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William Bratton is taking over the helm of the NYPD, what should be his top priority?





Also by Dean Scoville

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Shots Fired: Laurel, Maryland 05/14/2003

April 1, 2006

Sims pulled into the parking lot of the apartment complex. As he keyed the microphone to advise dispatch of his arrival the environment around him suddenly changed. A cacophony of screams and gunfire erupted around him.

Shots Fired: San Diego, California 01/17/1998

March 1, 2006

It had been a busy shift for Officer Philip Bozarth and Officer Juan Sanchez of the San Diego Police Department. They had spent the chilly early morning hours of Jan. 17, 1998, answering an unusually high number of domestic violence incidents, complaints of narcotics trafficking, reports of gunfire of ill-defined origins, and traffic violations.

How to Buy a Ballistic Vest

March 1, 2006

How much is a cop’s safety worth? Despite safety concerns, due to shrinking budgets it’s becoming increasingly common for police departments to require officers to purchase their own body armor. Even when agencies pony up some money for ballistic vests, it’s usually not enough to buy the best of the best—which is what most officers want protecting them from bodily harm.

Shots Fired: Pine Hills, Florida 05/05/2004

January 1, 2006

Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Deputy Jennifer Fulford had a lot on her mind on May 5, 2004. Having just paid for her wedding dress, the logistics of her nuptials were weighing on the 31-year-old deputy as she began her patrol. There was still so much to do, and time was a precious commodity.

Shots Fired: Melbourne, Florida 01/11/2004

December 1, 2005

It was a damned cold night for central Florida. Officer Keith Cowart wasn’t getting any argument from Smokey Stapleter or Gary Markowski on that score. His fellow Melbourne, Fla., police officers had congregated with him for a windshield conference and coffee. Stapleter rubbed his arms to get his blood circulating.

Shots Fired: Los Angeles County 01/14/1987

November 1, 2005

It's one of the maxims of working patrol: No matter what day of the week, no matter what time of night, things can go to hell in a heartbeat. It didn't take long for Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Claus to learn how true this saying can be.

How to Cope with Looters

November 1, 2005

The looters hit the gun stores in New Orleans first, loading up with rifles and ammunition to better fend for the crimes to follow. Then they descended upon other stores. Before long, they moved from the business districts to nearby residences. And what Hurricane Katrina hadn’t ravaged or left destroyed, they did.

Shots Fired: Valparaiso, Indiana 07/15/2002

October 1, 2005

At the sight of the silver patrol car with the bumble bee stripe, the children came running. They came running not with the usual curiosity of kids asking for perfunctory activations of lights and siren, but to tell Officer Todd Kobitz of the Valparaiso (Ind.) Police Department about the man who had harassed them.

Working with Dogs

October 1, 2005

Whether chasing a fleeing suspect or searching for a missing person, the K-9 handler and his assisting officers have a lot of influence on the success or failure of a canine search. What can a street cop do to hedge his bets when it comes to a successful canine search? We asked a few K-9 vets.

Shots Fired: Grand Prairie, Texas 01/04/2005

September 1, 2005

Possessing a rough-hewn face and a rawboned build, Richard Johnson, 31, of Grand Prairie, Texas, was already wanted for a series of aggravated robberies in Ft. Worth by the time he took up a gun and fired a couple of shots at his mother. She escaped unharmed. But then Johnson turned things up a notch, stabbing himself in the stomach and setting fire to the converted mobile home they shared.

Shots Fired: Long Beach, Mississippi 05/06/1998

August 1, 2005

Ron Redding needed a rest. The duties of a lieutenant and SWAT officer with the Gulfport (Miss.) Police Department had drained him.

Shots Fired: Sauk Rapids, Minnesota 01/09/1985

July 1, 2005

When Derek Brinkman was born in January 1985, his father, Doug Brinkman, couldn’t believe his good fortune. He passed out cigars and received many slaps on the back.

Watch What You Eat

July 1, 2005

While not generally regarded as one of the more obvious dangers of the job, an officer’s lunch break is not without its liabilities.

Shots Fired: Pueblo, Colorado 12/23/2004

June 2, 2005

It was two days before Christmas 2004, and Sgt. Randy Wills of the Pueblo (Colo.) Police Department was a case study in sleep deprivation. It had been a busy holiday season with very little peace on earth and even less good will toward men. Wills needed rest.

Survival Stories

June 1, 2005

In a profession fraught with diminishing resources, one of our most valuable resources is the experience of officers who have already faced our worst nightmares and come back alive.

Personal Transportation

April 1, 2005

When it comes to patrol cars, some law enforcement agencies have always wrestled with a variety of decisions. Ford? Chevy? Dodge? How fast? Marked or unmarked?

In Search of the Star Trek Phaser

March 1, 2005

When it comes to capturing, subduing, and arresting bad guys, law enforcement currently has four types of less-lethal and less-than-lethal tools: physical restraint such as handcuffs and Ripp Hobble restraints, chemical weapons such as oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray, electrical shock devices such as Tasers, and impact tools such as batons and Asps.

How to Select and Train FTOs

January 1, 2005

Patrol training is the obligatory stepping stone to street work for many a new cop. It is weeks (or months in remedial cases) of short meals, long nights, and court in the morning. And this time spent with a veteran field training officer (FTO) can result in some of the most curious pairings of individuals since Pat Boone married himself to heavy metal. Still, this mentoring process is critical to the development of new officers.

Slicing the Pie

November 1, 2004

The first phase of the Iraq War alone cost $79 billion and more than $100 billion may be spent on the reconstruction of Iraq. Back at home, American cities received only a relative pittance to fund their new homeland security duties, despite being deemed the front lines of response to terrorist attacks.

All Keyed Up

May 1, 2004

The advent of portable police radios severed the umbilical cord that tied a cop to his or her car. Portable police radios have since assisted officers with timely broadcasts of suspect information, expedited requests for fire and rescue, and saved lives.

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