FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: To Shoot or Not To Shoot

Recently, a somewhat controversial police shooting transpired that garnered national headlines. West Virginia Police Officer Stephen Mader (who is white) was ostensibly terminated for not firing upon an armed suspect (who was black) and who was believed to be suicidal. Other officers, upon arrival, did fire upon the suspect. Officer Mader stated that he made

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: If My Department Won’t Pay …

Police are well known for being economical. This is an established, scientifically based fact that I have observed on many fronts. Classic example: Officer “A” in a bar will drop vast sums during the course of one evening’s festivities to increase the chances of having his way with a femme fatale. Same Officer “A” would

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: Hostage Resolution

A hostage situation recently developed in a large metropolitan city. The suspect held the hostage in the typical configuration of a controlling arm around the victim’s neck while positioning himself behind the victim with a large knife pressed against her neck. Field officers responded and positioned themselves about the suspect and victim. While other events

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: Common-Sense Tactics

I’ve been in the game for a few weeks now. I’ve fired some guns. I’ve seen my share of theories and techniques. Some have e-mailed me videos of some rather interesting, if not perplexing, techniques espoused by individuals of the “If I told you, I’d have to kill you” persuasion. Fascinating. Now I embrace something

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: Millennials in Law Enforcement

I entered the LAPD in 1976. During this epoch, the prevailing philosophy was, “If it happened to me, it will most definitely happen to you.” To clarify: If others had been treated like @#*%, then quite logically, you were going to be treated like @#*%! Fair enough. This meant you sat in the front row

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS Police Habits Die Hard

Brett, my wife, is a saint. Anyone who knows us comprehends what she has to put up with. My mother viewed her as saintly simply due to the fact that, as sophisticated and well educated as she is, through some obtuse rationale, she saw fit to associate with me. She’s a nice girl from Minnesota,

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS Reliance on SWAT

Many years ago a great friend of mine, Ray Coffman of Albuquerque, made the prescient comment that our reliance on SWAT would be omnipresent. In other words, evolutions that normal field-grade officers might have addressed in the past would automatically be placed under the purview of SWAT. Ray was an instructor for the Department of

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: Overseas Police Work

The timeless adage, “The grass is always greener on the other side” may be appropriately applied to police work. Having trained in a number of overseas venues, I can unequivocally state that despite the many regulations we impose (and many rightly so) on ourselves in the U.S., they pale in comparison to regulations implemented in

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: Active-Shooter Response

A reader recently asked me to comment on a previous article I authored entitled the The Imperfect Machine as it relates to the recent Parkland High School shooting. First and foremost, I wasn’t there. Nor do I have all the details. I can, however, render my take on the situation. During the many active-shooter courses

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FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: Dangers of Police Work

Many careers entail varying degrees of risk. Some careers are inherently riskier than others. But police work brings to the table an entirely unpredictable set of life-and-death decisions/actions with a most important caveat. It must operate within strict rules, dictums, and laws of engagement that are questioned at every step. Few professions demand that such

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