Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Shootout

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Hollywood_shootout

The suspects spent weeks planning their assault on the bank.  They wore body armor and a lot of specialized equipment.  That equipment included watches to time their robbery, extra ammo, and incendiary materials to burn their car after the robbery.

They functioned much like today's terrorists.  They developed a plan.  They worked out special equipment and weapons to make their plan happen.  They conducted several robberies and got over a million dollars.  They even took drugs to calm themselves so they could stay cool under the pressure of the robbery or police intervention.

Any bank robbery call you get could be suspects just like these.  We think of most bank robbers as single individuals grabbing a few hundred dollars to spend right away on drugs.  That is a dangerous assumption.  These guys were listening to police calls and were prepared for a shootout; are you, that's what the SGT Says?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Robbers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Hollywood_shootout

In February, 1997 two robbers hit the Bank of America in North Hollywood.  They both were armed with fully automatic rifles that they had modified themselves.  They were suspects in a number of take over bank robberies and armored car thefts.

They went into the bank and pulled their rifles and took over the location.  They gathered up the money and left in a get away car parked out side as their normal routine.  They wore body armor, that they customized and covered their arms and legs with it.

The two had an interest in firearms and were not afraid to shoot and murder people.  They had committed at least one murder prior to this shootout.  They had previously been stopped by police and had improvised explosive devices, police scanners, a cache of guns, multiple license plates and smoke bombs in their possession.  The two only received 100 days in jail before being released.  These were dangerous criminals and there are more out there just like them; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Biker Gangs

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/18/us/motorcycle-gang-shootout-in-waco-texas.html?_r=0

Nine people were killed in a shootout between rival motorcycle gangs.  The police were warned that there might be a shooting during this meeting.  Dozens of motorcycle gang members were both inside and outside the location.

Once the shootout happened, motorcycle gang members headed in that direction from as far away as several states away.  Motorcycle gangs are very dangerous.  They are well organized and have a lot of resources.  They often have counsel on retainer and public relations experience.

Many of them are ex-cons and have not concern about going back to prison.  They will often feign compliance but will look for an opportunity to attack if it suits them.  Recently in California one gang was even running serial attacks against a police department.  Don't underestimate biker gangs; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The News

https://secure.fox.com/proxy/www.foxcarolina.com/story/29436100/troup-county-deputy-shootout-caught-on-camera

"No trespassers. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again."  The reporter reported that the suspect had this sign on his property.  What does that say about the mindset of the reporter?  Why did he think this sign was important to report about?

I have seen many signs just like this one.  It's simply a little joke sign, often sold in novelty shops.  Since there was a shooting on this property that involved the resident, the reporter made it out as if the sign was making a statement about the intention of the resident to shoot people.

Keep this concept in mind when you post things on line.  When you put stickers on your car bumper or on your posse box.  Think about this when you make a casual remark about a suspect or a victim.  Reporters are just looking to spice up a story; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 26, 2015

AK-47 Pistol

https://secure.fox.com/proxy/www.foxcarolina.com/story/29436100/troup-county-deputy-shootout-caught-on-camera

This article says "Caldwell reportedly had an AK-47-style pistol that he fired twice..."  Of course, an AK-47 is a rifle, not a pistol.  Unless the weapon is some bizarre weapon, it was most certainly not an AK-47 style pistol.

This tells us that the reporter knows little or nothing about firearms.  This is often the case for reporters.  It is up to us in firearms related incidents to explain fully the type and nature of the weapons involved so that the public can be educated about firearms.

A rifle can be a very dangerous weapon.  An AK-47 can not only shoot through the windows of the patrol car, but will typically go through police body armor with ease.  I suspect the reporter did not know that either.  It's important information to know so that the true danger of the circumstance was clear; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sound of Gunshots

http://www.lawofficer.com/videos/2015/07/video-of-georgia-deputy-shooting-released.html

In this incident the officer fired five shots.  He hit the suspect two times.  The suspect survived and was hospitalized.  The suspect had an AK-47 style rifle and fired at the deputy.  The officer was sent to the home in response to neighbors complaints about the sound of gunshots.

Despite the complaints about gunshots, the deputy pulled into the driveway.  Ordinarily if you have a report of gunshots, it would be prudent to stop some distance away.  Then spend a few moments waiting to hear more gunshots.

