In The News

In The News

Emergency Aid Doctrine Triggered by Confidential Informant’s Overdose

By Ken Wallentine Officers received a tip from a confidential informant that Belser was distributing heroin. The informant told police that he bought heroin from Belser at his home. The informant agreed to make a controlled buy. Officers monitored a phone call arranging for the drug deal. Belser told the informant to pick up the heroin at his house. The…

Unlawful Seizure Determination Rests on the Phrase "I Need You To"

An officer went to White’s home after a citizen saw a hit-and-run crash and noted the description and license plate of the car that fled. Arriving at White’s home, the officer saw a car that matched the description in the open garage. The officer pulled into the driveway and turned on his emergency lights. He saw White walking toward the…

Can a Regional Approach to Public Safety Policy Review Work?

By Gregg Satula When it comes to public safety policy review, does it make sense to use regional workgroups? We get asked this question by customers on occasion. Some would like to work with their neighbors collaboratively; others want to outright copy/paste what a neighboring agency has done. When I first became a use of force instructor, I quickly learned…

Exigent Circumstances Justify Warrantless Cell Site Location Information

By Ken Wallentine Gilliam physically forced a minor girl to accompany him from Maryland to New York City, where he raped her. Gilliam told the girl that he would force her younger sister into prostitution if she didn’t work for him as a prostitute. The girl’s foster mother reported to police that she was missing. After an investigator learned of…

No Need to Tell Judge about StingRay Use

By Ken Wallentine Patrick failed to comply with his parole terms. Officers obtained an initial arrest warrant and a second warrant authorizing them to use cell phone data to locate Patrick. Officers used a “StingRay” to locate Patrick. When they found him, he was armed, so he was charged with a federal offense of possession of a weapon by a…

3 Takeaways from the COPS 2016 State of Policing Report

Law enforcement agencies across the country are still trying to understand and implement the recommendations from the Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. One of those recommendations was to provide an annual report on the state of policing. Earlier this month, COPS released the inaugural report. The report’s findings will not be a huge surprise…

Legal Issues Arising from Traffic Stops

A recent ruling in Maryland (Sellman v. State, 2016 WL 4470904 (Md. 2016)) raises some of the most common questions raised about traffic stops and passengers: -May an officer require the driver and passengers to get out of the car, solely for safety reasons and without any individual reasonable suspicion of criminal activity? -May an officer require the driver and passengers…

Firefighters and High-Visibility Vests: A Matter of Inches

By Sean W. Stumbaugh, Battalion Chief (Retired) In his address to the Fire Department Instructors Conference in 2011, FDNY Lieutenant Ray McCormack stated, “Just before I came here I got my new Sector Vest. It’s highly reflective and it goes over your highly reflective bunker coat … I didn’t think I’d like it but it’s starting to grow on me.”…

Tips for Better Correctional Officer Report Writing

By Lynne Woodruff, Kane County (IL) Sheriff’s Office (ret.) Recently I read two books written by former corrections officers. I enjoyed both and the stories were engaging; however, I was somewhat distracted while reading because the books contained misspellings and poor grammar and punctuation. Where were the editors during the final review? This led me to think about what the…

Why PERF’s Prohibition on Shooting at Vehicles Sells Agencies Short

By Chief Michael Ranalli, Esq. Editor’s note: This article is the last in a series excerpted and adapted from an article originally printed in The Chief’s Chronicle; New York State Assn. of Chiefs of Police. Article 1: Priority of Life: Building a Better Model for PERF’s First Guiding Principle Article 2: Above and Beyond Graham v. Connor? Examining PERF’s Second…

3 Best Practices for Accelerating Public Safety Policy Review and Approval

By Gregg Satula Let’s face it: For many agencies, the process of reviewing new policies or policy updates is a real headache. Who should be involved in the process? How long should you plan for review? In some agencies, a strict top-down approach works, with only one or two people reviewing policy content before it’s approved and issued. But in…

Decision Expected Soon from Supreme Court on Historical CSLI Petition

By Ken Wallentine Earlier this year, Xiphos told you about using historical cell site location information (CSLI) to help convict Aaron Graham of armed robbery. Graham and his accomplice, Eric Jordan, were convicted of a string of armed robberies. They challenged the prosecution’s use of historical cell site location information (CSLI) to show that the suspects were in the vicinity…

