In The News

In The News

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…

Priority of Life: Building a better model for PERF’s first 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. Law enforcement leaders today face significant pressure to change use of force policies and procedures. Much of this pressure comes from well-intended…

DUI arrest justifies warrantless search of car

By Ken Wallentine An officer stopped Taylor for speeding and blowing a stop sign. The officer smelled alcohol on Taylor’s breath and body, saw Taylor’s bloodshot and glassy eyes and noted that Taylor’s speech was so slurred that it was hard to understand some of what he said. The officer administered standard field sobriety tests. Based on Taylor’s poor performance…

Search warrant justified to obtain a DNA sample from an uncooperative victim

By Ken Wallentine G.B.’s “occasional sexual partner” cut him with a kitchen knife after she learned that he had slept with another woman. G.B. sought medical help at a fire station. Police officers went to the hospital and interviewed G.B., who identified his assailant and provided the address of the apartment where the stabbing occurred. He told the officers that…

Swiping a credit card was not an unconstitutional search

By Ken Wallentine An officer stopped DE L’Isle for following too closely to a large truck. The officer smelled burnt marijuana and saw air fresheners inside DE L’Isle’s car. The officer had a drug detector dog partner. He deployed the dog around the car and the dog gave a positive final response to the odors of controlled substances. When the…

New Mobile App Features Improve Safety, Accessibility

Lexipol’s mobile app just got even better. You’ve been able to read and train on your policies anywhere and at any time with the Lexipol mobile app. Now you can: Enable “Night Mode” from the menu. A bright screen lighting up your face at night makes you a target when you’re in your patrol car. This new safety feature allows…

Arrest warrant or search warrant needed? Or both?

By Ken Wallentine When seeking to apprehend a suspect at a third party’s home, officers need both an arrest warrant and a search warrant. On the other hand, if the suspect resides at the home, officers need only an arrest warrant and a “reason to believe” that the suspect is present at the time of the officers’ entry. That’s a…

Search warrant for home included car on “premises”

By Ken Wallentine In recent articles (see here, here and here) I've discussed some of the issues around curtilage. Curtilage is that invisible legal boundary that stretches Fourth Amendment protections for a home beyond the brick-and-mortar walls of the home to the area that the property owner reasonably claims as part of “living space” or an area of private control.…

DV call does not automatically justify a Terry frisk

By Ken Wallentine A campus police officer responded to a call to investigate a man pushing a woman. The officer encountered Thomas, a student who had been hanging out with and kissing his girlfriend. Although Thomas was unarmed and had committed no act of domestic violence, the officer ordered Thomas to submit to a Terry frisk. When Thomas refused, the…

Officers at 2 Lexipol client departments among 13 awarded with Medal of Valor

President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Valor to 13 police officers today in a ceremony at the White House. "To a person, each of these honorees acted without regard to their own safety," Obama said. "We're so grateful they were there — some off duty, others on duty, and all rising above and beyond the call of duty." Among the…

Historical CSLI does not require probable cause showing

By Ken Wallentine Pearson brought a bag of marijuana to the home of his girlfriend’s mother. Two men came to the home and spoke with Pearson. Pearson placed the bag of marijuana on the table and spoke to the men about money. One of the men responded, “No, we taking this.” Pearson said, “Take it.” The men began going through…

Detector dog sniff in common hallway violates Jardines holding

By Ken Wallentine A confidential informant told detectives about drug dealing at an apartment building. The informant said that the dealer drove a black Cadillac Escalade. A detective met with the property manager and obtained consent for a detector dog sniff in the common areas of the building. The manager allowed the detective and a drug detector dog handler and…

In novel argument, 6th Circuit distinguishes historical CSLI information from GPS tracking

By Ken Wallentine A group of 15 shifting suspects committed a string of armed robberies at Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores. When four of the men were arrested, one soon implicated Carpenter and Sanders as the ringleaders. The man who confessed gave investigators his cell phone and the phone numbers of his partners in crime. Investigators tracked down owner information…

Saline (MI) City Council Recognizes the Benefits of Lexipol

In its meeting March 21, the Saline (Mich.) City Council voted unanimously to approve an agreement for the Saline Police Department to become a Lexipol subscriber. An earlier review of the department had recommended that the department's policies be rewritten. The approval to go with Lexipol is a recognition that revamping policy is a complex and time-consuming task and that…

Curtilage or open field? Vantage point matters to the Fourth Amendment

Investigators received an anonymous tip that Dixon was making methamphetamine in his home. When they went to investigate, they spoke with Dixon’s mother, who told them that Dixon lived in a nearby trailer through the woods. The investigators drove down a nearby gravel road, passed at least two more residences, and located Dixon's trailer at the end of the road.…

“No Trespassing” signs didn’t bar efforts to knock-and-talk

Investigators received several tips that Carloss, a previously convicted felon, was possibly holding a machine gun and was selling methamphetamine from his home. Two investigators went to Carloss’ home. Four signs were posted around the home: a “No Trespassing” sign on a 3-foot-high post by the driveway, “Private Property No Trespassing,” nailed to a tree, and signs on a wooden…

