Police Work, Politics and World Affairs, Football and the ongoing search for great Scotch Whiskey!

Monday, January 25, 2016

You hear of some stupid crimals....

But this takes it. Read his last words.
Robber’s Famous Last Words: ‘I Thought You Couldn’t Own A Gun In New Jersey’

A Newark, New Jersey deli owner who shot and killed an armed man will not face charges, police and prosecutors say.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray as well as Newark Police Director Eugene Venable say that the owner of the deli had a permit for the gun that he used to defend himself.

New Jersey is notorious for having some of the strictest gun regulations in the nation. The robber apparently thought that meant there was no legal way for his would-be victims to arm themselves.

According to Guns.buzz, Mark Robinson’s last words inside the New Neighborhood Deli Supermarket were “I thought you couldn’t own a gun in New Jersey.”

Robinson, 46, had walked into the deli around 8:30 p.m. and immediately pointed a gun at the owner, who didn’t hesitate to pull his own weapon and fire. Robinson was pronounced dead at around 10 pm.

Ron White said it best:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Officer Down

Trooper Nathan-Michael William Smith
Virginia State Police
End of Watch: Monday, September 21, 2015
Age: 27
Tour: 1 year, 3 months
Badge # 1844

Trooper Nathan-Michael Smith was killed in a single vehicle crash at approximately 7:10 am while responding to assist another trooper whom he believed to be in distress at an accident scene in Dinwiddie County

He was exiting I-295 south onto I-95 north, in Prince George County, when his patrol car left the roadway, overturned, and struck several trees. He was extricated from the vehicle and flown to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The call he was responding to was dispatched as CPR being performed on another trooper. It was later determined that the trooper was performing CPR on a civilian crash victim.

Trooper Smith had served with the Virginia State Police for 15 months and was assigned to the Richmond Division Area 7 Office. He is survived by his wife, two children, and parents.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

9mm vs. .40 Caliber. An overview.

One of my friends is a now retired ER nurse in San Antonio TX and he told me a story of the 9mm round. He had a gang banger admitted with 8 shots from a 9mm. And he walks out of the hospital in three days. Three days. I've often said "If that had been a 38 I am pretty sure he would have bled out before the ambulance got him to the hospital..." Well this is an interesting look at how the bullets work. The FBI just went back to the 9mm and this is an interesting read.
9mm vs. .40 Caliber

This man was shot with .40 S&W rounds to center mass, was not incapacitated at the scene, and survived the shooting. (Photo: Sydney Vail)

At the end of October, the FBI announced that it was planning to swap out the .40 S&W pistols and ammunition now used by its agents and replace them with 9mm pistols and ammo. This was a widely discussed decision, given that the Bureau once partially blamed the performance of 9mm cartridges for the deaths of two agents in the 1986 Miami shootout and subsequently transitioned to 10mm and then to .40 caliber sidearms. This is also a widely followed decision because the FBI's choice of duty pistol and ammo will likely influence many other law enforcement agencies to give the 9mm jacketed hollow-point another look.

In the January 2013 issue of POLICE, I wrote an article titled "Stopping Power: Myths, Legends, and Realities," in which I discussed the wound ballistics performance of various popular pistol calibers as I have observed through my experience as a trauma surgeon and tactical medical specialist. My advice then and now is when it comes to claims about the effectiveness of handgun ammo, don't believe the hype. Instead, look at the hard facts.

And now that the FBI's decision to go back to 9mm pistols has ignited another round of debate about caliber effectiveness, it's time to look at the real-world performance of 9mm and .40 S&W rounds in terms of wound ballistics.

Understanding Stopping Power

One of the least understood concepts in all wound ballistics is stopping power. So before we discuss the 9mm vs. .40 caliber in terms of wound ballistics, let's define the concept of "stopping power."

I believe the definition of stopping power for law enforcement should be a particular ammunition's effectiveness to render a person unable to offer resistance or remain a threat to the officer, an intended victim, or self.

So how does ammunition accomplish this? You have two options. You can use a really large round at very high velocity like the 30mm cannon rounds from an Apache helicopter's M230 Chain Gun, which produces substantial kinetic energy, or you can place your shot where it has the most effect. Obviously, shot placement is the only realistic option for a law enforcement officer.

A handgun bullet shot into the shirtless torso of a person causes a degree of injury due to the body absorbing the bullet's energy and dispersing it in front of and around the path of the bullet. The projectile also tears through the tissue. This means that the kinetic energy of the bullet will create both a permanent cavity and to a much lesser extent a temporary cavity.

But handgun ammunition only has acceptable stopping power if the bullet hits a vital structure that would "stop" the target from continuing the fight.

The Measurements

OK, let's return to our specific discussion of 9mm and .40 S&W ammo and look at some of the basic measurable differences between these two calibers of handgun rounds.


Diameter 9.01mm (0.355 in)

Velocity 950-1,400 fps

Expansion 0.36-0.72 in

.40 S&W

Diameter 10.2mm (0.4 in)

Velocity 900-1,449 fps

Expansion 0.4-0.76 in

There is no debate that for a handgun round to be as effective at incapacitating as quickly as possible, it has to either hit the brain stem, injure a significant amount of brain tissue, or cause extremely rapid exsanguination (hemorrhage). From a wound ballistics perspective, the diameter of the handgun bullet translates into the permanent cavity, the direct tissue impact or what is actually injured by the projectile as it passes through tissues. If there is a blood vessel that is injured, the larger the hole or injury relates to the volume of blood that is able to leave the vascular system in a period of time as to cause a significant enough loss of blood to make the blood pressure go down to cause the brain not to work as efficiently, then to cause the loss of coordination, which then causes the person to become a reduced threat and eventually lose consciousness...all over time.

In a head shot, the amount of brain tissue disrupted by a bullet produces varying degrees of incapacitation unless the brain stem is hit. So when comparing the 9mm to the .40 S&W, size is not a huge factor. If both expand to the maximum diameter based on bullet design, there is not a large enough difference to account for a larger degree of tissue injury; the difference between non-expanded bullets is small as well.

Penetration in living tissue is a guessing game for both of these rounds. Despite what many shooters believe, measuring penetration in ballistic gel—simulating muscle tissue—yields limited useful information about penetration in the human body, which is made up of more than just muscle.

There are too many variables to accurately predict what the actual depth of penetration will be inside a human body. I have found a wide variety of depths of penetration for both 9mm and .40 caliber rounds when operating or caring for gunshot patients.

More Rounds in the Mag

Our discussion now comes back to shot placement or wounding accuracy and the potential number of bullets required to increase or maximize the odds of injuring the body of a threat in such a way as to render that person incapacitated.

Shooting accuracy is affected by stress, but the effects of stress can be reduced through experience. To quote Bruce Siddle from "Sharpening the Warriors Edge," "stress is a matter of perception and perceptions can be changed through the training process." By training to deal with more stressful situations, and not training until you get it right but training so you don't get it wrong, you have a much better chance of accurate hits under stressful conditions.

In other words, shot placement—which is critical to prevailing in a gunfight—must be maintained under the most stressful of circumstances. Having more rounds in your pistol's magazine increases the potential for accurate shots. Hence the FBI chose to make the change to the 9mm round, which usually offers a higher round count per magazine, faster and more accurate follow-up shots, less perceived recoil, and very similar physical bullet characteristics to the .40 S&W.

