Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Titus ii. 11.

THE grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

That's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


I write three blogs.  One on toy soldiers and one on politics and current events, and of course, this one on law enforcement.  They each are published officially at 9:11 a.m. Pacific Time.  I commemorate the 9/11 attacks in this small way.

Ask the younger officers with your agency where they were on 9/11 and see if they even remember it at all.  That was over 15 years ago.  Some of your new guys might only have been five or six years old then.

Still, it changed police work in the USA for a long time.  We now have to worry about response to terrorism, something often common in other countries, but new here.  Still, think about the basics, wear your vest, wear your seat belt, drive carefully.  All of these are just as important in the response to terrorism as they are in response to daily crime; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Chicago Shooting

In this video, Chicago Police respond to a call and one of the officers shot a teenager to death.  The officer fired 16 times in 14 seconds.  Most of the rounds were fired after the suspect fell the ground.  There were several officers on scene, but they did not fire.

The person shot was 17 years old.  According to reports that I have read he was two weeks away from his 18th birthday.  The autopsy found PCP in his system and that he was under the influence of PCP at the time.

He was carrying a knife, when he drew while walking down the middle of a four lane street.  The police ordered him to drop the knife and he did not.  Once he was shot and on the ground, he picked up the knife again.  Although this incident happened about a year ago, there have been few details released so some of this information may be in error; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Officer J.D. Tippit

Today is the anniversary of the murder of police officer J.D. Tippit by Lee Harvey Oswald.  J.D. Tippit was a hero in World War Two, a US Army paratrooper and combat veteran in the fight against Nazi Germany.

He was on patrol looking for the suspected assassin of President Kennedy when he came across Oswald.  Officer Tippit stopped his car and Oswald walked over to him and spoke to him.  As Officer Tippit started to exit his car, Oswald pulled a gun and shot him three times in the chest.

As he was laying on the ground, Oswald walked up to the officer and shot him a fourth time in the temple, killing him.  A few minutes later, officers discovered the body of their partner and arrested Oswald soon afters.  Godspped Officer Tippet, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cell Phone

I carry my cell phone in my pocket on duty.  In the past, I did not carry my phone on duty, but I have changed my mind about them since then.  The cell phone should be on mute so that it does not give away your position by flashing lights or sounds.

Sometimes the radio does not work well due to any number of reasons.  Sometimes you may need to transmit a large amount of information and it's easier on the phone than on the radio.  Sometimes the radio may be busy with a number of incidents and so by using the phone you keep the air clear.

The cell phone also has a camera built into it.  It can be used to document the crime scene or other evidence.  I use my cell phone almost exclusively for police work.  I don't load embarrassing photos or have a lot of phone numbers programmed that are not work or home.  I think that agencies should even issue cell phones for work use; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Back Up

Carry a back up gun.  The ideal back up gun should be compatible with your duty gun.  That is, it should function the same way, have the same caliber, and use the same magazines.  In a time of stress you will likely fall back on your training. 

Having the back up gun be as close to identical to your duty gun will help you to remember how to shoot it.  You should train with your back up gun regularly as you do with your duty gun.  At least annually, but quarterly or even monthly is better.

When training with your back up gun, draw it from the place you keep it on duty.  If you wear it on your ankle, then wear it on your ankle at the range, and draw it from there.  A back up gun is part of your uniform, don't leave it in the locker.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


I am about as old as you can be and still be too young for the Vietnam War. My Army Reserve unit called up everyone who was higher ranking than me for Desert Storm and then war ended. I have worked private security, US Army Reserve, and police reserves for almost my whole adult life. I have never been in a shootout.

 I am not sure if I have actually saved anyone's life. I don't think I have made a lot of difference. But I still have two or three years left. And I know that on the way back to the station on my last shift something major could happen.

 It is our responsibility to be ready, even when no one else is, even when everyone else says we are wasting our time, even when it seems so many are against us. Be the sheepdog; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Campus Police

It is not unusual, in California, for junior college and community college campus police to not carry guns.  They sometimes carry OC spray, or batons, but seldom firearms.  They have full police powers, and attend full police powers.  I even know of some agencies that issue CCWs to the officers so they can carry off duty, but not on duty!

Their role was intended to be more in the nature of security guards, rather than police officers.  Their typical day was locking and unlocking doors, and setting burglar alarms.  They reported burned out lights and enforced traffic rules on campus.  It says POLICE on their cars, badges and uniforms.

Today the campus environment is not the safe, placid, worry free place it once was in years past.  Now there are gang members, radicals, and other criminals on campus.  There are neighborhoods around the schools that have gotten bad since the campus was founded.  There are also fears of a crazy gunman and of terrorism.  It's time to arm campus police, that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Some places are legalizing marijuana, even for recreational use.  I think this is a very bad idea for many reason.  Legal or not, police should not be permitted to use it, on or off duty.  It can lead to liability issues for the agency or the officer.

Marijuana stays in the system for a few days and if an officer is involved in a shooting or traffic collision he should not have it in his system.  No agency needs that kind of liability of a questionable shooting done by an officer with marijuana in his system.

Agencies need to put policies in place that forbid the use of various drugs, without regard to their legality, rather the policy should focus on the effects of the drug.  Officers who have a prescription should also not be using it, marijuana is simply not compatible with good police work; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Child Custody

Child custody issues are not always a police problem.  Still sometimes police can be helpful in resolving them.  Often parents have difficulty when it is time for estranged or divorced parents to swap a child that they share custody.

Some agencies allow people to use the lobby of the police station to exchange the child.  This has several advantages.  It reduces the likelihood of a parent creating a disturbance if they are in the police station. 

It can also be a good idea to have videotaping going on in the lobby area.  Video of the exchange can help to prove or dis-prove a problem when the exchange is made.  It also makes police response very fast if the exchange takes place in the police station, and lessens the chance of injury to the child; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Police are not being militarized.  Police have carried automatic weapons and driven armored cars since at least the 1920's in the United States.  Criminals carry all kinds of weapons, and often travel in groups.

Having automatic weapons give police the ability to confront multiple suspects with a greater chance of success.  Armored vehicles are strictly defensive in a police context.  They don't carry cannons, and they don't mount machine guns, like military vehicles.

Police don't use artillery or fragmentation grenades.  They are under strict rules on engagement based on the law and case law, not military rules.  Police have the intention of taking criminals prisoner, all the suspect has to do is give up and the police force stops; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Just Say No

If you can avoid it, don't drink alcohol or use drugs.  They will not enhance your career as a police officer.  Many officers each year get into off duty fights, domestic violence, or drunk driving incidents and lose their jobs.

Some states are making marijuana legal.  This will also not enhance your career in law enforcement.  The Federal government still considers it illegal.  Most states still consider it illegal.  Just because it is legal in your jurisdiction does not mean it's a good idea.

Many agencies are still likely to consider significant marijuana use to be a dis-qualifier for working as a cop.  There are no advantages to using it and the disadvantages are significant.  If you use marijuana on your time off and then get involved in a major incident the next day it may still show up in your system and cause you to loose reasonable doubt about your actions.  Don't use drugs, that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Basic Stuff

Wear your body armor every time you are in uniform.

Take your baton every time you get out of the car.

Call for back up as soon as you think you may need it.

Check everyone for warrants that you contact, suspects, victims; because you never know who has one that's valid.

In a 30 year career as a cop, you have to win every fight.  Fighting fair is an invitation to lose, take every advantage; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Resisting Arrest

In this video a police officer is attempting to arrest a man.  The man says he wants to go on his own.  The man says he is not resisting.  The man is lying, he is resisting.  When told he was under arrest, the man should have put his hands behind his back in preparation of being handcuffed, as instructed.

Pulling away from a police officer is resisting arrest.  Failing to obey a verbal command is resisting arrest.  Too many people today have the opinion that they have no duty to obey the commands of an officer.

Too many officers also have that opinion and don't force their will upon those who fail to do as they are told.  Officers are given authority to do their jobs.  Failure to use that authority when needed only leads to suspects thinking they can get away, and often then requires more force than would have initially been needed; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Watching the many videos on the Internet of police activity, I find several disturbing things in common.  Police fail to take control of the situation.  It is the job of the police to restore order when order has broken down.  Give firm, clear instructions. 

If the instructions are not followed, then give them a second time more forcefully.  If they are still not followed, then implement your plan to bring the subject into submission.  Use enough force to win the fight right away, in the least amount of time. 

Hitting the suspect one time, very hard, is much better than hitting them softly five times.  Too many officers don't have a plan of action.  They don't command, they ask, over and over again.  They use force, but not enough to solve the problem; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


The Internet is full of police videos.  Many times they make the police look bad.  Often the officers use force against people and the text that comes with the video says something about the officers were responding to a very minor crime, loud noise or jaywalking.

These videos require a little detective work sometimes to consider what is going on.  If the video starts with police action, then it is likely that the reason for the police action is likely been left off, or edited out. 

While many incidents may start with a minor offense, it escalates when the suspect refuses to cooperate.  The Oklahoma City bomber was captured due to a loose license plate.  It is the duty of a citizen to submit to the authority of an arresting officer.  Typically the people in these videos passively, and verbally resist and often actively resist.  That's a lot more than a loud noise or jaywalking; that's the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Help Your Partner

Police need to be alert to one another.  Some officers have poor officer safety skills.  Those of us who have good officer safety skills need to work with our weaker comrades.  Their skills might be the ones that save us or don't save us one day.

So if their skills are poor, they might get us hurt or killed, not just themselves.  Some things are as simple as making sure they call in their traffic stops.  Calling them before they stop the car is best.  Making sure that they check in at least every hour when on patrol, so they don't just disappear.

Dispatch needs to know were everyone is all the time.  Officers need to know where each other are also.  We can't back you up if we can't find you.  Make sure the slow officers know that too, and they should look up locations if they don't know them.  Help your partners, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


The use of deadly force must be judged by the standard of a reasonable person.  If a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have used deadly force, then the force is usually considered to be lawful.  Fear alone is not enough to warrant deadly force.

There are some police shootings, typically where a large number of officers are shooting, that some officers later state they were firing their guns because other officers were firing their guns.  If you don't have a specific target and if the target is not a reasonable deadly threat, then you should not be shooting.

Simply shooting because other officers around you are shooting is likely to be considered unlawful.  You must be able to articulate the threat that you saw or heard or experienced.  A vague fear because others were shooting at a car or building is not enough reason to shoot.  If six, or eight, or ten, or more officers are shooting at a suspect, that's generally enough; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Two police officers were involved in a pursuit and shooting of a man and his six year old son.  When the pursuit ended at least the two officers opened fire on the stopped vehicle.  The child was killed and the driver was injured.  No weapons were found at the scene.  After 72 hours of investigation, two officers were arrested.

The police have released very little information about the nature of the pursuit, the reason for the pursuit, or why the officers thought they needed to shoot the two people in the vehicle.  In general, officers should only shoot in the defense of their lives or the lives of other innocent persons.

The conclusion of a pursuit can be a very traumatic experience.  Officers get excited, worked up, even angry.  It is important for officers to control themselves and for supervisors to control their officers.  Shooting into an occupied vehicle with a child inside is very dangerous and ill advised unless there are very good reasons to do so; such as receiving fire from the driver.  Still, officers are responsible for every round they fire; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, November 6, 2015


An officer was involved in a fatal shooting.  He approached a man, who grabbed his baton, and shot the man, dead.  The officer was fired for failing to follow the department procedures related to his response to the call.

The officer was cleared from any criminal wrong doing in the shooting.  The officer suffered from post traumatic stress and claimed disability as a result of the shooting.  The agency approved his disability claim.

All actions taken at work will be judged in a variety of ways.  First, was it legal to do what you did?  Did you follow department policy?  Did you violate civil law?  Does the public think you did the right thing?  Do your coworkers and family think you did right?  Do you think you did the right thing?  All of these judgements are independent of each other and any of them can be fatal to your career; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pepper Spray

The weapon you don't have is the weapon you can't use.  For years many of us carried pepper spray but with the Taser it seems to have gone out of style.  The Taser is an excellent weapon.  To take down a single suspect it is unparalleled.

The only problem with the Taser is that it is essentially a one suspect weapon.  If you zap one guy, his three friends might just stand there, or run away, or they might rush you.  The advantage of pepper spray is that you can use it on a group of people.

Zap one suspect with the Taser.  Get the guy who is the largest, the closest, the greatest threat.  But then take out your pepper spray and hose down the three guys with him.  It does not always work perfectly, but it can give you enough of a tactical advantage to be useful; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


A police officer embezzled thousands of dollars from a youth program.  There is no doubt about his guilt.  He stole the money by falsifying documents and some of that money he used to buy pornography.

