Officers Gun Belt

Try this. Attach a twenty-five-pound weight to a 2 1/4 inch strip of nylon, or leather. Then wrap that super heavy strap around your waist, hook it to your regular belt, and then run a few sprints, climb a fence or two, wrestle three or four angry men, fight a guy who’s trying to stab you with a screwdriver, stand in the middle of a busy intersection in the pouring rain for two hours while waving cars through at well-timed intervals, walk 10 or 15 miles, chase a young kid for 10 blocks, and…well, you get the idea. It ain’t easy. But that’s what police officers do every single day of their lives. Yep, they strap their toolboxes to their waists and head out for work.

So what are all those things hanging from an officer’s gun belt (aka duty belt, or Sam Browne belt)? Let’s see…

An officer’s gun belt is normally made from leather or nylon. Each item is strategically placed on the belt for easy use.

Left – flashlight holder, or ring. Belt keepers (right) are thin strips of leather or nylon used to hold the gun belt to the officer’s regular belt. They prevent the gun belt from sliding down around the officer’s ankles. Now that could be pretty embarrassing.

Belt keepers positioned between handcuff cases. I wore four belt keepers. Other officers may use more, or less. It’s a matter of personal preference.

.40 cal. Glock and nylon holster

Glock, magazine, and hollow point ammunition

Double magazine pouch and spare magazines

Two pairs of hinged cuffs and double cuff case

Hinged cuffs and key

ASP expandable baton

Mini flashlight and case

Portable radio and case

Pepperspray and case


* Interesting point – Bathroom breaks. The belt has to come off, which means undoing the keepers, etc. Then, suppose an emergency arises during the break. It all has to go back on. Including tucking in the tails (sort of like shirt tails) of the vest carrier.

Kevlar vest. The blue material is actually a carrier that holds the Kevlar panels in place. Having a separate carrier allows the portion of the vest (carrier) that’s next to the skin (the blue, canvas-like material) to be washed.

Kevlar cannot be washed (wiping it down is okay).

Kevlar insert (this is the front section that’s inserted into the blue carrier on the left in the previous photo).

The Burg Bag

Have you ever been called to a shooting scene where you quickly emptied your Sig of its 16 rounds? Then you reached into your gear bag for extra ammo, or a dressing for your wounds, and suddenly realized that in your haste you’d accidentally grabbed your kid’s backpack? Or, you show up at a hostage situation and you find that your tendency to be a pack rat has now filled the old duty bag beyond your ability to heft it from the trunk of your patrol car. Well, relax. Police Chief Mike Burg of Ohio has come up with a solution to your woes and it’s called The Burg Bag.

The Burg Bag is specially designed for active-shooter situations. Chief Burg, considering the LAPD’s Hollywood shootout, realized the need for a “self-rescue” kit. And Burg’s creation is just that, a nylon bag containing precise-sized, easily accessible compartments for things like trauma gear (Kling, Quick-Clot, gauze and Bloodstopper), boxes of shotgun shells, bullets, and extended rifle magazines. Enough emergency supplies to hold you until help arrives. No more using a gunbelt as a tourniquet.

The Burg Bag is also the perfect holiday gift for the protagonist in your life!

In fact, I can almost hear Dave Robicheaux calling for Clete to fetch the Burg Bag from the trunk of his convertible.

Available for $35 at your favorite police supply outlet (the bag, not Clete’s car).

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Don’t forget to join me over at interview at for my take the realities of working in law enforcement. We’d love to hear from you, too.

Unusual Cop Tools For Unusual Situations

We all know there’s a tool made for every task, right? But what if the situation calls for a little something out of the ordinary? Like, when a police officer encounters someone who’s trapped inside a vehicle at night, can’t unhook their seat belt, and can’t roll down the windows. Oh, and the officer forgot to bring his portable radio and he’s lost his voice and can’t yell for help. What tool could possibly help him out of this dilemma?

Well, every tool-savvy officer knows to reach for the Multifunction Rescue Tool (above) when faced with scenarios like the one mentioned above. The tool comes with a built-in LED flashlight, a whistle, and a seat belt cutter. It’s designed for one-handed use and easily clips to a gun belt.

