Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Forest Search


A criminal ambushed and shot police in Pennsylvania, one was killed.  Now he is on the run from police.  I have no doubt he will be caught, dead or alive, probably dead is my guess.  I suspect he will fail to obey the commands of police and try to fight them and will be killed.   I suspect he will want it that way to avoid the humiliation of being taken to jail and going through a trial.

This suspect has attacked police and has left pipe bombs in the forest.  Pipe bombs that could have been found by cops, children, hikers or anyone.  He does not care for our society and does not care who he injures.

This is a dangerous criminal and I hope that the Pennsylvanian police can capture him without injury to himself or others.  The police need to take as long as it takes to track him down, and that can be expensive in overtime, stress, and disruption to the community.  People like him sometimes take hostages or hold up in someones home.  As long as he is loose the society is in danger; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 29, 2014

OC Spray

With all the press we get from shooting and Tasers these days officers need to remember the other tools on their belt.  OC spray is an excellent tool.  Like others it does not work in every instance.  Some circumstances are not conducive to it's employment, but it is still useful.

A simple can of OC spray can be used by a single officer against a group of people.  Even if the suspects are armed with knives or guns, the OC spray can be used to degrade the ability of the attackers.

Certainly I don't encourage the use of OC against a suspect with a deadly weapons facing a single officer, but if five officers have guns drawn, perhaps one can employ OC spray and hose down the suspect?  Consider you entire tactical tool box, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Just the Facts

A cop in Fergeson, MO has been shot.  They claim it is unrelated to the protests over the police shooting of Michael Brown.  How can they know this until they arrest the suspect and interrogate him? 

A man in Oklahoma apparently murdered a woman by cutting her head off, he is a Muslim, but the police say almost immediately it was not an act of terrorism.  It was an act of workplace violence they say, without speaking to the suspect.

We lose credibility when we make assertions without solid facts to back them up.  We lose respect when we say things that are obviously not true.  We lose people who otherwise support the police when we make statements before we conduct any kind of investigation.  Until you know the facts, only state what you do know; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Terror in OK


A possible act of terrorism happened in a small suburb of Oklahoma City.   This is a reminder to us that just as a potential active shooter incident was thwarted by South Pasadena PD detectives, terrible crimes can happen anywhere.  Simply because South Pasadena is a nice city with a low crime rate does not mean small towns are immune from crime.  

The apparent terrorist attack was also in a small town outside of Oklahoma City.  There is one school of thought that small towns are a prime target for terrorists because they are so unexpected.  Everyone thinks of NYC and Washington D.C. as potential terrorist attacks, not Anytown, USA.

Note also the officer who stopped the killer was an off duty reserve officer.  The officer was on site and was able to get a rifle from his vehicle in the parking lot and shoot the suspect.  Rapid response to an active shooter, or active murderer is critical to keep causalities to a minimum; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Not every agency can afford their own helicopter.  Still helicopters can be a great addition to many police agencies.  One way to be able to have air support is to partner with other agencies, pool your money and operate a join air team.

One agency should own and operate the aircraft.  That way there is complete responsibility for maintenance, training, and other safety related issues with the aircraft.  Other agencies can provide observers, dispatching, and money for the aircraft.

Sign a long term agreement with several local agencies to provide funds that will be used for a helicopter that will be on call, on a first come, first served basis, subject to call severity priority.  Work out all this before you obtain a helicopter.  Agencies working together to provide regional air support can provide greater public service and greater officer safety at a lower cost than doing it alone.  Take the high ground, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


One of the things to remember about police work is that people are watching what we do all the time.  It is a good idea to keep this in mind and think about how things will look to casual observers.  In Missouri the police have been dealing with an on-going civil unrest problem.

Often on the news we see photos of police with armored vehicles and patrol rifles standing near a group of protesters.  What exactly are armored cars and officers with patrol rifles expected to do with a crowd of people who are not carrying guns?  Armored cars and officers with SWAT gear are not ideal for riot control.  It is better to stage them a few blocks away at a school, or other open space where they can respond quickly but stay out of direct view of the public and the protesters.

