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.

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New Laser Speed Devices: Analysis of Performance and Features

Laser Traffic Enforcement

We’ve heard this before. You need to know what laser guns can do and if they meet your officers’ needs and not just your budget. Here is a performance guide:

Police laser guns have been with us since Laser Technology, Inc. introduced its 20/20 Marksman in 1991. These first laser guns were heavy (almost five pounds) and could only produce a single shot, not a continual tracking history! Officers continually complained about the laser gun’s weight because it was built like a tank and felt like it. It was also challenged by the courts; i.e., New Jersey Superior Court, Judge Reginald Stanton, cite as: 314 N.J. Super. 233, 714 A. 2d 381. Matter of Admissibility of Motor Speed Readings Produced by LTI Marksman 20/20 Laser Speed Detection System, March 1998.

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D.U.I. Investigations – Final Safety and Other Considerations

HGN SFST
Image courtesy of Jeffrey Smith

[Ed. note – This is the final part of a six part DUI Training series. Prior articles covered One Leg StandHorizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and TurnVehicle in Motion and Personal Contact.]

In my previous articles on D.U.I. investigations I tried to refresh and condense the basics of locating, contacting, and testing suspected impaired drivers. In no way should an officer read over my articles and feel like they’re trained up on NHTSA approved D.U.I. investigations. To get proper training you need to attend a 24 to 40- hour course that specifically teaches the NHTSA approved principles and includes practical exercises.

My hope is that the articles will encourage those who do not have that training to obtain it, and to renew the interest of those who have been trained to once again go on the hunt for those careless drivers that wreak havoc on our roadways.

This article is meant to look outside of the standard training and refresher information and consider officer safety and other important considerations when conducting D.U.I. investigations.

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Bust a Cap Window Breaker

bust a cap

On various calls I have been forced to break either car or building windows. I have used either a Monadnock PR-24 or a Monadnock AutoLock, the former was past issue and the latter is current issue. Neither was designed for this task. I have a scar to prove it.

Bust a Cap, Inc. is a company that manufactures a device that serves as an end-cap to several standard issue flashlights and batons. The cap replaces the threaded end. It is made of special steel that is made specifically for breaking glass.

Bust a Caps, which are made in the USA, are available for Streamlight and Maglite flashlights. They are also made for ASP batons. Because my Autolock has a release button on the tail, it is not compatible with the Bust a Cap.

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Judge: Red-Light Tickets Unconstitutional

Red-Light Tickets UnconstitutionalOfficer written red-light tickets are unconstitutional according to a Florida judge.  The ruling issued by a Broward County judge stated that the penalties for officer written tickets were overly harsh when compared to tickets issued automatically by red-light cameras for the exact same offense.

In Florida, the camera-issued tickets have a small fine, whereas the officer-issued tickets have a much higher fine, plus points on the driver’s license.

According to the judge, “This violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, as well as the Florida Constitution.”

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Traffic Stop Safety: Use of Light and Movement

Traffic Stop SafetyIn previous articles I’ve talked about radio procedures and patrol car placement. Something that is just as critical in making safe car stops is the use of lighting and our movements to and from violator vehicles.

In the In-line and Off-set methods of patrol car placement the officer has full, or at least partial use of the take-down lights on the light bar. In the Angled or Canted method the officer can only count on a minimal amount of light from the take-downs, however the overall lighting effect may still be blinding to the violator.

If you use the Angled/Canted method like I do, where do you put your spotlight? I’m personally a fan of putting the spotlight on the rear window of the violator’s vehicle. This method provides me the greatest idea of what is going on inside, especially when there are multiple occupants.

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