Take a Look at What Chevy has Done to the 2018 Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle

For those who wonder what the next generation Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) might look like, you have to take a good look at what Chevy has added in terms of safety features. These features are designed to “protect the protectors” who spend countless hours out on the open road.

The Centerpiece
While many of today’s luxury cars have things like automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, a safety alert driver’s seat, and more. Chevrolet claims that adding these features along with power adjustable pedals as part of the Enhanced Driver Assist Package is the first of its kind designed specifically for a pursuit-rated vehicle.

Going a little further, it should be noted that low-speed forward collision warning with automatic braking has never been seen in a pursuit-rated vehicle before. The system is designed to detect a potential front-end collision and apply the brakes automatically to help reduce the severity of the impact.

Keeping You Alerted
Inside the average pursuit, vehicle is a maze of lights, radios, laptops, radar, cellphones, radios, and host of other alerts go off constantly. If the only alert you received from one of the multitude of driver assist modules, it would simply disappear in the cacophony of other alerts going off. This would put you in danger of an accident that might otherwise have been avoided.

Chevrolet’s research and development team went to work on this problem and they came up with a very interesting solution to the problem. The 2018 Chevy Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle features a vibrating driver’s seat. Before you get the wrong idea, the premise is simple when one of the driver assist sensors goes off, it causes bottom seat cushion to vibrate in pulses. This tactile response to the alerts will also make it easier for an officer to pick out this alert from the many others going on inside their cruiser.

More to be Said
According to Ed Peper, US Vice President of Fleet when talking about the new safety features, ” We want to protect our protectors and help them get home safely at the end of every shift. The safety technologies we are introducing on the Tahoe PPV may serve as a second set of eyes.”

Of course, the 2018 Tahoe still comes equipped with the standard array of safety features. These include full Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free operation, making it much easier to stay in contact via text and call. The electronic stability controls are designed to help keep the Tahoe level during high speed cornering such as you might see one or two of in your career (per week that is!).

Then there is the rear vision camera with rear park assist and steering wheel controls. These fun features make it so much easier to parallel park and avoid obstacles while you are backing up. No matter how you look at, the 2018 Chevy Tahoe PPV is going to help keep our brothers and sisters much safer out there on roads that are becoming more dangerous every day.

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Proactive Policing Gains in Popularity

While it might seem (depending on which news service you follow) that the majority of Americans are not happy with the idea of proactive policing, a survey completed in the summer of 2018 by the National Police Association offered some surprising results. In fact, the numbers show that the majority of the public supports the idea of proactive policing because it has been proven to reduce the number of victims and the number of people committing crimes.

What the Survey Showed
One of the items those who participated in the survey stated, was that they believe that all the negative publicity and media attacks on law enforcement agencies and their officers has had a negative impact. The problem is that many officers have become reluctant to step in and stop crimes like murders and robberies before they occur.

The survey also found that many officers are now afraid to perform tasks such as wrestling a suspect to the ground, stopping them by using their nightstick, of the use of any other type of force to stop a crime for fear of being sued. Worse yet, they fear being charged with “police brutality,” which can carry heavy penalties such as fines, loss of job, and imprisonment. Most of those surveyed stated they support the rights of law enforcement officers to use reasonable force to halt a crime in progress, apprehend as suspect, or to defend themselves in the event they are subjected to a physical attack.

It should come as no surprise that over 90% of those who responded to the survey completely reject the ridiculous demands by a number of the most radical “anti-police” groups that police officers no longer be allowed to carry guns.

More Important Findings from the Survey
Most of those surveyed believe that law enforcement officers should be permitted to work with immigration agents to help deport dangerous illegal and legal immigrants. Something that does not always happen, resulting in a much higher level of crimes being committed in this county by illegal aliens.

More than 80% of those surveyed say they do not agree with the many politicians in Washington D.C. who would give murderers, rapists, and burglars who have been convicted the right to vote. Instead, they categorically oppose the idea that convicted criminals be given the right to vote. This right has been taken from every convicted felon for decades.

Many say that schools should be responsible for teaching their students to respect police officers and how to behave in the event they are stopped by a police officer for any reason. They also stated that they would prefer to see a larger police presence in their neighborhood with the ability to stop and question suspicious people rather than having to wait until a crime has actually been committed before stepping in.

