Why apply science to law enforcement critical incident response?
It seems law enforcement activities are under more scrutiny than ever before. During incident reviews and court trials, incident commanders are often forced to explain why they made certain decisions. Note that any law enforcement officer, even first arriving junior officers, may be the de facto "incident commander" until relived by a supervisor.
Other public safety professionals who make tough decisions, such as paramedics and hazardous materials technicians, rely heavily on the science of anatomy and chemistry (respectively) to guide their decision making. What science do we as law enforcement officers rely on? If you were being questioned by a grand jury about your decisions at a critical police incident, what science can you cite as the foundational rationale for why you did what you did?
According to Sid Heal, author of such renowned texts as "Field Command" and "Sound Doctrine: A Tactical Primer", tactical science is "the systematized body of knowledge covering the principles and doctrines associated with tactical operations or emergency responses and reconciling scientific knowledge with practical ends." 
Whether we give it a formal name like tactical science or not, the study and application of principles such as "defining the commander's intent" and "out maneuvering a suspect" are keys to success. Tactical science is not lofty academic theory, but rather well-established and sound principles to help guide our decision making.
Consider an incident commander leading an operation to apprehend a dangerous suspect who has fled into the neighborhoods. His decision making may have a range of consequences such as: allowing the suspect to escape and therefore endangering the public, inconveniencing citizens by closing down streets, and even costing his agency lots of overtime expenditures as he brings in additional resources. How does he decide what to do and can he later justify his decisions? Fortunately, the incident commander is well versed in tactical science and makes decisions based on sound principles. He knows statistically how fast a suspect will run and how to employ an envelopment tactic to catch him. He knows how to most efficiently employ his personnel so his impact to the public and overtime cost is only what is necessary. He clearly defines his "commander's intent" to his personnel who quickly implement his plan and apprehend the suspect. If asked to explain his decisions he can point back to current tactical science books and training courses as the basis for those decisions.
Understanding tactical science or becoming a tactician isn't just for those assigned to SWAT teams. Anyone who may find themselves being an incident commander, even for a short time, can benefit from a basic understanding. That understanding doesn't automatically come with being promoted or having time on the job. Instead it comes with years of experience, attending trainings and studying the relevant literature from the experts.
Scott Savage instructs the Third Degree Communications course entitled "Response Tactics for Critical Incidents and In-Progress Crimes".
 Charles "Sid" Heal, Field Command, (New York: Lantern Books, 2012), 11.
In the new issue of NFPA Journal®, President Jim Shannon said the Association will focus on the leading causes of home fires, including cooking. "We also need to continue to push hard for home fire sprinklers. That's still a large priority for NFPA, and we plan to work very aggressively in 2014 on our residential sprinkler initiative," he said.
This recall involves the EFLC1105 E-flite Ultra Micro-4, 4x9W, AC/DC Battery Charger from E-flite. The charger has four independently functioning charge circuits with a LED status display. Each port can charge one 30–150mAh, 1S UM cell, a 1S MCPX cell, or one 120–300mAh 2S pack equipped with a JST-PH, 3-wire connector. The charger measures 5 inches tall by 7 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep. The charger is blue with a gray, black and blue faceplate with white and black type. “Eflite Celectra UMX-$ Battery Charger” is printed across the center of the charger.
See the full details at CPSC
NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations plays a fundamental role in fire and explosion investigations. A new edition of NFPA 921 is scheduled to be published in 2014. For years, this document has played a critical role in the training, education and job performance of fire and explosion investigators. It also serves as one of the primary references used by the National Fire Academy to support its fire/arson-related training and education programs. It is imperative that investigators understand the scope, purpose and application of this document, especially since it will be used to judge the quality and thoroughness of their investigations.
SAN DIEGO - A Team 10 and Scripps News investigation found arson fires are not investigated properly in many American cities -- including San Diego -- due to a chaotic patchwork of reporting systems and standards.
Many deliberately set building fires are not reported to the federal government.