Once you have waited a reasonable time, then you can go forward, using cover and concealment and look for the probable source of the shooting.  It is not inconceivable the officer can pull up into the driveway and be greeted with a hail of gunfire; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Getting a Brazilian

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=XjxO9idvhRU


How is police work done in other countries?  Maybe some places do it better and we could learn from them.  Maybe some places don't do it as well and we could avoid their problems.

I have no idea how police work is done in most places, but I suspect in much of the world it is more violent than in the USA and the honest people probably don't mind all that much.  In this video from Brazil two armed robbers are apparently shot to death in the commission of the robbery.  

The officers loose a hail of gunfire on the robbers and they continue to shoot as long at the robbers continue to show obvious signs of life.  I suspect in most places here in the USA the robbers would have been allowed to exit the store and be commanded to surrender prior to any shooting happening by police that's what the SGT Says. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Getting Hired or Promoted

When in a oral board they will sometimes ask questions about you.  This is the time for you to be a salesman and the product is you!   Don't be afraid to tell them good things about yourself.  There are certain things they can't legally ask, but that does not mean you can't volunteer the information if it will be helpful.

Usually they can't ask about your marriage status and your children.  A wife who fully supports your work as a cop is a huge asset, and you should tell them about her.  Having rock solid child care is also important and being able to tell them about that and your ability to work any shift and any day of the week is important.

You need to have an answer to the question, why do you want this job or this promotion?  Why do you want to work with this particular agency or in this particular unit?  Why do you want to be a cop, SWAT, detective, sergeant?  They might ask you these questions and you should have answers for yourself too; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Promotion

If you are interested in getting promoted at your agency, then tell people you want to be promoted.  Tell your supervisor you want to be promoted and ask him what you need to do to get promoted.  What extra training or new skills do you need to develop? 

Ask those who have the position you want how they got it.  There is usually a process, maybe a written or oral test.  What does the test cover?  What answers are they looking for? Is it mainly about the agency, the law, the department manual?

Are the questions situational?  Are they going to try and figure out how you handle certain situations?  Why should they promote you and not someone else?  Take the test every time it's given, even if you don't think you will be promoted, you are practicing for the time you might get promoted.  They guy everyone knows who is going to be promoted might turn it down, get hurt, move, quit.  You gotta be ready; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I Live in a Safe Neighborhood

I live in a safe neighborhood, yet I carry a gun anytime I am outside the house.  My wife and I go for a walk around the block once in a while.  I carry a gun then.  And a cell phone and my police ID, and usually a less lethal weapon too, like OC spray.

I live in a safe neighborhood yet a few blocks away, a few years ago a man was fatally shot to death in a parking lot; shotgun to the face.  A few blocks in another direction there was a home invasion and several were tortured. 

I live in a safe neighborhood, but not everyone who visits here is a nice person.  The guy who used to live at the end of the block used to talk to the cops pretty frequently.  Rumor was he beat his wife, I never saw it, but that's what they said.  I saw a guy in a car, parked a block from my house smoking crack, he drove away as I approached.  I live in a safe neighborhood; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Video

Agencies that have cameras should put policies in place prior to using them about the use of the camera, the consequences of the camera use and what happens to the video.  Will the video run all the time or only sometimes? 

Under what circumstance will the video be turned on?  Will it be turned on automatically, or manually?  What happens if the officer fails to turn it on when he should?  If the camera is wearable, what happens if it falls off, gets wet, gets lost, gets broken?

Who owns the video?  Who decides when to release the video to the public?  Will the officer who took the video or who appears in the video be able to see it before he makes a statement, writes a report, or goes to court?  Even if he is a suspect or the subject of a complaint?  Figure this out now, before it's a problem; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Do As You Are Told

http://calibrepress.com/2015/06/video-body-and-cell-cam-of-fatal-ois/

An officer pulled over a car because the driver flashed his headlights at him.  The drive said he thought the officer had his "bright" lights on.  The officer explained that his patrol car was new, the headlights were brighter than most headlights but that he did not have his "bright" lights on.  The officer asked for the driver license, registration and proof of insurance from the driver.

From the beginning the driver was not compliant.  I think I would have ask for a second unit right away, as soon as the driver began to argue.  If for no other reason, I would have a witness to my professional behavior.  The officer was very reasonable and explained everything he was doing and why he was doing it.