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A Brief Reminder About Social Media Protocols You Should be Following

Social media has become a significant part of just about everyone’s life. People post an incredible amount of personal information including pictures of themselves and their families with abandon. It’s incredible how much information is out there floating around the web. While this might be okay for the average citizen, when it comes to being a police officer, you just can’t afford to be this casual with your personal information or that of your family. Keep in mind that no one is trying to tell you not to have social media accounts, what we are trying to say to you is that you need to be very careful what you post.

About the Things You Post
According to the First Amendment, you have the right to say anything you want. Yet when you are a police officer, you may find it to your advantage to be very careful in what you post and choose to repost. There have been a number of instances in recent history where an officer has been given disciplinary action over something they have posted online.
Often this happens when an officer posts an off-color comment that could perhaps be considered as some form of harassment. You never know who might be monitoring your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account. What might not offend you, might cause a serious problem with your boss. Even if he doesn’t see it firsthand, you can almost count on it getting back to him quickly.

Never Talk Business
Under no circumstances should you ever mention or discuss an ongoing case on any form of social media. Not only can discussing a case in such a public forum result in some form of disciplinary action being taken but doing so can jeopardize the case. You might think posting pictures of a recent traffic stop, an accident, or a suspect wouldn’t be a big deal. But if any of the parties in the photos file a complaint, it could result in a lawsuit, disciplinary action, and possibly the loss of your job.

Keep Your Private Information Private
One last crucial tip, one that applies to not only you as a police officer, but the rest of your family as well. Keep the amount of private information displayed on any and all social media accounts to a minimum. You might be surprised at how easy it is for a suspect to use your social media accounts to track you and your family to your home.

You have little to no control over the security levels of each of the different social media sites and even less of an idea of how the companies involved provide security for your personal information. Your safety and that of your family depends on how seriously each member of your family takes the threat of social media.

Simply put, if you must use social media, you need to pay very, very close attention to what you and every member of your family posts on every form of social media they use.

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Are We Looking at the Future of Victim Identification and Conviction?

As any law enforcement officer can tell you, there are times when you need more evidence in order to gain a conviction. Last year in Anne Arundel County Maryland, the police department was working on a murder case in Baltimore with very little to go, a body had not been found, and despite their suspicions there was insufficient evidence to prove that Shaquana Marie Caldwell had even been murdered let alone that Taras Caldwell was the perpetrator.

DNA Evidence at a New Level
In June of 2017, the Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Department was notified that a set of skeletal remains had been found buried in Glen Burnie, MD. After a thorough examination, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner concluded that the remains belong to a female aged approximately 20 and that it appeared she had been the victim of foul play.

However, this was as far as their investigation went, they were unable to determine the identity of the victim. That was until the Anne Arundel County Police decided to reach out to Parabon NanoLabs. The ACP asked NanoLabs if they would be willing to work with a DNA sample taken from the victim using their Snapshot® DNA Phenotyping system to help create an image of what the victim might have looked like.

Not Science Fiction
If all this sounds like science fiction, it is in reality, science fact. According to Sgt. Rob Price, the ACP has made use of this service offered by NanoLabs numerous times before. He and his fellow officers believe this to be one of the most efficient forms of victim identification currently available.

The Snapshot® system can take DNA samples and use them to determine a fantastic amount of details about the victim. Among these are ancestry, skin color, eye color, hair color, even the fact a person had no freckles. One the ACP had this information, they worked with a Parabon certified forensic artist to create an image of what the victim could have looked like while she was alive.

Tom Shaw, the Parabon forensic artist, said, ” The ability to fine-tune a Snapshot composite with details from a skull gives the best possible likeness of an unidentified victim.” Now the ACP had an image; they were able to identify the victim as Shaquana Marie Caldwell, the missing girlfriend of Taras Caldwell.

An Arrest is Made
The Arundel County Police were also able to use information gained from the victim’s skeletal remains along with other evidence to issue a warrant for the arrest of one Taras Caldwell. The charges stated on the warrant included first and second-degree murder and first and second-degree assault. He was arrested in Park City, Utah and extradited to Baltimore where he was jailed in anticipation of a trial.

The more technology such as this advances, the easier it will be for law enforcement officers to identify victims of violent crimes like this and ensure the perpetrator ends up behind bars where thy belong.

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Canada Goes One Step Further in NextGen 911

NextGen 911 in the US was designed to allow for people to contact 911 agents via text as well as by phone, which for the past 40 plus years has been the only way to access them. But like most forms of technology, NextGen 911 continues to evolve at an incredible rate. In Canada, 911 dispatchers, law enforcement, fire, and EMS are all eagerly anticipating the next stage in NextGen 911 development.

Live on the Scene
The next phase in NextGen 911 is introducing the ability for a person on the scene of an incident to send images, videos, or even stream live video of what’s going on at the scene while they are on the phone with the dispatcher. Along with this, the caller will be able to send valuable information such as accessibility and medical needs.

Elizabeth Nguyen, Regina Police Service communications manager, said, ” 911 communications and emergency communications technology are ever-evolving, and we’re in kind of a revolutionary period right now.” Officers of the RPS say that the ability to see what they are getting into before they arrive on the scene will give them the chance to understand what they are going into and be better prepared.

NextGen 911 Is Not Without Its Problems
To be sure, having access to this type of imagery can prepare officers for what’s to come, and may also provide useful evidence, however this next phase of NextGen 911 does present its fair share of challenges. 911 dispatch centers are already working to capacity, adding video and imagery along with the call is only going to make it worse. Centers will have no choice but to hire more dispatchers and ensure everyone undergoes training in how to deal with the incoming images and video.

It will also mean that all 911 dispatch centers will need to install a host of new equipment to make the switch from an analog-based system to a stationary IP-based one. In Canada, the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ordered that all 911 call service provider be upgraded to the IP-based technology no later than June 30th of 2020.

Texting for 911
Another significant advance in the NextGen 911 system is the ability for those with hearing or speech impediments, or for that matter anyone else, to contact the nearest 911 dispatch center via text message. This upgrade will make it possible for millions to access 911l, where once it was virtually impossible

With Canada already investing in the NextGen 911 to the fullest extent of all it has to offer, we can only hope that US-based 911 dispatch centers follow their example. The easier we continue to make it for everyone to access 911, the faster they can reach out to the appropriate emergency services personnel.

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Hot Tips to Help You Stay Cool on Social Media

Police officers today face the problem of learning how to manage the private lives on social media given the fact they work in the public sector. It can be exceptionally hard for law enforcement officers to keep their private lives private. There are so many different ways in which the information an officer might post on his social media site that can affect his security and that of his family as well as his fellow officers.

Does This Mean Officers Should Not Use Social Media?
Absolutely not! However, what it does mean, is that you need to be very aware of what you do with your various social media accounts. Your social media is open to being seen by untold numbers of people, not all of which have the best of intentions. It cannot be said enough, that you must be VERY careful with what you post. Many officers have found themselves facing disciplinary actions from within their own departments for things they have posted.

Many of these cases occurred despite the officers in question best attempts to keep their posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and forth private. At some point, a derogatory post, an inappropriate photo, even posts that don’t seem to be offensive in nature, but could be misconstrued can easily end up being seen by the wrong person. This can happen even if you screen your friends lists and maximized your security settings.

The thing is, that no matter how you have your security settings set up, if a friend shares your post and then share it on their page, it could easily end up in the wrong hands. Whether it is pictures of your brother and sister LEOs in uniform together, a derogatory comment, even an off-color joke, things like this do NOT belong on your social media. One of the hardest parts about being in law enforcement is that there are certain aspects of your life you simply don’t get to share with the general public.

Keep Yourself to Yourself
One of the most important things to keep in mind as a law enforcement officer, is that you need to keep the amount of personal information you put on any of the many different forms of social media to a bare minimum. This information might be accessed by suspects, those who seek to do you harm, even defense attorneys will access this information in an attempt to gain leverage over you or do you and your family harm.

The best way to sum it all up is to simply say that while there is nothing wrong with making use of the many different social media platforms out there, you must be extremely careful with what types of information you post. Social media continues to evolve at a pace most law enforcement departments can’t keep up with. As such, many do not have adequate rules in place regarding how their officers use social media. No matter what the rules are, it is up to each individual officer to protect themselves and their families by using social media wisely.

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Using Virtual Reality to Win the Hearts of Your Community

In recent years virtual reality has gone from the science fiction to science fact and as a form of entertainment has become extremely popular seemingly almost overnight. While VR has very definite entertainment value, police training academies and departments around the world are starting to see its value both as a training tool and more recently as a way to reach out and connect with the residents in their communities.