Officer Immune for Alleged Unlawful Entry During Hot Pursuit

By Ken Wallentine Gutierrez ran a stop sign. An officer tried to pull her over and she sped up and drove to her mother’s apartment several blocks away. The officer pursued. When Gutierrez stopped her truck, she bailed out and ran to the door of the apartment. The officer followed, deploying his TASER® and firing at Gutierrez’ back. A scuffle…

Frisk Producing Key Fob Fails to Meet Plain Feel Doctrine

By Ken Wallentine An officer saw a car slow at an intersection, as if to turn. Then the driver paused and drove straight ahead. The officer checked the license plate and learned that the car had been reported as stolen. The officer followed the car, but lost it after a turn. He cruised through the neighborhood looking for the car.…

What Happens Now? Fire Service Leadership Following the Election

By Chief Sam DiGiovanna Our nation’s recent presidential election is causing a lot of divisiveness. Some are angry and afraid, some are gloating. There have been protests, injuries, destruction of property, name-calling and bullying. But wait! Before you say, “There goes Sam on his soap box. I’m not reading any further,” please just give me a minute or two more…

Addressing Correctional Officer Stress

By Lynne Woodruff, Kane County (IL) Sheriff’s Office (ret.) Stress has long been acknowledged as being detrimental to correctional officers’ health. So what does the research show concerning this topic? Not as much as one would expect. Understanding Stress One author describes stressors as “the condition that places excessive or unusual demands on a person and are capable of creating…

Improving Law Enforcement Hiring Starts from Within

By Greg Barlow, CSP, CET In my first article in this series, I said the first step in improving law enforcement hiring practices is to recognize the problem. That may sound simplistic, but think about it for a second: Improving law enforcement hiring cannot start with just the current and future candidates—it must start within the existing team. The law…

Learning to Lead: Why departments must take a proactive approach to fire officer development

By Sean W. Stumbaugh, Battalion Chief (Retired) There is one simple truth about the passing of time: It’s relentless. Like swift-moving water, time rushes past you and you can do nothing to slow it down. For you and your department this truth has an impact. For you, time keeps marching you toward your retirement date. For your department, time is…

World Series? For Firefighters, Every Day Is Game Day

Baseball season is now at an end. I often wonder what it takes to get to the World Series. One characteristic that great ball players share: They aren’t afraid to fail. Fear of failure is a common issue in sports psychology, but it’s something that non-athletes can relate to. When you’re afraid to fail, you set high expectations for yourself…

The Legitimacy Test: A more practical approach to de-escalation

By Chief (Ret.) Michael Ranalli, Esq. Editor’s note: This article, part of series, has been excerpted and adapted from an article originally printed in The Chief’s Chronicle; New York State Assn. of Chiefs of Police. Read the first article here and the second article here.  Law enforcement leaders today face significant pressure to change use of force policies and procedures. Much of…

Swiping gift cards isn’t a search—at least for now

By Ken Wallentine Turner was a passenger in a car stopped for a traffic violation. The officer discovered an arrest warrant for Turner. The officer told Turner to get out of the car. As Turner got out, the officer saw a plastic bag that appeared to have been shoved under Turner’s seat. The officer arrested Turner and placed him in…

Search of backpack incident to arrest can’t be justified when suspect is handcuffed and distant

By Ken Wallentine A grocery store security officer saw Snyder shoplift two steaks and place them in his backpack. The security officer and another person detained Snyder outside the store. During the confrontation, Snyder sustained a broken kneecap. The security officer handcuffed Snyder and called the police. An officer advised Snyder of his Miranda rights and questioned him. Snyder was…

Massachusetts Supreme Court forges new rules for language interpretation

By Ken Wallentine A man driving to work in the very early morning hours saw AdonSoto driving in the middle of the road, straddling the divider line. AdonSoto was driving toward a large truck in the oncoming lane as the truck driver blasted the horn. The man called police as he followed AdonSoto for a short time and watched her…