Riot police need helmets, face shields, riot shields, and riot weapons.  OC spray canisters, pepper ball guns, bean bag shotguns, and tear gas launchers are proper weapons along with other less lethal weapons.  These officers should set up a reasonable distance from the protestors and limit their involvement until the protest becomes unlawful; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Many people wanted police to have cameras in their patrol cars and those are very common with many agencies now.   Today, many people want police to wear cameras on their bodies all the time.  If they become common place what will be next? 

There are many people who don't understand police work.  They think if they have a video recording of what the police are doing, they will understand why the police do everything they do in the field.  This is a false assumption.  Police work requires months, even years of training and then years of experience.

People may watch what he police officer is doing but it does not mean they see what he sees.  The police officer may interpret things differently than the average person because of his experience.  The police officer may be under stress and may miss things that the average person watching a video recording in the comfort of their own living room might see.  Video is not a magic bullet; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Time Off

Did you go to church today?  Did you spend time with the family?  Did you do something besides police work?  While good cops see police work as a lifestyle and a way if life, it can't be your whole life.

Someday you will have to retire, because you get hurt, or because you will be too old.  When you do, it's too late to meet the family, pick up a hobby or figure out what to do with the rest of your life.  I have known many officers who when they retired when right back to police work someplace else because they could not stand being retired.

Stress is very bad for your health.  Having police work on your mind all the time is not good for you.  You get days off and vacation days for a reason.  That reason is so that you can relax, decompress and have some time away from work.  Don't let be police work the only reason you live; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Holster

I got an Uncle Mike's inside the pocket holster for my Walter PPKS.  I carry it off duty.  It's nice and small and I can carry it all the time, everywhere no matter what I wear or where I go.  I shoot it really well and I am very accurate with it.

When you buy a new holster, practice with it.  I replaced my old identical holster with a brand new one, yet I still practiced with it.  I also read the instructions.  What appears to be identical may have an undetected difference.  What may be identical may have developed a new technique that is different from the original usage.

Run the gun in and out of the holster a few times.  Sometimes that may mean that you need to holster and re-holster a few hundred times to break in the leather.  You need to get the feel of the gun and the holster.  Even a perfect new holster that's just like the old one; that's what the SGT Says.

Michaels of Oregon, Co. info@uncle-mikes.com

Saturday, September 20, 2014

License Plate Scanners


Many agencies use license plate scanners to scan license plates and determine if a car is wanted for some reason.  These automated devices work very well to alert officers particularly to stolen cars that they might drive past on the road or in a parking lot.  I think it is a great piece of technology.

Like many new technologies there are some things that need to be decided about their use.  I think there are a few procedures that should be in place to insure the information is not misused.  First, the information should only be made available to police officers and other police employees who have official reasons to access the data.

The information should only be stored for as long as it is reasonable from a law enforcement perspective.  I think keeping the data for more than a year is not reasonable, unless it is for evidence.  I think after a year the data should be erased or the media destroyed in a secure manner.  The data should not generally be released to anyone, even the people who have been tracked, unless doing so serves a law enforcement purpose; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 19, 2014



ISIS terrorists had a plan in Australia to kidnap a person at random and then behead them on video.  They would release the video in a effort to terrorize people in Australia.  Police received intelligence about the terrorist operation and raided the terrorist locations and arrested fifteen people.

It seem inconceivable that in a modern, western, industrial society like Australia people would become radical Muslims and want to behead their fellow Australians.  It also is difficult to imagine that police would have to deal with people so evil that they would randomly kill someone for their religion.

Your agency needs to see this as a wake up call.  If it can happen in the UK, which it has, and if it can be plotted in Australia, which it has, it can happen in your town too.  If someone gives you a tip that such an incident will happen in Alaska, Alabama, or Arkansas, it's no longer implausible that it could be real.  Radical Islam is everywhere and it willing to murder innocent people to cause terror; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Armored Cars




EPD Armored Car.JPG

If agencies want them and choose to spend the money to equip them and train the operators, I think agencies should have armored cars.  Police have used armored cars since at least the 1930's in the United States, so they are nothing new to American policing.

Armored cars are useful to retrieve wounded people from the line of fire from an armed suspect.  It also can allow a close and save approach to a building where an armed suspect is waiting, keeping officers safe as they traverse the kill zone.

