Welcome to Law Officer. We’re honored you’ve joined us. This magazine will carve out a unique niche in law-enforcement publications, serving those who work the street, face the criminals and make the decisions regarding tactics and training. It’s not for those who embrace the corporate mentality. It’s for working cops, field training officers and unit supervisors, because you’re the ones who get the job done and bring about change in our profession.
The greatest program development and the best equipment recommendations come from those who actually do the job and use the specialized equipment police work requires. I’m committed to providing you, the movers and shakers, with the very best police content. We’ll focus on what we call the three T’s: tactics, technology and training. You’ll get the tactics vital to your survival, technology that advances your capabilities and training to give you the edge. Product reviews and spotlights will update you on the newest equipment, but we’re not stopping there. Law Officer has partnered with PoliceOne.com the leading Internet resource for law enforcement. The synergy created by combining the best hard-copy content with the latest online info will be intense.
When I first started wearing a badge, I probably did not fully appreciate the significance of my undertaking and the special calling I’d unwittingly answered. Police work seemed like a worthwhile and exciting endeavor. The idea of “helping others” made me feel like I was on the side of good and right. Besides, let’s be honest it was downright fun out there hooking and booking crooks.
Like many in the early stage of adult life, I thought I knew a lot more than I did. There were many lessons learned along the way, things that only working on the 50-yard line of life can teach you. More than 30 years later, I have a different perspective on policing. I believe those who protect society from wrongdoers are very special people who knowingly undertake a dangerous yet noble calling, and stand in the gap so others will not have to. This requires sacrifices others have trouble understanding; sacrifices like missed holidays with family, shift work and sometimes suffering ostracism because of our job.
Cops work in all sorts of areas doing a variety of jobs. I am continually amazed by the diversity of tasks in our profession. It’s incredible that the term “policing” covers everything from the Alaskan trooper in a bush plane to a resident deputy in Jamul, Calif.; from an NYPD detective to a patrol officer in Bayou Vista, Texas. During the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many people around our great country, and I’d like to share two of those encounters with you.
At the International Law Enforcement Educators and Training Association (ILEETA) conference in Chicago in March, I saw an incredibly intense group of trainers who came together to share and hone their training skills. I met Roy Sanchez, a state police sergeant who, when asked what he wanted most to communicate to field officers, told me about a new type of knife that could present an unseen danger to street cops. His story was so compelling I asked him to share it with cops around the country, and you’ll find Roy’s information in this first issue (see “Knife Alert,” p. 36).
While attending the National Police Memorial Week in June in Washington, D.C., I met Yvonne Sawyers, whose husband, Sterling Heights (Mich.) Police Officer Mark Sawyers, was ambushed while writing a report in his car. The man who killed Sawyers was tired of robbing banks with a shotgun and decided he would obtain a handgun by killing a cop. After America’s Most Wanted (AMW) profiled the killer three times, he was found in Florida and committed suicide when surrounded. I talked with Yvonne on the set of AMW. She’d gone there to thank the show for its role in capturing her husband’s killer. I will never forget the anguish on her face and the innocence of her daughter a daughter who will never know her father. This type of incident underscores the sacrifice sometimes entailed in policing.
Law Officer is absolutely committed to supporting you and others who serve with the very best information from those in the know. Take a look at our lineup of authors and subjects I think you’ll be impressed. Tell us what you think because this magazine is for you, and we want to deliver the very best content possible.
Dale Stockton is a 32-year-veteran of law enforcement, having worked in all areas of police operations and investigations and retiring as a police captain from Carlsbad, California. He is a graduate of the 201st FBI National Academy and holds a Master’s degree in Criminology from the University of California, Irvine. He has served as a Commissioner for California POST, the agency responsible for all California policing standards and training. Dale is the former editor-in-chief of Law Officer Magazine and is the executive director of Below 100.