cage.

The officer could be ambushed, even have his weapon taken.  Not only do you have to do an excellent search, you have to be on guard from an attack by the suspect all the time, even after they have been handcuffed.  A combative suspect might be very hard to search well, and they might get such a cuff key past you; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


While adjusting my gear, I moved my handcuffs to the front of my Sam Browne, near my handgun.  I have been considering this for a while and since I was getting a new holster, it seemed a good time to put the handcuffs in front.

The concept of wearing the handcuffs in front solves several problems.  Wearing the handcuffs in back can be uncomfortable.  It can even lead to long term damage to the back by wearing that big solid lump in the small of the back.  It can even lead to injury if you are pushed or fall backwards onto the cuff case.

The other thing is that it is unlikely that you will need to point your gun at someone and handcuff them at the same time.  So having the handcuffs in front is a reminder to put your gun away to prevent a sympathetic discharge of your handgun.  Even if you have to use your gun and grab your handcuffs, they still can be reached by your left hand; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 21, 2014

No Gun Light

I changed my equipment up a bit today.  I got a new holster.  That is to say, I got a replacement for my old holster.  I gave up the handgun mounted light.  Frequently it would not work, the bulb was broken or burned out, the batteries were dead, or it just did not work. 

I found the tactical idea of searching with the gun out and the light on to be a poor tactics because you invariably end up using your gun as a flashlight and not as a weapon.  So a new holster was needed to hold the Glock 22 without rail mounted light.

My small Pelican light will do for illumination and since we always train with our hand held lights I don't see any transition issues.  It is probably going to work out just fine and the added weight on my belt from the flashlight will not be missed; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


I have changed from the expandable side handle baton to the full size side handle baton.  The expandable seems too slow to get out of the carrier.  It also seems slow to expand and get into action.  I think the ability to get the baton out and get it going is a time critical activity. 

The full size baton is also smooth it's whole length.  I prefer that when going through the motions of training with the baton.  The join of the two pieces of the expandable baton was never comfortable in my hand.

While, in theory, the expandable baton should always be on the belt, in practice I have had it slide around and even fall out of the carrier on a few occasions.  While I won't likely be able to wear the single piece baton in the car, at least I won't expect it to be on my side and find it has fallen out, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Too Heavy

My gear belt is too heavy.  It wears on my hips too much when I am standing around on a detail for hours and hours.  I wear leather rather than nylon.  I know nylon is much lighter and there is even faux leather than can look nice but I prefer as much of my gear to be real leather as possible.

I am eliminating my handgun mounted light.  I have never been happy with it's unreliable nature and decided a while back to get rid of it when it stopped working again.  That, and the new holster will save a bit of weight.

My expandable side handle baton with the fancy carrier is going away too.  I am going back to a simple ring and a PR-24.  The fancy carrier keeps popping open and getting twirled around when trying to enter and exit the tiny police cars we use.  At least with a simple ring and stick I can put the baton alongside the seat and take it when I exit.  It should also save a little weight too; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Police Shoot Unarmed Boy or Not

Someone recently posted a video on Facebook with a headline that said "police shoot unarmed boy."  I did some research into the incident and it turns out the "boy" was 19 years old.  Ask any 19 year old if he is a man or a boy and I suspect every one of them would say they are a man.  They are old enough to join the Army, and vote, and get married so I think that makes them a man.

The man was not unarmed.  In fact, the police reported the man shot at them and they were only returning fire.  A gun was recovered.  It's amazing to me that the media will report things without any basis in fact.

Other headlines said the man was wanted for failure to pay a $2 bus fare.  The initial contact was due to a failure to pay a bus fare.  The suspect then ran away so the officers were chasing him.  The suspect shot at the police.  If you shoot at the police you are likely to be shot at by the police.  Again the media has been misleading people about this event.  Also, this incident happened three years ago; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dog Shooting

Police were in foot pursuit of two suspect who entered into a yard occupied by two dogs.  The dogs protected their yard and one officer fired two rounds, killing one dog and injuring the other.  Needless to say the owners were very upset that their beloved pets are killed and injured by police.

