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

Ambush

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-patrol-car-shot-20141228-story.html

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

http://www.lawofficer.com/article/news/philadelphia-fire-department-a

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

Suicide

http://www.texassuicideprevention.org/

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

100

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

http://www.gopusa.com/news/2014/12/19/indiana-cop-told-to-stop-selling-divisive-shirts-2/?subscriber=1

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

Murder

http://www.newsmax.com/?ns_mail_uid=6635590&ns_mail_job=1600424_12202014&s=al&dkt_nbr=u71zge8b

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

Terrorists

http://www.aol.com/article/2014/12/14/up-to-12-hostages-being-held-in-sydney-cafe-by-suspected-terrorists/21116103/?icid=maing-grid7|aol20-os|dl1|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D582010

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

Spokespeople

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

Dusters

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


 https://www.facebook.com/groups/376050422552372/

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

Cameras

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

Policy

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

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/03/new-york-garner-protests_n_6264538.html

"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

Stress

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.