Sheriff Lends Support to Increased Police Chase Penalties

Missouri state lawmakers heard testimony Monday on a bill that would make all police chases felonies.

Right now a majority end up being classified as misdemeanors and usually don’t lead to additional penalties on top of the charges the suspect is running from.

Quasheena Cadenhead was charged Monday in Cass County for leading deputies on a chase at speeds that topped 100 mph while going the wrong way down Interstate 49. A deputy who brought the chase to an end as she exited on an entrance ramp was injured.

Sheriff Jeff Weber said if it weren’t for the deputy’s injuries, ​​Cadenhead may have only faced a misdemeanor in the wild chase.

In 1995, Cass County Dep. Jeff Mayse was chasing a suspect on a rural Cass County road when he slammed into a tree.

“I just remember the next days just feeling numb, knowing my life was never going to be the same,” his daughter Brandy Whitten said.

Whitten was 12 when Mayse was killed, her little sister was born 4 weeks later, but never got to meet the man who wore badge 619.

A Missouri legislator introduced House Bill 619 last year to strengthen penalties for running from the law, but it never picked up traction.

On Monday, one day after one of his deputies was injured in a high-speed pursuit, Weber testified in favor of this year’s version, House Bill 1620.

“It’s been our experience that individuals who run once, run twice, three, four times. They do it all the time, and we’ve trained them to do that,” he said.

Weber wants the line in Missouri statue that says it’s a misdemeanor “unless the person fleeing creates a substantial risk of serious injury or death” eliminated and replaced with a Class E felony.

“We are just gambling. We are letting them out on a signature bond to continue to do these things until someone finally gets hurt,” Weber said.

Or in the case of Jeff Mayse, killed in the line of duty. His daughter said it should be simple.

“There’s no reason to injure anyone else or yourselves, injure someone else that’s in the path or put the deputies’ lives on the line. They are doing their job, just pull over,” Whitten said.

​​But according to Weber, suspects aren’t the getting the message. He said chases in the county have become almost a daily occurrence.

A deputy injured in a chase in September only returned to duty Friday. There’s no telling when the deputy who stopped Sunday’s wrong-way, speeding suspect will be back to work.

Kansas law is similar to Missouri’s right now, though it makes a third arrest for fleeing and eluding an automatic felony.

By Dave D’Marko | Fox 4 KC

The safest place to be in a vehicle ambush attack

​Many people fail to recognize that angled, windshield glass is a formidable obstacle. (Photo/Houston Police)​Have a plan, should you come under attack when in a vehicle. 

In any given year, roughly half of all police-involved shootings take place from or around vehicles. More recently, we have seen a dramatic spike in incidents where law enforcement officers ​​have been the victims of unprovoked attacks while sitting in their marked vehicles.

This disturbing trend has caused those of us involved in training to take a hard look at how we are preparing our officers for the possibility of an ambush attack. A logical first step is revisiting the topic of mindset and mental conditioning. The harsh reality is bad things often happen to good people and law enforcement officers need to come to terms with the fact that they could be targeted for attack.


Awareness is the first cornerstone of a positive mindset and many such ambush incidents can be averted if we stay switched on. I recognize, of course, it is especially difficult to maintain a constant state of Condition Yellow over the course of a long day and we simply can’t view every citizen we come in contact with as a deadly threat. Although a great many citizen interactions might be best categorized as service calls, keep that radar up. Recognize that situations can flip in the blink of an eye and trust your sixth sense. If things don’t seem right, they probably aren’t.

Sound tactics, while in the vehicle, are yet another component of the safety net. If an attack is imminent or ongoing, drive away. But what if an obstacle or traffic makes this impossible? What if the threat is just a few feet away and is bringing his or her weapon to bear?


Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an eight-hour program on vehicle defense tactics which was sponsored by the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors. This block of instruction focused on how to effectively fire from a vehicle, exit the kill zone and exactly what parts of contemporary vehicles represent true cover. We were also afforded the opportunity to fire a few different rounds utilized for law enforcement applications at vehicles and to assess the results.

Many diverse materials make up modern vehicles, including various types of metal, plastic, rubber and glass. It’s probably a safe bet that today’s cars are smaller and lighter than the heavy metal American-made cars of the ‘60s and ‘70s. We were all curious to see exactly what, if any, protection a vehicle could provide against incoming fire.

First, let’s consider glass. Many people fail to recognize that angled, windshield glass is a formidable obstacle. Windshields are made of laminated glass and a bullet impact will cause it to crack and spider web, but not shatter. Windshields often play havoc with bullet performance and results could include jacket/core separation, deflection from the point of aim and inconsistent expansion qualities. Side windows are made of tempered glass and a single bullet impact will typically cause them to shatter.

During the seminar, a few different handgun, rifle and shotgun rounds were fired at vehicle windshields and doors. A target was placed on the passenger seat to determine if the rounds fired deviated from the point of aim. It should hardly be a surprise that all the rounds fired penetrated and struck the target. Both a non-bonded 9mm jacketed hollowpoint and a .223 Remington soft point exhibited signs of jacket failure, but still struck the targets. Handgun rounds featuring a bonded bullet, rifled slugs and a .223 Remington round traveled true to the target without any issues.

Firing at an open door did produce some surprising results. A casual observer might consider that the sheet metal of a car door wouldn’t be much of a barrier, but there is a lot more to the door than meets the eye. Car doors contain windows, electric motors, locks, brake stays, lift mechanisms, as well as inner panels and arm rests.

In the test, four different handgun rounds were fired from a distance of 10 yards at a door open approximately 45 degrees. Rounds included two examples each of 9mm and .45 ACP, with both bonded and non-bonded bullets. A single example of each round was fired at the open door.

The most surprising result was that none of the handgun rounds penetrated the door. This was by no means an exhaustive test nor am I suggesting that car doors are bulletproof. But based on this informal test, and what we’ve witnessed in actual police action shootings, even the best handgun rounds are “iffy” penetrators on car doors. On the other hand, both the .223 Remington rounds and 12-gauge rifled slugs  easily penetrated the door.


So what can we learn here? While not true cover, a door might provide some limited ballistic protection in a frontal attack. Exit the kill zone, stay low and move to better cover at the rear of the car and beyond. Doors provide absolutely no protection from centerfire rifle rounds and shotgun slugs. But this cuts both ways. If you absolutely need to get inside a motor vehicle by punching through a door or windshield, rifled slugs have no peer. For rifles, consider one of the popular barrier breaching rounds from the major manufacturers.

If you have to shoot through the windshield while sealed behind the wheel, a well-designed bullet will punch through the glass, track true and expand when it strikes the threat. Again, premium quality rounds specifically designed for law enforcement applications are readily available and performance is light years beyond what it was a generation ago.

True cover in a vehicle remains the engine block and brake drums. But taking a good defendable position behind them can be difficult. If and when possible, move to better cover away from your vehicle. At the very least, your vehicle could provide you with a measure of concealment.

Have a plan, should you come under attack when in a vehicle. Get yourself in a defendable position as soon as possible and take the fight to the assailant. That might include firing through the side windows or windshield. When working with a partner or backup, those timeless concepts of cover and contact still ring true. Define those roles and make sure somebody is watching the immediate area, as well as what is beyond. Stay switched on to stay safe.

About the author

Captain Mike Boyle served 27 years with the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Law Enforcement. Mike was responsible for all aspects of pre-service and in-service training and also supervised the internal affairs section of his agency. Mike has also been an assistant police academy director and continues to participate in both recruit and instructor level training. He is a certified instructor in multiple uses of force disciplines including handgun, shotgun, rifle, SMG, impact weapons and unarmed self-defense.

This story, from, was originally posted in 2017 but with the recent attacks on law enforcement, many times while they’re sitting in vehicles, we thought it was good to share it again.

How Armed Citizens Can Prepare to Engage an Active Shooter

Many citizens own and carry guns for self-defense and to protect their loved ones. In 2017, approximately 40 percent of Americans reported that they own or live with someone who owns a firearm. There were 17 million concealed-carry permits issued in 2018.

With the increase in mass shootings across our nation, armed citizens need to consider what action they would take, if any, should they find themselves in the proximity of an active shooting. While every situation will be different (and impossible to pre-determine), those who would consider engaging a shooter must understand the risks and take steps to prepare for such a situation.

Armed Citizens Don’t Have a Duty to Respond

First of all, it’s important for armed citizens to realize they do not have a responsibility to save the day. That duty lies with law enforcement. Officers are trained intensely and frequently in firearm tactics and active shooter response techniques. Officers are also often equipped with large-capacity, semi-automatic handguns, carbine rifles, and ballistic protective clothing that gives them the best chance for survival during an active-shooter event.

You WILL Be Outgunned

Armed citizens must understand that if they take aggressive action against a shooter, they will be out-gunned. Most concealed-carry individuals carry small- or medium-capacity firearms. Think of it this way: Who in their right mind would use their little .380 or snub-nosed .38 to go after one or more shooters who likely has multiple handguns and rifles that hold 30-round magazines?

Since being out-gunned during a shooting incident is likely, a safer alternative would be to employ the run, hide, fight strategy. If confronted by the shooter, using your weapon to fight back may be the right choice in that situation. Even in a scenario where a person is unable to run or hide, armed citizens still do not have to seek out and engage the shooter.

