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Old April 8, 2011, 11:38 PM   #26
BigBob3006
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Roaddog,

I dislike playing Monday morning quarterback on an event that I do not have all the information. To say the officers failed to hit their opponents is only half a statement and failed to mention where the LEO bullets went, if such information is available. It is easy to make guess that do not look for deeper causes.

LEOs have a history of failing to put a bullet into subjects they can almost punch in the nose. Or they cannot hit a person across and down an alley when they hip shoot. Point shooting or aimed shooting is never the answer ALL the the time. IMHO, people miss close opponents because they shoot at the whole man rather than concentrate on a fixed point on the opponent's body. Just like the quail hunter who shoots at a covey goes home empty handed.
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Old April 9, 2011, 03:48 AM   #27
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Joseph Wambaugh, a retired LA detective wrote the "Onionfield" about the Newhall incident, if I remember correctly. Good read.
The Newhall incident involved CHP officers; the Onion Field incident involved LAPD officers who were kidnapped, one was killed.
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Old April 9, 2011, 10:25 PM   #28
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Application of lessons learned

In the Army, there is a formal process of integrating lessons learned into doctrine. I expect is is the same with law enforcement. In the case of these shootouts that have gone badly, I wonder if it is valid to attempt to apply lessons learned to the different circumstances of a typical concealed carry person. Police have an affirmative duty to engage a target, just as we did in the Army. The tactics differ somewhat with armed private civilians. We seek to avoid trouble when possible and I expect attacking an enemy who is advancing or attempting to engage us is less likely.

I agree that these events need to be studied and lessons learned integrated into doctrine. It is interesting to read about it, and attempt to critique it from the outside. What would outsiders learn when some key facts are closely held?

When some of these events occurred, I was still a soldier. I recognized that police at the time did not train in the same tactics we did. The mission and situation differed. As the police began to face some rudimentary combat tactics the too some losses and adjusted to the new normal. The military faced similar problems with IEDs. It is not always easy to anticipate how conflicts will evolve.

What is it they say about the best laid plans once we meet the enemy?
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Old April 9, 2011, 11:23 PM   #29
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The Newhall incident involved CHP officers; the Onion Field incident involved LAPD officers who were kidnapped, one was killed.
At Newhall, two CHP officers (in one car) pulled up behind the suspects who had threatened a vehicle on the freeway. The driver got out his side next to one patrolman. The other patrolman went to the passenger side.The passenger opened his door and shot that patrolman. Then the driver shot the distracted patrolman right next to him.

When another CHP car showed up they were under fire immediately. The bad guys now had the officers' weapons. Those two patrolman didn't last long. A witness in the restaurant tried to help. He came out and grabbed an officer's .357 and opened fire--it wasn't fully loaded. One of his shot was the only one that hit a bad guy---who wasn't seriously wounded. With his gun empty, the smaritan fled.

One bad guy later invaded a home and took hostages--who weren't harmed. The other went to a trailor where an armed individual was threatened and persuaded to surrender his weapon and come out---he did. He was severely beaten with his own weapon. The bad guy either had no weapon, or it was empty.

One suspect ended up a suicide. The other went to prison.

In the Onion Field incident, an officer surrendered his weapon to the bad guys who had his partner at gun point. Then both LAPD officers were driven to an oinion field. One was executed, the other escaped.

Ayoob gave an excellent account of the Newhall incident in his book: The Ayoob Files: The Book.
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Old April 10, 2011, 12:21 AM   #30
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kenno wrote: "I used issue 357 ammo on a deer once the bullet failed to penetrate the rib cadge on a quarting shot angle from a 6" barrel."

Can you tell us something about the load?
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Old April 10, 2011, 12:24 AM   #31
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hhb wrote: "Joseph Wambaugh, a retired LA detective wrote the "Onionfield" about the Newhall incident, if I remember correctly. Good read."

It is indeed a good read but it certainly is NOT about the Newhall incident!
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Old April 12, 2011, 10:41 PM   #32
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One more point...

Sleuth has the key point to both the Newhall and Miami tragedies: Mindset.

Just to be clear, I am not trying to discredit any officers or agents involved.

At the time of the Newhall incident, the California Highway Patrol were primarily traffic officers. They are certified 'peace officers' in the state of California, but their duties are primarily traffic code violations. They were ready to identify suspect drivers, issue warnings or citations and if need be, physically take custody of a violator. The officers knew that, the CHP administration knew that and that was the way it was.