Your hero has spent the last hour chasing some scumbag through the streets where he finally tackled the guy in the alley between Sally’s Cut and Curl and Fred’s House of Ribs. It was a worthwhile foot pursuit because he found $2,000 cash in the doper’s right pants pocket and an equal amount of crack cocaine in the left. Trouble is, your guy has court in five minutes and his uniform is in a mess—pants are wrinkled, tie is off (the bad guy was using it to choke the officer), and he can’t seem to shove his shirt tail back in place. Now, if he’d been wearing a set of shirt garters (above and below) he’d have no worries. The garters help keep the shirt tail down and those ill-fitting cop-socks up.

Had your protagonist shopped at our All Things Odd Cop Emporium, he’d have found a breakaway tie that would have prevented that nasty bruise that’s forming just below his Adam’s apple.

The Breakaway Tie hooks with Velcro tabs at the back of the neck so it can’t be used against the wearer. There’s nothing worse, or more embarrassing, than to be choked with your own tie.

…unless your pants have ever fallen down while you’re wearing those silly-looking shirt garters. That might be a wee bit more embarrassing.

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Writers’ Police Academy Photos of the day. Turn up the sound!

Planning has begun for the 2011 Writers’ Police Academy!

New workshops!

Registration is opening soon!

Space will be limited next year so reserve your spot early!

What's Inside An Unmarked Car?

Lt. Danny Carter of the Forsyth County North Carolina Sheriff’s Office (Sheriff William T. Schatzman) was kind enough to give us a peek inside his unmarked Crown Victoria. Lt. Carter heads up the Field Services Division/ David Platoon for his department.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is located in Winston Salem, N.C.

Mobile Data Terminal (MDT)

Here’s a look at some of the buttons, dials, switches, and other controls found on the console of a police car. Keep in mind that there is no set of standard equipment for police vehicles. Each department decides the type, make, model, and style of equipment they prefer to utilize. And some officers (me included), if allowed, choose to add an item or two to the menagerie of electronics. For example, a patrol officer who works traffic details on interstate highways may opt to install a CB radio in their car so they can contact truckers, if needed. However, some departments may not allow the installation of any electronic devices due to the possibility of damaging the vehicle’s already stretched-to-the-limit electronic system.

* I’m heading to Killer Nashville tomorrow to present a few workshops—Officer Survival/Police Defensive Tactics,  CS I Don’t Think So, and Autopsies. I do hope to see some of you there. It’s a fantastic event.

By the way, I’m searching for a victim…I mean assistant, for the defensive tactics workshop. Volunteers?

In the old days (yesterday) investigators had to rely on thing like tape measures, digital cameras, camcorders, and pencil drawings to preserve images of crime scenes. But technology changes rapidly. Companies like 3rd Tech (image above), UTEK, and Leica have made the business of recording crime scene images and measurements much easier, more accurate, and a lot more fun. Cop do love toys.

Most High Definition Laser Scanners use a tripod mounted laser that incorporates the use of a digital camera, also mounted on the tripod. The device captures approximately 9 million measurements in a panoramic view in about 12 minutes (the same measurements by human could take 12-15 hours). Every single item in the laser’s field of view is measured and recorded, even a fly if it’s in the scene. Those measurements are fed into a laptop which converts them into a complete 360 degree view of the crime scene (Remember the TV show Crime 360? We featured the show’s vice president here on The Graveyard Shift).

High Def. Laser Images can be shown to juries, which allows the fate-deciders an opportunity to view the scene as it was on the night in question. One of the best things about the devices, such as 3rd Tech’s DeltaSphere-300 3D Scene Digitizer, is that there’s no human error involved. The computer makes, and can recall all the measurements, at any time, even many years later.

The Deltasphere even has a feature called Viewpoint, which allows the investigator, juries, etc. to virtually stand at any point in the scene and see what the suspect or victim could see from that same vantage point. This feature even takes into account the person’s height and adjusts accordingly, so the viewer is seeing things exactly as the victim or killer did when they entered the scene.

The price tag for a Deltasphere…a little less than $70,000.

Working traffic accidents at night has always been a safety problem. For whatever reason—fatigue, driving while impaired, talking on cell phones, rubbernecking, etc.—drivers often fail to see officers standing in the roadway when they’re tending to the injured, investigating the accident, or even directing traffic.

Police uniforms are normally dark—deep blue or black, and rightfully so. They don’t want to stand out like a human bull’s eye at night. However, dark uniforms are counter-productive during the times when officers really need to be highly visible—while directing traffic and working automobile accidents. To increase visibility officers wear reflective gear, such as vests and raincoats.

Most officers keep their equipment, including their safety vests, flares, and traffic cones, inside the trunks of their patrol vehicles. Vests are quite visible when illuminated by oncoming headlights. Flares light up small patches of roadway, and bright orange cones are okay. But these are all fixed objects, which is what etches into a motorist’s mind—all those brightly colored, reflective things are inanimate objects. After all, they’re not moving, right? The same is true for the officer who’s standing in the midst of a sea of orange. That big orange thing isn’t moving, so it must be a safety device.

There are two very simple solutions to the problem. Officers can hop up and down so drivers can tell they’re not part of the safety equipment. Or, they can wear reflective gloves that highlight their hand movements. A simple wave of an illuminated hand alerts the driver that what he’s seeing is a human, and not a tall traffic cone.

Enter…Glo Gloves. Officers can slip on a pair before getting out of the car, an act that also provides a measure of safety while they’re walking to the trunk to grab the other safety equipment.

Glo Gloves are made from stretchable nylon/Spandex to allow for a comfortable fit, and the flexible material affords maximum mobility and dexterity. Great idea, huh? I just hope officers don’t mistake them for their regular gloves and accidentally slip them on during a nighttime stakeout!

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Would you like to win the entire first season of Southland on DVD? How about having the opportunity to ask Michael Cudlitz (John Cooper) that question that’s been bugging you since the show first aired? Well here’s your chance. Check out the details straight from the folks at TNT.

Let SouthLAnd Star Michael Cudlitz Answer Your Question and Win Season 1 on DVD!

Season 2 of the gritty police drama SouthLand is in full swing on Tuesdays 9/10c on TNT, and we have special access to the show’s star, Michael Cudlitz. We’d like to come up with the most creative and original question possible – and that’s where you come in!

Send your question to Michael via this post by Friday 3/26/2010. Ask anything you like, but the winning question must be creative and original and must not have already been covered at:

The winner will receive Season 1 of SouthLAnd on DVD and will have their question answered online by Michael Cudlitz.

* Prizes are supplied by the SouthLand Team at TNT.

To get the job done with maximum efficiency and safety, carpenters and plumbers always use the right tool for the task at hand. Police officers should do the same. Here are a few to make the job just a bit easier.

The covert bullet camera is about the size of a tube of lipstick, which makes concealment quite easy. It’s wide angle lens and color capability work perfectly with pocket DVR’s.

This high resolution, color DVR is a great companion for the bullet cam pictured above. It features a time and date stamp as well as tamper proof video.

This pinhole camera kit comes equipped with lens covers designed to look like phillips screw heads, suit buttons, hex screws, and shirt and cuff buttons.

This sunglass camera is capable of connection to pocket DVR’s, which allows the covert operator to record what he/she sees as it happens. Great for that undercover narcotics officer in your life!

The climbing robot can scale vertical surfaces, and can even crawl across ceilings if placed there first. Perfect for searching hard to reach hazardous places, such as shipping containers and nuclear containment domes.

100 watt siren sold by Federal, complete with speaker (far left) and light switch box with 6 back-lit rocker switches. Price – $310

Handcuff key with LED light on each end. $12

Tri-fold badge wallet. $12

Hidden badge wallet (badge is hidden behind credit cards). $25

Handcuff Tie Pin. $6

Hat Badge $20

Setina Door Panel prevents hiding of contraband. $100

Aluminum rear seat K-9 kennel w/ rubber floor mat. Prevents chewing and claw marks. $1,000

Car and truck lock-out kit. $85

Patrol officer’s in-car office/desk/filing cabinet – a seat organizer. $50

Patrol bike lighting system. $400

Vinyl boot covers leave a clear “Police” imprint to identify officer footprints in and around a crime scene. $24

Rite in the Rain notebooks. 6 for $30

(Thanks to Cop Stuff and Officer Store).