He pretended to be chasing criminals and then he faked an attack on himself and committed suicide.  As a result of the fake call, a thousand police searched for three criminals who never existed for several days.

He violated his oath of office by stealing.  We are all weak, sinners, and subject to temptation.  Still, he should have turned himself in and taken his punishment.  He may have been able to make a deal with the DA and avoided jail time.  Instead he killed himself and frightened a lot of people.  He also made a lot of officers have to race around looking for killers that did not exist.  He dishonored his badge and dishonored his memory; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Generally when officers are assigned to a call for service, or have self initiated activity, it is their call to complete the assignment no matter who else may respond.  Generally, only if a senior officer takes charge does the officer relinquish control of the incident. 

Such change of command should be done with a formal statement so it is clear who is in charge.  In a major incident this change of command should be recorded by the scribe or at least made clear on the radio so that it is recorded.

In the event a senior officer gives a command that is illegal, immoral, unethical, or a violation of department policy, ask them for clarification.  If they give it again, explain the problem and as for further clarification.  You are responsible for your actions and the excuse of following orders will seldom relieve you of responsibility; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, November 2, 2015


What licenses and training are legally required by your agency?  Are you in compliance?  Does your agency know if you are in compliance or not?  Meeting the legal standards of police work is a basic minimum that some agencies don't do well.

Most of the time officers have to go to a police academy, but what about continuing education?  Does your state require officers to go back to the academy or go to other classes to keep current?  How often do they require this and who tracks it?  What happens if you are out of compliance?

Nearly all police are required to have a drivers license.  Does your agency check on that after you are hired?  Would they know if you got a few tickets or a DUI, or if your license was suspended?  Do they check?  Just because someone was good when they were hired does not mean they are okay ten years later.  Agencies should do a computerized check of training, driving and criminal history on every officer to insure continued compliance and every few years agencies should update the background check; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Due Process

A school resource officer was called into a classroom to deal with a disruptive student.  The officer has a physical confrontation with the student and the video is posted all over the Internet.  The student was arrested, and was no injured. The sheriff fires the officer soon after the incident.

The FBI and other agencies almost immediately started to investigate this incident.  Local incidents should be investigated by local police or one level above.  So a county sheriff should be investigated by the state if the county does not investigate or asks for help.  There is no need for the FBI to investigate such a minor incident as this one.

The sheriff also seems to have been quick to fire the officer.  Police officers have rights and they have the right to be presumed innocent, even if there is a video that looks bad.  Police have a right to due process, just like everyone else; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Halloween is a particularly dangerous night for police.  People dress up in masks and try to prank other people.  Sometimes they try to prank the police.  An innocent prank can turn deadly if an armed officer is confronted by someone trying to scare them.

The high volume of nighttime pedestrian traffic is another problem.  It's difficult to drive fast when loads of kids are darting out into the street.  Often they are so excited they pay little or no attention to where they are going.

Then there are those who take advantage of wearing a mask, and attacking others, even police on Halloween.  It is much easier to blend back into the crowd when streets are filled with trick or treaters.  Extra patrol the residential streets.  Watch out for perverts who want to pick up kids.  Drive slower than usual.  Be extra careful tonight, it's Halloween; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Public or Private

A public place is anywhere a member of the public could generally go and not be stopped or challenged.  If a person could be there and not be trespassing, then they are in a public place.  A public place can be private property, even a private residence and still be a public place.

The walkway up to the front door of a house can be a public place, as long as there is not a fence that prevents public entry.  Even the driveway and the front lawn is accessible to the public unless there is a fence to keep them out, and those spots may be considered a public place.

If a person lawfully going door to door selling products or soliciting religion is able to go there, without entering gates or doors or otherwise entering a private area, then it is likely a public place.  This is important when trying to determine if a person who is in possession of a gun or is intoxicated is in a public place or a private place.  People usually have more rights in private than they do in public.  Your local laws or case law my vary and always follow your agency policy; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Running on Empty

Several times in recent days I have read about officers who talk about Israeli police and soldiers carrying guns on duty that don't have a round in the chamber.  Now I have even heard about officers here in the United States who are picking up that practice.

The purpose of carrying a gun with an empty chamber is to avoid having an untended discharge.  This is done because soldiers generally carry their firearm in their hands or on a sling.  Carrying an empty chamber in the military is done because you might reveal your position to the enemy.  Such a revelation might cause the death of many soldiers. 

In police work, the police should be so well trained that they won't have an unintentional discharge.  The other difference between police and soldiers is that our guns are in a holster, we don't have to handle them until we are likely to have to shoot.  An empty chamber in a duty weapon is a bad idea for police officers, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Your Presence

The mere presence of a uniformed officer can prevent crime, stop crimes in progress, and cause criminals to surrender, even if you are not aware of their presence.  The officer in uniform is highly visible and criminal know who you are as soon as they see you.

Criminals are not always apparent as a criminal.  They may be participating in a crime that is not obvious or they may have stopped just prior to your seeing them.  Still, they will typically think you saw them.  Often, they will run, or even surrender.

This can be a bit of a problem because you might not actually know what they have done.  Sometimes only by careful observation of their persons, the surroundings can you figure out what they have done.  If nothing else, conduct a permissive encounter and gather their information for use later if you let them go; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Use of Force

Force can usually only be used to stop an unlawful attack against you or another innocent person, to overcome resistance to a lawful arrest, or to prevent escape.  Force should not be used as a form of punishment.  It is the duty of the court system to determine punishment.

Force must always be objectively reasonable and must cease once resistance has been overcome.  If you use deadly force it must be used only to counter a deadly threat or a potentially deadly threat.  You need not be injured or struck first in order to use force, including deadly force.

If you use force you should make a reasonable effort to arrest the person you used force against.  If they have not committed an arrestable offense, then there is likely no lawful reason to use force against them.  It is a good idea to use verbal commands to order the suspect to stop resisting or to drop their when, even while using deadly force against them; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Respond Or No?

When trying to determine if you should intervene in an incident carefully assess the risk involved to yourself versus the likelihood of your success.  In an active shooter situation, the shooter will usually flee, surrender, or kill himself when threatened by an armed responder.  In that case, your prompt intervention, even alone, will usually result in stopping the active shooter.

In a gang fight of dozens of gang members fighting each other in the street, they will often turn against the officer rather than flee.  It may be better in that case to make your presence known by the use of siren, air horn, and lights from a safe distance, instead of jumping out of your car and rushing in to stop the fight.

If you can't be effective in an incident, then use your time to coordinate and wait for back up.  That is more important then rushing in without enough manpower to do the job, only to get yourself hurt.  Then you become part of the problem; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Suspicious or Criminal or Nothing?

Officers need to look at self initiated activity differently then they do to a call for service.  A suspicious activity may only be your interpretation of events.  There may not be a crime or emergency at all.

If two people are standing on the curb, screaming at one another, do they need police assistance, or are they just animated?  I like to honk the air horn at such people.  It lets them know the police are there, and the police are aware of their activity. 

If one of them is in need of help, it allows them to wave or shout for assistance.  Usually they will return to a more normal way of conversation.  Many times suspicious activity is not a problem and your intervention is not needed; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Traffic Collision

If you drive long enough, you will crash or someone will crash into you.  What do you do at an accident scene if you are involved in the collision?  Stop the vehicle in a safe location.  Notify dispatch even before you get out of the car, you may pass out or otherwise get distracted. 

Determine the extent of injuries and damage; call for paramedics if needed.  Care for injured parties and ask for a supervisor to respond.  Get identifying information from all parties involved.  I like to take pictures of everyone and the vehicles. 

Not just the damage, and not just those injured.  Later they can't claim new damage or new injuries if you have documented in on camera.  Do no apologize nor admit liability to anyone, even your own supervisor.  Just state the facts as you know them.  Get a medical check for even the slightest injury or complaint of pain.  It may turn out to be a major injury and you want it documented; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Patrol Driving

When driving a patrol car there are always a few things to remember.  Unless you are taking a law enforcement action in compliance with the law and agency policy you should not exceed the speed limit.

Take your car keys and lock the vehicle if you are going to be away from the car.  Sometimes criminals do steal police cars, for transportation, escape, or to get the patrol rifle or shotgun.  Park the car in a safe an legal manner unless the tactical situation dictates otherwise.

Don't carry passengers in your car unless you have a legitimate reason to do so, and then only after you have notified dispatch.  Many agencies require that you report mileage and note the time of any transportation of civilians.  Make sure they wear their seat belts; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

St. Michael

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl around the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Saint Michael is the patron saint of police officers.  We have a rough job and it's hard to do it alone.  Having faith in God is a big help.  It allows you to have a quiet confidence that despite all the evil and crime we see, it's God who is charge.

 Sometimes we see bad things happen to good people.  Knowing that God is in charge is a great relief.  All things work to the good for those who believe in Him.  A child who gets run over by a car, may be saved from a future cancer or other bad thing.  We can't know the whole picture but we don't need to know everything.  We just need to know everything will be okay; that's what the SGT Says..

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Patrol Car

When I take a car out on patrol I often take a quick photo of the vehicle.  One front quarter and one from the opposite rear quarter.  It shows any significant damage to the vehicle.  I also take close up photos of any significant damage.  Anything that looks new gets reported to the watch commander.

I quick inspection of the car is in order.  Headlights, fuel, oil pressure, and tire pressure and condition get a quick check.  I adjust the mirrors before I move the car.  It is hypocritical to drive a police car that has equipment violations.

At the end of the shift I always make sure to refuel the vehicle that I use.  I also remove any trash from the vehicle.  I double check the vehicle to make certain all my gear, baton, go bag and other gear goes back into the station with me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Shooting Technology

There is a new rifle out.  It uses electronics to help the shooter to hit his target.  The shooter identifies his target, and the computer recognizes the target and holds on to that image.  The shooter then pulls the trigger and the rifle fires when the bullet will strike. 

The rifle automatically maintains zero by the use of laser and computer.  The rifle can send the target view and data to a remote Wifi connection.  The shooter can even use the Wifi connection to see over obstacles and shoot around corners.  The gun costs about $15,000.00.

This is a new technology.  It will likely come down in price and go up in durability.  This kind of technology makes it easy to shoot on the move and to shoot moving targets.  Think about what happens if gangsters doing drive-by shooting can always hit their target.  Think about criminals who can always hit you; something to think about, that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 19, 2015

It's Never Too Late

Did you do something this week besides police work?  Did you hang out with people who are not on the job?  Did you stay after work and have a beer with the guys?  Why not go home on time and have a beer with the wife?

Police wives often feel neglected because it's the nature of the job that it comes first much of the time.  We have limited control over our schedules and have to work on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.

Take your wife out to dinner to make it up.  Go to Denny's or some other low cost place.  It's not about the place, it's about the company.  It's not about spending money, it's about spending time.  Many officers get divorced because they ignore a perfectly good woman.  Remember why you married her in the first place and take care of her; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lies and Statistics

A newspaper says that the crime rates in Los Angeles are higher than reported by the police department because the police have been categorizing crimes into lessor categories.  By making the crimes seem to be less serious there is a false sense of safety in the city.

Crime statistics are used to justify gun control, police budgets, real estate prices, police deployments and many other things.  It is unethical to falsify police crime statistics.  These data points are important to many people.

It is even important to the police.  Less crime often means fewer officers.  No one is served by the false economy of false police crime reports.  Only the criminals and corrupt politicians benefit from that; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Car Check

When first reporting for duty on patrol there are a number of things to do before you start.  Check the patrol car.  Make sure your overhead and other emergency lights all work.  Make sure your spotlights work.

Lock and unlock your patrol rifle and shotgun.  Make sure they can be easily removed and check the status of the ammunition and safety.  Check the radio and your handheld radio.  Make sure you have a fresh battery.

Check the car for cleanliness, weapons and drugs or other items in the prisoner transport area.  Check the trunk and glove box.  Insure the fire extinguisher is charged, that you have flares and rubber gloves.  A quick check is a good idea before you go on patrol, that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Agency Role

One of the first things a manual should cover is the role of the specific agency.  For most police departments it is simply to provide police services to those who live in the city or county.  But there are many other specialized agencies that provide police services too.

A fish and game agency would want to discuss the importance of focusing on laws that relate to wildlife management.  So stopping people who have expired vehicle license plates is only a means to checking the car for fish or deer, not because that is their primary role.

