Intrusion Alarm

Intrusion AlarmFrom my desk, which clearly lacks a light bar, siren, steering wheel, or other useful device, I was scanning the live calls-for-service feature on my computer this morning. I saw a couple of our rookie call signs at a residential intrusion alarm. They had asked for the radio channel and a few minutes later released it, saying they were 10-4 at the scene. When I read the incident notes, I saw that they had found an unlocked slider and entered to check the residence.

Were they developing good officer safety habits? Did they announce their presence and authority before entering, as we teach them in FTO? I hoped they maintained a solid fighting pair, moved slowly and Continue reading

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National Police Week and Heroes Plaza in Tampa

Heroes Plaza plaque 1This week is National Police Week and the National Peace Officers Memorial Day was Sunday, May 15. The 35th Annual Memorial Service was held yesterday in Washington, D.C. It was fitting that I was able to visit Heroes Plaza along the Tampa Riverwalk over the weekend.

The Heroes Plaza was dedicated on Sept. 11, 2009. It honors all those in uniform who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country–soldiers, airmen, sailors, police officers, fire fighters, and emergency responders. It was paid for by the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

Inscribed on granite plaques are the names of law enforcement and firefighters who have lost their lives on duty in Hillsborough County. There are quite a few. I know the stories of several of the fallen Tampa officers whose names I viewed.

Sgt. Gary Pritcher was killed while Continue reading

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Walmarts Burden Local Police Departments

imageAre you “lucky” enough to have a Walmart in your jurisdiction? If so, then the following won’t surprise you much…but it might shock those who don’t work in law enforcement. Tampa Bay Times reporters did a bit of research and found out that Walmart stores are a heavy drain on police agencies and taxpayer dollars.

The TBT found that in 2014 there were 16,794 calls for service among the 53 Walmarts in the greater Tampa Bay area, to include Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando counties. Fifteen police agencies were asked for data. TBT researchers excluded traffic crashes, medical calls, directed patrols, business checks, and other calls not directly associated with crimes committed at the stores (total number of Walmart calls screened by TBT was 29,669). Here are some specifics:

  • 7081 Theft calls for service
  • 9713 Other calls for service
  • 3965 Theft arrests
  • 402 Other arrests

Continue reading

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Not One of Ours

Really, dude?Really, dude?  The bike and cable lock can be lifted straight up over the sign.  Don’t know how I know that.

Randall

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Testing First Tactical’s Executive Briefcase, Copperhead Knife, and Small Duty Light

First Tactical Executive Briefcase workAfter I had written an article about First Tactical’s new Diamondback folding knife, I was contacted by a company rep who asked if I would like to test and evaluate some of their products. Why, sure! While I was talking to the fellow on the phone, I was staring at my old, old Blackhawk travel bag that had been my daily carry for the last decade or two. Can I test one of your nylon bags? I asked.

I went to the First Tactical™ website and perused their offerings. Not wanting to press for too much, I pitched him the idea of a T&E for a briefcase, small folding knife, and flashlight as an EDC package. The rep liked the idea and shipped me all three. By way of disclaimer, I did not pay for the items, but neither did I solicit First Tactical for an article. I assured the rep, I would be writing a fair review of all the items.

first-tacticalFirst Tactical vets their product designs through law enforcement, fire fighters, and emergency medical personnel for real world functionality. Marketing directly to the consumer, they keep prices down by eliminating middlemen and distributors. First Tactical uses first responders to field test their gear and even gives $100 credits to those who sign up to evaluate.

My existing Blackhawk bag was much like a small duffel with one large compartment, one large side pocket, and one small side pocket. I increased its functionality by purchasing two of their small shaving kits for added interior storage, but it was still not very user friendly.

The First Tactical Executive Briefcase I received had fairly gorged on “utility.” I require exterior pouches to have zipper closures for security purposes and not loose-topped flaps. The briefcase has two large, zippered exterior front compartments with interior slip organizers and an HK-style snaplink strap for keys. MOLLE webbing and hook and loop faces the exterior of the right compartment.

