DOPD – November 2015 Article
Double Oak Police Department
Thank you to the two hundred plus residents who participated in the Town of Double Oak National Night Out. It was great to have the opportunity to visit with the community we serve, meet neighbors, and talk about crime prevention.
Thank you also to Sheriff Travis, Chief Randy Plemons and Chief Rex George for visiting and bringing public safety dispatchers and crime prevention Deputies to the event.
Thank you Precinct 4 Deputy Scot Frenzen and Deputy Robert Kubicek from Constable Tim Burch’s office for visiting and participating in NNO.
Thank you to the Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department for taking a Tuesday training break and spending the evening talking about and demonstrating fire-fighting equipment.
Many thanks to Target employee volunteers from the FM 2499 store who, for the third year in a row, made hamburgers and hotdogs and passed out drinks. The contribution of materials and volunteer hours is extremely helpful and appreciated.
Thank you to FM 407 Sonic for your contributions.
Thank you to the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority for assisting with the petting zoo, bounce houses, grilling hamburgers and hot dogs and setting up National Night Out.
It was easily the best National Night Out we’ve ever had and once again thank you Double Oak.
We have just completed a legislative session and many new laws have gone or are going to go into effect. What has probably garnered the most public attention have been discussions and legislation regarding concealed and open carry. The legislature has woven a quilt of new laws that are dedicated to the right to bear arms. I’m not an attorney and won’t be giving legal advice but will make the following suggestions, if you’re a first time firearms carrier, based upon thirty years of military and law enforcement service.
Know and understand the basic rules of firearms safety:
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded (please don’t hand someone a loaded weapon, always transfer firearms with the slide or cylinder open and an empty chamber visible).
- Don’t point a weapon at anyone or anything you aren’t prepared to destroy (this seems self-evident but it takes self-discipline and training for it to become second nature).
- Keep your trigger finger indexed (meaning off the trigger until you are ready to fire. Please don’t underestimate your startle response and natural inclination to make a fist – or pull a trigger – when surprised).
- Be sure of your target, backstop and beyond (you absolutely must be sure you’re defending yourself or another person from a dangerous situation. Your backstop is important because any missed shots will continue to travel downrange until coming to a halt in either a thing or a living creature. Your “beyond” might be a family member or other loved one…again if you’re going to carry you’re ethically bound to train.)
- Take firearms training above and beyond the minimum required to obtain a license to carry / handgun license. Critical incidents that require deadly force are not the time for you to be thinking up tactics or trying to remember how your firearm operates. We preach to our officers to train as they fight and they will fight as they train. Under pressure you will do as you practiced. Good training and repetition are your friends.
- Practice loading / unloading and have a safe place to store your firearms. That absolutely means have a safe, lockbox or trigger lock for your firearm if you don’t have the weapon in your care, custody and control. Please, please, please don’t leave firearms in unlocked cars!
- Purchase a quality holster. Leather or a hard shell holster are good choices. In my experience nylon holsters snag on front sights and have the nasty habit of ejecting your firearm on to the ground at inopportune times. Consider carrying a spare magazine and a flashlight.
- Practice concealing your firearm (if you’re going to carry concealed) before going out in public. Fanny packs, while popular in the past, scream “I’ve got a gun!”…and it’s an incredibly inconvenient container.
- Practice conflict avoidance. The best way to avoid having to use a firearm is staying out of situations that might require their usage (read road rage incidents, sketchy parts of town, involving yourself in a disturbance where you don’t know all the facts or circumstances). DOPD Officers, when they are off duty, are expected to NOT get involved in off duty disturbances (unless a person’s life or health is in immediate danger) but rather are charged with being good witnesses and notifying the local law enforcement agency.
Some real world observations:
– In Texas there have been very few documented occurrences of permit holders shooting innocent persons. Unfortunately the incidents I’m familiar with involved family violence.
– The offense of murder has declined in Texas since the beginning of concealed carry (1996). In 1996 Texas recorded 1,476 murders (albeit not all of them committed via firearm) and in 2014 Texas recorded 1,187 murders, a statistically significant reduction of -19.5% (www.txdps.state.tx.us Crime In Texas). Also of interest is that the population of Texas increased from an estimated 19,006,240 residents in 1996 to an estimated 26,956,958 residents in 2014 (www.tsl.gov/ref/abouttx/census.html). An increase in residents of approximately 42%. There are similar correlations with Robberies – 32,796 reported in 1996 and 30,857 reported in 2014 and Aggravated Assaults – 80,572 reported in 1996 and 65,338 reported in 2014. I suspect there are multiple causations behind the reduction in violent crime in Texas to include more effective law enforcement strategies and technologies, sentencing of known offenders to prison, the advent of the cell phone (allowing people to report suspicious activities and crime), and perhaps the aging of our population. Concealed carry has not caused the streets of Texas to explode in violence.
– In my experience it is rare to find a permit holder breaking the law (probably not surprising as applicants go through a criminal history background check).
– I’ve yet to see a gun free zone sign stop a person who wants to commit an act of violence.
– I have worked several investigations where depressed persons had access to firearms and committed suicide (a point made again to secure firearms).
– I have worked multiple “accidental” shootings where the shooter didn’t know the firearm was loaded (treat every firearm as if it was loaded).
Deciding to carry a firearm is an onerous responsibility. Please do so in a responsible and committed manner.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve.