Missouri Panel to Review Law Enforcement Survey

As Missouri’s commission in charge of the minimum standards for law enforcement training continues listening sessions this week to gather feedback about law enforcement, it’s not yet clear if or when the commission may make formal recommendations based on what it learns.

The Missouri Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission on Monday and Wednesday plans to publicly discuss the results of a survey of the public about law enforcement training requirements and discipline.

The listening sessions this week are virtual — as was one last week discussing feedback from a survey of law enforcement — and listeners can participate by phone or WebEx online.

Two phone lines for the virtual discussions have been set up to handle a total of up to 1,000 listeners, though comments during the sessions will have to be made to an email address to be provided at the beginning of each session, according to the Department of Public Safety.

The phone numbers and access codes for calling in to listen and the websites and event passwords for the WebEx option are available at dps.mo.gov/news/newsitem/uuid/f3ab4521-3424-4315-b832-f9b97d75f79c.

The listening sessions are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Monday and Wednesday.

The POST Commission’s duties and powers include establishing minimum standards for basic law enforcement training, setting the minimum number of hours for basic training, establishing continuing education requirements, establishing minimum standards for law enforcement training instructor; and advising the DPS director on law enforcement standards and training.

Widespread protests following the May death of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis under the knee of a white officer — and the legislative discussions across the country about police reform and accountability that followed — led the POST Commission to schedule surveys and listening sessions to hear what law enforcement and the public have to say about training and law enforcement in general.

The commission took no action last week in its discussion of responses from law enforcement — there were 468 survey responses from law enforcement — and it’s not likely the commission will take any formal action this week.

DPS spokesman Mike O’Connell said Friday: “The commission has said they plan to discuss what they’ve learned in the Oct. 5 POST Commission meeting but not that they would have formal recommendations (in October).”

O’Connell said no more listening sessions are planned beyond the ones this week.

He added while the commission has not said anything about the timing of any formal recommendations — such as whether they would have any by the end of the year — they have taken seriously a charge from Gov. Mike Parson to review law enforcement training in Missouri.

POST Commission and DPS to Discuss Response to Survey

​​The Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission and the Department of Public Safety today invited Missourians to listen in as commissioners discuss responses from law enforcement officers and citizens to two surveys on law enforcement training and discipline in Missouri.

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m., POST commissioners will discuss responses from law enforcement officers to a survey of officers on law enforcement training requirements and discipline in Missouri. The survey was conducted from Aug. 17 to Aug. 24.

On Monday, Aug. 31 at 2 p.m., and on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 2 p.m., POST commissioners will discuss responses from members of the public to a survey conducted from Aug. 18 to Aug. 26 on law enforcement training requirements and discipline in Missouri. Members of the public are encouraged to continue to participate in that survey through Aug. 26, 2020 at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LETraining_Public.

Two phone lines, each of which can handle up to 500 callers, are being provided to each of the listening sessions. A WebEx link is also being provided for those who would prefer to listen with a computer.  

Additional comments from the public may be offered by email during the listening sessions. An email address will be provided at the beginning of each listening session. There is no audio option to ask questions during the listening sessions.

Aug. 26 – Law Enforcement Survey Listening Session

LINE 1
Phone number: 650-479-3207
Access code: 133 961 8599
Web address for attendees: https://stateofmo.webex.com/stateofmo/onstage/g.php?MTID=e95c8bd32c8c3bfca85cacd7b3ae536e1
Event password: PWd7KE7HPZ3

LINE 2
Phone number: 650-479-3207
Access code: 133 212 6776
Web address for attendees: https://stateofmo.webex.com/stateofmo/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec3144d4b0c375f76c2a540d43e74a1d7
Event password: 7fQV6kwyKM4

Aug. 31 – Public Survey Listening Session

LINE 1
Phone number: 650-479-3207
Access code: 133 488 8026
Web address for attendees: https://stateofmo.webex.com/stateofmo/onstage/g.php?MTID=ee00ea5ce430b3e8f067d32dfba8133c5
Event password: rKQHgSaU242

LINE 2
Phone number: 650-479-3207
Access code: 133 924 4860
Web address for attendees: https://stateofmo.webex.com/stateofmo/onstage/g.php?MTID=efd219b7daa5e905424feb43f06f81d9c
Event password: SQnXFMqQ834

Sept. 2 – Public Survey Listening Session

LINE 1
Phone number: 650-479-3207
Access code: 133 643 4469
Web address for attendees: https://stateofmo.webex.com/stateofmo/onstage/g.php?MTID=ecf51c7646d28a34c0b925d68c2ca5930
Event password: Bfbqa2VYY32

LINE 2
Phone number: 650-479-3207
Access code: 133 884 0241
Web address for attendees: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LETraining_Public
Event password: vjMiqSkf976

Established by state statute, the POST Commission is responsible for the curriculum for law enforcement officer basic training and continuing education in Missouri. More information about the commission, Missouri’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Program and the disciplinary complaint process is available on the POST Program webpage.

In Missouri, law enforcement officers must complete 24 hours of continuing law enforcement education each year to maintain their peace officers licenses: 2 hours in Legal Studies; 2 hours in Technical Studies; 2 hours in Interpersonal Perspectives; 2 hours of Skill Development involving firearms; 16 hours of electives in any of the preceding core curriculum areas; and 1 hour of racial profiling awareness training.

The Weapon Cleaning Area and Best Practices

Is your firearm cleaning area ready and prepared appropriately for you and your weapon to be effective?



If you ask any firearms instructor to list out the requirements or best practices for cleaning weapons, you’ll get a list of responses in a variety of priority. The one thing almost every firearms instructor in the world will agree on: No ammunition is permitted in your cleaning area—ever. “Accidental” discharges usually aren’t; negligent discharges are. To help avoid the unintentional chambering and discharge of any ammo, it’s simply best not to have any in the area where you clean your weapons.

Hand in hand with that control condition is the rule to always double-check that your weapon is unloaded before you start cleaning. Many dedicated cleaning spaces have a designated clearing area just outside or near the entrance. Make sure your weapon is empty before you enter your cleaning workspace. Look and feel to make sure the chamber is empty, and then do it again. No magazines inserted in semi-autos. Cylinders open on revolvers. Actions open on long guns and shotguns. Look and feel. Do it again. Yes, it can start to seem silly but the moment you take for granted that you’ve checked and all is good is when things start to go south. NEVER take an unloaded weapon for granted.

The last “universal” rule for weapons cleaning and maintenance is to always clean it after you shoot it. That said, what about weapons you don’t shoot? If you’re going to carry it for duty or self-defense, it should be cleaned monthly. There are plenty of folks who don’t follow the monthly guideline but still clean their weapons at least quarterly. If you have a weapon you don’t shoot at least quarterly and you’re planning to carry it (or do carry it) for duty or defense, you really need to re-examine your practices.

Prepping the space

If you have a dedicated space available, it makes sense to prepare it beforehand. If you know this will be the space, workbench, table, or desk used, you can increase your efficiency by making sure of a few things prior to getting that dirty weapon at hand for cleaning.

Take the appropriate steps to protect your health as it relates to chemical exposure while cleaning the weapon(s).

Ventilation is an often-overlooked concern, usually because weapons are cleaned outside or in fairly large areas such as a garage or workspace. However, if your cleaning area is in a smaller area, you need to be cognizant of the vapors, microparticles, and others that will either exist or be created by your efforts in cleaning your weapon. Having a good quality filtered air circulation system or a high volume fan venting to the outside is recommended.ID 163621874 © Alexandr Tsalko | Dreamstime.com

Have at hand and wear proper eye protection.

As you scrub, wipe or otherwise handle your weapon pieces to clean them, the fine spray of solvent, lubricant, carbon dust, etc. all get flung into the air in very unpredictable directions. You don’t want to get any of that in your eyes, so just like you wear protective eyewear on the range to shoot, wear protective eyewear to clean.

Have the proper tools for disassembly of your various weapons available and, to some extent, protect them from other use.

Quite a few gun owners have learned the lesson of using a tool that wasn’t the right one but was forced into use. They buggered up their weapon in some way, harming either function or finish. There are also plenty of gun owners who have properly equipped their workspace with necessary tools only to have those tools “borrowed” by people for other uses. Sometimes those tools just never find their way back and then, during the process of disassembly and cleaning, the wrong tool has to be substituted. Secure the right tools. Organize them. Dedicate them.

The same applies to your tools used for cleaning. From bore brushes to wipes and rods, make sure you have the correct ones for your handguns and long guns in the appropriate calibers. Know the difference between a chamber brush (for cleaning the cylinder chambers on a revolver) and a barrel brush (for cleaning barrels) and don’t confuse them. Have brass or nylon and use them appropriately. Old toothbrushes can be handy, not to mention dental picks. Your local dental office usually throws away the broken ones, but will often hold and gift them to you if you ask. Have the proper variety of wipe sizes available.

Have at hand and properly organize your solvents and lubricants.

There is a wide variety available and you need to know any risks that exist if you use them on your firearms beforehand. For instance, some solvents aren’t safe for use on polymer frames. Some products are sold to “do it all” like clean, lubricate, and protect. Others are sold as metal conditioners. While they can be used for cleaning, it’s not their purpose and they don’t necessarily perform that function efficiently. Know what you’re using and use it appropriately. Be aware of any conflicts or dangers that exist in the chemicals you have at hand. Be sure to keep them separated and used safely.

Cleaning up afterward

Remember that, as you’ve cleaned your weapons, you’ve contaminated your hands, your clothes and all of the consumables—wipes, cotton swabs, etc. Many places consider them hazardous materials (the dirty consumables). If you haven’t been properly disposing of them ​​as you work, clean off your workspace and make sure you’ve thrown them away in a disposable bag. Any rags you’ve dirtied and plan to reuse need to be washed separately in hot water with a good grease-cutting detergent. The clothes you were wearing should be handled and washed the same way you would after you wore them to the range. Before you do anything else, after you’ve cleaned up, you need to thoroughly wash your hands at least halfway up your forearms unless you were wearing long sleeves during the weapon cleaning process.

Whether you are one of those gun owners who hates cleaning their weapons after a day spent shooting or you love to care for your weapons, how you go about it matters. Proper preparation, proper tools, proper safety, and proper procedure can make it a smooth and safe process.  

By Lt. Frank Borelli (ret) | Officer.com

Tactics to Prevent or Survive Gunfire at a Demonstration

How do you balance protecting the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble while protecting yourselves? I would like to share some tactics I employed as a member/commander of a very active civil unrest team​ ​that can help you ensure the First Amendment rights of protesters while also making sure your officers are safe.

1. PRE-EVENT RECONNAISSANCE

When you know where the demonstration will be held, send a team through the area in advance to check for construction materials, rocks, fireworks, improvised explosive devices, a sniper’s hide, etc. By policing the area in advance you can prevent everything from mischief to mayhem.

2. CONTROL THE HIGH GROUND

If there is high ground in the area, assign at least one team to locate and occupy the most commanding position. It is best to use a sniper/observer team to choose the best spot to deploy and have them provide a low key protective overwatch with their optics. With this effective overwatch in place, you now own the high ground.

3. PLACE UNDERCOVER OFFICERS IN THE CROWD

The advantages of assigning undercover officers to infiltrate the crowd are tremendous. They would primarily be present to gather intelligence and to identify threats, leaders and provocateurs.

4. DEPLOY CAMERA TEAMS TO RECORD AND ANALYZE

Strategically place mobile camera teams to not only record significant persons and activities but also analyze members of the crowd. They will be able to identify and report little trouble so that it can be managed before it becomes big trouble.

5. HAVE SWAT ON STANDBY

A fully operational SWAT contingent should be standing by out of sight, but close, with rapid response capability. Keeping them out of sight not only prevents the “confrontational” accusation, but it gives them a tactical advantage when they have to move.

6. USE TEAM CROWD CONTROL SKILLS FOR THE DEMONSTRATION

These shared skills should be possessed by the teams working events and demonstrations. Officers should have shared skills and tactics. They should have the ability to remain calm and task-oriented in the face of agitation. These shared skills should suffice if the demonstration remains peaceful, or even if the crowd becomes aggressive.

7. CONDUCT SHOTS FIRED DRILL

The reason for having a SWAT contingent, a sniper overwatch and practicing shots fired drills is because shots being fired at demonstrations and large disturbances have happened often in the past and will most certainly happen in the future.

For example, they occurred in Los Angeles in 1965 and 1992. They happened again in Milwaukee and Detroit during the 1967 riots.

St. Petersburg had two large riots in 1996. When the shooting erupted during the second of these riots one officer – who was a Viet Nam combat vet – said it sounded like a hot LZ in Vietnam.

Then there was Dallas.

The drill should be practiced when you are training in your crowd control movements and formations. You practice the movements slowly at first and speed it up a bit with subsequent repetitions. The concept of the drill is simple. Everyone involved in a crowd control assignment must be made aware that whenever shots are fired no one needs to be told to fall out of line. They should transition to their firearm and move to cover. You just do it!

To start the drill, the instructor should shout, “Shots fired from the bell tower,” for example. The movement should be practiced so officers are used to moving efficiently to the nearest cover available without tripping over each other. Their choice of cover should be evaluated. You can even have someone recording from the bell tower so that the trainees can be shown later the point of view the sniper had on them as they moved to and arrived at cover.