Hamilton Township (OH) Police Department using Lexipol to enhance service, accountability

October 27, 2016—The Hamilton Township Police Department (HTPD) is stepping up its game. This week, Police Chief Scott Hughes announced that the department has embarked on an ambitious project to revamp the department’s policy and procedures manual. HTPD will work with Lexipol, the leading provider of law enforcement policies and related training, to develop the new manual. The goal: ensure…

Communicating after an OIS: One Department’s Experience

By Shannon Pieper On May 21, 2015, Chief Ronnie Roberts of the Olympia Police Department (OPD) got the call every chief dreads: One of his officers, who is white, had shot and critically wounded two young black males. With the country already bitterly divided over recent incidents like that in Ferguson, MO, Chief Roberts knew this incident could quickly boil…

Eau Claire (WI) Sheriff’s Office Successfully Employs Pre-Charge Diversion

By Shannon Pieper It’s a familiar situation across the U.S.: The county jail is overcrowded, resulting in skyrocketing costs; despite their best intentions, corrections officers know when they release an inmate, they are likely to see them behind bars again. Faced with just this situation, the Eau Claire (WI) Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) decided to take action. At IACP 2016, Capt.…

Respect Your Staff: Why Correctional Officers Deserve Our Support

By Lynne Woodruff Corrections, custody or detention; whatever you call it, it’s one of the most challenging and honorable professions around. However, few people outside of the profession seem to realize that. Firefighters are seen as the heroes, riding to the rescue in their shining trucks. Law enforcement officers are heroes, too, helping those in need and putting their lives…

When the Headline Is You: IACP 2016 Session Recap

By Shannon Pieper Few law enforcement leaders cherish the media spotlight, and many can share examples of things they or other officers said when questioned by reporters that they later deeply regretted. That's why media relations and crisis communications remains a hot topic at law enforcement conferences. IACP 2016, which kicked off on Thursday in San Diego, is no exception.…

Are You Ready for an OSHA Visit?

By Sean Stumbaugh Opening the day’s mail, you come across a certified letter. As you scan the contents, your heart begins to beat a little faster and your mind races. OSHA has received a complaint about your department and is notifying you of an impending inspection. Like so much government communication, the notice is both vague and vaguely threatening. You…

Change Management? Factors to consider when altering a Lexipol policy

By Gregg Satula Your department has just purchased Lexipol, and you’ve been named to the committee that will review policies. As you stare at the Lexipol “master” content for your state—policies covering everything from administrative communications to officer-involved shootings to overtime—you feel a bit overwhelmed. In many places, these policies differ from your department’s current policies, but you’re not sure…

Worthy of the Badge? When uniform standards slip, so does our professional image

By Sam DiGiovanna I remember when I was first hired and received my badge pinning ceremony. It was such an honor to be part of this exclusive organization, and to me, the badge was a symbol of that exclusivity. Many people had tried to become part of this group, but only a few had succeeded. I wore my badge and…

Q&A: Common issues arising from traffic stops

By Ken Wallentine A recent ruling in Maryland (Sellman v. State, 2016 WL 4470904 (Md. 2016)) raises some of the most common questions raised about traffic stops and passengers. A brief review may be helpful. Q: May an officer require the driver and passengers to get out of the car, solely for safety reasons and without any individual reasonable suspicion of…

Frisk authorized by policy was not constitutional

By Ken Wallentine Officers saw Sellman walking at 2 a.m. in a dark area of a large apartment complex known for violence. He appeared to abruptly reverse direction upon seeing the officers. A few minutes later, the officers saw Sellman get into a car driven by another person. Observing a broken tail light, the officers stopped the car. The officers…

Passcode not required to protect phone from warrantless search

By Ken Wallentine Peoples used his smartphone to record himself having sex with his girlfriend, who was unresponsive and almost certainly dead at the time. He was an overnight guest at the girlfriend’s apartment. The dead woman’s daughter discovered her deceased mother the following morning. She called 911. Peoples left the apartment to direct the paramedics to the correct location.…

