Deputy Scot Peterson: Coward of Broward County?

“Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.” ~ Homeland Security

Much has been said during the past few days about the Broward County sheriff’s deputy, Deputy Scot Peterson (not to be confused with the Scott Peterson who’s currently serving time on death row for murdering his wife and their unborn child), the sworn law enforcement officer who was there but failed to enter the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14.

Peterson was assigned to the school. It was his permanent post. He was there to safeguard children. It was his job. He was in uniform wearing a sheriff’s badge and a gun. He absolutely was the ONLY barrier between a killer and his helpless victims. And Peterson failed.

It has also been reported that additional deputies arrived on the scene and they, too, took positions outside the school—behind their patrol cars. It was not until local city police arrived that any law enforcement officer entered the school. A couple of new deputies arrived and joined the local city officers when they went inside to engage the shooter. Why the others elected to hunker down behind their vehicles and stay there throughout is a mystery to me.

Let me say that again to allow it to sink in—the others, the deputies who first arrived and were hiding, remained outside. I simply cannot wrap my brain around this scenario.

I must say, this is not first-hand knowledge. I’m merely piecing together reports from various “news” articles. Most of them differ so actual fact-gathering is not totally reliable. Still …

Many are calling ex-deputy Peterson a coward (he was suspended without pay and then resigned).

Personally, I can’t outright call the man a coward because I wasn’t there on that horrific day, nor am I privy to his thoughts. Actually, none of us have a clue what went through Peterson’s mind as he hid outside while gunfire echoed throughout the school hallways, mingling with the screams of the terrified, helpless kids.

Something had to be going through his mind, right? Was it the faces of the students he interacted with on a daily basis? Teachers? Was he imagining them peppered with the blood of their fellow students and educators? Or was he thinking of how to make it home alive? Or? Or? Or? What was he thinking???? For goodness sake, Deputy Peterson knew these kids and their teachers. He. Knew. Them. He saw them on a daily basis. They trusted him to keep them safe.

Many things take place during events that frighten us, and some people are able to continue to function, even if only through the rush of adrenaline, while others freeze. Who knows, Peterson may suffer from PTSD sparked by an earlier trauma. Maybe he thought he’d be able to nab the shooter on his way outside. Or, perhaps he was hoping the killer would commit suicide. And then there’s that whole “coward” possibility.

In all fairness to Peterson, I’ve seen officers freeze when faced with deadly situations. I’ve even seen officers hide from danger, leaving their coworkers and citizens to fend for themselves. However, neither of those folks are officers today. They, with a bit of “gentle persuasion” moved on to other more suitable careers.

Working as a police officer is a tough job. I know, many people dislike cops, but the majority of officers would not hesitate to place themselves between you and danger. And they’d darn sure do whatever it takes to protect a child.

I remember breaking the glass on a bedroom window to pull a child to safety as his father fired at us with a shotgun. I’ve pulled a child from a burning car. I’ve witnessed officers doing remarkable things to save and protect others. They face gunfire, knives, and brutal beatings, but they continue to do what they do.

Active Shooter: Rapid Deployment

Most police officers responding to an active shooter are trained in a procedure often called Rapid Deployment, or something similar, meaning they proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard. The purpose? To stop the shooting as quickly as possible.

For example, the UW Madison, Wi. Police Department guideline for responding officers is quite clear. While the wording may differ slightly, this is the typical procedure throughout the country.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM RESPONDING POLICE OFFICERS

Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard in order to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers may be in teams; they may be dressed in normal patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external ballistic vests and Kevlar helmets or other tactical gear. The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns or handguns. Expect to see different uniforms and/or plainclothes officers, as units might be deployed from different departments.

Do exactly as the officers instruct. The first responding officers will be focused on stopping the active shooter and creating a safe environment for medical assistance to be brought in to aid the injured.