From a trauma surgeon's perspective, both the 9mm and the .40 caliber can wound, injure, incapacitate, or kill. However, shot placement is the best predictor of accomplishing the intended goals. I have treated patients with more than 20 "holes" in them that never caused enough tissue damage or bleeding to cause them to die. And I have treated patients with a single "hole" that did die. Remember, the discussion is the ability of a particular ammunition caliber with improved bullet characteristics to stop a threat, not living or dying but simply to temporarily or permanently incapacitate the threat.

The FBI report of an officer-involved shooting on Nov. 29, 2006, from a Pennsylvania police department makes for an interesting read on this topic. The assailant was shot in the chest and abdomen with 180-grain

.40 S&W modern hollow-point ammunition as well as .223 rounds from an M4. On autopsy it was discovered he had been shot 17 times with 11 rounds exiting his body. Despite these many wounds, he struggled with officers attempting to handcuff him before he died.

Limitations of Ballistic Gel

There are people who will read this article who will maintain that the early works of Dr. Martin Fackler were written in stone when in fact he provided a significant amount of quality wound ballistics data but kept an open mind, understanding the limitations of simulants such as ballistic gel. This is best represented in an editorial he wrote about an article published in the Journal of the International Wound Ballistics Association, Winter volume 1991;10-13, by E.J. Wolberg.

The article in question was an autopsy study by a medical examiner on "torso only" shots with a retained bullet, noting that patients were excluded if bone was hit or there was over penetration. This data was compared to gelatin data for the 9mm 147-grain Winchester jacketed hollow-point. Gel demonstrated a 12- to 14-inch depth of penetration, and the autopsy findings (with the bullet only passing through soft tissue) of a 10- to 17-inch penetration. The author's conclusion: "Based on comparison of data from living tissue penetration by the 9mm 147-grain bullet with test shots of the same bullet into gelatin, it is concluded that gelatin can be a useful predictor of this bullet's penetration and expansion characteristics in shots in the human torso."...

Personally I carry a Sig-Sauer 229 as my primary weapon and it's never let me down. I own a Taurus 9mm and it's been an excellent purchase. My department now allows 45's and I'm looking at going to a Glock sometime this year. But for now I don't see going to a 9mm as primary weapon. To each their own, but I this is an interesting read on the subject.

Officer Down

Police Officer Kevin Jermaine Toatley
DeKalb County Police Department, Georgia
End of Watch: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Age: 35
Tour: 7 years
Badge # 2690
Cause: Automobile accident

Police Officer Kevin Toatley was killed when his patrol car was struck head-on by the driver of a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on the South Fulton Parkway, near Buffington Road, at approximately 12:30 am.

His patrol car burst into flames following the crash. The five occupants of the other vehicle, including three children, were injured in the crash.

Officer Toatley had served with the DeKalb County Police Department for seven years.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Officer Down

Trooper Kyle D. Young
Vermont State Police, Vermont
End of Watch: Thursday, September 17, 2015
Age: 28
Tour: 1 year, 9 months
Badge # 446

Trooper Kyle Young suffered a fatal medical emergency while participating in a training session with the agency's Tactical Services Unit at the Ethan Allen Firing Range, in Jericho.

Trooper Young was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the Vermont State Police for 21 months. He is survived by his two daughters and partner.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Cops and armored vehicles....

I've gotten into heated discussions with close friends on the need of law enforcement to use armored vehicles from time to time. A few years back I was on a SWAT scene where the suspect was holed up in a building and he had almost 50 yards of kill space. The armored vehicle our team has allows them to approach shielded and deploy officers to enter the building.

Now there usual suspects at the Obama Regime want to limit purchase of the MRAP by local law enforcement. Remember the shooting in San Bernardino last month? How the sheriff deputies, also known as the "first responders", had to use AR-15s and an armored vehicle to approach. And they saved countless lives.

Now we have another example of how using formerly military equipment can be used in law enforcement.

Texas sheriff’s SWAT team uses MRAP to end stolen 18-wheeler standoff after chase

Remember those intimidating, oppressive, surplus military vehicles that are being taken away from police departments across the country? Well, one was used to finally put an end to a cross-county stolen 18-wheeler chase last week in Texas. The special response vehicle, used by the Hunt County Sheriff’s SWAT team was positioned in front of the truck after it had come to a halt and used as a position to fire tear gas into the cabin which ultimately ended the standoff. The man was arrested and the dog who was in the cabin was left with relatives, and not taken to a shelter.
Jan. 13–Units from multiple law enforcement agencies followed a reportedly stolen 18-wheeler across four counties Wednesday, before the slow-speed pursuit finally ended along the interstate 30 service road in Greenville.

The driver of the truck, identified as David Allen Arnold, 60, Burkeville, Va., was being held in local custody Wednesday evening, after he was arrested following a brief standoff, which involved SWAT units, an armored car and the use of tear gas.

No one was injured during the chase, which began in Kaufman County Wednesday morning when the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office began pursuing an 18-wheeler which had been reported stolen...

...Officers deployed spike sticks and several of the tires on the tractor trailer were deflated. But the chase continued through Rockwall County and entered Hunt County, at which time Arnold exited onto the south service road.

Speeds only reached 35 to 40 mph and continued into Greenville along the south service road of Interstate 30, ending when Arnold reached the dead end just past the former Mary of Puddin Hill store...

...“We were asked by DPS to deploy our SWAT unit,” (Hunt County Sheriff Randy)Meeks said. “I called our SWAT unit in as well as the Greenville Police Department SWAT team. We also deployed our Special Response Vehicle 6×6. We attempted negotiations with the suspect and we had no luck. A combination of the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and the Greenville Police Department’s SWAT team approached the parked truck inside the SRV vehicle. Two rounds of 40 millimeter of CS gas were shot into the cab of the 18-wheeler and the dog and the suspect exited the vehicle on the passenger side.”...

...“Anytime officers or civilians are not injured in an incident like this and the bad guy goes to jail is a good day,” Meeks said.

Dead on Sheriff Meeks, glad this came to a successful conclusion, great work by you deputies, the other officers and agencies involved. I'm

K9 handler issues....

I know of a couple of dogs who have similar issues.....

Officer Down

Sergeant Eric Meier
Crawford Police Department, New York
End of Watch: Thursday, September 17, 2015
Age: 51
Tour: 25 years

Sergeant Eric Meier suffered a fatal heart attack while hiking in a remote, rugged area while searching for a marijuana grow operation.

The grow had been reported in a section of farmland and woods off of Lybolt Road, near Gordon Road. The officer he was with requested medical assistance when Sergeant Meier began to fall ill. He was brought out of the remote area and transported to Orange Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Sergeant Meier had served in law enforcement for 25 years. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Richard Allen Hall
Chatham County Sheriff's Office, Georgia
End of Watch: Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Age: 45
Tour: 14 years

Deputy Sheriff Richard Hall was killed in a vehicle crash on Highway 280, just north of I-16 in Bryan County, at approximately 5:15 pm.

Deputy Hall was attempting to make a U-turn when his Department vehicle was struck by a pickup truck. The driver of the other vehicle suffered minor injuries.

Deputy Hall had served with the Chatham County Sheriff's Office for 14 years.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Dwight Darwin Maness
McHenry County Sheriff's Office, Illinois
End of Watch: Monday, September 14, 2015
Age: 47
Tour: 8 years
Incident Date: 10/16/2014

Deputy Sheriff Dwight Maness succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained 11 months earlier after being ambushed while en route to a domestic disturbance at a home in Holiday Hills.

