Law Enforcement with LiveJournals
Are all of you Police Officers?
By PoliceOne Senior Correspondent Chuck Remsberg
Editor's note: This article first appeared on PoliceOne.com. Because of its life-saving importance, we are sending this to all Street Survival Newsline members as well. Please take heed and stay safe.
Fifteen years ago, after an exhaustive five-year study of officer murders, a research team from the FBI delivered a simple but compelling message: there are certain behavioral characteristics that tend to get cops killed.
No single profile of fated officers can be defined, the researchers cautioned, because there are too many unpredictable variables in the "deadly mix" that results in officer fatalities. But certain "general descriptors," treacherous specifics of a personal operating style, often appear to be shared by officers who fall prey to the predators who cross their paths.
All these traits can be overcome or avoided if you approach the street with tactical awareness. They've been widely publicized, for several years were detailed in Calibre Press' Street Survival Seminar, and have been repeatedly featured at law enforcement training conferences.
Yet as we saw with the recent slaying of a trusting, small-town police chief in Kentucky, the potentially life-saving lessons inherent in the FBI's findings are still being tragically ignored. [News report]
The chief, a 22-year veteran, handcuffed a DUI suspect in front instead of in back. It was a courtesy he often indulged in with arrestees he knew, and he had arrested this suspect numerous times; the offender considered him "a family friend." Moments after the cuffing, authorities said, the prisoner accessed a gun and shot the chief point blank in the back of the head as they drove toward jail.
As the chief's name is chiseled into the Memorial Wall, it seems fitting to once again review what the FBI calls "Behavioral Descriptors for Victim Officers." These were first identified in 1992 in the landmark study Killed in the Line of Duty, by the research team of Dr. Anthony Pinizzotto, Edward Davis, and Charles Miller III. The researchers reiterated the checklist in their recently released study of felonious assaults on LEOs, Violent Encounters.
Based on extensive interviews with the victim officers' attackers, peers, and supervisors, here are the traits the studies say are frequently associated with officers who end up getting killed. The researchers note in their latest report, "[O]fficers need not exhibit all of these behavioral characteristics to place themselves as risk." [Read Are we breeding a police culture of "additional victims?"]
This adjective was frequently used to describe the murdered officers, along with "well-liked," "laid back," and "easy going." While a friendly demeanor "does much to promote a positive image for the officer and the department, overly friendly behavior at an inappropriate time" can backfire, the researchers warn. That mind-set can lull you into a sense of complacency, lead to the granting of dangerous favors or accommodations, and "might be misinterpreted by an offender as potential weakness...a sign of vulnerability."
A savvy officer knows it's often useful to appear friendly as a conscious strategy, but you "never should let down [your] guard, because no one can know what is in the mind of another person." The subject you're dealing with "may be contemplating [your] assault to effect an escape."
"Tends to perceive self as more public relations than law enforcement," the researchers said of the prototypical slain officer. Of course service is part of your job. But on the street, your "customer" is not always right. To protect and serve the community, the researchers remind, "officers must realize that they need to protect themselves first" and not indulge a "misguided sense of service" that results in "placing prisoners' comfort over their own personal safety."
In policing, your success-and your safety-often depend on your ability to get people to do what they don't want to do.
3. Hesitant about using force.
Victim officers tended "to use less force than other officers felt they would use in similar circumstances," the researchers found. And they customarily "used force only as a last resort;" their peers said they themselves "would use force at an earlier point in similar circumstances."
Courts have clearly confirmed that it's justifiable in situations you reasonably perceive as threatening to employ even pre-emptive force to stop a threat; you don't have to wait until you are assaulted or injured. Yet some trainers are noticing that some officers today seem so hesitant about using force that it appears they are more afraid of being sued or thought overzealous than they are of being murdered!
4. Given to short-cutting.
Victim officers often "failed to follow established procedures," the researchers report. They ignored or sidestepped rules, "especially in regard to arrests, confrontations with prisoners, traffic stops, and waiting for backup when backup is available." Many times, this was linked to being a hard worker, rather than being lazy or indifferent; the officer was a top performer, driven to amass more arrests, snare more commendations, get recognized with a plum assignment or other award.
Paradoxically, the researchers state, rule-breakers often are rewarded after violating procedures that are designed to protect them. Which, of course, encourages more such behavior that can "endanger both the officers and their partners."
5. Trusting of "perceptual shorthand."
In other words, officers who ended up dead often relied heavily on their perceived ability to "read" people and situations. They depended on "a rapid or abbreviated process" by which they analyzed environments and subjects and, based on their quick perceptions or feel, "acted accordingly." That often meant dropping their guard.
Commonly they were optimists; they tended "to look for 'good' in others." When they saw signs of cooperation, heard promises not to cause trouble, enjoyed a prior history of non-violent contacts with a suspect, sensed they had rapport, and the like, they tended to feel they were home free, rather than maintaining a mind-set that stays open to subtle and not-so-subtle shifts in every interaction.
