Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Killed, Another Wounded

Leon_County,_FL_Sheriff_patchAs the greater Tallahassee community heals after Thursday’s FSU school shooting, more tragedy has struck.  A Leon County Sheriff’s deputy, responding to a house fire, was ambushed and murdered as he arrived at the scene this morning.  The suspect took the deputy’s gun and began firing it as he walked down the 3700 block of Caracas Court.  Another deputy was shot and wounded by the suspect.

An off duty Tallahassee Police Department officer, who lived in the neighborhood, donned his bullet resistant vest, armed himself, and engaged the shooter, killing him.  The names of the deputies and officers involved have not been released, but I will update this when more information is available.


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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.



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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

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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

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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.


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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

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New Rock Island Armory .22 TCM Pistols

Rock Island Armory Single Stack 22 TCMRock Island Armory, a division of Armscor, is releasing their new single stack .22 TCM caliber 1911-style pistols.  I shot the original version .22 TCM’s at SHOT just a few years ago.  I even got to interview the .22 TCM’s inventor, Fred Craig, out in the sand.

Pushing a 40 grain bullet along over 2,000 fps, this pistol/caliber combination makes for a very accurate and flat-shooting gun.  At the outdoor range, I was able to make consistent hits on small steel at 50+ yards with a full-sized .22 TCM 1911.  I owed this to the crisp trigger and speedy arc-less round.  The new TCM pistols come with a 9mm conversion kit for versatility and lower cost use.


October 28th (Las Vegas, NV) – Leading 1911 pistol manufacturer, Rock Island Armory began US distribution this October of four new additions to their .22 TCM 1911 family.

The four new firearms chambered for .22 TCM include:
• Midsize 1911 TAC II – 10 capacity (.22 TCM)
• Full-Size 1911 TAC II – 10 capacity (.22 TCM)
• Midsize 2011 Tactical – 10 capacity (.22 TCM)
• Full-Size 2011 Tactical – 10 capacity (.22 TCM)

Continue reading

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Lone Wolves Are a New Threat

imageWith this year’s terrorist attacks on the British soldier in Woolrich, England, the Canadian soldiers run down by an extremist, the shootings at the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Canadian Parliament, and the hatchet attack on four New York City Police Department officers last week, we can assume that radical Islamists are targeting uniformed soldiers and police officers.  There is yet another cause for vigilance when working behind the badge.

The calls from the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) and Islamic extremists to attack Infidels (that’s us) have inspired emboldened fundamentalist, or “lone wolf,” attacks on the symbolic warriors of Western values.  Law enforcement and Military personnel in our Country must prepare for these lethal assaults, both on and off duty.

We have an advantage over uniformed military Continue reading

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An Officer’s Opinion of Florida Amendment 2–Medical Marijuana

Amendment 2 MarijuanaWith the upcoming general election looming, I thought I would weigh in on 2014 Florida Constitutional Amendment 2, Use of Marijuana Under Certain Medical Conditions, from a law enforcement officer’s perspective.  I have read the full language of the amendment, as well as the ballot language.  They are included at the end of the article if you wish to peruse them.

Frankly, I am alarmed that under Article X, Section 29 (a) Public Policy sections (1), (2), and (3), all patients, personal caregivers, physicians, and marijuana treatment centers will be free from any criminal or civil liability under Florida law as it relates to the amendment.  Of the seventeen states legalizing some form of marijuana, Florida would be the only one conferring civil immunity.  Any reasonable person should be wary of such extreme blanket protections without yet knowing the future consequences of unwritten legislation and procedures.

Following the amendment’s Public Policy section, the bulk of the remaining amendment language instructs the Department of Health to build a marijuana production and distribution infrastructure, but the amendment gives no specific methodology or parameters for such an undertaking.  Another cause for pause when dealing with such a complicated undertaking.

I will give you an example.  Who can be a “personal caregiver?” Continue reading

Posted in Medical, Misc., Politics | 2 Comments

New ActivEdge Card Reader Defeats Skimmers

Diebold Inc.’s new ActivEdge™ Secure Card Reader is one attempt to stop identity theft at the terminal.  ActivEdge reads the credit/debit card via an internal motorized head that moves along the top edge of the card, which is inserted lengthwise in.  Diebold says the ActivEdge will:

• Prevent External Skimming devices from reading card data by requiring long-edge card insertion.
• Mitigate Internal Skimming through modification of the card reader with an encrypting read head.
• Eliminate capture and tracking of card data via USB Sniffing by encrypting communication to the CPU.
• Deter full Card Reader Substitution by pairing each ActivEdge™ card reader to a specific terminal.

ActivEdge prevents the card being scanned during its insertion and Continue reading

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Dogs Win on K9 Fight Night!

K9 Hurricane, K9 Jordan. Secret Service photo.

K9 Hurricane, K9 Jordan. Secret Service photo.

As a former police dog handler, last Wednesday’s White House intruder incident made me both proud and angry.  K9 Hurricane and K9 Jordan performed their duties well.  The suspect, whom I won’t name out of thorough disdain, pissed me off with his disrespectful stunt.

In the widely shown video, Jordan takes a pretty hard front kick to the head from the suspect.  Hurricane is punched repeatedly.  The dogs stay in the fight until the Secret Service uniforms arrive.  This fast-paced perimeter protection is perfect for the dogs’ talents.

The speed, tenaciousness, and ferocity of the Belgian Malinois make them ideal as security assets for open areas such as the White House Complex.  The K9 Unit’s main job is to detain, or at least obstruct, an intruder attempting to penetrate the secure space.