Emphasize smooth over fast to build the skill and avoid injury. During these drills emphasize that when moving through a troubled area, or working a demonstration every officer should constantly be scanning and assessing.

8. DOWNED OFFICER RESCUES

Crowd control training should include downed officer rescues. Officers should have the capability of moving to a downed officer, stabilizing them and then using a one person or multiple officer lifts to extract downed officers from a hot zone, while others are providing cover.

Also, emergency transports may be practiced in squads, Bearcats, vans, or whatever conveyance is available. Your everyday first responders will be very hesitant to move into a hot zone.

Now some of you will say, “We don’t have a team.” If that is the case, you don’t need anyone else but yourself to practice the most important of these drills. That would be number seven above – the shots fired drill.

THE DALLAS INCIDENT

In closing, I would like to recognize the indomitable spirit exhibited by the Dallas PD and DART on July 7, 2016. When shots rained down on these officers they instantly directed demonstrators to safety while they put themselves in harm’s way. They formed teams at once and began moving to, treating and transporting fallen officers. This was done while other officers engaged, pursued, contained and then negotiated with the suspect. Finally, they ended the threat presented by the terrorist.

Dallas PD, PoliceOne would like to send to you our highest praise and most sincere prayers. God bless and keep you all.

This article, originally published 07/13/2016, has been updated.

By Lt. Dan Marcou | Police One

About the author
Lt. Dan Marcou is an internationally-recognized police trainer who was a highly-decorated police officer with 33 years of full-time law enforcement experience. Marcou’s awards include Police Officer of the Year, SWAT Officer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year and Domestic Violence Officer of the Year. Upon retiring, Lt. Marcou began writing. He is a co-author of “Street Survival II, Tactics for Deadly Encounters,” which is now available. His novels, “The Calling, the Making of a Veteran Cop,” “SWAT, Blue Knights in Black Armor,” “Nobody’s Heroes” and Destiny of Heroes,” as well as his latest non-fiction offering, “Law Dogs, Great Cops in American History,” are all available at Amazon. Dan is a member of the PoliceOne Editorial Advisory Board.

Critical Incident Response Planning for Rural Agencies

It is likely that more than one officer will be involved in most critical incidents, which can cripple staffing in a small department. Department heads in small agencies don’t have the luxury of layers of management, critical incident response teams and in-house human resources specialists.

However, there is no location so remote, no town so small, that its officers are exempt from violence.

When chaos erupts, it’s too late to prepare, but answering these four questions can bring a tiny bit of order to a very bad day.

1. CAN YOU COUNT ON HELP FROM NEIGHBORING AGENCIES?

More than one officer will likely be involved in most critical incidents and it doesn’t take many to cripple staffing in a small department.

In 2017, a deputy was killed in a shootout on a country road in North Dakota. Two other deputies fired their weapons and consequently were out of action during the investigation. That’s a staff cut of more than 30% in a matter of minutes under some of the most stressful circumstances imaginable.

Deepen your bench by ensuring there’s a mutual aid MOU in place with state police, nearby police departments and sheriffs. Consider the need to cover patrol until your officers are released to duty, and also to allow attendance for a fallen officer’s memorial services. Will you need aid in the courts, jail or dispatch? Cover that, too.

In states where police powers are complicated by jurisdictional lines, address the legalities in advance in writing. Consult with your city or county attorney and fill any gaps in policy.

Make sure resources are available before there’s an emergency, and avoid frantic phone calls in a crisis.

2. DO YOU KNOW WHAT BENEFITS YOUR COUNTY OR CITY MAKES AVAILABLE FOR YOUR OFFICERS?

If one of your officers gets hurt, a worker’s compensation claim will be filed. What happens after that is often a mystery, but it doesn’t have to be.

Ask the human resources specialist for your locality to meet with you, and go over the specifics of both short-term and long-term disability as it applies to your department. Ask about:

  • What benefits do they provide?
  • How long do they last?
  • What percentage of the injured officer’s compensation is paid, and when does it kick in?
  • What happens when the benefits run out?
  • What happens if the officer gets hurt working a sanctioned and uniformed off-duty gig?

In many states, except for the very largest agencies, an injured officer will lose a significant portion of their compensation when they can’t work.

It’s not right, but it’s also true that if the officer does not recover and return to full duty within a strictly specified time frame, in many cases they will be terminated – not retired, terminated. For most officers, and often their chief or sheriff, that’s a surprise. The myth that some magic system exists to “take care” of officers injured on the job is durable and wide-ranging, but a myth, nonetheless.

