Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Police Academy

The police academy needs a revision.  Police academies should be two years long and should confer an associates of arts degree.  The first three semesters should be generally classroom courses.  They should include basic written English skills, computers, conversational Spanish, and mathematics; swimming and physical fitness.  Agency sponsored recruits should receive little more than free tuition and minimum wage.

Then they should go on to use those skills in report writing and traffic collision investigation.  Reports should be written on computer and based on incidents that the officers have to role play with the staff.  These incidents should increase in complexity as the training continues.  Students should wear uniforms but not wear any weapons for the first two semesters.  In the third semester they should begin basic firearms and other weapons training courses.

The final six month long session should be run more like a traditional stress police academy.  The trainees should learn more advanced skills in tactics, driving, teamwork, and other police skills.  Once trainees graduate and start work they should have a two year contractual obligation to stay with the agency that sponsored them; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Impact Weapon

When was the last time you practiced with your baton?  You should practice at least once a month to stay in top shape.  The baton is an important tool and if you are good with it, you can do a better job of protecting yourself.

While the baton does not always look good when used on a suspect, it can stop a suspect quickly if used properly.  If you have to hit someone with the baton, hit them as hard as you can with the first and all subsequent blows.

There is no escalation of force with the baton.  You are hitting or you are not hitting.  Witnesses will tell how many times you hit the suspect, not how hard you hit him.  You have to practice so that when you hit you can accurately hit those parts you want to hit; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Police Unions

Police unions have to stop acting like big unions and start acting like police.  Police need elected officials who care about stopping crime and backing the cops.  Nearly all the big cities in the United States are run by Democrats and have been for the last fifty years.

Yet, these same elected officials don't support the police.  They are the first to jump on the anti-police bandwagon.  They often accuse the police of the worst crimes with little or no evidence.  Despite this our unions give them money and support them.

We have to stop doing this.  While Democrats typically support more taxes and higher budgets and bigger governments, that's no longer enough.  Police work is not just about the money.  It's also about backing the cops when things look bad, and Democrats are not doing that for us; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


In some cities, the police are suffering from low morale and are worried that their command staff and city government won't back them.  They are also worried that the Federal government might investigate any incident they are involved in due to political pressure.

I think we need to do a better job of watching out for each other.  When your partners go on a call, back them up if you are not busy on another call.  Make sure your partners have two or more officers on every call.

It's important to continue to provide excellent police services.  The good people who pay our salaries deserve our continued support.  There are several things we can do to make it better, but it will take time; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Officers should carry at least two duty magazines on the belt in addition to the one in the handgun.  My preference is four duty magazines on the belt.  Officers should be able to fire off at least ten round in six seconds, from the holster.

That means a magazine can be empty in only ten to twelve seconds.  Even with two extras, that's not even a minute of sustained fire.  While that seems like a huge amount of ammo, in many situations, that much ammo may be needed.

In a hostage situation, or active shooter where the officer may need to shoot to provide cover to other officers or to suppress the suspects for some reason, it can take up fifty rounds very fast.  Sometimes subsequent officers may need to provide their partners with ammo; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Paid Leave

When an officer is accused of doing something bad they are often place on leave with full pay.  Citizens then complain that the officer does something bad and gets rewarded with a paid vacation.  How do you respond to this criticism?

Officers, like everyone else are innocent until proven guilty, they have a presumption of innocence, even if the video looks bad or even if everyone "knows" they are guilty.  Since you don't want an officer facing a serious accusation to be working the streets while there is an investigation, they are placed on administrative leave.  Since there have been no proven allegations against the officer, he is placed on paid leave.  This is often the case in non-police business jobs where an employee might be placed on leave until an investigation of wrongdoing has been completed.

Once a personnel investigation has been completed, the officer will be punished or not, based on the findings of that personnel investigation, independent of any criminal proceedings.  An officer who is not guilty of any criminal matter, may be fired for failure to follow department policy, for example.  An officer who has been arrested may also be fired, or his leave may be changed to unpaid leave, depending on the outcome of the investigation or the individual agency policy.  An allegation alone should never be sufficient to get someone fired, or suspended without pay until an investigation is completed and findings or wrongdoing are reached; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 25, 2015

What's the Good Word?

