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Old February 2, 2012, 02:34 PM   #1
Vermonter
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Clearing a property

I am a manager for a company that manages rental properties. We are in a very remote area and we have a tendency to have a lot of false burglar alarms. I also walk through properties for status checks etc.

More than once I have walked into a property and bumped into someone who wasn't supposed to be there. Normally it is someone who has overstayed a rental usually sleeping.

I always carry however am not always inclined to draw and clear the property with a piece in my hand. My fear is that I spook someone needlessly. I figure I can draw and protect myself.

When I go to a burglar alarm at a supposedly unoccupied property I typically have my hand on the gun and a flashlight. If I feel the need I do draw and clear.

In winter I draw and slip the firearm into my jacket pocket. I then walk through the property with the piece in the pocket and my hand on it. If I bump into someone it looks like I am just walking around with my hand in my pocket.

Suggestions?

Thanks, Vermonter
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Old February 2, 2012, 03:48 PM   #2
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Talk to the local PD/SO/State Police, and see if you can get some training in how to clear your property safely. Cops have died because they thought they could always outdraw the bad guy.
Obviously, you cannot 'tactically' clear every time you enter a cabin, or your guest count will go down. But better awareness could save you life.
If you have guests who overstay, wouldn't you know that in advance, as their keys had not been returned?
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Old February 2, 2012, 04:18 PM   #3
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Sleuth

I have worked on training on clearing the property. The issue is I don't want to go in looking like swat when there is no need. I will give you an example.

I pull into the house for a post departure status. No vehicles in driveway . The home has a keyless door code that expires at checkout time. (11:00) I enter at roughly 13:00 in order to make sure all doors and windows are shut, lights out, heat at 55, and so on.

I enter the property and start doing a status from the bottom up. In the upstairs bedroom I find a sleping individual in the bed. He is not responding verbally and is breathing heavily.

Turns out that he was just a drunken partier who had been left in the house while his friends went skiing or whatever.

If I had been busting in there chuck norris style I would have startled needlessly an otherwise polite young man who had a few too many.

We have amazing local poliece but they are more part time and usually run night shifts as those are busier. If I dial 911 and they are not on duty a state trooper will be here in about 15 mins. Therefore this kind of thing is mostly up to me to deal with.

We tend to go in pairs and no women are ever the first people to enter a property.

Thanks, Vermonter
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Old February 2, 2012, 05:52 PM   #4
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Now, I have a much better picture of what your concerns are.

I would start with (if legal) adding some OC spray, in case the drunk become violent. I also would get in a fair amount of practice with drawing either sidearm or pepper spray. Also, a bright flashlight, perhaps with a strobe function, to disorient anyone who does not like being awakened. Carry the light even during daylight, of course, in case some lightbulbs have been removed.

I presume you enter and call out, even in an apparently empty house, to identify yourselves. Perhaps even a loud whistle to awaken your leftover partiers?
I would also do a quick scan of each room first, before checking windows, etc. You don't want to be closing a window when someone comes up behind you, thinking YOU are an intruder.
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Old February 2, 2012, 06:15 PM   #5
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I've done thousands of building searches. If you must do it, learn to shoot only using one hand. Both hands but never more then one at a time.

If you have done any building searches you know you seldom have both hands free. You'll have a flash light, radio, door knob, etc etc.

Even holding onto one bandit while you have the drop on a second. Learn to shoot one handed.

On the same lines stay away from long guns, shotguns and rifles, they will do nothing but get in the way. If you can't hit with a pistol from inside a building, practice until you can. I'd hate to say how many times I've seen other cops looking around, stupidly, trying to figure out what to do with the shotgun will trying to control a handcuffed bandit.

Two hand shooting is great for competition or shooting little bitty groups, but its not practical. You always have something in or doing something with the other hand.

If you have reason to believe someone is unlawfully in the building, you have reason to have your gun out and ready (check your state laws on this one). I never did a building search without a revolver in my hand.

BUT BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET, you don't want to shoot an unarmed drunk sleeping it off. (Couldnt count the times I ALMOST did).

Get a Mechanic' inspection mirror, its great for peeking around corners without exposing your self. Also never peek around corners while standing, get down low, bandits don't look down for danger.

If you don't carry your gun while doing searches, practice drawing and firing one round. LOts and Lots of practice drawing.

(Bill Jordon's No Second Place Winner covers this).

Don't know your situation but if possible never search by your self, (this was seldom the case with me, we just didn't have the cops all the time).

If you get a partner, practice, work together, and NEVER loose sight of each other while searching.

Flash lights: Stay away from the super duper bright suckers. They light up everything including you. Might as well be carrying a colman lantern.

The light reflects off everyting. Use normal cheap gas station two cell flashlings with D batteries.

