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The federal Bureau of Land Management posts warning signs for tourists who would venture into the remote areas of southern Arizona's rugged, unforgiving desert.

How Cartels Smuggle Narcotics Into Arizona

Earlier this year, a regional SWAT team led by deputies with the Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Office took POLICE Magazine into the Vekol Valley in the Arizona desert to show one way smugglers bring narcotics across the U.S.-Mexico border. Smugglers often use illegal immigrants as drug mules to carry 25-pound marijuana bundles using makeshift "backpacks" of rope and cut strips of Mexican blankets to lessen discomfort. Listen to our podcast, "Tracking Smugglers in Southern Arizona," with Pinal County Sheriff's Sgt. Matt Thomas. Photos by Paul Clinton.

After stealing a BMW, suspect Daniel Brown asked a Peoria (Ariz.) PD  officer to help him move the disabled vehicle. The two men scuffled, and  Brown ran toward a gas station, where he stole a delivery truck. He then led a trio of law enforcement agencies on a pursuit that terminated at a Safeway grocery  store.

Shots Fired: Scottsdale, Ariz., Crime Scene Photos

Det. James Peters of Scottsdale (Ariz.) PD SWAT responded to a Safeway grocery on April 23, 2006, following a multi-agency pursuit of suspect Daniel Brown, who had scuffled with a patrol officer while attempting to steal a BMW. Brown then jacked a Krispy Kreme delivery truck and led officers to the Safeway, where he crashed through the front doors and then took a senior citizen hostage with a handgun. Peters ended the threat with two well-placed shots. Read the full story of this "Shots Fired." Photos courtesy of Scottsdale PD. Warning: Gallery contains a graphic image.

The TPV was built for urban or rural response due to its 116-inch  wheelbase (shorter than other ARVs for better maneuverability), a ground clearance of 13 inches, a width of 85 inches, and a  governed speed of almost 75 mph. It arrives with optional four-wheel drive.

Oshkosh Defense TPV

Oshkosh Defense's Tactical Protector Vehicle (TPV) looks ready for serious business. It's a large vehicle compared to a passenger SUV, but it's actually smaller than some other tactical rescue vehicles designed for the police market. Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense has been making armored rolling stock for the U.S. military since 1918. The Oshkosh Defense TPV—the company's first tactical response vehicle for law enforcement—benefits from its manufacturer's long history of making military vehicles. Read POLICE Magazine's "First Look" article on the TPV.

In addition to the piston drive upper, the SR-556 possesses a 16-inch, chrome-lined, hammer-forged barrel, a free-floating railed handguard, folding front and rear sights, and other high-end features and accessories. Ruger not only used components of top quality on this rifle, it obviously has done quite a bit of market research to understand what features savvy shooters desire and incorporated those into the SR-556's design.

Ruger's SR-556 Carbine

Ruger introduced its new SR-556 rifle at last year's National Rifle Association show in Phoenix. The announcement ended years of speculation that Ruger was indeed working on an AR-style rifle, and the SR-556 quickly became the buzz of the show. While the newest Ruger long gun possesses many typical AR features, it also has a Ruger-designed piston drive system. The patent-pending, chrome plated two-stage piston system provides a cleaner, cooler running, and more reliable operation than any standard AR gas impingement system can deliver. Read our full review of Ruger's SR-556.

This "co-witness" 590A1 with 18.5-inch barrel arrives with a Mesa Tactical buttstock and charcoal gray (Parkerized) finish. The gun includes a Picatinny rail that allows for the mounting of various sights or lights. The co-witness feature allows the operator to use an optic and still retain iron sights for back-up sighting.

'Hot Rod' Mossberg Shotguns

The Mossberg 590A1 is an ideal platform for personalizing a pump-action shotgun, says Mike Shain of AIMPRO Tactical. Shain is one of several shops that offer action jobs, Magnaporting, accesorization and cleaning, polishing and refinishing of police scatterguns. Vang Comp and Wilson Combat are two others that offer shotgun modifications. For less than $250, Shain can reduce felt recoil and muzzle jump, giving operators a shot pattern of 4 inches or less from 50 yards. "What can we do to hot rod this gun," Shain asks, not needing an answer. "It's a great gun out of the box, but how can we squeeze every last drop of performance out of this gun."