Some people are concerned about the so called "militarization" of the police.  In view of this concern, police armored cars should be painted in the same livery as their other police vehicles.  They should not be camouflaged, or all black; these patterns serve no police purpose.  The markings should be the same as other police vehicles, with the words POLICE and the agency name in large letters on all four sides and top.  Machine guns should not be mounted on the vehicles, they are rarely needed for police operations; that's the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014



A sniper laid in wait near a Pennsylvania State Police Barracks.  He shot and killed one officer and seriously wounded another.  He remains at large at the time I write this.  Anything you do can get you killed, even doing nothing.

The officers that this officer shot likely had no warning and no opportunity to respond.  A high powered rifle at long range can get a couple aimed shots off before anyone can react.  This is a form of murder and terrorism.  It is designed to terrorize the police.

It will not succeed.  The police go out every day knowing that it could be their last.  Knowing that a helicopter crash, a boat sinking, a police car accident can kill them.  Police know that any call can end with their murder.  The police will look for this killer.  He may have gotten away, he may escape and never be found.  But he can never be sure, no matter how much time passes that there may come a day when there is a knock on the door with a policeman there to arrest him on the other side; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Once you leave the locker room you are on camera.  Simply consider that everyone has a cell phone with a movie camera in it.  Every store and government office has security cameras.  Every loading dock, every ATM machine, every parking lot, every busy place, every remote location has cameras.

Just think that everything you do or say is likely on camera.  When you are in the field, pretend you are speaking to the district attorney, and the jury when you are speaking to suspects, subjects, witnesses, and your co-workers; because they may hear those words.

When you talk to a suspect, think about how your words will sound to a jury.  Think about how you can explain what you are doing as you are doing it so a jury will hear your videotaped words explaining and justifying your reasonable use of force; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 15, 2014



Officers working boat patrol on a lake went into pursuit chasing a stolen boat.  Near the end of the pursuit the suspect jumped into the water.  The suspect was eventually taken into custody on shore.  There are tens of thousands of rivers, lakes and several oceans in the United States, not to mention swimming pools.

No matter where you work, you are likely to have bodies of water in your patrol area.  Every officer should be trained how to swim in the police academy.  They should learn basic water rescue techniques to rescue people who are drowning.

They should learn fast water rescue techniques, and should have some equipment in the patrol car to preform these rescues.  Every year in the USA nearly 4,000 people drown, often including a couple police.  Some of these could be saved if police were trained to perform water rescues; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 14, 2014



New York Police are going to have three days of use of force training per year, to include verbal, and other non-firearms techniques.  There is much agencies can do to train their people that costs little or nothing.

All firearms training should include other techniques.  Verbal commands along with shooting, such as "drop the weapon" are helpful.  Use a bag to practice baton techniques and then shoot, both to practice the baton and to see how tired an officer is when he has been using a baton for thirty seconds.

At roll call supervisors can provide a short training session.  Large agencies can make DVDs or on line training available for each location to use, they only need to be five or ten minutes long.  Officers attendance should be documented so the agency can insure everyone gets the training; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Back Up


Whenever possible, officers should have a back up officer with them whenever they make contact with a suspect.  Even a minor crime or just a suspicious circumstance can go badly.  In this instance a CHP officer responded to a report of a person walking on the freeway.

There is a video that shows him over her and punching her in the head.  Of course, the video does not have useful audio and does not show the nature of the contact prior to the punching.  I doubt there is a good reason to be hitting the woman that way, but without a back up or video we end up with a he said / she said problem prior to the punching.

If you are backing up an officer who initiates in in appropriate behavior, it is part of your duty to help them return to correct behavior.  In this instance, two officers may have been able to subdue the woman without having to hit her.  Police work is difficult work and two heads are better than one; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 12, 2014

High School


Another high school shooting plot by two disgruntled high school students.  This time the plot was discovered and police raided their homes and arrested them before anyone could be hurt.  This is the best possible outcome.

In many areas the police do not work well with high school teachers, students or administrators.  Police need to reach out to establish lines of communication with each of those groups.  The time to do that is on a day to day basis.  Stop by the school and chat with the people in the office.  Assign officers to work at the school on a regular basis so they become a fixture at the school.