The objectives of responding police officers are:

  • Immediately engage or contain the active shooter(s) in order to stop the life-threatening behavior.
  • First, make sure the environment safe, and then help injured people.
  • Identify victims to facilitate medical care, interviews and counseling.

Officers will take command of the situation by shouting orders and/or physically directing individuals to a safe place or the ground.

Homeland Security officials say this:

“The first officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.”

Peterson and the other deputies who took cover outside a building where they knew kids were most likely being slaughtered just mere feet from them … well, that’s something as a cop, as a father, as a human, I simply could not do. Nor could I live in peace if I did. To not try to help in some way would haunt me forever.

I’m old, tired, and out of shape

As I stated on someone’s Facebook post yesterday, “I’m old, tired, and out of shape, but but my old, tired, out of shape butt would’ve gone inside that school. No doubt.”


“A decisive response will likely minimize casualties in active shooter events.” ~ Lt. Dan Marcou.

Lt. Dan Marcou is an internationally-recognized police trainer.


All photos are from Writers’ Police Academy active shooter training.

The “victim.

EMS arrived to treat the victim of a gunshot wound.

The shooter took a hostage and retreated into a classroom occupied by several students.

The shooter elected to engage responding officers, officers who IMMEDIATELY entered the school the moment they arrived. The bad guy did not survive.

The deputies’ purpose for such a rapid entry … to immediately engage or contain the active shooter(s) in order to stop the life-threatening behavior.

The scenario depicted in the photos above was entirely staged—make-believe—but that didn’t stop the action from seeming incredibly realistic. And yes, there was gunfire. The Writers’ Police Academy offers realism and actual police training. By the way, spots still remain available at the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. It is THE event of the year! #2018WPA

School Shootings: Spontaneous Acts or Planned Assaults?

School shootings are rarely sudden and spontaneous acts. While the time between the attack and the onset of the plan may be short, there is usually a period of planning that could afford law enforcement time to act and prevent the incident. However, it is important to note that officials must often rely on tips and information from the public and it is those tips that must be pursued.

Prior to most incidents of violence, including school shootings, other people knew about the attacker’s plan. Typically, though, this information is known to other school kids or even siblings. But rarely are adults notified.

The targets/victims of these attacks are seldom given warning or notice. Instead, other indicators are often present that should alert school officials to potential trouble brewing (bragging about owning guns, etc.). When officials are made aware of potential threats they should investigate immediately. To the troubled student, a failure to act may seem like an open invitation to carry out an attack.

The use of profiling is, well, practically useless when it comes to identifying school shooters. This is so because most kids who “fit” the profile would never engage in such activity. Therefore, instead of profiling as agencies often do in the case of serial killers, etc., officials should focus on the individual’s behavior and their communications via social media and through spoken word.

Prior to an attack, most school shooters engaged in behavior that caused others concern or presented signs that the student was in dire need of some type of help. An intervention is required; however, it is important that officials not disgrace or embarrass the student/suspect.

Severe personal loss (death of a loved one, for example) or personal failure are often factors in the motives of school shooters. Some have even attempted suicide.

Many shooters felt bullied prior to the assault … their motive for pulling the trigger.

Most school shooters had easy access to weapons prior to the incident and many practiced shooting, regularly. Parents absolutely must monitor the storage and use of ALL firearms in the home. This is in addition to monitoring a child’s online activity and activities with friends in and outside of school.

Other students are sometimes involved in some capacity. For example, they’ve heard their classmate talking about their goal(s).

Despite the best intentions and absolute quickest response time of patrol officers, most school shootings are stopped by someone other than law enforcement. In fact, most shootings were so brief they were over before police arrived.

Obviously, reactive policing (investigating after the fact) is not the answer to this problem. A proactive approach is needed and that could include a bit of old fashioned information gathering (student behavior and communications).

Law enforcement has no means of knowing which students/kids have the propensity to carry out such a horrific act. Therefore, it is up to school officials to make the initial assessment(s).

