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.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


What are you going to do when you retire?  Travel is a good answer, but it often only last a year or two and then you run out of places to go.  Fix up the house it good too, but unless you are handy there is only so much you can do yourself.  Even if you are handy, you can only paint the living room so many times.

Sometimes police retire pretty early, in their forties or fifties.  Have you considered another career with a different agency?  Perhaps doing something very different from what you do now?  Perhaps parole, or probation, or as a ranking officer at another agency.  Perhaps even as a chief on a very small department.

Many times officers have only vague ideas about what they want to do, perhaps fish, or hunt.  That's okay for some of the time, but must people can't fish every day.  You need to have a plan.  Officers often retire and get bored or depressed, and sometimes kill themselves.  Find something to do when you retire, a reason to get up in the morning; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Homeless II

It will take money to round up the homeless.  I thing a one cent tax on every can of beer, on every prescription drug, on every bottle of alcohol.  That should bring in at least five billion dollars.  That should be a good start towards getting a better life for the homeless.

They should be kept in military style barracks.  They are responsible to maintain the buildings, prepare the food, and even grow it.  They should do nearly all the work.  They should receive counseling and treatment for their medical conditions.

The legislation to do this should specifically remove the authority of the courts of free these people, or alter their conditions.  We need to prevent this from becoming a country club where people have every amenity.  They need to work on their problems and take care of each other; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, September 6, 2015


We need a new paradigm to fight the homeless problem.  Police get sent out to deal with homeless people all the time.  Often they are mentally deranged, on drugs, or on alcohol.  We need to partner with mental health professionals to solve the homeless problem.

Dogs get taken off the street and live under controlled circumstances until they are able to live with a family again.  They get food, medical care, and a safe environment until that happens.  Homeless people live under a bridge, and eat out of a dumpster.

As a society we need to figure out how to treat homeless humans as well as we treat homeless dogs.  We need legislation that says people who are mentally ill and wander the streets, homeless cannot take care of themselves and should be locked up until they can; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Gear Inspection

Leather or nylon duty gear should be kept in good repair.  Periodically you should clean it and shine it as necessary.  When you do that, inspect the gear.  Make sure the holster is in good repair.  The holster should fit your gun and should be in perfect condition.

Inspect your other gear.  Make sure the snaps snap and the buttons button.  Having your gear fall out is a serious problem.  Check your chemical weapon.  Most sprays have an expiration date, if not, take it outside to a safe place, shake it up and do a test spray.

Check out your knife.  Make sure it is sharp and clean.  Get rid of the fuzzy stuff in the workings.  Do the same with your handcuffs.  Double check they are not double locked.  Check out your baton, and inspect your ammo.  Empty your magazines, inspect the ammo and reload the magazines.  Replace anything right away that is worn, damaged or less than perfect; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, September 4, 2015


Suspects should be handcuffed for nearly every offense, however minor.  Many people panic when they realize they are going to go to jail.  Even a minor offender might try to attack you in order to escape when they realize they are going to jail.

Some high profile cases have shown officers handcuffing children.  The key to knowing who to handcuff is to review the reasons for the handcuffing.  A small child is no real danger to the officer and is in no real danger of escaping.  Handcuffing a child to teach them a lesson, or scare them is not appropriate.

Your agency policy may also have requirements or guidelines for handcuffing.  Handcuffing can cause wrist injury and should not be done unless there is a good reason.  Always follow your local laws and agency policy; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Two Second Drill

Can you draw and fire two rounds from your duty handgun from the holster, snapped in, with your hand off the gun, in less than two seconds?  The average gun fight takes fewer than three seconds.  You need to fire very fast in order to win a three second event.

This is easy to train to do, an average officer can do this with practice.  First, wear the holster in a position were it is right under your gun arm.  Not in front or behind.  Practice by standing on both feet and facing the target.  Bring your arm up, and unsnap, and grasp your weapon in a shooting grip.  Pull the handgun up and apply slight forward pressure to the front sight against the front of the holster. 

That will allow the muzzle to flip up quickly and bring it into a horizontal position.  The instant the muzzle is free of the holster, punch the handgun forward as you bring your finger into position on the trigger to fire.  The first round should fire just after the handgun is free of the holster and the second while you are still bring up the gun to eye level.  By the third second you should have the handgun at eye level and ready to continue to shoot if the target is still a threat; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wrong Way

If you are in pursuit of a vehicle on the freeway and the vehicle turns around and drives against traffic, should you continue to follow them?  It is generally a very bad idea to drive against the flow of traffic. 

A head on collision is very dangerous and you should avoid having one by not driving against the flow of traffic.  Drive to the next on ramp and go around, then follow them from the opposite side of the freeway.  Or pull to the side of the road and stop.  Often drivers won't go far by driving in the wrong direction.  Perhaps it's best to let the helicopter follow that dangerous driver.

Call other units behind you and have them be aware of the wrong way driver.  They may be able to stop traffic and block the emergency lanes with their vehicles to prevent the wrong way driver from going any farther.  Wrong way drivers are very dangerous and so is following them; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


One way for agencies to do more with less is to have a Retired Senior Volunteer Program.  This allows old people to contribute time to your agency at little cost to the agency.  They can perform duties that are not likely being done now, or only done occasionally.

RSVP people are screened, tested and trained.  They wear a uniform and drive an agency vehicle, that is marked differently from a police patrol car.  It usually is a retired police car.  Their uniforms should be recognizable, but again different than the police uniform.

Their duties can include responding to report only, non-injury traffic collisions, checking homes of people on vacation.  They can do any non-confrontational police duties that don't involve any enforcement action.  They don't write tickets or make arrests or carry guns.  They can be a valuable and inexpensive tool; that's what the SGT Says.