He and two other deputies had gone to the home in the 1300 block of Northeast Shore Drive after a friend of the subject's wife called to request a welfare check. The subject answered the door and stated he did not need any assistance. He invited the deputies into the home and then immediately opened fire on them with an AR-15 rifle.

Deputy Maness and one of the other deputies were both shot multiple times as they retreated for cover. The third deputy returned fire as an Island Lake Police Department officer pulled Deputy Maness to safety.

The subject who shot the deputies was arrested several hours later. He was subsequently convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 135 years in prison.

Deputy Maness was confined to a wheelchair and underwent multiple surgeries. He passed away on September 14th, 2015, after suffering a pulmonary embolism while conducting a rehab session.

Deputy Maness was a U.S. Army veteran and had served with the McHenry County Sheriff's Office for seven years. He is survived by his wife, two sons, stepchildren, sister, three brothers, parents, and stepmother.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Steven "Brett" Hawkins
Harrison County Sheriff's Office, Missouri
End of Watch: Sunday, September 13, 2015
Age: 34
Tour: 3 years
Incident Date: 9/12/2015

Deputy Sheriff Brett Hawkins suffered a fatal heart attack following an emergency response.

The call involved a frantic subject and a subsequent search of the home and large surrounding area. He suffered the heart attack several hours after returning home following his shift.

Deputy Hawkins had served with the Harrison County Sheriff's Office for three years. He had previously served with the Bethany Police Department and Clinton County Sheriff's Office. He is survived by his wife, daughter, three sons, mother, and three siblings.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Officer Down

Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder
Kentucky State Police, Kentucky
End of Watch: Sunday, September 13, 2015
Age: 31
Tour: 9 months
Badge # 954

Trooper Joseph Ponder was shot and killed after conducting a vehicle stop on I-24, near Lamasco, at approximately 10:20 pm.

Trooper Ponder was on patrol when he observed a vehicle commit a traffic violation. The vehicle fled during the stop, leading Trooper Ponder on a nine-mile pursuit. During the chase, the driver abruptly stopped his vehicle, causing Trooper Ponder to crash into it. The man then exited his vehicle and opened fire, killing Trooper Ponder.

The subject fled the scene on foot but located in a wooded area several hours later by members of the Kentucky State Police ERT. He was shot and killed when he pointed his weapon at the officers.

Trooper Ponder was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served with the Kentucky State Police for nine months. He was assigned to the Mayfield Station. He is survived by his fiancee, parents, three siblings, and grandparents.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Officer Down

Deputy Chief John P. McKee
City University of New York Department of Public Safety, New York
End of Watch: Saturday, September 12, 2015
Age: 49
Tour: 18 years

Deputy Chief John McKee died as the result of cancer he developed following his assignment to assist with search and rescue efforts at the World Trade Center site immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Following the attacks, Chief McKee spent over one month at the ground zero site coordinating the allocation of his agency's resources and personnel for the search and rescue operations. He later fell ill as a result of his exposure to the toxic materials in the area at the site.

Chief McKee had served with the City University of New York Department of Public Safety for 18 years and he was second in command of the agency. He is survived by his wife.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed two of four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. After the impact of the first plane, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the first tower unexpectedly collapsed due as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The second tower collapsed a short time later. 71 law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill, and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding. During the raid, they shot and killed bin Laden.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Officer Down

Lieutenant Roy McLaughlin
Yonkers Police Department, New York
End of Watch: Thursday, September 10, 2015
Age: 38
Tour: 17 years

Lieutenant Roy McLaughlin passed away as the result of cancer which he developed following his assignment to aid in the search and recover efforts at the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 Terrorist Attack.

Lieutenant McLaughlin had served with the Yonkers Police Department for 17 years. He is survived by his wife, four children, parents, and three brothers. All three of his brothers and his father also served with the Yonkers Police Department.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed two of four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. After the impact of the first plane, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the first tower unexpectedly collapsed due as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The second tower collapsed a short time later. 71 law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill, and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding. During the raid, they shot and killed bin Laden.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Officer Down

Sergeant Miguel Perez-Rios
Puerto Rico Police Department, Puerto Rico
End of Watch: Monday, September 7, 2015
Age: 35
Tour: 13 years
Badge # 33906

Sergeant Miguel Perez-Rios was shot and killed in an ambush while working an off duty assignment at a gas station on Camino Alejandrino, in Caimito.

He was approached by three masked individuals and shot numerous times without warning. The subjects continued to shoot him after he fell to the ground, firing approximately 40 rounds.

Sergeant Perez-Rios had received death threats over the previous 24 hours by an individual he had arrested several times. It is believed that he was murdered in retaliation for the prior arrests. Several subjects have been taken into custody as part of the investigation.

Sergeant Perez-Rios had served with the Puerto Rico Police Department for 13 years. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant. He is survived by his expectant wife and three children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Same stuff, new year.

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Darren H. Goforth
Harris County Sheriff's Office, Texas
End of Watch: Friday, August 28, 2015
Age: 47
Tour: 10 years

Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth was shot and killed from ambush while pumping gas into his patrol car at a commercial gas station at the intersection of West and Telge Roads, in Cypress.

Deputy Goforth was on patrol and had completed an assignment at the scene of a vehicle collision. He went to a local gas station to fuel his patrol car. As Deputy Goforth stood next to his patrol car filling it with fuel, a male subject walked up behind him and fired multiple shots. After Deputy Goforth fell to the ground, the subject shot him several more times before fleeing the scene in a pickup truck.

The subject was apprehended the next day following a massive manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies from around the Harris County and Houston area. He was charged with capital murder.

Deputy Goforth had served with the Harris County Sheriff's Office for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and two children, ages 5 and 12.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Copblock shows how worthless it its...

I saw this from PoliceOne.com yesterday and looked up the referenced video. Here it is with the article and my comments.

Video of state police drug arrest in Frederick raises question about use of force

By Jeremy Arias

The three-minute, 47-second video was posted to YouTube on Thursday by a group opposing police injustice. The silent clip shows a uniformed state trooper chase a man into the lobby of a business on Carroll Creek Way, then throw him to the floor. When more troopers arrive, one of them strikes the man repeatedly in the face with a closed fist before the man is placed in handcuffs. While the second trooper punches the man, the first trooper has the man pinned on the floor and is trying to restrain his arms....

No Mr. Arias, CopBlock.Org is not "opposing police injustice." They oppose police, period.
...The troopers involved in the arrest were cleared of any wrongdoing and their actions were deemed justified by the state police Internal Affairs Unit and use-of-force experts from the agency’s training division, according to a state police statement released Friday in response to The Frederick News-Post’s questions.

“It was determined that the troopers used reasonable force against a suspect who continued to resist arrest and made movements indicative of someone trying to reach a gun in his pocket or waistband,” the police statement says. “The force was only used in an effort to take the non-compliant suspect into custody and prevent him from reaching his pocket or waistband during the struggle. When custody was obtained, all use of force ceased.”...

...The man, 31-year-old Bradley S. Martin, was driving a 1995 Ford Explorer west on I-70 near Mussetter Road at about 3 p.m. Aug. 17 when a state trooper tried to pull him over for going 76 mph in a 65 mph zone, according to a statement state police issued Friday.

