Memorial Monday

Blood Upon The Shield, Author Unknown

When I was in my early teens, I remember seeing this poem on one of my Dad’s FOP magazines. I held onto it forever, and I’m sure it’s still around somewhere. The very last part always stood out to me. Jake is being laid to rest today and his procession will pass both the high school he attended and the elementary school his wife works at. There will be a lot of children with questions. Take the opportunity to tell them about Jake. Tell them about Brothers YOU knew. Let them know that although some of us may fall, there’s a whole heck of a lot more of us holding the line, protecting them.

“Blood Upon the Shield 

Blood Upon The Shield
Confrontation in an alley. The Centurion does not yield.
But this time the good guy loses;
there is blood upon the shield.

And the mournful sounds of bagpipes
play out across the land,
drowned out by the sobs of a lonely young wife
and a child too young to understand.

While the killer pleads his case in court,
the thin blue line is one man short.
And we’re one step closer to society’s fall;
another cop’s name is engraved on the wall.

Another state funeral, with an army in blue,
and we know it could’ve been me and it could’ve been you.
We all look ahead to what the future has in store,
front line troopers in a country that’s at war.

At war with itself and at war with its cops and we’re
out there every day ’cause the battle never stops.
It’s not the way it is on TV shows or like
we learned in school; no cool music in the background,
no playing by the “rules;”

We’re disillusioned warriors,
but for right we’ll always strive.
We just pray that at the end of our stress-filled day
we’ll get back home alive.

You stand out on the corner
ignoring the insults and the stares,
close to the point of believing that no one really cares,
when a six year-old boy walks over after watching
you for awhile, reaching out to shake your hand,
on his face a friendly smile.

To him you are a hero,
a protector of our land, and he wants
to learn about you,
as a cop and as a man.

And when he asks you why your badge is covered
by a black elastic band,
tell him about our Brother
A cop who made a stand.

Author Unknown 


Firefight Friday

Norco, California, 1980, Firefight Friday

NorcoWe’ve all heard about the North Hollywood shootout in 1997. Have you ever heard about the Norco, California shootout in 1980?

In Norco, California, on May 9, 1980, FIVE bank robbers attempted a robbery of a Security Pacific Bank. Heavily armed with shotguns, handguns, an AR-15, an HK-91, an HK-93, and even IEDs, 4 men made entry on the bank, while one waited outside. Before it was over, 1 Deputy and 2 robbers would be dead. Nine officers were wounded, over 30 police cars were damaged, and a police helicopter had even taken fire.

Their plan started going wrong when an employee at a competing bank observed the robbers go in. She called the police immediately. Glyn Bolasky, a Deputy with Riverside County, arrived first. The lookout alerted the men inside and they exited and immediately started firing at Bolasky. He was able to put his vehicle in reverse and withdraw. He took cover and immediately returned fire. The robbers fled the scene in their van, but did not cease firing at Bolasky. Bolasky was able to fire a shot into the vehicle and strike the driver in the back of the head. The vehicle lost control and crashed. The robbers then had to proceed on foot. With over 200 rounds fired in Bolasky’s direction, his vehicle was struck 47 times. Bolasky was also shot multiple times in the face, shoulder, forearms, and elbow.

Two officers arrived on scene and while one engaged the shooter, the other successfully evacuated Bolasky. After commandeering another vehicle, the remaining 4 robbers engaged in a shootout with officers eventually damaging 33 cars and a helicopter with their small arms and their improvised explosive devices. Managing to get a significant distance from the officers, they stopped and established an ambush point on the road. Responding officers were only armed with .38 revolvers and 12 gauge shotguns, the standard loadout for officers of the time. Prior to the attack, Riverside Deputy James Evans radioed to other officers that he sensed an impending ambush. Evans, a Green Beret Veteran of the Vietnam War, did what he could with what he had. He attempted to engage the suspects with his revolver at a distance of over 50 yards. After reloading, and exposing himself to continue firing, he was shot through the eye with a rifle and died instantly.

Not until San Bernardino Deputy DJ McCarty brought an AR-15 to the fight did the suspects disengage and flee the scene. They fled into the woods and were captured the next day. One of the remaining 4 was killed in another shootout before capture.

The remaining 3 were convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A few lessons learned from this incident still affect law enforcement today. After the ammunition limitations of the 6-shot revolver proved to be a problem, many agencies in the area began the transition to semi-automatic 9mm and .40 caliber handguns. The limitations of the shotgun brought about the issuance of Ruger Mini-14’s and AR-15/M16’s to patrol officers. Even the helicopter that received small arms fire during the incident brought about additional training for air units. In recent years, this training was even used by San Bernardino deputies to bring a pursuit to a close by providing effective fire from the air.

Does your agency issue rifles? Rifle rated armor? If not, do you supply your own? What do you think still needs to be done to prepare for incidents like this?

In an effort to better organize and provide my blog some direction, I’ll be using Fridays to detail some of law enforcement’s most significant shoot-outs. Any suggestions for lesser known incidents?

I sourced Wikipedia and a Massad Ayoob article for some of these details.


Memorial Monday

Officer Gail Cobb, Memorial Monday

Standing just 5 feet tall, Gail Cobb was only 24 when she was killed in the line of duty while working for the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. A single mom, she surprised everyone when she applied to be a police officer. Her father was a correctional officer and her mother was a crossing guard. Gail could only apply after minimum height standards were lowered. Although she was small, she was described as hard-working and well liked. She was one of 13 females in her 34 member academy class.

Officer Cobb was the first female police officer to be shot and killed while patrolling in the line of duty in the United States. On September 20, 1974, Cobb was just 6 months into her probationary period. Plainclothes officers had thwarted a bank robbery but the suspects had fled. Shortly after, Cobb was alerted to the location of an armed man in a garage. She courageously responded and located him inside. She ordered him to place his hands against a wall but as she reached for her radio, the suspect turned and fired his weapon. The bullet went through her wrist, destroying a wrist watch she had received from her mother, through her police radio, and then into her heart. She died at the scene. Both suspects were eventually apprehended.

Cobb was not buried in uniform. Instead she was buried in a green dress with styled hair, dolled up makeup and gold hoop earrings. Forbidden by uniform regulations, these special touches allowed her to be buried with a personal flair.

May we take a moment to remember Officer Gail Cobb, the family she left behind, and the legacy she leaves for us to carry on.


“Huh?” My Cop Life with Hearing Loss

I’m a cop with a “disability.” Shortly after I was born, I suffered a reaction to medication that affected the nerves around my ears. I have significant hearing loss, and because of that, I have had my career opportunities limited. At 17 years old, I stood in a Marine Corp recruiting office with my parents blessing, ready to sign my life away. I was determined to make a career out of the Marines. I had my eyes set on boot camp in 2003 and I was specifically requesting a job that would get me into combat. There was nothing else in the world I wanted more. And then I went to MEPS and sat in an old booth with headphones so tight, if I didn’t have tinnitus, my ears would’ve been ringing from the pressure. I guess I missed a few beeps and they kicked me out. Attempts at waivers never quite panned out and eventually the recruiter told me the options were exhausted. I was crushed. My hearing loss was less profound then and I thought I heard everything just fine. I’d performed fine in school. I held conversations just fine. Plan B was community college.

Fast forward to 2016, and holy shit, I knew I was missing a ton. I’d spent years progressively saying “huh?” more and more. I noticed I was dialing up the TV and radio more and more. I was missing whispers on perimeters in the dark. I knew it was a problem. I was terrified to take steps to correct it. I was worried the stigma would end my career in law enforcement. I didn’t know any cops with them. I looked at prices for corrective surgery. I couldn’t afford the $30k per ear or the 6 month recovery. I looked at hearing aid prices. I couldn’t afford that either. My insurance barely touched them. Frankly, I was scared.

