Tag Archives: citizens

Wyoming Police Citizen’s Academy – Week 7

Week 7 covered gangs and crisis negotiation, and was the last class in the academy (the 8th week was a graduation ceremony). It was also 2 weeks ago, so this is a bit overdue. Unfortunately, no slides were handed out for either one of these topics, so I am running off memory.

Gangs are an issue in the Wyoming area. There are over 30 gangs currently active in the Wyoming area, ranging from east coast & west coast gangs, to local, independent gangs. Gangs are not tied to any one race or ethnicity, and in fact, some gangs will include members from another race in the local ‘branch’ of the gang, and then run into problems when members from larger cities arrive and aren’t used to a racially homogeneous group.

Wyoming has a crisis negotiation team, which was formed in 1992 (I think) after an incident involving a hostage situation, in which the police had to rely on a news reporter who could act as a translator (Bulgarian of all languages) to defuse the situation. The majority of the CNT’s calls however, are not hostage situations, but domestic issues or suicide threats. Contrary to what you see in movies, you will not get a chopper in 20 minutes if you demand it, and they will not trade another person for the release of a hostage. CNT works closely with TACT during an incident, and both provide input to the site commander, who eventually decides to keep negotiating, or to send in TACT.

Wyoming Police Citizen’s Academy – Week 6

Week 6 covered the K-9 unit and TACT (SWAT) unit.

The K-9 unit currently has 4 dogs – Chico, Zeke, Arras, and Baron. All 4 are German Shepards, except for Arras, who is 1/2 Malinois. The dogs range in age from 3 to 5 1/2, and in price from $4500 to $9000. Dogs primarily come from European countries, since the bloodline of German Shepards in the US isn’t pure enough in most cases. The K-9 unit has been in service with Wyoming since 1989. In 2008, the unit was activated 193 times, primarily to track people or search for drugs.

TACT (Tactical Arrest & Confrontation Team) is Wyoming’s version of SWAT. It was established in 1974 to assist in serving high-risk arrest warrants, and dealing with hostage situations. Weapons vary by officer, currently offered are the M-4, the MP-5, and the Remington 700 rifle. They also have a wide variety of non-lethal options, such as rubber & bean bag rounds, tear gas, and the Taser.

TACT’s first armored vehicle was a re purposed Brinks security truck, purchased used for $10. The team currently uses a non-armored, customized deployment vehicle (customized by a Grand Rapids area RV garage). For more dangerous situations, a Bearcat is shared by all Kent County offices, and housed in the GRPD garage.

Wyoming Police Citizen’s Academy – Week 5

Really, I didn’t forget about it. There was no session last week, and its been a bit hectic.

Week 5 covered the detective bureau’s operations and the technical support unit (CSI).

Wyoming PD has 8 general detectives, 1 dedicated to auto theft, 5 total for the metro area fraud team (Wyoming, GR, Kentwood, and Kent County departments), and several sergeants and a lieutenant overseeing the department. The detectives review all incident reports from the patrol division, and determine if someone should be assigned to the case, or if it should just be filed away. Not all cases are assigned to a detective, usually due to a lack of evidence, but they are all kept in the system in case something tied to a case (ie, a serial number) does turn up.

Detectives also process and obtain all arrest and search warrants. They work closely with the prosecutor’s office to prepare for any upcoming trials, and have the resources in-house to prepare other officers for courtroom testimony.

Pawn shops and second-hand stores also feed any sale information to the detective bureau. By looking at patterns in sales of items to pawn shops, they can attempt to track down possible stolen merchandise.

The Technical Support Unit consists of one sworn sergeant, 4 full time civilian technicians, and 1 part time print examiner. While they can’t quite do what you see on CSI, they still have a lot of tools at their disposal for retrieving evidence at a crime scene.

One of the most common things to look for at a scene is a fingerprint. Unfortunately, unless the conditions are exactly right (hard, clean surface & right amount of skin oils), they usually can only pull a partial print with traditional techniques. With the use of a forensic light source (such as a Polilight), they can find latent prints which may be of higher quality. Many prints these days are taken with a combination of the FLS and digital photography. Prints aren’t just restricted to fingers anymore. Kent County departments have begun collecting full palm prints, as they are still unique, and provide a larger surface area to find a match.

The TSU also handles shooting scene reconstruction and blood spatter analysis. I won’t pretend to know the details of some of the math they posted (I don’t know much trig, sorry). Suffice to say, several of the example slides they presented graphically demonstrated how various blood spatters can be cross-referenced with each other to come to a likely point of impact.

This coming week will cover the K-9 unit and TACT team.