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The Devil's Equation

  1. Two and a half years ago I left a detective position with a 26 officer department in the Texas coastal bend area and returned to west Kansas at the request of the new sheriff. The department I work for now has a total of ten sworn including part-timers, I and one other officer are the only two who have ever worked anywhere else which occasionally leads to some differences of opinion.

    Last week we did a active shooter drill at the local middle school, things didn't go all that well as it was the first drill in over ten years and only the other experienced officer and I have had any training in active shooter response. It was no secret about the exercise and since I work nights I was told when and where it would happen and was told to be ready to respond from home, so as the appointed hour neared I was sitting in my running truck in my jump suit, drop leg holster and steel plate carrier with my rifle ready to go. I and the other trained officer both arrived to the party late and were the only ones dressed for the occasion, we were the only ones wearing plate and carrying rifles, the department issued steel plates and carriers to all of the deputies several years ago with the instructions that the plates were to be carried in the truck.

    The Under Sheriff and I got into a discussion about what to wear to an active shooter situation, he felt that the few seconds needed to put on his plates and grab is rifle was too long and that it was better to make rapid entry with just your sidearm to prevent the further potential loss of life. While I was in Texas we drilled on active shooter at the local schools a couple of times a year and we all kept our plates where we could grab them quickly, I can have mine on in less than 30 seconds from the time my truck stops rolling until I am ready to make entry. My plate carrier has both rifle and pistol magazines, a trauma kit and three tourniquets on it plus my radio headset so I can still hear both surroundings and my radio with gunfire in the enclosed space.

    With the understanding that both sides are part of the Devil's Equation about time versus proper equipment which side do you think is right?
  2. While seconds count, for sure, the very few seconds it takes to grab those vital items that are right there in the vehicle increase the chances of saving lives and ending the situation more quickly.

    On balance, you are correct, and other guy is being short sighted.
  3. I wouldn't ever second guess someone who took the time to grab their rifle.

    What good are you if you rush in and are shot to death before you can put a stop to things? How many more kids will die with you?

    I say armor up and run like hell!

    But I'll not second guess any of you guys who rush in.

    Happyguy :)
  4. There is a production tool called the unattainable triangle: good, fast and cheap (or as I like to call it quality, time and price). You can generally have two.

    This is a no win situation on the surface. You could show up minutes late with lost lives or come to a gun fight with a knife (figuratively).

    If it was me? I would train, train, train. Learn how to those put those carriers on in the dark, upside down one handed..which you probably do already.

    These situations always lead to second guessing afterwards.

    However, its a school. There are other options which can ADD seconds. Armed teachers, armed security on site
  5. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. Ugh. It’s frustrating how many agencies don’t train and stay on the edge.

    If your department won’t provide training, pass along what you can and develop yourself as a peer leader and unofficial training officer. If the guys there are smart, they’ll ping on who knows what they’re talking about and who’s a pogue.
  6. I'm just a reserve, so I won't offer advice, but having said that, here's how I'd approach it.

    Do you know if he has a handgun or a long gun? Probably not with any certainty.

    If it's a handgun, the plates and rifle are nice to have, but not crucial. Time may be better spent entering and ending it sooner.

    If he has a rifle, you could really use the protection and extra range/accuracy a long gun affords you.

    That said, a lot of these guys also off themselves at the first sign of armed resistance also to avoid being captured. So a few pistol rounds downrange against a rifle is often all you need to end it.

    So I don't think you can say either side is "wrong". Which is better depends on the circumstances.

    Best solution may actually be a few guys in early with minimal equipment with more tactical stuff 30 sec behind.

    We generally have plates in the car, often an AR, but we don't train with them. Regulars do. I don't even know where the lock button is to release the AR.

    If I'm alone, and the plates are in passenger seat, I'm throwing them on as I head in, not worrying about the AR. If plates aren't right there, probably taking my chances without it.

    Most likely will be moot, we work football, basketball games at the school, we'll be far away from the car and the extra gear if we're involved. Going to be soft armor and a pistol. If we're doing traffic or house checks where car is handy, it'll be over by the time we get to the school anyway.


    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
  7. Really simple even for an Undersheriff. If the Deputy gets shot in the first seconds of being on the scene and is incapacitated he has now compounded the problem. It's like rolling too fast for conditions to a hot call. First you have to get there!
  8. I'm not a cop but I think it would be better to armor up and then go in. You never know what you are going up against.
  9. Rushing in less prepared than you could be would be more likely to add to the casualty count than to subtract from it. I second the motion to take the seconds needed to get carrier and rifle into action.
  10. A minute is an eternity in that situation.