Beware “cut and paste” when preparing a warrant

Every investigator does it: preparing a search warrant by including some paragraphs recycled from a previous warrant. For some of us, that meant pecking at a typewriter while copying from an old carbon copy. Today, it’s cut and paste from a Word file. Shortcuts are great—unless they short-circuit the admissibility of evidence. Wheeler was a headmaster at a private school.…

Fools Rush In: Managing Officer Jeopardy

By Donald R. Weaver, Esq. Editor's note: This article was originally published on Jan. 27, 2016. A song? A romantic comedy? A line from a 1700s poem? Yes, and a not-so-gentle reminder that tactical decision making will help you stay safe and out of the hot seat. Those who serve and protect are not fools, but “foolish” means “showing…

Trauma on the Job

Why law enforcement officers suffer from PTSD, and what we can do about it A conversation with Karen Lansing, LMFT, the “Cop Whisperer” and author of The Rite of Return: Coming Back from Duty-Induced PTSD. Karen Lansing, a licensed psychotherapist and Diplomate of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, has had a unique career. Specializing in treatment of…

Visit Laura Scarry and Don Weaver at ILEETA!

Laura Scarry, a Legal Support Attorney for Lexipol, and Don Weaver, a Training Coordinator for Lexipol, will be presenting at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers (ILEETA) conference. Laura Scarry will be analyzing Armstrong v. Village of Pinehurst in two dynamic classes. This must-attend course focuses on the 4th Circuit Court’s controversial decision rendered in January regarding the use…

Armstrong analysis triggers no changes in Lexipol policy

The following Client Alert was sent to Lexipol Law Enforcement clients on Jan. 28, 2016 The United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit recently issued an opinion in Armstrong v. Village of Pinehurst (— F.3d —, 2016 WL 105386 (4th Cir. 2016)) that created no small stir regarding the use of conducted energy devices, such as the TASER®.…

Annual medical testing: What’s your department’s policy?

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna When we first start our fire service career, not much thought goes into retirement. We’re young and we only think of what makes the biggest impact on our paycheck. We forget about putting additional money away for our future. Before you know it, our career goes by and we are looking at retiring—and sometimes wishing…

Marketing Your Agency: It’s Your Business!

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna As fire service professionals, our job is to protect our communities. When we think about protection, what first comes to mind is the role we play in responding to emergencies. Whether it’s a fire, an extrication or a medical call, we protect lives and property through our response. But protecting our community is by no…

Legislative updates released to California law enforcement agencies

Legislative updates have been released to California law enforcement agencies. Lexipol understands that legislative updates can be confusing and time consuming, and not something that every agency has the time or capacity to fully research and implement. That’s why we have our team of lawyers and subject matter experts do all of the research for the agency. In so doing,…

Lexipol's mobile app named a best product at IACP show

Calibre Press named Lexipol’s new mobile app one of the best products shown at the 2015 International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference and Exposition. The Lexipol mobile app allows officers to complete training in the field. The app, introduced over the summer, allows Lexipol customers to access their policy manual anywhere on iOS and…

Put It into Policy: Supporting Your Responsibility as a Leader in the Fire Service

By Deputy Chief Billy Goldfeder Is getting your firefighters and officers to reduce the risk of firefighter injury and death easy? Of course not. But if you’re having trouble getting it done at your fire department, maybe it’s time to think about what policies exist to support your mission. For instance, let’s look at the seatbelt issue. Do your firefighters…

Who Are You Riding With?

By Deputy Chief Billy Goldfeder Fire apparatus safety, and the safety of the firefighters riding the apparatus, is more prominent than ever. That’s a good thing. But there are still some big gaps that should make us think. Hard. Take the issue of who is driving your fire apparatus. Who are they in your fire department? What are their qualifications?…

Ready? Set? Are We Either or Neither?

By Deputy Chief Billy Goldfeder In August 2012, Daniel Castillo’s jet ski broke down in New York City’s Jamaica Bay. Stranded, Castillo swam three miles to JFK Airport, then was able to climb an eight-foot security fence and cross two runways, at which point he entered a terminal. Despite the airport’s $100 million security system, Castillo was not detected until…

There’s an app for that!

There’s an app for that: Lexipol now has a free mobile app available for both Android and iPhone. The Lexipol KMS Mobile app allows subscribers to take their agency’s policy with them on the go. Users can read their agency’s policies, acknowledge new policy updates and take Daily Training Bulletins (DTBs) whenever they want, wherever they are. Notifications alert the…

Massachusetts Daily Training Bulletins Now Available

Massachusetts Law Enforcement Daily Training Bulletins (DTBs) are now available, making this the 21st state with DTBs available to law enforcement personnel. DTBs are also available for fire personnel in six states and custody personnel in 11 states. This means that the Lexipol training team now puts out 940 unique pieces of content every month. These DTBs bring the Law…

Supreme Court sidesteps application of the ADA to arrests, grants immunity

By Ken Wallentine San Francisco police officers responded to a community-based group home where Teresa Sheehan was behaving erratically and threatening staff members. Sheehan was suffering from acute schizophrenia. A social worker asked for police help to transport her to a secure mental health facility. When the two officers first entered the room, they saw that Sheehan had a knife.…

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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.”

Chief Mike Reitan
West Fargo (ND) Police Department

“To have a source that does all the vetting of the policy for me, making sure they’re current and correct, that’s a huge relief for me.”

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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