In addition, that information should be shared with law enforcement, and together the police and school officials could evaluate the facts and zero-in on students who’re planning to attack.

To make this work, laws preventing the sharing of information with law enforcement may need modifying (in some states). And, school officials MUST be willing to work with law enforcement. Sadly, some school officials refuse to do so.

I know the knee-kjerk reaction is to confiscate all guns, but it’s not going to happen. Besides, that alone will not stop some from carrying out their murderous intentions.

By the way, the information above is from the paper:

THE FINAL REPORT AND FINDINGS OF THE SAFE SCHOOL INITIATIVE:

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PREVENTION OF SCHOOL ATTACKS IN THE UNITED STATES

UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

The paper was written, published, and made available to officials in 2004. Yes, 14 years ago, our government knew this problem existed and had plans and ideas in place to stop school shootings. The ball was dropped by many, many people who could’ve had a hand in  preventing shootings by picking up on the warning signals exhibited by potential killers.

Who knows, had officials (school and law enforcement) taken a moment to read the paper written by the Secret Service, parents in Florida this week might not be attending the funerals of their children.

So, what are your thoughts as to how to make schools safer? Armed officers in the hallways and patrolling the perimeter? Security fencing? An indoor Sally Port where anyone who enters the school must be buzzed into the waiting area where an officer could check to be sure all is okay before allowing them entry through the second door into the school. Armed teachers and cafeteria workers?

And, do you believe the FBI dropped the ball on the Florida school shooter? Had they investigated the leads would/could they have prevented the tragedy?

 

 

 

 

 

 


*Please, no cop-bashing, politics, politician-bashing, etc. Just simple, thoughtful responses.

5 Things a Police Officer Should Do … ALWAYS

Working as a police officer extremely intense. It’s tough. It’s mentally and physically challenging.

During the course of a typical shift, officers meet many people while responding to various calls and while working a variety of assignments

While protecting and serving, well, here are five things they should ALWAYS do when doing what they do.


 

Spots are still available to the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. Yes, registration is still open and, we have lots more surprises on the way. This is an event you’ll remember for a lifetime so please hurry while slots are available! Oh, be sure to refer a friend and have them sign up as well. You’ll soon see why that could be a very important step.

 

http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com

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5 Things a Police Officer Should NEVER Do

Police officer academy training is extremely intense. It’s tough. It’s mentally and physically challenging.

During the course of basic training, officers are taught many topics, tactics, and techniques.

Academy instructors advise recruits on the hundreds upon hundreds things they must do right during their careers as law enforcement officers.

Here are five things they should NOT do.


 

Spots are still available to the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. Yes, registration is still open and, we have lots more surprises on the way. This is an event you’ll remember for a lifetime so please hurry while slots are available! Oh, be sure to refer a friend and have them sign up as well. You’ll soon see why that could be a very important step.

 

http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com

 

Gun Laws and Control … again

This is a repeat post. One I keep on speed dial due to the frequent need to pass along the information. Here goes …

Gun Laws and Control … again

There is an on-going discussion in the U.S. regarding gun control and the need for more laws to help curb gun violence. So, to help zero-in on what kind of law(s) is needed and where it/they best fit, let’s take a quick peek at only a very few laws already in the books (There are well over 20,000 gun laws).

DID YOU KNOW …

It is unlawful/illegal:

– for anyone other than a licensed dealer to import, manufacture, or sell/trade any firearm and/or ammunition.

– to produce, sell, or possess armor piercing ammunition, unless the sale is to a government within the U.S. Export of ammo of this type is permitted.

Possession of a firearm under the following circumstances is also illegal. For example, it is illegal for minors to possess certain firearms, possession of a machine guns is illegal, etc.

– to sell a firearm or ammunition to minors.

– to sell or possess machine guns or short barrel rifles and/or shotguns (permits are available in some instances).