Cities all over the nation are having problems with their police departments.  In some cases an officer has done something illegal or immoral and the citizens have turned against them.  In most cases the media have seized on an incident and have misinformed the public.

As a result the public think the police have done something wrong when the police followed the law, followed procedure, and did what they are supposed to do.  Sometimes police work is not pretty.  Sometimes you do everything right and something bad will happen.

When these things happen, we need to reach out to the public.  That starts with our families, with our friends and let them know the truth.  Get our our side of the story.  In the vast majority of the time, police do the right thing, but the word needs to get out.  Make it your job to spread the word about the good deeds done by your partners, every day; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


On Memorial Day weekend will you work or be with family?  If you will be with family what will you do?  Have you got something special planned?  Sleeping in and then hanging out in the garage is not something special.

If you are working, what are you going to do about it?  Are you selecting another day to spend time with your family?  Neglect of family is one of the things that officers often do to themselves.  Vacations, holidays, and special days like birthdays need to be celebrated.

Even if you have to time shift to a different day in order to celebrate important occasions, you need to be there for them.  You need to be there and share the important days in their lives.  Police work can be hard, but it's harder when you neglect your family; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Shooting Video

In the video I described yesterday, I believe it to be a legally justified shooting by a peace officer. There are no "good" shootings. Only those that are legal or illegal.  It is a sad day to have to shoot someone or to take a life, no matter how justified it may be.

It is never good to have to take someones life or to have to shoot someone. Still, in this instance if the suspect had simply submitted to the search, the officer would likely have arrested him for possession of the firearm and it would all have ended peacefully.

Taking someones life is something police have to be ready to do to defend themselves or other innocent persons.  Still it is not something we want to do lightly nor unjustly.  Police work includes an inherent amount of danger, but police still retain the right to self defense; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Shooting Video

On a recent video on Facebook and Officer was detaining a suspect in response to a call for service or an observation.  The suspect had the legal duty to comply with the officers search.  The suspect instead ran away and pulled a gun.  The suspect did not shoot, but was running from the officer who was in foot pursuit.

Under those circumstances it is reasonable for the officer to fear for his life. The suspect can turn and fire faster than the officer can react. The officer has a duty to pursue the suspect and take him into custody.  The bystanders came up to the location and shouted at the officer not to shoot anymore.  They also said the suspect did not have a gun.  

The bystanders should have stayed out of the way and let the officer do his job. The bystanders are the reason the suspect was not given immediate medical treatment  The officer can't know who's side they are on, they may attack him.  The suspect may still be alive, and may still be a threat to the officer.  The officer was alone at the time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Traffic Collisions

Police that do a bad job are a threat to all police.  We need our partners to be safe, ethical and use proper police procedures when they contact suspects and the public.  Officers who are unsafe are dangerous to themselves, their partners and the public.

One problem is officers who drive too fast.  Many times, every year, officers will be involved in one car traffic collisions that result in the death of the driver.  Officers get excited about a pending call and drive 100 miles per hour on wet streets, slippery roads, or dangerous curves.

They go off the roadway and flip the patrol car or wrap it around a telephone pole.  There is no reason for these kinds of traffic collisions.  Our officers should not be putting themselves in danger just to get to a call faster.  Even officer needs help calls are too important to risk crashing while on the way.  You can't help if you don't get there; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Medical Attention

There are several mistakes that officers make that make their jobs harder.  If you have to use force on a suspect, always call for paramedics if there is even the slightest possibility that they have been injured.

You want to have them cleared by a medical professional.  If they die in police custody later, at least you can say you did your part to insure their safety.  Make sure you document that you called the paramedics and what they told you.

Failure to provide assistance to injured suspects after an incident is one of the mistakes officers make.  It looks bad if you don't help the suspect.  If suspects say they are sick or injured, take them at their word.  Get them medical attention; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Carry a gun all the time when you are outside your house.  Inside your house, keep a gun handy.  You can never tell when a dangerous incident will happen.  It can happen on a quick trip to the mini-market when you go to pick up a dozen eggs.

You go to the bank to deposit your paycheck.  While you are there the robbers show up and start shooting.  You to the local high school to pick up your kids at the same time as the active shooter shows up to shoot the kids.

