Friday, October 30, 2009

Defensive Seating

We just finished a class regarding officer survival. The class was geared more to how to survive in a firefight and the mindset you must have in order to survive. You get to hear the facts that the majority of cops are killed when they are alone, usually shot with a hand gun and usually within 10 feet.

The class presented information regarding the different awareness levels of being a cop. It is important for those applying with any law enforcement department that you can never be oblivious as to what is going on around you. You must always be searching for potential threats, exits and must be aware of the people around you and their behavior.

I have found that with a girlfriend, and this new found knowledge, it has become customary to have discussions with your significant other about where to sit when you go to restaurants. What I mean by this is, as a cop, you always want the defensive seating arrangement. Meaning you want to sit with your back to a wall and hopefully in a position that will allow you to be looking out at the customers within the restaurant. This would also include the entrance to the restaurant, giving you line of sight to all that are coming and going.

Now, every time I go to a restaurant, I notice that my girlfriend takes “that” seat. In which case, I ask her to move. This usually results in “The Look.” Those of you with a significant other probably have been the recipient of “The “Look.” I have been told that over time, significant others will start to learn about “The Seat,” therefore avoiding the public rendition of "The Look."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Guest Blog: Reid!

My name is Reid, I work for Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and was asked to do a guest blog and wasn’t sure what I should say. I became interested in being a police officer when I was a kid, I always liked watching the old movies with the cowboys and the sheriff, I have since learned that you can’t do most of the stuff that is in those movies.

Now that I have grown up and know a little more I think this is one of the most incredible jobs, where else do you get so much responsibility and so much freedom? So far my favorite parts of the academy are the Arrest Control and Firearm days. We have been able to shoot over 1,500 rounds of ammo; shooting on the tactical range is the most fun for me. I have done a lot of shooting where you sit or stand still, but getting to shoot while moving at steel targets is awesome! We have had countless hours of arrest control, I have learned some Judo in the past, but this is more aggressive, we are not paid to lose. I have had more fun getting this training than I could have imagined.

If there is one thing that I want anyone trying to get hired by a department to know is that you have to stick with the applications, keep trying, it usually takes several tries. I had the support of my family, when I wouldn’t get through a testing process they were there to tell me to keep trying. So don’t give up, you can make it as long as becoming a cop is something you really want and you work for it. Overall my experience at the Jefferson County Regional Academy has been an amazing journey. I look forward to learning more, not just in the academy but after I graduate.

Monday, October 26, 2009


In Firearms training we have been doing a lot of qualifications and training with movement shooting. I have to say this is so fun. Now I am no means an expert in shooting firearms but I feel like Jefferson County has the best instructors. Last week we had to run up a hill and conduct strikes and kicks on a pad. Basically it is a simulated fight. After the instructor deems you are tired he yells at you to come over. He then proceeds to tell you a scenario. You must then proceed to eliminate threats in the scenario. I have to tell you my mistakes for those of you applying. I rushed through the scenario and missed all my shots. What I learned is you must take a deep breath, take your time and remember your mechanics. When I did this I found that my accuracy went up. It was a great experience and I learned a lot.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Guest blog: Baloo!


I was recently invited by Kevin (a.k.a. Sunshine) to share a bit about myself, my perspective about the academy, and share a few words concerning something most people don’t like to think about when deciding if law enforcement is the right career for them.

I attended college in Minnesota, married my lovely wife, and moved to Nebraska for graduate school. During this time, I had the opportunity to train as a post-collegiate athlete, and finished my athletic career in the finals of the 2004 USA Olympic Trials. Following graduate school we moved to Colorado, where I spent a few years in the insurance industry. For those of you who may be reading this from a cubicle, you will easily understand why I decided to leave insurance behind and focus on a career in law enforcement.

Overall, the academy experience has been a very positive one. Every day brings the constant challenge of trying to learn new information, while attempting to retain all of the other “stuff” taught from day one – this can be difficult and frustrating. If you have a competitive spirit, you can only imagine sometimes how discouraging this can be when you want to know it all, yet fail miserably! The reality of the academy life is that you do the best you can, take the punches when they come, and then get up and keep trying to improve – NEVER QUIT! One of the great things about a law enforcement career is the variety. There are some days you feel on top of the world and others when you wonder if you’re going to have a job at the end of the day.