Nationally, just 5 percent of all residential building fires are intentionally set, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Data collected by Scripps News suggests the national arson rate to be significantly higher.
This recall involves Nestlé three and five gallon cold and hot water dispensers. The units are white and silver in color and measure about 38 inches tall by 13 inches wide. Water is dispensed from the large plastic water bottle on the top of the unit through the machine by pushing on the paddles below that are marked with blue for cold water and red for hot water. The Nestlé Waters North America logo is on the front of the units. Only the following model and serial numbers are included in this recall. The model and serial numbers are printed on a white sticker on the back of the units.
Details can be seen at CPSC.
Watch the video
Shared by Jamie Novak, St. Paul Fire Department
by Maury Glover
BURNSVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) - Burnsville fire officials say they've never heard of so-called firewater could become a starter without the aid of a match or spark, but that's exactly what happened when vodka bottles magnified sunlight and started a fire inside Red Lion Liquors.
The store has been in Burnsville since 1978, and it's occupied its current building for the past nine years. They have bulletproof glass to stop burglars and vandals from breaking in, but that couldn't' protect them from a problem that started inside.
Read more and watch the video
When testifying in court as to the manner in which we conducted an interview, defense counsel will often ask us whether we just wanted his client to "confess." We answer that we do not seek confessions but rather truth. After all, no good cop is interested in false information, only truthful information. That is why our motto at Third Degree Communications is "Nothing but the Truth."
One little tidbit we impart on our students to help convey this concept is by reminding them that if obtaining the truth is their ultimate goal, then they should be doing nothing that might prevent them from obtaining the truth. For example, getting angry with a subject who is lying would most likely sever rapport and interfere with accomplishing the goal of obtaining the truth. Raising my voice, insulting him, or speaking to him in a condescending manner are all most likely going to be rapport killers that will stymie my ability to get to a successful and truthful outcome with the subject. If we want to get people to provide us with truthful information, we should avoid doing anything that will interfere with accomplishing this goal.
This actually applies to many areas of our lives if we think about it. Let's say I've made a new year's resolution to avoid gossiping about other people. There are several steps I can and should consider that will help me accomplish this goal, including but not limited to:
In the same manner, if my goal is to obtain truthful information, I must only engage in behavior that's more likely to help me accomplish this goal and to avoid behavior that will interfere:
Getting people to tell the truth means creating an environment that is conducive to helping them cooperate. Obtaining our goal means everything that I say and do is oriented toward achieving that goal. It's a remarkably simple concept, but a critical one to remember throughout the interview.
The following article was submitted by Randy Martin, CCAI Chaplain.
As I arrived at the parking lot of the HP Pavillion in San Jose, I was greeted by a red sea of fire apparatus. The San Jose Fire Department had provided two ladder trucks that were set up in the parking lot; ladders fully extended facing each other with a very large American flag hanging between them. It was a spectacular site, and what an awesome tribute to Rob. The flag hanging is this manner has always impressed me.
After arriving, I located the Chaplain that would be performing the service. As it turned out, he was a Captain that had I worked with in Riverside, California. It was good to see him again.
The procession that entered the parking lot was laden with fire apparatus and was followed by the limousines that carried the family. The procession route was lined with fire personnel standing at attention and saluting as the fire engine, which carried the casket, made its way through the crowd.
The San Jose Fire Department had positioned two additional ladder trucks with their ladders fully extended, donning the American flag hanging between them inside the Pavillion.
The service opened with music and a warm welcome to everyone in attendance followed by prayer, guest speakers, the eulogy, and a message to the Fire Family, a Law Enforcement prayer and a song. The Benediction was followed by the Fire Fighters prayer, the Last Alarm and the Riffle Volley. Taps rang out from the bag pipes, which always gets to me. In closing, they had the Flag Folding after which the pipes and drums played Amazing Grace and ended with the presentation of gifts for the Family.
Rob was only on this earth for 47 years; he left us way too soon! He will be missed dearly.
September 11, 2001
CCAI Remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and those they left behind.
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