The SUV kept going, leading troopers onto Md. 144 and into the city, running several stoplights along the way, according to state police. As more troopers joined the pursuit, they learned that the license plate on the SUV was not the one registered to the vehicle, according to the statement...

In case you don't catch the point, when you have a stolen/false license plate on a vehicle, the assumption the cop has to make is the vehicle is stolen.
...Troopers continued to chase Martin on foot when he jumped out of the SUV and ran into the business, where the camera recorded the arrest, Shipley said.

“[The trooper] finds [Martin] in this small lobby area, giving him commands to surrender, to get on the ground, and there is an immediate struggle,” Shipley said. “This video has no sound, but there is that struggle going on. This guy is not surrendering. He is struggling.”

The state police statement says Trooper 1st Class Hood ordered Martin multiple times to stop and chased him into the building, where the trooper pulled him to the floor.

“The trooper saw and felt the suspect repeatedly try to get one or both hands into the pockets or waistband of his pants,” the statement said. “The trooper was trying to gain control of the suspect’s hands as the struggle continued.”

The statement says Trooper 1st Class Whorton arrived as backup and heard from Hood that the suspect “may have a gun in his pants.” Whorton used “closed hand strikes to the suspect’s face” to try to subdue him, the statement says. When a third trooper arrived to help and the struggle continued, “TFC Whorton used additional hand strikes and the suspect submitted and was able to be handcuffed,” police said.

Martin was taken to Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown for treatment of facial injuries, and was then taken to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
And if you had noticed he had a bag of a white power like substance (0:57 of the video). I think it's called heroin.
David Rocah, the senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, had a different perspective of what was shown in the video. In Rocah’s view, the trooper was either exacting street justice or, at best, trying to force Martin to comply by inflicting pain on him.

“That is not and should not be a lawful use of force,” Rocah said. “And the fact that the Maryland State Police thinks that it is, I think, perfectly demonstrates why so many people think that the police cannot police themselves, and it shows why they are right.”

Mr. Rocah, if it's "lawful use of force" is something to be judge by an investigator, the department and possibly a grand jury or jury. Now seeing you're an attorney and that limits your knowledge of the law ( ;<) ) let me explain this to you. If you are trying to resist arrest, a peace officer may use reasonable force to secure you. If you are likely going for a weapon, that gets elevated (see 1:05 to 1:15. The punk was going to his waist and that is where turds like to keep weapons, like guns and knifes. At that moment the trooper has fear for his life or serious bodily injury and can legally use deadly force. So you know it, punching him in the face with a fist is not deadly force. But as soon as the het him under control, the punching stops (1:15 5o 1:25). That's what we call justified use of force.
...That the second trooper immediately assaulted Martin instead of helping to restrain his arms indicates the second trooper was more concerned with hurting Martin than preventing him from reaching for a weapon, Rocah said.

“This mantra, that he might have had a gun, is what police always say, and it is not and should not be a blanket statement to any crazy actions that police take,” Rocah said. “By that rationale, the police would have been justified in executing [the man].”...

No Mr. Rocah, the trooper would have been justified in using deadly force (e.g. a pistol or baton strike to the head). BTY, the crazy actions of Mr. Martin, evading at high speeds, running red lights, etc endangered countless civilians. If he had simply pulled over, use of force would have not been necessary.
...After Martin was handcuffed, police found that he had a folded knife and 14.9 grams of heroin, with an estimated street value of $3,750 to $7,500, according to the statement...

Martin initially gave police a false name, but he was eventually identified and charged via a grand jury indictment Dec. 19 that was served at a correctional facility in West Virginia, the statement reads. The charges included possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of heroin, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and second-degree assault...

...According to the ACLU, Martin’s arrest was the latest in an ongoing pattern of troubling actions and justifications by police that undermine the public’s trust in law enforcement. Ultimately, independent reviews of such cases will likely be needed to restore the public’s trust in police, Rocah said.

“I’m not saying [police] can’t use force. I’m not saying that it’s an easy job,” Rocah said. “Police enforcing the law is sometimes inherently a violent job ... [But] the difference between intent and perception can be vast, and if all that matters is police perception, then none of us are safe, because none of us can control police perception.”

You mean he's not in college and on the dean's list. Sorry ACLU and COPBLOCK.ORG, you picked another "entrepreneur" to make a fight over. He is a felon (to be accurate, he is accused), in possession of heroin and evading in a vehicle. Law abiding citizens will likely look at that video and say "Looks like a turd, acts like a turn,that's a turd."

Great work troopers!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Officer Down

Trooper James Matthew Bava
Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri
End of Watch: Friday, August 28, 2015
Age: 25
Tour: 2 years, 2 months
Badge # 162

Trooper James Bava was killed in a single vehicle crash at the intersection of Highway FF and County Road 977, in Audrain County, shortly before 8:30 am.

He was initiating a traffic stop of a motorcycle when his patrol car crashed.

The driver of the motorcycle was arrested on November 23rd, 2015, following a three month long investigation. The man was charged with second degree murder, resisting a lawful stop, resisting arrest by a state trooper, careless driving, excessive speeding, and failure to register a vehicle.

Trooper Bava had served with the Missouri State Highway Patrol for two years and was assigned to Troop F. He is survived by his parents, two brothers, and three sisters.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Police training drills...

I'm about to go to the range and practice on my AR-15 (damn I need some, I gotta say) and I found this in PoliceOnce.com. Drills that need to be practiced and I'll be the first to say I need them.

Have a great week.

10 firearms training drills for off-duty carry

There isn’t any doubt that the threat to America’s law enforcement officers has increased, and as we enter 2016 we need to redouble our training for both on-duty and off-duty threats. We need to continue the practice of semper vigilis. The following training drills for off-duty carry — which are also appropriate for all non-uniformed assignments — are culled from numerous firearm instructors.

They all instruct (or own) professional schools and have been range masters at their respective agencies. These professionals include John Marrs of Spartan Training Resources (using concepts learned from Ron Avery and Ken Nelson) and Dan Gray and Gene Whisenand of Trident Firearms Academy, as well as Vince Bizzini of Valley Defense Consulting and others. Their combined experience is more than 120 years of patrol and firearms, plus a little military service.

For all of these drills, use adequate safety staff and safety measures, understand the drill, and do dry runs long before attempting the training. You will note that most of these drills do not have a high ammo count, and with each one you can work on fundamental skills and abilities which can help you win an off-duty or non-uniform deadly encounter.

1. Practice language skills
Yes, this is for range training, not just briefing training. Words and language delivery can affect the outcome of an encounter. In an off-duty encounter, officers should use the psychology of language and action to create compliance, pre-program the situation, or prevent tragic “blue on blue” incidents.

The psychology of language is an entire science, but in this venue, we can create a few rules, such as give orders with a plosive consonant. A plosive consonant is made with the body by cutting off air, either by using the lips (bilabial) or in the palate area (velar). Telling someone to “stop” or “show me your hands” does not command the attention as well as orders such as “get back”, “get down”, and “drop the gun”. For the same reason, deputies should not say, “Sheriff’s Department” when getting someone’s attention. They should say, “Police.”

Legally defensible effective language should include “Call the police”, even if you are the police, albeit not in uniform. The psychology here is the fact that every witness, including the aggressor, will associate the phrase with “probably the good guy”, based on the user’s willingness to confront the authorities. When witnesses are questioned later, they will remember this, even if they do not remember the words.

Remember, the ego has to go away here, because an off-duty officer flashing a badge is really a guy with a gun holding another metal object. The uniformed anybody is in charge until the dust settles. The non-uniformed officer with the gun, baseball cap and other objects which likely make him or her unrecognizable needs to comply with every order given. They should expect to be met at gunpoint and will likely be handcuffed. The non-uniformed officer needs to repeat a single phrase when others arrive: “Police officer! Don’t shoot!” Learn to shout it when training for off-duty encounters. When the real incident arrives, repeat it until your beat buddies tell you that you sound like a broken record.

All legally defensible language must include a cause and effect and be void of ego-induced language. Do not say stupid things like “Stop, or this is going to hurt” because it will hurt your employment status and pocketbook. Rather, your language should include, “Don’t make me shoot you.” Yes, telling a fighting suspect to “stop resisting” is excellent.

2. Assess your carry system
Your carry system should be capable of delivering a close-quarter hostage rescue shot. Said differently, you should be able to quickly deliver a sinus cavity shot within five yards with confidence. To train for this, shoot your gun at 10 yards within a four-inch target. This is pass/fail. That is, if you cannot do this, you need to find a gun/ammo/training system which will allow you to do this consistently.

3. Practice distraction strikes
A distraction strike is any defensive strike used to regain control of an encounter. In this drill, the officer stands at contact distance with the target in a bladed, aggressive stance. On the fire command, the shooting hand reaches for the gun while the non-shooting hand strikes a target anywhere north of the base of the neck, accompanied by the shooter’s verbal command.

As the gun is drawn, the striking hand gets out of the way, either by touching the head or chest, depending on the system. The officer fires two or more quick shots. Practice this drill without the firearm first to ensure safe delivery of the shots.

4. Draw while moving to cover
This is done at a 3-5 yard distance, untimed. Small traffic cones or range supplied barricades are used for cover. The fire command is “threat left” or “threat right.” On the command, the shooter draws while moving left or right toward cover. The officer is successful when they fire from behind cover.

5. The focal continuum drill
When faced with a deadly threat, your vision will naturally focus on the threat. To make good hits, you must bring that focus back to the front sight. Quickly working through the focal continuum (from your eyeball to infinity) is something you can train your eye to do with practice. The faster you can change focus, the faster you will make good hits. This drill is intended to train your eye to change focus from far-to-near and near-to-far.

For this drill, you will need two targets per shooter and a pistol with two rounds (round count is multiplied for each time you run the drill).

The shooter has one target at a range of five yards and another at 10 yards. The shooter starts holding the pistol at the Count 4 position (two-handed hold directly in front to chest) with vision focused on the nearest target.

On command, the shooter lifts the gun between eye and target. As the gun enters peripheral vision, the shooter changes his or her focus back to the front sight and fires one round when sights are on target. The shooter’s focus then changes to the far target. The gun follows and as it comes onto target, vision changes focus back to the front sight, and one shot is fired at the second target when the sights are aligned.

When done properly, this drill will teach shooters to change the focus of their eye from threat to sights quickly. It is important to start slow, even saying aloud to the student “target, sights, target, sights” as they run the drill. Going too fast will have the student forgetting the purpose of the drill and it turns into a speed shooting exercise.

6. The ‘sugar cookie’ drill
The shooter starts on his back with the coach standing in front of him ‘wrestling’ with his feet. On the fire command, the coach moves off behind the shooter on the support side. The shooter then draws and fires from the compromised position. When done on a dirt range, the participant ends up looking like a sugar cookie, hence the name.

7. The ‘who do you love’ drill
This is a hostage rescue drill done from 10-12 feet. The fire command is “left” or “right.” The shooter has to hit the left or right hostage taker. See the accompanying photo for an example of successful execution of this drill.

8. Shove BOB
This drill uses a paper target and a Century Body Opponent Bag (BOB). The student stands at arm’s length from a BOB. There is a paper target behind BOB. On the fire command, the shooter shoves the BOB over, steps back and fires on the paper target behind BOB while giving solid verbal commands.

Do not shoot BOB. Practice shoving one over before this drill.

9. Shooting while dining
The shooter begins seated at a table. On the threat command, the shooter engages a target three to five yards away. After each engagement, the shooter rotates to another one of the four seats at the table. The idea is to train the shooter to draw and shoot at the same target from each of the four positions.

10. Simulate an adrenaline dump: The wrestle/engage drill
The purpose here is to simulate a disengagement/shooting scenario. This requires a trainer with a stopwatch, adequate safety officers, and a training partner for each shooter. Begin by pairing shooters with coaches. Shooters and coaches face each other and place their hands on each other’s shoulders. For three minutes, they simply have to push, while keeping their feet moving all the time. They do not have to wrestle, but they must push against each other for three minutes. When the time has elapsed, officers must begin to shoot their standard qualification within one minute of their three-minute session.

Stay safe out there, and keep training.

About the author
Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. He has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Online Teaching and Learning. Lindsey has taught shooting techniques for over a decade. His articles on firearms tactics have appeared in print for over a decade. Lindsey enjoys competing in shooting sports, running, and cycling events.

Officer Down

Trooper Chad H. Wolf
Michigan State Police, Michigan
End of Watch: Friday, August 28, 2015
Age: 38
Tour: 7 years
Badge # 1704

Trooper Wolf was on motorcycle patrol and traveling northbound in the right lane of Dixie Highway and crossing over southbound I-75 when a vehicle towing an empty trailer traveling in the left lane quickly changed lanes in an attempt to access the I-75 entrance ramp. As the vehicle changed lanes, it struck Trooper Wolf's motorcycle. Trooper Wolf was dragged for several miles on I-75 before the driver pulled over at a rest area.

The driver of the vehicle that struck Trooper Wolf cooperated with the investigation and was released without charges.

Trooper Wolf served with the Michigan State Police for seven years. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Officer Down

Police Officer Henry Nelson
Sunset Police Department, Louisiana
End of Watch: Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Age: 51
Tour: 13 years

Police Officer Henry Nelson was shot and killed at approximately 3:00 pm while responding to a domestic disturbance call where three women had been stabbed by a male subject at a home on Anna Street in Sunset.

When Officer Nelson arrived the subject was able to gain control of his service weapon and fatally shot him.

The subject fled the scene and crashed his vehicle into a nearby gas station where he barricaded himself for several hours. He was apprehended after a SWAT team made entry into the gas station.

Officer Nelson was airlifted to the hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds. One of the three stabbing victims also died.

Officer Nelson had served with the six-person Sunset Police Department for 13 years. He is survived by his daughter.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

If you've ever wondered where American libtards get their ideas..

Here we go.

A common call on a police radio is a BOLO, Be On the Look Out, a quick description for a suspect, such as "Black male, blue jeans, red shirt, on foot west bound on 1st Street...." But thanks to the enlightened people in Sweden, they don't have to worry about that.
Swedish police banned from describing criminals anymore in case they sound racist

'We want to avoid pointing out ethnic groups as criminal,' police say

Swedish police will no longer be able to give descriptions of alleged criminals for fear of being seen as racist.

According to an internal letter, police in capital city Stockholm are instructed to refrain from describing suspects' race and nationality, according to news website Speisa.

Local newspaper Svenska Dagbadet reported it had seen the letter, which it said outlined how officers should now notify the public of crimes.

Sweden has done so much for refugees. Now it's turned its back on them

The crimes “involve everything from lighter traffic accidents to serious crimes like muggings, beatings and murder,” the paper reported.