Take a Walk in an Officer’s Shoes

There is an old saying about taking a walk in my shoes before you complain. Thanks to virtual reality, it is now possible for a person to do exactly this. With public opinion regarding the police still far lower than it should be, what if you could find a way for members of the public to spend time as a law enforcement officer without ever having to leave the classroom or local community center?

Imagine how their opinions might be changed, how much more respect the average citizen might have for the man or woman behind the badge. Instead of the “coffee break and donuts” opinion they might have or the “overuse of authority” view, by seeing what a day in the life of the average officer is like, they might see law enforcement officers in a different light.

But, Wait Why Not Just Show Movies

Most of us can remember the horrible movies shown during Driver’s Ed classes complete with blood, gore, and smashed cars. But, be honest, did these movies do much to change the way you drive? Probably not. Well, the same mindset can be applied to a film that covers a day in the life of a law enforcement officer. People would watch it, show a small amount of empathy, and then promptly forget it the next time they are pulled over for a traffic violation.

Researchers have found that the total immersion experience of “virtually” being dropped right into another person’s “shoes” can have a far more lasting effect. Unlike watching a movie where you are still yourself and not the character in the film, with VR you virtually become the other person. Which, in this case, is a police officer going about his daily routine.

Developing Empathy

You experience what the officer does complete with your own reactions and emotions to every situation you encounter. During your immersion in the officer’s routine, you can’t help but develop empathy for the officer having seen everything from his perspective. Being able to let members of the public share in this experience and become a police officer going through a particularly stressful event such as making the decision to draw their weapon can have a profound impact.

Virtual reality technology is indeed a potent tool with many uses. It is possible that it may be the one tool in your arsenal that can be used to reach out to your community and build a stronger relationship with them as they see the daily challenges most officers in their community face and how they deal with them.

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Is Your Department Using Hand-Held Narcotics Analyzers?

With the use of narcotics steadily on the rise in the U.S., more law enforcement agencies are starting to use handheld narcotics analyzers. The simple to use yet highly sophisticated devices can help speed up the legal process, while at the same time helping departments to significantly reduce the cost of testing.

Traditional Narcotics Testing
For decades officers had two options with regard to narcotics analysis. The first was to use a wet chemistry field test. The second involved sending a blood sample to a large and very expensive laboratory along with highly experienced and costly technicians to run the tests and determine the presence of any narcotics and the amount of each in the subject’s blood. Along with being very expensive, lab testing could take several days until the results were returned.

Enter the handheld narcotics analyzer, a simple to use, yet highly accurate device that will allow law enforcement officers, border control officers, customs agents, and many other forms of law enforcement to successfully test for the presence of narcotics using the Raman spectroscopy method.

Safer and Widespread Use
This is a much safer method of testing and is far more accurate than the old wet chemistry field test kit. On top of this, the device can test for the presence of multiple narcotics at the same time. Something the wet chemistry test cannot handle. The devices are currently in use by over 75% of the states and in more than three dozen other countries around the globe. LEOs all agree that these devices allow them to remove suspected drug offenders from the streets more quickly, prioritize their lab needs, and help to reduce costs, all at the same time.

An example of how much the handheld analyzer has already been proven to make a difference is the Phoenix, AZ police department. For decades the city has been plagued with huge case backlogs due to the ever-increasing number of cases and the spiraling costs of laboratory testing. All this on top of the many other challenges involved in successfully prosecuting most drug cases.

After successfully completing a pilot program, the city currently has 20 different drugs approved for field testing using the handheld unit. Not only has this helped to speed up the entire process from start to finish, but it has also helped increase the number of successful prosecutions and helped to reduce cost.

No More Chain of Custody Worries
One of the hardest parts of obtaining a successful conviction is maintaining the proper chain of custody of testing samples from the moment they are collected until they are tested at the lab. By instituting the use of handheld analyzers, every sample and the results are secured using a tamperproof data storage method. The only way the information can be deleted from the device is for it to be connected to the appropriate administrative software. The evidence collected is perfectly safe and can be introduced as evidence, helping to secure a conviction. When you look at the cost savings, the faster turnaround on results, and the increase in valid conviction rates, it won’t be long before all officers are equipped with these devices.

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Far Too Many Law Enforcement Officers are Dying on the Side of the Road

According to the latest reports issued by the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP), in 2016 ten officers were killed by being struck and killed by another vehicle while working on the side of the road. The number dropped to only four in 2017, but so far this year the numbers are looking pretty grim.