Regrettably, the research team points out, "victim officers' evaluations of offenders often prove inaccurate." The murdered officers made themselves vulnerable by failing "to recognize that their perception of an incident can vary greatly from the offender's perception of what is occurring" and what may occur before the contact is over.
From what we know, did the professional personality of the unfortunate chief in Kentucky reflect at least some of these don't-do traits?
Count the ways.
Then ask yourself to what extent you sometimes lapse into these same perilous behaviors because of complacency, fatigue, impatience, inflated confidence, or pressures of the moment.
And remember: The important lessons of life-and death-tend to be repeated until learned.
Just saw this release from the Fresno Police Dept. Please take a look at it.
Fast Holster website
Looks like after some flak the company has removed this product from their product line -- see NY Post Article. But this may still find its way into vehicles here.
Xposted in communities.
Some people believe in fate, or influences from God. Others in coincidences, or happenstance. I believe...that I'm a shit magnet.
I was walking out of work last night. Thinking to myself, I should really change out. Leave my gear here. I like to keep low key to my neighbors, and not trot around in the garage in full uniform. But it was late, and I was tired. I walked straight to my truck, took my outer vest off, and slung it in the seat next to me. I'll just change at home. I'm too tired.
I start driving, on the freeway, music on, and cigarette in mouth. I want my bed. Or at least my new book.
I exit off on to my 16 mile stretch of deserted desert road that leads home. Two lane highway, if you will, with a gully for a median, and speed limits of 65. Although you'd be hard pressed to find anyone under 80. I begin to head west.
Then, I get that click in the back of my brain that says "Hey, something ain't right here." I try to focus my tired eyes. I see headlights, then tail lights, then head lights, then tail lights. Looks like someone is doing a three point turn in the middle of the lanes. Foot covers brake. I sit up. Try to come up with a rational conclusion. Now all I see is brake lights. "Hmm, maybe someone pulled out of a canal access road I didn't know about." Now I can see, the car is headed west, just like me. But slower. And to the left of me. "Wait a second!" I'm in the #1 lane. "There is no left of me!?!" Holy shit fuck! He's driving west in the eastbound lanes. This is bad!
Instinctivly, or because I'm tired, I reach for my over head lights. Then my computer. But, oh yeah, I'm in my personal truck, which does not have such equipment. Fuck! I reach for my radio. Wait, I'm way of my city, and god knows if it will even work. I need to do something, ANYTHING, and now! I slow to pace the other car, about 20-30 feet in front of them, in my lane. I flash my brights just as fast as I can muster, and honk my horn intermitenly. I figure, If i can make eastbound traffic go "WHat the fuck is that guy doing?" Maybe they'll slow for me, and then avoid a head on with him. And it works. We pass 12 cars, or rather they pass him. Two of which are semi trucks. They all move to the #2 lane to avoid what would have to be a fatal.
Then, out of nowhere, he stops. Right in the lane (well, wrong in the lane would be more accurate, but he was IN the lane) and he sits there. I lock my brakes, slam it in reverse, and I'm pretty sure I hit 40 going backward. Drop it in park, grab my outer vest carrier, sling it on, and jump out of my truck.
Simoultaneously, I am on 911. "911, do you have an emergency?" Yes, I have a wrong way driver headed westbound in the eastbound lanes of long country road, off of the freeway. (locations omitted becasue it's none of your business) "Hold please." Click click click. "State Agency, what is your emergency?" Yes, this is Officer Me, I have a wrong way driver stopped just west of freeway on long country road. I am an off duty officer, and I am going to make contact. "Hold Please" Click click click.......beeeeeeeeep. FUCK! 911 hung up on me. They are so fucking worried about who's god damn jurisdiction this is, they can't fucking send me backup?
(Break to car) I have my vest out, my flashlight in one hand, and the butt of my gun in the other. I approach, like any other traffic stop. My City Police Department! Show me your hands. He looks over, at and through me. Sammy Davis Junior had less glassy eyes! Gimme your keys! "Huh?" Gimme your fucking keys. He hands me his keys. Finally, something in my favor. But this guy is toasted. I mean 17 sheets to the wind, and he is big. Much bigger than me. I am also standing in the middle of the fast lane of a 65mph highway, wearing the blackest uniform you could make, at one o'clock in the morning.
I key up my radio "My badge Number." At the same time I dial 911 again. Both answer at the same time. "My badge number, go ahead." "911, do you have an emergency?" Yes! This is Officer me, I stopped a wrong way driver on the long country road, 1/2 mile west of the Freeway. I called 911 and they hung up on my. I have one driver detained. I need a marked unit. "Long country road? Isn't County Law Enforcement Agency's jurisdiction?" Look! I don't care who's jurisdiction this is. I need a back up officer NOW! Just send me someone, please!"
(On the radio)"My badge number, did you need assistance?" Yes. I stopped a wrong way driver on the long country road, 1/2 mile west of the freeway. If you have a My City Police Department officer anywhere near by, I have the driver stopped, and he is becoming agitated with me.
(On my phone) "Ok officer, I am letting State Agency and Indian Community Police know, we will send someone out." Thank you! She disconnects.