It’s also important to remember that when police arrive, they likely don’t know you from the shooter so follow their instructions precisely as demanded.

For armed citizens who think they would choose to actively confront a shooter, consider the following strategies and training tactics:

Practice Advanced Training Techniques

Not all armed citizens train for proficiency in self-defense methods. Instead, they merely go to the local shooting range and target practice. That’s not defensive training.

Most shooting ranges don’t have targets that move or shoot back; shooters are not allowed to quick-draw; there’s no urgency to fire rounds as quickly and accurately as possible; and there’s no stress as in a real gunfight. These are all critical skills to have when involved in an active shooter situation.

In contrast, police always train defensively and armed citizens could benefit from replicating similar training techniques. Typical exercises for officers include quick-draw responses to multiple targets, some friendly targets mixed with targets showing threats, and choices about when to use deadly force. Officers generally have two or three seconds to assess the target and take appropriate action.

Most exercises require officers to walk and run while firing, clear misfires, and perform combat reloading. During one exercise, when a buzzer sounds, the officer runs through an obstacle course of numerous threats to neutralize a target within a specific time limit. Other scenarios require shooting while moving forward and backward, down on one or both knees, on the ground lying on one’s back, stomach and sideways while shooting from cover. Officers also practice shooting weak-handed and locating appropriate cover and concealment. Police train to engage multiple targets.

They do all this training while prioritizing weapon lethality (shotgun, rifle, semi-automatic and automatic firearms, handgun, knife), threat proximity (close combat or distant), and maintaining weapon retention. All the above is considered “basic” police firearms training.

Police also conduct specific drills for mass shootings. Officers not only train to seek out the bad guys, but they are also shot at by instructors armed with hot wax and paint rounds. Officers train to work in teams as well as solo as they go in and out of buildings. Active shooter training is intense and frequent, which serves to increase accuracy, safety, discipline, and confidence.

Know Your Surroundings

Police train to be aware of what’s behind their target. If there is any chance of injury to an innocent person behind the bad guy, the shot should not be taken. During a shooting incident, people will panic and run in all directions. You don’t want to shoot, injure, or kill anyone running for safety. If that occurs, you will likely face liable charges. You must quickly determine, “If I miss the aggressor, will I risk injuring the good guys?” If the answer is “maybe,” take cover until you have a clear shot.

It’s not only people you would need to be aware of. What if the shooting is occurring at an outdoor event? Are there buildings nearby? How many times have you heard about a bullet entering a building and striking someone inside?

Training Tips for Armed Citizens

To endow themselves with the best chance for survival, citizens ideally should train like the police. Of course, police departments don’t generally train civilians, so armed citizens could seek out an outdoor range ideally staffed with instructors who have experience in combat and survival tactics. Alternatively, there are private companies that offer combat firearms training for civilians.

If those options aren’t available, there are things you can do on your own to better prepare for an active shooter situation. For example, while at the range practice under stress. Start at a distance where you can consistently hit the target in two seconds and gradually increase the distance until you become proficient from that distance. As career officers, we both trained to double-tap, meaning two quick shots at center mass, then a quick assessment to determine the status of the aggressor. Then repeat as needed until the aggressor stops.

Tactics for Engaging an Active Shooter

If you find yourself in an active shooter situation and decide to take action, do it quickly but not haphazardly. Stay out of the line of fire and use cover and concealment to your advantage.

Immediately upon hearing shots fired, get behind cover and assess the situation, scanning for threats. If you do not see the threat, cautiously move toward the sounds of gunshots, while keeping your firearm concealed. It’s recommended that you draw your weapon, as long as you can keep it out of view. You want to be inconspicuous so as not to draw attention to yourself and avoid being mistaken for the active shooter.

If you identify the shooter, take cover. Your goal is to engage from the shortest distance possible, attempting to ensure accuracy based upon your skill level. Remember, the shooter is a killer, and you are shooting to neutralize the threat.

Once the shooter is down, stay behind cover and reload if needed while scanning for further threats. Always assume there could be more than one shooter. Notably, in a terrorist-related incident, there will likely be handlers covertly directing the shooters behind the scenes. There could also be other armed good guys present, too.

If the scene is clear, approach with caution, keeping your weapon on target and disarm the shooter. Once you deem the scene safe, holster your weapon and wait for the police. They will likely handle you as a suspect until they sort things out. That will include taking your firearm as evidence. Therefore, be sure to follow their commands closely without hesitation.

Legal Considerations

The decision to take action during an active shooter goes beyond a person’s skill level and competency with a firearm. There are also legal factors to consider. If weapons are not handled responsibly, the citizen is risking criminal and civil liability. All firearm owners should understand deadly force is authorized (legal) only in cases of self-defense. In other words, one must reasonably be in fear of his or her life, or of another person’s, or of serious injury.

Individuals who engage an active shooter must realize that their actions will be scrutinized by the justice system, the media, and the public so they must know how to navigate those situations as well.

As a supervisor for the Virginia Beach Homicide squad, Bruce Razey received training from a local defense attorney specializing in defending officer-involved shootings. The big takeaway from the training was that when officers are asked what happened, they should reply, “I will not make any statements without consulting my attorney.”

Many people might think that comment makes the officer sound guilty. We don’t disagree. However, comments such as “I thought he was going for a gun,” or “I heard shots, then he came running around the corner, and I couldn’t see his hands” could raise questions concerning the officer’s actions. This sound advice for officers should also be sound advice for the armed citizen. Remember, the law is not just for criminals; every citizen has the same rights under Miranda.

In summary, the above recommendations in no way cover every situation. Each incident will present diverse issues and must be handled accordingly. It is critical that armed citizens focus on advanced training tactics practiced regularly. To use a common adage within the police profession: When faced with an emergency, you will do one of two things, panic or do what you were trained to do.


By Andrew Bell and Bruce Razey | In Public Safety

About the Authors:

Andrew Bell has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience and 25 years in the U.S. military and civilian service. He served as a patrol officer, detective, patrol sergeant, community-policing supervisor, school resource supervisor and detective supervisor. He was called to active duty with U.S. Army Reserve after 9/11 and completed a tour in Afghanistan. Andrew also worked for the U.S. federal government in Army intelligence, Army capabilities unit and emergency operations. He holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor of science degree with a concentration in criminal justice. Andrew has been a faculty member of American Military University since 2004.

Bruce Razey began his law enforcement career in 1975. During his 35-year career, he worked for three diverse police departments. Bruce served in patrol operations, special operations and the investigative division. His assignments included field training officer, air unit coordinator/observer, field training supervisor, community policing supervisor, detective supervisor and committee chairman for internal affairs review unit. He served on numerous hiring and promotional boards; authored and co-authored policies and procedures; created lesson plans to instruct new and veteran officers in a variety of topics; and established policy and guidelines for an improved method of conducting police lineups and eye-witness testimony. Bruce holds a bachelor of science degree in criminology from the University of Saint Leo, Florida. He graduated number one from the Regional Police Academy and from the West Point Leadership & Management Training Course.

To contact the authors, email For more articles featuring insight from industry experts, subscribe to In Public Safety’s bi-monthly newsletter.

US AG William P. Barr Announces the Establishment of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice

Today, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the establishment of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. On Oct. 28, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order No. 13896, authorizing and designating the Attorney General to create such a Commission that would explore modern issues affecting law enforcement that most impact the ability of American policing to reduce crime.

“There is no more noble and important profession than law enforcement.  A free and safe society requires a trusted and capable police force to safeguard our rights to life and liberty,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.  “But as criminal threats and social conditions have changed the responsibilities and roles of police officers, there is a need for a modern study of how law enforcement can best protect and serve American communities.  This is why the President instructed me to establish this critical Commission, whose members truly reflect the best there is in law enforcement.  Together, we will examine, discuss, and debate how justice is administered in the United States and uncover opportunities for progress, improvement, and innovation.”

The Executive Order instructs the Commission to conduct its study by focusing on the law enforcement officers who are tasked with reducing crime on a daily basis.  It also directs the Commission to research “important current issues facing law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” and recommends a variety of subjects for study, such as, but not limited to:

The challenges to law enforcement associated with mental illness, homelessness, substance abuse, and other social factors that influence crime and strain criminal justice resources;
The recruitment, hiring, training, and retention of law enforcement officers, including in rural and tribal communities;
Refusals by Stat​​e and local prosecutors to enforce laws or prosecute categories of crimes;
The need to promote public confidence and respect for the law and law enforcement officers; and
The effects of technological innovations on law enforcement and the criminal justice system, including the challenges and opportunities presented by such innovations.

The Commission will principally conduct its study through a series of hearings, panel presentations, field visits, and other public meetings.  At these events, the Commission will hear from subject matter experts, public officials, private citizens, and other relevant stakeholders and institutions who can provide valuable insight into these issues.

The Commissioners, appointed by the Attorney General and announced today, are urban police chiefs, state prosecutors, county sheriffs, members of rural law enforcement, federal agents, U.S. Attorneys, and a state attorney general.  In addition to their diverse experiences and backgrounds, each member brings to the Commission an expertise in formulating and shaping law enforcement policy and leading police departments and law enforcement organizations.

