Don't Miss Rob's First Post!

So why is Rob writing a blog anyway? Read here to find out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The “21-Foot Principle” Clarified

I encourage all police use-of-force instructors to view the new video from the Utah Attorney General’s Office on the “21-Foot Principle.” The video is hosted by Ken Wallentine, chief of the West Jordan Utah Police Department and former chief of law enforcement for the Utah Attorney General. He discusses the distance and time needed for an officer to overcome the “reactionary gap.” For many of us the principle has been incorrectly taught as the “21-Foot Rule.”

Wallentine provides some background on reaction time and explains the unintended consequences of inattentional blindness and tunnel vision. He also covers the “OODA Loop” —the concept of “Observe, Orient, Decide and Act” that officers go through when they detect a threat. The information and data on officers’ movements and subjects’ movements is insightful. This includes a demonstration of an officer’s ability to move backward, or make that, limited ability to move backward, in an attempt to put distance between themselves and the subject.

21 feet and the “reactionary gap.” The
"21-Foot Principle" is intended to be considered
with the totality of circumstances facing an officer.
Wallentine interviews retired Salt Lake City Lt. and Firearms Instructor Dennis Tueller, who provides the history of the 21-Foot Principle and how it was formulated in response to an officer’s question while they were at the shooting range. Tueller stresses this was never intended to be a rigid rule but rather a consideration to be factored into the totality of the circumstances facing the officer. Part of his message is for officers to apply this concept preventatively to increase safety. 

Toward the end of the 17-minute video they continue that theme as they talk about being prepared, moving off line, creating distance when possible and identifying what could serve as cover if the officer needs it. I was not familiar with the phrase “Where’s my tree?” but I like it. It is a phrase they use in training to teach officers to look for cover well before
they need it.

If it sounds like there is a lot of material here, there is. I have watched the video numerous times, and I am still processing all the material they covered.

Watch on YouTube: 21 foot Principle Clarified by Dennis Tueller and Ken Wallentine

Up Next: Some interesting LMCIT statistics.

Stay safe,


Friday, November 2, 2018

2018 IACP Conference in Orlando, Florida

A guest blog by Tracy Stille, LMCIT Loss Control Field Consultant

I recently attended the 2018 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is considered the largest and most important law enforcement event of the year. More than 17,000 public safety professionals gathered this year to learn new techniques, advance their knowledge and careers, and equip their police departments for ongoing success.

The theme for this year’s conference was “Leadership’s Evolution,” as the IACP was celebrating 125 years of progress since their first conference in 1893 in Chicago, Illinois. Law enforcement technology topics are always popular and included virtual training, facial recognition, property & evidence management, police drones, and body-worn cameras. This year’s conference also included many educational topics on “developing the leaders of tomorrow” and various police reform initiatives.

The IACP Conference also offered many education and training opportunities to help law enforcement agencies address the emerging issues of hiring & recruitment, increased police liability, use of force, social media, policy development, critical stress management, and community-police relations.

The most important take-away for me after attending this conference was the importance of recognizing the need for change in policing and taking immediate action. Over the past few years, law enforcement agencies and their officers have been closely scrutinized by the public, the media, and by the policing profession itself. These reviews and the 2015 President’s Task Force Report on 21st Century Policing have resulted in a number of reform initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels which have greatly affected the policing profession and their communities.

Upcoming IACP Conferences
I would encourage all leaders and aspiring leaders in law enforcement to attend this training conference and bring new policing ideas back to your law enforcement agencies, whether those ideas involve technology upgrades, mental health response, officer fitness & wellness, combating the dark net, or ways to deal with the rising opioid epidemic.

The conference provides the opportunity to learn global best practices; to access new strategies, techniques, and resources for successfully navigating the evolving policing environment, and also showcases the latest in law enforcement products and services.

Below is a list of the upcoming IACP Conferences:

IACP 2019 – Chicago, Illinois

IACP 2020 – New Orleans, Louisiana

IACP 2021 – Atlanta, Georgia

IACP 2022 – Dallas, Texas

You may contact me at with any questions about this conference or give me a phone call at (651) 215-4051.