The officer asked the driver to get out of his car, I think I would have waited until back up arrived until I got the suspect out of the car, since at the very least the suspect was likely to engage in passive resistance, given his attitude.  The officer had his Taser ready and even used it on the suspect.  The suspect engaged in a fight with the officer who eventually had to shoot him.  This is a perfect example of the I don't have to do what you tell me mentality that is so prevalent today.  In this case the results were tragic; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

South Carolina Shooting

 http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/17/us/charleston-south-carolina-shooting/index.html

Suspect arrested in a traffic stop after he was identified by his uncle.  Security video stills were made public right away and the uncle called police.  Other photos show the suspect wearing flags of South Africa and Rhodesia. The photos show a young man with a 1,000 yard stare.

Looks a lot like the shooter from the movie theater in Colorado and some of the other young white men who conducted mass murders. I suspect this is less about race and more about a cowardly, young, disaffected immoral man who simply wanted a large body count.

The guy in Colorado was all about Batman, the guy in South Carolina was all about race, but I suspect in reality they were both all about being unable to function in society.  The Sandy Hook shooter was another one who was dysfunctional and yet was able to roam around, drive cars and own guns.  His family enabled his bizarre behavior.  I suspect this guy will have a similar family history; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cameras

I have been telling cops and security guards for twenty years to behave as if they are on camera, because there is a good chance you are going to be on camera.  I don't mind, I think in a free society people should be able to record what type of work is being done by public servants.  I do think that any freedom can be abused and I think civilians with cameras are often abusing the system. 

I favor a few simple laws for filming police officers in the performance of their duties.  You must be at least fifty feet away from the police when filming with a handheld camera if the police order you to move away.  You may not film on private property without the permission of the owner.  You may not film from any location were pedestrians cannot lawfully go, such as the middle of the street.

Any person under arrest or being detained must immediately put down their camera when requested by police.  Any video evidence obtained at the scene of any crime or arrest may be seized by the police, but shall be copied and returned within one working day.  The person shall be given a receipt for their property.  Having a camera in your hand does not grant you permission to go anywhere or do anything; that's what he SGT Says.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Some Cops Wear Cameras

Some cops wear cameras.  Cameras can be a good thing or a bad thing.  They are just things, they are not a magic bullet.  Some officers will wear cameras and still do something stupid.  Some officers will wear cameras and people will still second guess them.

Some officers will wear cameras and still we won't really know what happened.  Some officers will wear cameras and we won't see anything that makes sense to those who were not there.  Some officers will wear cameras and the incident will be plain and clear and everyone will be happy.

Some officers will wear cameras, do a good job and get fired anyway.  Some officers will wear cameras do something bad and still not get caught.  Some officers will wear cameras and they will show the officer was right and the suspect was wrong, and people will say the tape was doctored.  In my career we started carrying walkie talkie radios, got computers in the cars, high capacity pistols and we still have crime and controversy.  Cameras are just another tool; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Did You?

Did you wear your seatbelt today?

Did you wear your body armor?

Did you search every suspect yourself?

Did you drive safety?

Did you check your handgun before you went on patrol?

Did you take a fresh radio battery before you left the station?

Did you think about the worst thing that could happen and then devise a plan?

Did you treat every call or enforcement activity as if it could be dangerous?

You need to; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Police Unions

Police unions should be run on a volunteer basis by full time police officers who work for the agency they represent.  The volunteer should not be paid for anything other than direct expenses, and those should never be more than 10% of his gross pay as a police officer. 

There should be receipts and an explanation for every expense and they must directly relate to his union activities.  Meals should not be reimbursable, everyone has to eat, pay for your own food.  All negotiation meetings should be held at the police station or city hall and open to the public.

Police are public employees and negotiations should not be in secret.  The union is not negotiating with the mayor or city council, they are negotiating with the public, it's their money.  The public should have a period of comment before any contract is signed as well.  These rules should apply to all public employee unions, not just police; that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Police Unions

Police unions are a mixture of good and bad.  When they act like POLICE unions they are good.  When they act like police UNIONS, then they are bad.  I remember in recent years some police unions wanting raises in wages for their officers but the city said they had to pick between raises or layoffs.  The UNION picked lay offs. 

The UNION always picks larger government and Democrats.  The POLICE often support the death penalty and concealed carry for civilians.  The UNION does not want to put police killers to death and does not want armed citizens.

I realize that even good cops can have a bad day, or an unbearable supervisor, or get in trouble over politics.  In those cases a POLICE union can be helpful.  Yet, police UNIONS have negotiated retirement pay that is unsustainable and four times what the average civilian worker gets.  Police need representation, but the union structure as it is now does not serve the interest to good cops or the public; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Crime Prevention

The best crimes are the ones that don't happen.  What does your agency do to increase awareness of crime prevention?  Do you have a website with good anti-burglary and anti-car theft tips on it?  Do you speak at local meetings about crime prevention?

Who goes to the PTA, the Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, the Republicans, the Democrats, the American Kennel Club to speak to them about their unique crime problems and how they can prevent crime?

Many "gun guys" think they have a gun and so they don't need to know anything else about crime prevention.  How do you overcome their resistance?  How about your own agency?  Do your records clerks, dispatchers, jailers, and even police officers know how to prevent street robbery, residential burglary, and auto theft?  We should all be experts in these fields; that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Police Commission

http://www.latimes.com/local/crime/la-me-ezell-ford-20150610-story.html#page=1

Police commissions are a bad idea.  They are civilians who have oversight of the police department.  The problems with them are many.  The first problem is that they are typically not qualified to be police officers. 

They are often political activists who don't like police to begin with so they get on the police commissions so they can change the police without having to pass a background check or go to a police academy.

Police commissions also allow elected officials to dodge any responsibility for the police department.  When the police need more money for supplies, cars, or buildings, they say the police department did not ask for it.  If there is a problem with corruption, elected officials use the police commissions as the ones responsible, not themselves.  Police commissions are not a good idea; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Drones

Drones are a powerful tool for us to see the world in a new way.  In a democracy I believe that people should be allowed to view what the police are doing, but I also believe they should not interfere with a police officer doing his duty.

I think that drones should have similar restrictions as aircraft.  They should not be able to fly lower than perhaps 200 feet over most areas, and even higher if they are very large.  They should be allowed to fly lower if they have the permission of the owner of the property. 

They should be excluded from flying over crime scenes, interfering with police or rescue helicopters or drones.  There should be a mechanism to create exclusion zones to keep drones away from crime scenes and from other dangerous locations.  Drones can do a lot of good, but they should have some common sense and reasonable regulation; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Local Control

Some people are concerned about a military training exercise called Jade Helm.  I don't think it is anything to worry about.  Still, one of the bastions of freedom in this nation is an armed citizenry and local control of police.

This is why police should be under local control.  There are nearly 800,000 police in the United States.  They should not ever be moved from local control to Federal control.  The presence of nearly a million armed, trained, organized people who have sworn to uphold the Constitution, under the control of local government is a substantial counter balance to Federal power.

 The Feds should not control who we hire, or fire, or promote. They should not be funding police except to provide us surplus equipment for free. Fed police training of local cops should be limited and the DOJ should not investigate local police unless the governor of the state asks for them to investigate them; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Knife

http://www.gopusa.com/news/2015/06/04/boston-police-say-terror-suspects-first-plotted-to-behead-pamela-geller/?subscriber=1

Boston police and the FBI shot and killed a man they had been watching for two years.  He was a Radical Muslim who was plotting to kill Pamela Geller and others.  One of his targets was police officers.  He had at least one partner in the plan.

They targeted police officers because they believed that police were easy targets.  Their plan was to behead police.  Are you an easy target for beheading?  Can you be caught unaware and murdered by a man with a big knife?

A man with a knife is a deadly threat.  The proper response to a deadly threat is to shoot them.  Sometimes a baton, pepper spray, or Taser might be a good option against a man with a knife, but only if you have an officer who is providing cover with his firearm.  Distance and barriers are helpful when confronted by a suspect with a big knife.  The use of the baton will sacrifice distance, so will the pepper spray and Taser in most situations; that's what the SGT Says.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Objective

In police work it is easy to get distracted and to get tangled up in activities that are not important, or at least are not important now.  Calibre Press often asks the question, "What's important now?"  I think this is a good idea.

Consider the long term object for each encounter.  Work on a plan to accomplish that objective.  It is easy to become distracted when people are yelling or failing to comply with your lawful commands.  Focus on your plan, don't let yourself be stampeded into doing something foolish.

We often behave in a linear fashion.  We arrive, we arrest people, we leave.  There are other options.  Sometimes backing off and returning with the proper force is a better option.  Sometimes it can be a good idea to call someone else who can see the situation in a new light.  You have to remember your goal, your objective, that's what the SGT Says.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Use of Force

When you use force on a suspect, call the paramedics to check him out.  Sometimes people die in police custody.  Typically an overweight man, with several chronic illnesses, uses several illegal drugs, acts poorly and refuses to comply with police commands to submit to arrest.

He gets into a fight with the police.  During the fight the police punch him, or use the Taser on him, or pepper spray him.  He struggles, punches, kicks and does anything he can to escape police custody, but eventually he is taken into custody, then to jail.

At some point in the process he dies.  Immediately the relatives, media, activists, and politicians rush to blame the death on the police.  The real responsibility rests with the person who commits a crime that requires police response.  Then it rests on the man who refused the lawful commands of the police.  The police are allowed to use reasonable force and it never looks good to have to use force to take a grown man to jail who does not want to go; that's what the SGT Says.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Uniform Appearance

There has been a lot of discussion recently about police uniforms.  I like a traditional look to police uniforms.  Blue, tan or khaki, with a metal badge on the front.  I see no need for police to wear camouflage uniforms, even if they are a special team.  All black, or all green are also unnecessary, in my opinion.  Police need to look like police, we are not the military.

Police uniforms should be functional.  I think they should be fire resistant and our body armor should also function as a flotation device.  Every year a couple officers drown.  I am fine with exterior load bearing vests, but they should be made to appear more like a shirt, and less like a combat suit.  Wearing a metal badge on it would help with that and it should match the color of the uniform shirt.

A sharp looking uniform presents a professional appearance, gives pride to the wearer and sends a message of competence to the public.  We need to be instantly recognizable as police, even to foreigners and to children.  Sometimes we forget that, that's what the SGT Says.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Police Shootings

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/fatal-police-shootings-in-2015-approaching-400-nationwide/2015/05/30/d322256a-058e-11e5-a428-c984eb077d4e_story.html

Police are under more and more pressure when it comes to shootings.  Certainly our role is to protect and serve the public rather than shoot them.  Still, police, like everyone, have a right to self defense and should not be asked to take unnecessary risks when trying to provide police services.

Maybe there are some techniques, tactics, or equipment that we could employ that are not widely used in the United States.  How is police work done differently in Western Europe or Japan?  In Japan the police carry guns, but they have a low crime rate and seldom shoot anyone.  Is there something they do differently that we could use here?

Prisons are filled with dangerous criminals, some of whom get all kinds of dangerous weapons.  How do prison guards, who are usually unarmed, deal with armed criminals differently than police outside of the prison environment?  Do they use equipment that we may be able to employ to stop armed suspects, particularly those armed with clubs or knives?  Perhaps some research on the part of police may prove helpful; that's what the SGT Says.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

NBPP

http://www.gopusa.com/news/2015/06/03/black-panther-members-admit-plot-to-bomb-police-station-kill-st-louis-county-officials/?subscriber=1

Members of the New Black Panther Party admit they were planning on bombing a police station and murdering officials.  They are pleading guilty and will receive a sentence of seven years.  I think they should have gotten fifty years for their crimes.

These kinds of attacks are just shy of treason.  They are intended to destroy our society by attacking our legal system.  They wanted to kill police and to kill prosecutors.  They don't trust the system, but rather than change the system legally from within.

This kind of behavior is an assault on all society.  While the main targets are the police, they are trying to destroy our whole government.  Even governments have the right to self defense.  I think when these criminals get out in seven years, or less, they will not have changed and police will be in danger from them again; that's what the SGT Says.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Academy

In the police academy the recruits are often punished by having to do push ups or by running.  This simply re-enforces the idea that exercise is uncomfortable and no fun.  Police officers should be encouraged to exercise, not to view it as punishment.

In the police academy the recruits are often given marksmanship training but little opportunity for them to gain actual tactical shooting skills.  Police recruits should train transition to and from the rifle and pistol.  They should learn escalation and de-escalation of force, to include shooting.

In the police academy the recruits are often given assignments to write reports.  The reports are often rather pre-packaged instead of based on actual events witnessed by the recruits.  Tactical training should be integrated with report writing so the recruits can be better trained; that's what the SGT Says.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Police Academy

Police academies need to be updated.  Running a military style boot camp is no longer enough.  Police need to be better educated in the law, in tactics, in de-escalation of force, in the use of less lethal weapons.  They need to be much better report writers.

Police need to be trained in how to get into shape and how to stay in shape.  Police seldom stay on the job and stay thin and fit.  They often retire after ten or twenty years with a medical retirement because they have suffered a minor accident that renders them incapable of continuing in police work. 

Perhaps if they had been trained to stay in better shape, or in better tactics they could continue to work until they reach thirty years on the job.  Officers need to learn how to swim, and how to speak Spanish.  Many officers work near water and it's astonishing to think they can't swim.  Spanish is the second most common language in the US most police should be able to speak it well enough to write a ticket or take a crime report; that's what the SGT Says.