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– to sell a firearm to any person under indictment for or convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year is prison (a felony). Possession of a firearm under these circumstances is also illegal.

– to sell a firearm to an unlawful user (or addict) of an illegal controlled substance.

– to sell a firearm to anyone who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution.

– to sell a firearm to a fugitive from justice.

– to sell a firearm to anyone who is in the U.S. illegally.

– to sell a firearm to anyone discharged dishonorably from the U.S. military.

– to sell a firearm to anyone who has renounced his U.S. citizenship.

– to sell a firearm to anyone who is subject to a court order that restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child.

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– to sell a firearm to anyone who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

– it is illegal to possess a firearm in a school zone (does not apply to law enforcement or firearms safely locked in approved containment devices, etc.).

– it is illegal to discharge or brandish a firearm in a school zone.

– it is illegal to assemble a firearm replica in a school zone (fake guns or lookalikes also not allowed).

– it is unlawful to transfer or permit the transfer of any handgun to a juvenile.

– anyone who knowingly transfers a firearm, knowing that such firearm will be used to commit a crime of violence is subject to punishment up to 10 years in prison.

– it is illegal for violent felons to posses body armor.

– it is illegal to knowingly possess a stolen firearm.

The above listed are only a scant few of the gun laws and restrictions on the books.

Actually, according to the Brookings Institution of Washington D.C., there may or may not be approximately 20,000 gun laws on the books. They’re simply not sure of an exact number because of the sheer cluster-muck volume and convolution of laws and restrictions regarding firearms in the U.S.

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Additional gun law facts

– National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is the call-in instant check conducted by salespersons prior to ringing up all gun sales. No exceptions. Inventory is monitored and records are audited by the ATF.

The background check call is to the FBI and it is for the purpose of determining whether or not the customer has a criminal record or is otherwise ineligible to purchase a firearm.

– 100 million checks have been conducted in the past 10 years. 700,000 of those checks resulted in denials.

– Many states do not require background checks on persons buying guns from private individuals—individual gun owners selling to others. For example, a background check is not required when Sam Spade sells his personal .38 to Jack Reacher.

– In 2016, 17,250 people were murdered. Of the 17,250, 374 victims were shot and killed with a rifle of some type. In comparison, 1,604 people were killed with knives or other edged weapons. Hands, feet, and fists were the instruments used to beat to death 656 people. That’s right, victims were beaten to death far more often than were shot and killed with rifles.

I’m not sure how, other than perhaps stopping the individual sale without a background check, adding to the 20,000 gun laws already in place will prevent criminals from obtaining firearms. Obviously people ignore laws regarding murder, rape, robbery, B&E, theft, shoplifting, bike theft, speeding, drunk driving, drug possession and manufacturing, jaywalking, interfering with police, pocket-picking, prostitution, gambling, moonshining, car theft, kidnapping, and, well, you get the idea. Criminals are going to get their hands on guns no matter what, which, or how many laws are in place.

One of the best means, by far, of removing illegally possessed firearms from the hands of bad guys was during police interactions with known criminals. But that along with bulletproof metal boxes on wheels and black clothing with lots of pockets was said to hurt the feelings of some, so the tactic was basically tossed. As a result, bad guys no longer fear being caught carrying illegal guns. And they do. There are lots and lots of illegal firearms on the street today. The average person has absolutely NO idea of the alarming number illegally-possessed guns on the streets.

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Not long ago, an officer I trained in the police academy was shot while arresting a man who’d just killed someone—shot them to death—during an argument about the sister of one of the two men. Someone in the crowd of cell-phone-videoing, protesting, and interfering-with-cops bystanders took a shot and wounded the officer.

The round severed the officer’s femoral artery before exiting his body via his abdomen. Had it not been for the tourniquet applied and wound-packing by a responding trooper who’d worked as a nurse prior to becoming a police officer, the officer would have most likely died on the scene. His blood loss was severe. Fortunately for the wounded officer, the trooper arrived when he did and a helicopter was able to quickly transport him to a trauma hospital.

This happened in an area known for gun violence that was once curtailed by proactive policing tactics, such as stopping and talking to known criminals and then asking if they’d agree to a quick pat-down for weapons. The result of those stops quite often produced illegal weapons, either during the pat-down or the recovery of guns thrown to the ground as the crooks ran away.

I’m not saying a stop and frisk would have positively prevented this particular shooting, but there’s a good chance that it would have, or another like it.

*By the way, a hands-on workshop/training session about “wound-packing in the field” is featured at the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. Click the link to view a video of the class. Extreme realism!

REMEMBER, MOST RIFLES DESCRIBED AS ASSAULT RIFLES ARE MERELY EVERYDAY RIFLES WEARING FANCY DO-DADS—NO EXTRA FIREPOWER, ETC.

Each of the above rifles is a Mini-14. They are the same rifle with the same firepower.

So, what gun laws do you think should be added to the 20,000? Do you have an idea that would prevent shootings? Reduce magazine size, maybe, to allow only 6-8 people to be killed at once before reloading? What about confiscating all guns, leaving only criminals having them? Would that work? What new law would have prevented the shooting in Las Vegas or the Florida school just yesterday?

What if it were illegal—today, right now—to possess a rifle of any type? Would a bad guy say to himself, “Well, it’s illegal to use a rifle, and I don’t want to get into trouble, so I’d better not do it?” Of course not. A crook is going to get their hands on guns the same way they do now, illegally.

It’s already illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm, yet they do. It’s illegal for people to rob banks, yet they do. It’s illegal for people to block highways, yet they do. It’s illegal for people to break windows and set police cars on fire, yet they do. Would adding more laws prevent those people from committing those crimes?

Anyway, as always, I welcome your comments … as long as they don’t include cop-bashing, politics, religion, race, profanity, etc. I will delete those statements.

I’m taking a chance here. I’ve always avoided this issue like the plague because it is such a sensitive topic. Keep in mind that I have not fired a gun in two decades, so please do not assume to know my thoughts and feelings on the subject.

Here goes nothing … (my finger is poised above the delete button :).


*By the way, the two “rifles” pictured in the center of this article are air rifles.

Crossman M4 Pump Air Rifle.

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Umarex BB Air Rifle.

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They are not firearms, but they look menacing, right? It’s all about cosmetics, though, and the same is true about the rifles many refer to as assault rifles. They may look scary to some people, but they’re nothing more than a regular rifle dressed up with fancy attachments. As you can clearly see, it’s possible to dress up a BB gun to make it appear as something it’s not.

The revolver pictured above is also a BB gun. You can purchase one at Walmart for less than $50.

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This one is a rubber training gun.

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In any situation—good light, bad light, low light, no light—it’s difficult to tell which are real and which are not, right?

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6 Ways to Enhance the Shooting Skills of Your Protagonists

Using a .38 to shoot a gun from the hand of a bank robber from a distance of eight miles away is not realistic. For that matter, neither is shooting anything from a bad guy’s hand at practically any distance, but that’s for another blog article. This one is designed to help improve the shooting skills of the heroes you develop so carefully in other ways—they’re the best interrogators on the planet and they run faster, punch harder, and jump higher than any human anywhere. But their shooting abilities are a bit lacking.

Oh sure, you have them easily take aim and pick off the wings of a gnat in the next county over. But we, the readers, all know what we’re seeing is a load of hogwash. We know this because we see how the characters hold their guns. We see how they pull those triggers.

That’s right, we’re privy to to a writer’s lack of knowledge when it comes to things such as:

  1. Weapon Selection – Choosing the weapon that’s right for you and your character is important. Shooting is not a one size fits all activity. So shop around until you find the firearm that fits your/their hand, is comfortable in the hand, and one that is easy to handle.