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Writers’ Police Academy Updates

Registration is officially open and I’m pleased with the number of people who’re taking advantage of the low early registration rate.

Award winning horror author Deborah Leblanc has signed on as a Medal of Valor sponsor of the Writers’ Police Academy. Other Medal of Valor sponsors include Writers Digest and Just Write Sites. Thanks to each of you for your very generous donations.

A large portion of the Writers’ Police Academy proceeds will be going to the Guilford Technical Community College Criminal Justice Foundation. Without them this event would not be possible. The instructors for this event also devote a heck of a lot of their time to answering questions for writers.

Please contact us if you’d like to be a sponsor.

Levels of Sponsorship

Medal of Valor – $1,000 and above
Commissioner – $500 – $999
Sheriff’s Star – $400 -$499 or Chief’s Shield $400 – $499 (Donor’s option)
Chief of Detectives – $300 – $399
Major – $200 – $299
Captain – $100 – $199
Lieutenant – $75 – $99
Sergeant – $50 – $74
Corporal – $25 – $49
Officer – $10 – $24

Please visit us at to reserve your spot at this unique event now.

* Space for the FATS training is limited to the first 100 people who sign up for it and we’re rapidly approaching that number!

Remember, hotel rooms are limited due to the number of large events in the Greensboro area. Please reserve your rooms now!

*I am still without a computer since the big “crash” last week that wiped my hard drive clean. Thanks for your patience.

Taser Deaths

Forty-eight people have died so far this year after being shot with Tasers. Many of these incidents began as minor, somewhat routine police calls, but quickly escalated to very dangerous situations. Officers have mere seconds to react in these situtions, if that long, and the wrong decision can have devastating consequences for everyone involved. Sometimes making the right decision doesn’t work out very well, either.

Matthew Bolick, pictured above, is the latest person to die after experiencing the 50,000 volts of a police officer’s Taser. Bolick’s father called police asking for help with his thirty-year-old son who had been acting strangely. When police arrived, Bolick assaulted one of the officers on the front lawn. The officer deployed his Taser, but it had no effect on Bolick who then ran inside the home. Officers followed the suspect inside and again deployed their Tasers several more times. Bolick died at the scene.

Many of the the other forty-seven deaths began with something as simple as a playing music too loudly. See for yourself…

1. Jan 9, 2009: Derrick Jones, 17

Martinsville, Virginia

Initial complaint – Police were called to Jones’ home because of a loud noise complaint from neighbors. Jones died in his home after being shot with a police Taser.

2. Jan 11, 2009: Rodolfo Lepe, 31

Bakersfield, California

Initial complaint – Family members called police because Rodolfo was exhibiting odd and bizarre behavior. Lepe died at the hospital after being shot with a police Taser.

3. Jan 22, 2009: Roger Redden, 52

Soddy Daisy, Tennessee

Initial complaint – unknown

4. Feb 2, 2009: Garrett Jones, 45

Stockton, California

Initial complaint – unknown

5. Feb 11, 2009: Richard Lua, 28

San Jose, California

Initial complaint – unknown

6. Feb 13, 2009: Rudolph Byrd, 37

Thomasville, Georgia

Initial complaint – Byrd had been in an auto accident and was disoriented. He was also bleeding from several lacerations. The responding police officer found cocaine at the scene and attempted to arrest Byrd, who then became combative. The officer deployed his Taser, attempting to stop the threat. Byrd stopped breathing and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

7. Feb 13, 2009: Michael Jones, 43

Iberia, Louisiana


8. Feb 14, 2009: Chenard Kierre Winfield, 32

Los Angeles, California


9. Feb 28, 2009: Robert Lee Welch, 40

Conroe, Texas


10. Mar 22, 2009: Brett Elder, 15

Bay City, Michigan


11. Mar 26, 2009: Marcus D. Moore, 40

Freeport, Illinois

Moore, a wanted fugitive, fought with police when they attempted to apprehend him. Officers deployed their Tasers to help effect the arrest and Moore soon began to complain of shortness of breath. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