You go to the mall when the terrorist attack happens.  You go places everywhere where there could be a need for you to have a gun.  Even if you don't intend to get involved, sometimes you can't help having to defend yourself; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 18, 2015


Police video that makes the police look good rarely makes the news.  Police punching someone without explanation frequently makes the news; if it bleeds, it leads school of journalism.  The news is more about sensationalism than about informing people.

Out of context nearly all police violence looks bad. Video does not tell the whole story. Video does not show what the officer thinks or believes is happening. It shows what the camera sees and we watch it in the safety of our own homes. 

There are 800,000+ police in the United States. Some of them are incompetent, poorly trained, and yes, even evil. Finding a few minutes of bad clips of video taken over a period of ten years is not hard and I see it on the Internet all the time, usually with mostly the same clips.  Consider you are always on video whenever you are in uniform, that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

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Two hundred rival bikers from five different gangs had a meeting at a shopping center in Waco, Texas.  Not surprising, it broke out into a fight, and then a gunfight.  Nine people were killed and 17 others sent to hospitals.  Several of those shot were shot by police.

The police were at the shopping center because they were warned of the meeting beforehand.  They had about a dozen local cops there and some state police as well.  Once the shooting started they called numerous other local agencies and the ATF.

Despite the good press the media seems to want to give to outlaw biker gangs, biker gangs are gangs.  They are on-going criminal enterprises formed and continued to perform criminal acts.  Those acts typically include drug distribution and crimes of violence, against other biker gangs and against police.  Be careful; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Sometimes you get an animal that is actually dangerous.  A ten or twenty miles from where I work they do get a bear in a hot tub once in a while.  With the drought mountain lions are moving closer and closer to urban areas too.  Most of the time you just leave it alone, wait for animal control and eventually they will arrive and tranquilize the animal and take it away.

The big challenge is keeping the people away.  The lookie loos want to see it and take it's picture and just get in the way.  They not only put themselves in danger but they upset the animal.  Sometimes an animal will be a danger and there is only one option, to shoot it.

The shotgun or the patrol rifle are the best choice for shooting an animal.  You want plenty of firepower and you don't what to shoot it ten times.  If time permits it's a good idea to get permission from the supervisor, but if the danger is too severe, shoot the animal.  Protection of human life is the first imperative; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Sometimes you get an animal call.  I work in an urban area, but it's not so far from wilderness that coyotes, skunks, racoons, possums and other small animals don't turn up once in a while.  We have animal control on call, but they come from another city and they are a private group, not sworn and not public.  They don't work late nor on weekends.

So we have to deal with it on our own.  In most cases the animal has been hit by a car and is dead or dying when we arrive.  In those instances we stand by and wait for it to die.  Then ask a bystander for a shovel and cardboard box or big plastic bag and scoop it up, put it in the trunk and dump it back at the station trash.  Give it a bit of a whack to insure it's dead before trying to scoop it up.

If the animal is alive, and uninjured, and not immediately dangers, drive slow and hope it's gone when you get there.  Most of the time it will simply go away in a couple minutes.  If it's still there, don't rush in to capture it.  Give it time to go away while you keep the neighbors away.  Most urban wildlife is not too concerned about dogs and cars and will figure out where to go if left alone; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Use of force can be dangerous and so it's best to deescalate it to a no use of force incident if possible.  Still, that's not always reasonable.  If a suspect is actively resisting, if he is placing people in danger, then you may even need to increase the amount of force needed to control the event.

A fast, violent use of force can actually prevent further and more serious use of force.  Sometimes officers allow a situation get out of control necessitating even greater force that what was originally necessary to control the situation.

Police use of force must be reasonable.  Struggling around with a suspect for an extended period is not reasonable.  Fighting with a suspect for an extended period gives more opportunities for the suspect to take your gun, to get away, or for other people to get involved; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Use of Force

This just happened in East New York Bklyn
Posted by Noel Farrell on Thursday, May 7, 2015

In a free society we should be able to video the police, but we should be required to stay back at least 25 feet and we should not be allowed to do it in the roadway or other place we don't belong.  There should be a law that prevents people from getting too close to police in the performance of their duty.

 Those two cops were lucky the spectators did not jump in on the suspects side.  It seemed like a contact Tazer strike would have been a good idea when he refused to go down.  This suspect was resisting and the officers were having a hard time taking him down.

