BlueSheepdog Podcast 018 – Combat Casualty Care, ILEETA

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Steve Rabinovich joins us for a second discussion on combat casualty care.  Rabinovich attended the 2011 ILEETA conference and participated in several discussions on the topics of self-care and buddy care for law enforcement.  We talked about what is going on in the field of self-care in law enforcement, training and liability.

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Rise in Officers Killed by Gunfire Continues

With the shooting deaths of police officers in Missouri, Michigan, Texas (2), and Oregon just in the past week, the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund Preliminary 2011 Fatality Statistics show a 30% increase in officer deaths over last year, but an unbelievable 88% rise in officer death by gunfire.

At Read-Off yesterday, I was staring at my squad.  The senior officer was a K9 handler with about ten years on the job.  The remainder of the officers had fewer than four years of sworn experience, most with a lot less.

I regularly cover officer deaths at my Read-Offs as safety reminders.  I feel it is right to honor the service of fallen law enforcement officers and to highlight the situations that can lead to a critical incident.

In his previous article, The Ten Deadly Errors, Richard reviewed ten officer safety lapses that can get you killed on the street.

In looking back at the ten deadly errors and thinking about them, I came to the conclusion that I could short-form most of them for the New Generation into two important words:  Vigilance and Decisiveness.

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Taser X2—an Improved ECD

Taser International, Inc. has introduced an improved electronic control device (ECD) based on its X3 model.  The new ECD uses innovation from the X3 in a scaled down package.  The Taser X2 is slightly smaller than the three shot X3, but larger than the single shot X26.

Taser X2

Among the advantages to the X2 are a second shot capability without reloading, dual laser sights, an increased battery life, and a more weather resistant housing (optional).  The X2 also allows for a “warning shot,” which would previously have require removing a cartridge, ala the “spark discharge” which Taser had advocated in its training curriculum.

The dual lasers of the X2 remind me of the dual laser emitters integrated into the last Tasertron model in the late 1990’s.  The two laser dots give the officer a better idea of where both probes will strike upon firing.  It is a move to improve operator accuracy, which is one of the main failures of ECD’s.

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Missing Police Cadet Saddens Graduation

More than four weeks ago, Pinellas County, FL Police Academy #177’s Cadet Kelly Rothwell disappeared after telling a friend she was headed home to break up with her boyfriend. She was not seen again.

Despite repeated requests, the boyfriend refused to be interviewed by Pinellas County, FL sheriff’s detectives. The boyfriend left the state for New York. A search warrant was executed on their Florida residence and the boyfriend consented to a search of his car. There are no official suspects in Rothwell’s disappearance.

The realities of law enforcement had come early to Class #177: this is not a kind profession. Stay in it for any period of time and you will witness humanity at its lowest.

In my academy class, one of the speakers was a sheriff’s deputy who was recovering from gunshot wounds inflicted by a vagrant on a low priority contact. The deputy arrived at our podium supported by a cane. It opened the eyes of our recruits. He was so much like the rest of us…

Reality is what you make of it. I think Class #177 will go into law enforcement with a different perspective than most. They lost a class leader, a classmate, and a friend. I think they will be more wary and less certain of outcomes. Living with adversity reveals its possibilities.

Rothwell had ridden with my department’s officers. She had a job interview scheduled for two days after she was reported missing. Rothwell did not arrive for her appointment. That is the reality.

Following Class #177’s graduation ceremony, a candlelight vigil was held for Rothwell. Tears were shed and resolve was gained.

It is bittersweet, but I think the recruits in this class will start their careers jaded, unlike those who would have to labor for it. I am saddened by their loss, but optimistic for their ability to overcome this adversity.

Randall is a twenty-three year veteran officer of a mid-size Florida police department.  He served as a SWAT team officer for 21 years, to include 12 years as a team leader.  His other duties included Police K9 handler, FTO, and Detective.  Currently serving as a Midnight Shift Sergeant, he is also his department’s SWAT Coordinator.

NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

Officer Michael Neal of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission was selected as the NRA 2010 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Officer Neal demonstrated extreme bravery under fire on the May 20, 2010. On that day, two West Memphis police officers were gunned down on a traffic stop. Shortly later, the suspects were located by other officers who immediately came under fire and were wounded.

Officer Neal responded to the scene, and without regard for his own safety, used his patrol vehicle to ram the suspect vehicle. Officer Neal then engaged the suspects with his own rifle through the windshield of his vehicle.

Officer Neal was able to withdraw a short distance, exit his vehicle and resume the fight from a better position.

This is raw footage of the incident:


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By ramming the suspect vehicle, Officer Neal drew the suspects’ attention from the wounded officers possibly saving their lives. Additionally, the vehicle was moving to escape the scene when Officer Neal arrived. Officer Neal’s actions prevented their escape, which would have put more citizens and officers in danger.

Officer Neal, thank you for your service.

For those not aware, the National Rifle Association offers a great deal of training and other benefits through its Law Enforcement Activities Division. Among the benefits are scholarships for your kids and discounts on bullet resistant vests. You can read more about the LEAD here. Additionally, you can get a NRA Life Membership here.

Smith & Wesson Taking More of LE Market

S&W M&P40Smith & Wesson continues to gain more and more ground in the law enforcement market.  The most recent department to go to the M&P is the Providence, RI Police Department.

Providence PD took delivery of 510 S&W M&P40 pistols after trading in their recently purchased Beretta PX4 Storm pistols.  Cited in the December 20, 2010 Board of Contract and Supply Agenda, the Providence PD was trading the Beretta pistols in “…due to experienced failures…”

The agenda indicated there would be no cost to the PD for the new pistols, suggesting that S&W offered the department a one for one swap.

The Beretta pistols were only about three years old.  I am curious to hear what kind of failures the department experienced with the PX4.  If anyone knows, please share in the comments or drop me a line.

Richard is a police officer with a medium sized, central Florida department, and previously worked for a Metro-Atlanta agency.  He has served as a field training officer, court officer, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, watch commander, commander of a field training and evaluation program, and general pain in the butt to management-types looking to cut training hours.

Use of Force – Violence of Action

Spartan Cops has a good guest post on the use of force on their site.  The author, Alan John makes some very good points, and the article is worth reading.

The more you understand the use of force, the better you are able to apply it.  The media highlights “excessive” use of force (even when it is not), but often what gets cops hurt or killed is the application of too little force.  Using peperspray or Taser in a deadly force situation, for example.

When you study the court decisions on the use of force, and understand your department’s policy on force, you are much more likely to apply the correct amount of force in a timely manner.  Hesitation puts you behind the curve and can lead to getting dead.  That is not acceptable.

Take your job seriously…and stay safe!

Richard is a police officer with a medium sized, central Florida department, and previously worked for a Metro-Atlanta agency.  He has served as a field training officer, court officer, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, watch commander, commander of a field training and evaluation program, and general pain in the butt to management-types looking to cut training hours.