12. Apr 1, 2009: John J. Meier Jr., 48

Tamarac, Florida


13. Apr 6, 2009: Ricardo Varela, 41

Fresno, California


14. Apr 10, 2009: Robert Mitchell, 16

Detroit, Michigan

Mitchell, who weighed 110 pounds and stood 5’2″ tall at the time of arrest, was in custody and undergoing a pat down search by police when a struggle began. The officer deployed his Taser and the boy died. Autopsy results revealed the boy had a heart condition that, when aggravated by the Taser blast, caused the death.

15. Apr 13, 2009: Craig Prescott, 38

Modesto, California

Prescott, a jail inmate, struggled with deputies who deployed Tasers. The coroner ruled that it was the physical exertion from the struggle that killed Prescott, not the Taser.

16. Apr 16, 2009: Gary A. Decker,

Tuscon, Arizona

Initial complaint – loud noise

17. Apr 18, 2009: Michael Jacobs Jr., 24

Fort Worth, Texas

Initial complaint – Parents called police to assist with controlling their mentally impaired son.

18. Apr 30, 2009: Kevin LaDay, 35

Lumberton, Texas

Initial complaint – DUI traffic stop. LaDay ran and was shot with a Taser.

19. May 4, 2009: Gilbert Tafoya, 53

Holbrook, Arizona


20. May 17, 2009: Jamaal Valentine, 27

La Marque, Texas

Police found Valentine rolling in a ditch. They deployed their Tasers and the subject died. Autopsy revealed a controlled substance in Valentine’s system.

21. May 23, 2009: Gregory Rold, 37

Salem, Oregon

Initial complaint – trespassing.

22. Jun 9, 2009: Brian Cardall, 32

Hurricane, Utah

Cardell’s wife called 911 asking for help with her husband who was experiencing a psychotic episode. Cardell was being treated and medicated for his condition. Here’s the wife’s 911 call.

This is actual police audio from the scene. It begins with the officer saying, “I’m 23…” That’s short for 10-23, meaning he has arrived on the scene. Listen as he fires his Taser at the man who is clearly distraught. Then you’ll hear the officers begin to notice that the man is not breathing and has no pulse.

23. Jun 13, 2009: Dwight Madison, 48

Bel Air, Maryland

Initial complaint – Homeless man knocking on doors looking for a friend.

24. Jun 20, 2009 Derrek Kairney, 36

South Windsor, Connecticut


25. Jun 30, 2009, Shawn Iinuma, 37

Fontana, California


26. Jul 2, 2009, Rory McKenzie, 25

Bakersfield, California


27. Jul 20, 2009, Charles Anthony Torrence, 35

Simi Valley, California


28. Jul 30, 2009, Johnathan Michael Nelson, 27

Riverside County, California


29. Aug 9, 2009, Terrace Clifton Smith, 52

Moreno Valley, California


30. Aug 12, 2009, Ernest Ridlehuber, 53

Greenville, South Carolina

Initial complaint – Ridlehuber’s family reported him as a missing person.

31. Aug 14, 2009, Hakim Jackson, 31

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


32. Aug 18, 2009, Ronald Eugene Cobbs, 38

Greensboro, North Carolina

Scuffle with deputies inside the local jail.

33. Aug 20, 2009, Francisco Sesate, 36

Mesa, Arizona


34. Aug 22, 2009, T.J. Nance, 37

Arizona City, Arizona


35. Aug 26, 2009, Miguel Molina, 27

Los Angeles, California


36. Aug 27, 2009, Manuel Dante Dent, 27

Modesto, California

Dent swallowed a bag of methamphetamine to prevent police officers from retrieving it as evidence. An officer then placed a Taser in direct contact with Dent’s skin and fired. Dent died hours later, but autopsy results indicated that the meth he’d ingested was the cause of death, not the Taser blast.