    I’ve heard a lot of guys claim to be able to gear up with long gun and plate carrier in 30 seconds. Few can actually do it when we’ve tested it.

    I’m all about grabbing whatever helps you fight. But you need to be able to exit the car fighting. That’s means driving up close to the school before exiting the car and being able to fight when your feet hit the ground.

    For me it’s a rifle in the rack up front with me and a spare 30rd mag I keep on my patrol bag in the front seat goes in my back pocket. And I’m gone.

    It’s really a no win situation. Every second is 2-4 rounds that can be fired. Every round in a crowded hallway can kill 1-4 kids.

    Taking a wrong turn inside the school or not having solid info as to where exactly the shooter adds to the body count as well.

    If we show up and stop the shooter ASAP we will be still be blamed for not preventing it.

    I am not issued hard body armor and don’t currently have any of my own. I had a carrier with large steel plates and they were cumbersome and slow to get on I sold them.

    I see his point beyond the typical admin weenie line of thought.

    The truth is the answer lies somewhere in the middle between get in without any delay and have the tools you need when you get in there.
  11. I'm not a police officer, so I won't second guess anybody's decision. That said, 30 seconds is a LONG time. If this was a home invasion scenario (the closest comparison in my world), I don't think I'd spend another five seconds above what it'd take to grab the nearest weapon and engage. I don't think I'd take any extra time to get one of our ARs instead of our 9mm single-stack, for example.
  12. Maybe a staggered response? First units on scene runs in w/what they have.

    Other units that respond after two or three officers are in the building next units grab long guns. Last to get on scene kit all the way up.

    Sadly my rifle rides in the truck. Active shooter response for me is as soon as it is physically possible I’m getting out of my car and going into the school looking for work.

    If I’m one of the units responding a little later I will run to the trunk and get my rifle.
  13. Your undersheriff is wrong. Back in 1997, two well armed gunmen held over 100 pistol equipped officers from my agency at bay until members of SWAT arrived with their long guns. Back then, we didn’t have a patrol rifle policy. We do now. In this day and age, active shooters are likely to be armed with an AR-15, and be wearing vests themselves. Don’t make the mistake our agency did. If the scenario played out today, rifles would be deployed for certain.
  14. We carry long guns up front so we can deploy with them right out of the car. I had a spare rifle mag on my normal duty set up. I also have some new rifle plates that ride in my normal armor (angel armor and weigh about the same as my old K30 insert) so they are on the entire time. So if I'm first second or third I'm going with what i have and my rifle. Beyond that I'm gearing up and we start forming teams then (the way our training goes).
  15. The sad reality is this:...in every active shooter for the past few decades, the majority of the carnage was finished by the time the first officers arrived on-scene.
    There simply is too much "lag time" involved in calling 911, dispatching officers, and response to the scene...this is not to say we should not respond and be ready to make a dynamic entry as soon as possible, but let's not get crazy about a 30 second delay allowing for body armor to be put on...some situations cannot be prevented...mitigated yes, prevented no...action still beats reaction. Even the latest shooting in NJ ( I think?) where a patrol officer heard the initial shots and was right around the corner...engaged the shooter as he was heading into the night-club..."still" a couple shot prior to the officer stopping the threat...even if I am putting on armor as I am running toward the scene...I cannot help anyone if I get shot and taken out of the fight
  16. A good point. Alot suck start their gun. One reason i advocate sirens when rolling in. If they hear it they may start sucking their gun before we even enter
  17. I want to attempt to get those high speed racks Mayhem showed off...first I need to get my change of body armour request approved first. Lol
  18. You can't save anybody's life if you get killed.
  19. The folks that didn't bring their gear will say you wasted time bringing it; the folks who brought theirs will say you wasted others time by not bringing it. I was always told to start out by first making sure I did my best to not become a casualty/liability, and to make sure I had the right tools for the job, so for my position on the issue... gear up.
  20. Best practices say rifle and plates.
    In TX, ALERTT (probably the premier active shooter training anywhere), they are teaching stop on the way, armor up and get the rifle ready to roll instantly on arrival.
    I do not think I could live with myself if I were taking a minute to stop and armor up knowing another 10-15 people may be killed in that time frame.
    Tons of good arguments to put it on, and I've considered them all. But if it's truly an active ongoing shooter, I'm probably not taking the time to put the plate carrier on. That's me, if you choose to do otherwise you are not wrong...probably more right actually.
  21. My opinion is that you should enter with maximum armor and armament.