The dog is a sort of less lethal smart bullet, homing Continue reading

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New Rifle, Old Friends

TrainingIt was a nice fall day and although I had taken some time off from work, I rolled out of the vacation sack early to put on some OD BDU’s and boots to join the SWAT guys for a range qualification day.  I got a kitchen pass from the Missus!  Man, reliving old times.

When I came off the road and into detectives, I gave up my AR-15 to an ex-SWAT guy working Midnight Shift.  I figured he needed it more than I did.  I still have my Remington 870 with rifled sights, SpeedFeed stock, and Surefire foregrip light in the trunk of my unmarked.  While the shotgun is nice, it’s no carbine.

My bureau has an AR assigned to two detectives, but my LT said he wanted me to take it since I am tactically trained and they are not.  Okay, Boss, whatever you say!  In my office, I examined the gun, a Rock River Arms LAR-15 with aftermarket light kit.  Hmmm.  Only one 30 round mag in the bag–with 15 live rounds in it.  There was exactly nothing else accompanying the gun in the nylon case.  A shaky start. Continue reading

Posted in Firearms, SWAT | 2 Comments

New Aimpoint Carbine Optic for your AR-15

imageAimpoint, Inc. is introducing a carbine-specific red dot optic for the modern sporting rifle, a.k.a. the AR-15.  Unlike some optics, this one co-witnesses with your AR’s iron sights for reliable performance.  I have my own (different brand) optic set up this way on my personal rifle.  Batteries be damned!

The price point of the Aimpoint ACO is very tempting.  Details are below.


Chantilly, VA, October 20, 2014 – Aimpoint, the originator and worldwide leader in electronic red dot sighting technology, has announced the introduction of a new sight designed specifically for modern sporting rifles such as the AR-15. This new product, known as the Aimpoint Carbine Optic (ACO), expands upon the company’s already proven designs and focuses these features into a high quality, entry priced optic.

This new sight was developed with the modern sporting rifle owner in mind, and the ACO is ready to mount and shoot directly out of the box. A full suite of branded accessories, such as front and rear flip covers, an anti-reflection filter, and spare battery holders are available from dealers, and allow users to customize the sight to fit their specific requirements. The ACO pairs a 30mm aluminum alloy sight tube with an extremely rugged fixed height mount designed to provide absolute co-witness with AR-15 backup iron sights. A two minute of angle (2 MOA) red dot is utilized to allow maximum target acquisition speed and accuracy at all distances. The ACO is completely waterproof, and offers one year of constant-on use from a single 1/3N battery.

“The Aimpoint Carbine Optic is the smart choice for today’s modern sporting rifle owner,” said Brian Lisankie, President of Aimpoint Inc. “By choosing this optic, shooters get a premium Aimpoint sight at an extremely friendly price point. If you own an AR-15 rifle, the ACO is exactly what you need to complete the package.”

The Aimpoint Carbine Optic has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $393, and will be available from Aimpoint dealers in mid-to late October. For more information on Aimpoint and the new ACO, visit the company’s website at: www.aimpoint.com or contact:

Kristi Drawe
Aimpoint, Inc.
Phone : (703) 263-9795 ext 226


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BulletSafe Vest Vs. .50 AE Desert Eagle

I met Tom Nardone, owner of BulletSafe Body Armor, at SHOT Show earlier this year.  I wrote an article about BulletSafe’s extremely cost effective $299.00 Level IIIA body armor for BlueSheepdog.com (BulletSafe on BlueSheepdog).  Above is a video of this vest taking on a .50 Action Express caliber from a Desert Eagle.  The .50 AE can be loaded very hot.  The bullet used here is a Magnum Research 350 grain JSP.

Ballistics101.com states the specs for the Magnum Research .50 AE in 350 grain put it at 1,270 FPS, delivering 1,253 FPE at the muzzle.  While this is far below the punch given by the .454 Casull, .460 S&W Magnum, or .500 S&W Magnum, it is comparable to a hot .44 Magnum.  Whatever the numbers, I don’t want to get hit in the chest with this puppy.



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Deadly Force Policy Change in Miami Beach

miami-beach-police-flThe Miami Beach Police Department is poised to change its deadly force policy to now prohibit an officer from discharging his or her firearm at a vehicle unless an occupant displays a weapon–not to include the car–or shoots at them.  This move stems from a 2011 incident involving officers shooting at a motorist who tried to run over five Miami Beach police officers.

That driver, Raymond Herisse, was shot by officers of both the Miami Beach and Hialeah police departments after his violent behavior during Urban Beach Week.  Herisse died at the scene.  A video of the end of the incident went viral.  The last Miami Beach Police Department shooting involving a suspect and vehicle took place in 1993.

Despite three years having elapsed, the Herisse shooting is still an on-going criminal investigation, though the MBPD reported to FDLE that the shooting was justified.  Because it is an incomplete investigation and due to the fact that I was not there, I will not comment on the shooting.  However, I do have something to say about the policy change.

Adopting a restrictive policy that interferes with officers defending themselves and citizens endangers lives.  Leaders should be cautious not to pit civil liability against public safety in a decision such as this.  The Herisse case is undecided.  In the previous police shooting of Clement Lloyd in 1993, the officer was acquitted.  These are the two controversial incidents that drove the decision to alter policy.

Years ago, I was in charge of our SWAT element when a Vice Unit buy-bust went sour.  The suspect tried to Continue reading

Posted in Defensive Tactics, Officer Safety, Politics, Street, SWAT, Tactics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment