Friday's Heroes - Remembering the fallen officers

 

Agent Osvaldo Perez-Leon, 33

Puerto Rico Police Department

 

Agent Perez-Leon was killed in an automobile accident on July 8, 2008. He was transporting a group of children from the Youth Athletic League when a tractor trailer crossed over into the wrong lane, striking a bus which hit the officer’s car. The children received minor injuries.

Agent Perez-Leon was an eight year veteran.

Officer Kenneth (Greg) Surles, 29

Pell City Alabama Police Department

Officer Searles was driving his patrol car on June 18, 2008 when he was involved in a head-on accident with a tractor trailer. He succumbed to his injuries on July 2, 2008.

Officer Surles leaves behind a wife, a 4 year old daughter, and an 11 week old baby girl.

Friday's Heroes - Remembering the fallen officers

 

Officer Richard Francis, 60

Chicago Police Department

 

Officer Richard Francis was shot and killed on July 2, 2008 while he was attempting to quell a domestic disturbance. During the altercation a woman managed to gain control of the officer’s service weapon, shooting one time. Officer Francis was a 27 year veteran. He leaves behind a wife and two stepdaughters.

Officer Gary Gryder

Houston Police Department

On June 29, 2008, Officer Gary Gryder was struck and killed by a drunk driver while directing traffic at a construction site. Another officer was also seriously injured in the accident. The driver never attempted to apply brakes. Officer Gryder was a 23 year veteran and leaves behind a wife and son.

Corporal Richard Findley, 39

Prince Georges County Maryland Police Department

 

Corporal Richard Findley was struck and killed on June 27, 2008 by the driver of a stolen vehicle as he attempted to arrest the criminals inside the car. Corporal Findley was a ten year veteran of his department. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

* * *

Today, as we mourn the police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, we also celebrate the birth of our country, and our freedom.

Please remember our service men and women. Be safe, everyone.

Lt. Monty McCord

Monty McCord is a retired police lieutenant in Nebraska. His 23 years of service included deputy positions for two rural sheriff’s offices (one of which was a four man office), and then retiring from the Hastings Police Department. Duties included ambulance/rescue, patrol, paper service, investigation, jail, and communications. In charge of department training for many years, he specialized in firearms training. He participated in Police Pistol Competitions in the late 70s/early 80s, and later was active in Cowboy Action Shooting.

McCord is a graduate of the 174th Session of the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia.An avid interest in law enforcement history led him to writing.  He published his first book locally in 1982, Hastings Police – 110 Years of Public Service. McCord researched the history of police vehicles from the horse drawn paddy wagons of the 19th century to the current day for his second book, Police Cars – A Photographic History, published by Krause Publications in 1991. A follow up book, Cars of the State Police and Highway Patrol, was released three years later. In 1999 Krause published Law Enforcement Memorabilia, a guide for the hobby. Other books include, Hastings – The Queen City of the Plains, and I Christen Thee, Nebraska – History of the USS Nebraska.

He began collecting law enforcement badges in 1974, inspiring him to write many articles for Police Collectors News during the 1980s and 90s. McCord has written law enforcement related articles including “Marshal Capone”, for the Texas State Peace Officers Journal and “The Crimes and Trials of Print Olive”, for The Journal of the Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association.

He has had additional articles published in The Nebraska Police Officer and the Historical News of the Adams County Historical Society. In 1997, McCord was interviewed for a segment of “Police Cars”, one of a three-part documentary called, “Wheels of Survival” for A & E’s History Channel. He owns two restored vintage police cars, a 1962 Plymouth and a 1973 AMC Matador Los Angeles PD “Adam-12” replica. He was contracted by Liberty Classics, Inc. of Illinois to do the research and design for a series of 1/25 scale die-cast vintage police cars for collectors.

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McCord is currently at work on a modern crime novel and has two historical crime novels outlined and partly researched. His favorite period for these types of works is 1870-1970. He is a huge fan of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and historic crime stories written in both creative non-fiction and novel styles. McCord serves as president of the Friends of the Hastings Public Library and as a board member of the Adams County Historical Society. A member of the Nebraska Writers Guild and the Kansas Writers Association, he lives in Hastings with his wonderful wife (& editor), his pal Buddy the Basset Hound and two cats who haven’t managed to escape their human captors yet.

Monty McCord:

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First of all, I’d like to thank Lee Lofland for asking me to be featured on his blog, I am honored to be here. Many congrats brother on a valuable site for all of us.

I was trying to decide whether to talk a little about police firearms training or police vehicles, I decided on firearms training. I’m happy to answer questions on any of this, and if I don’t know, I’ll make something up. (No, not really!).The 1970s and 80s was a time police firearms training started to evolve into useful instruction. At least it was around here. Many larger jurisdictions were already progressive and we learned from them, albeit slowly.

I received my certification as a police firearms instructor from the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center in 1979. The officers of the department (many, were older veteran officers) were used to the old Camp Perry style of handgun shooting, where they would stand erect, left hand on hip, right arm straight out pointing the revolver at the target, giving no thought that the bad guy might be shooting back at them. In fact, at the time, the thought didn’t center around deadly encounters with a suspect. It was more of a typical “target shooting” environment under ideal circumstances. Wonderful.

To make matters worse, they NEVER reloaded their duty weapons from the leather ammo pouches or bullet loops on their Sam Browne duty belts then in use. (Like they would on an actual shooting situation on the street). When ready to qualify, they would grab a handful of .38 cartridges and dump them into a shirt pocket. To be real professional, they might even shoot from one or two different distances. When I took over this training I made them reload from their ammo pouches during qualifications. I had to literally take a pocket knife and scrape out the green corroded cartridges that had resided in them since the Eisenhower administration.

To add insult to injury, I also required them to do some running and utilize cover and concealment while firing at the target (suspect). Since you couldn’t have someone shooting at the officers for training, physical exertion (running) and loud noises (siren, loudspeakers blaring) and time limits were the things used to increase stress. The weather was no longer a factor either. Rain, snow, or sunshine, when I scheduled a qualification, it was rarely cancelled.

We required four qualifications a year (now it’s monthly), and every officer had to qualify each time, or go through extra training. Later I built walls from old tires which simulated rooms and used “shoot” or “don’t shoot” targets on swiveling holders. These targets were printed with the picture of an innocent civilian or an armed bad guy, and the officers would have about a second to recognize the danger, or not, and fire, or not. In 1988, the department made the switch to semi-automatic pistols commonly used today. Unfortunately, unless they had served in the military, the officers had never touched a semi-auto. Before I entered law enforcement, I assumed (and you know what they say about that) that police officers were all gun nuts like me. Not so. Training started again, from the ground up.

Many took to the new pistols with ease, and some did not.To load the semi-auto, a full magazine is firmly seated into the grip, and then the open slide is allowed to slam shut, thus chambering a cartridge making it ready to fire. It then needs to be de-cocked (hammer lowered), safety off, for carry. Many officers had a hard time with that, thinking that once the magazine was slammed home, it was ready to fire.

To make sure they were extremely comfortable with the operation of the pistol, I ran them through hours of unloaded drills in the station as well as at the range.  Immediately detecting a jam and quickly clearing the pistol so firing could resume was pounded into them. It doesn’t happen often with good quality pistols, but sometimes it does. To make their pistols jam during training, I would load their magazines, inserting one or two empty cartridges. When an empty came up, it always jammed the slide, adding stress to the officer who was under a time limit as well. For many years I heard lots of complaints about having to go through all this “rigomorole” as they put it, telling me all this running and hiding stuff wasn’t necessary.

The complaints evaporated on October 9, 1993, at 10:04 p.m. when one of our officers was shot and killed in the line of duty.

***

Monday – NY Times bestselling author, Allison Brennan, takes us to the FBI Citizens Academy

Tuesday – Scott Hoffman – Owner/agent Folio Literary Management in NYC

Dave Crawford

 

Police Officer David Crawford

I’ve met many dedicated police officers who go above and beyond what’s expected of them. They’ll take a bullet for their partner, if necessary. They’ll take one for you, too, if that’s what it takes to keep you safe. But, that’s what makes a police officer who he/she is.

I’ve been there. I know what they go through, and there aren’t enough words to make you understand the life, the joy, the compassion, and the pain that it takes to put on a uniform and head out into the night wondering if you’ll come home at the end of your shift.

But, even in an occupation where everyone is a champion, there’s always one or two who stand out in the crowd. You’ve already met two of those officers who dedicated their lives to helping others, Sgt. John Howsden and Lt. Dave Swords.  Today, I’d like you to meet Public Affairs Officer Dave Crawford of the Hamilton Ohio Police Department. Dave is a wonderful friend who has gone way out of his way to help writers get their facts straight, me included.

Officer Dave Crawford:

In 1982, Dave Crawford attended the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Police Academy. After graduation he worked as a Special Deputy for the sheriff’s office for a year as a Road Patrol deputy, and in the Jail Division. A year later he was offered a job with the Miami University Police Department, but turned down the post, deciding instead, to accept a position with the Hamilton Ohio Police Department.

Officer Crawford attended the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy, and was already a certified police officer when he was hired by the Hamilton Police Department. He was sworn in as a police officer with HPD on March 17, 1984.