The letter specifies that, for everyday crimes such as burglary, basic information such as ethnicity, nationality, skin colour and height should not be given.

It was written by Stockholm police press officers Wolf Gyllander and Carina Skagerlind, and said crimes should be reported externally via the police website, without descriptions....

...Sepesia reported the letter read: “Criticism is sometimes made against police regarding information about people’s skin colour. It is perceived as racist.

“As police are not racist, nor shall be constructed as so, this directive now applied.”...

Idiots. It's just saying to every non-white thug in the country "I can do anything and they can't follow me..." Hat to tell you this Sweden, simple facts are required in law enforcement, such as a description of a suspect. And ethnic groups are not criminal, individuals are criminal. You now have said to your officers "You cannot describe/pursue the criminal."

Enjoy your multiple rapes, murders, and other felonies.

Security Weekly: Gauging the Jihadist Movement in 2016: Grassroots Terrorism, January 14, 2016

By Scott Stewart

Over the past two weeks we have examined the al Qaeda and Islamic State portions of the global jihadist movement. As we discussed those two opposing — and in many locations, warring — militant organizations, we examined the core of their organizations and their franchise or affiliate groups. In doing so, we purposefully left out the phenomenon of grassroots terrorism because both the Islamic State and al Qaeda seek to inspire grassroots operatives. At the same time, potential attackers can be motivated by either, or both, organizations.

Defining the Grassroots

Jihadist ideologues such as Abu Musab al-Suri have promoted the leaderless resistance model since 2003, as we explained in the insurgent and terrorist theory portion of the 2013 Gauging the Jihadist Movement series. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula began heavily promoting the concept in 2009, and the core of al Qaeda followed suit in 2010. For its part, the Islamic State began openly supporting leaderless resistance in September 2014.

Jihadists adopted the leaderless resistance model of operations because of the difficulty they have experienced in getting trained terrorist operatives into the West to conduct attacks. In other words, the shift to leaderless resistance is an admission of weakness rather than a sign of strength. But while counterterrorism agencies and programs have proved adept at targeting known groups and individuals — as they were designed to do — they struggle with the ambiguity of leaderless resistance.

That said, the leaderless resistance model is not always strictly followed, and there is not always the strict separation between the various elements of the jihadist movement that the model calls for. Indeed, there are often links and overlaps between grassroots jihadists and other elements of the jihadist movement. As noted in last year's assessment of the grassroots jihadist threat, there is a wide spectrum of involvement between grassroots operatives and the rest of the jihadist movement, and the danger posed by grassroots operatives tends to vary depending on their connections to other terrorist elements. Grassroots operatives who receive direction and equipment from professional terrorists, such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing cell or Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tend to pose a greater danger than amateurs operating alone.

The spectrum of levels of connection has been illustrated by recent events in France. The operatives involved in the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris who were trained and directed by the Islamic State were able to conduct a far deadlier attack than the lone amateur who, merely inspired by the Islamic State, attempted to attack officers at a Paris police station with a meat cleaver Jan. 7 before being shot dead.

It is also important to keep in mind that grassroots operatives do not just operate as lone attackers. Though many choose to work alone, it is not uncommon for them to group together to form more dangerous grassroots cells. As illustrated by the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, members of a jihadist cell working together and conducting simultaneous attacks against different targets pose a far greater challenge for law enforcement than lone operatives.


Of course, the threat from grassroots jihadists is nothing new. In the time since a grassroots jihadist assassinated Jewish Defense League founder Meir Kahane in midtown Manhattan in November 1990, such attacks have posed a constant, albeit low-level, threat. Grassroots jihadists have occasionally executed successful attacks, such as the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting and the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and failed in others, such as Faisal Shahzad's planned Times Square bombing in May 2010. Authorities have also thwarted planned attacks such as the June 2006 Canada 17 plot or the September 2009 Najibullah Zazi case.

Following the Islamic State's call for grassroots attacks in late September 2014, we saw an unprecedented spike in such attacks. But since that time, the tempo of attacks and plots has returned to a level similar to that witnessed in the past. However, the complexion of the plots has changed. As Stratfor forecast in 2010 grassroots jihadists have shifted their tactics away from complicated bombing plots to simpler armed assaults that they are more capable of conducting without assistance.

Most jihadists who attend training camps set up by al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other jihadist groups are taught the types of basic military skills required to fight in an insurgency. This means they are provided basic physical conditioning, given some hand-to-hand combat lessons and then taught how to operate basic military hardware such as assault rifles, hand grenades and, in some cases, crew-served weapons such as machine guns and mortars. Very few students move on to the more advanced training required to become a skilled terrorist operative.

Because of this, most grassroots jihadists, even those who have traveled to fight with groups such as al Qaeda or the Islamic State, lack the type of sophisticated terrorist tradecraft that professional operatives possess. Lacking such skills often causes grassroots jihadists to fail in overly ambitious attacks or to be ensnared in government sting operations after reaching out to more established groups for help.

Consequently, the move toward armed assaults using the type of basic military skills possessed by most of the attackers is a logical trend. It has also proved to be a deadly one, with armed assaults resulting in more casualties in the West than bombing operations in recent years. Even in those operations that have utilized bombs and firearms, such as the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, far more casualties resulted from gunshot wounds than from explosions. We believe that this trend will continue well through 2016.

Last week we forecast that the Islamic State will be under intense pressure in the coming year. This means two things: that grassroots jihadists are going to have a far more difficult time traveling to join the Islamic State, and that those foreign fighters who are currently in Iraq and Syria are going to increasingly find themselves in a hostile environment where they can be readily identified as foreigners. As a result, many of them will leave Syria and Iraq to return home. (This same dynamic will also apply to the al Qaeda Syrian franchise Jabhat al-Nusra and other jihadist groups in the region.) Consequently, many of these fighters pose a risk of returning to their home countries to conduct attacks either individually or as part of grassroots cells.

That said, there are some factors that will help constrain the threat returning jihadists pose. Perhaps the most significant of these is ideological: Many jihadists who believe it is proper to fight the Syrian government (which is oppressing Muslims) do not believe it is acceptable to conduct attacks in the West against noncombatants. Other foreign fighters have become disillusioned by jihadist groups that frequently fight one another. At the same time, governments are closely monitoring the flow of their citizens leaving to fight with the Islamic State and are aware of the danger posed by returning combatants, especially in the wake of the Paris attacks. Across the West, governments have redoubled their efforts to monitor returned fighters and to share intelligence with allies to disrupt plots.

Still, reports have surfaced that the Islamic State and al Qaeda are looking to recruit foreign fighters to return home to carry out attacks. With tens of thousands of fighters currently in places like Syria, Iraq, Libya and Somalia, it will be impossible for their home governments to monitor them all. Undoubtedly some combatants will return home intending to conduct terrorist attacks, while other grassroots operatives will stay home and attack. But the threat they represent is not a totally new phenomenon: The grim truth is that there are undoubtedly jihadists in the United States, Europe and elsewhere planning attacks at this very moment — just as they have over the past two decades. Though some of them will succeed, as I outlined a few weeks ago, such attacks are vulnerable to being detected and thwarted, and the plots highlight the need to maintain vigilance and not panic.


Geopolitical Weekly: Saudi Arabia: Palace Intrigue at a Time of Transition, January 12, 2016

By Reva Bhalla

In the past two weeks, Saudi Arabia sparked a wave of outrage with the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and sent investors into a frenzy over the possible sale of shares in the world's largest oil company, the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Many observers attribute the country's behavior to the dominant royal personalities of the day. Western media have described Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, the 30-year-old favored son of King Salman, as arrogant, naive and impulsive, and they have credited him with steering the Saudi kingdom into somewhat unpredictable territory.

The young prince recently revealed himself further with a lengthy interview he granted The Economist — a stark departure from the Saudi royal tradition of delivering terse public statements to tightly controlled state-owned media. He spoke relatively freely about his desire to liberalize the economy and defended his country's policies toward Iran. However, the prince downplayed his role in building a more aggressive Saudi policy, stressing that the kingdom is "a country of institutions," where relevant ministries provide information to a king who makes the final decisions.

This is perhaps too generous a description for Saudi politics. After all, Saudi Arabia is better known for its emphasis on family and tribal politics than for its institutional maturity. However, there is certainly more driving the kingdom's actions than a novice prince with an appetite for risk.

An Uneven Playing Field

When you look at a map of the Middle East, three geographic features stand out: the Anatolian land bridge, the Iranian plateau and the Arabian Peninsula. Not coincidentally, these formations constitute the three most active powers in the Middle East today: Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia doesn't have the historical prestige Turkey and Iran do. The Turks and Persians were able to create unique civilizations and vast empires from their well-defined and buffered cores. Access to resources, popular trade routes and heavy migratory traffic gave rise to large populations and a working class. Institutions were created and refined over time to manage its citizens, its national defense and its commercial interests.

The Arabian Peninsula's story is quite different. Until oil was discovered in the 1930s, the harsh and barren landscape forming the core of the peninsula was home to only a small number of desert nomads who would survive off the camel caravan trade and raids on small oasis towns controlled and fought over by competing tribes. It was a simple, independent and rather unambitious life in this forbidding interior.

As T.E. Lawrence described in the early 20th century:

The Bedouin of the desert had been born and had grown up in it, and had embraced this nakedness too harsh for volunteers with all his soul, for the reason, felt but inarticulate, that there he found himself indubitably free … in his life he had air and winds, sun and light, open spaces and great emptiness. There was no human effort, no fecundity in nature: just the heaven above and the unspotted earth beneath. There unconsciously he came near to God … the Bedouin could not look for God within him: he was too sure that he was within God. He could not conceive anything which was or was not God. He alone was great, and yet there was a homeliness, an everydayness of this climactic Arab God, who was their eating and their fighting and their lusting, the commonest of their thoughts, their commonest resource and companion. … They felt no incongruity in bringing God into their weaknesses and appetites, and invoked his name in the least creditable causes. He was the commonest of their words: and indeed we lost much eloquence by making him the shortest and ugliest of our monosyllables.

Lawrence, arguably the ultimate romanticist when it came to Bedouin life, elegantly articulates the deep religiosity in Arabia that so deeply unnerves observers in the West. It was in the upland region of the Najd — in the center of the arid peninsula, with the inhospitable al Nafud desert to the north, the Rub al Khali (or "Empty Quarter") to the south and the Hijaz Mountains to the west — where the austere Sunni sect of Wahhabism took root. This sect created a religious platform for the House of Saud to eventually carve out a state through conquest. The Najd-rooted state would include the more cosmopolitan Hijaz region — an area vital to trade and containing the holy cities of Mecca and Medina — and the fertile oasis area of Qatif and al Ahsa in eastern Arabia, where a Shiite-majority population stretches into Bahrain.

Internalizing the Iranian Threat

This historical backdrop informs much of Saudi Arabia's current behavior. The 84-year-old kingdom has been resilient in the face of jihadist rebellion, oil crashes and invasions of Kuwait and Iraq in decades past, but it is also very uneasy. Oil is the House of Saud's primary means of taming unrest at home and buying influence — and security — abroad. The majority of that oil lies in Eastern Province, where the demographic balance shifts in favor of the Shiites. The problem for Saudi Arabia is that it cannot be reasonably confident in its own military capabilities to defend those oil assets from interested parties in Tehran.

The Saudi royals remember well the last time Washington tried to work with Iran and Saudi Arabia simultaneously to manage the Middle East. During U.S. President Richard Nixon's administration, this was known as the "Twin Pillars" policy, but the Saudi royals knew that they were second-class allies to the White House compared to the Shah's Iran. In fact, Iran used its close relationship with the U.S. administration to present itself as the defender and U.S. military partner for all Gulf oil interests. From the Saudi perspective, this created the possibility that Washington would turn a blind eye and give Tehran implicit support to take control of the Arabian shore of the Persian Gulf. Today, Saudi Arabia can take comfort in the knowledge that the mullahs' Iran will not have nearly as close a relationship with the White House as the Shah's Iran. However, especially in light of the Iranian nuclear agreement, the Saudis also have to think longer term about the potential for politics to evolve in Tehran and for a deeper rapprochement to develop between Riyadh's primary security guarantor and its primary adversary. Moreover, Iran's covert arm will pose a more serious threat to Saudi interests — particularly in sensitive sectarian zones — once Tehran is no longer bound by sanctions.

Therefore, Saudi Arabia's policy is designed to take no chances with Iran. As soon as Shiite protest activity emerged in Bahrain in 2011, Saudi Arabia swiftly sent troops to occupy the island in defense of the sheikdom's Sunni rulers. When al-Nimr condemned the Saudi royals in 2012 and called on fellow Shiites in Eastern Province to rise up in protest against Saudi repression, Saudi authorities threw him and other activists in jail for "foreign meddling." Al-Nimr's execution on Jan. 2 was a calculated risk by the Saudi leadership to demonstrate the heavy hand Riyadh is willing to use in silencing dissent and denying Iran the chance to use the Saudi Shiite population to destabilize the kingdom.

Stress Testing the Coalition

Countering Iran on a regional level is not a mission for the Saudis alone. The kingdom's leaders understand that they are operating in an old and uncomfortable relationship in which Riyadh's interests and Washington's interests might not align neatly. What Saudi Arabia needs is a coalition that it can rely on to defend its interests and compensate for its own weaknesses. Even a cold war with Iran fought across the region requires ample resources. And with Saudi foreign policy getting more expensive amid low oil prices and more competition with Iran, Riyadh will be looking to share this burden. Saudi Arabia has been very active under King Salman in courting countries like Egypt and Pakistan for manpower in Yemen and Syria. Saudi Arabia also has been willing to work closely with the other big Sunni heavyweight in the region, Turkey, in trying to tilt the regional balance back toward Sunni interests. Saudi Arabia's financial largesse has been used to purchase alliances among smaller exploitable players such as Sudan and Eritrea. The more allies Saudi Arabia can claim, the more it can preserve its own resources and the more attention it will demand from Washington.

In the wake of the al-Nimr execution and the storming of the Saudi Embassy in Iran, Saudi Arabia was able to see who among its allies would cut or limit diplomatic ties with Iran in solidarity with Riyadh. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Sudan passed that test, while others mustered diplomatic condemnations. Yet Saudi Arabia will need more than diplomatic backup to prove that its coalition has substance. Proxy battles fought across the region, from Yemen to the Levant, will require countries to sacrifice blood and treasure in these battlefields — a hard sell for many who would prefer to maintain more plausible deniability and can afford more balance in their foreign relationships.

