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Updated: 2 hours 27 sec ago

Austin Use Of Force Policy Tells Officers To ‘Predict’ The Future

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 10:52

In what could well be the new crazy when it comes to use of force policy, the Austin (TX) Police Department is telling officers that they need to identify future force encounters in order to avoid them.

The policy is the result of a collaboration between police officials and community groups. Leaders for the grassroots Austin Justice Coalition submitted proposed language to the department last fall after researching policies among cities nationally.

Among that language is that officers must “anticipate potential force encounters and, where possible and warranted, to de-escalate them.”

This may sound great in theory until you read what that entails:

officers responding to incident calls, conducting stops pursuant to their patrol function, serving warrants, or transporting subjects,
shall attempt to gather information necessary to assist them in identifying potential force encounters. In doing so, officers should query others (dispatch, other officers, supervisors, computer networks and other sources of information) concerning factors which may indicate
that a threat exists at the scene or that one or more persons they anticipate encountering may be unwilling or unable to comply with their lawful directives. Relevant information/factors may include:

(a) the circumstances prompting the call/stop/warrant/transportation and any ongoing facts concerning it

(b) which individuals are known or believed to be on the scene, including one or more subjects, witnesses, bystanders (including children), law enforcement, and other responders, such as other officers, specialized units (including Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) or Critical Incident Negotiation Teams (CINT)), Fire/EMS , or other medical personnel, Child Protective Services (CPS), interpreters, etc.

(c) the physical environment at the scene, including whether it is secure or expected to be secured upon arrival.

I could continue but I won’t…..considering there isn’t enough pain medication to numb what is in this policy.

Ultimately, I know what is going on here.  An interim Police Chief is cowering down to the demands of a social group that has zero police experience and this is exactly what agencies will get when that happens…..a policy so confusing with what an officer has to do, I’ll be surprised if another person is stopped in Austin for fear of having to use force and being judged by this policy language.

To the unknown eye, the language in this policy seems harmless until you know what some will do with it.  Can you imagine the next deadly force incident in Austin.

The same social group that demanded the policy change will go through it with detail and begin an assault on the agency.  It won’t matter if the bad guy pulled a gun on a cop, the only thing that will matter is that in section 1.d of the policy, the responding officers didn’t research the address or the suspect or the area to determine whether a gun may be involved and if they would have done said research, they would have not approached the suspect but rather stayed behind cover and tried to “de-escalate” his erratic behavior.  After all, it’s all so easy to do in the split seconds of a life and death decision.

In short, officers with the Austin Police Department will be held accountable for not being psychic and this is exactly what the United States Supreme Court warns all of us about in Graham v. Connor (1989).  “Hindsight 20/20 Vision” is prohibited when evaluating police force encounters and that is exactly what this policy will encourage others to do.

You may call me crazy but we have seen this all too often.  Remember when PERF said that although the DOJ cleared Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the deadly force encounter with a violent felon, Wilson should have done more.  He should have never approached the robbery suspect surmised the brain trust at PERF because that “escalated” the situation.

Yes, why didn’t we know that.  Police need to stop being police and no one will ever have to use force.  Although the crime in communities will be off the chart but who cares right?

Admittedly I didn’t see the big deal in these policy changes myself until a recent seminar I attended called “Courageous Leadership for Law Enforcement” talked in detail about what Major Travis Yates called “Courageous Policy.”  He detailed numerous agencies and officers that had suffered because they went away from what the Supreme Court says on the issue of force and attempted to detail out every possible scenario.

Ultimately, when the lives of cops are at risk, they will use deadly force despite the demands to be a psychic and because of the cowardice of some police leaders, those same cops will go from fighting for their life to fighting for their job.


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Categories: Law Enforcement

NFL Players Now Kneeling At Home

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 07:26

The NFL has been in the news a lot over the last two years but more for their “kneeling” ways than for what they are doing on the field.  That has much to do with the steep decline in television ratings and now we see another trend within the league.

The teams that still had players kneeling for the National Anthem are now all watching the playoffs from home.

BizPac reports that at the end of the regular season, only five franchises still had at least one player regularly sitting or taking a knee during the national anthem: The 49ers, Raiders, Seahawks, Giants, and Dolphins.

Not a single one of those teams made it to the playoffs. Following divisional playoffs over the weekend, the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and Philadelphia Eagles are the last four teams left standing.

Recently named the least popular sport, the NFL has much to do to repair the damage that they have done.  As usual, ole’ Bullethead has a few suggestions.

  1. Stop lying.  The NFL says it’s not about the military and the country but you could choose 23 hours and 57 minutes in the day to kneel but you choose to do it during the National Anthem.  Your fans, or should I say former fans are not stupid.
  2. Stop Lying.  The NFL is kneeling for a lie.  It’s that simple.  They claim they are doing it because the police abuse minorities and study after study prove that to be false.  How does it feel to ruin your profession for a lie?
  3. Stop Lying.  The League says that it is the player’s right to kneel and that is a lie.  The players are employed and they have to do what the bosses say.  Do you think College Football or Baseball or the NBA stand just because?  Of course not.  There is leadership within those leagues that have obviously made sure that their profession doesn’t go down like the NFL has.
  4. Apologize and do it now!  The NFL, the Teams or the Players have no right to do what they have done.  Many will never forgive you so get used to lower advertising rates and less fans in the seats but some still love football.  You owe them an apology.
  5. Discipline Michael Bennett.  That’s right.  Bennett lied about what his encounter with the Las Vegas Police Department.  He claimed racism when none existed.  You owe those heroes in Las Vegas that run to reported gunfire your attention on Bennett.
  6. Disband the Cleveland Browns.  Do I need to say anything else?  They are full of kneelers and may never win another game!


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Categories: Law Enforcement

LAPD Police Chief To Retire

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 17:30

In a surprise announcement, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Friday he will retire in June, ending a more than 40-year career with the LAPD capped by eight years as L.A.’s top cop in a time of change for the storied department.

Beck, 64, is in his second five-year term as L.A.’s 56th police chief. It was to end in November 2019. Instead, his last day will be June 27.

The announcement came at a routine downtown press conference at which Beck and other officials review annual crime statistics.

“Serving the citizens of Los Angeles for over 40 years has been the honor of a lifetime,” Beck said in a tweet Friday. “Leading the men and women of the [LAPD] — my family — has been a privilege I never thought I’d be worthy of.”

After Monday’s news broke, the L.A. chapter of Black Lives Matter tweeted that Beck’s departure is a victory, writing: “We’ve been chanting #FireBeck since 2015, showing up to police commission every week, and making demands of the mayor. WE WON!!!!”

The truth is that Black Lives Matter may have thought they won but it is an incredible loss for a city that has seen a decline in crime in recent years under Beck’s leadership.

BLM in Los Angeles is a cancer and hardly a week went by where someone screamed in Beck’s presence that he should be fired or thrown in jail.  That is unfortunate because history will show Chief Beck as one of the greatest police leaders in our time.