No warrant required to obtain web address subscriber information

By Ken Wallentine DEA agents located a web address offering a precursor ingredient for ecstasy. The agents issued a subpoena for the service provider, seeking the subscriber’s name and address and the account login history for the address. The service provider complied. Investigation led the agents to Caira. He was ultimately charged with possessing and conspiring to manufacture illegal drugs.…

State’s lax marijuana laws don’t justify stop in neighboring state

By Ken Wallentine Officers saw Vasquez driving a car with a temporary registration card pasted inside a tinted window. They stopped him and discovered that he was from Colorado. Vasquez said that he was headed to Maryland. He had blankets in the front and rear seats; a blanket covered a large object in the rear seat. Officers also observed that…

Powder Keg: Staying a Step Ahead in an Unprecedented Wildland Fire Season

By Sam DiGiovanna I am generally an optimistic person. I don’t buy in to conspiracy theories, drama or gossip. However, there is something I believe is a serious threat we all need to stop and think about as we move into the fall season. I have witnessed several brush fires over the past couple months go from ¼-acre in light-to-medium…

Under Fire: Considerations for Equipping Firefighters with Soft Body Armor

By Sean W. Stumbaugh, Battalion Chief (Retired) Firefighters in America have a long history of being affected by the results of warfare and civil unrest. From the American Revolution, the American Civil War and Pearl Harbor, to September 11, 2001, we have been exposed to the risks and dangers encountered in human-perpetuated violence. This unfortunate “tradition” continues with our current…

No Seatbelt + Loose Pants + Loose Lips = Conviction for Gun Crime

By Ken Wallentine An officer saw Bailey riding in the front seat of a car while not wearing a seatbelt. The officer stopped the car and Bailey bailed. The officer chased Bailey, noting that Bailey was holding his pants up by the waistband. Bailey jumped a fence into the Xiong family’s back yard, falling as he landed. When Bailey got…

Abandoned Cell Phone Doesn’t Implicate Concerns Raised in Riley v. California

By Ken Wallentine A patrol officer saw what he believed to be a stolen vehicle. After confirming that the vehicle was stolen, the officer began to follow it. Samalia, the driver, stopped, got out of the vehicle facing the officer, and then turned and ran. Although the officer gave chase, Samalia was able to escape. The officer returned to the…

Proper Terry Frisk Did Not Create De Facto Arrest

By Ken Wallentine Four officers eating lunch at a university cafeteria noticed Hawkins seated alone. Hawkins appeared to be intoxicated and he was not eating. Two officers approached Hawkins and asked for identification. He was unkempt, his eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol. As Hawkins retrieved his identification, officers saw a large amount of cash in his wallet.…

Another Court Rules on Warrantless Cell Site Location Information Use

By Ken Wallentine A liquor store clerk received a phone call from an Ohio area code; the caller inquired about the store’s closing time. Shortly after the call, the liquor store was robbed. Another liquor store in the area had been robbed less than a week before and the robber took a bottle of tequila. A detective performed an internet…

Emergency Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking Upheld

By Ken Wallentine Officers investigated a report of a woman’s body in a wooded area “off the beaten path.” They found the woman on the ground in a kneeling position, her hands clasped in front and a gunshot wound to the back of her head. Earlier that morning, a nearby construction crew had reported hearing a gunshot. All evidence pointed…

No More “Bad Cops”: 5 Steps to Improving Law Enforcement Hiring Practices

Greg Barlow, CSP, CET Arguably, law enforcement is the most controversial profession in the United States today. The spectrum seems to peg the gauge at either love or hate, with little middle ground. We can all understand why the law enforcement community receives their share of love. Yet why do they also receive such hatred? Herein lies the speculation that…

Below 100: Much More Than a Number

By John Bennett By now most of you are probably familiar with the Below 100 Project and its goal of reducing the number of police officer line-of-duty deaths (LODDs) to less than 100—something that hasn’t happened since the early 1940s. For those of you who aren’t, or haven’t had the chance to delve into it more deeply, the mission revolves…

Heat Illness Prevention and the Incident Commander

By Sean Stumbaugh Last year I moved my family to the Valley of the Sun in Phoenix. Let me tell you, it’s HOT here! As I write this, it is 106 degrees outside; with 22% humidity, it feels like 108. I am grateful to be sitting in an air-conditioned house, but I am thinking about our firefighters across the West…