There are many ways to both avoid being bitten by dogs and avoid having to shoot one.  Even if you shoot Cujo, you are going to have to face bad press from the dog shooting.  Avoiding a dog shooting is a good idea.  Use something as a barrier to keep the dog away, a trash can lid, a lawn chair, even your baton can keep a dog at bay.

Dogs hate pepper spray.  Spray it in their face, nose, and eyes.  The vast majority of dogs will ignore you after being sprayed by pepper spray and will be fine in an hour or less.  Dogs hate the Taser.  Remove the dart cartridge and just cause the contact mode to crackle.  Most dogs hate that sound and don't actually have to be shocked.  I have seen a German Shepherd run away and hide in the bathroom at that sound!  Don't shoot a dog unless it's a last resort; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I have been unhappy with police vehicles the last few years.  They are too small and too uncomfortable for a full size man.  I am over six feet tall and over 250 pounds.  Put all that gear on me and body armor and I am large and inflexible.  
It's hard for me to get in and out of many new patrol cars.  When I have my choice, I often take a truck.  I should not have to take a truck in order to have space to do my job.  Computers, cup holders, shotgun, patrol rifle, and all the other gear take up a lot of space.  
The baton should be on my belt, but I have had to go to a collapsible baton just to be able to wear it in the car.  Police need a nice wide vehicle with great handling, fast acceleration, heavy duty electrical, bullet proof front end and doors and great brakes.  I just don't see that in American police cars today; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chicago Police Shooting

Officers were serving a search warrant when one of the people inside fired a single shot and hit one officer in the forehead.  His partners rushed him to the hospital where he was treated.  The other officers made entry and arrested all six people inside without further incident.

When serving a search warrant, have a plan for action if an officer is hit.  If you cannot have paramedics standing by, then have an officer with first aid gear and the knowledge to use it.  Snatch and run is a valid tactic, grab the wounded officer, apply direct pressure to the wound, and run code three to the nearest emergency room.  Have the E/R made aware of the nature of the injury and standing by for treatment.

The other officers did not return fire, but managed their entry and arrest of the suspect.  This shows great restraint and professionalism on the part of the team.  In similar cases officers have returned a withering fire and would have killed or wounded all those inside.  Only shoot when you have identified your target and are sure of your background.  There are few occasions where blinding shooting into a building are a good idea; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Officer Suicide

Part of officer safety is to be able to retire at the end of your career without anything to worry about.  This officer at the very least did some questionable things and if the allegations are true he committed a terrible crime.  He had two 17 year old girls at his home for no obvious reason.  It's not has if they were friends of his daughter, or relatives who were visiting him.

After this visit, one of the girls claimed the off duty officer raped her.  The officer then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, at his home.  Officers should live lives that are not only free from criminal or unethical behavior, but also that don't have the taint of possible criminal behavior.

If you have under age girls visiting you at your home, there can be an implication that something improper is going on, even if it is not rape.  If you want to keep from giving the impression that there could be a problem, it is best to avoid such situations.  If you have a valid reason to meet these girls, then do it with their parents present, at the station, or in a public place; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Four officers from King City were arrested in a scheme to take cars away from their owners.  It is alleged that officers would impound a car, the owner could not pay the impound fees, and then the cops would get the cars for free or below market value.  The officers would make a lot of money doing this as the area was low income and many people did not have the money to get their cars out of impound.  The towing and impound company was owned by a relative of an officer.

This type of corruption is inexcusable.  It is an on-going criminal conspiracy, not unlike any street gang.  They used their authority as officers to steal peoples cars, just as if they were carjacking them.  While I am sure many of those who had their cars taken were justifiably stopped and their cars legally taken, the disposition of the cars is what makes this criminal.

I fully support the laws that take cars away from unlicensed drivers.  Taking cars from people who often are illegal aliens or licensed drivers who due to their various illegal driving convictions have lost their licenses saves lives.  Bad drivers kill people and traffic enforcement is important.  Officers who disgrace their badge in this manner only make it harder for the rest of us to do our jobs; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This morning police in New York City and over a 100 firemen responded to an explosion in Harlem.  First reports are the one person has been killed and dozens wounded in the blast.  At first no one knew what caused the blast and the incident is still under investigation, but some of the first witnesses said they smelled natural gas.  The gas utility was called and two of their trucks arrived just after the explosion.