Even once he was down on the ground the officers were having trouble getting him under control.  A grown man who does not want to go to jail is difficult to control unless you are willing and able to apply significant force to him.  Sometimes even then; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


 TV shows like COPS have been a great service to law enforcement and to our communities.  While I recognize the downside for agencies that had COPS follow them around, there was a good side for the rest of us.  Too much of law enforcement on television is unrealistic.

My late wife and my new wife would never believe the kinds of behavior I have described if not for their being able to see it on television. The average American never sees people screaming at the police, or banging their heads against the inside window of a police car. 

They can't even consider that as real behavior, until they see it for the first time on television.  COPS does not have to show the dead bodies, and the other horrors we see as a regular part of work.  People need to know the type of dangers and stresses we deal with; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 11, 2015


The author of this article says that the short trigger pull of the Glock and the lack of a manual safety has lead to many unintentional discharges and several deaths.  He provides several anecdotes about officers shooting people, unintentionally, but nothing that identifies the short trigger pull or lack of a manual safety as the culprit.

He does not compare actual numbers of unintentional discharges between similar sized departments using the Glock and a different handguns with a long trigger pull and a manual safety, or a long trigger pull and no manual safety, or a manual safety and a short trigger pull over an extended period of time to validate his clams. 

Without that type of information it is impossible to make a reasonable claim that one or both of these features would make a difference in terms of unintentional discharges.  In most, if not all, of the incidents the author describe any manual safety would be in the "off" position and irrelevant; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Glock Problems

In the third example in this article, the author says an officer was killed when another officer was cleaning his Glock.  The officer failed to check his chamber and pulled the trigger to dis-assemble the handgun.  The officer fired a bullet into his partner and killed him.

This violated the first rule of firearms safety, don't point the gun at anything you are not willing to shoot.  Handle all guns as if they are loaded.  The officer cleaning his gun failed to insure his gun was unloaded.  Many times I have seen new officers rack the slide and then dump their magazine; thinking the handgun is then unloaded.  I always train my officers to check the chamber before unloading and after they dump the magazine; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Glock Safety

ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

These three rules are basic firearms safety rules.  They apply to everyone, police, security, civilian at all times, with every gun.  Violation of these basic safety rules is usually at the heart of any accidental firearms injury or death.

The first two incidents in this article about the Glock showed a violation of both of these basic firearms safety rules.  Neither officer was ready to shoot, and yet they had their fingers on the triggers and were not pointing their guns is a safe direction.

These incidents would likely have had the same result even with a revolver or double action semi-automatic firearm.  Any weapon with a manual safety would likely had the safety off if the officer felt the need to have his gun out and his finger on the trigger; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Unsafe Glock

In this article the author complains that there have been a massive number of unintentional discharges due to the design of the Glock pistol.  He says that the lack of a manual safety is dangerous and has caused these deaths.

I think the Glock could be rather easily re-designed to include a manual safety, not unlike the slide safety on an M1911 series pistol.  I think it would sell well and might even prevent some unintentional discharges; but I doubt it.

US police carried revolvers for over a hundred years.  Revolvers don't have manual safeties.  There were a few unintentional discharges with revolvers and a few deaths as a result.  Guns are like any dangerous mechanical device, sometimes someone will get hurt due to their use, usually because someone failed to use them properly; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Retired Armor

Officers need to wear their body armor all the time while in uniform.  One way to help make that happen is to start in the police academy.  Old body armor should not be discarded.  It can be sent to the police academy where it can help train new officers.

On the first day of the academy, trainees should be issued an old set of body armor.  They should have a fresh new carrier in an unusual color, such as orange.  The orange color will alert users that it is not to be considered as providing ballistic protection.  There should also be a tag on the carrier and on the ballistic panels that indicates the armor has been retired and is not to be used for protection.

The trainees should wear their retired armor every day, all day.  They should even exercise in it.  They should get used to wearing their armor, just as they get used to wearing their Sam Browne and their shiny shoes; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Officer Deaths

Since 1943 at least 100 police officers in the United States have been killed in the line of duty, every year.  Most are shot or die in automobile accidents.  Are you wearing your body armor and your seat belt every time you are in uniform or riding in a vehicle?

