Frontline Debriefs: LAPD SWAT Tactics

LAPD SWAT has had four major shootouts in the last four months. I do not recall there having been this many shootings in as many months in SWAT’s history. For whatever reason, the bad guys in L.A. have decided to go to guns as opposed to relinquishing their freedom voluntarily. The whys, wherefores, and rationale

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Frontline Debriefs: Newhall Incident Revisited

Virtually from my first day in the LAPD Academy in 1976, I was instructed in all matters relative to officer safety. Los Angeles was a dangerous place. If the traffic, smog, or femmes fatale didn’t get you, the bad guys certainly would! A seminal event in California was the Newhall Incident. It was undoubtedly the

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Frontline Debriefs: Deadly Force Shootings

If you have not seen the Clint Eastwood-directed movie Sully, you need to. What does an emergency passenger airplane landing on the Hudson River have to do with police work? As it turns out, just about everything. I have worked for over 26 years as a designated use-of-force expert on police shooting cases both in

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Frontline Debriefs: The Minefield of Social Media Sharing

In the beginning, there was word of mouth, which gave way to clay tablets, which in turn progressed into papyrus, which then led to pen and ink, and finally culminated in binary numbers floating about the ethernet zone of space. Discovery within the judicial system applies to anything evidentiary in value that may be argued

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Frontline Debriefs: Emotion and Deadly Force

My wife, Brett, and I attended a movie the other night. It was a movie of her choice—which is to say it was not the Dirty Dozen or a Steve McQueen flick. As soon as the movie started, the individuals behind us began to speak and the moron directly behind me kept bumping my seat

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Frontline Debriefs: Active Shooters

The active shooter is a relatively new phenomenon in the grand scheme of things. In the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, this scenario did not occur with the frequency or violence of today. From Sandy Hook, Aurora and the very recent LAX shootings, one can clearly observe that this phenomenon is here to stay. Motivations for

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Frontline Debriefs: Excessive Shots

Excessive rounds in the field can be problematic. First and foremost is the fact that in most cases the more rounds fired, the less hits realized. This may be the result of flawed training. I am aware of certain courses of fire where instructors have taught students to empty magazines into targets. If you respond

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Frontline Debriefs: Has “A” Way Become “The” Way?

For many individuals, as well as for many agencies, “a” way to do something becomes “the” way to do it—the only way. Once we learn something and really adopt it as our own, it can be difficult to change. This is particularly true at law enforcement agencies. One generation of instructors selects the next generation

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Frontline Debriefs: Old West Gunfighters

Gunfighting is pretty much an American phenomenon. The trans-Mississippi West conjures up dust-blown streets, fixed gazes, and worn steel drawn from weathered leather. No other country has a gunfighting history equal to ours.