When we read about an explosion, we naturally think terrorist, deranged teenager, active shooter, or industrial accident.  We sometimes forget that other things can cause explosions, that are less sinister, perhaps, but still dangerous.  Powder can explode, grain silos have huge explosive potential.  And natural gas, while a great energy source can also blow up if handled improperly.

Sometimes natural gas will be left on and just explode on it's own.  Once in a while a person will try and kill themselves by inhaling natural gas and that can frequently lead to an explosion.  And I have also read about criminals using a small bomb to explode a natural gas meter to distract first responders so they could commit crimes across town.  Not every bomb is a terror attack, but consider the worst possibility until you learn otherwise; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Students reports a suspicious package on campus.  Police responded and evacuated the area.  They used a robot to open the package and found nothing but clothing.  It was not a bomb, there was no terrorists, there was no danger.

Or was there?  Terrorists like to scope out scenes ahead of time.   Sometimes they do a dry run to see if they can enter a location and drop off a bomb or bring their weapons.  They like to test response times, and the effectiveness of the police.

The worst that can happen in an incident like this is that it is good practice for the police if they respond and it turns out to be nothing.  When responding to incidents like this, be aware of the people in the crowd, take their photographs and use this as an opportunity to gather intelligence.  You may identify a bomber before he bombs anyone; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Off Duty

Most of the time when some disturbed young man becomes an active shooter, he will kill himself rather than confront someone who can stop him.  This is important for us, because if we are able to confront an active shooter of this type, we can stop his rampage.

This is an excellent reason for us to carry our weapons when we are off duty.  Off duty officers have used their off duty guns to stop active shooters in the US in the past.  Since active shooter incidents are unpredictable in terms of time and location, you need your off duty gun with you all the time.

You could be at the bank, the mall, the movies or your son's high school.  You need to have your gun ready at all these locations to defend yourself, your family and others.  Many officers don't carry off duty.  Some work for agencies that discourage or even prohibit off duty carry.  Off duty carry is essential for your own and the public safety; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Larry the Cat
A cat named Larry went missing.  A police officer trapped the cat, shot it and then dumped the body.  This is apparently in violation of state and local laws that require cats be kept for at least three days so their owners can show up and claim them.

The article says the law about keeping dogs and cats for three days is routinely violated. Sounds like a problem with police supervision and management rather than individual officers. They maybe trying to scapegoat this officer to avoid a larger incident. 

If captured animals have to be put down, shooting is not they way to do that. Police should only shoot animals that are on the loose and a danger to public safety.  This is an animal control duty, not a police function, animal control is a very specialized job and should not be done by regular police; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Officers have a robbery suspect barricaded in a house.  The SWAT Team arrives and begins to deploy.  Then a pug dog shows up and distracts all seven of them from their jobs of watching the potentially deadly suspect.

Often in a major incident there will be unforeseen incidents happen.  This little dog is one of them.  One or two officers should be detailed to handle the problem and the others should stay focused on their job.  There are two ways they could have handled this problem dog.  They could have squirted it with pepper spray.  Dog's hate pepper spray and generally will run home once they are sprayed.

The other way to handle it is to have animal control come and get it.  If you have a barricaded suspect then you need animal control to be on site.  You may have to deal with the suspects dogs or neighbors dogs or other animals and having animal control there waiting is better than having to call them and wait 30 minutes for their arrival.  Or, train someone besides your canine handlers to be able to deal with dogs and give them the equipment to capture and contain them.  Just like we often per-position fire department, paramedics and others we need to have animal control there too; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Inside The Army's Spectacular Hidden Treasure Room

The Army runs a number of museums but they have more good stuff than they have museums to hold it all.  Does your agency run a museum?  If your agency is to have a sense of history, then they should run a police museum.  How will future generations know who their heroes are if we don't keep the data for them?

If you don't have money for a museum right now there are things you can do to keep artifacts intact while you wait for a museum.  Your local library or public records people can maintain old documents for you.  Your city may have a general museum and it can maintain some police museum items.

Your police association or reserve police or even retired police can staff a museum.  Your city may not be able to afford a proper museum but they could work with other agencies or even other police departments and create a regional police museum.  If we don't save our heritage, who will?  We should, that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


A pair of detectives were following a suspect in Phoenix, Arizona.  The suspect made them and drove away from them.  The suspect crashed his car into two others at an intersection.  The suspect jumped from his car and began shooting at the officers.  While both officers were hit, one of them killed, at least one of the officers returned fire and killed the suspect.

Neither officer was wearing his body armor.  A spokesperson for the department said that everything happened too fast for the detectives to don their armor.  I disagree.  Unless the officers were in some kind of undercover operation, they had time to put on their armor.  They could have put it on when they got dressed.

I commend the officer who returned fire.  It's very difficult to carry on the fight once you are wounded.  It's a brave and determined man who can return fire after being hit.  Still, officers come with all kinds of reasons why they don't need armor.  But like the spokesman said, officers don't have time to put on their armor in the event of a shootout; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Attacks on people that can be considered hate crimes are often very emotional for the reporting party, the suspects, the officer and other people involved.  The most important thing to remember is that officers need to be professional and dispassionate in their taking of such reports.  Everyone, no matter who are what they are deserves the same professional and competent police services. 

Anyone can be a victim of a crime and if anyone is victimized, no one is safe.  We have an obligation to our agency and our oath to conduct ourselves in the most ethical manner when dealing with all victims.  If we are having difficulty communicating, establishing a rapport, or gathering the proper victim and witness statements, it may be necessary to ask for another officer to assist you in the crime report. 

You may want to ask the victim or witness if they would like another officer, perhaps one of another gender, if available, to assist you with your investigation.  Some victims, especial children or sex crime victims, may feel more comfortable with a female officer.  Do what is needed to conduct a proper crime investigation for all victims; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, March 3, 2014


On patrol I carry two knives on my person.  One is a standard Buck knife.  It's a simple folding knife, probably close to forty years old.  Sharp as a razor.  If fits nicely in a Colt .45 single magazine ammo pouch.  I carry it right behind my handgun.  I have used it many times to jimmy open a gate, cut a piece of rope to make a dog leash, or tie a gate closed, or even open a box.

The other knife is a Buck folding tactical knife.  While I can open the two knives with only one hand, this one is designed for one hand opening.  I carry it on my left side, in my front pants pocket.  I can withdraw it with my left hand, and my intent is that it can be used to defend my duty pistol with my non-gun hand.

A knife can be an excellent weapon and a very useful tool.  Having the right knife and the ability to use it is important.  Few things can replace a knife when a knife is necessary.  The knife should be readily available and a knife should be ready for either hand to employ.  The knife should be very sharp, strong and a name brand.  I won't carry a knife made in Communist China; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gun Registration

Several states have passed laws to bad various rifles and firearms magazines.  They have also passed laws to require registration of these weapons.  Many, perhaps even most of the owners of these weapons and magazines have refused to register them and have refused to turn them in.

This happened years ago in California.  They passed an assault weapons registration bill that made possession of an unregistered assault weapon an infraction, a fine, but no jail time.  Some of these new laws require registration or make a felony out of the person who does not register the gun.

I think these laws are a bad idea and even unconstitutional.  They are a bad idea because these weapons are rarely used in crime.  They are a bad idea because they make criminals out of otherwise law abiding citizens.  Some states have talked about going door to door to collect unregistered weapons.  I think if this happens citizens and officers will be killed.  I think if very many are killed or if there are very many incidents of this type there could even be an organized armed resistance.  I think these laws are very dangerous particularly for this reason; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Shooting Training

Most officers who are shot are shot within a few feet of cover.  Most of them are shot when faced by multiple suspects.  Most shooting take place in only a few seconds, and most of the time only a few rounds are fired.

Police firearms training should generally reflect these realities.  In the last couple months we have been teaching officers to draw and shoot, rapidly while moving to cover.  They then reload and shoot again from cover.  They then reload and scan for additional suspects.

In the past we used to teach officers to fire one or two or even three rounds and then make an assessment of the suspect to see if he was still a threat.  If a real life shooting generally only takes three or four seconds then there is no time for reassessment.  While the officer is reassessing, the suspect could still be shooting.  Officers should be shooting until it is obvious that the suspect is no longer a threat; that's what the SGT Says.