High Times

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You can use the magazine “High Times” to make more drug arrests.

New officers don’t always have the “street knowledge” they need to make good drug cases.  Street knowledge is something that often takes years to build before an officer can recognize common drugs and activities surrounding their use and sale.

Training is not a substitute for experience, but it does give the officer additional information to use while on the street to hasten their learning.  However, drug training is often not available to new officers. [Read more…]

K9Trooper.com: Training for K9, Criminal Interdiction, and Drug Interdiction Work

I meant to post this a while back, but if you have any need for police K-9 training, or training in drug and criminal interdiction, check our K9Trooper.com.  They list training classes throughout a lot of the US that relate to drug interdiction and canine handlers.

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.

House Arrest: Are You Kidding Me?

I think every cop knows that ‘house arrest’ is a useless form of punishment/rehabilitation.  The only thing it is good for is allowing the courts to “feel good” about having “done something” to punish a convict without sending them to prison.

house arrestThink about it for a second…  A jury has convicted someone for a crime. But, rather than sending them to prison, we just send them home.  Yeah…that will teach them!

Case in point: a knock and talk I did Saturday night.  While riding through a neighborhood looking for an armed robbery suspect, a man flags me down.  He tells me about his niece who has “rocks and weed” all over the coffee table. She also owes him money, but I’m sure that did not have anything to do with why he flagged me down.

So, a couple of officers and I go by the apatment.  I knock and she answers.  I introduce myself and she invites us in.  Once inside I ask “Got any drugs?”  She says “Yep…got a pile of weed over there,” and points to a pile of weed that was, in fact, over there.

I ask “Is this your purse?”  She says “Yep.  And those pills are ones that my girlfriend gave me for my toothache.”  Uh-huh.

I say “You are under arrest.”  She says “There is cocaine in my bra.”

I inquire about the lovely, state required, bracelet around her ankle.  She tells me that she was on probation for cocaine and pills, but was caught with more cocaine and pills.  So, the court sentenced her to house arrest as a punishment.  “How very effective,” I say.

So, I carry her down to the jail with three new drug charges.  But, get this, being arrested while on house arrest does not net you a “no bond”.  In other words, she can immediately post a bond and walk right out of jail.  I get the deputies to max her bond which totals a mere $10,750.  Of course, I am hoping that will keep her in jail until the next morning when a judge can review the case and her status and “no bond” her.

Well, the judge did see her the next morning…and promptly reduced the bond to $5,500.

Sometimes, I don’t know why I bother to go to work.

Mexican Military Holds Border Patrol Agent at Gunpoint in the USA: Mexican Military Continues to Escort Drug Smugglers

The Mexican military has escorted drug smugglers into United States territory for years. On occasion, our Border Patrol agents are confronted, on US soil, by the Mexican army. In fact, there have been more than 200 confirmed incursions by the Mexican military into the United States since 1996. The latest case was on Sunday, August 3, 2008.

Border PatrolA Border Patrol agent, working south of Ajo, Arizona, encountered Mexican military personnel who had crossed over into the United States. The agent was held at gunpoint for a period of time, presumably while the smugglers they were protecting moved through the area. Thankfully, back-up officers arrived and the troops withdrew without a gun battle.

Unfortunately, not all US law enforcement encounters with the Mexican army have been as “peaceful.” For example, in January 2007, the Mexican army, in the United States, fired on Texas deputies with a .50 caliber machine gun.

[Read more…]

Meth Lab Dangers: Who Enters First?

I had an interesting call tonight. A woman calls from a residence stating that she thinks her roommate is trying to cook meth. She tells the 911 operator that he is heating acid on the kitchen stove, lots of noxious smoke is in the house, and she and/or someone else inside the residence is having problems breathing. Dispatch sends three units plus the fire department is also responding.

Seems pretty straightforward, right? Not so fast.

Think about it. Meth production is a deadly undertaking. Nasty things like phosphene gas are common by-products of methamphetamine production. Police officers walking into that environment can become very dead, very quick. Us beat cops can’t just walk in there…we would likely become victims also.

So, the solution is: the firefighters with their respirators and haz-mat gear go in and get the ‘victims’ out. Well, not really. Remember folks making meth tend to be violent criminals. They like to fight, have guns, and are generally anti-social. Firefighters going into that situation are in danger from the victims.

What is the solution? Pre-planning, flexibility, and a great deal of cooperation between agencies.

Working out the possible responses with the likely responders (PD and FD, for example) ahead of time, is a really smart move. This allows everyone to critically think through possible problems, iron out differences in policies between agencies, and gives everyone a baseline to work from when they get on scene.

What kind of training and equipment do the beat officers and other first responders need when they arrive on scene? Figure out what resources and skills you need…and are reasonably expected to be available…and work up a plan. The world’s best equipped and trained clan-lab team is worthless in the situation I responded to if they are 30 minutes or more away. The people inside will be long dead before they pull on the first leg of their nomex suit.

The DEA and regional drug task forces offer training in clan-lab response. Sending a few selected police officers and fire fighters to these classes can give them the information they need to design a workable response plan.

However, the guys on the ground have to be flexible and willing to cooperate to get the job done.

In my call, the firefighters were willing to work with us and we got the call done as safely as possible under the conditions. Was it perfectly safe? Nope, and that is what we work on for next time.

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.