Elbeco's Summit II is constructed from Hiptex 3000 for the outer shell and is waterproof and windproof. The seams are sealed to ensure water doesn't migrate through. So you can be seen on those gray dark winter days and nights, the jacket can be reversed to its ANSI/ISEA Class II side. This is a bright yellow with two-inch Scotchlite by 3M on the body and sleeves. This jacket lights up like a neon sign when light hits it. The Summit II gives officers high visibility when working DUI and traffic enforcement checkpoints.

Wet Weather Wear

What should you consider when looking at outerwear for duty or most any foul weather? First, versatility. Because quality outerwear is expensive, it needs to serve for at least three seasons out of the year. The second item to consider is whether the outer jacket is truly waterproof or just water resistant; there is nothing worse than being cold and wet. Last is the price. If the clothing breaks the bank it will cause issues.

Officers arriving at the Tacoma Dome to pay homage to the four slain Lakewood police officers left patches to show solidarity. Pool photo via Seattle Times.

Lakewood Police Memorial

Nearly 20,000 officers from Washington state, the nation, and Canada gathered at the Tacoma Dome to pay homage to the service of the four Lakewood Police Department officers who were killed in a coffeeshop in late November, before their shift. The memorial service featured tributes to Sgt. Mark Renninger, Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens, and Greg Richards. The officers were remembered for their commitment to public service.

Tactical Systems' HD can handl;e rough terrain, climb common household stairs and tow up to a 300-pound load. It also has a range of 1,200 feet and an on-board video system that can capture eight hours of footage using a pan/tilt infrared video camera that operates in low-light conditions. It can capture images up to one mile away (line of sight).

Tactical Robots

If you think robots are just for bomb disposal, think again. Police robots are often used to handle IEDs, but they can be used in other arenas that are inhospitable to humans. Robots can be used to reach a barricaded subject or hostages and carry information or evidence back out without sending an officer into the line of fire. They can also provide enhanced surveillance and deploy lethal or less-lethal weapons.

Lenco produces the B.E.A.R. (Ballistic Engineered Armored Response). The B.E.A.R. is built on a commercial truck chassis, using commercial parts, that makes it mechanic-friendly and brings warranty support from the manufacturer. The vehicle features certified hardened steel armor and ballistic glass that's capable of multiple hits, blast-resistant floors, specially designed gunports, roof hatches and multiple ingress/egress doors. The B.E.A.R.'s larger size allows up to 15 personnel to be transported and 25 to 30 persons to be evacuated. This is an ARV with multiple uses, including emergency/hostage rescue, TEMS, etc. The interior compartment is capable of housing the logistics needs of most SWAT teams.

Armored Rescue Vehicles

In the past decade, a new wave of commercial ARVs specifically built for law enforcement has hit the market. Few agencies could afford these big-ticket items prior to then, so initially the expense made it slow-going for the police armored vehicle industry. Then 9/11 changed law enforcement's attitude, and the formation of the Department of Homeland Security and its grant programs led to unprecedented funding for local law enforcement equipment, including ARVs. Responding to this increased demand, ARV manufacturers are developing the next generation of ARVs to meet the needs of contemporary tactical officer.

At engagement distances from a few yards out to 50 yards, you cannot beat a red dot. When you are at contact distance to 10 yards, simply put the target in the tube of the sight and you will get a hit. By the way, this technique was developed by I.P.S.C. shooters, and their performance was the driving force behind the military adopting Aimpoint red dot sights.

Rifle Optics

When it comes to gear and gadgets for duty applications, many of us are drawn to the coolest, most expensive items. That's true of weapons and it's true of weapon accessories such as optics. But what's more important is to find the right optics to fit your mission. Options include red dot sights, variable focal length short scopes often used on shotguns, and of course true precision scopes meant for use on a precision rifle.

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