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Doug  Wyllie

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).
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Home Invasions Targeting Cops

Prepare yourself and your family for a possible home invasion. They happen to cops, too.

October 17, 2008  |  by - Also by this author

When three suspects assaulted an off-duty LAPD officer at his Gardena, Calif., home, a police spokesperson said it was the first time he'd heard of an officer being a victim of a home invasion robbery. While that may be the case, the crime was not without precedent.

One Des Moines (Ill.) police officer found himself and his family held captive with duct tape while a trio of teenagers ransacked his home. Fortunately, neither the officer nor his wife or children were injured.

Violent Confrontations

But not all officers and their families are so fortunate. An on-duty Idaho County Sheriff's deputy happened to be in his home when a suspect forced his way into the residence. The deputy was able to shoot the rude SOB in the chest and chin, effectively ending the threat, but not before being shot himself.

Not that cops wouldn't seem to be the most likely victims of home invasions. Outside of the most aspiring Darwin Award candidates, I would think that most suspects would want to avoid such confrontations. But they do happen, sometimes with law enforcement officers as the apparent intended victims.

Such was the case when four suspects broke into a border patrol agent's home in Tucson, Ariz. The off-duty agent was able to retrieve a handgun and engage the suspects, successfully shooting Christian Gomez. The 20-year-old Gomez sustained fatal injuries and his body was found five hours later in the desert where his homies had unceremoniously dumped him.

Unfortunately, the officer doesn't always get the upper hand.

New Orleans PD Sgt. Thelonious Dukes was working on his motorcycle just before 3 a.m. when he was surprised by two gunmen. They marched him inside his home, awoke his wife, and forced the two of them to kneel on the floor of the bathroom. When the suspects demanded money, jewelry, and guns, and threatened Dukes' wife, the detective pulled his gun and a shootout ensued. Dukes was wounded in his lower torso and leg and later died of his injuries. Chris Dillon, 18, and Anthony Skidmore, 19, were subsequently booked for Sgt. Dukes' murder.

Just as you should consider threat scenarios while going about your off-duty business, so should you develop plans first to minimize the likelihood of a home invasion, then the probable course of action should such an incident occur.

Empower Children

A prime consideration is your children. Without scaring them with alarmist rhetoric such as might be found, say, in this article, merely discuss escape options, particularly in scenarios where they have the benefit of not being detected by intruders. Make sure they know multiple exit points from the house and safe havens they can run to.

Empower them. My dad was not a cop; he was a neurotic commercial artist. But he did have firearms and taught me from an early age how to respect them and how to use them. Such education can even help kids become lifesaving agents, not only on their own behalf but possibly yours, as well.

Patricia Harrington would be a great poster child of what every officer's child should be capable of accomplishing in the event of a home invasion robbery, circumstances permitting. Two illegal aliens, Ralphel Resindez, 23, and Enrico Garza, 26, attempted a home invasion robbery of the Harrington home while the eleven-year-old's father was momentarily away.

Patricia, a clay shooting champion since the age of nine, was in her upstairs room when the two men broke through the front door of the house. Running quickly to her father's room, Patricia grabbed her father's 12-gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun and shot Resindez point blank in the abdomen and genitals as he reached the top of the stairs. His partner in crime took a blast to the left shoulder before staggering into the street.

Patricia's accuracy saved taxpayers the burden of paying for the prosecution of the two men for the murder of an earlier home invasion robbery victim. That victim, 50-year-old David Burien, had died from stab wounds to the chest. Now, I'm not advocating the wholesale slaughter of burglars and robbers. I'm merely reminding you that dead men don't tell tales and they're not worth a damn at filing lawsuits, either.

Man's Best Friend and Other Deterrents

Beyond educating family members on the use of firearms and having them safely accessible, you may want to consider having man's best friend on speed dial. I'm partial to German Shepherds. They may lack the killer aggressiveness of pitbulls, but they are protective and tend to be much more kid friendly. Mine has the collateral benefit of keeping unwanted solicitors at bay. True, it's cut my social network to virtually nil. But, hey, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Now, a man's home may be his castle, but you know how anal retentive city government can be when it comes to the prospect of your building your own a moat or draw gate. So if your local zoning codes aren't paranoid-friendly, you can at least make sure that you have the kind of doors favored by mid-level dope dealers with locking exterior and interior doors. Install wide-angle peepholes that allow you to keep an eye on what's going on outside your door while minimizing an outsider's ability to see inside. Home security alarm systems won't keep them from getting in, but may encourage them to get the hell out in a hurry.

You might even consider stealing a page from dirtbags' home video surveillance systems to identify possible hostiles before they get to your threshold. You need only look to those same dealers for ideas as to where to surreptitiously hide monitoring equipment, although bird feeders or planters are known to be popular.

Communicate with Local PD

Keep telephones accessible with pre-set emergency numbers. As you well know, even if all you can do is connect to 911 before tossing the phone under a pillow, the open line will generally be enough to get your fellow cops rolling, especially if you've notified the local PD and had your address entered into their dispatch database as belonging to a cop with firearms at the location.

Finally, be on friendly terms with that law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over your place of residence. You want to make sure that they do a thorough job in their investigation to minimize the likelihood of your becoming unnecessarily civilly or criminally liable.

As I write these words, I'm thinking of six-year-old Cole Puffinburger, kidnapped from his Las Vegas home only yesterday during a home invasion robbery. It reminds me how I used to view cops who had guns accessible in every room of the house.

I used to think they were overly paranoid.

Now, I wonder if they were just ahead of the curve.

Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

Ofc.RachelT @ 10/17/2008 8:34 PM

Thanks for the article Dean. Very well written. I have to admit having the shit scared out of me the other night about midnight. I wasn't sleeping well to begin with, but when I heard a crash which sounded like someone trying to get through a window...I don't think I have ever got up that fast and ready to kill. All my kids were sleeping, and as I climbed over my husband who was wondering (WTF)...he finally became awake enough to realize that faint crash he heard too, wasn't normal.

Here is a husband and wife cop team trying to clear the house at midnight and trying to figure out where the point of entry was and who was the bastard that was going to be really sorry. The dogs kinda looked at us funny, and I was looking at them funny too. They weren't barking. And mind you I am still half a sleep. I'm thinking "Move damn it!" Somebody is in the fu*%$ing house!"...I finally went to go look out the back window to see what, when I realized the stick-on caddy in the shower became unglued. Along with that came big, full bottles of shampoo and other stuff that tumbled very loudly into my bathtub. I didn't know whether to be mad as hell for having a false alarm or relieved. And my dog comes over wagging her tail like..."Since you're up, get me a biscuit".

But I tell you what, with gangs moving into our area...I couldn't get back to sleep. And my gun is next to me for easy access, but safe in the sense of the little ones. I believe in divine guidance...I think this was my warning to be ever ready. Never let you guard down, attention. That is guidance clearly understood.

For the rest of you...listen to Dean. I was lucky that my cheap shower caddy decided to go bump in the night. In this bad economy, we might not get so lucky the next time. In this world with an ancient battle between good and evil...remember evil hates and has no mercy for anyone.

cutolo @ 10/17/2008 9:33 PM

It's better to have them [firearms] and not need them, than need them and not have them.

JWC6617 @ 10/17/2008 10:09 PM

Great article. I also have been called paranoid.
I have talked with my family about what to do in the event of... and shown them how to shoot all my pistols.

This is about a Texas sheriff but it could be any of us:
A woman noticed the sheriff was wearing his pistol and she asked him if he was expecting trouble. He answered, "No ma'am, if I was expecting trouble I would have brought my shotgun."

ROB ROY @ 10/17/2008 11:21 PM

As a correction's officer and a former depuy sheriff I have alway's thought about this. Men/women in our line of work are alway's threatned with "when I get out I'am going to kill you and your family". Most of the time it's just alot of hot air, turd's are cowards unless the odd's are about 6 to 1. But there's alway's that one nut case. That's why I pay attention to everyone and everything going on around my apt. complex and I alway's have a gun on me even if I'am just taking out the trash. You never now, there may be some more trash to take out along the way.

remoreno @ 10/18/2008 6:49 AM

Very good article. Both my wife & I work in L.E., however she is not sworn. I try at all times to make her aware of her surroundings without trying to scare her. We have neighbors, one family of trailer park trash rejects in a rental house & the other are south side transplants. Both know where we work and are always having questionable people over their respective houses. It is only a matter of time. Our city is also pushing to modernize and glorify our downtown area. Putting more money into it than it is worth. While doing so, they are pushing all of the homeless people further into our residential areas. We have found people sleeping on our front lawn before. We have also had people ridingin the area, that are known to me from my job, that see me in our front yard and " stop to say hi !". In this day & age, this is a wake up call.....

skinni99 @ 10/18/2008 9:14 AM

I love that story (Officer RachelT). My wife and I commonly make plans for events like the, "burg in the nigtht." I have prepaired my wife for the what ifs. Her father has been a cop for 25 years so she knows how to listen when incidents arise. The fact of the matter is that our world is getting more and more dangerous to live in. I love the, "parinoid," talk. I dont walk out of my house without a gun on me, I dont mow the lawn without a gun within arms reach, and I certianly wont go into public with my family and not have anything to fight with. Lt Colonel David Grossman has an excellent analogy for people who are in law enforcement that dont carry guns "off duty." He calls them "sheep."

If there is ever a time for you to be prepared its now. You hear people say, "dont what if," well I disagree. The "what if's" help you plan for battle, and when something happens that you think shouldnt be happening or its too outlandish... the "what if's" give you a game plan.

God bless our men and women who protect the innocent from evil...on home ground and foreign.

coxgregg @ 10/18/2008 5:46 PM

It's not paranoia, its preparedness.

My old FTO once told me that every time I drive by a stop and rob, it is being robbed, what will I do. If it actually happens, then it won't be a suprise. The same could be said for every other aspect. You should mentally go over it every day and be prepared, so it won't be a suprise.

Great article.

David Moore S-55 @ 10/19/2008 8:42 PM

Thanks Dean! Once again excellent message and judging by response a needed message! With today’s high gas prices and lack of respect toward any authority figures take home CARS need to be looked at. A close deputy friend would not use take home car just for this reason (Personal/family-Safety). Take home CARS great idea for presence, poor personal security. You will find many people coming to you on days off and now know where you and family live defeats other measures taken for self-protection. Always leave doors locked even when home as you would instruct a domestic violence victim with an active (TRO or LTRO). Don’t forget a common household item, even mobile in car - fire extinguishers at entrances and as an improvised self-defense weapon CO2 has both a chilling effect and you wouldn’t want to introduce it to your respiratory system given a choice – take your breath away as it robs oxygen from air no oxygen no fire or in this case breath-taking (B-McKenna Officer Down)..! Nothing is 100 percent but all efforts pay dividends when it comes to safety/awareness. Some good information here also:

brianchason @ 11/26/2008 6:11 PM

Excellent article, just bought a Glock 27 Sub compact for this very reason.

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