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Categories: Law Enforcement

Study: Many Officers “Blind” To Plain-View Threat

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:21

As a veteran officer approaching a traffic violator, would you notice a gun lying in plain sight on the dashboard of a vehicle you’ve detained for running a stop sign?

Before too quickly thinking “of course,” consider the findings of a new study of the phenomenon known as “inattentional blindness.” That term refers to the common human failure to notice unexpected objects or occurrences clearly within your field of view while your attention is focused on something else.

This cognitive lapse, which is studied in the certification course on Force Science Analysis in the context of officer-involved shootings, has been thoroughly documented in low-stress psychology lab experiments involving computer images and video recordings.

Now one of the leading researchers in this field, Dr. Daniel Simons of the psychology department at the University of Illinois, reports fresh findings that apply directly to LEOs in potentially life-threatening, real-world situations.

His results raise a vital question: What can officers and trainers do to enhance observational skills when police lives may be on the line?

Test Scenario
Over a period of three years, Simons and his study co-author, Dr. Michael Schlosser, ran 100 police recruits and 75 seasoned officers (mostly white males) through a single, realistic, live-action scenario at the Police Training Institute in Urbana-Champaign, IL. (Schlosser is the director of that state academy.)

One at a time, the participants were told to approach an SUV they had just “stopped” for running a stop sign and to interact as they would on the job with the lone occupant, the male driver. They were to “use their discretion to decide” whether to issue a ticket or give a warning, Simons writes.

In some randomly determined cases, the driver, an experienced role-player, was “polite and friendly,” admitting fault, apologizing, and “immediately and appropriately” complying with all requests and instructions. A roughly equal number of other times, the driver was still compliant but displayed an “aggressive” attitude—“verbally hostile, agitated, and overtly upset,” complaining about “unfair treatment” and being stopped “to fulfill a quota.”

In all cases, an Airsoft pistol was conspicuously positioned on the dashboard above the glove box, “fully visible to [each] participant through the driver’s window” throughout the contact.

After experiencing the scenario, the subjects were asked a series of questions, including whether they noticed “anything that might have been a danger to you” and whether they saw “any weapons” during the exercise.

Striking Results
“Overall,” Simons writes, “only 52.6% of participants noticed the gun even though it was fully visible.”

• Of the recruits, who had received four to eight hours of hands on training in vehicle-stop tactics, only 42% saw the gun.

• While “experienced officers were substantially more likely to notice” the weapon (66.7%), “1/3 of them missed the gun as well…and proceeded to cite the driver” without taking any protective action.

• Among the veteran officers, who averaged about 12 years in law enforcement, “neither patrol experience nor age was meaningfully associated with noticing.”

• “A slightly larger proportion of both trainees and experienced officers noticed the gun” when the driver was calm and compliant than when he was aggressive, but the difference was “not statistically significant.”

• When participants did notice the gun, “they always called attention to it and took appropriate measures (ranging from discussing it with the driver to drawing their own weapon and instructing the driver to exit the vehicle.)” Among experienced officers, many of those who noticed the gun did so “early in the interaction, often before asking for the driver’s license and registration.”

In summary, Simons writes, this study, believed to be the first of its kind, “provides clear evidence that experts performing a naturalistic task in their domain of expertise can miss a potentially dangerous unexpected object that would have direct consequences for them and the way they perform their task.

“Moreover, this failure of awareness occurred for a group of participants (police officers) trained to look for and assess threats.”

The fact that the driver’s demeanor had little impact on whether the gun was noticed tends to dispute “the idea that people will be more likely to notice threatening unexpected objects in contexts that are more stressful or potentially more dangerous,” Simons points out.

Common Occurrence
Most participants who missed the gun expressed surprise or chagrin at their failure. But Simons explains that “people often fail to notice unexpected objects and events when they are focusing attention on something else.”

Typically, this “inattentional blindness” is confirmed in laboratory experiments in which the unnoticed objects are unimportant to the person being tested and unrelated to that person’s primary task

But in this case, the subjects involved have training that emphasizes “vigilance for possible dangers and threats” in their environment, and the presence of a gun on a real vehicle stop “would have direct and immediate consequences for the officer(s). It is [highly] relevant to their

Logically, “the potential threat should override inattentional blindness.” Indeed, the subjects “expected that they would automatically notice something salient and relevant.” But as the data shows, that proved to be far from a universal

“Given that the participants came from a wide range of jurisdictions,…we would expect the pattern of results to hold for trainees and experienced officers from most jurisdictions in the USA,” Simons concludes.

Training Implications
Simons offers two suggestions for trainers:

1) Actively dispel the misconception that all relevant and important objects and behaviors in view at a given scene will automatically be observed, and

2) Highlight how the nature of an interaction, whether cordial or hostile, “does not strongly predict whether or not an officer will notice an unexpected threat.”

Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, which was not involved in Simons’ research, adds these comments:

“Dr. Simons is without question the master researcher in the field of inattentional blindness. His confirmation of this phenomenon in law enforcement is very significant for investigators and for countering police critics who claim that officers are simply lying when they insist they did not see some important elements of a controversial incident.”

As to how to avoid or minimize the risk of inattentional blindness during citizen contacts, Lewinski offers these suggestions:

• When possible, carefully scan the area you’re approaching before you engage in dialog or action in the encounter. “Once you’re tied up in dialog, it’s very difficult to simultaneously be aware of items or furtive movement in the surrounding environment,” he explains. (This is consistent with Simons’ finding that veteran officers who spotted the gun on the dashboard usually did so early in their approach.)

• Train your professional skills to the point that they tend to be automatic, not requiring conscious concentration. “If you have to think about how to perform the routine elements of what you’re doing, you have fewer cognitive resources to apply to awareness and assessment,” Lewinski says. (Simons alludes to this in his study, speculating that the relatively inexperienced and poor-scoring recruits may have been so focused on the mechanics of conducting a proper traffic stoop that their observational skills were unduly compromised.)

Lewinski points out that the Force Science Institute is currently researching how instructors can more quickly and effectively build automaticity in officers to enhance their safety on the street in the time typically allotted to training.

Simons’ study, titled “Inattentional blindness for a gun during a simulated police vehicle stop,” appears in the publication Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.

Dr. Simons can be reached at: He is co-author of an excellent book, The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us, which includes discussions of inattentional blindness relevant to law enforcement.

Law Officer is a proud partner with the Force Science Institute.  This article originally appeared in Newsletter 348.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

WINX: What I Know About Suicide Prevention

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 06:01

Law Officer Author Duane Wolfe gives a powerful talk at WINX Appleton 2017 on “What I Know About Suicide Prevention.”


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Categories: Law Enforcement

South Carolina Police Officer Dies After Ambush

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 20:51

A South Carolina sheriff’s detective has died after a man, who was wanted for assaulting his wife, “ambushed” and shot him and three other officers, officials said Wednesday.

York County Detective Michael Doty (above) died Wednesday after he was shot by Christian Thomas McCall, 47, during an hours-long manhunt Tuesday morning.

“It is with a heavy heart & great sadness that York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson announces the passing of Detective Michael R. Doty,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook. Doty spent 12 years working for the department.

Sgt. Randy Clinton, Sgt. Buddy Brown and Sgt. Kyle Cummings were wounded early Tuesday morning in York, S.C. when a gunman “ambushed” them. (York County Sheriff’s Office)

SWAT team members Sgt. Randy Clinton and Sgt. Buddy Brown are in stable condition, and Sgt. Kyle Cummings, also of SWAT, is still recovering from his wounds. A K-9 officer was also injured in the attack.

Read our previous article for additional details.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Detox For Law Enforcement

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:55

There are a few things in life that are predictable: picking the slow line at the checkout, a 4–car accident 15 minutes before the end of your shift and that on January 1st, zillions of people will partake in some cleanse or detox program.  The gyms are packed, meals are meticulously planned and inevitably someone is starting an “apple cider vinegar cleanse” endorsed by their favorite celebrity.

Let’s talk detox.

Doing almost anything followed by the phrase “I found this on the internet” can really harm your body. Which is why these random detox/cleanse products really makes my skin crawl.

The good news is 99% of the population can see unbelievable benefits from doing a detox a couple times a year.  Weight loss plateaued?  Headaches? Workouts not going so well? Brain fog/fatigue? Poor sleep? Weird skin thing?  Read on…

First, let’s break down Detox versus a Cleanse.

A cleanse focuses on restoring gut function. Like removing the gunk and bad bacteria. A detox removes toxins from your body, which are the very things that cause some health complaints.

When I say “detox”, I’m not referring to an overnight stay at the clinic

near the railroad tracks where you get buzzed in at 2 a.m.

I’m talking about a Clinical Detox protocol that supports your body’s natural detox process. If done correctly, it not only helps restore your gut function, but can make you feel fricking amazing when you’re done. Why? Because you’re giving significant support to your over-worked detox system.

I’ll break this article into three chucks:

  1. The (scary) Stats.
  2. How our bodies get rid of toxins.
  3. What you can do to get rid of toxins.

The (scary) Stats.

We are all exposed to countless toxins EVERY SINGLE DAY; exhaust, bacteria, food additives, chemicals, pollutants, mold, medications, coffee, heavy metals or even just byproducts of normal metabolism (ex. protein is broken down into ammonia).

More than 83,000 synthetic chemicals alone have been introduced into our environment.  But surprise! The vast majority of industrial chemicals haven’t been tested for health effects before they were put on the market and ZERO have been tested to see how they interact together. For example, combining dish soap with bleach creates a very neurotoxic gas. (*see The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for more harrowing details).

There is also strong evidence that even low-dose chronic exposure to toxins can lead to impairment and disease. That’s me and you.

Want to see how your community ranks for toxins (be prepared for some eye-opening statistics)?

In 2017, the Lancet published a study showing that pollution kills more people than everything else combined (around 9 million people a year).

Read that last line again.

Why is this important to YOU? Because if your body becomes overloaded by toxins, and can’t get rid of them fast enough, it can grow into bigger issues like chronic fatigue, cognitive difficulties, Alzheimer’s, cancer, depression, autism, insomnia, infertility, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease (to name just a few).

How do our bodies get rid of toxins?

“There are well-defined metabolic pathways in the body that are responsible for converting toxins into chemical compounds, making it easy for the body to eliminate them (primarily through the urine or stools).” – Dr. Aaron Hartman 

Most toxins are fat-soluble. This means they only dissolve in fat. Our body does a pretty good job of getting rid of some toxins through daily poops. The ones left behind get stored in our fat cells (hence fat-soluble) where they feel all safe and snuggly.  In order to get rid of them we need to make them water-soluble so we can pee, poop or sweat them out.

We have a very sophisticated system of doing this in 2 phases.

PHASE I: Toxins hiding in your fat begin to turn into water soluble molecules called “intermediates”.  They become “we’re-at-the-halfway-point” particles that are more reactive (dangerous) than the original molecule.  Adding to the fun, free radicals (dangerous) are created during this process.

So now we have two dangerous particles to deal with.

PHASE II:  Free radicals get neutralized (pew pew!). And toxins are eliminated by making them water soluble. Meaning, you can now pee, poop and sweat them out. The only hiccup is your body needs specific nutrients to do this. If you don’t provide these to your detox organs, things get backed up in Phase I (like a traffic jam). *It’s why most people who lose weight quickly or do some random detox don’t feel good for a few weeks and quit. Toxins are liberated from fat then backed up in Phase I.

What you can do to get rid of toxins.

There are foods that naturally help your body to DETOX like kale, broccoli, almonds and fish.  Eating fibrous foods and drinking plenty of water is critical as well.  For a concise food list, weekly planner and recipe guide designed by the Institute of Functional Medicine click here.

Need to take the guesswork out? Consider a carefully designed detox program.

But here’s your warning – if you find a detox program called something like ‘DeTOX2400’ or a reality show star is promoting it – RUN.


A clinically developed detox is a smarter answer: it simplifies and expedites this process in a clinically developed way (someone with an actual degree in medicine/nutrition developed it).  It should include things like:

  • (simplified) A list of foods that support detox plus simple recipes for busy people. Plus, a list of no-no foods.
  • (simplified) A “do this today” handout. My favorite part. I have no time for anything complicated.
  • (expedite) Supplements that get your gut poop-ready. If you’re not making a #2 on a regular basis, you’re just recirculating the water-soluble toxins back into your system.
  • (expedite) Supplements that support detox organs (liver, kidneys), the detox process and overall gut health. Foods + supplements = quicker detox period.
  • (simplified) Other short tips/information on movement, sleep, hydration and stress management. A legitimate detox protocol should include these.

*Supplements should be from a GMP or third-party certified facility like Xymogen, Quick Silver, Designs for Health, THORNE or Metagenics.  Unfortunately, high-quality companies like this do not sell to the general public.

*Contact me for access to one of these well-designed detox protocols. Readers of also get a 15% discount. Just mention that you read about it here.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The medical and/or nutritional information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site.


SUTTON, P., WOODRUFF, T. J., PERRON, J., STOTLAND, N., CONRY, J. A., MILLER, M. D., & GIUDICE, L. C. (2012, September). Toxic Environmental Chemicals: The Role of Reproductive Health Professionals In Preventing Harmful Exposures. Retrieved from

Grant, D. M. (n.d.). (1991) Detoxification pathways in the liver. Retrieved from

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Categories: Law Enforcement

4 South Carolina Police Officers Shot

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:16

Four South Carolina police officers were wounded early Tuesday after a gunman opened fire on them as they responded to a domestic call.

The four officers — three York County Sheriff’s deputies and a K-9 officer — were taken to a hospital; however, their conditions weren’t immediately known. Their names were not released at this time.

