Numbers Matter, But They Are Not Magic!

During my 18-year career I’ve watched hundreds of videos of line of duty officer actions. I’ve even got a few of mine that I’ve transferred to DVD from the old VHS tapes. Whether the officers prevailed or evil overcame, each of those videos have been beneficial in reminding us of the threats that can materialize at any moment. There are perhaps no greater training aids available.

This video of a melee between Cottonwood, Arizona police, and a family committed to resistance. This nearly 8-minute brawl will ultimately involve every level of force on the continuum, including an officer-involved shooting, and demonstrates trauma care. Despite the gut-wrenching results, this video is truly an amazing educational and training opportunity.

[Read more…]

Life Saving Mindset – Thinking Tactics Outside of the Box!

swat team armor

Known threats are easier to prepare for and focus upon.

The Slippery Slope of Complacency

Let’s be honest. A law enforcement officer’s job is about 90% routine, and about 10% highly dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations. This is almost universally true across the spectrum of American law enforcement, whether you work for a major metropolitan agency, or the small, rural hometown. It’s just the nature of the job. And it is the root of complacency.

[Read more…]

BSD Challenge – Officer Ambushed During Traffic Stop

This article is a continuation of the 2015 BSD Challenge where we challenged officers to view at least one officer involved shooting (OIS) video per week. In an effort to spur that challenge we’ve decided to add our own videos from time to time. We will include instructional discussion points that we hope officers will ponder and perhaps implement to make themselves safer in the performance of their duties.

Our hope is that BSD readers will accept this challenge. By constantly refreshing ourselves on the dangers that are ever-present we will gain valuable insight and understanding into the dynamics of lethal force encounters. In so many shooting scenarios the events explode into action in mere fractions of seconds, and all too often the officer was just moments before involved in duties that appeared to be routine.

[Read more…]

2015 BlueSheepDog Challenge Q1!

BlueSheepdog Logo, blue, medium

This is the first BlueSheepDog Challenge to our readers and I hope it inspires you to go the extra mile to be as prepared as you can be for the ultimate test. These challenges will come out periodically and focus on critical skills necessary for an officer to “win” the battle of the street and go home intact at the end of their shift.

[Read more…]

Motivational Police Videos

Usually we don’t focus our posts on videos, and instead add videos to support our instructional narrative.   However, recently there have been a few videos posted to YouTube that are so moving and inspirational that they need to be seen by a wide audience of law enforcement officers and their families.

Your job is important. Critically important! Your commitment to your duty is important, and your sacrifices are not in vain. Remember, it is only because of the thin blue line that the darkness and evil of society does not overcome the good of society. You are Sheepdogs, and that is the whole purpose of this site – provide you with the training, information, and tools to protect the sheep!

[Read more…]

In Car Police Cameras

In car police cameras have radically altered our understanding of officer safety.  In the past two decades, the videos coming from squad cars have made a huge impact on how instructors present training in the academy and have made lasting impressions on the psyche of many a rookie and seasoned cop.

In Car Police Cameras

Before the widespread use of video cameras in police cars, trainers had to rely on the involved officers to relay the events.  Unfortunately, not all of the officers survived the confrontations to tell what happened.  Those law enforcement officers who were successful still suffered from perceptual narrowing and other effects of the incident, which prevented them from always giving a clear picture of the incident.

As I have mentioned in other articles, the dash cam video of South Carolina State Trooper Mark Coates murder made a significant impact on how I looked at law enforcement, and how I handled myself on the road.  Likewise, videos showing the murders of Nacogdoches County (TX) Constable Darrell Lunsford and Laurens County (GA) Deputy Sheriff Kyle Dinkheller also changed me forever.  These videos, and many more, changed how many trainers taught traffic stops and the use of force.

[Read more…]

KCPD Badge Placement Study 2011-2012

In the last few months I was made aware of an incredibly important study conducted by the Firearms Section of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department.  The results of that study should have far-reaching implications for any officer who engages in enforcement action during an undercover assignment or while off-duty in plain clothes.

KCPD Shooting Study

The Background for Testing

Unfortunately there are several tragic cases in the history of law enforcement where a responding on-duty officer mistakes an undercover or off-duty officer for an armed subject and shoots the other officer.  The National Law Enforcement Memorial has recorded over 100 undercover officers killed in the line of duty, some of whom were unintentionally killed by other officers.  This does not take into account probably hundreds of more officers that have been wounded by friendly fire, or “blue on blue”.  

A recent example was when undercover Oakland, CA police officer William Wilkins had cornered a suspect in a stolen vehicle and had him at gun point.  Two rookie patrol officers arrived on scene and mistakenly shot Officer Wilkins killing him.

[Read more…]

Dodging Bullets

Police Pointing gun thin

In recent weeks, the officers in my department have avoided very dangerous situations through sheer luck.

In one case, a relatively minor hit and run became a bit more serious when the at-fault driver fled from officers in a vehicle.  Policy prohibited a pursuit in these circumstances, and officers followed up later in the shift.  Only after approaching the suspect’s residence did they discover the suspect was inside and armed with at least a rifle, shotgun and pistol.

It seems the suspect, a combat veteran with no known prior criminal history, had intended on ambushing officers as they came up to his home.  Without getting into the specifics, luck or the protection of divine providence prevented this from turning into a bloodbath.

[Read more…]

Dismal Toll of Police Stress

“Policing,” writes Dr. John Violanti, one of the leading researchers of law enforcement stress, “is psychologically stressful work filled with danger, high demands, ambiguity in encounters, human misery, and exposure to death.”

And that may be the least of its dark side.

“Law enforcement is one of a number of often stressful professions that has attracted the interest of researchers who are compelled to study the stressors involved in a particular line of work and their impact on those engaged in the profession,” says Dr. Bill Lewinski, Executive Director of the Force Science Institute. “For a significant number of cops, the worst part of the job will likely be its long-term negative impact on personal health and wellbeing, ranging from heart problems to cancer to suicide as identified in recent research.”

[Read more…]

When You Don’t See What’s Visible

Experiments mirroring a real-world case that resulted in an officer going to prison for perjury have confirmed that a trick of the mind called inattentional blindness–the failure to see something important that is clearly within your field of view–can occur under stressful circumstances on the street.

The officer’s conviction was described in detail in a book called The Invisible Gorilla, which Force Science News reviewed in Transmission #160 [10/8/10. Click here to read it]. He’d been in foot pursuit of a shooting suspect at 0200 in Boston and had run past three fellow officers who were brutally beating a black male. In a public furor that arose over the beating, the officer insisted he didn’t see the incident even though he ran right past it.

[Read more…]