Don't hold the light in the gun hand like you see on TV or a lot of training films. Hold the light away from your body, the farther the better.
Its' bee a while, this is just off the top of my head. I could probabley come up with more ideas if I think on it a bit.
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Old February 2, 2012, 06:19 PM   #6
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OK my other post was on a serious note, now I'll relay a war story on what not to do.

I use to have a NG buddy who grew up on a ranch in Arizona. He was big into doing rope and gun tricks. He got me to "twirling a revolver" and I got pretty good, but stopped all together.

I was doing a building search with another officer, a rather large wharehouse. We didn't find anything but when we finished, the comes up to me and tells me "if you do a building search with me again while twirling your revolver, I'm gonna take it away from you and beat you to death with it"

Haven twirled a revolver since. Didn't even know I was doing it.
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Old February 2, 2012, 07:29 PM   #7
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Thanks

Thanks for the posts.
Kraig Wow I promis I will never do a search while revolver twirling. Thanks for the rest I will do more one handed shooting.

Sleuth Spray is a good idea. I do always carry a small LED with me.

Any thoughts on draw or no draw?

Ps if i see something obviously wrong im waiting on the state cops. Problem is with no car and no obvious forced entry I have no reason to dial 911
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Old February 2, 2012, 07:52 PM   #8
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Find a reputable gun defense school in your area and take their course on how to clear a house/building etc.
Reading about it is not the same as walking through it a couple of times.
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Old February 2, 2012, 08:44 PM   #9
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I agree with the one-handed shooting, but mostly to add that while a flash light is great, I prefer a stick. Bear with me here.

In close confines I find that with a firearm you want as much distance as you can get. Having something that you can keep between you and your opponent for enough time to react can help you a lot. Think "Lion Tamer".

The second is knowing your escape routes. But instead of just knowing them, practice with a buddy on shoving someone against a wall or other surface to gain time/distance. If they are up against a wall, they aren't in your escape route.

Assuming you have the physical ability to do so, of course. And if you aren't required to use lethal force or feel it's better to back out.
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Old February 2, 2012, 08:50 PM   #10
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A stick eh?

I suppose I could swap out the small hand held light for the six cell I keep in the truck. My thought is that by ccwing and having a small light I look very unassuming walking in but am still preppared.
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Old February 2, 2012, 09:03 PM   #11
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Big lights get in the way, too heavy and akward,

I did this for 20 years, found small two cell standard lights worked best.

Again, stay away from sooper bright lights, they light up the place like a trip flair.
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Old February 2, 2012, 09:52 PM   #12
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Light

Kraig,
I will be sticking to the small LED. It has controlable brightness so that is a plus. I will also think of MACE however that all gets to be a lot to carry. I figure if an unarmed or lesser armed intruder is discovered I will draw, issue a warning, detain them and get help.
If someone gets away with a TV or the like I could care less I just want to go home safe.
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Old February 2, 2012, 09:58 PM   #13
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Never saw a bandit in the open, they are normally hiding in a closet, behind or under funiture, behind doors, in corners, 'n stuff.

Mace? In those situations, everyone gets maced.

Later in my career we started getting pepper spray, never used in my self but go sprayed more then once from other officers using it.

Not for me.
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Old February 2, 2012, 09:59 PM   #14
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All my searches have been with at least a five man team. Not really relevant here. I do wonder though why you would go it alone?
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Old February 2, 2012, 10:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
I do wonder though why you would go it alone?
More buildings & alarms then cops, this was before the days of SWAT and K-9s (dogs are my favorite).

Every now and then we had help. Any more then two is too many, If I had 5 or 6 I'd take one guy with me and leave the others to secure the premeter.

It was an era of "one riot one trooper".
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Old February 2, 2012, 10:08 PM   #16
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Go it alone

99% of the time I am status checking a property. When i show up to burglar alarm I am usually dealing with a false alarm.

I am not going in expecting trouble. Nor am I looking for a fight. I simply want to be prepared for those moments when checking a home or condo turns into a nasty moment.

If i pull in and find a running van and the front door smashed I will get a plate#, observe from distance, and call 911 no matter how long waiting for them takes.

Kraig I am inclined to go with you and keep it simple. PS your expert knowledge is appreciated.

Last edited by Frank Ettin; February 3, 2012 at 11:09 AM. Reason: To remove inappropriate language
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Old February 2, 2012, 10:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
It was an era of "one riot one trooper".
Ive been to "riots" where we outnumbered the rioters.

Quote:
I am not going in expecting trouble. Nor am I looking for a fight.
One wonders what the point of the alarm is if you are not expecting trouble?

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Old February 3, 2012, 10:03 AM   #18
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Suggest that you have a dog with you??

Had a stray german shepard take to the family and we to her.

She was about three years old, and she marked the other side of the street
as her property. anything inside was fair-game.

Also, not trying to be a wet towel but have you spoken with attorney about liability??? Training might negate/minimize but think you need to consider this???
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Old February 3, 2012, 10:19 AM   #19
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My 2 cents:

Strong on the get training part.
Of all the ways to move around a place, most favor the other guy.
In depth training is essential.