The alleged gunman, identified as Christian Thomas McCall, 47, was arrested. He suffered gunshot wounds while in the crossfire, police said. It’s unclear how badly he was injured

Fox News reports that authorities were responding to a domestic call just after 10 p.m. Monday in York, about 25 miles southwest of Charlotte, but the suspect had already fled the scene on foot when they arrived, Faris said at a Tuesday news conference.

K-9 units were sent to the scene when McCall fired his gun just after 1 a.m., striking one of the K-9 officers, officials said. McCall also allegedly shot at a police helicopter. The bullet struck the aircraft, but did not injure anyone.

Three York County Sheriff’s deputies were shot about 3:30 a.m. while searching the woods.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Winning a Gunfight Ethically, Mentally, and Physically

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 07:32

Tim Rupp served 4 years in the Air Force before joining the San Antonio, TX police department.  He retired in 2007 after 24 years of service, but not before he was involved in a deadly gunfight.  In this episode, he details the events of his gunfight, explains that there is a difference between merely surviving and and actually winning a gunfight, and provides invaluable insight for those who have or may engage in a deadly encounter.

In his book (as explained in this episode of the podcast), Winning a Gunfight Ethically, Mentally, and Physically, Tim teaches us to secure victory ethically (spiritually) as well as mentally and physically.  He says that surviving means that you continue to exist, but winning is different.  Many who are involved in deadly force encounters may survive the incident physically, but struggle mentally or ethically with “false guilt.”

Now serving as a Pastor in Idaho Falls, ID, Tim provides a biblical perspective to help answer the ethical question of killing another human being.  He also references the mental and psychological training of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who provides an understanding of the 5 stages of a gunfight.

Tim continues his work as a firearms training instructor, and his book serves as an excellent resource for the practical tips and techniques of proper shooting.  It is highly recommended for officers, spouses, or others who want to master the basics of shooting and train properly should they engage in a deadly encounter.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Watch: UK Officer Brutally Beaten

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 10:26

A West Midlands (UK) Police Officer was beaten by a domestic violence suspect.  Her hair was tore out prior to other officers arriving.

The officer assaulted, discusses the incident here.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

ODMP Report: 2017 Line of Duty Deaths Total Lowest Since 1958

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 17:33

Although the official numbers won’t be confirmed until later in the year, the total number of line of duty deaths (LODDs) in 2017 preliminarily stands at 125, making it the least deadly year for American law enforcement in nearly 60 years.

The last time line of duty deaths in a single year were lower was in 1958, when 115 officers died in the line of duty.

Line of duty deaths across the two major causes are down overall: auto-related deaths in 2017 (which includes auto crashes, vehicle pursuits, officers struck by vehicle, vehicular assaults, and motorcycle crashes) stood at 44, down nearly 20% from 54 in 2016 and gunfire deaths in 2017, at 45, were 30% lower than 2016’s total of 63.

Chris Cosgriff, Executive Director of the Officer Down Memorial Page, says, “I am glad to see a decrease in the total number of line of duty deaths across 2017, especially after the increase in violent and premeditated attacks on law enforcement officers throughout the country we saw in 2016.  We must not, however, let our guard down and assume that officers are operating in a less hostile environment; every call, every incident, still holds the threat of danger.”

The average number of annual line of duty deaths has decreased significantly over the past 50 years. In the past decade (2008-2017) an average of 150 officers were killed each year, down from an average of 176 LODDs per year in the previous decade (1998-2007), 175 LODDs per year between 1988 and 1997, 198 LODDs per year between 1978 and 1987, and 233 LODDs per year between 1968 and 1977.

“I am relieved by this long-term downward trend in line of duty deaths, but we must also be aware that annual LODD totals have dropped over the last decades due to better training, advancements in personal and automotive safety equipment, and quicker and better medical care given to injured officers, not necessarily because officers are working in less dangerous times,” states Cosgriff.

The Officer Down Memorial Page maintains a database of line of duty deaths and their causes, locations, and other incident details going back to 1791.  More information about individual officers, incidents, and trends can be found on the website (


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Categories: Law Enforcement

WINX: Purposeful Policing

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 07:32

Watch Michelle Palladini at WINX Appleton 2017 discuss Purposeful Policing, “The L.E.A.P. Concept of Community and our Children.”


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Categories: Law Enforcement

Police Release Video Of Deadly Shooting After Officers Receive Death Threats

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 16:08

After social media exploded in North Little Rock (AR) over the weekend following an officer involved shooting, Chief Mike Davis released video of the incident.

The fatal encounter between police and 17-year-old Charles Smith, Jr. was caught on dash cam video but that didn’t stop the allegations of police abuse and murder.

Such is the times that we are in.  Emotions trump facts and even with clear and convincing video, some in the community will simply blame the police.

Police said that the shooting occurred after officers stopped a vehicle for excessive speed and a non-functioning headlight about 1 a.m. Sunday at West 52nd Street and Camp Robinson Road. The vehicle was occupied by the driver, the front passenger, and Smith, who was the right, rear passenger.

In the video, officers note the driver’s nervousness during a patdown and are granted permission to search the vehicle. The driver and front passenger then exit the car and sit on the sidewalk.

Police say Smith also exited the vehicle and, during a patdown for weapons, was told three times to stop reaching in his waistband. Davis says police found a small bag of marijuana in his pocket, but as officer’s continued the patdown, authorities say Smith attempted to gain control of a handgun and flee, at which point he was taken to the ground.

The encounter begins at the 4 minute mark.

During the struggle with police, Smith can be heard saying, “I can’t go to jail.”

The police chief says one officer attempted to deploy a Taser but was unsuccessful.

An officer is then heard saying, “It’s a ****ing gun.”

According to the police chief, the video then shows Smith pulling a handgun from his waistband and firing a shot that almost hit the two people sitting on the sidewalk and a second shot that almost struck an officer in the face.

Davis says an officer near Smith returned fire as other officers also fired at “very close range.”

Smith died at the scene from his injuries.

Davis says officers later recovered a stolen gun located on the driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle.

At this time, the police department has not released the names of the officers who fired shots as it takes steps to make sure they are safe. According to the chief, the department and officers have both received death threats.


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Categories: Law Enforcement

The Critics of Proactive Policing Are Wrong

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 17:33

In the last week of 2017, it was announced that homicides in New York City were at a 60-year-low and that gun murders of officers nationally had dropped 33 percent, after rising 53 percent in 2016. Inveterate cop critics seized on the information to argue that there was no such thing as a war on cops, and that proactive policing was irrelevant to crime control, since pedestrian stops had dropped in New York City along with homicides. I responded in National Review Online that gentrification was likely now contributing to New York’s crime decline. Nationally, however, the rising civilian violence in 2015 and 2016 resulted from the prolonged rhetorical onslaught against the police since the 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. But now it is considered bigoted even to mention racial crime and victimization rates, or to suggest that demographic and economic change can affect a neighborhood’s crime picture.