Dave has worked in several areas within the Hamilton Police Department, including the Patrol Division, Traffic Division, as a Court Officer, Desk Officer and, as a member of the Honor Guard Unit. His current position, Public Information Officer/Crime Prevention Officer, is in the Public Affairs Section of the police department, which entails a multitude of assignments.

Training is on-going and necessary for law enforcement personnel, and Officer Crawford has gone above and beyond what’s expected of the average police officer. He continues to attend a variety of schools and conferences such as, training in traffic investigation, jail security,  and basic crime prevention, and advanced crime prevention through environmental design. He also passed an exam that certified him as a crime prevention specialist, a certification he still maintains.

Officer Crawford serves as Project Manager of the Carruthers Police Plaza, in charge of phase two of an improvement project consisting of new landscaping, security lighting, awnings at all entranceways, and a search of Hamilton Police Department’s history that resulted a wonderful display of historical photographs and portraits throughout the department.

Officer Crawford is a member and board member  of many local civic originations. He’s also a member of the Ohio Crime Prevention Association, National Public Officers Information Association, International Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Association, and MADD.

Dave proudly serves as a member of the board of directors for ,  MADD of Southwestern Ohio Affiliate, Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc., Visitors and Convention Center, Accent Hamilton, Open Door Food Pantry Board Member, Dayton Lane Historical Society, Safe Kids Coalition, FOP Lodge 38, Washington Lodge Masons, and the High Twelve Club.

A word from Officer Dave Crawford:

I would like to pay homage to Lee Lofland for permitting me to assist him with the technical advice and photography for his book Police Procedure and Investigation, A Guide For Writers, and for his upcoming children’s book Everything Kids: I Want To Be A Police Officer that he’s co-writing with Becky Levine.

In addition, I would like to reflect the authority of all of my endeavors by Chief Neil R. Ferdelman and Captain Steve Poulemanos and Joe Murray who have extended their trust and knowledge for the projects and assignments they’ve assigned to me. Without their support, I would not have had the opportunity to oversee such great projects and accomplishments.

I continue to receive updated training for my field of crime prevention/media schools. I thrive on the various projects assigned to me. I enjoyed assisting you with your book on police procedure an the forthcoming book for kids. I was in a film (B Rated), I made world news for a news story in Readers Digest, and many endless improvements to the department, etc. I was also awarded employee of the month, MADD’s Top Cop Award, along with many other certificates of dedication and appreciation. I am in the process of becoming a certified Crime Prevention Specialist in Environmental Design.

I am married for 26 years to my wife Julie, and we have two children, Sarah and Tom and our four dogs.

My biggest hobby is collecting police lapel pins throughout the world and police related memorabilia.

* Note from The Graveyard Shift: I won’t be around until later this afternoon because I’m on my way to speak at the Scene of the Crime Conference in Wichita, Kansas. The conference begins tonight with a murder for the attendees to solve. Yep, there’s a body waiting somewhere in the hotel for the anxious conference-goers. The person who solves the crime wins a cool prize. This is a fun conference that’s a must for anyone interested in learning about real-life police procedure and CSI. The faculty is made up of nearly all law enforcement experts. This year’s keynote speaker is Katherine Ramsland.

While I’m away, please feel free to post your comments for Officer Crawford. He has a busy day planned, but maybe he’ll find a moment or two to stop in.

By the way, I have some pretty exciting guest bloggers lined up for rest of the month – literary agents, a publisher, police experts, writing professionals, etc. Ben LeRoy, publisher with Bleak House Books, is joining us on Monday.

Fridays Heroes

 

Each night, as we settle into our warm beds for a good night’s rest, police officers all over the country tuck their kids in bed, kiss their spouses goodbye, and head out the door to keep us safe.  What do they do while we sleep? I can assure you that it’s not just another day at the office.

12:15am  Domestic dispute – bruised, battered, and crying husband shoots and kills wife.

1:00  Search dark warehouse for armed robbery suspects

1:30 Chase stolen car through city and county at terrifying speeds

2:10  Wrestle and finally handcuff combative drunk who’d just stabbed his card-playing buddy

2:45 Perform CPR on drug overdose victim so he may live another day

3:15 Change flat tire for stranded motorist

4:00 Sit with and comfort an elderly person who lives alone and was frightened by a mysterious sound

4:45 Hold a crying child whose mother was just killed in an automobile accident

5:15 Pull twisted bodies from what’s left of a car that wrapped around a tree at 100 mph

6:45 Pull sleeping victims from house fire

7:15 Complete paperwork from night’s activities

8:00 Head home, barely able to keep her eyes open

8:30 Climb into empty bed because her family has already begun their day.

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Chief Neil Ferdelman, Hamilton, Ohio Police Department

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