It was with great sorrow that I awoke this morning and read of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history in Orlando. At this time there are fifty dead and at least as many wounded. I have friends at both the Orlando Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and I am certain the officers and deputies responded with bravery.
Only Friday, OPD arrived at the shooting of a pop star and subsequent suicide of her murderer. Twice this weekend, OPD Chief John Mina has stood before the press to deliver devastating news. The circumstances of the Pulse nightclub massacre quickly indicated the influence of radical Islam. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack. Continue reading →
K9 Bretagne (said Brittany) was deployed to Ground Zero in 2001. She was overcome by old age and health problems this week and was put to sleep. She was the last known 9/11 search and rescue dog. Owner/handler Denise Corliss walked her through an honor guard of Cy-Fair firefighters in Harris, Texas. Bretagne served as a SAR Task Force 1 dog and later with local fire departments. Thanks for your service, Bretagne.
Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868. It was originally called Decoration Day and flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday honoring those members of the United States military who have fallen in their service to our country. Flags should be flown in the morning and lowered to half-staff at noon. Parades are traditional. Beginning on the Thursday before Memorial Day members of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division place flags at all 260,000 graves in Arlington National Cemetery.
In honor of the National Moment of Remembrance, at 3 p.m., I will be taking time to reflect on those who have lost their lives guaranteeing our freedom.
From 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 →
This 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.
Are 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:
After 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 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.
Updated: 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.
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 →
Hi, 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.
Hillsborough 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.
Florida 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.
A 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.