Top 10 tactical tips from 2014

During 2014 we posted hundreds of officer safety tips — here are short summaries of ten of the most interesting among them

Among the best online instruction we do here at Police1 comes in the form of our tactical tips. These are short and to-the-point pieces authored by Police1 columnists, contributors, members, and yours truly. 

In 2014 we posted hundreds of officer safety tips — here are short summaries of ten of the most interesting among them. Each entry has links so you can go back and review each of them in detail.

1. Video of armed man in booking room provides a reminder about thorough suspect searches
All suspect searches must be thorough. We’ve had several instances of subjects being armed and in the back of a squad (both uncuffed and cuffed). We’ve even used the example of a gun hidden in a woman’s vagina as the impetus for conversation about this topic. This year we received a video from a booking room at an unknown department where things went well that day, but could have gone very badly. 

2. Visualize different threats during your range training 
Columnist Duane Wolfe challenges officers to stop seeing “a (pick your color) humanoid shaped blob with scoring areas” when you do range training. “Each time you shoot your weapon, pistol, rifle, or shotgun I want you to imagine an actual human being who poses a deadly threat to yourself or others. Visualize a variety of different people as threats — males and females of different ages and races. If you train your body to respond to only one visualized stimulus you’re failing to train for the variety of people you will deal with in the real world.”

3. Backup cameras: Bad guys are watching you!
George Curtis pointed out that with backup cameras becoming more and more commonplace on vehicles, officers need to be aware that some bad guys have taken to mounting one in the rear window to give them a better view of your approach at a traffic stop. “They are relatively cheap and easy to install and the video feed can be integrated into the center console data screen, a dashboard/console mounted monitor or even the rear view mirror. Some of them even have night vision capabilities.” 

4. Leaked memo highlights threat against LEOs from HVEs 
In early October, social media posts by a number of well-known ISIS leaders led the FBI and DHS to issue a memo warning law enforcement and military personnel against potential personal attacks by Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs). The memo was sent to “ensure law enforcement and government personnel are aware that ISIL and its supporters continue to issue threats online.” Soon thereafter, a hatchet-wielding man attacked four NYPD rookies on the city sidewalks.

5. 5 rules for a retired officer
Rich Von Voigt — who is perhaps our most prolific contributor of tactical tips — has been retired for more than 15 years. He’s uniquely able to shed insight into what happens to officers when they separate from the profession and move back into civilian life. In this tip he shares his top five pieces of advice for the retiring LEO. His number-one rule: “Relax! Enjoy the fresh breath of air that you will take.”

6. Using stuffed animals to camouflage your surveillance operation 
An officer shared that in his career as an investigator, he would sometimes use a child safety seat, stuffed animals, and/or other children’s toys in the rear seat area of the surveillance vehicle can effectively camouflage your operation. People looking for possible stakeout vehicles will dismiss the car with a bunch of kid’s toys and a booster seat in the back seat. And instead of sitting in the driver’s seat for your surveillance, sit in the passenger seat. If you’re in the passenger seat, you’re going to look more like the patiently waiting spouse than the police officer conducting an investigation or a surveillance operation.

7. Video of fatal fight between off-duty cop and firefighter offers reminder about training  
Many departments — and even individual officers — are loath to train in ground control and ground fighting. When we came across this video of a deadly confrontation that went to the ground, Dan Marcou and Duane Wolfe were instrumental in evaluating what lessons learned may be within.

8. Conducting inventories of towed or seized vehicles  
In this tip, Joel Shults pointed out that when SCOTUS disallowed searches incident to arrest where the driver was restrained and away from the vehicle, some agencies and officers overcompensated by failing to use other theories to keep them safe from unexamined vehicles. “It is important to remember that vehicle inventories are not searches. Inventories are not purposed to gather evidence, but to protect the officer's integrity and any valuable property in the vehicle… A visual inspection of the interior of the vehicle should be done even in cases where it is not seized. What a tragedy if a sleeping child were left behind!”

9. Yet another use for duct tape on patrol 
Police1 member Edward Warner shared with other members the fact that during his 25-year career he would carry a long strip of duct tape wrapped around a small flashlight. “Whenever I had to go into an apartment building or multi-family dwelling where I had to be buzzed in by the resident, I'd place a piece of the duct tape over the locking mechanism” so that arriving backup officers “would be able to gain entry quickly, and without being hindered.”

10. Photos: 2 vehicle-mounted firearm concealment tricks to watch for  
Over the years, we’ve posted a fair number of tactical tips about firearms concealed in places as varied as men’s boxer shorts and women’s bras. In this tip we feature pictures of firearms cleverly concealed in vehicle passenger compartments where each holster is affixed securely into place where a driver would have reason to reach during a stop. 

Reloading for 2015
Do you have a tactical tip that could help other Police1 members apprehend a suspect and ensure they're convicted? Do you have a training tip that can help other officers be safer and more successful on the streets? Send it via email and it may be our next member tip.

Stay safe out there my friends. 

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