They were not mentally ready to shoot and possibly kill someone.

The FBI agents in Miami suffered from the same mindset - or lack thereof. They were ready to find the bad guys and arrest them. Not one of those agents on scene backed away or ran. But they didn't have it in their heads they might have to shoot and possibly kill anyone.

Sleuth has mentioned they were all armed, but not in a state of 'preparedness' for action. To me, that's the key. It's that knowledge of 'this could be the day'.

In the spirit of transparency, Sleuth and I are colleagues and friends of long standing. We've argued these incidents, agreed on them, disagreed on them and incorporated the serious and ugly lessons. I am happy to report it seemed to have worked. We got out alive.

So far.
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Old April 13, 2011, 11:19 AM   #33
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As usual, Archie "has my 6." Thanks, pal.

BTW, another issue revealed by the loss of the 4 CHP officers was the effect of their 'clean uniform' policy. At the time, if a Sgt. saw an officer with dust on his shoes, the officer got a reprimand! "Not upholding the high standards of the CHP."
As a result, officers did not walk up to cars on the passenger side, nor did they take a proper cover position.
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Old April 13, 2011, 10:03 PM   #34
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FHP; trooper hats, duty uniform...

A few years back, a sworn deputy with a central Florida county told me how; "in the old days", Florida Highway Patrol Troopers were mandated to wear the issue hats when they made traffic stops.
After a few FHP state troopers were attacked or shot at while fixing the headgear, the agency changed the SOP.

I'd heard the NYPD & the PBA union(police labor group) had a dispute too over uniform caps.
While I served on active duty as a lower enlisted MP in the early 1990s, our company CO(commanding officer) got a huge bug up his backside about how we(patrol MPs) wore our issued duty gear. The same Captain(0-3) never said #%+* to the MPs under his command while he served as MP operations officer on the same post.
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Old April 13, 2011, 11:55 PM   #35
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The FBI agents in Miami suffered from the same mindset - or lack thereof. They were ready to find the bad guys and arrest them. Not one of those agents on scene backed away or ran. But they didn't have it in their heads they might have to shoot and possibly kill anyone.
Bite your tongue before you say that about Ed Mereles. He was in the fight from the start and performed above and beyond the call of duty.

Grogan lost his glasses and couldn't see. To place yourself inside his head, or the heads of others, is taking quite a bit of liberty with the subject---isn't it?
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Old April 14, 2011, 01:35 AM   #36
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Grogan lost his glasses and couldn't see.
One could say that the fact that his glasses weren't strapped on (like athletes do with their glasses to prevent them from being lost) is strong evidence that he didn't have it in his head that he might be driving toward a life or death struggle.
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Bite your tongue before you say that about Ed Mereles. He was in the fight from the start and performed above and beyond the call of duty.
No one's saying that they didn't do their best once they found themselves in the middle of a bad situation. The point is that in spite of what they knew to be true about the bad guys, they went into the situation not as if they were readying themselves for a horrendously lethal situation that could easily cost several men their lives--they went into it more as if it was just business as usual.

You say Mireles was in the fight from the start. If that's true then why wasn't he wearing his body armor? Are you saying he was ready for a gun battle but decided not to wear his vest? Clearly that would be ridiculous. He performed well under pressure but he obviously went into it like the others--not really expecting anything out of the ordinary.
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Old April 14, 2011, 03:40 PM   #37
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You say Mireles was in the fight from the start. If that's true then why wasn't he wearing his body armor? Are you saying he was ready for a gun battle but decided not to wear his vest? Clearly that would be ridiculous. He performed well under pressure but he obviously went into it like the others--not really expecting anything out of the ordinary.
Apparently your definition of being in the fight "from the start" means the start of the work day. Mine is when the fight started, without respect to what equipment they should have been wearing when it did, or their mindset before the fight.

Where Mereles is concerned, his mindset was extraordinary, and he killed both Platt and Mattix, if I recall.

As for the others, I suspect their mindsets before and during the fight were very similar to the majority of LE officers who go to work on any given day.

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Old April 14, 2011, 10:44 PM   #38
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It's not my definition or yours that matters, it's the context of the comment that you responded to.
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The FBI agents in Miami suffered from the same mindset - or lack thereof. They were ready to find the bad guys and arrest them. Not one of those agents on scene backed away or ran. But they didn't have it in their heads they might have to shoot and possibly kill anyone.
Clearly he's not saying anything about their performance once the fight started, he's talking about their mindset. They were ready to do their job, they didn't run or back away when it started. But their mindset going into it was clearly not ideal.
Quote:
Where Mereles is concerned, his mindset was extraordinary, and he killed both Platt and Mattix, if I recall.
A person who goes into a potential armed encounter with his body armor in the trunk does not have an "extraordinary mindset".

I agree that once he got into the fight he did very well and his mindset DURING the fight leaves nothing to be desired. But clearly he didn't go into the fight with the proper preparation and that makes it obvious that his mindset was less than ideal going into the fight.
Quote:
As for the others, I suspect their mindsets before and during the fight were very similar to the majority of LE officers who go to work on any given day.
Given that a large percentage of LE officers go to work on any given day wearing their body armor even though they aren't on a stakeout looking for heavily armed bank robbers suspected of several murders, it's fairly safe to say that your suspiction is incorrect.
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Old April 14, 2011, 10:56 PM   #39
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Wambaugh's Hollywood novels; LE body armor stats...

Joseph Wambaugh(who was a sworn police officer/LAPD) wrote in one of his popular "Hollywood Division" novels that about 30-40% of sworn LEOs killed in the US every year were wearing body armor.
Some spec ops troopers & armed professionals do not wear vests or body armor on a regular basis. Retired US Navy SEAL officer, Richard Marcinko, www.DickMarcinko.com stated he didn't wear body armor because it would "slow him down".
I'm not saying protective vests or armor are not worth it, but they are not a replacement for proper tactics or training.
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Old April 14, 2011, 11:04 PM   #40
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Marcinko is an interesting character--I'll leave it at that. That aside, he didn't carry body armor around but then not access it when he needed it; he made the conscious decision (whether good or bad) that he was not going to use it. That's very different from carrying it around in the trunk because you think it might be useful but then not putting it on during a stakeout focused on arresting heavily-armed violent felons.

As it turned out, the vests wouldn't have done much good given that Platt did his work with a rifle. Again, that's a moot point. I'm not speaking to the effectiveness of the vest. The point isn't whether they're effective or not, nor whether there are good reasons for not wearing them.

The point is that if you have essential equipment in the trunk instead of on you when you could reasonably expect that you would need it, you need to work on your mindset.
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Old April 14, 2011, 11:07 PM   #41
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Spent shell casings in the pocket

Perhaps the officer was crouching beside the car and didn't want bad guys to know he was reloading. So instead of dropping the casings on the pavement, and annoucing that his gun was empty, he dropped them in his pocket while he was reloading.
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Old April 15, 2011, 11:50 AM   #42
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Perhaps the officer was crouching beside the car and didn't want bad guys to know he was reloading. So instead of dropping the casings on the pavement, and annoucing that his gun was empty, he dropped them in his pocket while he was reloading.
Nope. The CHP range officers didn't want brass cluttering up their nicely manicured lawns, so trainees were told to pocket their brass .

This is just more confirmation that, when under stress, you'll do exactly what you were trained to do. Bad training = bad results.
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Old April 15, 2011, 01:46 PM   #43
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Quote:
Perhaps the officer was crouching beside the car and didn't want bad guys to know he was reloading. So instead of dropping the casings on the pavement, and annoucing that his gun was empty, he dropped them in his pocket while he was reloading.
Nope. The CHP range officers didn't want brass cluttering up their nicely manicured lawns, so trainees were told to pocket their brass .

This is just more confirmation that, when under stress, you'll do exactly what you were trained to do. Bad training = bad results.
We don't really know why he did it. I just think it is wrong to assume he was making a silly mistake, when there is another plausible explanation.

Just my opinion but I think it is much much more likely that he was trying to quietly reload.
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Old April 15, 2011, 04:18 PM   #44
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Sorry Catfish, that is like the old "The M1 is bad because the enemy can hear the 'ping' of the clip, and know where you are, and that you are empty" argument. In the case of the M1, you just fired 1 to 8 rounds of 30-06 at them, so they already know where you are. And a good man with an M1 (I have seen several) can have it reloaded before the clip hits the ground.
(For the M1 it is a 'clip', not a 'charger', per Uncle Sam!)

As for quietly reloading, the Newhall incident was not the only one where officers reverted to their training, and pocketed their brass. There were other CHP incidents, along with comments by shooters like Skeeter Skelton.
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:39 PM   #45
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We don't really know why he did it. I just think it is wrong to assume he was making a silly mistake, when there is another plausible explanation.

Just my opinion but I think it is much much more likely that he was trying to quietly reload.
Other LE across the country have put their brass in their pockets in the middle of a gunfight. Some died as a result. The cause was, without question, traced to their training were they TRAINED themselves to put their brass in their pockets rather than practice speed loading and police their brass afterwards. Instructors did nothing to correct the practice. As Charlie points out, pocketing their brass may have been a requirement with some agencies.

The placing of brass in the pocket is a rote function, done without thought, while the mind is concentrating on other things. I'm trained to jump in my car, start it up, release the emer. brake, put it in gear and head out. Don't think about any of it. I'm TRAINED to do it without thinking, like all of us.

I see citizens training themselves to get killed in gunfights all the time. Like ejecting their magazine into their hand and putting it in their pocket.

But not where LE is concerned, since they've long since updated their training and made speed loading a part of it.
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Old April 15, 2011, 07:53 PM   #46
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A person who goes into a potential armed encounter with his body armor in the trunk does not have an "extraordinary mindset".

I agree that once he got into the fight he did very well and his mindset DURING the fight leaves nothing to be desired. But clearly he didn't go into the fight with the proper preparation and that makes it obvious that his mindset was less than ideal going into the fight.
I think body armor in the trunk is more a tactic. However, it would be tough to seperate mindset from tactics, so I won't try.

I'm just trying to point out that most officers go on the job with similar "mindsets"--attitude would be a better description.

When the Monte Carlo was spotted and the agents were notified, I suspect all of their mindsets changed in a hurry to "this is the day".

What didn't change for Mereles, is that his vest (that wouldn't have stopped .223 rds.) was still in the trunk of the car where he couldn't reach it and he couldn't do a dang thing about it at that point.

Poor tactic/mindset re: his vest? OK, but not so bad having his shotgun handy. The only long gun on the good guys side.

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Old April 15, 2011, 09:12 PM   #47
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Obviously, I could be wrong - but so could you guys. I'm making my statement as an opinion and y'all seem to think that you have stated some provable facts.

Apparently, the "brass in the pocket" thing has been discussed before. That doesn't mean the conclusion that was arrived at was correct. It's impossible to know that an officer putting brass in his pocket was due to training and it's impossible to know that it got him killed. Dumping the brass on the pavement might get him killed? Way to many variables at an event that none of us witnessed.

It's an interesting theory, don't state it as fact.
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Old April 15, 2011, 11:33 PM   #48
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It's an interesting theory, don't state it as fact.

I guess I'll have to speculate that no officer who just ran his gun dry would give first priority to saving his brass and second priority to reloading his gun, and further speculate that it was a training issue as opposed to a conscious tactical decision.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
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Old April 16, 2011, 12:00 AM   #49
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Modern or recent training standards; pistol vs DA revolver...

I'd add to this topic that weapons training or tactical skill training can help address some of these issues too in a real world event.
Many sworn LE officers, federal agents & other armed professionals(bodyguards, PSCs, security officers, etc) train to make tactical reloads or transition to other fully loaded weapons in critical incidents.
These factors also show why a 15/16/18 shot duty pistol is far better than a 5 or 6 shot DA revolver in 2011.
To say "6 for sure" or "wheel guns are real guns" may sound macho or cool but in the real world, there is honestly little or no practical reason not to use a semi auto pistol or pistols on duty. With little effort you get nearly 3 times the firepower.
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Old April 16, 2011, 09:48 AM   #50
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Other stuff

Here is a training film made by the CHP that goes into great detail about the Newhall Incident. Even has a tape of Twinning telling a reporter that he will kill himself before he goes back to prison. http://www.mefeedia.com/watch/27581823

On the Miami Shootout. The agents had body armor but not sufficient to stop 5.56 bullets only handgun ammo. Wouldn't have helped them. Mireles didn't really kill Platt, he was already dead from the shot Dove had delivered earlier in the fight. He just didn't know it yet. Matix fired one shot and was out of the fight from the beginning. As Mireles said in a statement he made later. He had heard a lot of BGs say they would never be taken alive but 99.9% of them were full of it and gave up when confronted. This time they didn't. Maybe that was part of the mindset. Best book on Miami Shoout is by a Dr. Anderson French. I have read it and it is very detailed.
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