37. Sep 3, 2009, Shane Ledbetter, 38

Aurora, Colorado

38. Sep 16, 2009, Alton Warren Ham, 45

Modesto, California

Initial complaint – Home invasion/robbery. Ham became combative with jailers so they used a Taser to get him under control. He died immediately after being shot. Autopsy results indicated that Ham had an enlarged heart.

39. Sep 19, 2009, Yuceff W. Young II, 21

Brooklyn, Ohio


40. Sep 21, 2009, Richard Battistata, 44

Laredo, Texas

Initial complaint – Burglary in progress. Battistata was confronted by police as a burglary suspect. The officer deployed her Taser and the suspect died on the scene. Autopsy results indicated that the suspect died as a result of a cocaine overdose.

41. Sep 28, 2009, Derrick Humbert, 38

Bradenton, Florida

Initial complaint – Officer stopped Humbert for riding a bicycle after dark without a headlight.

42. Oct 2, 2009, Rickey Massey, 38

Panama City, Florida

Initial complaint – Possession of cocaine

43. Oct 12, 2009, Christopher John Belknap, 36

Ukiah, California


44. Oct 16, 2009, Frank Cleo Sutphin, 19

San Bernadino, California

Initial complaint – Fight call

45. Oct 27, 2009, Jeffrey Woodward, 33

Gallatin, Tennessee


46. Nov 13, 2009, Herman George Knabe, 58

Corpus Christi, Texas

Initial complaint – Man riding a bicycle against the flow of traffic.

47. Nov 14, 2009, Darryl Bain, 43

Coram, New York

Initial Complaint – Bain’s brother called police asking for help because Bain was high on cocaine.

48. Nov 16, 2009, Matthew Bolick, 30

East Grand Rapids, Michigan

Initial complaint – Bolick’s father called police because he was concerned about his son’s odd behavior.

Bolick family home

*List and images compiled by Eletronic Village.

*     *     *

Castle News – Alyssa Milano has been cast to play the part of Castle’s ex-lover. Me thinks an even newer character will follow in the “Charmed One’s” footsteps – the Green-eyed Monster. Beckett’s not going to like this…not at all.

*     *     *

Writers Police Academy

Registration is officially open!

Please visit us at to reserve your spot at this unique event now.

Space is limited!

You’ll have the opportunity to see Taser use and its effects at the academy because we’re featuring actual Taser demos. Pepper spray, too.

I’m very pleased with the early response to the academy. We’ve been steadily receiving reservations from all across the country and Canada.

Remember, the hotel also has limited space due to other large events in the area. Please register early!

See you there.

Night vision devices need some sort of light source in order to operate. The equipment makes use of small amounts of natural lighting, such as moonlight and starlight. That minuscule amount of light is utilized by converting the light’s energy (photons) into electrical energy, or electrons.

The electrons pass through a small disc inside the night vision device that contains millions of individual channels. As the light makes it’s way through the channels thousands of new electrons are released (multiplied). This new, larger amount of electrons then bounce off a phosphor screen (the greenish glow associated with night vision) that instantly converts the electrons back to photons. This conversion of amplified electrical energy back into light energy (remember, the energy has been greatly amplified at this point) allows the user to see “in the dark.”

Night vision binoculars vary in price. The device above comes in just under $8,000.

Beacons, such as the Phoenix Jr. (above) are used to help prevent friendly-fire accidents. The tiny flashing infrared light can only be seen using night vision (see top image).

A GPS equipped Phoenix Intruder Tripwire Beacon is placed along a pathway traveled by a potential suspect, or other target (military use). The beacon emits a signal that’s both visible and traceable (GPS). For military use mortars may be sent to the beacon’s location, eliminating the target. Police surveillance and apprehension teams would track, locate, and engage their suspect. Then they’d take him into custody.


– Night vision does not show normal depth perception.

– Objects with dull surfaces that appear light during the day show up dark at night when viewing with night vision. And, objects that appear dark during the day, but have  shiny surfaces, will appear lighter at night when seen with night vision.

– Bright ambient light reduces the images seen through night vision devices. Therefore, reflective light, such as light that’s amplified by rain, fog, mist, etc. hinders the performance of night vision devices.