In 2017, I finally bit the bullet. I called an audiologist. I had not been to one since college. I tried to join the Army after a few years in college. Same result. That last audiogram was enough to keep me out. I was afraid to see the new results. I even found myself hoping that maybe I just had a blockage in my ear. Maybe it was a tumor or a big ball of wax. I wanted it to be something that could be fixed immediately. Turns out my ears were bad. It wasn’t a quick fix. Or was it? The audiologist told me what she charges and I walked out and never looked back. Then I found an opportunity that literally changed my life.

Did you know that Costco, in addition to being one of my favorite places to shop, has optometrists, pharmacists, and EVEN AUDIOLOGISTS on staff? I had visited the hearing center a few times and picked up brochures every time, but I was still nervous. I called and scheduled an appointment about two weeks out. I went in, got a FREE hearing test, and then the sweet audiologist let me put tester hearing aids in. Holy smokes, I almost cried. I could hear a watch ticking, I could hear my hair brush against my collar, I could hear the hand dryer in the bathroom two hundred feet away behind a closed door. AND IT WAS LOUD! She let me try a few, but I knew what I wanted. I had 4 copies of the brochure in my truck.

Today I wear a ReSound Hearing Aid on each ear. I was able to afford them through generous contributions to my HSA from my employer. It took a few days to get my pair ordered and in stock. But when they arrived, I walked out wearing them after a brief fitting and adjustment. They have replaceable batteries, last a few days, and Costco even sells the batteries cheap! I barely feel them anymore and find myself reaching up to double check they’re in. I’ve even accidentally gotten into a shower a time or two forgetting about them. You know what the coolest part is? They’re Bluetooth capable. I stream music, video games, podcasts, EVEN MY PHONE CALLS directly into my ears! All I do is answer the phone and keep the handset close by. It sits in a cradle in my car and people hear my just fine when I talk in a normal volume. They require minimal maintenance and I drop them in a small desktop dryer every night. I clean them briefly every morning.

Neither ReSound nor Costco paid for or requested I sing their praises. They probably won’t even read this post. I wrote it because they changed my life. They saved my life. I can hear my kid laugh at full volume. I hear birds in the morning. I can watch TV after the fiancé goes to bed without her wrapping a pillow around her ears. I can still take them out and turn them off and sit enjoying a quiet peace that those without hearing loss may never experience. I work every day now confident in my ability to hear my fellow officers. I can sit through trainings and learn from the instructor rather than reading the materials. I’ll say it again, ReSound hearing aids saved my career and forever changed my life.

If you are reading this and you think you may have hearing loss, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about hearing aids. I’m by no means an expert, but I know what you’re going through. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call a Costco hearing center. They’ll bend over backwards for you, and all you’ll pay for is the hearing aids and the batteries. They were wonderful.

I’m a cop who technically has a “disability,” but after accepting it, addressing it, and moving past it, I wish I’d done it a long time ago. Don’t waste time getting the full enjoyment out of life.

The picture attached are the ones I have. Mine are a slate gray. I swear they’re smaller than they look and I don’t feel them at all any more!

Resound Hearing Aids


The Gift of Grief and the Dead Dad Dilemma

Here I am. 10 years after my Dad died. He was my best friend. He was my idol. He was my hero. He was the best goddamn Dad around. And he died a pretty shitty death from pancreatic cancer. He didn’t deserve it but who ever does. My Dad was a legend in my eyes. I grew up seeing his bravery medal quietly displayed in our house. I made him tell me its story a thousand times. It never got old. He was a DARE Officer and he drove a huge DARE Tahoe. Everybody in town knew him. He was a celebrity in my eyes. We never went anywhere without seeing someone who knew him.

I left for college at 18 and around 21 he was diagnosed. I wasted our last year together with optimism about his diagnosis and I took him for granted. I spent valuable time complaining about the stupidest things. He had gotten better. A LOT better before he got super sick again. It didn’t click with me that he was going to die until he was REALLY sick. We had a hospice bed set up in the house and he and I spent a lot of hours finally talking about what we should’ve been talking about all along.

Dad always told me not to be a cop. He wanted a better life for me. He thought I could do better than this life. The day I told him I was going to be a cop was probably the proudest I’ve ever seen him. He told me one day in 2007, “I couldn’t be a rookie cop today. Things have gotten so bad. They’re like the 60’s and 70’s again.” But he also told me they’d get better. That those that rode it out would see better times again. He died before I got hired. He saw me get passed over for my first hiring process and I’ve never seen him so upset. He wasn’t upset with me. He wasn’t upset with them. I think he was upset because he knew he might not get to see me be a cop. And he never did.

The grief I felt when my Dad died is something I wish no one ever had to endure. But unfortunately, so many people have felt it. Losing a best friend. Losing a dad. Losing a hero. It’ll break your heart every time. I lost all three. And I am a better man because of it. I was just a kid who didn’t know anything about the world. I’d had a sheltered childhood, never really gotten into trouble (outside the house) and I’d gone to a small community college where I mainly kept to myself. I had no idea what was in store for me. I had spent the last months of my fathers life stocking groceries over night and working at a video store. When Dad died, something in me changed. I grew up that day. I made a promise to my Dad the night he died. I was hell bent on keeping that promise. I stepped up and tried to lead my family through the planning and execution of Dad’s funeral and burial. Thank God for the men and women who had worked with Dad. They handled so much. I recall finally feeling like a man after carrying my Dad’s casket to the gravesite. A local police chief approached me and asked if there was anything I needed. I shook his hand over the grave and told him, “Well, I could really use a job.” Within 5 months, I had two full time police job offers. Maybe that’s tacky. Maybe it’s rude. Maybe I made a bad decision out of grief. But I don’t think Dad would’ve been upset.

The grief I felt over my Dad’s death weighed heavy on me for a long time. But eventually I learned to live with it. I learned to joke about it. I realized so many of my friends had Dead Dad’s and they survived. I remember being in the police academy that year after his death. I was ordered into front leaning test position and I was there for a LONG time. One of the instructors yelled, “Better go to your happy place!” I knew my happy place was when I was with my Dad. Once there, I could’ve held that position all day. Once, after a particularly long run, the longest I’d ever run, I just wanted to tell Dad. My roommate knew my story and when he saw me choke up, just put a hand on my shoulder. I wept in the shower that day and when I was late for formation, he covered for me. It was the first time I’d ever let the grief hit me that hard. Letting it out was what I needed. I’ve been okay with his death for a long time now. It never goes away, but it definitely got easier. The grief I’ve carried has been a blessing in that it made me grow up when I had stayed a kid too long. My grief has given me motivation and dedication. My grief gave me purpose. Which brings me to the Dead Dad Dilemma.

Would I be the man I am today if I hadn’t lost my Dad 10 years ago? Would I have made the same mistakes if he had been around to guide me? Would I have chosen the department I did when I had two offers? Would he have convinced me to hang it up or make a move to a federal job? Would I have named my son after him if he hadn’t passed away? What lessons have I learned from the grief that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned. Would I have strived so hard to carry on his good name if he was still around to carry it himself? The Dead Dad Dilemma will likely be around for a long time. What impact did his death have? What impact would MY death have on MY sons? It’s definitely worthy to think about but if I think about it too much, I’ll go crazy.

In closing, I love my Dad. I miss my Dad. His absence breaks my heart to this day. But maybe his death made me a better man. Maybe I owe him a thank you when I see him again someday. I’ve got so much to say to him maybe I’ll ramble to him than I did in this post.

If I can impart any wisdom in this mess, it’s this: Talk to your parents when they’re healthy. Ask them for life advice. Ask them to tell you what they’d tell you if they knew they’d never give you advice again. Find blessings in your grief and you’ll overcome it a lot faster. And don’t be afraid to let it all out. Handle what you have to handle first. But pull your shit together when you’re done and move on. You got stuff to do and you can’t afford to dwell in the past. Life’s moving on and if you don’t keep up, you’ll get left behind.

NerdCop Out.


