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Old October 18, 2012, 03:59 PM   #1
geetarman
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Poor police procedure?

This is not strictly firearms related but something I observed yesterday that seems to me to be a recipe for disaster.

I called in a take out order at a nearby restaurant at 11 am yesterday.

I drove down there to pick the order up and as I pulled into the parking lot, there was a line of police motorcycles backed into stalls. They were so close together, I wondered how the officers dismounted.

There were six motorcycles there.

I walk in to pick up my order and there are six uniformed officers and two civilians ( may have been officers ) sitting at one table taking lunch.

What I noticed is that four had their back to the outside and next to a window and four had their back to me.

They were avidly engaged in conversation and paid me no mind.

I am not a threat to the police. . .BUT there are people who ARE.

For you LEOs out there. . .would any of you ever put yourself in a situation like that?

I cannot imagine any department condoning such an action.

Wasn't it just in the last few years that several officers were shot because someone decided that a group of police officers close together at one time and not fully alert would be easy pickings?

Sure seems to me to be a breakdown of common sense.
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Old October 18, 2012, 04:43 PM   #2
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Complacency kills.
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Old October 18, 2012, 04:48 PM   #3
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Complacency kills.
#1 killer.
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Old October 18, 2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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purhaps they had a sentry posted outside to guard them.

You know.. sometimes police officers may just sit down to eat in the seats that are available. I probably wouldnt like someone telling me that they wanted my seat because it was tactically superior to the ones that were available.
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Old October 18, 2012, 06:00 PM   #5
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I'm not even LE and I go to great lengths to know my surroundingds at all times.
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Old October 18, 2012, 06:24 PM   #6
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Honestly, most of us have more awareness the the average cop. Sure he's on high alert when making a stop or responding to a call, but the rest of the time, not so much.
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Old October 18, 2012, 06:31 PM   #7
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You know.. sometimes police officers may just sit down to eat in the seats that are available. I probably wouldnt like someone telling me that they wanted my seat because it was tactically superior to the ones that were available.
This was 11:15 in the morning. Those officers were the only customers at that time. They were all at a double table for 8.

As I walked by, they MAY have looked me over. . .or maybe not.

I just don't think they were thinking about what could have happened.
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Old October 18, 2012, 06:45 PM   #8
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Some Clown comes by who has been watching too much Smokey and the Bandit , might think it great fun to drive over 8 Copper Choppers parked in a row. They could draw straws then to see who has to call the Chief and ask for a ride back to the station. Not good.
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Old October 18, 2012, 07:03 PM   #9
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You said that the Officers were facing each other. Could they have been watching each others backs?

I have never heard of anyone mowing down a row of police bikes... have any of you?.... Besides the movies.

Honestly most of you do NOT have more situational awareness than the average cop. Well the average street cop that is. Where most people work at gaining S/A, with street cops it's second nature. It becomes ingrained after a very few months on patrol.

I agree that complacency may get you killed. In fact I've known a few officers who allowed their complacency to cause their death. But it's usually more complicated than that, or maybe even more simple than that.

Since the officers were inside the resturant, and the bikes were parked outside... I guess they do have a way of getting off of them when they are parked so close together.
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Old October 18, 2012, 07:18 PM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
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If they were facing each other, how would someone sneak up on any of them?
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Old October 18, 2012, 08:41 PM   #11
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No one needs to sneak up on them to do harm... Sneak In is a bigger threat...

As for SA, I didn't work at it... it was ingrained in my very being... From when i was showed the coral snake in Tampa at 2 years old ( I promptly delivered mortal wounds with my bare feet much to dad's chagrin) I was taught that i am the only one responsible for my well being and keepin' my eyes and ears open and cake grinder turned off was best formula to stay safe and sound...

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Old October 18, 2012, 08:44 PM   #12
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I think it would be wise for them to stagger their lunch shifts so they're not all out of service at the same time.
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Old October 18, 2012, 08:55 PM   #13
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I'll never forget a lesson taught during my very first "in-service". It was about Officer Awareness and was taught be a man who is now a friend and teaches at a local Correction Academy.

He related an experience he had when he was a Patrol Officer in Florida. He had just gotten off duty and was going home in his personal vehicle but still in uniform. As he stated, in his mind he was no longer on duty. He was just another civilian. He stopped at a convenience store to buy a soda, got out of his truck and approached the door without paying much attention to his surroundings. He opened the door and immediately took two rounds of 9mm, point blank and dead center mass, from the guy who was robbing the store.

He still has the body armor he was wearing at the time. It has two punctures about 2 inches apart dead center of the trauma plate area. He said he placed that vest where he would have to look at it every day before going to work.

A uniformed officer can never let their guard down. Just because you are eating lunch doesn't mean you are off duty.
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Old October 18, 2012, 10:13 PM   #14
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I'm sure they were fine. If they were sitting around a table they could see thier surroundings. Seems like you are making a big deal out of nothing. If you were that concerned about thier tactics you should have went up to all thoes cops and tell them what they were doing wrong, and see where that gets ya.
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Old October 18, 2012, 10:28 PM   #15
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I have never heard of anyone mowing down a row of police bikes... have any of you?.... Besides the movies.
No, but a relative of mine once pushed most of a herd of Harley Davidsons into an apartment complex swimming pool. He moved to another state for several years shortly after that.
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Old October 18, 2012, 11:45 PM   #16
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Forgive me, but I find this notion hilarious. Who's going to attack 8 cops? Certainly not any sociopaths, they always kill themselves when the cops get there.
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Old October 19, 2012, 12:26 AM   #17
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No, but a relative of mine once pushed most of a herd of Harley Davidsons into an apartment complex swimming pool. He moved to another state for several years shortly after that.
Hey...was that in Cape Coral, Florida.

If so, can I get the name,address of your relation? He owes me a panhead. ...

On a serious note:
Complacency cost two LEO acquaintance's of mine their lives.

One had 24+ yrs. in and getting ready to retire. He was killed by a wanted felon on a routine freeway traffic stop. Pulled car over for changing lanes without signaling. Knowing this officer, he wasn't going to do anything but give driver a verbal warning. He walked up to the drivers door and felon hit him, point blank in the chest with a load of buckshot out of a sawed off 12ga. Felon drove off but was captured within 30mins.

The other was a 13 yr veteran. Killed while working spec. duty at a bank. Talking to a customer in line to do their banking instead of watching who was coming through the front door. Took multiple hits from a 9mm with the fatal shot to the side of the head.

I did my job for 33yrs. Not as an LEO but at a job in which sometimes my safety or others could have been at risk if certain procedure's weren't followed. Sometimes, I caught myself getting complacent in certain areas. Taking shortcuts, hurrying etc.

Over the years, I've worked very closely with a lot of LEO's and will say, after a few years on the force, many LEO's get the same way. Cops are human too and a lot of their daily grind is routine. Not cuffing someone when you should, assuming your partner has your back cause he/she usually does. Or not cautiously approaching a car you have pulled over, even for just a minor traffic violation is complacency and can get you killed.

Don't know if these six officers were being lacks in their situational awareness or not but I hope a few were sitting facing the entry(s) of the building while the ones sitting across from them kept tabs on their backs.
I sure they were.
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Old October 19, 2012, 05:07 AM   #18
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I think we're making a mountain out of a mole hill here.
Everyone's got to eat, and for all we know the reason for so many could have been due to a shift change.
I'm not sure exactly what the alternative would be.... post guards?
It probably wouldn't be great PR for their department if they were too obtuse in their distrust of the general public.
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Old October 19, 2012, 05:55 AM   #19
Glenn Dee
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Quite often motor's cops are assigned in groups to a "DETAIL" a motocade, specific traffic inforcement, a funeral, parade... The kind of things cops do on a motorcycle. Almost always IME they would all be assigned the same meal period, and usually eat together. So what the O/P saw was not unusual.
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Old October 19, 2012, 06:15 AM   #20
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There is a widely used 5 color system used to illustrate LEO levels of attentiveness.

White – not focused
Yellow – no target, focused on surroundings
Orange – focused on target and surroundings
Red – focused only on target (use of force)
Black – panicked, fight or flight

Basically you want to operate at yellow for patrol and going around town, and orange when on task. Red only momentarily, and have the training to never enter black.

As you guys pointed out LEOs need to be vigilant and it is recommended that officers take safety refresher courses when they feel themselves slipping in this area. I’m certain more people enter white than they would care to admit. The problem for LEOs is that they can be the victims well planned attacks; even when alert they can still be caught off guard.
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Old October 19, 2012, 06:59 AM   #21
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This is what CAN happen. . .even on Sunday during the daylight when you think the bad guys are all strung out.

My very best friend is a sworn officer and I love him like a brother.

I hope to NEVER see another incident that takes the lives of officers just because they got lax for a moment.

The restaurant is very open and there are two entrances. I have seen police there often but only in ones and twos.

I have never seen so many in one place at one time and that is what prompted the original post.
Those officers could have been far more aware than what I saw. I hope so.

I do remember in the last 3 years or so seeing 5 officers at a Dunkin Donuts shop.

I go there every Friday to pick up a dozen for the Range Officers at the range I frequent.

The LT. was killed a few weeks later when he was ambushed during a "normal" car stop.

Police work is dangerous enough without giving the wannabe bad dudes an opportunity to make a name for themselves.
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Old October 19, 2012, 09:52 AM   #22
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Quote:
I walk in to pick up my order and there are six uniformed officers and two civilians ( may have been officers ) sitting at one table taking lunch.

What I noticed is that four had their back to the outside and next to a window and four had their back to me.

??
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Old October 19, 2012, 10:01 AM   #23
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You park bikes from left to right, and mount from right to left,that way you can get them closer together, and take up less parking spaces.
Sounds like they had each others backs.
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Old October 19, 2012, 11:18 AM   #24
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Cops working motors are taught and trained how to park their motors.

How many are allowed to take breaks/meals together depends on the practices & policies of any particular agency, and can be affected by the nature of their detail/duties at that time. (It's not uncommon for agencies to have limitations on how many officers routinely can be seen together for coffee breaks & meals, as this is the sort of thing that can result in unwanted PR issues, public perception issues, etc.)

As far as how they were sitting? Yep, if they were seated facing each other, they ought to have been able to cover all directions. That freedom of vision ought to have been able to be applied to outside the windows to some extent, too. Doesn't mean it would have been obvious, though. Sometimes the appearance of deliberate attention serves a purpose, and sometimes discrete attention to surroundings is more useful. Watching without appearing to be watching is handy in a public situation, and it helps ease potential friction (since some folks can get nervous if they think cops are watching them).

Now, cops are people, too. I've certainly known enough guys & gals who didn't always have their officer safety awareness up and engaged in all situations and circumstances.

The four officers shot & killed in Lakewood WA (Nov '09) was a tragic reminder of how someone looking to kill police in public can take advantage of when officers may be taking a break or a meal in public.

Whenever I used to stop for coffee or a meal with a partner (whether working uniform or plainclothes), most of the other cops with whom I met were always aware (without being obvious) of all directions, the general presence and movement of the public and any changes in the crowds of any size. (Sometimes a subtle crowd reaction, or undercurrent, can provide an early warning before a potential threat is itself visible.)
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Old October 19, 2012, 11:56 AM   #25
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Methinks there is some paranoia out there. The reality is, given a base rate of 0.0073% (yes 73 ten-thousandths of a percent), for being a murder victim we are actually quite safe here in America.

According to the LEOKA (law enforcement officers killed or injured in action) data there are 1.5 officers who lose their life by their own hand for every 1 officer that dies due to hostile action. Or, any given officer is 50% more likely to take their own life than die by hostile action. Or, for the officers at that table, if two are shot and killed by a booger-eater, three will take their own life.

I suspect the 6 (or 8) officers, with mutual coverage and interlocking fields of fire, are going to be okay at the local Pizza Hut.
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