FRONTLINE DEBRIEFS: A Sense of History

During my LAPD Academy days, we were debriefed on historical shootings on the LAPD. On the back lot of Universal Studios, SWAT debriefed us on the most famous ones during our one-day SWAT/Officer Survival training, a day that sadly no longer exists. These lessons sought to explain the history of the department you were joining

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Frontline Debriefs: Judicial Perception

In recent times, a number of court cases have not being adjudicated in favor of police. While some cases are clearly in favor of the plaintiff and for just cause, I know of others in which the facts would not seem to justify an award against law enforcement, and yet this is precisely what occurred.

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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: Righteous Debriefs

In “D” Platoon of the LAPD in the old days, we conducted what I would term “righteous debriefs.” I’m sure they do it today. It was a process that allowed us to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. Every single member of an operation was given the chance to weigh in on mistakes

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Frontline Debriefs: “Master” Gunfighters

Are there “master” gunfighters? The simple answer is no. The explanation is a bit more complicated. There is no such thing as a master gunfighter that I know of. Not a single one of the hundreds of individuals I have known who have been in actual shootings would lay claim to such a title. Not

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Frontline Debriefs: Why Train?

Imagine all those who have wished they had trained harder just before everything was taken from them. When the moment of truth comes, it will probably be unexpected, fast, and with little or no warning. Police work is dangerous. This is precisely why it is police work. It exists to deal with those who are

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Frontline Debriefs: Cheap Gear Failures

I have a dozen or more pieces of ill-fated equipment that have failed students in the past. This includes scopes, reloading devices, firearms and supposedly “magical” items of equipment (read: bells and whistles) guaranteed to make you a better shooter, along with firearms sights of various and dubious origins. The latest was (as the slick

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