Above and Beyond Graham v. Connor? Examining PERF’s second Guiding Principle

By Chief (Ret.) Michael Ranalli, Esq. Editor’s note: This article, part of series, has been excerpted and adapted from an article originally printed in The Chief’s Chronicle; New York State Assn. of Chiefs of Police. Reprinted with permission. Read the first article here. Law enforcement leaders today face significant pressure to change use of force policies and procedures. Much of this…

Evidence admitted after unlawful detention leads to discovery of arrest warrant

By Ken Wallentine An officer stopped Strieff after he left a home where officers had watched numerous persons come and go after a brief visit. Suspecting that Strieff was involved in drug crimes, the officer stopped him and asked what he was doing at the home. The officer asked for Strieff’s identification and checked for warrants. Upon learning of an…

GPS tracker installation specifics fall outside court’s jurisdiction

By Ken Wallentine A confidential informant (CI) told officers that Faulkner was traveling to and from Chicago to obtain heroin and then sell it in Minneapolis. The CI described Faulkner’s two cars and two residences. During surveillance, officers saw Faulkner driving both cars to and from both residences. The officers obtained a warrant to place GPS trackers on either or…

Warrant required for StingRay cell-site simulator device

By Ken Wallentine Agents investigating an international drug-trafficking organization obtained warrants for pen register information and cell site location information (CSLI) for a target cell phone. Using CSLI, the agents were able to determine the general vicinity for the target cell phone, but the location was not sufficiently precise enough to identify the particular apartment building or apartment where the…

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Jim Franklin, Executive Director
Minnesota Sheriffs' Association, MN

"Lexipol is, indeed, ahead of the curve with their unique risk management solutions in law enforcement. The Minnesota Sheriffs' Association has been eagerly anticipating the release of the Lexipol Custody Manual. Lexipol meets the needs of law enforcement and custodial agencies by recognizing the emerging challenges facing our agencies, and providing comprehensive tools and resources to reduce liability and risk in a professional and highly efficient manner. The Minnesota Sheriffs' Association is proud of its continued partnership with Lexipol."

Chief Steven Vaccaro
Mokena (IL) Police Department

“If you compare Lexipol to other policy providers, Lexipol is the only one that has policy that has been vetted by other chiefs, industry experts and lawyers. All you have to do is tailor the policies to your agency’s needs.”

Captain Jesus Ochoa
Coronado (CA) Police Department

“Knowing that Lexipol is keeping our policies current means that there isn’t something else for us to worry about. We can focus on our jobs. That definitely gives us peace of mind.”

Chief Joseph Morris
Arapahoe Community College (CO) Police Department

“Officers are not infallible. We have limited memories like everyone else. Working under stress presents more challenges. There are times we need to access policies in the field so we are comfortable in our decision making. The mobile application has been great for this!”

Lt. Victor Pecoraro
Auburn (CA) Police Department

“The updates are super easy because you can pop them open, see the redline versions and be able to edit it on the fly. Once I learned I could do that, I was excited.”

Chief Corry Blount
Bartonville (TX) Police Department

“I feel comfortable that when we issue a policy, it covers what it needs to cover. It’s the most comprehensive policy content I’ve used in my career.”

Chief Greg Knott
Basalt (CO) Police Department

“Lexipol gives you peace of mind because the policies that you’re implementing have been reviewed by professionals in the field and by attorneys—not just your agency’s legal counsel.”

Lt. Ed Alvarez
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) (CA) Police Department

“I like the mobile app because it tells me no matter where I am when I have updates to complete or when people take the DTBs. No matter where I am, I have access. The officers can get real-time updates. Everything is at their fingertips, any time.”

Assistant Chief Bill Holmer
Glen Ellyn (IL) Police Department

“It’s a no-brainer for me. Someone is watching for changes to laws for me, and then tweaking the content based on those changes or updates in best practices.”

Deputy Chief Robin Passwater
Kankakee (IL) Police Department

“If you don’t have Lexipol, even with a full-time person dedicated to policy, there’s almost no way you can keep updated on all the laws and also have the training component. It’s an excellent system.”

Commander Leslie Burns
Mercer Island (WA) Police Department

“Lexipol provides a huge advantage for agencies pursuing accreditation. The tools take about 60% of the difficulty out of the accreditation process. If you want to be accredited, this is the way to do it.”

Chief Steven Vaccaro
Mokena (IL) Police Department

“If you compare Lexipol to other policy providers, Lexipol is the only one that has policy that has been vetted by other chiefs, industry experts and lawyers. All you have to do is tailor the policies to your agency’s needs.”

Chief Ralph Maher
Oak Creek (CO) Police Department

“With Lexipol, I know our policy manual is going to be up to date. I can turn my back on it today and tomorrow there will be any needed updates waiting for me. That allows me to focus on some of the other things I have to do as a chief.”

Chief Jeff Wilson
Orofino (ID) Police Department

“The Lexipol Policy Manual is easy to use, it’s convenient and you have peace of mind knowing that you have a thorough manual that is going to stand up to any challenge the agency may face.”

Chief Kelly Stillman
Rocky River (OH) Police Department

“I can’t say enough about the positives from a chief’s perspective. I don’t know why everyone isn’t with Lexipol.”

Deputy Chief John McGinty
Simi Valley (CA) Police Department

“You get sued for your policies or you get sued for your actions, or both. You can only do so much about actions. But having Lexipol gives me confidence that if we draw a lawsuit, our policies won’t come under attack.”

Sheriff Gerald Antinoro
Storey County (NV) Sheriff’s Office

“Lexipol is one of the best products I have seen in my 30+ years in law enforcement.”

Lt. Lauren Osborne
Surry County (NC) Sheriff’s Office

“If there’s a change as a result of case law, or a procedure that needs to change, Lexipol does the legwork, sends it to us, we approve it and send it out to our people for acknowledgement—and it’s all documented.”

Chief David Maine
The Village of Hunting Valley (OH) Police Department

“What we had before Lexipol had been around for years. It was like every other policy manual I had seen: It didn’t get the updates it needed. The Lexipol manual is a living, breathing document.”

Captain Jeff Schneider
Yakima (WA) Police Department

“KMS tracks and logs when people acknowledge and accept updates, which is very important, and it lets us track who isn’t getting the updates so we can give them the appropriate attention.”

Chief John Defore
Hiawatha, KS

“By offering 365 daily training bulletins to my officers, I am saving far more than the cost of the software every year. In fact, I was able to show my commissioners a cost savings by utilizing Lexipol for our policy and policy training needs.”

Lt. Craig Capps
White County (TN) Sheriff's Office

"I would recommend Lexipol to any law enforcement agency, whether three-person or 2,000-person—it makes no difference. The program works.”

Sheriff Blaine Breshears
Morgan County (UT) Sheriff's Office

“We had a use of force lawsuit, and as soon as the attorneys discovered that we have Lexipol, they said, ‘We won’t have an issue there.’ Our policies were never in question.”

Chief Deputy Klint Anderson
Weber County (UT) Sheriff's Office

“We spent a considerable amount of money and effort trying to develop and maintain comprehensive and legally based policies and procedures. Lexipol has relieved us of that burden and provided us with a policy system that we have great confidence in and that we can tailor to suit our particular goals and community standards.”

Sgt. Bryan Ward
Cumberland County (PA) Sheriff's Office

"Calling Lexipol an insurance policy doesn’t do it justice, because it doesn’t capture the enormous power that partnering with Lexipol provides.”

Chief Deputy Ray Saylo
Carson City (NV) Sheriff's Office

"It’s a huge priority of this administration to teach policy to our sergeants, and Lexipol’s Daily Training Bulletins help us do that. We are constantly drilling into them that policy will protect them as an individual officer. If they ensure that their people are following policy, even if they’re sued, they will be OK.”

Major Jeff Fox
Vigo County (IN) Sheriff's Office

“Lexipol’s Implementation Services program was key to getting our manuals off the shelf. If it weren’t for that, we wouldn’t be implemented today. Departments should recognize their limitations and realize that they likely don’t have the resources to do it on their own. Implementation Services is key to getting it done.”

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