Commissioners on the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice include:

Chair: Phil Keith, Director, Community Oriented Policing Services
Vice-Chair: Katharine Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs
David Bowdich, Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Donald Washington, Director, United States Marshals Services
Regina Lombardo, Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
Erica Macdonald, United States Attorney, District Of Minnesota
D. Christopher Evans, Chief of Operations, Drug Enforcement Administration
James Clemmons, Sheriff, Richmond County, North Carolina
Frederick Frazier, City Council, McKinney, Texas/ Police Officer, Dallas Police Department
Robert Gualtieri, Sheriff, Pinellas County, Florida
Gina Hawkins, Chief of Police, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General
Nancy Parr, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Chesapeake, Virginia
Craig Price, South Dakota Secretary of Public Safety
Gordon Ramsay, Chief of Police, Wichita, Kansas
David B. Rausch, Director, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
John Samaniego, Sheriff, Shelby County, Alabama
James Smallwood, Police Officer, Nashville Metropolitan Police Department

The Commission will meet monthly for the next year and then report its findings to the Attorney General, who will submit a final report to the President.

LE Writer Suggests Ways to ‘Harden’ Soft Targets

Will the year 2020 mark the moment in our nation’s history when we dramatically pivot and truly harden so-called “soft targets”—places that are frequently the targets of deranged killers bent on delivering death?

Several recent events—and more importantly, subsequent actions taken by both citizens and law enforcement agencies alike—lead me to ponder the prospect of such a significant change in our society.

Earlier this week, we reported that Sheriff Rick Singleton had amended the policy of the Lauderdale County (AL) Sheriff’s Office, now allowing deputies to drive to church in their squad cars.

Singleton pointed to a recent rash of active shooter incidents in houses of worship—notably the shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, TX, that left two parishioners dead.

The carnage could have been much worse had it not been for the fact that one churchgoer fatally shot the gunman just six seconds after he launched his attack.

Then we reported that Chief Ed Kraus of the Fort Worth (TX) Police Department had told his officers that officers should attend religious services in full uniform as a deterrent against violence in houses of worship.

Fort Worth PD said in a statement that the policy change comes “in the wake of the local attack on the West Freeway Church of Christ last Sunday, as well as the attacks on Jewish communities and church services nationally.”

Then we reported on the fact that the class offered to citizens by the Clayton (NC) Police department on civilian response to an active shooter event filled up in just two hours.

The agency posted on Facebook, “This class filled up extremely quickly. This is the first time we’ve offered this class and based on feedback, we will be looking to offer an additional class in February, perhaps in a larger venue.”

Here are some thoughts on two ways to make it significantly harder for an armed assailant to commit mass murder in “soft targets.”

For the purposes of this discussion—and because of the high number of religious institutions coming under attack in recent years—I’ll focus on better protecting churches, synagogues, and mosques.



Armed Security

Step one is to post armed guards in as many houses of worship as possible. It’s unreasonable to expect total coverage, but the mere fact that there MIGHT be a “good guy with a gun” inside might be sufficient deterrent to keep parishioners safe.

I know what you’re going to say.

“Did Wyllie just suggest posting armed security in churches, synagogues, schools, and mosques? That’s impossible! There isn’t money to fund that.”

I contend that if the call went out for it, countless capable volunteers would quickly spring from the woodwork—and most of them would be retired police officers, retired military, and well-trained citizens who regularly take advanced firearms classes.

Note that Jack Wilson—whose immediate response saved countless lives at the West Freeway Church of Christ—is a former reserve deputy sheriff and a firearms instructor. At his church, he is the head of an all-volunteer security force.

Note also that Jeanne Assam—a former police officer—was a volunteer security guard at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs when a 24-year-old gunman shot and killed two and wounded two others in December 2007.

Assam engaged the assailant, who then took his own life, ending the carnage.

I concede that not every jurisdiction is populated by a bunch of Jack Wilsons and Jeanne Assams—willing and able to defeat a deadly threat—and that some houses of worship might have to shell out cash for the service, but there are plenty of cities and towns in America where this would be a pretty easy fix.

Doing this one simple thing is certainly a whole lot better than doing nothing.



End “Gun-Free” Zones

At the state level, abolish the notion of “gun-free” zones.

With gun violence by disturbed gunmen usually occurring in “gun free zones” such as houses of worship, perhaps the possibility exists that those “safe spaces”—which are clearly not particularly safe—might begin to tolerate the bearing of arms.

The fact is, even in the 30-plus states that have “shall issue” gun laws—allowing concealed and open carry of firearms by law-abiding citizens and law enforcement officers alike—those legal guns largely remain prohibited in places like churches, synagogues, and mosques.