Attend PTA meetings and high school football games and any other opportunity to be visible.  Officers who work at the school should be there voluntarily.  They should be officers who work well with kids, not everyone does.  So when a report of a potentially illegal incident is made the officers will be there to accept the information and act on it; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 11, 2014



The worst day in the history of American law enforcement was September 11, 2001 when Radical Muslim terrorists attacked the United States and killed over 70 police officers.  Some of them were killed trying to rescue victims of the attack.  One was killed while trying to fight the hijackers of the plane that crashed in a field.  Many others died later of cancer from inhalation of debris at the World Trade Center site.

Radical Islam takes many forms and goes by many names.  Sometimes like the Taliban it is sponsored by state governments.  Other times like ISIS it tries to overthrow existing states and create a new state.  Sometimes they are Americans who convert to radical Islam and other times they are foreigners.

Terrorism is here in America.  It can take the shape of an active shooter, a bomber, or by raising money for terrorism both here and abroad.  As police officers we have already responded to dozens of terrorist attacks. We have had scores of officers die in those responses.  On this 9/11 anniversary, remember or dead and honor them by continuing the jobs they started; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Officers should be monitored by their supervisors so their behavior is proper.  Officers need to know and understand the law, their duty manual, and their training and supervision must conform to those expectations.

Officers will sometimes make a mistake, or perhaps make a poor judgement call.  Officers who make a mistake or a bad call should be re-trained and the incident documented.  If officers continue to make the same or similar mistakes, they should continue to receive both further training and progressive discipline.

Just as crimes come in infractions, misdemeanors and felonies, not every violation of the rules should result in termination.  Every violation of the rules should be coupled with training.  Officers can't obey rules the don't understand or that require skills don't know how to employ.  Officers should be saved whenever possible, but truly bad officers should not be allowed to endanger themselves, their co-workers, the agency or the public; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

No Radio

What happens if your radio system goes out?  We have depended on radios for so long that they have become an essential part of police operations.  Every time we stop a car, we call it in.  Every time we see something unusual, we call it in on the radio.

If the radios don't work, how do we operate?  It depends on the nature of the radio outage.  If the main dispatch center is down, you can operate on hand held radios.  Individual officers can use their personal cell phones to call in to dispatch also.

If all radio and cell phones don't work there are still things you can do.  Have officers standby at land line phones at businesses or offices in various places in town.  Dispatch can call them to tell them about calls they can handle.  Officers can be teamed up in groups of two so they have their back up with them all the time.  Radios are important, but police work can still be done without it; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 8, 2014



Dozens of teenage criminals attacked guards and escaped from a detention center in Tennessee.  The criminals were 14 to 19 years old.  A large 14 year old can be 150 pounds and very dangerous.  People often tend to talk about "children" as if they are all six years old, sweet, innocent, and 45 pounds and three feet tall.  Teenagers can be large, strong, and very dangerous.

This situation came about because the bean counters tried to get by with a low security facility, with inexpensive staff rather than prison guards and dangerous older criminals mixed in with little kids who have committed crimes.

Guarding dangerous criminals is one of the most difficult jobs in the world.  The criminals have very little to do but to think about ways to escape, evade the system, or mess with the guards.  High technology systems can help to segregate criminals from each other and staff.  Training and constant retraining of staff is very important too.  You can't run a prison system on the cheap; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Machine Guns



American police have used fully automatic weapons for at least 100 years.  These police are riding an Indian motorcycle and it has a Colt or Marlin "potato digger" machine gun mounted on the front.  These machine guns were used by the US Army as early as 1898.

Today many agencies are using patrol rifles and some are even fielding fully automatic versions.  I think that fully automatic weapons for civilian police patrol officers is not appropriate.  Most patrol officers won't practice frequently enough to stay properly proficient as  an officer.

SWAT and special teams may find automatic weapons have some value.  When a suspect is very dangerous and is very likely to have to be killed to be stopped, the employment of fully automatic weapons can be helpful.  SWAT team members should be well trained enough with their weapons to be able to deploy fully automatic weapons; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


You are on patrol.  You see a minor traffic violation.  You notify dispatch and conduct a traffic stop.  You approach the vehicle.  When you arrive at the drivers door you notice there are four gangsters inside the vehicle.  What do you do?

