I Get Paid To Do This

Yesterday was my quarterly training day at work.  This quarter’s training was a familiarization day on our new patrol cars that will be hitting the fleet this summer.  The Dodge Charger.  The first half of the day was spent in the classroom, but the second half was out on the track putting the car through our EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course).  I had a buddy of mine sit in the passenger seat and film me running the course.  One feature of the new car are the hands-free stereo buttons on the steering wheel.  The car has buttons on the back side of the steering wheel so you can adjust volume, channel, etc without taking your hands off the steering wheel.  However, in EVOC I kept hitting these buttons and changing the radio channel by accident, as you’ll hear in the video.  We both got a laugh out of it and I was able to tune the radio back over to the right channel while still going through the serpentine portion of the course.  And to answer an obvious question:  No, I didn’t hit any cones on this run.  Not to say I didn’t hit my share of cones during the afternoon, just not on this particular run.

The second part of the afternoon was working on PIT.  In this video I’m driving the patrol car and another buddy is filming me from inside the car being PIT’d.  The patrol cars are all equipped with bigger, solid steel bumpers to limit the damage to the cars since they are used solely for practicing PIT.

editor:  For some reason the second video is still be “processed” by WordPress.  It was playing earlier when I reviewed the post prior to posting.  So, if you don’t see it, come back later and maybe it’ll be ready by then.

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Pursuit Pictures

There has been plenty of media coverage of this, so I think I’m safe putting this up.  You can see some of the coverage at KTVB, the Idaho Statesman, and KIVI.

On Wednesday, October 20 we had a bank robbery in town that led to a pursuit out into Nampa.  The suspects eventually crashed after some spike strips were laid down.  My understanding is that they swerved to avoid the strips and lost control and crashed.  I wasn’t there and not involved, but that was the story I have been hearing which is also what is being reported in the media.  Anyway, at briefing that afternoon I was sent out to the crash scene to recover one of our patrol vehicles.  The officer who had been driving it rode back to the hospital with one of the suspects in the medic unit.  While at the scene I took some photos of the crash.

Evidently, the car went through a small, dirt parking lot just off the roadway and through a fence.  The problem was there was nothing on the other side of the fence except for a 20′ drop into the backyard of a house.  Man, it was lucky there was no one home.  There was a swing set, trampoline and kid’s toy in the backyard.  The swing set was destroyed but the trampoline and toy appeared to be untouched.  The car landed upside down and crashed into a shed.  I can only imagine the look on the faces of the occupants when they went through the fence and saw the cliff they were about to go over.  I have no idea what the speeds were at the time of crash, but I know speeds hit 80 mph during the chase and the media is reporting upwards of 100 mph.  My guess is those higher speeds were reached on I-84, not this arterial where the crash happened, but again, I wasn’t there and don’t know for certain.  The speed limit on the road they were on was 55 mph.  I’m taking the pictures from the road surface and you can see that I’m higher than the roof of the house.

The batteries in my nice camera were dead (I haven’t used it much and forgot to charge it up) so I had to use my iPhone.  Sorry about the quality.  But you get the idea.

This first one is looking from the roadway near the fence and down into the backyard.  The car, an RX8, is resting upside down in the shed.  You can see the swing set all twisted up in the backyard.  I should point out that I think it’s a swing set.  I didn’t go into the crime scene, but that’s what it looked like.  This picture was taken looking into the sun, so it’s not that great.

In this one you can see the two-tiered cliff the car went over.  In the foreground is the lower tier while farther to the left (where the fence is) is the upper tier where the roadway is at.  The trampoline and kid’s play toy are next to the twisted swing set.

Here’s another angle of the shed taken out of the sun light.

I Can’t Believe I’m Getting Paid For This

Sorry I got sidetracked with the Denali Prep Course updates.  I’ve been in a training class at work all week and working a day shift schedule.  This week also happened to be Craft Beer Week here in Boise with events taking place every night at different pubs and brewpubs around town.  So I’ve been in class during the day and out drinking (sampling) every night.  Hence, no prep course updates.  Sorry, priorities.

Wednesday night we went to The Ram to sample some craft beers the brewer there made up and had a tour of their facility.  Being a budding home brewer, I got to ask a lot of questions and get some tips to help my brews turn out better.  Here’s a picture that ran in the Idaho Statesman on Friday.  I’m in the blue shirt (not hat) and Shelley is in the bottom right hand corner.  We are listening to the brewer talk about their boil kettle and sparge tank.  Cool stuff.

Thursday was a brewer’s dinner at Sockeye and Friday night was another craft beer selection at Table Rock.  Fun week to be working a day shift schedule!

My training class was actually a blast (pun intended).  I obtained a new tool for my patrol work.  A brand new (and not just new to me, but brand new) M4 rifle.  This past week myself, along with 15 others who just had rifles issued to them, have been going through the qualification and certification course so we can carry and deploy the rifle on patrol.  It was a lot of fun.

Having been in the Army I’m familiar with the M4.  It’s basically a civilian version of the M16A2 the Military uses.  However, it has been 20 years since I’ve had any formal instruction in it, so even though some of the class was familiar, there was a lot of new stuff.  Plus, I was a little rusty on my marksmanship.  But like riding a bike, it came back pretty fast.

I know a lot of you miss my weekly updates, so I thought I’d throw this out there as a substitute.  There isn’t anything in this post that could be a violation of our new policy.  I took along my video camera on Friday’s shoot and had a friend run some video of the different training stations we went through.  The first few days were pretty slow, but Friday was a lot of shooting.  This is just a sample of what one small section of our range looked like after a course of fire.  This photo was taken after seven of us went through the “Multiple Target Engagement” course.  There were two shooting positions for that course and this photo was from just one position.  Yeah, we went through a lot of ammunition.  I can’t believe I get paid to do this.

Here’s a short video of me going through the Multiple Target Engagement course.  You can hear the other firing position as well as the other half of the class at the other end of the range doing their thing in the background.  The set up here is we have three targets in front of us and the instructor calls out which target to engage.  Sometimes he calls out multiple targets and we have to engage both.  Two rounds into each target.  We are shooting from the 15 yard line.  We each went through the course four times and none of the seven of us missed.  That’s right, not a single shot in the white of the targets.

Another course of fire incorporated movement.  The instructors set up six targets in a row and we had to walk along and engage each target with two rounds.  We did this twice.  Once walking left to right (that would be on my strong side) and once right to left (on my weak side).  The entire class did this at the same time.  I think there was only six misses during this course of fire.  During this video you see the guy in front of me have a malfunction and the instructor stops the line.  That’s why an instructor walks with you as you’re shooting.  You tend to focus on the targets and your technique so the instructor is behind you to keep an eye on safety issues like the shooter in front of you stopping.  The video kept running, but I spliced it out.

We also did some shooting around a barricade and other obstacles.  Here we have a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood cut to represent various obstacles we would encounter on the street.  Position 1 is a notch to shot over and around, position 2 is through a chain link fence, position three is a whole or window, position 4 is under a vehicle and position 5 is around a solid wall.  As the instructor calls out the number, we move to that position and engage the target.  We are shooting from the 25 yard line.  This video is from my second time through the course.

Finally, the last course was just kind of for fun and bragging rights.  The instructors set up five targets and some cones in a square (or box).  You start at the 15 yard line and walk up to the first target and engage it with three rounds.  Two to the body and one to the head.  You have to engage this target with all three rounds before getting to the 5 yard line.  At the five yard line you turn and walk parallel with targets two, three and four and engage each with two body shots each.  After you finish target four, you run back to the 15 yard line and engage target five with a single head shot.  This was pretty fun.  Especially with it being timed and everyone rooting each other on.  The catch was you could not miss any shots for the time to count.  This video is my first run through and I finished with 17.67ish seconds and no misses.  So, I held the fastest time for about eight shooters.  Then I got smoked by officer JS who posted a 12.85 with no misses.  The fastest I got my time down to was 12.52, but I missed one body shot………….argh!  I did another round of 13.09, but again, dropped one round.  Oh well.  It was a lot of fun.  The fastest time was 11.82 with one miss.  So Ofc JS held on to his bragging rights.  Oh, the guy you hear at the end saying, “Hernon’s moving out,” that’s Ofc JS.

Weekly Update. Where is it?

After I took a month off for my hand I stopped blogging the weekly update of my experiences on patrol.  Mainly since I wasn’t working I had nothing to write about.  Shortly before I went on sick leave there was talk going around work about the use of Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites.  I think it’s kind of funny that the chief doesn’t like officers using Facebook, etc but then allows our PIO to go out and make a Facebook page for the department.  Anyway, that’s a side issue.

After I came back to work the word was out.  A new policy regarding our use of social networking sites was coming down.  For that reason I stopped posting the Weekly Update until I saw what the new policy would be.  The policy is now out.

In reading the new policy I don’t think any of my posts cross any line for a policy violation.  I think I could probably continue with my update and still be within the guidelines of the new policy.  However, that’s not to say that some over eager Internal Affairs investigator or defense attorney couldn’t take comments or posts out of context and find me in violation.  We’ve had two officers get in trouble (one has been fired and is currently suing the city) over what an IA investigator thought to be inappropriate off-duty behavior.  I too have also got in trouble for breaking a rule that wasn’t a rule in the first place.  Long story.  I didn’t suffer any adverse discipline because of it and there was no formal investigation.  Probably because I didn’t violate any policy that existed.

None the less, I don’t need the headache.

Thus I have decided to discontinue with the Weekly Update.  Sorry, I know a lot of readers liked it.

Bomb class videos, pt 1

This past September myself and a friend from work traveled to Socorro, NM for a class on responding to terrorist bombings.  I won’t go into a lot of background on the class, as that is covered in the video below.

Yesterday, they sent us two DVDs of our class and national news broadcasts about the class.  I’m only including one news broadcast, the shortest one, as they are large files.  There are quite a bit of videos and I haven’t watched everyone yet.  This first one I will share here is a national news broadcasts about the class from 2001.  In the future we’ll see what else they have on these DVDs.

A statement made by someone in the class in this first one is right on.  “Failing to prepare, is preparing for failure.”  In fact, we talked about this over dinner a few weeks ago.  Natural disasters happen everywhere in this country.  Another terrorist act will occur in this country, and it won’t be terrorists flying planes into buildings.  If you don’t think it can happen to you, if you don’t think there is evil in this world that wants to hurt you, then you are failing yourself and your family.  You will be a victim.

Failing to prepare, is preparing for failure.

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