LEOs, guns and mindset, part 1


December 24, 2007, 09:40 AM
A few weeks ago I had to attend a professional conference in a nearby city. I arrived earlier than I'd planned (minimal traffic). I had to wait around for an hour in the lobby of the hotel hosting the conference.

While I was waiting, I noticed another group was also having a conference at the hotel: sheriffs. At least 20 sheriffs were waiting for their conference to get going.

Most of the gents (and one lady) were dressed in western-style slacks, western shirts, ties, and Stetsons. A few had jackets, but most were in shirtsleeves. Everyone had a prominently displayed badge.

Nobody had a gun.

Okay, one fellow had what appeared to be a gun butt poking against his coat at 4 o'clock. But of the 20+ sheriffs, he was the only one.


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December 24, 2007, 10:17 AM
Occasionally friends would see me out in plain clothes off duty and they'd ask the question why I was carrying a gun. What they didn't see was the one on the ankle and the one tucked inside my shirt.

December 24, 2007, 11:11 AM
Apparently they didn't hear about this! True story!

Several years ago, a small city police agency wanted to have a "touchy-feely" training day for all of the administrators and supervisors. There were no facilities available within their own small city, so they rented a banquet room in a large hotel in an adjoining, larger city. The hotel had a "No guns allowed" policy, and even though the POLICE were exempted, the Chief of that agency chose to comply with the policy of the hotel. All personnel were told to leave their firearms secured in their vehicles, or leave them at home.

There was a last-minute switch of banquet rooms, and the police personnel ended up in a smaller one (there was a diamond and jewelery vendors convention, and they needed the larger banquet room).

The "touchy-feely" training session (tolerance training) started, but after only a few minutes, a man dressed in a "Ninja" costume burst into the banquet room. At first, the police personnel merely figured that the "Ninja" was part of the training. NOPE! The "Ninja" was armed with a handgun, and announced that, "This is a robbery!"

The Chief of Police and a Sergeant got up and started to approach the "Ninja". They were both shot, and died in the banquet room! Several of the police supervisors rushed the "Ninja" and were able to wrestle him to the ground and disarm him. The "swarm" technique was effective, but during the chaos, the "Ninja" suffocated and died.

The "Ninja" had prepared for an escape from the banquet room, for there was a rapelling rope that he had attached to the exterior of the hotel. "Ninja" was unaware of the last-minute switch of banquet rooms, so he was there to rob the diamond and jewelry vendors.

The "Ninja" turned out to be a Japanese-American! He was also the son of a well-respected Superior Court Judge!

"No guns allowed!". Strange, but even the diamond and jewelry vendors were unable to have armed security personnel for their convention....with millions of $$$$ worth of goods!

December 24, 2007, 11:44 AM
Apparently they didn't hear about this! True story!

Cite please. Location. Agency.

December 24, 2007, 12:55 PM
Strange, but even the diamond and jewelry vendors were unable to have armed security personnel for their convention....with millions of $$$$ worth of goods!

We once did an interview with a jeweler who did not have a gun and he had about $250,000 worth of stones in a handmade envelope, made with a piece of 8 1/2 x 11" paper folded just so. His attitude was the stones were insured and he wasn't about to fight to keep them.

December 25, 2007, 11:08 AM
This occurred in California in 1994.
It was Palos Verdes Estates PD.
Not sure of the exact city where hotel was located, but I believe it was also in the Southbay area.

Found this NY Times article:

December 25, 2007, 11:14 AM
I recall that incident. Didn't recall any where a chief of police was killed in a similar type situation.

December 25, 2007, 11:36 AM
As an officer when I was ordered to appear in uniform but not with a weapon I decided early on that was not for me. Some judges would not allow officers during trials to wear firearms. So I simply bought myself a waistband holster and carried a J frame .38 under my shirt. Granted it wasn't much, but I was not going to be a visible target and not have any means to fight back.
I think years ago the FBI had a policy about off duty carry that said something like, if you don't carry that is up to you but you better not ever be in a position where you need to take action and not have a firearm.


December 25, 2007, 12:24 PM
I always had my J frame on my ankle in uniform and plain clothes. Only had one judge locally who said no firearms in the courtroom. He felt it would intimidate witnesses. We complained to the chief circuit judge and got that changed.
We use to have the policy that all sworn had to be armed 24/7. That changed to "don't have to be armed off duty but strongly recommended". The change was due to the unions and rulings with the labor laws. Cops were claiming if they were required to be armed 24/7 then they should be paid for that time. That wasn't with our agency but our agency changed because of those rulings.
The very first S&W 59 I actually saw was carried by an FBI agent and this was long before autos were authorized by the BU. He got it as a result of an incident he was involved in off duty and wasn't armed. This SA was a gun guy and firearms instructor. It was a Saturday morning and he needed to make a quick run to the drug store. He lived in a quiet town where violent crime was a rarity. Quiet Saturday morning so no need to carry his gun. He took his 2 daughters with him. When he got to the drug store door he opened it for his daughters and a normal looking man walked out. Nothing unusual. He let the guy leave and his daughters walked in and he followed. He found 5 patrons/employees of the store had just been beaten by a hammer. 2 eventually died. The guy that had left when he arrived was the subject. Had he been there just a few minutes earlier they would have been victims 6, 7 and 8. He got the first 59 he could find and carried it along with his 2.5" Mod 19. He said afterwards that when off duty the 59 always with him.

December 25, 2007, 06:14 PM
I remember hearing about that incident.

FWIW, it's not all that uncommon when cops get together for meetings, conferences, etc., for most of them to be unarmed. Especially if it involves admin folks.

One of the advantages of the S&W Airweight/Airlite J-frame revolvers is that they can be carried quite easily, comfortably and unobtrusively. I started carrying one of mine whenever attending out-of-town meetings & conferences, wearing plainclothes, since they slip into a lightweight jacket or pants pocket so well.

The last time I was speaking at a conference I had a very lightweight J-frame either in a suit coat pocket (inside breast pocket), or it was in my pants pocket if I was in just shirt sleeves. Increasingly often I've even been known to sometimes be carrying a couple of them.

December 25, 2007, 08:46 PM
Fastbolt is correct about the admin meetings and conferences.
My blued 49 (steel frame) and later on when I got a 649 were always with me no matter what the dress, what type of meeting or whatever other gun I was carrying. Still the same today. A bit heavier than the alloy frames but still small enough to be carried anywhere on the body without drawing attention to it and be completely concealed.

December 25, 2007, 09:23 PM
And the situation would have been different if they had guns how? This guy shot unarmed people, he would have shot armed people. Maybe one less guy? But I doubt it especially if he was robbing jewelers he was trigger happy.

I know plenty of jewelers and most of them are very, very quiet about their jewelry and what they are carrying, of all the ones I know many of them illegally carry concealed firearms, and get crazy weapons... Robbing a jewelry store with the owner inside is a death sentence to me unless he has employees heh.

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