School police should explain that their intention is to keep the kids safe in school.  Those officers should generally not allow themselves to be drawn away to incidents that happen away from the schools.  It can be difficult to focus on specific types of policing when other interesting things are happening, but often that is our role; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Two police sergeants are flagged down by a man who says a homeless guy is throwing bottles into the street.  They contact the man and he attacks them.  One of the officers is knocked down and the suspect beat him and took the officers gun.

The second officer shot the suspect two times, the suspect was dead at the scene.  Sometimes a routine call can seem like it's nothing, but it can quickly get out of hand.  Never pre-judge a call as easy, or simple, or safe.  Your are never really safe until you are home, in your easy chair, with your dog and slippers.

When you get out of the car, take your baton.  When you leave the station, take your Taser.  Don't forget your OC spray.  When dealing with suspects, keep your distance, and watch his hands.  Keep your guard up and keep your gun side away from the suspect, that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Abridged Patrol Manual

An abridged patrol manual is a good idea for every agency.  It is difficult to communicate all the most important information for officers by simply providing them with a 300 page manual.  Most will not read it at all and few will read it more than once.

I think an abridged manual with the most critical items in it is a useful tool to get officers to read the agency policies and procedures.  It is something they can take in the field with them and they can review it on slow days.  They can also quickly look up something in the field if then are unsure of an action to take.

Today the abridged manual might be better in a PDF format that can be loaded onto a computer application.  Perhaps something officers could carry in their smartphone.  In any case, an electronic version of the abridged manual officers could have with them all the time would be very helpful to get officers to learn agency policy; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Abridged Patrol Manual

Many years ago I worked for a large private security company called Westec.  They were very innovative in those days and I still see a need for much of what they did 20 years ago in today's police work.

We published this abridged patrol manual.  It contained all the most important information for a patrol officer to know when out in the field.  It was specifially sized to fit inside the shirt pocket of an officer.  Manuals were dated and updated as significant policies changed.

Every officer was issued one during their initial training along with an unabridged manual.  They were required to carry this one with them at all times when on duty in uniform.  Supervisors always had a few on had to replace those that went through the wash or were lost.  Supervisors would check periodically to insure officers had one.  This is a good idea, even now; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Snap It Up

Most police shootings happen in three seconds or less.  Many police shootings happen when you don't expect them, like on a traffic stop.  You walk up to the car window, the suspect sticks a gun out the window and you have to draw and shoot.

In that rather common scenario, you only have two seconds to draw and shoot.  You should be able to draw and shoot at least three rounds from the gun snapped in the holster position.  You should be able to fire six rounds in five seconds, from the holster.

If you cannot fire fast and accurately, then you may lose the gunfight.  Too many officers go to the range and they unsnap their holster before they stand on the line.  Or they put their hand on their gun to be ready.  Most of your range training should start with your hand off the gun and the gun snapped into the holster.  You should train to get a good grip, unsnap, and come up on target rapidly so that you can do that in a real shootout; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Armor and Seat Belt

It's hot and muggy.  Did you wear your body armor today?  Officers still get shot when it is hot. 

Did you wear your seat belt?  It's uncomfortable.  Officers still get killed in traffic collisions.

If it's hot, then try and stay in the shade or the air conditioning.  Drink plenty of water and other beverages without caffeine.  Change your tee shirt every couple hours, if you can.  Use powder to try and keep dry and comfortable.

There have been over 100 officers killed in the line of duty this year.  It's a very bad year.  Wear your seatbelt, and wear your armor; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Shooting on the Move

In this video a man is on an outdoor range shooting at a variety of targets from his left to his right.  He is using a handgun and reloading as needed.  He is doing this while he is walking quickly on a treadmill.
This is an interesting variation on the shooting while walking idea.  It has several advantages over actual walking.  The first is the space needed to shoot this course of fire is not large, he can stay in one place and still "walk" towards the targets.  He is forced to walk all the time and can't stop to reload or to aim.  The targets are all a fixed distance and direction from him, so the shooter can't get too close to the target.
It does require electricity and that's not always available on an outdoor range.  It could be a safety hazard if he falls down with the gun out.  I would have him practice with a blue gun and simulate firing the course and reloading once or twice before I let him go with a real gun.  A used treadmill is not too expensive and this might be a good idea for those with limited space.  Be aware an unintended discharge to the treadmill, especially the controls could bring back shrapnel on the shooter and range staff; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Kids Shows

Sheriff John Rovick was a TV actor who did a kids show in Southern California.  He presented a positive role model for children.  He invited real police and firemen onto his show and passed on safety tips to the kids.

They would pray before they shared a lunch with the kids and the said the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the show.  The values presented were American values of law, order, Christianity, truth, and justice.

Many children grew up with a positive attitude towards law enforcement because of this actor.  Today we seldom have shows like this on television anymore.  Instead everything is about questioning authority, and doing what you want.  We need our society to go back to a culture of law and order; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Officers walk up the stairs and are confronted by a man with a gun who shoots the first officer walking up the stairs.  The officers perform a tactical retreat.  There are at least four officers on scene and they call for more help.

The officers go back upstairs with the officer who was shot in the lead of the group.  They get to the top of the stairs and stop and negotiate with him.  The man pulls up the gun and the officers shot him to death.  It was ruled a justified shooting.  Were there other options?

The officers may have wanted to deploy a shotgun or patrol rifle before they returned to the top of the stairs.  I would not have let the wounded officer return, he had already been shot and while apparently not disabled, he certainly would have been upset to say the least.  These officers did a good job, but we should always look for learning opportunities; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Use of Force

A suspect is stopped by the police at the end of a pursuit and then rapidly approaches the officers car.  The officer shot and killed him.  The officer was in fear of her life due to the aggressive behavior of the suspect.

The grand jury used the standard of a reasonable man.  What would a reasonable man do in the same instance?  He would have shot the person, that's reasonable.  Agency police and state law for police use of force should follow federal guidelines.

Many agencies try to restrict the officers ability to use force, particularly deadly force, to a degree much greater than required by law.  I think this is a mistake.  Officers should be trained to a high standard and then be allowed to use their own judgement; that's what the SGT SAys.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


The media like to run headlines about the police killing of unarmed suspects.  In 2014 there were about 12,000 murders committed in the USA.  Of these murders, over 600 were committed by criminals who were unarmed at the time of the murder.

Unarmed is not the same as not dangerous.  Unarmed is not the same as safe to be around.  Unarmed is only a transitional situation.  A suspect may be unarmed, but he may take the officers gun.  An unarmed man can pick up a stick, a rock, or a brick, and use it as a weapon.

