NYPD Officers Murdered in Retaliation

NYPD patchToday’s assassination of two New York City Police Department officers was reported to be in retaliation for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  The killer ambushed the NYPD officers as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.  The killer posted his intentions on Instagram.  He committed suicide after fleeing the scene into a subway station.

Criminals have been calling for the killing of officers since Ferguson.  The anti-cop rhetoric has increased since the in-custody death of Garner.  Unfortunately, the murder of police officers was predictable.

I urge all officers to step up their situational awareness and team tactics.  We are marked targets.  Do not take your life for granted.  Remember your officer safety basics.  Protect your partners.  This is not the end of this situation.

Prayers to the families of fallen Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos and all those working NYPD.  RIP, brothers.

Stay safe.

Randall

 

Posted in Officer Down, Officer Safety, Tactics | Leave a comment

Florida Fallen Law Enforcement Officers Specialty License Plate

Florida Law Enforcement TagA few weeks ago, a colleague brought in a sample of the Florida Fallen Law Enforcement Officers Specialty License Plate.  A non-profit called the Police and Kids Foundation, Inc. is promoting the presale of these tags.  Their goal is to presell 1,000 of the tags in 24 months to qualify for production and distribution.  After about three months, the total thus far is about 290.

From the Police and Kids Foundation website:

“The Police and Kids Foundation, Inc is a non-profit 501( C) 3 charity that has been set up with two objectives in mind.  First are the immediate needs of a child that we determine is in need of help. The Police and Kids Foundation, Inc. may provide funding so responding officers may purchase items required to help the child in need. This assistance will be determined by the responding officer but may include food, infant supplies, clothing or obtaining a replacement to lost, stolen or damaged property. The ultimate goal is to stabilize the situation quickly with as little trauma to the child as necessary. The Police and Kids Foundation, Inc. may also use funds to support other organizations that support our goals.

“Second, is the creation of a scholarship for at least one senior student of the Pinellas Park High School Criminal Justice Academy. The future of our profession begins with programs such as the Criminal Justice Academy. We support the Criminal Justice Academy and realizes the important correlation between a college education and a successful future.”

This is an email that one of the students sent out that tells more of the story: Continue reading

Posted in Misc., Off Duty | 2 Comments

RAMP–Rapid Access Magazine Pod Review

RAMP Plate CarrierWhen I cruise the vendors’ displays at SWAT Round-Up International, I look for new products.  About three-quarters of the way down the north aisle, I saw something that made me pause:  an AR-15 mag pouch that had the magazine…upside down.  Well, I had to stop and chat with the folks at Gear4Grunts.com.

CEO Doug Mullen is the inventor of the RAMP, or Rapid Access Magazine Pod.  Doug’s military experience and work as a civilian defense contractor led him to ask, “Why are we still carrying rifle magazines the same way we did in WWI?”  In examining the ergonomics of a magazine change, Doug figured out something innovative.

The patent pending RAMP 5.56 orients the magazine in the same way it goes into the gun, bullets up.  During a mag change with the RAMP, the soldier or officer makes just two motions.  Down to pull the mag out and Up to insert into the mag well.  Pretty slick.

If you think about current magazine pouch configurations, whether nylon, Kydex, or polymer, the magazine is carried so that you have to retrieve Continue reading

Posted in Firearms, Protective Armor, Street, SWAT, Technology | Leave a comment

Long Range Police Marksmanship

Sig Sauer P226RThe November 28th police shooting in Austin, Texas, where a mounted patrol officer neutralized an active shooter at over 100 yards with his handgun, reminded me of another active shooter incident 20 years ago.  Both cases reinforce the lesson that police pistol training needs to take place at longer ranges.

Austin Sgt. Adam Johnson engaged suspect Larry McQuilliams, who had unleashed over 200 rounds around the city’s downtown from two rifles, at 312 feet with his duty Smith & Wesson M&P40.  Johnson was on foot and holding the reigns of two horses when he fired a single fatal shot, one-handed, at the suspect.  The bullet hit the McQuilliams in the heart and stopped him.

Decades earlier on June 20, 1994, U.S. Air Force Security Policeman Andrew Brown was on bicycle patrol at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington.  Dean Mellberg was an airman who had been discharged for mental issues.  Mellberg, armed with a rifle, began a shooting rampage at Continue reading

Posted in Firearms, Officer Safety, Street | 1 Comment

…and the Hits Just Keep on Coming…

American-Flag-2048x1536-iPad-wallpaper_1I have about reached my mainstream media saturation point in the last couple of weeks, what with the Ferguson grand jury, the NYPD “chokehold” grand jury, the NYPD stairwell shooting, the Arizona “pill bottle” shooting, and the Cleveland shootings (take your pick).

So much bad information is floating around the Internet and airwaves that it hangs like a toxic smog over L.A.  Law enforcement is seeing a backlash perhaps more insidious than one we saw during the Rodney King incident in 1992.

In 1992, we had rioting, but it was isolated to Los Angeles.  Today, we are seeing demonstrations against the police across the nation.  It saddened me that protesting students chanted,  “Hit him again!” after four Denver Police bike officers were run over by a car Thursday.  Prayers to the officer in critical condition.

Why would two grand juries of decidedly mixed race and gender in different parts of the country rule in favor of the officers in the Ferguson and NYPD cases?  Could it be that they heard all the evidence and reacted in an objective fashion to the legal guidelines placed before them?  Apparently, that is not believable to some.  It must be an intranational conspiracy. Continue reading

Posted in Media, Misc. | 2 Comments

Ruger Stretches the LCRx to 3 Inches

image

Sturm, Ruger & Co. has been busy this year in the revolver department.  At January’s SHOT Show, we got to shoot the LCRx, an external hammer version of their polymer/aluminum wheelgun.  Next came the 9mm moon-clipped LCR model introduced in October.  Out of nowhere, Ruger just announced its new 3″ barreled LCRx in .38 Spl. +P.

“The newest LCRx is the perfect revolver for backpacking, concealed carry, home defense, or just plinking,” said Chris Killoy, Ruger’s President and Chief Operating Officer.  “The 3″ barrel, adjustable sight, and modest weight create a great all-around gun.”

I know Ruger is upscaling an existing platform, which will hold down the production costs, but I wish they had squeezed just one more .38 Special cartridge into the stainless steel cylinder!

On the upshot, this is a really light Continue reading

Posted in Concealed Carry, Firearms | Tagged | 8 Comments

Ferguson Story Twisted by the Media Bias

imageWith 24-hour news cycle focused firmly on the events in Ferguson since the findings of the grand jury, I would like to discuss the media coverage.  In my opinion, the mainstream media spins itself in the direction of solid ratings and the truth be damned.  It has been disappointing to see the public misled by faulty journalism.

Nearly three months after the shooting, I am still hearing about the slow police response to the crime scene.  Four hours for that poor suspect to lie in the street was “an injustice.”  Having investigated many major crime scenes, I can tell you that the photography, examination, and forensic collection at a death scene can take days, not hours.  It is not an injustice to seek to uncover the truth.

Those of us who are detectives and crime scene technicians know that you can only properly process a crime scene once.  It is very meticulous work that is objective, avoids contamination, and seeks to uncover every piece of evidence available.  It cannot be rushed.  You have to get it right the first time.

The deceased cannot be moved until all evidence in and Continue reading

Posted in Media, Misc. | 3 Comments

The Costs of Police Body Cameras

AXON Body - FrontWhat would happen if police departments declined to employ body cameras because of expense?  Not the cost of buying the actual equipment, but the cost of complying with public record requests.  An unforeseen result of Sunshine Laws can potentially immobilize state and municipal governments.

Modern think is that officer-mounted cameras will prevent corruption and misconduct and, conversely, may also exonerate innocent cops.  If every police-to-citizen interaction is recorded, then nothing will be left unproven.  Problem solved!  Perhaps.

An open public records request in Washington state may be a cautionary tale as to how future deployment of body cameras may cause their own demise.  A citizen in Poulsbo, WA made a lawful request for all the recordings from that police department’s fledgling video archive.  Although the sum of the Poulsbo officers’ recorded video amounted to 1,100 hours of “tape” in 6 months, the department estimated that a review of the material for legal redaction and editing by their very limited staff would take four years.

Under Florida State Statute 119, Public Records, active criminal investigative information and active criminal intelligence information are exempt from public records disclosures.  But a vast amount of the incidents captured Continue reading

Posted in Misc., Technology | 4 Comments

Taurus Curve Gets Spanked by Gun Pundits Everywhere

Taurus-Curve-180CRV-1You may have seen this on the Internet recently.  Taurus USA took the popular lightweight polymer .380 ACP carry pistol in a different direction by introducing “contour” to this familiar formula.  The electronic media descended upon the new Taurus Curve .380 autopistol and treated it like Theseus did the Cretan Bull at Marathon:  One bovine D.O.A.

Keyboard pundits are calling this gun a publicity stunt, not a serious self defense firearm.  If you trawl the gunblogs, you will find both sarcasm and derision for this design. From the Curve’s wonky shape to a total lack of iron sights to its holster-less clip of death, not much good is being recorded by word processing programs.

Another target for the writers’ ire is Taurus’ focus on “innovation” when the quality control of their present offerings is at best spotty (well, if you spell that s#!tty).  Ouch.  Apparently there are those Continue reading

Posted in Concealed Carry, Firearms, Technology | Tagged | Leave a comment

Updated: Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Killed, Another Wounded

LCSO Deputy Christopher Smith

As the greater Tallahassee community healed after Thursday’s FSU school shooting, more tragedy struck.  Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher L. Smith, responding to a house fire, was ambushed and murdered as he arrived at the scene Saturday.  The suspect, Curtis Wade Holley, took the deputy’s gun and began firing it as he walked down the 3700 block of Caracas Court.  Deputy Colin Wulfekuhl was shot and wounded by the suspect.

Tallahassee Police Department Officers Mark Lewis and Scott Angulo came on scene.  Ofc. Lewis tried to help Dep. Smith, but was fired upon by Holley.  Tallahassee Fire Department personnel were also shot at and least one fire engine was seen racing backward down the street.  Dep. Wulfekuhl continued to engage the shooter even though he had been hit in his bullet resistant vest.  Holley was subsequently killed by Ofc. Angulo.

Holley apparently harbored anti-government opinions and sought to ambush and kill as many first responders as he could.  The house fire was set with the intent to draw in his targets.

“These first responders performed their duty bravely, with courage and with honor.  They are the reason that this casualty count is not higher than what it is,” said LCSO Lt. James McQuaig.  The officers and deputies were credited with saving the lives of the firefighters and innocent citizens.

Dep. Smith, 47, is survived by a wife and two children.  He had been an LCSO patrol deputy since 2009.  Funeral arrangements will be announced by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.

Randall

Posted in Officer Safety, Street | 4 Comments

Shooting at FSU

FSU Police PatchI had something of an emotional reaction when I heard about the shooting at Florida State University this morning.  It was a tragedy in a place I once called home.  You see, I graduated from FSU in the mid-1980’s.  Strozier Library sits on Landis Green east of Landis and Deviney Residence Halls, where I lived for many years.  Strozier was my second home.

After something as traumatic as a school shooting, we tend to hear people ask, “Why?”  They want a rational explanation in an attempt to seek closure.  My feeling is that the “why” is unimportant.  There is no rational explanation for violence targeting the innocent and defenseless.  “Why” won’t heal the wounded or bring back the dead.

My thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families, as well as the shaken student body and staff.  I am sure that disbelief and a sense of a loss of security are being felt by those in Tallahassee right now.  Time will eventually dull those feelings.

My thanks go out to the Florida State University Police Department for their quick response to the incident.  I am sure TPD and LCSO were en route as well.  We all train for such a call.  Glad you guys were there when it came out.

Randall

 

Posted in Misc. | 2 Comments

Photos from SWAT Round-Up International 2014

IMG_6438I took the day off and drove over to SWAT Round-Up International on Wednesday to check out the vendors and watch some of the competition.  The day’s event was the Officer Rescue.  I have competed in all five events over past years, so I enjoyed hanging around to watch others have the same fun!

While I was at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Range, I hooked up with the guys from my SWAT team.  Our team did not compete this year.  As a matter of fact, we had not been on the field since 2006, which was the last time I competed.  Since we have so many FNG’s on the team, I spent some of my time explaining to them how Round-Up works.  They seemed fired up to go next year and our commander, who was also at the event, said money was earmarked for 2015.

Suffice it to say that SWAT Round-Up is a valuable team building and problem-solving event with mandatory classroom sessions.  Throw in networking and consulting with other tactical professionals and you have an eye-opening learning experience.  The winner of SWAT Round-Up 2014 was Lakeland PD (Blue Team).  Congratulations, boys!  The rest of this article is pic-heavy. Continue reading

Posted in SWAT | Tagged | 2 Comments

Coolest Vehicle at SWAT Round-Up 2014

SWAT BarracudaAs I was leaving the range at SWAT Round-Up International today, I saw this fully functional vintage operator delivery vehicle, a 1969 Dodge Barracuda.  It wore its original tactical OD green and black colors.  In its day, the convertible top allowed for high speed deployment of the “Special Weapons And Tactics” officers as the ‘Cuda roared up to the scene in a cloud of acrid, vision-obscuring tire smoke.

At a venue where today’s armored vehicles are coated in metric tons of plate steel, yards of ballistic glass, and gallons of flat black paint, this vehicle stood out as an old school witness to how The Fuzz used to show up for the fight in stripped-down style.  Lock and load, man! Continue reading

Posted in Humor, SWAT, Technology | Tagged | 1 Comment

Veterans Day

MemorialI would like to thank all veterans of the United States Armed Services for your honorable commitment, dedication, and service to our Country on this Veterans Day.  Last weekend, my wife and I were able to attend the unveiling of veterans’ memorial in a local park.  There were hundreds in attendance, to include many of those who have served.

It was sobering to listen to the guest speaker, a retired one-star General, as he relayed his thoughts on service and history.  I was proud that so many generations had assembled to show our thanks and respect to the assembled soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.

In a moment that could not even have been scripted, a real bald eagle flew over the ceremony.  Truly stirring.

Randall

Posted in Misc. | 4 Comments

Back in Uniform for a Shift

IMG_2359 copyUniform PatrolWe had a minor supervisory crisis last Sunday night and I was asked to fill in for the Evening Shift.  Okay, I hadn’t been in a street uniform in over a year, but I offered to help out.  My equipment was mostly right where I had left it.  I would be the only sergeant for the shift, but, hey, I’ve been there many times before.

Sunday afternoon arrived.  I had borrowed the keys to a fellow sergeant’s marked Chevy Tahoe.  When I parked at the PD, I loaded my equipment: admin files, statute book, traffic vest, spare flashlight, plate carrier with 2 rifle mags and med kit, AR-15, and shotgun.  I fired up the truck’s computer.  And I stared blankly at it for a few minutes before I coaxed it into full operation.

After preparing the day’s roster, I sat at the read off table and awaited my fifteen officers.  Their reactions to my presence at roll call were amusing.  Since this was a very young squad, most knew me as one of the detective sergeants, but they had never seen me in blues.  The rest were new when I last worked the road.  A few looked puzzled as they took seats.

I introduced myself and covered the assignments and officer safety issues for the day.  I sincerely told the officers that I though they had the most important job at the police department.  I thanked them for their efforts.  Finally, I made a couple of snarky inside jokes to those with whom I had previously worked.  “All right, let’s go out and have a safe shift and some fun.” Continue reading

Posted in Street | 2 Comments