If you discover this is the case, ask what can be done to soften the blow.

Your HR department should be able to guide your officers in selecting and purchasing disability insurance to extend their benefits and mitigate the financial wreckage following a line-of-duty injury that results in a lengthy recovery, or disability.

In this difficult hiring environment, it can be valuable to add extra disability insurance as part of your department’s compensation package. It’s a strategic extra at relatively low cost to the hiring agency that does not add to the burden of retirement costs.

Schedule a time for HR to meet with your officers to review their coverage. Officers who get blindsided by shortfalls in benefits when they are injured will feel abandoned and angry, and a small agency already dealing with a staffing shortfall can’t afford another blow to morale.

Give your officers the chance to understand the situation clearly and make decisions ahead of time.

3. WHAT IF THE BOSS IS INVOLVED IN THE CRITICAL INCIDENT

There may not be specialists in small agencies, but there are lots of working chiefs and sheriffs. You need a plan for when the manure hits the fan and you’re covered in the mess.

In an example from 2016, a rural California sheriff was the only backup available when one of his deputies was ambushed and murdered in a county where any other officer can easily be three hours away. The sheriff engaged the gunman, wounding him and stopping his escape, and now he was part of the post-shooting investigation.

If that happens at your agency, who is cross-trained and designated to step into your boots as acting sheriff or chief? Who is trained and empowered to interact with the press? Who is designated to find and notify next of kin for a wounded or killed officer? Do they have the resources and contacts they will need to do that?

4. DO YOU HAVE A PICTURE OF EVERY OFFICER?

Yes, a picture.

While urban agencies have official portraits regularly taken of each officer, most rural agencies don’t. If you’re making a press release about something wonderful your officer did on duty, that picture will come in handy. If you’re making a press release because the unthinkable has happened, that picture will keep you from scraping social media for a selfie so you don’t have to ask a traumatized and grieving family member to find you one.

It doesn’t have to be a formal photograph by a professional. It does have to be recognizable and reasonably flattering (so, maybe not the ID photo taken in a hurry with lousy lighting). It’s far more important that your officers are seen as humans than that all their award ribbons are visible.

Make it easy on yourself by making sure candid pictures are taken regularly, of everyone. If it helps to have a goal, plan a slideshow once a year for an awards dinner or holiday party.

Your department’s Facebook or Instagram feed can store them for you and give you a reason to keep updated pictures on hand.

Normalcy bias allows the cliché that “nothing ever happens in small towns” to persist, but real life proves otherwise over and over again.

Hoping that nothing bad will happen because nothing has so far is not a plan. Plan now to get ahead of the parts you can control so you can reduce your stress when the world spins out of control.

By ​Kathleen Dias | Police One

About the author

Kathleen Dias writes features and news analysis on topics of concern to law enforcement professionals serving in rural and remote locations. She uses her background in writing, teaching and marketing to advocate for professional levels of training and equipment for rural officers, open channels of communication for isolated departments, and dispel myths about rural policing. She’s had a front-row seat observing rural agencies – local, state and federal – from the Sierra foothills to California’s notorious Emerald Triangle, for more than 30 years.

Perfect Stance vs Odd Angles: Which is Faster?

There’s a lot of talk on what the best “combat” shooting stance is.

In my mind, that’s the wrong question.

If the situation gives you time to get a perfect stance, then take advantage of it. It’ll probably make you more accurate.

But what if you don’t have time to get a perfect stance … and all your training has been done with a perfect stance?​​

That’s bad.

If that’s the case, you’re going to have to figure out odd-angle shooting on the fly when success could make a difference on who lives and who dies.

So, how big of a difference does it make when you square up to the target vs shoot at odd angles? Take a look at the video at https://youtu.be/82X7ImEMWJY

Most training doesn’t take this into account…not in classes, and not when individual shooters are practicing. But your training should.

Because when that day comes when your skills are tested, you’re not going to have time to think your way through the problem. Your reactions are going to need to be smooth, fast, and accurate.

So, next time you’re able to…try this with dry fire and a par timer. See how big of a difference there is with being squared up, turning to square up, and engaging at an off angle without moving your feet.

By Mike Ox | MultiBrief: Exclusive

Mike Ox is an avid defensive and competitive shooter who has co-created several firearms training products, including Dry Fire Training Cards. His team is made up of current and former law enforcement and military special operations instructors with an emphasis on accelerated learning techniques for shooting as well as controlling brain state and brain chemistry for optimal performance in extreme stress situations. Learn more about dynamic dry fire training for defense and competition at DryFireTrainingCards.com.