    Of course a dozen mags is probably going to be a bit excessive and likely won't be carried long by someone trekking out to their car every day after roll call and back to the office after OD. Even if you have a take home car you are a fool for leaving that kind of stuff in your car.

    I had a rifle, a spare mag in my patrol backpack water bottle holder, a bail out bag with two mags and a few pistol mags, and later they issued armor in addition to a helmet. If they had allowed a shotgun I probably would have taken that too. Primarily for ersatz breaching.

    Practicing putting all that stuff on could be done on graves or swings just about anywhere with no people around. Or at the yard or station on dayshift. Just develop a routine. Whatever order makes sense. Like rifle plates before rifle, etc
  22. I work a few hundred miles northeast of the OP. A lot depends on which location the shooting happens and where I’m at.

    I have level IV rifle plates and mags in a plate carrier. I can access my rifle while driving hot. My plan is to don the carrier for protection and reloads, but I don’t know if I could take the few seconds to put it on, if shots were being actively fired.

    My response will be based the information given by dispatch. I know it shouldn’t matter, but I could see running right in, against a handgun. Especially, if other units were close behind. Whereas, report of rifles and/or multiple assailants would justify the time to properly equip.

    If other units are already on scene, I would also likely gear up or if I knew I would be the only official responder for quite a while. Taking the threat out is ideal, keeping them busy while others get there to help is the minimum. If I go down, I could help the shooter get more guns, Ammo, and other tools.
  23. You know it's funny....

    When there is a fire and people are trapped in a burning building, nobody debates whether the firefighters should enter the structire before they are properly geared up....
  24. True. But they have the luxury of setting the gear up for a 5 second gear-up before they ever get in the truck.
  25. Your undersheriff is a moron. There's a world of difference between taking less than 60 seconds to put on a vest and grab a rifle and pulling a Columbine where you're waiting for hours for SWAT to show up.

    Your oath of office isn't a suicide pact.
  26. The current Sheriff was elected in November of 2016 and replaced a Sheriff who for ten years had filled the department with friends and cronies, there was no real interest in training beyond the minimum required by the state, add the fact that the county is now paying the price for fiscal mistakes made ten years ago by the then County Commissioners and shrinking revenues. Sheriff's department has had it's budget reduced each year for the last five years with this years budget being less than what some departments spend on fuel or training.

    The current Sheriff has replaced a number of deputies with better people as the friends of the old Sheriff have resigned rather than work for the new Sheriff. The county pays poorly so it is hard to attract experienced, good officers to a very rural part of Kansas where the nearest WalMart is forty-five miles away in another state. The majority of the sworn who work here have school age kids so they have a more personal and emotional stake in an active shooter situation, add a lack of training because the previous Sheriff was of the "It Will Never Happen Here" school of thought and you have our current problem. The new Sheriff is trying to fix this but it takes time when you have almost no money for training and all of the good training is on the other side of the state which adds the cost of food and lodging to the cost of the class.
  27. I have seen training of our that specifically states they shall go in properly equipped. They may cut corners with the two in, two out rule if they have other units coming but they aren't going in without tools and SCBAs.

    When we have had our guys go into burning buildings they think we are fools. They look at it as a matter of chances. Roll the dice long enough and you will lose. And since they study these things I tend to listen.

    I always figured if the fire was reasonably small, I was there relatively quick, as in seconds after the dispatch or I found it, and there was a good way in and out I would go for it.

    It is interesting to see the stats at how fast fire spreads now vs 50+ years ago due to the use of synthetics. That's why the local fire code wants a smoke detector in every room. You really only have a few minutes to get everyone out. Odds are by the time anyone arrives it will be too late.
  28. Grabbing a rifle is fine but putting on rifle plates? Not if takes more than a few seconds and they are first on scene.
  29. We're not authorized to carry rifles. They're too mean and scary. We did just get new 870's last year. Since the oneswe got rid off were manufactured in the 80's....yeah.

    Our cars have a vertical mount inside and the shotguns have extended magazines, a side saddle, and are loaded with Federal LE slugs. I personally set up those, and it's the best I could do with what they gave me.

    My personal setup is simple: G17 with four spare mags on my person. G19 is my backup, so if the 17 goes down, the mags will still work. I have a IIA vest, no hard plates, no carrier, etc. I "do" have an AR set up for patrol use, but as I said - they aren't technically authorized.

    The school shooting/active shooter thing is one we have training for and one I've thought about a great deal. Matter of fact, almost one year ago, on my first day back from vacation, my partner and I responded to a report of one at a nearby high school.