Many officers are drowned.  Can you swim?  Some are burned to death, or strangled, or die in aircraft crashes.  Not every officer on duty death is easily preventable.  Most of them are preventable and we need to do a better job of preventing those deaths that we can prevent.

Every agency should issue body armor to every officer on his first day in uniform.  Every officer should be wearing his seat belt every time the officer is in the car.  Officers need to know that wearing body armor and seat belts are expected; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mall Shooting

A 22 year old marijuana smoker stole a rifle and entered a shopping mall in Oregon.  The man shot three people, two of whom died immediately.  A concealed weapons permit holder pulled a gun on the suspect, who fled, his rifle was jammed.  The CCW holder did not fire because he did not have a clear field of fire.  The mall prohibits private weapons and the security guards on duty were unarmed.

The first 911 call came out in 39 seconds after the incident began and the police responded on scene in 1 minute, 41 seconds.  The shooter was already gone from the food court where the shootings were done.  Within about 20 minutes the shooter had gone down a dead end corridor and killed himself after clearing his weapon and hearing the approach of police.  It took another 12 hours to fully clear the shopping mall.

Banning firearms in the mall saved no one.  Failing to arm the security guards saved no one.  Nearly immediate response by police saved no one.  Only a concealed carry civilian may have intimidated the suspect and caused him to flee.  The presence of police closing in on the suspect likely precipitated his suicide.  The shooters unfamiliarity with his weapon and poor shooting skills probably saved the most people; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Events that create cartoons of Muhammad often provoke an armed response from radical Muslims.  It is important that in a free society we allow people their freedom of speech.  Still we can't sit by and permit people to behave in an inflammatory manner and act as if there is no danger.

This particular event provided both armed police and unarmed security guards to protect the event.  Unarmed security guards play a very important role in crime prevention, incident detection and public service.  They are very poor first responders to a shooting event.

A venue like this should not have had unarmed security guards.  Knowing that an armed attack is a likely scenario, every police officers and every security guard should have been armed, at least with a handgun.  The visual deterrence of a uniform is no going to prevent a terrorist attack; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


If a large group approaches a school, or a mall or other large venue and starts shooting things up are you ready?  This kind of terrorist attack is different from the average active shooter.  Most active shooters will kill themselves once armed police or security arrive.

Terrorists want to engage police and security and will actively fight back.  They will often work together and wear body armor.  They will often train to confront police.  They often have lots of ammo, and even suicide bombs.

A group attack of this nature requires that you be ready to respond right away.  You cannot delay waiting for a SWAT team.  While a SWAT team may be needed, initial responders have to form into small groups and go ahead.  Just like an active shooter, these types of terrorist attackers are killing every minute you are waiting; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


Police in Kenya were guarding a school when at least five armed gunman arrived and started shooting at the students.  At least 70 students were killed and at least 75 were wounded in the attack.  The terrorists had attacked other sites in the country in recent years and claimed they were going to conduct more attacks.

Five armed suspects with guns is not very many.  A team of that size could be put together right here in America.  It would not cost very much to arm and train a group of that size.  They would only need basic firearms proficiency that they could get anywhere.

Most agencies have a school someplace in their jurisdiction.  Is your agency ready for an incident of this kind?  Are you ready for an incident of this type?  If there are five armed men, can you take them on alone?  Can you coordinate this kind of incident if you are the primary officer?  This kind of attack could happen tomorrow; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Run Him Down

An armed suspect was walking down the street.  He had done a robbery and still had a gun and was threatening suicide.  Officers were blocking both ends of the street and civilians were starting to gather to see what was happening.

A dangerous situation was getting worse by the minute.  One officer responded with a plan.  As soon as he saw the suspect was clear, the officer accelerated his patrol car and ran over the suspect.  The suspect was hospitalized for a few days before being put in jail.

Ordinarily a patrol car should not be used as a deadly weapon.  There are times when thinking outside the normal mode of doing things can provide an innovative solution to a terrible problem.  If the suspect started shooting, officers the pubic and the suspect could have been killed.  If the officer ran over the suspect, the suspect is the only one likely to be seriously injured.  I think it was a good decision, this time; that's what the SGT Says.