You have several options. Tell the driver to wait and return to your patrol car, backing up so you can see them.  Wait for sufficient back up to conduct the traffic stop safely.  Tell the driver to never mind, and let him go on his way.  You can't expect to win every encounter.  Tell the driver to give you his drivers license, registration and proof of insurance just like any other traffic stop.  Write him a ticket and send him on his way.

Some of these are better than others.  Dealing with gang members is always potentially dangerous.  Dealing with them alone is even more dangerous.  It's not always worth the danger to write a simple moving violation.  Sometimes it's better to throw the little ones back; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 5, 2014

High School

One method police agencies can use to maintain high visibility and good community relations as well as prevent crime is to assign officers to work local high school sporting events.  The agency I work for always has officers at every high school football game and basketball game.  These games draw several thousand people and officers on foot patrol have an excellent opportunity to talk to people, particularly young people.

High school sporting events are also places were crime can be found from time to time.  Nearly every season we make one or more arrests for various offenses.  We have had a shooting, fights, and significant injuries to players and to spectators during and after the games.  It has been very useful having officers there so that their response time is often essentially immediate.

I work in a good area that generally has little crime.  Still, anything you have hundreds of teenagers together there is a potential for one or two of them to misbehave.  Most offenses are minor, drunk in public, or similar minor that require calling the parents and sending them home rather than jail, most of the time.  We also notify school officials so they can take the proper actions to discipline the students later, rather than make everything a criminal offense; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Community Relations

The time to get to know the people in your city is everyday.  Tomorrow, next week, next year something bad could happen that would put your agency in a bad light.  If you have spent time doing the groundwork then your credibility will be high and able to withstand a bad incident.

One use of force incident that is caught on video can cause people to think the police have done something improper.  Video does not always capture everything and often begins after the precipitating event happens.  People generally have no idea how difficult it can be to stop a suspect even in a justified use of force, lethal or non-lethal. 

So when they see one, they frequently think the police are out of control.  By having a good relationship with your community, people will be more willing to ask questions and listen to answers before determining if an incident is proper or not.  They will also be more forgiving if officers make a mistake on an incident; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Active Shooter


All over the world there are terrorist attacks that take place in broad daylight, involving often dozens of shooters.  Their goal is to kill as many people as possible.  Sometimes they take over a building.  Sometimes they use suicide bombers, and sometimes they strike at multiple locations at once.

Can your agency handle an active shooter incident?  Can your agency handle five or six active shooter incidents at one time with a half a dozen shooters at each one?  Can you handle several bomb explosions and suspicious packages all at once too?

Every officer should have immediate access to a patrol rifle.  You need mutual aid protocols in place to allow hundreds, even thousands of officers to respond to your jurisdiction to assist you.  The North Hollywood shooting in Los Angeles had an armored car, and 600 officers respond to two armed and shooting suspects.  You will need many more to properly respond to 24 armed and shooting suspects; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Patrol Rifle

Think of the patrol rifle as a big pistol.  Hold the pistol grip in the same hand as you hold your pistol.  Then operate the controls as you would operate them on your handgun.  Index your trigger finger along the frame of the rifle.  That way every time you move your hand to another direction, your finger will keep you aware of the muzzle direction.

When you change magazines, keep your hand in position in the shooting position.  Once your magazine has been changed you are ready to shoot.  Work the charging handle or slide with your non-shooting hand.  Just as you would work the slide of your handgun with your non-shooting hand.

Doing this allows non-rifle shooters to adapt quickly to the patrol rifle.  It allows pistol shooting skills to more readily carry over to the rifle.  It makes the training of both systems similar so that they are easier to learn; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 1, 2014



An officer from Puerto Rico was killed by drug dealers.  Drugs are a terrible stain on our nation.  Making drugs legal will not help the problems either.  Drugs destroy the moral fiber of a people.  Those who are on drugs don't care about anyone, not relatives, not police, not anyone, even themselves.

Police need to be drug free.  They need to be drug tested before they are hired and they need to need to have a near zero tolerance standard for those with a drug history.  Officers who have problems with substance abuse can't work as police anymore.  It destroys their credibility.

Officers should be drug tested after a host of events.  After a major use of force, after a work injury, after a traffic collision.  Other industries drug test their employees under similar circumstances.  A clean drug test is important because it will enhance the credibility of the officer; that's what the SGT Says.