Treat each and every place inspected as a serious search, for the time when someone is really there.

JrothWA,
We were similarly adopted by a stray Shepard.
He marked his territory the same.
But each and every person who came within it was considered a new playmate.
Not much tactical help, there.
Great dog, though.
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Old February 3, 2012, 10:51 AM   #20
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Since my 27 years were spent in plain clothes, I can understand your concerns. The bottom line is the old saying, slightly changed:
Be pleasent, be kind, and have a plan to escape from everyone you meet!

You want to present a everyday appearance, yet be prepared for meeting the unknown. I would:
Carry a cell Phone
Learn to use and carry a gun.
Carry a small can of OC spray, or the civilian version TASER, which is set up so you employ it, drop the TASER, and run. ( It gives a longer ride than the police version, so you have time to exit the area.))
Carry your light; small, fits in a pocket, appears to be for checking in dark corners for belongings left behind.
Enter every location as if bad guys have moved in after the renters left.

Your prime objective is not to capture anyone: it is to escape and then call the police.
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Old February 3, 2012, 12:03 PM   #21
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More suggestions.

Again thanks for all the ideas, I will respond to the ones presented in best order I can.

Dog- I suppose I could take my golden with me. She is protective of us and our home however I am unsure of how she would act in what is essentially someone elses home.

Taser- I would really like to avoide having to carry too much more than I already do.

Mace- Same as above

Lawyer- We of course have one for the business. If I am in a property that I have a managment contract on then I am good to go regarding forcing someone to leave etc. Of course deadly action opens up a ton of other legal situations for a different thread entirley.

Training- I have many family members who are LEOs one of whom is SWAT. Not here to brag about that....in any event I have done some informal training with him. That said I know I need more. Any Ideas on where to get such training in the Green Mountain State.

I will go over my EDC so you all know what I am already carrying...
At least one gun on my person
Iphone
Small Light
Pocket Knife
Wallet
Keys

Those are all on my person.......

The truck is equipped with more and stays locked keys on me.

Thanks
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Old February 3, 2012, 02:09 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermonter
...If I am in a property that I have a managment contract on then I am good to go regarding forcing someone to leave etc...
However, the amount of force you may use can be an issue. In general, lethal force, or the threat of lethal force, may not be used in response to a simple trespasser. I don't know what the law is in Vermont, but you should be sure that you do.
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Old February 3, 2012, 02:33 PM   #23
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Legal Aspect

Our leases are basically short term vacation rental leases. Example John may be here from 5pm Friday night until 11 am Sunday morning. If he is at the property past that time or returns for any reason he is trespassing and I have the right to remove him from the property.

This exactly why I don't want to always draw and clear tactically because I could bump into someone who's friends are running late and he is simply waiting for his ride. If the situation were to escalate I figure it would go something like this....

Sir you have to leave.........No I am not leaving.........Sir if you are unwilling to leave I will have to charge your card per our rental agreement and alert the authorities.........

If the person didn't want me alerting anyone and advanced on me then and only then would the gun come into play.

I figure the standard for lethal force here would be the same as any other. I would need to legitimately fear for my life in order to use it and have no other escape route. Of course if I enter and find someone inside the escape route is behind me so that is option # 1
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Old February 3, 2012, 06:39 PM   #24
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If it were me, . . . I would own one of those little hand held cattle prod like doo-dads that shock like lightning, . . . but are non lethal. It would be in my left hand as I went into the room/building/hallway/garage, . . . where ever.

Some look almost like a cell phone, and would not be "suspect" until it got punched and the volts started flowing.

I would use it in an attempt to de-escalate any physical attack, . . . and should it not be effective, . . . the right hand is free to draw, . . . and we will then enter "Altercation, Phase II".

May God bless,
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Old February 3, 2012, 07:36 PM   #25
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The proper tactical flashlight should have an output of at least 60 lumens, a hundred lumens would be better. Its true they light up a room, but it takes at least 60 lumens to blind someone. Also fully lighting and properly identifying your target are of paramount importance.

Many modern LED flashlights are varible, the one I'm holding right now has a low setting of 5 lumens, medium 30 lumens, high 81 lumens, Turbo 180 lumens. It also has strobe and SOS settings. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of a strobe, but I can tell you that 100 plus lumens in the eyes is painful, blinding and disorienting.

Someone who's eyes are adjusted to the dark will be temporarily blinded by a 100+ lumen light. In informal testing, several friends and myself have found it very difficult to advance into a 100+ lumen light. Once the light hits your unprepared, darkness adjusted eyes, seeing who is holding the flashlight and exactly where they are is next to impossible.

In your particular situation, keeping your pistol in your pocket, or holstered seems prudent and reasonable to me. Fully lighting and identifying individuals, before pointing a handgun at them is definitely the best course of action.
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