Friday, November 20, 2009

Evidence Collection

This week has been spent covering evidence collection. We are learning how to document different types of evidence. It is very interesting and in its own way kind of exciting. The first question you will probably have would be “Is it like CSI?”. The answer is sort of but not really. There are similarities but a lot of what is seen on TV is to keep the audience’s attention. Especially true is that the time span and documentation is nothing like on TV. TV shows tend not to represent real life situations. Solving a complicated crime scene in an hour is not realistic.

Only two weeks left until graduation and so much to do and learn.


Sorry for the delays in making new entries. I have been very busy.

We had driving training all last week and I spent all of my time up at the track. I have to admit that driving is a real kick. Everything you wanted to do (and probably did) as a teenager but here it was legal! As usual our instructors were great.

We worked on turning at high speeds, steering, backing, avoidance braking and threshold breaking. This is fun stuff. Imagine doing all of these things, stopping, and being told to do it again. This is probably the only place where you can literally, on purpose, lose complete control of your vehicle, and spin out. Imagine that upon completing all of this and returning to the group, the instructor will ask “what went wrong?” You give the correct answer and he says “Good job and now go back out there and do it right.” Notice the phrase “slow down!” does not appear. Sweeet!!!

However, if you are losing control due to excessive speed you will be told that you need to slow down. I never have had so much fun driving. It was fun to test the limits of the vehicle, your reactions, and discovering where “the line” is.

It was fun but you need to keep in mind that you are training for high speed pursuits. Cones are set about the course representing pedestrians, children, vehicles, etc. The fun was locating and establishing that acceptable level of speed and and as always, civilian safety.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Good Day on the Job

Something very special happened to our academy class the other day. We had just completed having our pictures taken and were in formation marching back to the parking lot from the Red Rocks Amphitheater. As we approached the parking lot, there was a group of elementary students standing off to the side watching the formation. As we marched passed their location all the students fell in behind and marched with us. This group of students marched with us, in pretty good formation and with good discipline, all the way to the top of the parking lot. Upon reaching the parking lot, the students ran past the formation and got out in front of us. Every single police officer and deputy sheriff had to pass the student group. All of the young kids cheered and waved to us, and most chanted “You guys are awesome.”

This simple action meant a lot to both the experienced officers and recruits. I have always been proud of what I am doing and what I want to become as a deputy sheriff. However, this was something special to all of us. I can’t really explain it. It was a simple action by a group of youngsters that produced a memory that I will never forget. I and my fellow recruits, police and sheriff officers would like to thank the children for their actions and hope they maintain that attitude towards law enforcement in general.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sexual Assault / Crimes Against Children

This was an 8 hour class and presentation. After sitting through this class, if you are anything like me, you will be depressed, angry and want to take all of the woman who are important to you, to a place that will keep them safe from this element of society. However, it is these types of crimes that determined why I wanted to get involved with law enforcement. This type of crime increases my motivation to be the best I can be. One day I hope to work my way into investigations and this is the type of crime I would want to investigate. Many ask me why this type of crime? The answer is simple: I want to be the person that catches these predators, stop this behavior from happening to innocent women and especially innocent children. I want to be part of the solution that removes individuals like this from everyday society.

The class was very well taught. Discussions of all of the laws relating to these offenses, the elements, the stories and studies related to sexual assault and crimes against children. The most memorable and disturbing are the pictures. Many of the pictures are very graphic causing the sadness, anger and desire to put a stop to this activity. It is a heavy class but very important. You are subjected to information that you cannot imagine an individual doing to another human being including what date rape drugs do to the body and mind and how to identify if drugs were involved. The instructors also showed us how to conduct a preliminary investigation on these crimes and how to document the situation and evidence. I can’t stress how much I learned but you have to prepare yourself for what you are going to be dealing with. Again this class enhanced my desire to be a cop.

Vehicle Contacts

We just finished a class on vehicle contacts. We worked on the procedures in pulling someone over in a traffic stop. I can’t stress this enough: Pulling someone over is a lot more then just walking up to the driver and writing a ticket. In my opinion this is actually one of the most dangerous aspects of being a cop. My reasoning is based on all of the unknown factors regarding this person. You don’t know who they are or what they are doing. The situation regarding weapons is unknown as is the drug situation. Thus, it is important to keep your officer safety procedures as the number one priority. It is important to remember and plan everything from preparing to stop an individual to your approach and your professionalism.

These are just a few things to keep in mind. Those of you applying will learn this but seeing hands of the individuals is a very important aspect of making a vehicle stop. Movements are very important. The instructors are great and I gained an amazing amount of knowledge in just one class. There are a lot of things to keep in your head, but the most important is to never, ever, become complacent. No stops are routine and one must always prepare themselves to be as safe as humanly possible.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Arrest Control: Choke Holds

We have done choke holds and how to escape from them during arrest control. Being choked will usually cause enough for most people to panic. When under duress, such as being choked, one still must remain calm and think about the situation. The first step, like most everything in law enforcement: Don’t Panic. Think of what must happen in order for you to escape.

As I have said before, when discussing training your mind, one must immediately come to the realization that if someone is choking you, they are trying to kill you. This is not martial arts class anymore. This is about your life. What I have learned is not to panic and to work yourself out of the situation. This means anything and everything is fair game to change the conditions of the situation. This person is trying to kill me and what am I going to do about it? My answer is what I have been taught from day one: WIN, NO MATTER THE COST! Again we don’t get paid to tie or lose.

Officer Survival

We recently had a class on officer survival. That class is geared in how to survive when things go bad. This class explains that having the right mental approach can save your life. Always maintain distance, know escape routes, always be ready to use force if necessary, and never be lulled into a state of being less than total aware of situations by apparent cooperation. We were taught that a truly prepared officer can depend on the fact that winning a violent confrontation is about 75% mental.

The most important piece of information I gained from this class is always stay aggressive and never quit. By staying aggressive you are more likely to wear down your opponent and win the confrontation. This dovetails with what we have had drilled into us since day one: we are not being paid to tie or lose fights. We are paid to win. For those of you who are going to apply and want to be police officer, my advice to you is to get into that mental mindset now and live by that statement. The other statement to set your life by is “lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.”

I would also highly recommend practicing being observant, practice identifing potential threats, practice looking for cover and concealment, and always play the “what if” game in your head as you go through life. An example could be what if someone walked in to the restaurant, pulled a gun and shot someone. What would I do? Where is the cover? How do I get to the shooter if possible? Little games like this will condition your mind to react when something happens.