A number of people have approached me concerning an LAPD pursuit, which took place last Friday. They heard me narrate (in real time on KCAL News) the pursuit, commenting on police policies and procedures.
The following is an article I wrote 12 years ago concerning police pursuit driving training, which was conducted down at the Harbor Division in the late 70’s. I found it to be as relevant now as it was then…
Daylight training and low level light training are two very different evolutions. Low-level light training brings to the table a much different set of problems to overcome than that of bright, ambient light training. The simple fact that targets and circumstances become somewhat diffused and complicated is in and of itself, a complicating factor. What one can readily discern in daylight becomes unclear and sometimes even un-resolvable in very dimly lit circumstances. Whether a suspect is armed or not, the background to a target, the resolution of a target and the illumination of a target become very different when compared to those presented in daylight conditions. You cannot learn this from a book by the way. Years ago, the LAPD dictated that at least two of the twelve qualification courses an Officer conducted on a yearly basis were done on the night combat course.
Fast-forward to 2019 and an Officer may not qualify at night ever again once he goes through the Academy. From my personal experience four of my shootings were at night. Many shootings occur at night. I have been at locations where a shooting occurred at night and the investigation continued on into the morning hours. As the scene became brightly lit, the distances, objects and clarity of the situation appeared to be much different than what it had appeared to be at night. When you experience this phenomenon it becomes readily apparent that night evolutions differ radically from those of daytime.
LAPD Circa 1976 Academy; Class on P.I.R. (Preliminary Investigation Report.) The absolute high art of Police writing… Third person narrative. Just the facts Ma’am! Dragnet, Sgt. Friday style.
Police report writing demands a succinct, straight to the facts, narration style. The P.I.R. was broken into sections.
Source of activity: this establishes who you are why and you were there. Essentially, how things came to be.
Observations: What you observed in detail. This must be precise and straight to the point. It includes one’s expertise such as in the area of narcotics, gangs, car thefts etc. Distances, suspect’s actions, lighting conditions, timelines, witnesses, evidence recovery, any use of force applied are among some, just some, of the details which must be accurately accounted for.
We often get asked that question in the days leading up to a weekend that’s forecasted for a downpour. You know what, for those who don’t have much experience with firearms it’s actually a very fair question.
Southern California… sand, surf, bikinis, bronzed surf Gods and well… occasionally inclement weather. Some of you have trained with us in what I term “Martini Weather.” 72 degrees, 2-3mph slight offshore breeze, scattered high cirrus clouds with nary a worry in sight. This however is not always the case. At times, yes even in beautiful Los Angeles, we endure powerful wind, cold temperatures and unrelenting rain passing through our tranquil land of sun-kissed palm trees.
Check out some our our recent training photos!
I have come across my share of bad guys to be sure… bank robbers, gang members, murderers, politicians etc. Brett and I have also raised our own children and overcome all the obstacles and impediments that normal, everyday life seems to throw at us as. In short, we have been “through the mill,” but I have never, ever been thoroughly defeated and thrashed by a four year old until now.
The setting: We took our absolutely adorable, four-year old great niece, Sophie, for the day here in glorious, sunny Los Angeles in July. (Think of Shirley Temple and a dark-haired Annie wrapped in one enchanting little girl!) The temperature was a balmy 105 degrees with not a wisp of wind in evidence. Brett suggested we go to the Getty Museum as she wanted to see the Egyptian exhibit there. Sophie seemed intrigued with the thought of a tram taking us up the hill and of seeing a real mummy. Fair enough.
This past month we’ve received numerous requests from major news outlets to comment on the LAPD Van Nuys Division hostage shooting. The shooting was captured on body cameras worn by the Officers. The suspect had taken a hostage in the traditional format of the weak arm around the victim’s neck in a controlling fashion. This was in conjunction with a large knife placed across the victim’s throat with the strong arm. The suspect’s head is in full view from one Officer’s perspective. The distance appears to be one of close proximity.
In total, 18 rounds will be fired by multiple Officers. Both the suspect and the victim were killed.
Those of you who have attended our advanced courses have experienced the ITTS Hostage Rack – a target system we developed to train for a hostage resolution scenario. You have not only experienced the mechanical precision and limited round(s) necessitated for a successful resolution, but the multiple layers of complexity and interactions we instruct to in each progressive evolution. In short, there is not one method but multiple methods in dealing with arguably, the most critical shot one could ever envision taking.
Check out some our our training for this month!
We recently came across some old LAPD SWAT training photos circa 1984. Now these photos do not demonstrate the equipment utilized to effectuate actual SWAT call-ups or hostage rescue etc. We were simply having a blast in attempting to run live fire drills and scenarios (shoot house included) with nominal equipment with not the faintest intention of ever having to do so in the real world. No body armor, no shirts no spare magazines… nothing, save basic weapons and that was it. Make each shot count ‘cause there’s no more when you run out. Someone sitting around during breaks would proffer, “hey I wonder if we could…” and that really was all it would take. Very macho indeed.
Simply because you can – doesn’t mean you should. The advent of CCW (Carrying a Concealed Weapon) permits should give one pause upon reflection. First and foremost is a comprehension of deadly force application laws. When, and when one should not, apply deadly force is of paramount importance. As we are both Federal and State Superior Court qualified deadly force experts for over 26 years, we are more than qualified to address this matter.
Certain parameters must be in place and facts known personally to the individual applying deadly force must also be in place prior to such application. Facts discovered post-shooting cannot be used to justify an otherwise unjustifiable application of deadly force.