    Thankfully, it was a kid with firecrackers in the bathroom and everyone was canceled before we arrived - and we weren't five minutes away. My plan that day - and now - is to let my partner have the 870 and I'll grab a couple of extra mags for my pistol. I have three 33 rounders in my bag. The shotgun doesn't have a sling, cause we are cheap, and I run my pistol way better. I'm fine with the shotgun, but I'm more than fine with my Glock. If the bad guys have on armor, I guess head shots are where it's at.

    Active shooters are a "come as you are" kind of party, and if I gotta go - helping to save some kids ain't a bad way. We can only do so much with what our department allows, so that's that.
  30. I trained on exiting the car with the rifle and putting on plates. With not much practice, it is entirely possible to be geared up and moving toward the shooter in less than 30 seconds from when your foot first hit the brakes.
  31. Wow.

    That being said the shotgun is not half the slouch people seem to think it is these days, but even my agency authorized rifles for some patrolman 6 years ago. A shotgun is more difficult to run proficiently IMO, so their logic is really antiquated.

    Less than half of our patrolman have rifles though. They only “certify” a few per year to carry them. Hell, most of our rookies don’t even have shotguns. We don’t have anymore.

    I’m carrying my shotgun this week. I forgot my rifle and ‘ol trusty is always in my locker at work.
  32. I understand his point of getting into the scene and finding the shooter ASAP.

    By not taking armor it is very possible that 1 hit will put you out of the fight.

    By taking a handgun, your effective range, and accuracy, are cut way way down.

    Columbine had an SRO engage the shooters in the parking lot, and not stop them.

    Pulse nightclub shooting had an officer in the parking lot fire multiple rounds, at about 15 ft, and not stop the shooter. Then SWAT officers missed him at close range.

    Not taking a rifle is not a good plan.

    OTOH. The time to square away your gear is NOW. Having active shooter gear, but not having it instantly available is close to not having it at all.

    Not having it set up to go on RIGHT NOW, also doesn't help. Does your agency require BWC's. If so what is YOUR plan for that BWC if you have to put on plates? What about that spiffy load bearing vest, have you planned to put plates on over that? Where is your radio mic going if you put on plates? etc etc.

  33. Is the OP for real? It sounds like a subtle Gecko_45 Parody
  34. Based off your description I say you should be drilling using both and god forbid you ever have an actual event you will know when you arrive what’s best and if you even have 30 seconds. We train for every imaginable incident so many times that my corpse will still do it mindlessly after my conscious has left the building granted we have a bigger budget most likely. The point is you’re both right and should train accordingly, the fact there is only 2 experienced officers you guys need to stop back and forth with each other and team up and lead the officers below you. That said thank you guys and gals in blue for what you do, we do appreciate it.
  35. I did not read the whole situation, but it sounded like the Sheriff gave instruction, and the 2nd in command gave his opinion or it may have been instructions.

    "BE PREPARED" is good advice for anyone, not only Boy Scouts.
    "Be Prepared" is a complete sentence!! You is understood to be the subject!! You be prepared, and let the person advising you not to be prepared go unprepared.

    You know what you should do!!! A soldier puts on their helmet and other armor then fights, that's training.
    Since it is an emergency drill, JUST PUT ON YOUR ARMOR WITH SPEED, DON'T FORGET YOUR WEAPON.
    When there is no emergency, you could take your time putting on the armor.

    Maybe that is why the drill had poor results, officers and responders listening to too many voices at the time of the drill, having had LITTLE OR NO PRACTICE PREPARING CORRECTLY AS A TEAM.

    You might make a written request to the sheriff asking for a special training team to come and assist in the training of the department for such active shooting emergencies. (save a copy for your files). Asking for help when needed is a good trait.

    Just an opinion.
    Also, the second in command sounds like he is not a person with good advice, if you find that to be the case, you might not ask him for advice, nor discuss tactical planning issues with him, if possible.
  36. That’s my problem. I can throw it over my head and cinch it up in thirty seconds. But it would take a couple minutes to get everything squared away so my comms and camera are functional. And another minute to get my gear on my belt square away so I can access everything.
  37. You always show up ready for bear, you can always take things off later if they are not needed.
  38. Even the Boy Scouts of yesteryear had it right: "BE PREPARED"

    "Be Prepared" is a complete sentence. You is understood to be the subject.
  39. This is the 21st century, and we now have San Bernardino, Bataclan, Mumbai, Beslan and Nairobi as examples of active shooters. Hell, let's throw in Pulse.

    Until you can guarantee that we're responding to a disgruntled employee with a .38 and not al Baghdadi's revenge, the plates and artillery are the way to go.
  40. It’s the same comparison as police will break something removing a robbery suspect and everyone gets pissed. The fire department will literally rip out your walls and cut huge holes in your roof and receive cookies.

    This is the big one. All the public sees is the apparatus exiting the station, ready to go. They don’t see the minute or so where everyone is running to the bay, getting changed.

    If the FD is out eating or working out, people are okay with them getting dressed before they siren off. If it’s a cop, people expect instant response, even to fires.

    We drive around patrolling. It feels counter-productive to stop, from highway speeds, to don protective gear, before heading to a call. Even if it is in everyone’s best interest. Add in cops tend to be adrenaline junkies and risk takers. Our personal safety is often tied directly to the last time we saw someone gamble, and lose.

    Valid post. I wear my BWC on my chest. If I don the plate carrier, I have no way to mount the camera. It doesn’t get to go. I asked for a MOLLE mount, for the plate carrier and was denied.

    In the future, I will have an external plate carrier. When. That happens, I will have to make a new plan.

    I keep my radio mic on my chest, too if my shirt. It can be moved to the plate carrier easily. Irrelevant, in the County-radios don’t work anyway.
  41. It is even worse in cities where they call the police dept. "Public Safety" and the police are the FD too. If they have a fire, they switch uniform to fire fighting gear, which some have in the police cars.
    This is a fair size city, which in the past had police separate from FD.

    I would never work for such a department. I would either be police or fireman, but never both. That is too much confusion and drama for a nickel. (my opinion)
  42. Sunnyvale has that. It works because they staff the trucks -1 then the officers go to medicals in their beat. Considering a modest ranch home in their city goes for 2+ million they don't have a lot of crime. Pretty suburban. Fires are rare. Hazmat is probably the one thing they might get more than others due to tech using a lot of poison gas to make chips. That is mostly containment because Ithe companies that use the gas have strong protocols in place. I know a few people who work there.
  43. LAPD did a great job.

    View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JuOHJuORYa0
  44. Rohnert Park is the same way. You get assigned to which section (fire or police) for your rotation that quarter
  45. Marina Ca was Public Safety. I don't know if they still are.
  46. This is something that I’ve gone back and forth on for a few years now.
    My shift had a training night last night. Where we formed the common consensus that at minimum we are rolling with a rifle for the first officer on scene. I’m going to be looking into those magazine pouches that mount on the Stock so we have at minimum 56 rounds of 5.56.

    I’ve immersed myself for the last few weeks of setting up Plate Carriers for each car. I’ve got 3 set up so far and we are waiting for a set of AR500 plates for the 4th. We will have a spare in the Armory with the old ceramic plates.

    Each Carrier has 3 more magazines of 28 5.56 rounds, 2 Glock 22 magazines, an IFAK, and a radio pouch. We have those ridiculous magnetic BWC mounts so steel plates are needed.

    Personally when I’m working Solo I put my duty bag more magazines and medical gear over the passenger seat. And buckle the Plate Carrier in.

    We issue the Colt 933 (M4 commando, MK18). They will all be equipped the same by the new year. But that’s not the important fact. The important fact is that we can drop it from the rack, lock n load, and sling it while in the drivers seat.

    The next training session we get as a full shift, we are going to run more deployment drills, speed donning of the Carriers, and more room clearing as a team and solo.

    And for those that are worried about ballistic shields, would you rather have one guy who is slowing you down using a pistol or would you rather have another rifle and up armored shooter on your side?
  47. They went to traditional police and fire 10 or so years back.
  48. While there's something to be said for shield use, what some armchair experts like Big Shooter up there don't realize is, they're all but useless for a lone officer. You can't use a rifle, you can't open your own doors, you gas out quicker, you're less accurate with the pistol you're forced to use, etc.

    For anyone going on about a shield, think of it this way: what stops those active shooters who don't decide to off themselves in these situations? Outgoing rounds. Shields are great, but firearms solve these problems.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
  49. They split up around the time I got hired, maybe a little after. Somewhere around 20 years ago. Brisbane did the same thing probably 25-30 years ago. We had two instructors in my academy from there. One went PD, on went FD. It made sense even now they went where they did. The PD guy was a motor with a sawed off in his saddle bag and shells on his belt. The fire guy talked like Fire Marshal Bill.
  50. I thought it was longer. I remember one of their motors coming to work a beach day in 99. It was weird because the Boardwalk hired him. Full Marina PD uniform too.