As you can see here, the options are many. By the way, the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy features a workshop on Weapons Selection (Explore gun types to match the personalities of various characters of different eras).

 

2. Stance and grip – Accuracy begins with a proper and solid stance.

  • Your stance should be firm and unwavering.
  • Feet approximately shoulder-width apart.
  • Your body weight – well-distributed.
  • Lean slightly into the gun.
  • Grip on the weapon should be firm and strong, but not so tight that your hands shake.

3. Sight Alignment – align the front sight between the rear posts in the rear notch with an equal amount of light on each side.

4. Sight Picture – hold the sight alignment on the target, at the spot in which you wish to strike the object with the bullet.

5. Trigger Control – This step is extremely important! The trigger is the key to accuracy. Poor trigger control leads to poorly-fired shots. The trigger should rest on the pad of the index finger, approximately half-way between the fingertip and the first joint. NOT in the fold/crease of the knuckle! To fire, squeeze the trigger/apply a slow, steady pressure.

6. Practice, Practice, Practice!!

Spend as much time on the range as humanly possible. Well, that’s if you want to improve your shooting. If not, good luck during the next foot pursuit of a crazed and heavily-armed escaped convict/masked murderer/robber/rapist/known cop-killer.

2018 Writers’ Police Academy Offers Live-Fire Workshops!

By the way, you can enjoy time at the rifle and pistol range at the Writers’ Police Academy. Click the link for details. Registration for this one-of-a-kind thrilling event opens at noon (EST) February 18, 2018. This is our 10th anniversary so expect over the top excitement!

Range time – Writers’ Police Academy

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The Exclusionary Rule and Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

The Exclusionary Rule keeps police officers in check while conducting searches. It prevents prosecutors from presenting illegally obtained evidence.

The rule states that any evidence siezed during an improper search cannot be used, no matter how incriminating it may be (see Fruit of the Poisonous Tree below).

And, if this improper evidence the key piece to the entire case—the smoking gun—the prosecution may be forced to drop the case, sending a very guilty crook back on the street. The defendant may also have grounds for a civil suit against the officers involved, as well as the police department and the city.

The Exclusionary Rule is basically the Supreme Court keeping watch over search-warrant-serving cops.

There are exceptions to the exclusionary rule, such as:

When officers rely on a warrant that later turns out to be invalid. For example, officers search a house and find a large cache of illegal weapons along with a guy who’s in the process of grinding off serial numbers from an AK-47. Later, the court learns that the address on the warrant was incorrect because the detective accidentally typed River Avenue instead of River Road. Or, the landmarks used to identify the property to be searched were improperly recorded.

“I meant the blue house on River Road, the first one on the right past the old oak tree, not the first one on the left. It was an honest mistake. Oops!”

The warrant may still be ruled valid and the seizure of the guns may still be legal. Or, the warrant may be ruled invalid but the seizure of the weapons could possibly stand. This is so because the officers were acting in good faith, believing they were on the property based on a constitutionally sound warrant (This is a weak example, but you get the idea).

However, if a police officer lies to the judge or magistrate, or if the judge or magistrate showed bias toward the officers when issuing the search warrant, the warrant is invalid and the exclusionary rule is in effect. The evidence recovered by the police may not be used. In fact, it will be tossed out of court, and possibly the officer too …


Did you know??

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree – Illegally obtained evidence cannot be used against a defendant. Evidence illegally obtained is “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.”

No Double-Dipping: Developing Latent Prints on Difficult Surfaces

Processing fingerprints is not alway a simple matter of dipping a brush in a bottle of black powder and then dusting the walls of the homes of notorious bad guys, such as the charming abode of tough guy Ima Stuffstealer.

For example, here are just two of the seemingly endless methods of print development.

DFO (1,8-Diazafluoren-9-One)

DFO is used to develop latent prints on porous surfaces. (click the links throughout this article for additional information and photos)

DFO reacts with the amino acids in perspiration. When this reaction is complete, the developed latent prints will fluoresce with the use of a laser or an alternate light source.