More Police Courtesy, Olander

Conduct at the Desk

I work for a smaller agency that doesn’t necessarily have a desk officer. If people have questions, they often call our dispatch center and we get a message to call them back to answer their questions. In a sense, I guess we’re all desk officers

Olander reminds us to always have a pleasant and courteous attitude. Even the silliest and seemingly small calls should be treated with the same professionalism as the serious ones. “If the request is for something that cannot be granted or that does not come under the jurisdiction of the police, it can be politely explained or refused by saying ‘I am sorry, but your request is beyond the authority of the police,’ or “we would be glad to help you, but it does not come under our jurisdiction.” This book was written a LONG time ago. It seems just about everything has become the responsibility of the police. If you can find a tactful way of effectively explaining to someone that something is just not a police manner WITHOUT them getting upset, I’d love to hear it!

Promptly greet people, and greet them pleasantly, as they enter the office. Assure them you will get to their needs as soon as is reasonable possible. Offer a place to sit if one is available. Olander felt the need to point out that it is not rude to ask a person’s name if they fail to offer it. It seemed an unusual point to make, so it made me wonder if something has changed since them. Do not patronize people who are young or old. Never act as though the office is your private space, and the person has intruded.

Appear interested. Be patient and tolerant, even if the person is vague or rambling. “If you find it necessary to dismiss him, do it politely by saying you have another engagement, or in whatever way courteously fits the occasion.” I’m not sure Olander expressly endorses pressing your earpiece, feigning listening, and then explaining you have a call, but it seems to fit his rules.

Phone Courtesy

In 1937, while telephones were in wide usage, no one, including the author, could have predicted the increase in phone calls in today’s society. Now more than ever before in the past, it is important to know how to effectively communicate via telephone. Olander stressed that it’s not so much WHAT is said to the caller but HOW it is said. He stresses that the very first words that are spoken might determine the effectiveness of the phone call. The tone of your voice should convey a helpful “at your service” attitude. When answering, answer with your agency and name to avoid wasting time. Have a pen and paper handy so as not to waste anyone’s time. Pay attention to avoid having the caller repeat themselves.

These were very short sections in the chapter but I think it reinforces a lot of points as well as covers some things that while seemingly common sense, we may have all struggled with over time. I think most cops naturally start to lose some of their courtesy over time. We deal with “The Public” every single day. It tends to wear on us. We get annoyed because we deal with the same silly stuff all too often. But I think we tend to forget that for these people interacting with us, it might be their first interaction with police. Whatever they are reporting might be so profound in their peaceful life, yet seem so minor compared to what we deal with daily.

The next few sections are about presentation. Stay tuned.

Like, comment, share, message. This blog is new, and VERY lightly read but I’m always open for discussion if you’re interested. I’ve picked up some other books lately that I’m hoping to get to. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!



Top 5 Gifts for YOUR NerdCop

5. Casio G-Shock Watch

There are so many variations on G-Shock watches, you’ll have to decide what your personal preferences are. But I have worn a G-Shock for years now and I can’t imagine wearing anything else on duty. I have worn expensive watches on duty and they’ve gotten damaged searching cars. I’ve worn cheap Wal-Mart watches and the bands on them have broken off during arrests. Not until I got a G-Shock did I have a mid-price range, but durable heavy duty watch on my wrist. I will link to the watch I wear, but they are available in a multitude of models and colors. Mine cost less than $55 and aside from replacing a watch battery once and replacing the little loop you tuck the excess strap into, it has operated flawlessly. Casio has recently introduced stainless steel watches. I am hard pressed to replace my watch, because it doesn’t need replacing, but the steel watches are gorgeous. They’re priced a little higher but I wouldn’t expect anything less than the best quality for that price.

4. Edge Eyewear

Much like my watch situation, I have learned some expensive lessons with on-duty eyewear. I have lost expensive sunglasses while on a perimeter. My rifle sling knocked them off my head on a nighttime perimeter. (I would leave my sunglasses on my head all night so I didn’t lose them. Real effective, right?) I also tried the cheap gas station sunglasses. Those would break going on my big head. One day, I found an amazing deal on some Edge Eyewear Dakura’s. I even got a free pair because of a glitch in the ordering system. I kinda feel bad about it. Kinda. Anyways, the Dakura’s were the first pair of sunglasses that I felt really fit my face. They weren’t too big, and they weren’t too tight. Edge also has a tactical eyewear division, but the Dakura’s are part of their safety glasses. I probably go through a pair a year, but I am pretty abusive to them. Whenever I go on vacation, I buy a new pair. I won’t travel without two pairs of them.  My next purchase might be for some of their tactical sunglasses. Or I might just stick with what I know works. I’ll link to what I wear.


3. Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

I have written before about my affinity for reading and studying leadership and management tactics. Extreme Ownership, written by Navy SEALs, might be the definitive book on effective leadership. Based on the premise that as a leader, if things go right, everybody had a part in it, but if things go wrong, its the leader’s fault. Jocko, who also has a great podcast which I recommend, tells a story about a friendly fire incident that occurred when he was in charge. He could have blamed any number of different things that went wrong, however, he took full responsibility for the incident. In doing so, he earned the respect of his subordinates and his peers. Throughout the book, the authors alternate writing chapters. They use battlefield experience and relate it to the business world and private sector management and leadership. It’s a book I will come back to many times in the coming years. Personally, this book has helped me in my own life by recognizing how much responsibility I have in everything that goes on around me. I make fewer excuses for my mistakes and own up to my faults. For less than $17 on Amazon, I recommend this to/for anyone hoping to advance their professional life.


2. Salomon Shoes

Before our trip to Hawaii, I knew I needed a new pair of shoes that I could use for hiking. I had heard so many great things about Salomon shoes, but I had never worn any. I got a wild hair one day and ordered a pair of Salomon XA Pro 3D. I got them in and I wasn’t entire sold on them. I usually wear Danner boots and Nike sneakers. These fit differently. I wasn’t entire sure of them until we went hiking in the Iao Valley in Maui. Hopping on boulders across the river coming down the mountain, we tried in vain to keep our shoes dry. I slipped and one shoe fully submerged. I knew there was no drying it out, so I put the other shoe in the water. It was probably the most liberating event of the day. Despite having wet socks and wet shoes, they fit snugly enough I wasn’t bothered with the usual looseness and slippage I’d experience with other shoes. We were able to hike throughout the day, repeatedly submerging the shoes and then hiking further. Since we got home and the weather turned, I haven’t had the opportunity to hike with them again. They have become near daily wear shoes and there have been no negative effects from being water logged and dried repeatedly. I can’t speak to the other styles, but these are a new favorite.

Salomon XA

Finally, NUMBER 1!


This product is probably the single best supplement I have ever taken. I heard about it from Jocko and Echo on the Jocko Podcast. They swore by it. They kept talking about how it increases focus and memory. They even mentioned it’s ability to bring about lucid dreaming. My fiance and I took it before bed one night and we both slept like absolute shit. Turns out, you’re not supposed to take it within like 6 hours of bedtime. So I took it again in the morning. This isn’t some magic pill that motivates me. If I take it and lay around like a lazy bum, I’m the most focused lazy bum ever. If I take it and start a project, I have found myself getting distracted less, being more dedicated to finishing the project, and actually accomplishing things faster because I’m not deviating to side projects as much. Alpha Brain is now one of my daily supplements. I’m only taking 1 instead of 2 because I live on a cop’s salary and two a day stretches the budget. So far, 1 has been plenty. I’ll stay on it as long as it’s effective. I recommend trying it. Unfortunately, I have to recommend getting it from Amazon and two-day shipping. Shipping from Onnit is a little OFFIT. The last time I ordered direct, I was disappointed in shipping times.


There you have it folks, the Top 10 Things I recommend for the NerdCop in YOUR life. Stay tuned. After Christmas, I might do a Top 10 List of things I didn’t get for Christmas but still might want for my birthday!

Thanks for reading. If you agree, disagree, have tried any of these products and ALSO love them, feel free to message or comment. Like and share!