Let’s look at the facts.
The fact that should concern us all, and that should be at the forefront of discussions of crime and policing, is that blacks die of homicide at six times the rate of whites and most Hispanics combined. That is a serious civil-rights issue, but to my knowledge, Black Lives Matter protesters have remained silent about it. Blacks disproportionately suffer from nonlethal violence as well. Last year in Chicago, 4,300 people were shot—one person every two hours. Those victims were overwhelmingly black. If one white Chicagoan had been shot every two hours, there would be a national uproar; it is unthinkable. But because the victims were black and not shot by the police, the national media are indifferent. (The Chicago police shot 25 people last year, most of them armed or dangerous, amounting to 0.6 percent of all shooting victims in the city.)

The shooting victims in Chicago in 2016 included 24 children under the age of 12, among them a three-year-old boy mowed down on Father’s Day 2016 who is now paralyzed for life, and a ten-year-old boy shot in August whose pancreas, intestines, kidney, and spleen were torn apart. None of the two dozen children were shot by the police. When white children are shot or killed, an outcry ensues—see Newtown, Connecticut. When black children are shot or killed, the country largely looks away—though cops do not—unless the assailant is an officer. This year’s child shooting victims in Chicago include a four-year-old boy shot on the West Side in July while standing next to his mother, who was fatally shot in the head; another four-year-old boy and his six-year-old sister, shot in July while getting snow cones on the West Side; a ten-year-old boy fatally shot in the back while riding in an SUV with this stepfather; and two girls, seven and 13, shot in June on an elementary school playground during a picnic. In February 2017, 11-year-old Takiya Holmes was fatally shot in the head in Chicago by a 19-year-old marijuana dealer, who was blasting away at rival marijuana dealers. While the world knows the name of Michael Brown, the public at large remains ignorant of these young victims because they do not fit the Black Lives Matter narrative. Black Lives Matter activists have held no rallies on their behalf.

Who is killing and shooting black crime victims? Overwhelmingly, not whites, not the police, but, tragically, other blacks. The high black homicide-victimization rate is a function of the black homicide-commission rate. Blacks commit homicide nationally at seven times the rate of whites and most Hispanics, combined. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at 10 times the rate of white and most Hispanic males between the ages of 14 and 17. Officer-involved shootings are not responsible for the black homicide-victimization rate, either. In fact, a greater percentage of white and Hispanic homicide victims are killed by a police officer than black homicide victims: in 2015, 12 percent of all whites and Hispanics who died of homicide were killed by a cop, compared with 4 percent of black homicide victims who were killed by a cop. Nor is white violence responsible for the black victimization rate. Blacks commit most interracial violence. Between 2012 and 2015, there were 631,830 violent interracial victimizations, excluding homicide, between blacks and whites, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Blacks committed 85.5 percent of those violent victimizations, or 540,360 felonious assaults on whites, while whites committed 14.4 percent of those violent victimizations, or 91,470 felonious assaults on blacks.

Read the complete article at The City Journal

These national disparities are repeated locally. In New York City, for example, blacks, 23 percent of the population, committed 71 percent of all gun violence in 2016; whites, who, at 34 percent of the population, are the city’s largest racial group, committed less than 2 percent of all shootings. These identifications are provided by the victims of, and witnesses to, those shootings, overwhelmingly minorities themselves. A black New Yorker is thus 50 times more likely to commit a shooting than a white New Yorker. In Chicago, blacks and whites are each a little under a third of the city’s population; blacks commit 80 percent of all shootings, whites, a little over 1 percent, making blacks in the Windy City 80 times more likely to commit a shooting than whites. In Oakland, blacks committed 83 percent of homicides, attempted homicides, robberies, assaults with firearms, and assaults with weapons other than firearms in 2013, even though they constitute only 28 percent of Oakland’s population. Whites were 1 percent of robbery suspects, 1 percent of firearm assault suspects, and an even lower percent of homicide suspects, even though they make up about 34 percent of the city’s population. In Pittsburgh, 82 percent of known homicide suspects were black in 2015, even though the Pittsburgh population is just 26 percent black. In St. Louis, nearly 100 percent of homicide suspects were black through December 22, 2017, though the population is 47 percent white and 47 percent black.

The vast majority of black residents—in high-crime areas and elsewhere—are law-abiding and hard-working; they deserve the same freedom from fear as residents of safer neighborhoods and they beg for more proactive police enforcement, as reporters from the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post both discovered when covering the aftermath of the Freddie Gray riots. But a disproportionate amount of all violent crime is committed by a small percentage of the black community. This taboo fact has enormous implications for understanding police activity, whether stops, summons, arrests, or use of force, since policing will be more intense where people are most being victimized and are most calling for help in maintaining public order. The national discourse about policing over the last two decades has been conducted in a vacuum, where any mention of racial crime rates is banned as racist, even as the discussion of policing is carried out exclusively in racialized terms.


The war on cops has consisted of an endlessly repeated narrative, amplified in the White House and across the mainstream media, that the nation’s officers were infected by lethal bias and that we were living through an epidemic of racist police shootings of blacks. That narrative was false. Policing today is data-driven; it is determined by the incidence of criminal victimization, not by race. Four studies came out in 2016 that found no racial bias against blacks in police shootings. Blacks have made up about a quarter of all victims of fatal police shootings in 2015 and 2016, according to the Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings. That proportion does not suggest bias. Police use of force is most likely in confrontations with violent and resisting criminals—and those confrontations happen disproportionately in minority communities. In America’s 75 largest counties in 2009, blacks constituted 62 percent of all robbery defendants, 57 percent of all murder defendants, and 45 percent of all assault defendants, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, even though blacks made up only 15 percent of the population in those counties. The roughly 25 percent share of black police shooting victims nationally should be benchmarked against those violent crime rates, not against population share.

Yet so insistent was President Obama about reinforcing the false narrative about lethally biased policing that he even repeated it during the memorial service for five Dallas police officers assassinated in July 2016 by a killer inspired by Black Lives Matter ideology. Black parents were right to fear that a cop could shoot their child merely for doing something stupid, Obama said, as the families of the assassinated officers grieved their loss. This false narrative had tragic, real-world effects in the heightened loss of black life and neighborhood safety.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson addressed the effect of anti-cop narratives on crime last week. The video of a Chicago cop killing Laquan McDonald and the resulting coverage emboldened criminals to break the law, he told the Chicago Tribune. “I think that they used that to their advantage because if you think they don’t pay attention to that type of thing, you’re fooling yourself because they do,” Johnson said. “I think the boldness of them is starting to tick down a bit, but it’s still there.” Deniers of the Ferguson Effect apparently think that they know more about criminal behavior than Superintendent Johnson does.

Cop critics have seized on the fact that gun murders of officers have dropped 33 percent this year to claim that the war on cops is chimerical. “There Still Wasn’t a War On Cops in 2017,” tweeted Reason. Their argument is specious. The war on cops has been overwhelmingly rhetorical. The hatred spewed toward cops on the street at the height of Black Lives Matter agitation, the endlessly repeated media conceit that policing was racist, were realities, with tragic consequences for crime victims. But even if the war on cops were viewed exclusively as a physical one, this year’s decline in murders of police officers cannot be used to dismiss that war without counting last year’s 53 percent increase in cop killings as a confirmation of it. (It is too soon to know what is behind this year’s decline, but one explanation is the near disappearance of the “homicidal racist cops” narrative from the national spotlight, as the media focused almost exclusively on the “Resistance” to President Trump. Officer disengagement on the streets is another possible explanation.) And if the murder rate of officers is used to dismiss the war on cops, then there is also no police war on unarmed black men. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer. Black males have made up 42 percent of all cop-killers over the last decade.

Read the complete article at The City Journal

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Categories: Law Enforcement

How I Survived as a Police Wife for Two Police Shootings

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 07:27

Linda Swihart is the wife of Mike Swihart, who in episode 007 relays the stories of two police shootings and military combat deployments.  As a trained emergency medical responder, she provided life-saving support to Mike after he was critically wounded in a gunfight that occurred at their church during Sunday morning worship.  In this episode, she provides her perspective on the critical incidents, discusses the support that helped her, and offers advice for how police families can assist one another during and after the event.

Linda reminds us that “you pay a high price for loving a cop.  Is it worth it?  Yes!”  She then shares how she overcame her personal journey with fear, and offers a wealth of practical marriage wisdom for police marriages.

For those who may not have experienced a critical incident, Linda suggests helping others.  “You know what things need to be around the house.  Just go and offer yourself.”  She said that as she provided 23 hours a day care for Mike after his shooting, friends stepped up to do laundry, provide meals, clean and do dishes, and take their daughters to various appointments.  In those difficult times, the little things really are the big things.

Mike and Linda make themselves available for any first responder or spouse who would like their support, advice, or encouragement.  Reach out via email, and they will even share their personal cell phone numbers.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Deadly Force Data: What Does ‘Unarmed’ Really Mean?

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 16:28

Three years ago the Washington Post began tracking citizens killed by law enforcement.  Leading up to the collected data was a daily mantra of so called experts and politicians discussing trigger happy and racist cops.

That has always been a lie and what the data from the Washington Post continues to do is show anyone that takes an honest look at the data that law enforcement is doing a remarkable job in the midst of violence around them.

For the last three years, the number of citizens killed has been just about the same and that has caused some to scratch their head.  How could that be after massive reform and training measures were demanded and taken by so many agencies in an effort to reduce force? As I have pointed out in previous articles, until suspects stop attacking and committing violence against cops, force will never change and that is why the data is literally staying the same from year to year.

Society must start approaching this issue with facts and leave emotion out.  There is someone to blame when deadly force has to be used and it is very rarely the police officer.

The data proves it.

The 2017 data was not much different than the previous two years.  Law enforcement shot and killed 987 suspects compared with 963 the year before and 995 in 2015.  The accompanying data was also relatively unchanged including what the media has been ramming down the throats of the public for years, that law enforcement has  a problem shooting unarmed people with a specific emphasis on African Americans.

That lie has bothered me the most through my career and I have had to have this same discussion with parents and kids that tell me they are scared of law enforcement.  We owe them more than emotions and lies.  We owe parents, children and the public the facts in regards to this issue and as I found out diving into the data, the facts certainly matter.

Those facts don’t keep the media from using the data in a false fashion in an effort to paint cops as racist and brutal and they typically use the “shooting of unarmed” people to show that, but as I found out, unarmed certainly did not mean innocent and harmless.

When a citizen stands up at a community event and says they are more scared of the police than violent criminals, that is a problem.

When a parent tells me they are more scared of their kids being stopped and shot by the police than the gang members on the street corner, that is a problem.

And that problem lies squarely on the shoulders of the liars and frauds that are spreading that message.  Those liars don’t want others to see the Washington Post data.  Those liars are more concerned with stoking hatred toward those that protect the community than telling the truth and the truth is that there are some communities that have a violence problem and that violence is not coming from law enforcement.  It is coming from cowards that are preying on the very citizens in their neighborhood while at the same time blaming law enforcement for all of the problems.

It is intellectually dishonest to keep blaming cops when the facts are known.

The data breaks down all races but because African American deaths at the hands of law enforcement are the sticking point for some and the media hangs on it, I took a look at the shooting of unarmed African Americans by police in 2017 first and then looked at the shooting of unarmed whites.  I didn’t find bias in law enforcement.  Police shoot more unarmed whites than blacks and at a higher percentage but I did find extreme bias in the way the media covered each race in what became very similar situations within both races.

The public and especially minorities are being played by a biased media that cares more about emotion and sensationalism than facts.

The trends were exactly similar across races and those trends say that there is much more to the story than “unarmed.”

In 2017, according to the Washington Post, law enforcement shot and killed 20 African Americans that were considered “unarmed.” It was 18 in 2016 and 38 in 2015.

I did what the Washington Post did not list in their data.  The actual facts from each incident.  Because I have been in law enforcement for two decades, I wasn’t surprised by what I found.  I know that the montage of stories that law enforcement targets blacks to kill them is a complete lie and the data along with the facts of each case proves it.

It’s too bad that the media or some of our community leaders don’t focus on these facts but we will.

Out of the 20 “unarmed” suspects, 11 were committing a violent crime and fighting with a police officer before they were shot.  The fights were brutal with some choking the officer.  Others like Nana Adomako was beating an Fremont (CA) Police officer in the head so violently that he almost lost consciousness.  After Adomako was shot and killed, he was considered “unarmed.”

Brian Easley was a 33 year old military veteran that was shot by a SWAT Officer after he took two bank employees hostage and claimed to have a bomb.  He didn’t have a bomb so therefore he was “unarmed.”

Two suspects were running from cops and simulated shooting them after placing their hands in their waistband.  JR Williams was one of them.  A registered sex offender, he fled on foot when a Phoenix Police officer tried to place him under arrest.  During the chase, he kept his hands concealed and threatened to shoot the officers.  At one point, he turned and drew his arm from his waistband with a clenched hand, simulating a shooting stance. That action got him killed and also classified as “unarmed.”

Isaiah Tucker drove his car at an Oshkosh (WI) Police officer and they were classified as “unarmed” which is a mistake by the Washington Post considering they classify cars as a weapon in their data.

There was a tragedy in the data when a woman was shot by police in Florida during a search warrant when her boyfriend used her as cover as he was shooting at cops.  She was “unarmed” but the man behind her was firing at will as officers entered the residence.

All but two officers were cleared of any wrongdoing.  A police officer was charged with murder after he killed 14 year old Jordan Edwards, who was a passenger in a car fleeing a party that police were present at.  An Amtrak Officer in Chicago tried to arrest a man for marijuana possession when he took off running.  The officer shot and killed the suspect as he was fleeing and the officer was also charged with murder.

Police shot and killed 30 White Americans in 2017 that were considered “unarmed” by the Washington Post.  That was 3% of all shootings compared to 2% of all African American Shootings.

Almost half of the suspects were in brutal fights with officers.  One incident occurred in Toms River (NJ) when Christopher Apostolus busted out of a closet and ran towards officers.  He grabbed an officer’s neck and the officer’s gun before being shot.  He was also “unarmed.”

Many officers attempted other means of force prior to using deadly force including one Ohio officer that was attacked by Vincent Palma.  Palma charged at the officer and attacked him.  The officer utilized a Taser, Baton and even fired warning shots in the ground but the attack continued.  Palma was shot and killed and he was also considered “unarmed.”

Suspects also ran, took aggressive stances and simulated shooting officers before being shot and in some cases this was done to citizens.  Hayden Stutz called a Canton Police Dispatcher and threatened to kill officers when they arrived.  The officers did arrive and he was holding a woman’s head on the ground telling her he had a gun and was going to kill her if she moved.  He refused to get off the woman when cops arrived and told them he had a gun.  After being killed by police and a weapon not being found, he was also considered “unarmed.”

As in the earlier cited data, there were a few “unarmed” citizens that were with violent felons and were unfortunately shot by the police in the process including an incident in Mississippi where an ex-con was shooting at officers and in the return fire, his girlfriend was also killed.

Out of the 30 deadly force incidents that involved White Americans, a Dallas Police Officer was charged with aggravated assault after he shot into a car that was backing up towards him.  While there are a few cases still pending, based on the facts I saw, I would anticipate that four police officers will be charged with a crime out of the 50 deadly shootings of “unarmed” suspects and citizens.  That is a stark difference in the narrative being spoken in regards to this data.

Facts matter and there are few facts being spoken by those that seek to do harm to law enforcement in regards to these cases.

One thing that always frustrated me and still does is the unsubstantiated fear that a few in a community tries to tell the masses about law enforcement.  I saw this up front and personal in a recent community forum.  A mother stood up and asked a local politician I was sitting next to what they should tell their kids to do when they were contacted by law enforcement because she feared for her children’s life.

He told her that she should tell her kids to do what the police ask them to do.

Some in the crowd booed his answer and I was appalled.  That advice also happens to be what I tell my kids.

The data shows that this was excellent advice.  If you want to exponentially increase your chances of getting shot by law enforcement, then just do the following:

  1. Fight Cops
  2. Run From Cops
  3. Simulate Shooting Cops
  4. Drive Cars at Cops
  5. Steal Police Cars
  6. Grab Cop’s Guns

In virtually every incident I researched for 2017, there were marches and protests in honor of the suspect.  There were demands to fire and arrest every cop involved and that is a very sad state of affairs for our society.

What the Washington Post fails to mention is that over 50,000 cops are assaulted every year by “unarmed” suspects and very few of those suspects are shot by police.

Yes, mistakes happen and sometimes a police officer commits a crime but in the vast majority of police shootings including the shooting of so called “unarmed” people, the police are not to blame.  It is the actions of the suspects and I wonder what would happen if society started to actually blame the violence of criminals instead of the heroes behind the badge trying to protect others?

Would fewer suspects fight, flee and assault cops if we placed the accountability on them?

Would the use of deadly force be reduced if we told others about the inherent dangers of attacking police officers rather than constantly blaming law enforcement?

I’m not sure but after looking at the data, the last person that should be getting the blame are the very ones standing up in their communities trying to stop the violence.

Editor’s Note: 
We fully anticipate getting hateful and vile commentary in regards to this article.  That is likely why these facts are rarely spoken of.  On behalf of Law Officer, we will not back down to the intimidation of a few that is only designed to silence the truth.  A truth that these few knows exposes their lie.  While the liars may have emotion and hatred on their side, we will stick with facts and those facts tell us that our law enforcement officers deserve incredible praise for the work they do each and ever day. 


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Categories: Law Enforcement

Deputy Shot, Killed Chasing Burglary Suspects

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 09:46

Pierce County (WA) Deputy Daniel McCartney, 34, was killed late Sunday night when he was chasing two burglary suspects.

He was responding to a home invasion when he was shot and killed.

McCartney was a Navy veteran and a father of three young boys.

One of two suspects was also killed during the exchange, according to the sheriff’s department.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department posted early Monday on its Facebook page that the deputy was shot just after 11:30 p.m. while responding to a report of an intruder at a residence on 200th Street East in the area about 15 miles southeast of Tacoma.

“During the 911 call, dispatchers could hear screaming and a scuffle taking place,” the sheriff’s office reported.

The deputy arrived on scene and became involved in a foot pursuit with a male suspect, during which shots were fired and the deputy was struck.

“He chased after him and there were shots fired,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said in an interview.

The suspect fled the area on foot and a massive manhunt is underway.

Bethel School District canceled all classes for Monday out of “an abundance of caution,” it reported on its Facebook page.

Some roads in the area are closed.

“He is a young deputy who signed up to watch over other people,” said said Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor. “He had an ethic, an ethic in his heart for doing something for other people. Know that. People in the community need to know that.”

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Police Shoot, Kill Man With Gun Outside House Fire

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 09:33

Photo Courtesy: Tacoma Fire Department

A man was fatally wounded by a Tacoma (WA) police officer who originally responded to block off streets for a reported garage fire in Tacoma late Sunday night.

Oficers and the Tacoma Fire Department came to the 400 block of S. 59th St. just before 11 p.m. after neighbors called to report a garage on fire.

Police received calls that a man was crawling on the lawn with a gun outside of the front of the home, and other callers reported the man walking around as he appeared intoxicated. That man was walking toward the house that was on fire when police arrived on scene.

After the man resisted several commands from police to drop his weapon, he was killed by officers’ gunfire. No officers were hurt in the shooting, although seven officers, ranging from 7 months to 18 years of experience with the Tacoma police force, were involved in the incident. They have all been placed on paid administrative leave, according to department policy.

According to KOMO News, the medical examiner will provide an identification of the suspect, who was in his mid-20’s.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Single Car Crash Kills On Duty Police Officer

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 09:15

The Monroe (LA) Police Department has announced that Officer Chris Beaudion was killed in a single vehicle crash early Sunday morning.

He was on duty at the time of the accident.

The crash happened around 3 am within the city limits of Monroe.

Louisiana State Police are investigating the crash.

Investigators say Officer Beaudion was traveling on South 2nd St. when he veered to the left and hit a tree.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Beaudion has been with the department since August 4, 2016.

He leaves behind a wife and two children.

You can leave a reflection for this hero at ODMP.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Police Foot Pursuits: Chasing the Rabbit

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 07:10

Law Enforcement Officers are required to abide by orders, policies, and laws. These are all beneficial as they provide standards for what LEOs can and cannot do. With societal changes, however, these measures are becoming stricter. The underlying issue is that guidelines cannot stipulate every individual aspect of an encounter with suspects. In particular, foot pursuits are a rapidly evolving encounter encompassed with unpredictability.

An Entirely New Dynamic
When an individual’s attention is attracted by a stimulus (e.g., suspect), they focus completely on that particular object. In the context in which we are speaking, officers engage suspects through a traffic stop, call for service, or consensual encounter. In the event the suspect decides to flee from the officer it creates an entirely new dynamic.

For example, when the suspect begins to run from the officer, the LEO’s attention does not move from the suspect, but becomes entirely fixated on that suspect, ultimately succumbing to tunnel vision.

According to Dr. Ron Martinelli Use of Force Instructor and Force Analyst, “Officers become emotionally captured in the event and have an instinctive reaction.” What does this mean? Officers will respond by immediately participating in the flight of the suspect by chasing them.

Dave Grossi, retired New York Police Lieutenant, agrees, “Foot pursuits are emotionally charged and dangerous events.” Your heart rate is beating rapidly, you’re sweating, breathing changes, and adrenaline is rising as you turn every corner uncertain of what is to come.

For Further Consideration
When I was in the police academy, foot pursuits and containment were not an in-depth area of instruction. I do not recall it being elaborated on beyond the physical action of running after a fleeing suspect and officers surrounding the area.

Jack Schonely, an expert in suspect tactics and perimeter containment, confirms, “One particular area of police work gets little or no attention in the training realm, how to successfully and safely apprehend a fleeing suspect on foot.” Law Enforcement professionals realize foot pursuits are learned by experience and trial & error.  

Personally, I recall my Field Training Officer saying that we are the hunters and they are the prey. It’s our job to track down the prey. Obviously as a LEO myself, I have participated in numerous foot pursuits. While taking part in these pursuits, I have witnessed new officers as well as veterans make mistakes. It is human nature to follow the stimulus or chase the rabbit as some refer to it.

Ways to Improve the Foot Pursuit
The following are recommendations for LEOs to keep in mind when it comes to foot pursuits. Due to its evolving nature, they are not meant to stipulate precise steps when in a foot pursuit.

Primary Officer
The primary officer is the individual initially conducting business with the suspect and they are the one the suspect runs from. For the primary officer, here are some recommendations to consider:

  • The officer must provide at minimum the description, location, direction of travel, and if there is a weapon. This is for officer safety as well as providing their backup and dispatch with pertinent information.
  • If there is time, provide the reason for giving chase. If you have already identified the suspect, it might be a good idea to get a warrant and make the arrest later.
  • Additional units should remain off the radio so the primary can continually provide updates. The primary may be able to dictate where additional officers should go, since normally they have current information about the suspect.
  • Keep in mind cover in the event the suspect commences a gun battle or launches an attack. Dave Smith, internationally recognized law enforcement trainer, presents what he says are “the basics”: 1. Do not run immediately behind a suspect, 2. Run wide, or quick peek, around corners, 3. If a suspect goes over a wall you go through the gate or over another part of the wall, 4. Do the unexpected, avoid the expected, and be unpredictable.

Secondary Officer/Sentinel

The secondary officer should be heading directly to the primary’s location so they are not alone. In the event the secondary cannot meet up with the primary, they can attempt to get ahead of the suspect.

  • The sentinels (Additional units/officers) should setup perimeter around the last known location of the suspect.
  • Establishing a perimeter will aid in reducing the area officers are searching.
  • If possible, the sentinels should position themselves at corners of buildings, streets, houses, etc., so they can watch two sides to gain greater benefit.
  • Officers responding to assist must be patient and not randomly swarm the area.
  • Setup a perimeter and maintain constant note of everyone in the area, entering and exiting.
  • Even if you observe the suspect it may be beneficial to retain your position and radio it in. Try not to chase the rabbit as soon as you see him/her.
  • A tactic that can be utilized is to turn on your lights and radio, then station yourself outside your patrol car behind cover. This will give the illusion that there is more officer presence.

Officers should consider expanding the perimeter beyond the immediate area in the event there is a misconception of the suspects’ last known location or they have slipped through the initial containment area. There is research indicating that suspects may conceal themselves near officers. Researchers also found suspects run continuously beyond the first block to hide themselves at a later time. Some do attempt to hide immediately after escaping officers’ sight. LEO’s should prepare for and anticipate an ambush because that is a reality, especially in a foot pursuit. 

The K-9 is an invaluable tool to have. Officers on perimeter must keep their position in order not to cause any issues for the K-9’s ability to track the suspect. The standard is to have one additional officer with the handler when searching with the K-9. This allows the handler to focus on the K-9 and the remaining officer(s) to secure the suspect. Other resources that aid the search are air support (drones, helicopter, aircraft), video surveillance, and thermal imaging.

The Search
Officers that are searching can begin by closing the gap between the sentinels and last known location of the suspect. Starting from the outside and working inward or initiating the search from last known location outwards is another tactic that can be used. SSGT. Ross MacInnes states that most suspects, when given the option of turning left or right during a spontaneous foot flight, will veer right, the suspect will probably make a series of right turns when presented with both options. His study also shows that if the suspect is forced to make several left turns because of natural barriers (fences, hedges, alleys, etc.) or police containment, he/she will probably stop and hide after about one or two turns. If there is a second suspect, he usually will hide fairly close to where suspect #1 hid. Suspect #2 will usually circle to the right and try to scope out what is happening between the officer and suspect #1.

When it comes to following or searching for the suspect, there are additional methods that LEOs have been taught to decrease fatal encounters. Steve Papenfuhs, retired San Jose Police Department Sergeant and CEO of Battalion Defense, provides these suggestions: get a view around the apex of the corner. There are two generally accepted methods of cornering “slicing the pie” or dynamic corner clear (“popping” or “snapping”).

Slicing the pie is a slow and deliberate method of corner clearing. In this method, the officer maintains a distance from the corner and leans into the threat area attempting to clear one “slice of the pie” at a time. Dynamic clear-in this case, the officer moves directly to the corner and in one dynamic movement pops around the corner with one eye and the muzzle of his weapon. I would suggest modifying this portion so the muzzle of the weapon is not out in front of you when performing a dynamic clear. This is not tactical and if the suspect is immediately abutting the apex, they can seize your weapon.

Think Before You Act-or React
I want to stress that these are merely recommendations based on my research and experience. To believe there is a systematic method for performing a foot pursuit will place the officer at risk. The circumstances can change instantaneously. Many policies that agencies currently use are similar in nature. They ask the officer to think about their safety and the safety of the public versus pursuing or not pursuing. Officers already have a million things going through their minds, so attempting to process something systematically when it is rapidly changing can be a complicated task.

This information is not meant to confuse or overload LEOs, but to encourage them to think before they act or react.  Keep in mind the suggestions made in this article are to help everyone make it home safely!

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Categories: Law Enforcement