POLICE Magazine

MAY 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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32 POLICE MAY 2019 thousands of law enforcement of- ficers who have died in the line of duty over the years in this country. "We dishonor the fallen if we ig- nore the lessons that would have saved them," says retired Com- mander Sid Heal of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. e best way to honor the memories of our fallen brothers and sisters is to learn the lessons, then train and equip ourselves to do our jobs better and safer for all concerned, while following policies that pro- vide appropriate guidance but also have our backs when we do it right. We honor the past, we want to be as good as we can be in the pres- ent, and we want to do whatever we can to innovate and improve our policy, training, equipment, and tactics. Let's begin! is series won't just be my own ideas. You will hear from other recognized experts from across the country on a variety of subjects throughout. POLICY OVERVIEW E very organization expects its employees to be familiar with and to follow policy. A simple definition of policy is "a course or principle of action." It's what we want you to do or not to do. Why do we need policies? "Policies and procedures are designed to influence and determine all ma- jor decisions and actions," according to one popular answer. Policy is more than what comes out of some thick book. It's what you train. It's what you condone. It's what you support on a day-to-day basis in your department. Ultimately if your agen- cy's actual practice does not match your written policy, liability may attach. Is policy fixed and rigid, not allowing deviation? Some peo- ple think so. But real-world deci- sions must sometimes be made that may not strictly conform to written policy. Sometimes you just have to do the right thing, then ex- plain your decision. For example, if someone is seri- ously hurt, your policy might dic- tate that you call for paramedics to respond to the scene. But you've probably heard of situations where a seriously wounded officer or ci- vilian immediately gets transport- ed in a police car to a fire station or emergency room, rather than wait for the ambulance because violat- ing the policy might be the best way to save the life. Some agencies have a policy that prohibits cocking the ham- mer on a semi-automatic handgun before firing the first shot because the agency believes it will reduce accidental discharges by requiring the shooter to fire double-action. Arguably true. Follow the policy. But what if you confront the bad guy holding the knife to the woman's neck while holding her in the classic hostage position? Cock the damn hammer! And greatly reduce the chance that you'll hit the victim in- stead of the suspect when you take the head shot. is has happened. e suspect went down, the hostage was saved, but high-ranking officers objected. Fortunately, the chief of police supported the officer. A policy violation rooted in common sense. I note that many use-of-force policies I see around the coun- try have a disclaimer like, "It is recognized that this policy may not cover every conceivable tactical situation an officer might encounter. erefore, officers are required to use their best tac- tical judgment and apply the spirit of this policy in their deci- sion-making." Such an exception to policy recognizes reality. EQUIPMENT OVERVIEW W e are lucky to have more and better equipment options than officers a generation or two ago. Six-shooters were the norm, now semi-autos rule. TASERs and sprays and beanbags and 40mm have revolutionized how we deal with resistance. Patrol rifles give us the edge. Computers in our cars have changed the game. It wasn't that long ago that we didn't have radios on our belts and cellphones in our pockets. Picture this: You and your patrol partner get a call for a domestic violence incident in the mid-1970s. You pick up the car-radio microphone, you roger the call. You get to the 80-year- old building with the rickety elevator that you don't use as you hike to the fifth floor. You hear the yelling and screaming, you knock on the door. e yelling stops, the screaming continues, the door opens. Your partner calms down the woman, you've got the man. He's 30 years older than you, a few inches shorter, and about the same weight. As you attempt to escort him to the other side of the room for a chat, he stands still and casu- ally grabs your bicep and squeezes it like a vise as he let's you know he was a boxer back in the day. No doubt he was. He's solid as a rock, and he has experience at taking a beating and winning. No spray, no TASER, and— worst of all—no way to call for backup. e guy could probably clean both you and your partner's clocks, regardless of your DT prowess and your stick. Verbalization becomes very important J TACTICS AND TRAINING p More and more agencies are acquiring ranged less-lethal weapons like this 40mm launcher from DefTech. p Computers in patrol vehicles have given officers a wealth of information that they cannot gain from their radio communications. PHOTO: POLICE FILE PHOTO: VINCENT TAROC

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