This brings me to an obvious point: “This is not an easy job!” Not only is the training physically and mentally challenging, but it is important to acknowledge and consider what will be required of you besides “just helping people.” I imagine that every person has somewhat different motives for choosing law enforcement. For some of you, you may see an investigator on television that gets to a crime scene, evaluates it, processes it, and solves the crime in less than an hour and think, “Wow, that’s cool, where can I get me one of those suits, a gun and badge?” Others may not be quite that na├»ve, but still don’t have a full understanding of the sacrifice that law enforcement officers make to serve their community. Let’s evaluate some realities of the job that we discuss in the academy, and see if we can take an honest look at what you may encounter on a day-to-day basis.

First, after successfully completing the 20 week training academy, you may spend some time working in the jail. It is important to know that you will work every day with people who have violated a law, or two…or ten. These crimes range from murder, rape and assault, to failure to pay child support. These individuals may want to harm you and/or your family, and will most likely try to manipulate you, and/or see if they can compromise your professionalism over days or years. You will be directly exposed throughout your career to bodily fluids (i.e. blood, urine, spit, poo, puke, etc.), funky smells, ‘R’ rated images, death, and drugs. It is possible that your life will be in jeopardy at least once in your career, and that you will be attacked, assaulted, and/or harassed to varying degrees on more than one occasion. There will be times when you will be required to work long hours, work by yourself in secluded areas of the county, and face off with pit bulls, or even Chihuahuas! And for those of you who want to become an investigator, or work in a specialty unit, you will get the privilege of carrying a pager, which allows you to be called back to work at all hours of the day or night.

According to the psychologists that visited our academy, 75% of all male law enforcement officers will be divorced at least once, and for the females out there…well…if I remember right, that number rises to about 99.9%. Pretty crazy, huh?

So, now that I’ve provided you will a little reality, do you still have a desire to begin the long journey required to become a Deputy Sheriff of Jefferson County? I hope so, because it has the potential, beyond the seemingly dismal reality :), to bring an incredible reward. The truths of what we may encounter day to day are intense, but the pride, honor, and potential to influence others at a critical time in their lives are worth the risk and sacrifice. May you be blessed as much as I have been on your journey to becoming a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Crowd Control

We had a class about riots and crowd control the other day. I have included some pictures. But it is important to note that in order to be good at crowd control, it helps immensely if you have experience as a member of a marching band. As a secondary note it will become instantly known to all if you were lucky enough to have been born with any rhythm or as in most of our cases……not.

The idea behind crowd control is trying to maintain order, or to reestablish order, during a riot. There are many slow movements with the need of many officers being in synch (or rhythm if you prefer). The hard part of crowd control is people are yelling at you, throwing anything they can find at you, and as always, trained officers must maintain professionalism at all times. The picture below is the recruiting class practicing the movements and commands. It was fun in a practice mode, but until I do it for real, I really won’t know if the fun will transfer over. Probably not.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Guest blog: Katherine!

Hi everyone! My name is Katherine and I am a recruit at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office academy with Kevin. He’s been a good friend to me for the last 13 weeks (even though he kicked me through a wall), so when he asked me to write a little bit about my experience I knew I couldn’t turn him down. I also come from a pretty different background from most recruits and think it’s important for people to see that all sorts of people can find satisfaction and pride in police work.

First thing about me: I’m not a native Coloradoan. I grew up in a really small farm town in Michigan. I just turned 29, and yes, I’m a chick. I had very little contact with any of the local police growing up: a few minor speeding tickets and one car accident. No one in my family has ever been a cop and I don’t think I’ve ever really known one personally. I didn’t form much of an opinion on the profession from those few run-ins and certainly never would have thought that I’d end up pursuing this career! I worked at a large sporting goods store all through college selling skis and snowboards and ended up moving across the country to the Colorado mountains to be a snowboard bum in 2003. I had various retail and customer service positions in Beaver Creek for four seasons, ending up as a dispatcher and driver for transportation around the resort.

After putting in a couple of great years at the Beav I was ready to really settle down and start working towards a long lasting career. I’d looked at the ads for 911 emergency dispatching in the newspaper for years and realized how similar it would be to dispatching for the resort, but with the added opportunity to feel proud of my involvement in my community. I knew I could make a positive difference in people’s lives when they needed it most. I applied in the fall of 2007 and have worked dispatching police, fire and emergency medical services since. It was the career that I’d been searching for and I was hooked!

It wasn’t long though before I realized that my real strength would be out on the street as an officer. I fell in love with the excitement and random experiences of police work right away, but my favorite part is digging through information to answer questions and solve crimes. I’ve always enjoyed puzzles and brainteasers and am really happy that I’ve found a job where I can do those things in order to benefit my community. I look forward to working on the streets for a couple of years to learn as much as I can and then working as a detective. I also really enjoy customer service and teaching and can’t wait to become a field training officer in a few years.

I think the most important thing to understand about this career is that any type of person (even with very little law enforcement experience) can find success, pride and happiness through hard work. There are so many specializations and opportunities, and no matter which ones interest you, you can find satisfaction in making your community a better place!


Derek being sprayed with OC

Last week all recruits got OC’ed. OC, for those of you that do not know what the acronym stands for, we got pepper sprayed. I would have to say, after careful consideration and comparisons to all the other things I have done and all the things that have happened to me during my life, this was truly the worst.

Stephen punching the dummy for 30 seconds after being sprayed

As part of the drill the recruits must face three continuous simulations under the influence of the pepper spray. After being sprayed in the eyes and obviously the face and other exposed areas, the first simulation was to react to a simulated fight by striking a dummy for 30 seconds. This is followed immediately by a combat walk down the side of a building and arresting a suspect. This is followed immediately by a simulated reaction to a bad guy with a gun. The suspect might give up, releasing the gun, or give up and not drop the gun or may turn and attempt to shoot the arresting officer. This simulation is done with a paint gun.

Jamie punching the dummy for 30 seconds after being sprayed

The whole event was done in a very controlled environment. The purpose of this simulation is show each recruit how it feels to be OCed and to know how to react to various situations under the effects of the spray. Each of us now know that we will be able to fight through a pepper spray incident. This situation is no longer an unknown and therefore is not a fear to be conquered. We have already done that. This, in itself, is very important. To have the confidence that if this happens, you know what it feels like, you know it is going to be uncomfortable but you also know that you can react and function under the influence of the spray.

Baloo after being OC'd

Now for what being OCed really feels like. Everyone reacts a little different but for me, it feels like a sun burn that you get when falling asleep on the beach without sunscreen but maybe a little oil on your skin to intensify the action of the sun. Everything burns and your eyes shut involuntary. Now this intense burning experience last for a total of about 30 to 45 minutes. Then, and here is the real treat of OC, the chemicals on your face get reactivated when mixed with water. Therefore, every time you take a shower you get to relive the wonderful experience all over again. In other words, it is the gift that keeps on giving.

It took me about 3 to 4 showers before I had absolutely no sensation of burning on my face, eyes or any where else the OC spray had reached, either directly or indirectly through washing. Not to mention that once the water used to clear your eyes and face comes into contact with the pepper spray, whatever that water touches gets OC on it and the burning starts over in different locations. I will leave it up to the reader to create a mental picture of the potential problems that this redistribution of the contaminated water over, shall we say, the more sensitive portions of the male and female body, poses when you are taking a shower.
For all of you future recruits or others that might be inclined to put themselves in opposition to law enforcement, trying to earn the possibility of being OCed, you have been warned.

Until next time…..

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Here is another addition. In the picture is "Full Speed" or you can call her "Mini Hulk". The picture was taken in arrest control. We were doing a push-back kick, creating more distance. Unfortunately she was close to a wall.