First Tactical Executive Briefcase pocketsDirectly behind these compartments is a covert pocket sealed by Continue reading

Posted in Concealed Carry, Detectives, Firearms, Flashlights, Knives, Off Duty, Tactical Bags | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

May the Fourth be with you!

It’s COPS in a galaxy far, far away.  Just watch it.  You’ll recognize some things.  Happy Star Wars Day!

Randall

Posted in Humor | 2 Comments

Magnetactical Belt Clip Lends a Hand

Magnetactical GlockUpdated:  Devin sent me a slightly redesigned version of the Magnetactical belt clip, so I am re-posting this article.  Here is a photo of the old and new style.  The newer belt clip has a squared-off upper and lower edge, which will grip items better than the rounded type.  I like it.

New Magnetactical belt clip

Devin Stutz is a sort of modern day Geomancer, one who divines things from the very properties of the Earth.  Bear with me.  While at his police range sessions, Stutz pondered how to improve his one-handed and support-handed reloads and manipulations for the pistol.  As if drawn to a solution with his “boots in the dirt,” Stutz came up with the power of magnetism from which he conjured his Magnetactical belt clip.

The Magnetactical clip is a duty belt-mounted rare earth magnet that serves as a positive platform for the slide of a handgun.  It holds the pistol during a one-handed reload should the shooter be rendered injured or less-than-capable.  The latter could include the officer being burdened with a ballistic shield or other tool that would interfere with normal two-handed operations.

When working through a support-hand holster draw, an officer practices a simulated incapacitation of his or her dominant hand.  Since the orientation of the firearm is backward during the exercise, the officer has to regrip the gun.  This can be a precarious and dangerous proposition.  The Magnetactical clip can facilitate a Continue reading

Posted in Firearms, Officer Safety, Tactics, Technology | Leave a comment

ThinBlueHousekeeping

ThinBlueFloridaHi, folks, Randall here.  I’m sorry that I have not been around as much as usual.  My real job became much busier with a lieutenant’s assessment (I didn’t get it), an Internal Affairs sergeant assessment (I didn’t get it), some assorted projects in Property and Economic Crimes, and prepping for my department’s CALEA on-site for Gold Standard accreditation (whew).

We have been working with other county police agencies to update our secondhand dealers to the new state law changes for their businesses.  Dealers will now be required to photograph property in the transactions; increase the holding period for precious metals or gems, jewelry, antiques, artworks, or goods purchased through an automated kiosk to 30 days; and change some of their storage procedures.

If you saw my article on the Riggs Shield, we had a visit from the vendor.  My department is considering purchasing one for each marked police car through Local Option Sales Tax money.  I am helping to work up a test and evaluation period for the shields.

And in the last several weeks, some dear friends of mine have retired from our agency.  I have known them all for nearly 30 years and the collective loss of experience to the department is staggering.  But the parties were good…

With any luck, things will cool down and I’ll be here a little more.  I have been toying with re-posting some of the more popular articles from the last four years, since they can get lost in the maelstrom of the Internets!

Things seem to have gotten more dangerous on the streets.  Stay safe and watch your partners’ backs.

Randall

Posted in Misc. | 2 Comments

Hillsborough Deputy Killed by Wrong Way Driver

imageHillsborough Sheriff’s Deputy John Robert Kotfila, Jr. lost his life overnight when his marked cruiser was struck head-on by a vehicle driven west in the eastbound lanes of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway early this morning.  Dep. Kotfila is the first Florida law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in 2016.  The errant driver also died as a result of the crash.

Sadly, Dep. Kotfila was just 30 years old.  He had been on the job at HCSO for six years. Funeral arrangements will be announced by the agency.

Randall

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Tampa Police Releases Body Cam Videos

The Tampa Police Department produced this short video of incidents from their recent body camera pilot program.  The video shows a bit of what we experience out on the street. Thank you, TPD.

Randall

Posted in Legal, Media, Taser | 1 Comment

Florida Open Carry Bill is Dead

Open CarryFlorida Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Miguel Diaz de la Portilla killed the open firearms carry bill (SB 200), along with the college campus carry and airport terminal carry bills.  The Miami Republican blocked all three bills from being heard in committee, effectively euthanizing them for this legislative session.

Diaz de la Portilla expressed concerns about public safety and unintended consequences of the open carry bill.  He is taking much heat from Second Amendment supporters and much praise from the pro-gun control faction.

In a previous article, I stated, “I support the citizens of Florida Continue reading

Posted in Concealed Carry, Firearms | 5 Comments

Five Police Officers Shot to Death in Four Days

black badgeA Riverdale, Ga. police officer was shot and killed this morning around 11:15 a.m.  He is the fifth officer to be slain by gunfire since Monday.  Although the total number of LEO’s killed thus far in 2016 is down, this week’s deaths mark an increase of 600% over firearms-related deaths from the same period last year.

On Monday, Deputy David Greer of the Mesa County, Colo. Sheriff’s Office stopped out with an armed juvenile, who shot Greer to death before back-up officers could arrive.  Deputy Greer is survived by a wife and two children.

Yesterday, Harford County, Md. Deputies Mark Logsdon and Patrick Dailey responded to a wanted subject at a Panera restaurant.  Dailey was shot inside the restaurant as he talked to the suspect.  Logsdon was fatally wounded in the parking lot.  Both deputies were married and had children.

Also yesterday, Officer Jason Moser of the Fargo, N.D. Police Department was on the perimeter of an armed, barricaded suspect call, when he was shot to death by the offender.  Ofc. Moser, who was taken off of life support today, had a wife and two children.

Finally, Riverdale PD Major Greg Barney was a perimeter officer at a search warrant.  The suspect fled his residence toward Barney and shot the Major in the chest.  Barney leaves behind a family.

This is not just some statistical uptick.  Good police officers have been murdered.  Let’s all practice the best situational awareness and officer safety that we can each minute in the field.  Stay sharp, stay safe.

Randall

Posted in Officer Down | 1 Comment

Riggs Shield for Mobile Police Protection

Riggs Shield OfficerThis week, one of my detectives, who has a relative in law enforcement product sales, brought a ballistic shield to work that was specifically designed for vehicle ambush protection by California Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Riggs.  It is called the Riggs Shield and was conceived after one of Riggs’ partners was attacked in his cruiser.

The Riggs Shield mounts on the inside of the driver’s door of a police car and is quickly and easily removed in the event the officer is attacked while seated.  By grabbing the handle and pushing the shield forward and up, it pulls away for immediate use.

Rated at NIJ Ballistics Level IIIa and Stab Level III, the Riggs Shield can provide emergency protection from a variety of threats.  It has a section of Picatinny rail for affixing a flashlight on the handle.  A hook and loop nylon strap is included, which can give extra stability when holding the Riggs Shield.  It also allows for two-handed reloading of a pistol.

Riggs Shield in VehicleAfter examining the test and evaluation model, we took it outside to Continue reading

Posted in Florida Companies, Protective Armor, Street, Technology | 1 Comment

Police Speeder

Once, I fielded a call from an angry motorist following one of our officers who was speeding home.  Immediately, I called the cop and told him to knock it off and see me in my office (small cubicle) the next day.  At readoff, I told the troops to think of themselves as Wonder Woman in her invisible jet when in your cruiser–everyone sees everything you do!  Some of them got the reference.

This is a viral video of a “citizen” traffic stop of a speeding Miami-Dade police officer on his way to work.

Come on, guys.  We can do better than this.

Randall

 

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Aaron on SHOT Show Handguns

Kimber K6s revolverRandall, I missed you at SHOT this year.  I was able to shoot the Kimber K6s and was so glad I did.  Though compact, and just a little short for a meaty grip, the K6s still felt good in my hands.  The sights are a bit low profile, but I was still able to obtain a sight picture rather quickly.

Now for the best part.  The trigger is absolutely amazing!  Literally the most smooth DA revolver trigger I’ve ever laid finger on.  I’m not as big a revolver shooter as many, but I have had the opportunity to spin several wheel guns.  This trigger was the best, by far, without question!

Accuracy was also very good.  Recoil was very manageable, with surprisingly low Continue reading

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