Equipment Used

Scales, graduated cylinder, magnetic stirrer and stirring bar, glass tray, sprayer, laser or alternate light source, oven or iron, dark storage bottles

Materials and Chemicals

• DFO
• Methanol
• Ethyl acetate
• Glacial acetic acid • Petroleum ether

Mixing Procedure

DFO is mixed in two solutions—stock and working.

DFO Stock Solution

DFO … 1 g

Methanol … 200 mL

Ethyl acetate … 200 mL

Glacial acetic acid … 40 mL

Combine the ingredients and place on a stirring device for approximately 20 minutes until the DFO is dissolved.

Working Solution

Dilute the stock solution to 2 L with petroleum ether. The working solution should be a clear gold color.

Processing Procedure

DFO can be dipped or sprayed. When a specimen is processed with DFO, it must be dried and placed in an oven at approximately 100 °C (212 °F) for 20 minutes. If an oven is not available, a dry iron may be used (e.g., a steam iron with the steam turned off).


Sergeant Printz


LCV (Leucocrystal Violet)

LCV is used to enhance visual prints (click the link to read more about LCV) and develop latent prints deposited in blood.

*Cyanoacrylate fuming (Superglue) may be detrimental to this process. (click the links throughout this article for additional information and photos)

Equipment

Scales, beakers, magnetic stirrer and stirring bar, sprayer, tissues or paper towels, dark storage bottles

Materials and Chemicals

• Leucocrystal violet (dye content ≥ 90%) • 5-Sulfosalicylic acid (purity ≥ 99%)
• Hydrogen peroxide 3% solution
• Sodium acetate

Mixing Procedure

Hydrogen peroxide 3% … 1000 mL

5-Sulfosalicylic acid … 20 g

Sodium acetate … 7.4 g

LCV … 2 g

Combine ingredients in the order listed and place on a stirring device for approximately 30 minutes.

Processing Procedure

Spraying is the most effective method of application. When spraying, use the finest mist possible because excess application may cause overdevelopment or running of the bloody print. Spray the specimen(s)— the development will occur within 30 seconds—then blot the area with a tissue or paper towel. When the area is dry, the preceding steps can be repeated to possibly improve contrast.

When using the LCV process in direct sunlight, any developed print should be photographed as soon as possible because photoionization may occur, resulting in unwanted background development.


No Double-Dipping!

Prior to dusting for prints investigators should dump/pour a small amount of print powder onto a piece of clean paper. The use of this powder prevents dipping the brush back into the bottle, a means of cross-contaminating the remaining powder (in the bottle) with DNA and other foreign substances.

 

*Source – FBI “Processing Guide for Developing Latent Prints”

 

Pre-Search Warrant: What’s in Your Drawers?

We all love those scenes in our favorite cop shows where the hero decides there’s a piece of much-needed evidence in the bad guy’s house, so he merely kicks in the door and goes in to get it. TV heroes do this at least once per episode.

Well, in the real world there’s a problem with that procedure. First of all, cops need one of two things before they can enter someone’s property—permission from the homeowner, or probable cause and a search warrant. The exceptions to this rule are when someone’s life is in immediate danger or if the evidence could be destroyed before a warrant could be obtained.

Before approaching a judge or magistrate to obtain a search warrant the officer should ask himself/herself a few basic questions. If the answers to those questions are satisfactory the officer should be able to obtain the warrant.

1. Where do they want to search?

Addresses/locations must be very specific on search warrants. The officer must also describe the property in detail (red clapboard-sided, single-story, single-family house with blue shutters. House number is painted on the front door in purple, etc.).