(On the radio) "My Badge Number, I have units enroute to assist you. Again you are 1/2 mile west of long country road, west of the freeway?" 10-4!
(From the car) "What's the problem Officer?" You were driving the wrong way! "No I wasn't" (???WTF???) Yes you were! Look, there's the road, there's the median, and you are here. "No. I wasn't" Whatever.
And the wait. I can see 4 miles west/southwest, and 1 mile east. I can see the Freeway 3 miles in each direction. All I want to see is blue lights. Please. From any direction.
I figure I'm safer if he's in the car, cause I don't want to have to fight him, and I don't want to have to shoot him. I stand by the rear quarter pannel, and alternate lighting him up and waving my flashlight at traffic so I don't get run-the-fuck over. And I wait. And I look.
"So, what's the problem officer?" You are driving in the wrong lanes of traffic. "No I;m not." Again, this is not debatable. You are, in fact, driving in the wrong lanes. He points out his windshield. "What direction is that?" It's west. "Yeah, I;m just trying to get home." (To myself) I bet you are, buddy. I bet you are.
And I wait. I search the black horizon for anything that resembles a friendly. And he continues to argue the fact that he did nothing wrong. And I just want to keep him in the car, and me out from under a car.
Finally, a unit shows up. Red and blues, my favorite colors. We grab the guy and throw him in cuffs. They ask for a written statment, and I oblige.
Adrenaline. Starts to receed. Nerves. Quiet back down. Digestion. Starts again. I want a smoke!
The last time I saw a wrong way driver was on an elevated stretch of freeway. The guy was in my lane, coming at me. I swerved, and our rear view mirrors missed by literaly inches. I can still remember watching the driver pass me in slow motion. 2 feet from my window. At a combined speed of 140mph. I look in my rear view, and the tow truck behind me coudn't swerve. Bang. Dead on into each other. I stopped and opened the passenger's door as a Semi driver put the fire out. The driver had the steering wheel in his chest. I mean that as literaly as you can imagin it. The passenger was covered in blood. I pulled him out and laid him on the ground. I covered him with my denim jacket (so long ago that they were still cool!). The driver died. The passenger had stitched from his hair line, down, over his eye, to his chin. I saw him in the hospital the next day. Steve's funeral was a few days later. I will never forget those images. And I did not want to repeat that again tonight.
I stayed on a call a bit late tonight. I chatted at the gas pubps 2 minutes longer than I needed to. I made a wrong turn heading in to the station. I check my email before leaving work. I didn't change out. I brought my vest, my belt, and my flashlight home. And all of that led up to me being exactly where I needed to be, when I needed to be there, with the equipment I needed. Timing, fate, or coincidence? I don't know. Did I save a life tonight? A family? Who knows. That's the thing. It's always hard to guess if you've prevented a crime or a tragedy from happening. Maybe they would have swerved on their own. Maybe not. But, besides the shakes, and the feeling that I was going to pee myself, I feel good. I feel good about being able to be where I was needed, when I was needed. Even if I wasn't on the clock at the time. Everyone made it home safely. Including me. And thats a damn good day in my book.
I got tired of looking around for a community to discuss AR15's and other Black Rifles in, so I just made one. If you own, want to own, build, repair, or shoot Black Rifles, come on over :) blackrifle
Anyone have any Law enforcement forums they like or regularly frequent?
I've tried Real Police and Officer.com, both were okay, but over-run with trolls, impersonators, and haters.
So far http://www.lawenforcementforums.com
is the only one i've liked, it's got a pretty strong leo verification process, with a section that only verified leos can see and post in, and a public section for non-leo to discuss, and it's got a very good set of moderators who watch out for trolls and haters and keeps things in line.
I was just wondering if anyone had any other sites they liked?
Also anyone know of any department that actually shoots their cadets? I'm not talking simunitions, or paintball, i was told that LA shoots their cadets, once in the chest, once in the back, when they can't really know exactly when. That they get the cadets to one at a time, while wearing a vest, walk down a long hall way, and at some point they'll get shot, either in front, or behind. I was told this was actual bulletproof vests, and actual ammo used, but it sounds quite absurd to me, either they are pulling my leg, got their facts mixed up, or something is screwed up in LA. Figured someone out there must know something about this. I was told they were doing this in '92. Rubber Bullets? Surely.
I know this kind of weird, but right now I am very busy....Working two jobs and got some personal things going on .... I am a 911 Emergency Medical Dispatcher certified by Priority Dispatch for Emergency medical dispaching and my certificaiton comes due June 30, 2006. In order to get recertified, I have to take a 50 question test.....Due to my schedule and work load, can anyone suggest the easiest way to pass the test, short of giving me the answers, if possible? I suck at taking tests and I have to look all questions up, so It would be easier if I could just get through this.......Any Help would be appreciated........
Mon, May. 15th, 2006, 11:07 pm
For those of you who missed out, the auction has a new shirt supply. They are even more hella sweet in person and for a great cause for a great fallen officer brother. In short, there is NO excuse for you not to buy one. More on the Shirt --> HERE
(with ebay auction link to get yours.) Buy one so nobody hates you.