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A Basic Guide to Weapons

Chat with a Cop

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Questions Regarding the San Diego Police Department

Here are questions one of my chapter-mates has graciously allowed me to post here on my blog.

Hi Margaret,

What weapon does the San Diego PD use? Basically, I have my heroine using a Sig Sauer. She is 30 years old - is that too young to make homicide detective?

Keeping in mind that this is a paranormal world, let's say my heroine was attacked. She gets free. Two men are now fighting and she's seen some really freaky stuff.  She shouts, "Freeze!" If they do not respond is it legitimate for her to fire off one round above their heads into a cement wall to try to get them to stop (or is this too much TV? LOL!)? Or does she simply stand there with her gun hoping her order of Freeze will get their attention?

I really appreciate any assistance you can give. These are very tiny points in the story, but my editor is asking questions and I'm trying to make sure I have answers that will satisfy her. Anything you can clarify would be a big help.

Thanks so much,

Patrizia, no problem. Never worry about asking me anything, I do my best to answer all questions.

First off, age of your Homicide Detective. Thirty is not too young for a SDPD Homicide Detective, under the following circumstances:

If she joined the Police Dept. right around her 21st birthday that would give her an easy five years to make Detective, which would put her age around 26 - 27 years old as a non-Homicide Detective.

Your heroine would then have to make a name for herself.  You know, be a Superstar Detective in whatever Division she was in (Narcotics, Gangs, Sex Crimes etc.). She’d need great busts, high profile cases, lots of positive media attention. What I’m talking about are cases that demonstrate great ‘Police Work’ and above average Investigative Skills that would get her noticed by the Brass. That could get her into Homicide early.

Your 30 year old Homicide Detective would be well known and respected, however once in Homicide she would be treated like the newbie she is (especially compared to all the other older, more seasoned Homicide Detectives . . . AKA – Dinosaurs).  ;-) So she would get all the crap cases until she proved she could handle more complex cases.

Types of weapons issued: SDPD issues Ruger P89, Sig 229 or Sig 226, and Smith & Wesson (not sure of the model).  So your Detective could carry the Ruger.

If an officer wants to purchase their own weapon they are authorized to carry Beretta, Smith & Wesson or Glock. The only way for an officer to carry either a .40 cal or a .45 is if they purchase their own weapon. 

Warning shots: For the SDPD, warning shots are completely prohibited.

There are several ways your Detective could handle this situation. She could OC (tear gas) both men to get their attention. Patrol Officers are required to carry OC as a Detective she would have the option of carrying OC.

Not many Detectives carry tazers, but that could be another option, with her tazing the most aggressive of the combatants. That would help her take control of the situation.

My personal favorite attention getter was racking a round into my Reminington 870 pump- action shot-gun. The sound is distinctive and people will stop and stand tall, their eyes wide. Of course, she could use the less lethal version of the Remington 870. It’s basically the same weapon – same attention getting sound, only colored differently, but loaded with rubber bullets.

Let me know if this helps,


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cop Car Question

Can a cop take a picture and scan it onto his phone and send it out to squad cars to see on their vehicle scanners or whatever that might be called? For instance if a child were missing and the police had a photo handed to him, how would he get the photo transferred to the squad cars so they could be on the look-out for the child?


The computer device inside patrol cars is called a Mobile Data Terminal (Cops refer to them as MDTs). Right now, a lot of Departments are transitioning to MCTs (Mobile Communication Terminals). In the MCTs, because the operative word is Communication, officers can access their email through the Terminal. (FYI: Departments can choose to allow their officers to have this access or prevent it.)

So if an officer takes a photo of the photo and emails himself a copy, he could then upload the information, with WC (Watch Commander) approval, to all units.

Of course, depending on the camera and the degradation of the image, it might be better to drive to the station or sub-station and scan in the photo on an actual scanner.

FYI San Diego Police Department has MCTs.

One question, what is the age of your missing child? Age plays an important role in the amount of action the PD will take. I believe the critical age is fourteen. Fourteen and over, Police will want to know if the child is or has run away. Under fourteen, it's treated as a critical missing persons.

Hope that helps