An unarmed man is a deceptive term.  Thousands of martial arts studios teach people every day how to conduct unarmed combat.  An unarmed man still has his feet and his hands.  Every year people are killed by the use of feet hand hands, unarmed is still dangerous; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Driving in the Dark

People watch you as you drive around in your patrol car.  Your driving should be in conformance with the law whenever possible.  Sometimes when you have to drive in an unusual manner due to an investigative reason, or a tactical reason, keep it to a  minimum.

When approaching the location of a call at night, it can be good tactics to turn off your headlights.  To keep that to a minimum, ask yourself if the suspect might already have you under observation.  It may draw attention to you to turn off your lights, no one intentionally drives around at night with their lights off, except criminals and the police.

Maybe you can stop a little farther from the location and approach on foot.  Maybe you can stop on a side street.  Sometimes you can follow a civilian vehicle to the location and the park quickly before you are seen.  Always weigh the tactical advantage of driving without your headlights on to the driver safety advantage of driving with light; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


"You can't impose your morality on other people."  I hear and read that all the time and it's simply a lie.  As a society we impose our morality on people all the time.  Every law we make is an imposition of morality.

Is is moral for police to take cash bribes to ignore minor offenses?  No, it is immoral.  That's why bribery is illegal.  Is it moral to take things that don't belong to your?  No, it is immoral.  That's why we have laws against burglary and robbery and theft.

As police we impose the morality of society upon the members of the society who refuse to recognize that morality.  In some places it's okay to beat your wife, but not here.  In some places it's common practice for police to take bribes, but no here.  That's why it is important for police to exhibit a high moral standard; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


In response to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Hermosa Beach Police Department has remarked one of their police cars from black and white to pink and white.  They have also placed special markings on the car relating to breast cancer.

Breast cancer is a terrible disease, but why is is more terrible than other forms of cancer, or heart disease; which actually kills more women than breast cancer?  There are many other worthy charities; suicide prevention, prostate cancer, POWS, SIDS, AIDS, PTSD, are all worthy of support.

There is no direct correlation between breast cancer and police work.  I think this is a distraction that is unrelated to police work.  Police public relations should focus on crime prevention and the prevention of illness and social ills that impact law enforcement.  Missing children, homelessness, mental illness, suicide prevention, are all good examples of this; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, October 2, 2015


What kind of gun should you carry?  I know an officer who used to carry a lot of guns.  He carried a patrol rifle whenever possible.  He knew that the rifle was much more accurate than the handgun.  It also was better able to penetrate body armor.

He carried a duty gun of course.  It was .45 caliber.  While there are many other calibers that are just fine for police work, the .45 ACP is the standard against which all other guns are measured.  So why not just carry that caliber?

He carried a back up gun, the same caliber as his handgun. 45 ACP and it had a compatible magazine with the duty gun.  He also carried a derringer as a hide away gun.  It too was a .45 ACP.  His intention was to use it if he was taken hostage.  Always carry in accordance with the law and your agency policy and your training.  Always carry a gun that you have confidence in; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Most officers seem to wear their handcuffs in the back.  Many wear them in the small of the back.  Wearing handcuffs in the back can be a health risk.  Having to pairs of handcuffs pressing on your kidneys all shift can do long term damage to your kidneys.

A friend of mine used to wear a double handcuff case.  He carried it in the center of the rear of his back.  He confronted a suspect who pushed the officer over backwards.  The officer fell back and landed on his back.

His back was injured and his police career ended because of the injury.  The presence of a large, hard handcuff case in the back is dangerous.  Move your gear around the wear your handcuffs in the front or on the side; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Where do you wear your handcuffs?  How many handcuffs do you carry?  Do you carry extra handcuffs in your gear bag?  I work patrol in an urban environment with nearly unlimited back up officers very close by. 

I carry one set of handcuffs on me and several more in my gear bag.  I carry the set on my belt at the front between my belt buckle and my holster.  I don't anticipate that I will ever have to handcuff anyone with my gun out at the same time.  So I can keep my handcuffs on my right side; I am right handed.

I used to wear two sets of handcuffs on my back.  But after wearing them that way for years, and sitting in the patrol car for hours, it was hard on my back.  The cuff cases pressing against my kidneys was uncomfortable and I am sure it was not good for me.  So I moved my gear around and started carrying my handcuffs in front, much more comfortable; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shooting Policy

A police department has a new policy that says officers are never to shoot at a vehicle unless the occupants are a deadly threat with a weapon other than the vehicle.  So if someone tries to run down and kill a police officer, the officer is not permitted to shoot the driver of the vehicle.

There are several problems with this policy.  If an officer is in fear of his life and he shoots the driver, will he be fired?  Will the agency be sued and face greater liability or less liability because of their policy?  If the officer does not shoot and is injured or killed, will he or his heirs sue?  Will the agency have liability for that? 

What if the lives of third parties are in danger and the officer does not shoot?  Suppose someone says that if the officer had fired, the dead innocent bystander might have lived?  Police use of force policies should allow the officer the greatest possible discretion under state and federal law.  Officers should be trained and skilled enough to make those decisions; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Replica Gun

Police responded to a 911 hang up call.  This kind of call can be anything.  Often, it's a mistake.  Someone intends to dial 411 or some other number and when they realize it's the police, they get embarrassed and hang up.  Still, you can't know what has happened until you get there and check it out.

Three officers arrived and were confronted by a man with a handgun at the door, he closed the door on them.  During the course of the incident, the man eventually exited the apartment and pointed his gun at the police.  All three officers fired and hit the suspect.  It turned out to be a replica gun.

The officers gave the man verbal commands to drop the gun, and he refused.  The officers could not help but shoot because his actions would give a reasonable officer circumstances to fear for their lives.  Replica guns typically look very much like real guns.  So do pellet guns, BB guns and even toys can look very real, even from only a couple feet away; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Wheelchair Shooting

"Police shooting of man in wheelchair sparks controversy in US" screams the headline.  The news has become opinion, and inaccurate opinion as well.  The police did shoot a man who was in a wheelchair.  A man in a wheelchair who had a handgun and a man who refused verbal commands to put his hands up.

The man was a career criminal who had a history of violence, attempted suicide, and of resisting arrest.  He was confronted by police after a report that he had shot himself and still had the gun.   The controversy was that the media only told part of the story in many articles.  They failed to mention that a gun was recovered or the man's criminal and psychological history.  