For example, this year: Officer Mathew Mazany was killed in a hit and run accident while he was out of his car helping another officer conducting a routine traffic stop. Agent Joel Pantojas-Fuente was pronounced dead after being struck by a vehicle while helping a disabled motorist on the side of the road.

The list goes on and seems to be on the verge of setting a record this year. This list does not include those officers who were struck by moving vehicles and ended up with non-fatal injuries that could cost them their career. Add to this the number of EMTs, firefighters, and tow-truck operators who have been killed in what is known as “Struck-by” accidents. This situation is one that deserves the utmost in attention from every member of law enforcement from command down to the officer out on his beat.

It’s Up to the Other Drivers on the Road
While most states do in fact have “Move Over Laws” that requires a motorist to slow down and move out of the lane closest to the parked emergency vehicle when it is displaying emergency lights, there is a problem. It seems that very few drivers are aware of whether or not their state has a law like this or if it does, what that law states. The easy solution is to visit this site and find out. But, the problem is that most people are just too lazy to bother.

The other side of the coin is that these laws are seldom enforced today as the officers or other emergency personnel are too busy taking care of the business at hand to try and enforce this law. This, of course, lulls drivers into no longer caring as they know their chances of being ticketed, are practically nil.

How to Overcome This Situation
Trying to teach the public to obey these laws can be very challenging. One method tried in Germany involved setting up a fake accident with officers just down the road. Each motorist that failed to stop to assist was issued a citation. This probably wouldn’t go over very well here, (think DUI checkpoints), but there is another alternative.

Here in the USA, education is a better option, one that can be exercised by highlighting these laws in driver’s education classes, ensuring it is a question on the driver’s license written test, and producing PSA video and audio ads that explain the laws and how they must be obeyed. These ads should also show or talk about the results of failing to obey the laws ranging from being ticketed to the death of a law enforcement officer.

Officers can also wear reflective vests and be more aware of their surroundings. Although it may not be “cool” to be seen wearing a bright reflective yellow vest, the alternative could just as easily be your dress uniform and a pine box. Do your part and keep pushing for better driver education and maybe one day the number of “struck-by” accidents and deaths will reach zero.

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The Body Worn Camera Footage Shot Today Will be Used to Train the Officers of Tomorrow

It is well-known that although Payton Manning may not have been one of the most athletic quarterbacks to grace the NFL, he was most certainly one of the best-prepared. Manning spent inordinate amounts of time studying films of his opponents; he claims to have a “Rain Man-like” memory for plays that might have occurred many years ago. He used this information to structure his plays and become one of the most successful quarterbacks in modern NFL history.

What Does Payton Manning Have to Do with Law Enforcement?
Think of the footage captured by the BWC (Body Worn Camera) as game film. Prior to the BWC, law enforcement used the footage captured by dash cams to help in training. The problem is that this footage is often blurry and shot from such a distance its use is far more limited than that captured by the BWC.

This gives LEOs an unprecedented opportunity to review and learn more about field tactics than at any time in modern history. The more of this footage a police department has access to, the more valuable it becomes as a training tool.

It is a well-known fact that evaluating police training and finding ways to improve it can be extremely challenging. One of the reasons for this is that most of the training manuals and guides are far out of date and there isn’t very much data to help support during training and subsequent field tactical work. According to David Makin, Ph.D. and Dale Willits, Ph.D., both assistant professors of policing at Washington State University, ” Training, in general, has been really poorly evaluated.”

Understanding the Outcome
By taking the time to analyze the data collected from BWC film footage recorded by officers involved in both good and bad situations, trainers and officers can learn a lot. Makin goes on to say, ” By gathering more information on how officers apply training in the field, we can understand how effective modern training is. How are officers deviating from practice and are the outcomes better or worse than if they stuck to the by-the-book methods?”

By being able to replay BWC footage, instructors have the opportunity to share their findings during classes at the police academy with new recruits or during on the job training sessions. Being able to see officers in action during both use-of-force and non-use-of-force situations allows trainers and evaluators to determine if the current training techniques are working as intended or if changes need to be made to ensure officers are better prepared to do their jobs.

The more information that can be gathered, the better-prepared current and future officers will be to deal with their everyday work life. Yet, some still wonder if by using BWC footage to show real-life situations it might prove to be too much of an information overload for officers than a useful tool. At what point does an officer have so much information stuffed into their heads, that it can make it harder for them to effectively perform their jobs.

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