There is also an ideological obstacle in Saudi Arabia's coalition-building efforts. Working with a country as vital as Turkey, led by the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party — or a maverick Gulf sheikhdom like Qatar, which (like Turkey) promotes a number of Islamist groups in the region — or luring a militant group like Hamas away from Iran requires a certain tolerance for democratic Islamist movements. This is a bitter pill to swallow for the Saudi royals, who largely have seen Muslim Brotherhood-type movements as an existential threat to the state.

The kingdom has fostered deep religiosity through a Wahhabist doctrine that pervades everyday life, but the al Saud family also drew a clear line between the religious establishment and the political establishment to prevent challenges from religious leaders. The Muslim Brotherhood's approach of blending Western-style democracy with Islamic governance simply does not comport with the model designed by the House of Saud. At the same time, the Saudi leadership, particularly under King Salman, has realized the limits of a zero-tolerance policy toward Muslim Brotherhood factions. In fact, King Salman's Saudi Arabia has engaged openly with Muslim Brotherhood affiliates, including the al-Islah party in Yemen, Hamas and the Ennahda party in Tunisia.

Saudi Arabia's willingness to deal with such groups has helped heal some of the wounds in its coalition while aggravating others. On the one hand, Saudi Arabia can work more effectively with Turkey and Qatar in crucial battle zones like Syria. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia runs the risk of sowing more distrust with the current Egyptian government and the United Arab Emirates, both of which believe the Muslim Brotherhood is best dealt with through force alone. For Saudi Arabia to build a viable coalition for operations in Syria, it will need Turkey and Egypt to get along. This is why, with Turkey's urging, Saudi officials have been quietly leaning on the Egyptian government to soften its stance on the Muslim Brotherhood and mend ties with Ankara. Egypt will do just enough to secure Saudi financial assistance and could re-engage with Turkey, but resetting Cairo's virulent disposition toward the Brotherhood will take a lot more than Saudi money.

Revising the Social Contract?

The more interesting question may be whether Saudi Arabia's willingness to work with Muslim Brotherhood affiliates abroad will translate to any political opening at home. The Saudi leaders can see that the Saudi social contract — bartering material comfort from oil wealth for unquestioned support to an absolute monarchy — has its limits. This is particularly true when the price of oil is in danger of sinking to the $20s and structural weaknesses in the global economy indicate that prices will stay low for an extended period of time. Saudi Arabia has room to cut production and shave off excess supply in the oil markets, but any space it cedes would be filled by Iran, which is eager to sell its oil after years of sanctions, and by agile U.S. shale producers seeking a more viable price environment.

Rather than try to control the market, Saudi Arabia is preparing to endure a long period of painfully low oil prices, taking on more debt, reducing subsidies, drawing down reserves, selectively introducing taxes and loosening the reins on the economy to allow more private investment. As Mohammed bin Salman claimed in his interview — and as Saudi Aramco confirmed in a subsequent statement — the state-owned oil giant is considering selling shares to raise money. Although this is a radical shift for Saudi Arabia, it probably will occur in small steps. The potential for foreign participation likely will be limited to the downstream sector, such as petrochemicals and refining. Still, Aramco is the crown jewel of the House of Saud, and the change in overall policy direction will undoubtedly be a controversial one for the kingdom. Bin Salman's talk of liberalizing the economy is reminiscent of Gamal Mubarak, the son of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, before the military moved against him, and of a freshly inaugurated Syrian President Bashar al Assad before the old guard pushed back against his neo-liberal policies. Saudi Arabia has pragmatic reasons for restructuring its economy in such depressed conditions — especially as the state must find some way to employ its burgeoning youth population — but vested interests and royal competition could stymie some of these efforts.

Reducing subsidies and trying to introduce taxes in a depressed job climate without substantially revising the social contract poses an obvious dilemma for Saudi leaders. The kingdom is already close to completing a transition from the second generation of leaders dominated by the "Sudeiri Seven" (the seven sons of Ibn Saud's favorite wife, Hass bint Ahmad al-Sudeiri) to the much larger, more diffuse and more competitive third generation. Introducing changes to the system to allow some degree of political representation outside the family probably will become more difficult the further Saudi Arabia goes down the succession line.

At the same time, young leaders like bin Salman potentially have many decades ahead of them to steer the Saudi state. A leader who comes into power at an early age has the advantage of a longer planning horizon. Bin Salman must be contemplating a future in which declining production and technology breakthroughs could mean that the Saudi state eventually will not be able to rely on oil to underpin the state. Notably, King Salman appears in tune enough with his son's ideas right now to give him considerable room in defense as well as economic policy. In early 2015, bin Salman's lengthy list of appointments included chair of a 10-member Supreme Council for Saudi Aramco and chair of the government Council for Economic and Development. Breaking a tradition of limiting Saudi royal reach into the state oil company, Saudi Aramco was split off from the Ministry of Petroleum and bin Salman was given direct oversight of the company. Next in line for the throne is Crown Prince and Minister of Interior Mohammed bin Nayef, the nephew of King Salman and cousin of Mohammed bin Salman. The 56-year-old crown prince has no heirs, leaving the succession path clear for bin Salman as long as he stays on good terms with his cousin.

Although there is plenty of reason to be more concerned about Saudi Arabia these days, there is little reason to be alarmist about Saudi Arabia's future. The kingdom has some $627 billion in foreign reserves to fund a growing deficit, and the state still has considerable room to raise its debt. As expenses rise along with security challenges from jihadists and Shiite activists, Saudi Arabia will prioritize its internal security and defense budget to safeguard critical oil infrastructure. A Saudi-Iranian covert proxy war will escalate, but Riyadh has been quite effective so far in constricting Iranian supply lines on the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia also will be more compromising when it comes to ideology and forging strategic relationships abroad in order to manage an increasingly volatile neighborhood. This will include working with Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and working multiple, contradictory sides of the fractured Yemeni state.

Political and economic flexibility at home is still a matter of an intense behind-the-scenes royal debate. As we try to decipher that debate from outside the palace walls, there will be a natural tendency to link Saudi actions to the proclivities of a political personality like bin Salman, who appears to be the emblem of change in the kingdom. However, the forces underlying Saudi Arabia's changing behavior have been developing for some time, and a prince's policy preferences can shake the very foundation of the state they are intended to protect.


Officer Down

Sergeant Peggy Vassallo
Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department, Missouri
End of Watch: Monday, August 24, 2015
Age: 53
Tour: 29 years
Badge # 182

Sergeant Peggy Vassallo was struck and killed by a vehicle while rendering aid to another driver after being involved in an accident shortly before 8:00 am.

Sergeant Vassallo, who was in full uniform, was en route to work when she was involved in a two vehicle crash at the intersection of Lindbergh Blvd and Old Jamestown Rd, in St. Louis County. The other driver was complaining of neck pain, prompting Sergeant Vassallo to contact dispatchers to request medical assistance.

As she was speaking to dispatchers another vehicle entered the area at a high rate of speed. The vehicle swerved around Sergeant Vassallo's car and struck her, causing critical injuries. She was transported to a local hospital where she succumbed to her injuries several hours later.

Sergeant Vassallo had served with the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department for 15 years and had previously served with the St. Louis County Police Department for over 13 years. She is survived by her husband, son, and two grandchildren. Sergeant Vassallo was a member of the Police Unity Tour.
Rest in Peace Sis…We Got The WatchNemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh.