Body armor is quite simply the most important piece of any law enforcement officer’s uniform. It saves lives. Unfortunately, when it doesn’t fit properly, your body armor can also be the most uncomfortable part of your uniform. However, with the correct fit, your body armor will not only be more comfortable but also provide effective and protective coverage. All it takes are a few simple measurements and some fine tuning once you have your vest, so let’s get started.
It is somewhat surprising that the same ingredient that is used to spice up food is also used to create a powerful tool for self-defense. Pepper spray, also known as OC spray, is used in law enforcement, riot control, crowd control, and personal self-defense, including defense against dogs and even bears. Pepper spray has a long history for being used for defense, and as of today has developed into a wide variety of strengths for use. Here is some of the history behind pepper spray and how it went from being a simple spice to being used as a powerful deterrent. Continue reading The History of OC and Pepper Spray
There’s no denying the sheer importance of handcuffs, a law enforcement officer’s staple tool for restraining. Handcuffed detainees are far less likely to flee, cause damage, or become aggressive. These tools have such a place in society that it’s almost impossible to think of a law enforcement officer and not have handcuffs come to mind. But, where did this tool originate and how has it changed over the course of human history? Here we’ll explain just how the handcuff came to be and how it has evolved into the irreplaceable tool officers use today. Continue reading History of Handcuffs
In the wake of events like those in Ferguson, Missouri this past year, much of American Law Enforcement is now under close scrutiny from the public. One of the ways to counteract this is with the spread and increased use of body worn cameras. Only a few years ago body worn cameras were only occasionally used, but after recent events they’ve become a hot topic issue. By the end of 2014 President Obama was promoting the use of use of body worn cameras by law enforcement, which helped even further launch them into the spotlight. Everyone wanted cameras to be used immediately. Yet, despite all of this there still hasn’t been much in the way of federal grants for body worn cameras. Even though the Body Worn Camera Act has received bi-partisan support, that still hasn’t shaken the many issues that exist with this new and highly sought after technology.
It’s particularly unusual for a bill to receive as much bi-partisan support as the Body Worn Camera Act has, given how polarized Capitol Hill finds most issues. However, both liberal and conservative politicians have been supportive of the use of body worn cameras, but for different reasons. On one side, supporters want body worn cameras to assist law enforcement officers in proving their compliance to the law and making sure their reports of incidents remain honest. The other side also supports the use of body worn cameras to monitor law enforcement activity and hold officers accountable, and hopefully prevent unnecessary altercations. However, for many people, body worn cameras are new territory, and they don’t fully understand how they work and how they could affect officer behavior.
Pilot studies conducted by different university-based researches concluded that the use of body-worn cameras is reported to have a “civilizing effect” on police-civilian interactions, and to cause a reduction in use-of-force incidents. This effect is caused by the officers being fully aware of the fact that they’re being recorded, as well as civilians they interact with. Essentially, many civilians and officers are more at ease knowing that an unbiased camera is taking record of their exchanges. Additionally, reports against law enforcement officers decreased in the areas where these studies took place. With this in mind it seems like there would be no issue pushing any bill, which promoted the use of this technology.
One of the many problems with heavy use of body worn cameras is a public-records issue. All recordings must be reviewed and private details removed before it is released to the public, which is a costly and time-consuming process to go through. Additionally, storage of this footage is a major issue. The amount of data created by body worn cameras is immense and needs massive storage space to house it all, which is something most departments are not equipped to handle. Another issue with body worn cameras is many areas have different laws and policies regarding when the cameras can be used, or if they even need to be used at all. Many states require law enforcement to inform civilians when they are being recorded, which can pose an issue if an officer is undercover or does not want the civilian to know they’re on camera. Video evidence can also be taken out of context or misinterpreted in court, which is another setback for the technology.
Despite the multiple setbacks, Capitol Hill has not stopped its need for body worn cameras. As of May 1st 2015, a new federal grant was released to assist law enforcement agencies in the purchasing of body worn cameras. While it’s only the first in a longer series, this grant will likely help in the short term while a larger and much more robust program is approved over the next year. Controversial as they may be, body worn cameras are likely to be one of the biggest staples to law enforcement gear.
It’s a well known fact that body armor can save your life; that’s why knowing which tactical body armor you should purchase is a crucial decision. Before you start comparing prices it’s important to be informed about the varying levels of body armor available. There are six levels, with level one offering the least amount of protection and the most at the sixth level. It is imperative to know which level is suited to your specific job, as you don’t need over protection nor can you afford under protection. It’s not as easy as simply choosing the armor that offers the highest amount of protection, as each level also increases in weight and bulk. Below is a breakdown of each level and what they offer protection against, as well as a few suggestions for body armor.
Level I vests protects against .22 caliber pistol rounds or long rifle rounds, and .380 caliber rounds. Level I body armor is notably light, but that comes at the cost of greater protection. This is the minimum level of protection every officer should have, and the armor should be routinely worn at all times while on duty. Level I body armor was introduced during the mid-1970s. However, most agencies today have opted for a higher level of protection due to increased threat levels.
This level protects against all lower levels as well as 9mm rounds and .357 magnum rounds. Level IIA body armor is well suited for full-time use by police departments, particularly those seeking protection from lower velocity ammunition.
Protects against the same types of rounds that Level IIA protects against, except the added safety at this level increases the speed at which that ammunition can be fired while still protecting the wearer. Level II body armor is typically heavier and more bulky than either Level I or IIA.
Level IIIA provides protection against most handgun threats, as well as the Level I, II-A, and II threats. Level IIIA body armor provides the highest level of protection available from concealable body armor and is appropriate for routine wear in many situations. However, users located in hot or humid climates may need to evaluate the use of Level IIIA armor carefully, as the added weight and bulk may impede with the wearer’s duties.
Level III body armor is the first vest that mandates the use of heavy, bulky hard plate with softer body armor to protect the wearer from rifle rounds. The soft armor is able to absorb some trauma and minimize injury to the wearer. This armor protects against 7.62mm full metal jacketed ammunition, as well as everything protected from the lower levels. Level III body armor is mostly intended only for tactical situations when the threat warrants such protection, such as barricade confrontations involving sporting rifles.
Similar to Level III, Level IV body armor is a hard body armor designed to protect the wearer from “armor piercing” bullets. It also provides at least single-hit protection against the Level I through III threats. Level IV body armor provides the highest level of protection currently available. Because this armor is intended to resist “armor piercing” bullets, it often uses ceramic materials. Such materials are brittle in nature and may provide only single-shot protection, since the ceramic tends to break apart when struck. Just like Level III armor, Level IV armor is clearly intended only for tactical situations when the threat warrants such protection.
With the knowledge of the various levels you can now choose the right piece of equipment to suit your needs. Here are some examples of a few top selling vests from Galls.com:
Below are a few videos suggesting the best way to properly fit a ballistic vest, as well as how to measure sizing for both men and women.
Sizing for Women:
Sizing for Men:
Our nation’s heroes answer the call despite the odds and circumstances. Galls employees share instances when their special relationships supported these men and women as they shaped history with valor.
Dogs aren’t just a man’s best friend. They’re a police officer’s, fireman’s, soldier’s and civilian’s best friend. Dog’s play such a significant role in protecting our communities, from searching for lost people, to looking for crime scene evidence.
Since the Ancient Roman times, people have used canines for security and hunting. During wartime, dogs were trained for certain important roles: sentry dog, scout or patrol dog, messenger dog, or mine dog. About 1,500 dogs were used as sentries in the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, American troops used dogs to clear out caves and tunnels of the Vietcong, as well as to find traps and land mines. After the wars, the dogs were rehabilitated and returned to the people who loaned them to the military.
MEET THE BREEDS
German Shepherds are a strong breed that possess intelligence, strength and teachability. They are a particularly obedient breed, often making them a police officer’s first choice. German Shepherds around the world are often utilized in the detection of narcotics and explosives. They are also used in the tracking and apprehension of human suspects.
The roles of this ancient breed are as varied as their reputed ancestors. They were used as dogs of war, guarding the borders of Dalmatia. To this day, the breed retains a high guarding instinct; although friendly and loyal to those the dog knows and trusts, it is often aloof with strangers and unknown dogs. Today, Dalmations are known in the United States for being the token firehouse mascot and sometimes to educate the public in fire safety.
Labradors (commonly known as Labs) are known for being even-tempered and well behaved in mostly any situation. Labs can serve well as a family dog, a companion or a police dog. Their athleticism and playful personalities make this particular breed a crowd-pleaser. In law enforcement, Labs are frequently trained for detection work and for tracking of human suspects. However, they are not used for suspect apprehension.
When it comes to law enforcement, the Malinois is a breed that means business. It is used as a working dog, including tasks such as detection of odors from narcotics, explosives, and accelerants (for arson investigation), and for the tracking of humans and suspect apprehension in police work. You do not want to get on their bad side.
Dogs – thank you for all of your hard work and your commitment to protecting our communities.
