Policin' by Night: NVGs for LEOs

| June 16, 2016
Categories: Op-Eds

As our readers know, one of the places where we engage is Primary & Secondary. We read the forums when we’re not hungover, follow their Facebook thread when we’re not watching porn and often learn something — or take part in a brisk debate. Recently one of their contributors, a longtime LEO, wrote this piece about NVGs for LEOs. If you’re On The Job you might want to take a look. Mad Duo

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Intro (excerpt)We have come a long way since Balaclavas, Command Jac vests with K30 plates and MP5’s. A big reason for this growth and increase in skill is directly related to the GWOT. America’s heroes in foreign lands have discovered that technology, when used correctly, is a force safety multiplier unlike anything else. This is particularly true of night vision capabilities and supporting gear. It is far past the time that domestic LE catch up.


NVG use for warrant service (Excerpt) …to mitigate and manage risk as much as possible, the following recommendations should be considered when planning an NVG hit, especially when using dynamic tactics:

  1. You should absolutely Knock and Announce prior to forcing entry on the target. Get creative, I can knock and announce on the side of the house, breach two entry points simultaneously, hold one and enter the other. There is no legal requirement that I enter through the door I knocked on.
  2. Once action is placed on the target, consider having police vehicles activate overhead lights near the target AND use their PA system to continue to announce Police presence.
  3. Officers need to recognize that while they can see perfectly fine, occupants may not be able to see at all. In the case of armed resistance from criminals, get busy shooting. For fighters, get busy fighting. For complaint persons, make sure officers communicate to people in a calm voice that they are indeed the police, that they are going to be restrained temporarily, and THEN they put hands on people. If need be, they can take the extra step of closing the door to the room and then activating white light so the occupants can actually see.
  4. Be cautious about using NVG for EVERY service. This will likely take care of itself since missions occur at all times of the day, precluding the benefit of NVG. In addition, Surround and callout tactics may result in NVG use, but typically this would occur after occupants have complied and surrendered, robots have been introduced, K9 has been used and potentially OC/CS has been deployed. The likelihood of mounting the defense that they didn’t know we were cops after all that has occurred has been extremely diminished.

These things are suggestions that might help with civil action and possibly even criminal action against individual officers and organizations. They are not necessarily TTP’s.


Summary (Excerpt) Officers need to be able to do all the basic skills under NVG that they can do on a sunny range, breaching day, or combatives training. If they can’t, your team is not capable of clearing a structure under NVGs.

Read the rest of the article over on Primary & Secondary right here.

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  1. Barney Tarbush

    I’m confused by the above comment. Getting equipment that allows peace officers to obtain a tactical edge, however thin, should always be a positive.

    As far as the comments about hitting the wrong houses, and playing soldier with toys, that’s as true with law enforcement as it is the military.

    Law enforcement are using tactics and equipment more and knocking and asking less because the Bad Guys drive the narrative. Just like in the military, except when Green screws up, it’s dirt herders half way across the planet. When Blue screws up, it’s American Citizens most of the time.

    Wish that it were the fifties again, when you could speak softly and carry a big stick. In the 21st century, the person in that house could be some decent Americans, or it could be heavily armed illegal aliens that have no intention of riding the bus back to guatemala. Even with great preplan and intel, you never know for sure what’s behind that door until you kick it. Why not send people equipped and trained for the worst, if most of the time much less than the worst occurs? If it’s just a couple of joints, no harm no foul. If it’s some coocoo bird with an AK, people who are ready to deal with it are right there.

    We’re not so different, you and I.

    • Wilson

      I respect your opinion and I even agree with some of it.

      My point is this: when it comes to getting the wrong place such events occur with alarming regularity in LE. In the military I tend to give people more of a break because you’re talking about some asshole that might plant an IED, make VBIED or launch an attack on friendly forces. Lives are at stake and while mistakes happen in high stakes situations like this, the desire to hit hard and fast is entire expected and appreciated.

      With LE enforcing drug laws we really don’t have that. If someone sells another bag of weed no one is going to die. If they sell a drug and someone ODs on that drug, well it takes two to tango. It’s not like the dealer was running out at night and attacking people to drug them. The user made a choice, a foolish one, but a choice nonetheless. The purported dealer is much less of a threat than someone who’s planning a terror attack. The idea of comparing the military to LE in this case in essence is saying that the USA is a war zone and civilians should take heed of that fact. I don’t accept that.

      SWAT style units were originally designed after the Texas A&M massacre where Charles Whitman shot 40+ people. That’s a perfectly acceptable use, as is a hostage situation. The problem is the ever expanding use of “high risk warrants” to justify using every tactical tool in the arsenal without doing the background work.

      The point boils down to this: Massive increases in tactical capability need to be matched by responsibility and accountability. In general, they are not and when it all goes pear shaped the cops claim “sovereign immunity” in court and are off the hook or they get sued and a departmental insurance policy, paid for by the tax payers, pays the bill and jacks up the premiums. Thanks to the unions there is no accountability for individual LEOs or their bosses that make completely retarded decisions. Just to look up some of the videos of the retardation SWAT engages in and then come back and tell me that it’s acceptable.

      Want the gear? Use it right or face stiff consequences. That’s what I’m saying here. Since you haven’t shown a great propensity to use it right, I question whether or not you should have more of it until a system is put in place that crucifies everyone, cops included, for kicking in the wrong door and shooting innocent people and pets. With such a system in place I’d have no problem but great tech doesn’t make up for poor decisions and when you combine poor decisions with “kinetic actions” you end up with dead civilians.

      This is now much longer than I wished it to be, so I will close simply with this: If you kick in my door at 0300 my big ass dogs have the run of the house. If you start letting rounds fly you can expect reasonably accurate, suppressed rifle fire coming back at you along with some other surprises. I give no fucks if you’re a hoodlum or if you have a badge. You came into my house and started shooting at my family at least some of you are leaving in a goddamn bag.

  2. Wilson

    This is probably the only BB&C article I have ever taken issue with but I really take issue with this one and not based on the article itself.

    Look if cops want NVG’s or thermals for legit GWOT uses, that’s A-OK by me. If they need the tools, they should have them, provided they use them responsibly, which they often don’t. Use won’t be limited to terrorism. These things will be used for the WOD and police have already shown themselves in many instances to be trigger happy about this sort of thing.

    The truth is that when you get new toys, you play with them. All of a sudden “kinetic action” or “dynamic tactics” are a solution in want of a problem and they’re replacing good old-fashioned police work. It’s that old adage that when you’ve got a hammer everything looks like a nail. A few minutes on Google can find dozens of videos online where the cops decided to “go kinetic” and hit a house and that’s where it all went to shit because they hit the wrong house and shot innocent people and/or pets during a “no knock” raid.

    Sorry, I don’t often second-guess police work since I’ve never done it, but when I see videos of police breaking down doors and shooting innocent (and usually unarmed) people to death while pointing guns at children it gets my dander up. There is absolutely no fucking excuse for kicking in a door on the wrong house and then shooting some poor guy who’s holding a sandwich wrapped in tin foil, a guy who has no idea WTF is going on. If any of us did that we’d be cooling our heals in prison, possibly on death row and we’d deserve it.

    Again, I’m not trying to trash cops in general here. I’m saying that SWAT raids have become too common under the guise of a “high risk warrant” that’s really going after someone over a few joints or on the word of some drug addict CI who’s trying to avoid charges. There need to be consequences for LEAs and LEOs who engage in what BB&C often refers to as “tactical tomfuckery”, by which in this case I mean skipping doing their homework so they can play soldier with their new toys.


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