I know what you’re going to say.

“Did Wyllie just suggest that legal gun owners be allowed to carry everywhere? That’s impossible! The anti-gun segment of the population would never have it.”

I contend that at least half of the states in this country could legislate “gun free zones” out of existence.

I concede that no such bill stands a snowball’s chance in places like California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, or Massachusetts. But a law banning “gun free zones” would WIN IN A WALK in almost every state if you took out a map of the country and drew a triangle from Montana south to Arizona, then east to Georgia, then northwest back to Bozeman.

Further, I would wager a waist-high stack of green money that violent crime in those states would drop pretty rapidly over time.

In that time, the states that cling to the idea that a posted placard can prevent evil from raining down on parishioners—as they exercise their Constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and religion—might take notice.

Would-be attackers would most definitely take notice—and reconsider unleashing hell on innocents for fear that one of them might abruptly end the assault.

Doing this one simple thing is certainly a whole lot better than doing nothing.



Final Words

In addition to the recent attack on the church in Texas, there have been many other shootings at places of worship in recent years.

There was the synagogue shooting in California in December. There was the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pennsylvania in 2018, the Sutherland Springs church shooting in 2017, the mosque shooting in New York in 2016, and the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting in South Carolina in 2015.

Sadly, there are too many to list.

The point is, what we’ve done up to now isn’t working. What we’ve been doing is patently and obviously failing.

I regularly recite the adage that “an armed society is a polite society.”

I say so because I firmly believe it to be true.

Consider that in Chicago—a city with a population of just over two million people and some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country—there were 555 murders in 2019.

Contrast that with Houston—a city with a population of just over two million and some of the most permissive gun laws in the country—there were 210 murders in 2019.

I concede that some of the murders in those cities were committed with a weapon that wasn’t a firearm, and that the cultures of those two cities couldn’t be much more different—but this dramatic difference in the data cannot be ignored.

Another adage I routinely recite is, “When seconds count, police are just minutes away.”

Jack Wilson ended that attack in Texas in six seconds.

Six seconds.

Placing well-trained armed security in houses of worship and allowing well-trained law-abiding citizens to carry concealed in formerly “gun free zones” would go a long way in reducing this plague of violence in churches, synagogues, and mosques.

Doing these two simple things is certainly a whole lot better than doing nothing.



By Doug Wyllie |


Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Why Public Safety Leaders Need to Take Risk Management Seriously

Editor’s Note: This article series is designed to introduce you to the concept of real risk management—an approach that goes way beyond a safety program to encompass the 10 Families of Risk and to demonstrate how better understanding these risk families can help you anticipate and mitigate the risks in your own organization. Whether this is your first introduction to Gordon Graham and risk management, or if you’ve been following his innovative approach for years, this series has something for every public safety leader. We encourage you to follow along as we publish additional installments.


Gordon Graham here, and again, thanks for taking the time to read this brief piece. In my last article I introduced you to the breadth and depth of “real risk management” and why this discipline is much more than the “safety stuff.”

In this article, I want to further explain why too many government organizations—including the high-risk occupations involved in public safety in your communities—don’t take risk management seriously.

When I say this in a live program, I often get some pushback: “What do you mean we don’t take it seriously?” My response to this is pretty simple: Let’s take a look at your city/county/state organizational chart. Where will I find risk management on your org chart?

If risk management has its own box, I will be very surprised. And if it is near the top of the org chart, you can stop reading this piece right now because clearly your entity “gets it.” But too often I see risk management sharing a box with maintenance or human resources, someplace in the middle or lower levels of the organizational hierarchy.

Here is a second test for you. Pick up your government phone directory and look for risk management. Again, if there is a dedicated risk manager in your entity, I will be surprised. And I guarantee you that you will have many more lawyers in your phone book than risk managers.

Why am I boring you with this? Lawyers focus on fixing problems after they occur. Real risk managers focus on addressing problems before they occur. It is an entirely different way of thinking—a different bias, if you want to look at it that way. It is the constant battle of spending time and money up front to prevent problems from occurring. The alternative is spending much more time and resources after problems occur.

On my recommended reading list is a great book by two Harvard guys (Bazerman and Watkins), Predictable Surprises. The authors capture the essence of the problem with some thoughts on the shared traits of predictable surprises and why so many people in so many organizations ignore problems lying in wait.

Another great work along similar lines is Margaret Heffernan’s Willful Blindness. She lays out in great detail why so many people in so many organizations are aware of problems, yet they do not act, and again and again ignore problems lying in wait.

We can do so much to thwart bad outcomes if we are committed to real risk management. And maybe this is just me, but I want this transition to real risk management to occur prior to some disastrous event.

Here is a definition that I will be referencing throughout this series of articles. Webster takes a stab at defining risk as “the possibility of meeting danger or suffering a harm or loss, or exposure to harm or loss.” As a follow then:

Risk management is any activity that involves the evaluation of or comparison of risks and the development, selection and implementation of control measures that change outcomes.

Or more simply stated, risk management is the process of looking into the future (short or long term), asking what can go wrong and then doing something to prevent it from going wrong. Remember RPM—Recognition, Prioritization, Mobilization.

Until then, please take a look at what we are trying to do at Lexipol to address the risks you face in public safety operations. Thanks for reading!


By Gordon Graham

GORDON GRAHAM is a 33-year veteran of law enforcement and the co-founder of Lexipol, where he serves on the current board of directors. Graham is a risk management expert and a practicing attorney who has presented a commonsense risk management approach to hundreds of thousands of public safety professionals around the world. Graham holds a master’s degree in Safety and Systems Management from University of Southern California and a Juris Doctorate from Western State University.

Medical Marijuana Raises Questions for Law Enforcement

Since the legalization of medical marijuana in Missouri in November of 2018, law enforcement agencies have expressed concern that the change could lead to an increase in recreational use.

St. Joseph law enforcement agencies often see marijuana use, but St. Joseph Police Capt. Jeff Wilson said the biggest concerns are related to young people and driving.​​

“Our concerns are that it may lead to an increased use in the younger age bracket, and that’s something we’ll monitor,” Wilson said.

Driving while under the influence of marijuana is something Wilson said police officers are trained to detect.

“With the legalization you can probably assume that there will be more impaired drivers because it’s legal for them to use marijuana, but definitely don’t operate a motor vehicle,” Wilson said.

Wilson also urges people with medical cards to keep their substances secure, where kids won’t have access to it.

There’s also a procedure police use to check medical identification cards when they come across them in a traffic stop. Checks are done to make sure the cards are not duplicates or false, which Wilson said is a concern for the department.

Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Puett said his staff is concerned with recreational marijuana use, but they’re more focused on the harsher drugs going through the community.

“Our priorities are concerns about illegal drug use in the county, especially issues of methamphetamine, opioids, heroin and crack cocaine,” Puett said.

Puett said the use of those illegal substances is what brings violence and issues with property crimes. Those in the sheriff’s office still are concerned with medical marijuana issues, but they’re waiting for all of the parameters to be put in place.

“Recreational marijuana use is still illegal and I don’t know if that’ll change, but we’re focused on enforcing the laws on the books and what the Legislature passes,” Puett said.

As the rules involving medical marijuana use move along, Puett said his officers will learn what actions they need to take and what their biggest concerns will be in the future.

Wilson said police recover a variety of illegal substances on the streets, but typically they have specific officers focused on marijuana-related cases to help stop recreational use.

Overall, both law enforcement agencies hope medical marijuana users take the appropriate actions that won’t lead to the substances getting in the wrong hands, causing an increase in recreational use.

By Bailey Ketchum | News-Press Now

Former Platte County Sheriff Passes

Retired Platte County Sheriff Tom Thomas passed away under hospice care Sunday evening at his home in Kearney, Missouri.

Sheriff Thomas was the Platte County Sheriff for 28 years and was the first Republican to hold office in the county when he was elected in 1968. Prior to serving with the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Thomas was a member of the Kansas City Police Department.

Sheriff Mark Owen described Sheriff Thomas as, “one of the finest men I ever knew and he was very well respected throughout the state.”

Course To Teach How to Interact with Mentally Ill

Several area law enforcement officers are scheduled to attend a collaborative training course geared toward aiding interactions with people experiencing mental illness.

The program, called Crisis Intervention Training, will be provided with help from Ozark Center and the Missouri State CIT Council. It’s planned for Jan. 27-31.

Because around 10% of all police contacts with the public involve people with serious mental illnesses, such training efforts are especially timely, said Debbie Fitzgerald, Southwest Missouri CIT Council co-chair and director of crisis services at Ozark Center, in a statement.

“Officers with CIT training respond more compassionately,” she said. “There’s less stigma for them when they encounter citizens with mental illness in the community.”

The goal of the Crisis Intervention Training program is for officers to recognize mental illness and substance use and to teach techniques to deescalate a crisis, reducing the need for arrest and incarceration. The program also involves changes in police department procedures as well as collaboration with mental health providers and other community stakeholders.

Attending officers will receive 40 hours of training provided by mental health clinicians, police trainers and consumer and family advocates. The training includes information about the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses, mental health treatment, coexisting disorders, legal issues and deescalation techniques. The curriculum may also include content about developmental disabilities, older adult issues, trauma and excited delirium.

During the training, officers will visit agencies in the community and interact with panels of providers, as well as with family members of and individuals with mental illnesses. They also will receive training on resiliency, burnout and stress reduction for themselves.

“Officers have a very hard job, and the vicarious trauma they experience puts them at an increased risk for suicide,” Fitzgerald said. “CIT training increases safety for everyone — both for those with mental health issues as well as for the responding officers.”

After receiving the training, officers should be more aware of providers and services for mental health and drug and alcohol treatment.

“They share in a collaborative partnership,” Fitzgerald said, “and they know how to access services and treatment. They use force less and are able to reduce the amount of time spent on mental health (and) substance use calls.”

Ozark Center, the Joplin Police Department and the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department are all members of the Missouri State CIT Council and the Southwest Missouri CIT Council. Ozark Center is the behavioral health arm of Freeman Health System.

More information about mental health training through Ozark Center can be found at


Joplin Globe

FBI Releases 2018 NIBRS Crime Data

Law Enforcement Continuing Transition to More Detailed Reporting System 


The FBI released detailed data on nearly 6.6 million criminal offenses reported via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) in 2018. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s latest report, NIBRS, 2018, presents data about victims, known offenders, and relationships for offenses reported in 52 categories. In addition, the report provides information on arrests for those crimes as well as 10 additional categories for which only arrest data is collected.

Highlights of NIBRS, 2018

In 2018, 7,283 law enforcement agencies, whose jurisdictions covered more than 117.1 million U.S. inhabitants, submitted NIBRS data to the UCR Program. These agencies comprised 43.7 percent of the 16,659 law enforcement agencies that submitted data to the UCR Program in 2018. Based on NIBRS submissions, the FBI compiled aggregate tables on 5,617,945 incidents involving 6,586,140 offenses, 6,944,242 victims, 5,652,156 known offenders, and 3,480,625 arrestees. (Currently, the FBI does not estimate for agencies that do not submit NIBRS data.)

Of the reported offenses, 59.5 percent were crimes against property, 24.1 percent were crimes against persons, and 16.4 percent were crimes against society. Among these categories, the offenses most reported include larceny/theft offenses, assault offenses, and drug/narcotic offenses, respectively.


Victim types, collected for all reported NIBRS offenses, include individuals, businesses, institutions, or society as a whole. For 2018, the data regarding victims who were individuals revealed the following:

Of the 4,720,900 individuals, 23.5 percent were between 21 and 30 years of age.
A little more than half (51.1 percent) were female, 48.1 percent were male, and the gender of 0.8 percent of victims was unknown.
Most victims (69.6 percent) were white, 21.6 percent were black or African-American, 1.9 percent were Asian, 0.7 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.4 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The race of 5.8 percent of victims was unknown.

Known Offenders

In 2018, law enforcement identified and reported information on 5,652,156 known offenders, meaning some aspect of the suspect—such as age, gender, or race—was known.

Of these offenders, 40.2 percent were between 16 and 30 years of age.
By gender, most offenders (61.5 percent) were male, 25.5 percent were female, and gender for 13.0 percent was unknown.
By race, more than half (53.9 percent) of known offenders were white, 27.4 percent were black or African-American, and 2.2 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 16.5 percent of reported known offenders.

Victim-to-Offender Relationships

Concerning the relationship of victims to known offenders, there were 1,593,326 victims of crimes against persons (e.g., murders, sex offenses, assault offenses) and robbery offenses from the crimes against property category.

More than half (51.0 percent) of the victims knew their offenders (or at least one offender when more than one was present) but did not have a familial relationship to them.
Nearly one quarter (24.7 percent) of the victims were related to their offenders (or at least one offender when more than one was present).


Law enforcement agencies submitted data to the UCR Program through incident reports and arrest reports for 3,480,625 arrestees.

Of these arrestees, 32.5 percent were 21 to 30 years of age.
By gender, 71.4 percent were male, and 28.6 percent were female.
By race, most arrestees (69.6 percent) were white, 24.7 percent were black or African-American, and 2.9 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 2.8 percent of arrestees.

Agency-Level NIBRS Data

The interactive NIBRS map on the home page of NIBRS, 2018 provides agency-level data. In addition, state offense tables present statistics for each agency that reported 12 months of NIBRS data in 2018.

NIBRS in Crime Data Explorer

In addition to the annual NIBRS report, the UCR Program’s Crime Data Explorer (CDE) provides NIBRS data, including national and state-level downloads. Users can also access the CDE to build customized tables and to view Summary Reporting System (SRS) data for 2018 and some previous years by state.

Additional Resources

The full NIBRS, 2018 report is available online.
Information about the NIBRS transition is available on the NIBRS web page at