The transition from being in a police academy to working the street as a rookie police officer can be quite challenging for many. Adjusting to a new environment can be exciting, frightening and unpredictable, all at the same time. While on-the-job training programs are offered in many departments, there are still a number of common rookie mistakes that contribute to officer loss during this time. Knowing what they are is an important step in successfully avoiding them.
1. Being A Know-It-All
Nobody likes a Know-It-All, and the same applies here. Every agency runs their department a little differently, and rookies can always find new things to learn. Having a closed-minded attitude will impede your ability to learn and may halt your Field Training Officer’s willingness to teach.
2. Failure to Ask Questions
This is the ultimate time to learn, and the best time to ask questions. Your best, most valuable teachers are the experienced officers who are there to assist. Don’t try to do too much too fast. Patience is critical in this field, and recognizing that it is acceptable and expected to ask questions is the key to success.
3. Disrespect for Police Hierarchy
Any officer who has been through an FTEP has had the experience of working with many different types of FTOs. If a rookie is paired with a trainer whose policing style differs from his or her own, instead of pushing it away, learn from them and recognize the value that each officer brings to the department. FTOs are carefully selected, and are probably there for a reason.
4. Failure to Properly Prepare for the Job
If you are hired by an agency in a community you’re not quite familiar with, you must spend off-duty time driving around the city and learning street names, locations of major businesses, and other key locations such as hospitals, jails, schools, and courthouses.
5. Lack of Initiative
While it is reasonable for brand new officers in their first phase of training to be cautious and reluctant to make decisions, decision-making is a skill that every officer eventually needs to develop. Unusual ways to show initiative include, conducting motor vehicle stops, investigating suspicious activity, and by volunteering to take the lead on multi-officer calls.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office recently announced that the New York City Police Department will be equipping all of its officers with smartphones and outfitting many police cars with tablet computers. The “N.Y.P.D Mobility Initiative” will be distributing 41,000 smart devices in an effort to modernize the nation’s largest police force.
“We must have 21st-century tools to deal with 21st-century threats,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, “and this infusion of new resources will arm our officers with the technology and information they need to fight crime and protect the city against terrorism more efficiently and more effectively.”
All of the devices will hold a slew of applications, such as a mobile version of the Domain Awareness System, a computer surveillance system that joins video feeds from thousands of closed-circuit cameras to law enforcement databases. This will allow officers to track and gather further information about criminals and possible terrorist action. The smart devices will also give officers access to all 911 related data including notes by call-takers and information about the location of the call, the statement from the district attorney’s office said. They are hoping to add in a GPS feature to help coordinate backup. Fingerprint scanning is anticipated to be available by next year.
There is some controversy over whether or not this initiative will make a huge difference in serving justice, but there is no question that it has the potential to improve policing on all fronts. Eugene O’Donnell, professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says “The most promising aspect,” he said, “is the potential to standardize justice across the city, making sure all of the officers have access to the same information, which of course helps the criminal justice system.”
1. Shaquille O’Neal: A champ on the courts and a natural at fighting crime, Shaq is the whole package. He served as a reserve officer for the Los Angeles Port Police, as well as the Miami Beach Police Department. It doesn’t stop there! Now, Shaq serves as a reserve officer with the Golden Beach Police in South Florida. Having completed at least two police academies, I think it is safe to say he is a lover of Law Enforcement.
THANK YOU SHAQ!
2. Chuck Norris: Why doesn’t this surprise me at all? Rumor has it that this martial arts superstar also served as a reserve police officer or deputy in Texas. While the mayor claims there’s no record of Norris’ service, it is known that he joined the United States Air Force as an Air Policeman (AP) in 1958 and was sent to Osan Air Base, South Korea.
THANK YOU CHUCK NORRIS!
3. Elvis Presley: Ironically, The King of Rock and Roll was a famous fan of law enforcement. Presley was know for collecting police badges and equipment. In 1970, Presley met with President Nixon to profess his disdain for the prevalent drug culture. As a result, Nixon made him an honorary drug enforcement agent.
THANK YOU ELVIS PRESLEY!
4. Lou Ferrigno: This is one celeb you do NOT want to mess with. Before taking on the role and alter ego of The Incredible Hulk, Ferrigno served as a full reserve deputy with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office in 2012, after having served as a Los Angeles County reserve deputy since 2006. Yikes!
THANK YOU LOU FERRIGNO!
5. Dan Akroyd: Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters! While he wasn’t a full blown police officer, this Blues Brother, Saturday Night Live alum, and Ghostbuster did hold an honorary police commission. He also served as an honorary commander with the Harahan Police Department in Louisiana, as he did much to support the department!
THANK YOU DAN AKROYD!