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Learn Your Weak Skill, Then Fix It
One of the best personality-based questions to ask an
officer hoping to promote to the next rank is, "What is your greatest
weakness as a law enforcement officer?" The follow-up question is, "What
are you doing to address this?"
At promotional tests, this question is asked to see if you have the
ability to know your weakness and the courage to admit to it. After
this, what are you doing to prevent this from harming your performance?
Some of the quick-witted ones will say that they...read more
Fire: The Overlooked Threat
People sometimes obsess over the potential threat posed
by terrorist attacks that use things such as chemical weapons,
electromagnetic pulses or dirty bombs. Yet they tend to discount the
less exciting but very real threat posed by fire, even though fire kills
thousands of people every year. The World Health Organization estimates
that 195,000 people die each year from fire, while according to the
Global Terrorism Database an average of 7,258 people die annually from
terrorism, and that includes deaths in conflict zones such as
Afghanistan and Iraq.
There are also instances in which fire is...read more
You Want ME to Search for a Bomb?
The policy of many organizations, in response to a bomb threat call, is
immediate evacuation, especially in a location that is open to the
general public. There may be instances where evacuation is the best
decision, but in the majority of cases, an emergency evacuation may
actually put untrained personnel and visitors at greater risk.
Consider the facts regarding bomb threats, actual detonations, and
injuries. Almost never are actual bomb detonations preceded by an alert;
wherein the bomber gives advance notice.
Weighed against the actual statistics of injuries suffered during chaotic evacuations, more often, the safest option is...read more
You Said What?
One of the first things that becomes apparent when I
review dash cam footage of incidents is how much vulgarity spurts out of
our little brains under stress. It has long been said the last two
words on the black box recorder from crashed aircraft are "Oh shit!" and
after observing hundreds of high stress moments on video, I know crime
fighters blurt out their fair share of expletives. Why? I mean, we know
it looks bad, is often against policy, and can certainly make the
courtroom an embarrassing place to testify, so why do we do it?
According to Harvard's Dr. Steven Pinker, taboo words are linked deep
inside our brains, closer to our emotional centers than to our rational
language centers. Therefore these words have remarkable emotional power
in conversation. You can't read or hear one of these words—usually
related to bodily functions, or religious images or figures—without an
emotional response of some kind, whether negative or just intense.
The existence of taboo words is universal, but ironically the words themselves are...read more
20 Things You Need to Know About Night Vision
Night vision has become an essential tool for the U.S.
military. Pilots fly fighter planes and helicopters with night vision
devices. Soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan use night vision goggles
to spot and eliminate Taliban insurgents. Even unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAVs) have the latest thermal cameras.
Such tools are less ubiquitous in law enforcement, but as prices
fall, they are becoming more common. Yet many law enforcement officers
are still confused about what night vision can and can't do and what
they need to know before buying it.
1. What Should I Call It?
One of the most confusing things about night vision is what to call the stuff. There are two primary types: the...read more
Lebanon: Lessons from Two Assassinations
On Oct. 19, Lebanese Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan was assassinated on a
narrow side street near Sassine Square in downtown Beirut. The attack
involved the detonation of a moderately sized vehicle-borne improvised
explosive device as al-Hassan's car passed by the vehicle in which the
device was hidden. The explosion killed not only al-Hassan and his
driver but also six other people and wounded about 90 more.
Al-Hassan, the intelligence chief for Lebanon's Internal Security
Forces, had been a marked man for some time prior to his death. He was
the security chief for former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri,
who was assassinated in February 2005 in an attack that most believe was
conducted by the Syrian regime and its allies in Lebanon.
But more recently, as Stratfor noted in February 2012, al-Hassan
played a critical role channeling support from the Gulf states and the
West to the Syrian rebels through Lebanon. This involved smuggling arms
from Lebanon to Syria destined for opposition forces, providing a haven
for Syrian defectors in Lebanon and allowing Syrian rebels to use
Lebanese territory as a staging ground for attacks in Syria. His part in
the Syrian opposition movement clearly made him a prime target for
Syrian intelligence and indeed the Syrian regime had previously
attempted to assassinate al-Hassan -- one such plot was thwarted in
early 2012 by Jordanian intelligence, which caught wind of the plot and
passed a warning to Lebanese authorities.
Al-Hassan was doing dangerous work in a dangerous place, and he knew
he was a marked man. His former boss had been assassinated and there
were plots afoot to kill him, too. Due to the manner in which al-Hariri
was assassinated, al-Hassan decided to employ a very different style of
security -- low-profile security instead of the high-profile measures
employed by al-Hariri -- and yet he was killed despite his different
This failure does not mean that...read more