2. What is the officer searching for?

Blanket searches are not permitted. Officers must be very specific when listing the property they hope to find, and the details must be related to the case they’re working. For example, if the case involves a stolen refrigerator officers may not look in places where the fridge could not be hidden (nightstand, etc.). Therefore, illegal items found in the nightstand drawers, or other “drawers,” would not be admissible in court.

3. Details of the investigation that led to the search warrant request.

This is a basic narrative of what the officer has done and learned that led him to believe the evidence is inside the property listed on the paperwork.

4. Do I know what I’m doing?

Officers must convince a judge that they have enough training and experience to apply for and carry out a search warrant service. They should list that training and experience on the affidavit (application for search warrant).

5, Does this warrant need to be served under the cover of night or, is it safe to go in during the daytime?

Officers must justify their reasons for wanting to “go in” at night. And those reasons vary—wanting to catch the dangerous drug dealers while they’re asleep, the drug dealers are always at home during  certain hours, it’s safer to raid a home while everyone’s in the bed asleep.

If officers meet these very basic requirements they’ll probably come away from the judge’s office with warrant in hand. (Of course, there’s more to it than this, but you get the idea). The next step is to knock and announce their presence, serve the warrant, and then collect the evidence you were hoping to find. When finished the officer must leave a receipt for every single item seized.

It’s Probable Cause, NOT “Probably” Cause … and Search Warrants

We’ve discussed the issue of probable cause (PC) many times, and we all know it’s one of the very few things that remains consistent in law enforcement. PC is a “gotta have it” sort of thing when making certain arrests and obtaining search warrants.

One more time – Probable Cause is the existence of facts (not mere suspicion) that will satisfy an officer of ordinary caution that a crime has been, or is being committed … and the item to be searched for is reasonably connected to the crime in question. Oh, and that evidence of the crime can be found at/in a certain place (PC for a search warrant).

Okay, with that reminder in place, let’s take a look at a few more rules regarding search and seizure.

1) Information used to obtain a search warrant absolutely must be current information. “Stale” information is not a valid basis for a search—evidence could have been moved, suspects might have moved on, other people may now be inside the residence, etc.

2) An informant’s name need not be revealed in the body of the search warrant or affidavit. That’s sort of why they call them “confidential” informants.

3) Search warrants must be served (executed) promptly. Not a week or two after the judge signs it. Actually, delays of three or four days have rendered searches unreasonable in the eyes of the courts.

Search Warrant Execution – No Knock

4) Police officers must knock and announce their presence when serving a search warrant. However, there’s no written rule/law that states a required amount of wait time before using a battering ram to gain entry. But, a good rule of thumb is to wait a few seconds, long enough for a reasonable person to open the door. Any longer allows the suspect enough time to destroy evidence.

5) Officers may obtain “no knock” warrants if there’s a threat of danger to officers should they knock and announce their presence. Also, warrants must be served during daytime hours unless otherwise specified on the warrant.

6) The law says that officers may damage private property while entering, as long as the damage was necessary under the circumstances (breaking doors and windows, etc.). And guess who’s stuck with the bill? Yep, the suspect. However, some jurisdictions have policies in place that require the municipality to cover the cost of repairs.

7) Members of the media should not be allowed to accompany officers into a private home during the execution of a search warrant.

8) Officers do not need a search warrant when conducting a search of a suspect’s personal property during the booking process at the jail. This includes any closed container found in the suspect’s pockets.

9) Officers must limit their searches of electronic devices to only the files named on the search warrant.

Sergeant Search

10) Evidence seized during an improper search may not be used during criminal proceedings. However, if the officer relies on a warrant issued by the court that was later found to be accidentally inaccurate (at no fault of the officer), it is possible that a court would allow the evidence to be introduced.

11) Evidence seized in violation of the 4th Amendment (protection against illegal search and seizure) may not be used in criminal trials. However, that very same evidence may be, and is, used in other court proceedings, such as parole violations/revocations.

12) It’s Probable Cause, NOT Probably Cause. Yes, I see and hear this (probably cause) quite often.