Remember: Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up Next: “Discussion of the “21 Foot Rule”

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Halloween Blizzard of 1991

I remember being in a home following up on an investigation and looking out the front window seeing the large snowflakes coming down. I said to the home owner I was working with, "I didn't think it was supposed to start this soon." He said, "I thought it was supposed to start as rain." It was about noon on Thursday, Oct. 31, 1991.

As I drove to work that morning, I heard for the first time that snow was predicted to start in the late afternoon. As I finished up at the house and headed back to my police car, it was snowing hard. I was wearing my summer uniform shoes that had minimal tread—I remember I was slipping as I made my way down the driveway and hung on the squad car as I skidded to a stop. There had been no indication of snow when I'd arrived at the house 30 minutes earlier.

Once in the car I immediately remembered the car had its "summer shoes" on as well. (The department normally put the snow tires on the cars around November 15th.) It was alarmingly slippery as I made my way back to the station. This was before the internet, and weather information came to us from broadcast radio and television, plus we got some information via the state data terminal. The radio weather forecast was suddenly changing and more snow, strong winds, and a blizzard were predicted.

At the station, plans were made to get the afternoon and night shifts in early, and to press the unmarked vehicles with four-wheel drive into service for patrol work. We also borrowed some four-wheel drive vehicles from the fire department. The already busy public works shop would get started on the police snow tires shortly.

The snow-related calls for service started coming in; it was like someone flipped a switch and we were instantly overrun with calls. We prioritized them based on the level of personal injury, beginning with crashes with injuries and medical calls, then crashes without injuries. Reports of cars sliding off the road would have to wait for a while. I had changed to my winter boots, but my car would not get snow tires for a few more hours yet as the city was concentrating on the cars that would be working later in the afternoon and evening. The public works supervisor said he would free up a snow plow if we needed one to get to a call.

I was sent on a medical call to assist a young man who had severed some fingers while trying to unclog a running snow blower. An assistant fire chief had arrived first in his all-wheel drive SUV and was handling the patient care. A family member located the fingers and we preserved them. We kept the ambulance a block away as the hill going down to the house was extremely slippery and we didn't think the ambulance would be able to get back up the hill. We got the boy and his dad to the fire chief's pickup and he took them up the hill to the ambulance. We ended up hand pushing the ambulance as it worked its way to a plowed road. I heard a few days later they were not able to reattach the fingers.

I was only held over a few hours, as the second and third shifts were in early. By 7 p.m., calls for services were slowing down. It appeared most people had left work early and were home and hunkered down. Going into the night shifts, things were extremely quiet and stayed quiet for the next two days. When I worked on Friday and Saturday, it was almost eerie, as there were no calls, and no traffic. People were staying put. We had a few emergencies but nothing that was life threatening.

We worked closely with our public works crews, who periodically needed a car moved. We tried not to tow the cars if possible, as it was obvious that no one intentionally parked their cars in the middle of the residential street. Often plows would get close, and we would call the registered owner who then showed up and, with a little shoveling, could back out onto a portion of the street that had been plowed.

Before it was all done we had received 28.4 inches of snow. Friday and Saturday brought high winds and a rapid drop in temperature. The wet snow had adhered to the warm pavement and then frozen. The roads would be difficult for the next week as the cold weather did not allow the chemical melter to melt the packed snow. It reminded me of driving on a bad washboard gravel road.

Lessons Learned

Prepare for winter early. It's Minnesota, it's going to snow so prepare early. The new date to change snow tires for the police department was moved to the third week of October. Our winter snow removal ordinance was changed to be effective November 1. It was previously November 15.

Work as a team. The entire city staff worked together and went the extra mile to help other departments. We knew each other and valued each other.

Be agile. As the calls for service rapidly increased, and the ability to respond became more difficult, we adapted. We used different vehicles, and the chief even authorized any footwear that worked until the storm was over. We adapted again once the crisis was over and we could take extra time to assist our citizens and maybe save them a tow bill.

And for the next week, the conversation everywhere was all about "storm stories."

Up next: Highlights from the IACP Annual Conference.

Stay safe,