 They also have blown the incident out of proportion as most people never even heard of the incident.  A man in a wheelchair likely has mobility problems, but he may still be able to walk.  A man in a wheelchair may even have upper body strength much greater than the average person because they have to push themselves around.  A man in a wheelchair is often able to shoot a police officer; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


If you find a device, don't touch it.  Don't try to take it to a safe place or inspect it.  Some bombs explode when moved or picked up.  Call for your local bomb squad to inspect the device.  Follow their guidance and directions.

Make sure the area is secured and any suspects are searched, separated and removed from the location to a secure area.  Even putting them inside a patrol car cage and moving them a few blocks away may be enough.

Bombs are tricky patrol responses, because most of the time they are not a bomb.  Often only an expert can determine if a bomb is really a threat or not. Sometimes pranksters think it can be funny of have a fake bomb.  Disgruntled people may use a bomb threat to get back at people they have a dispute with.  Always keep your guard up with bomb threats; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Suspicious Device

Los Angeles Police Department gets about one real bomb threat every week.  That's once a week they respond to a bomb call and the device is a real bomb.  About one in ever four calls they get is a real bomb.  How should you behave if you get a bomb threat?

The first issue is safety.  It a threat is plausible, if the danger is reasonable, then evacuate people.  If you have discovered a device that may be a bomb, then evacuate people.  The evacuation may cause people to be afraid, it may cause a lack of productivity, but it is better than getting people killed.

If you are not sure something is a bomb or not, err on the side of caution.  Bombs are often set off by remote control or by a timing device.  Using your cell phone or radio might trigger the bomb.  Call for help on a land line if possible.  If not back off and use your car radio to call for assistance; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Clock or Bomb?

School officials called the police because a 14 year old boy brought a briefcase to school filled with electronic bits.  They were concerned it might be a bomb.  The boy is a Muslim.  The police conducted an investigation and handcuffed the teen.  The boy eventually said it was a clock that he put together and the boy was released when it was determined the device was not a bomb.

Do you know what an improvised explosive device looks like?  Would you recognize this device as a clock or a potential bomb?  Do you at least realize that explosive devices often have a clock as part of their components?

If you are called to a school and told a boy may have made a bomb, do you handcuff him?  Do you question him?  Do you call his parents?  Does it matter if he is a Muslim or not?  If you don't recognize device as either a clock or a bomb, how do your proceed?  Complex questions with potentially fatal consequences if you guess wrong; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


I carry a folding utility knife.  It's a four inch long Buck knife.  I use it more than almost any other single tool in my inventory.  A bit of nylon cord is useful too.  I have used the nylon cord to lock up gates and doors when they were broken.  The knife is helpful for cutting the cord.

Sometimes I have used the knife to jimmy open a gate.  The knife is strong and long enough to slip into the crack between the gate and the jamb.  When responding to a call that requires you enter the backyard, it's quieter, safer, and easier than climbing the fence.

A few times I have used the knife to cut the rope holding the gate closed.  I use this utility knife for utility projects.  I have other knives that I have for tactical purposes.  The utility knife is slower to deploy and has a long and thick blade, compared to a tactical knife.  Both are useful for police work; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Courts have ruled that the police do not have a duty to protect individuals.  They are supposed to protect society as a whole  The police can't be everywhere at one time. Criminal acts often are completed in seconds or a couple minutes. 

A car theft takes about two or three minutes or less. A shooing takes only seconds. Even if the police are called, it takes longer to phone them, tell the dispatcher what is happening and the call getting dispatched than it takes for the crime to be completed. 

That's why having good lighting, good locks, a dog, solid doors, and knowing how to use and carry a gun for protection are all important to our individual safety.  Private security can be contracted to protect specific locations.  Body guards can be employed to protect specific individuals.  The police are there to protect everyone; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Some agencies that normally field one officer patrol cars are now fielding two officer patrol cars for officer safety reasons.  Some people on social media have stated they will kill any officer they find alone.  Agencies need to take these threats seriously since officers have been ambushed and killed.

In times like this it's a good idea to comb the agency and find maximum manpower.  Sometimes people on light duty and be brought in to back fill detectives or other staff who may not ordinarily work in the field.

Training classes that take officers out of the field can be delayed so that they are available to work patrol.  Officers who have requested vacations or other time off can be delayed or take fewer days off.  Agencies can ask for overtime money to field more officers until the crisis is over.  I hope this problem is only temporary, but we should not ignore it; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Shooting Article

This article is typical of what passes for news these days.  It's one sentence that insults police and the readers.  It provides almost no context to what happened.  They say that the police fired 84 rounds at  a suspect and missed him 83 times and that the police need to go back to the range.  That may be true, the police may need more training, but from the limited information in this article we can't know if they are well trained or not.

How far away was he? Was he moving or stationary? Was he firing back at them? Were they laying down covering fire as other officers maneuvered to a better position? Did several officers get surprised and all just fire rounds off at once over a period of two or three seconds? A very poorly written article that simply wants to make fun of the police.

Did the reporter talk to any use of force experts?  Do they know how much training these officers have received?  Do they know how much time and money the NYPD spends on police firearms training and how that compares to other agencies?  Are they campaigning for more police training?  This is an anti-police article that provides no enlightenment to the reader; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

God Bless Texas

 God bless Texas.  I don't need my lunch paid for, and I don't need to be given charity.  I do need to for people to call for help or even intervene if they can, rather than just film contacts with criminals.  I do need support in the jury box and in the legislature when there are trials or laws that come up that effect police officers.  Cops are not perfect, but no one hates a bad cop worse than a good cop.  There are nearly a million police in this nation and most do a great job.  Keep your police locally funded, and locally controlled for the best service; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Police Unions

Too often police unions act like big public employee unions rather than act like cops.  They support those who will give them the biggest paychecks and the largest retirement and best job security.  They care nothing about law and order, crime and punishment. 

They too often support those who support gun control and who oppose the death penalty; even though many cops are pro-gun and pro-death penalty.  Those big unions send money to liberal politicians who don't like the police and cater to criminals.

Perhaps those big police unions that support Democrat politicians every single election should begin to rethink that support. The Democrat mayor of Baltimore that let the rioters riot. The President of the United States who is silent when police are murdered in the streets for no other reason that they are police officers received the endorsement of those big police unions. While I normally oppose public employee strikes, what would they do if the Baltimore police or the Secret Service called in sick for a week; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Secondary Back Up Gun

Some officers carry a secondary back up gun.  This is often a very small gun of a very small caliber.  The intention is that if you are taken hostage, you may be able to keep this gun hidden and deploy it at an opportune moment.

It's also useful if you have trouble reaching your back up gun.  In a fight, it may be hard to reach your back up gun.  A secondary hidden back up gun should be worn in a part of the body different from where you keep your regular back up gun.

These guns can be very small, .22, 25, 32, 38, or .380 are popular calibers for this kind of gun.  The gun should be as small as possible.  You don't really need to have a compatible caliber of ammunition with your duty gun or back up gun.  The nature of the deployment of this gun does not typically require a reload; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Patrol Rifle

Your patrol rifle is not a substitute for your duty handgun.  Your handgun will be the gun that you will usually carry for most of the time.  If there is a significant danger of an armed confrontation, then you need to deploy your patrol rifle.

Response to an armed robbery, an alarm at an open bank or jewelry store, are good times to deploy the patrol rifle.  Any potential contact with dangerous suspects, a high risk traffic stop, an active shooter, or anytime gun violence has been reported are particularly good times to use the patrol rifle.

The patrol rifle can be a carbine that fires a pistol cartridge, but a rifle is better for most purposes.  .223 has almost no perceived recoil and is an excellent round.  An optic is important and will dramatically improve accuracy.  A patrol rifle is more accurate at all ranges than a pistol and will usually penetrate body armor.  The patrol rifle is large and bulky and so is not suitable for constant carry like a handgun, but provides significant advantages; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Back-up Gun

A back up gun is an important adjunct to your duty weapon.  It should be .380, 9mm, 40 or 45 caliber.  The small size of a back up gun can make the larger calibers difficult to control.  The smaller calibers make for a weapon that is easier to hide. 

The back up gun is there to provide a substitute gun in the event of a problem with your duty weapon.  If your duty gun jams or is broken, you have the back up gun someplace on your body were you can easily access it to replace the duty gun. 

If you are fighting a suspect for control of your duty gun, you may be able to draw your back up gun.  You may then be able to regain control of your duty weapon with your back up gun.  I have also loaned my back up gun to other officers who forgot their duty gun in the jail; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 14, 2015


When on duty you need at least three firearms.  A duty gun.  A back up gun.  A patrol rifle.  A second back up gun and a patrol shotgun can also be useful.  Consider each of these guns and ask how they can fit into your patrol package.

A duty handgun is your primary weapon.  It is worn openly on the belt and is there so that you have a firearm with you all the time.  You should have at least three high capacity magazines but five is better.  It should be at least 9mm but .40 or .45 calibers are better.

 I wear two magazines on my belt.  I carry two more on my exterior vest cover.  I like to keep two more in my gear bag or at least a box of duty ammo.  In a major incident officers often go through ammo very fast; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hot Cars

On hot days children and dogs should not be left alone in a car.  This includes police cars.  If you arrest someone on a hot day, make sure they are transported right away back to the jail.  You don't want them to die or have heat stroke in your patrol car.

Police dogs also sometimes die in patrol cars.  Agencies should have air conditioned kennels at the station for the dogs to use on hot days.  If the handler is in the station, he should bring the dog inside where it can cool off and relax.

Dogs don't do well in the heat and every year we lose a couple in a police car.  Canine units need to be configured so that the comfort of the dog is paramount.  The car needs to be modified so that it will not overheat if the officer is away from the car for a while.  The police car needs to be able to run with the air conditioning on for hours.  There should be air conditioning vents in the rear where the dog rides; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Patrol Rifle

If there may be a gunfight, bring a long gun.  In most cases, bring your patrol rifle.  The patrol rifle has a much greater range and is more accurate than the handgun.  The patrol rifle will generally penetrate body armor and holds more rounds than the handgun.

Still, you need to be able to transition back from the rifle to the handgun.  The handgun only requires one hand to shoot.  The handgun is also very small so it works well in narrow corridors and other enclosed spaces.

If you have to talk on the radio, or handcuff a suspect the handgun might be a better choice.  The patrol rifle may malfunction or you might run out of ammo.  A sling on the rifle is essential so that you can simply let the rifle hang in front of you.  Practice going from rifle to handgun, handgun to rifle so you can do it seamlessly; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 11, 2015

War on Islamic Terror

Today is September 11.  It is the anniversary of the attacks by Radical Muslims on the World Trade Towers, Pentagon and White Houses.  Thousands of Americans were killed on that day, including more than sixty police officers.

Radical Muslims continue to attack the United States and our allies every day.  Most of these attacks happen overseas but many happen or are attempted here at home too.  Our enemies continue to call for individuals and groups to attack our homeland.

Local police are the last line of defense in these attacks.  If the enemy gets past the military, the CIA and the federal and state governments, it's local police who will have to defend our nation.  It's local police who will be the first responders as they were on 9/11.  Stay ready; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Sometimes you have to wait.  Sometimes a situation is too much for one person to handle and you need to wait for help.  Certainly an active shooter situation may benefit from your immediate action, but it depends on the nature of the shooter.

A deranged young man who is killing people for the amusement value is likely to kill himself as soon as an armed officer shows up.  A robber or dedicated terrorist might continue to shoot people and engage responding police.

A large gang fight in one sense does not contain any actual victims.  A group of gangsters fighting another group of gangsters is best dealt with by a large group of police.  You need not rush in.  Still the use of the siren, flashing lights, spotlights, and public address system may help to disburse the crowd while you wait for backup; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Homeless III

The homeless can live in old army barracks style housing.  Platoons of fifty in bunk beds with a wall locker and a foot locker.  They should wear a uniform and be subjected to military style discipline.  They can do all the work themselves as military trainees would do, with a small staff of guards, and medical personnel.

Since they are not criminals, and are only under detention, they don't need a lot of security.  If they escape, then put a warrant out for their arrest.  They don't need guard towers, barbed wire and lots of guards.  They only need a few security staff to keep order and oversee running the facility.

Make being homeless a public offense that requires detention.  Keep them under detention for a few days the first time.  Extend the length of time by 50% or more each time they get taken in for being homeless.  Eventually they might be sent there essentially forever if they can never function in real life; that's what the SGT Says.