...






law enforcement

KN, p. 135 “What does it take to be a sniper?”

 

Sniper:  an expert marksman that operates from a concealed position some distance from the target, usually having the additional advantage of elevation.

 

Snipers have been used as an effective strategy in fighting wars for over 200 years. They came into use in law enforcement as a way to combat domestic terrorism without involving the military. There is more to it than being a great shot, and there are several differences between police and military sniper jobs as well as different types of training involved.

 

A law enforcement sniper in a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) unit generally operates as part of a team in hostage situations or other hi-risk events, sometimes to provide protection, sometimes to eliminate the threat of a specific target. The targets are generally under 100 yards away and the assignments are usually completed in a few hours. Police snipers shoot only as a last resort.

 

A military sniper works with a spotter or a team to protect and defend his military unit from harm while they are on assignment during wartime. He is typically shooting from a higher, concealed place, so that he can spot the enemy and alert the troops below of enemy movement. On occasion, a military sniper is shooting at a target 1000 or more yards away. The record for a long distance confirmed kill shot is currently held by British Army CoH Craig Harrison, achieved in November, 2009, at a range of 2,707 yards.

 

SWAT team members have sometimes entered law enforcement after serving in the military, so if you’ve ever wondered what it takes, here are some of the requirements from both military and civilian routes.

 

Each of the branches of the military has similar basic training programs, but vary slightly because of the specific needs of each.

 

Potential Marine Snipers (like Special Agent Gibbs on NCIS) can expect a rigorous thirteen-week training schedule after Marine Boot Camp and then additional training, depending on the specialty.

While in Boot Camp the candidates must attain at minimum:

  • Expert rating with rifles
  • Physical Fitness Test (PFT) with a first class score
  • Swimming test – including 30 minutes treading water and testing whether the recruits can survive in the water while wearing all combat gear (rifle, helmet, flak jacket and pack)
  • 20/20 vision, no color blindness

 

There is Infantry Training after Boot Camp where the candidate may volunteer for scout/sniper school at either Recon School or at the Infantry Battalion. The candidate must have scored well on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), have no Courts Martial on record, be of sound mind, and have achieved the rank of at least Lance Corporal.

 

Just in case you’re wondering what is required past the basic Physical Fitness Test (which is mostly about cardio fitness and endurance while wearing workout clothes), all Marines must now complete a Combat Fitness Test while wearing the complete uniform (boots, etc)

 

Combat Fitness Test Requirements

Males
Age 880 Yard Run Ammo Can Lifts Maneuver Under Fire
17-26 3:48 45 3:29
27-39 4:00 45 3:55
40-45 4:19 44 3:57
46+ 4:30 43 4:28

 

 

Army Sniper

It is suggested that a candidate for an Army Sniper spot must be great at math and science, in order to know how to adjust the angle of a shot for wind speed, direction and target range.

 

They should have learned the basics of marksmanship and have entered shooting competitions before enlisting in the Army.

 

Graduating from Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) means that you have passed the minimums. You are given two minutes for each:   pushups and sit-ups. The two-mile run is timed. The chart below shows minimum requirements.

 

Age Group

Gender

Push-Ups

Sit-Ups

2-Mile Run

17 – 21

Male

42

53

15:54

Female

19

53

18:54

22 – 26

Male

40

50

16:36

Female

17

50

19:36

 

After graduating from Boot Camp, the candidate will wait for a sniper opening and then try out.

It is possible to become a spotter for a sniper as an alternate plan. Spotters go along to protect and defend the sniper from enemy attack and keep track of the enemy while helping the sniper adjust his shots. 

 

Navy SEAL Sniper

During training, the candidate learns about digital photography, computer imaging and satellite communication.

After the technical part is mastered, he also learns about camouflage, patrolling, and how to get in and out of hostile territory without leaving any trace behind – not even bullet casings.

Advanced marksmanship is only one part of this training. No out of shape hunters need apply. Navy SEALS have one of the most demanding physical training regimens anywhere.

 

FBI Sniper

FBI snipers are part of elite SWAT and Hostage Rescue Teams (HRT)

They must be able to work independently and in team situations, since they often arrive at the scene before any local task force and have eyes on the targets before anybody else does.

 

Minimum requirements for the FBI:

  • The candidate must be 23-37
  • Four year college degree
  • Three years on the job experience.
  • Must pass a variety of physical, medical and drug tests and interviews.

Then, if accepted, candidates attend the FBI Academy in a 21 week training program, then serve in a field office for at least two years.

After the two years, they can volunteer for SWAT or HRT training and then must attend Marine Sniper Course for 12.5 weeks.

Every field office has its own SWAT team.

 

Still want to be a sniper? Before you open the door to the recruiter’s office, think.

 

  • Do you have what it takes to get through all the training?
  • Can you handle the intensity of the job?
  • Are you good at waiting?
  • Can you lie on the ground, motionless for long stretches at a time?
  • Are you patient?
  • Are you capable of pulling the trigger and actually making the kill shot?

 

For more information about sniper training, click on the links below:

 

http://navyseals.com

 

http://www.fbiagentedu.org/careers/tactical-operations/become-sniper-in-fbi/

 

http://www.military.com/military-fitness/army-fitness-requirements

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/10740415/What-does-it-take-to-be-a-military-sniper.html

 

http://army.com/new-fitness-and-combat-readiness-tests

 

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/marines/a/cft.htm

 

*Photos of Police and Secret Service snipers courtesy of Wikipedia.

 

 

Be Sociable, Share!

KN, p. 134 “Could you be a detective?”

 

 

Detectives on TV have great jobs. They swoop into a crime scene after it’s been secured, and the Crime Scene Techs take care of all the evidence collection and any photography needed. The Patrol Officers take the statements and canvas the neighborhoods. All the stars of the shows need to do is solve the crime using their brains and years of experience in assessing homicides just like the one in front of them. You’re pretty bright and always solve the imaginary mystery ahead of the TV cops, so you could do that, right?

 

Be careful what you wish for, because not every town has special people assigned to be detectives and you may have to move to the big city in order to realize your dream.

 

In smaller towns, the police departments are too small (think “Jessie Stone” on TV) to have fancy labs, and the crime scene tech may be the same guy that answers the phones at headquarters. Any detecting is most likely done by the police officers themselves.

 

The sometime ‘detectives’ in smaller jurisdictions don’t have as many murder cases to work as in the big cities, so their time may be spent catching speeding motorists, or figuring out who broke into the liquor store after hours or how the Fitzer barn happened to burn down. There may be robberies, burglaries, domestic abuse, runaways, assault, and potential arson cases to resolve, and if there is more than one case at a time that comes into the local office, the investigations may be handed off to the county or state law enforcement agencies. In big cities, however, the need for detectives may be serious enough to create divisions that specialize in robbery or homicide or arson or cybercrime or gang activity.

 

The reality is that being a detective of any kind may be fascinating work, but Homicide Detectives have long hours (rarely 9 to 5) and are awakened in the middle of the night when a body is discovered. The investigation must be conducted while the leads are hot. If the killer isn’t caught within the first few days, the trail gets cold and the case gets tougher to solve. Sometimes, because there is not enough local manpower available or even a lab to process evidence, cases that require forensic analysis are handed over to county or state agencies.

 

What does it take to be a detective?

 

Training/Education – larger cities and/or state and federal agencies, or private corporations,  require criminal justice degrees for investigator/detective spots. If you’d like to investigate insurance fraud, art forgery/theft, or mail fraud, additional specific training will be expected.

 

A candidate for the position of Homicide Detective would most likely start out as a patrol officer, having gone through the Police Academy first. Some cities require criminal justice degrees, or four-year college degrees in order to advance, so patrol officers interested in shifting the focus of their careers, may have to attend college in off hours. In smaller departments, detectives are sometimes chosen because of a special aptitude for spotting crime scene details. Some departments require candidates to pass special written/oral tests. At this point, there is no national standard for either minimum educational requirements, or training, to be a Homicide Detective.

 

Skills – Homicide Detectives must be able to organize information, work for long hours, be physically fit, be emotionally able to deal with the terrible things they will see, and have a strong stomach. He/she can’t be bothered by blood, or body parts scattered around. In order to be effective, they must be able to interrogate witnesses without having them clam up. They should be able to ask questions that require other than yes and no answers. Immediately after a crime has occurred, the detectives must be able to discover the facts, sort out the details, determine the oddities of a case, and deal with grieving widows and relatives and neighbors.

 

Not really interested in murders, but want to solve those sexy art fraud and insurance fraud cases? Cybercrime sounds cool to you?

 

In that case, you need:

  • a great eye for detail
  • ability to pick out missing information or conflicting information in someone’s story
  • excellent observational skills
  • ability to solve situational puzzles
  • ability to interpret body language or speaking patterns
  • reasoning skills
  • ability to make educated guesses about how certain people would act under stress.

 

Pretty much what a Homicide Detective needs, but without dealing with the blood.

 

Like digging through seemingly unrelated facts in order to come up with the ‘who, what, where and how’ of a crime? Then a ‘why’ so that motive can be established?

Maybe you could be detective.  🙂

 

 

Related article:

http://www.newgeography.com/content/00242-america-more-small-town-we-think   

      

 

Save

Save

Be Sociable, Share!

KN, p. 132 “Fan Favorites – 2014”

 

I’ve said it before and it’s still true: Kerrian’s Notebook followers are a great bunch. A few of the readers mentioned that some of the posts in 2014 were ‘ripped from the headlines.’ Truth is often stranger than fiction, so while Kerrian is a fictional character, the posts are based in solid fact. As I say in my upcoming novel, “Murder is messy,” and it’s sometimes just plain weird. But, even a Homicide Detective cooks, goes on an occasional trip, and works with other law enforcement officers, so the fan faves were an interesting mix.

 

Below is the list of the most frequently read new posts on Kerrian’s Notebook in 2014.

Click on each title to take you to that page.  🙂

 

10.  “How many bodies at the yard sale?” (p.122) – Based on a visit to the 2014 Writers’ Police Academy.

 

 

9.  “Death by Elevator” (p.105) – Based on my real-life experience in April, 2014.

 

8.  “50 More Ways to Die an Unnatural Death” (p.111) – The #1 vote getter was so popular that I wrote another list and it made the top 10 as well.  🙂

 

7.  “Cemetery at the Golf Course” (p.116) –  Yup, this one is true.

 

 

6.  “Officer needs assistance!” (p.117) Photos taken at the re-enactment of a high-risk stop.

 

5.  “75 Second Mookies” (p.126) – Created, taste tested and eaten by us.  🙂

 

4.  “Chocolaty Chocolate Banana Muffins” (p.96) – Created, taste tested and eaten by us  🙂

 

 

3.  “What does a firefighter wear?” (p.119) Info about uniforms and videos of heat resistance testing. Photos taken during the 2014 Writers’ Police Academy.

 

 

 

 

2.  “What does a sheriff do?” (p.115) tells the difference between a Sheriff and a Police Chief, as explained to me by an active duty Chief.

 

…and the most frequently read new post on www.kerriansnotebook.com in 2014 was:

 

1. “100 Ways to Die an Unnatural Death” (p.100) Written in honor of the 100th Kerrian’s Notebook post.  There were LOTS of writers that checked out the two unnatural death lists, used some of the ideas in their own writing and even contributed suggestions. Readers sent me some wickedly funny emails and some of those ideas are in #8!

 

Thanks to all of you, readership almost doubled in 2014. It was a phenomenal year!

 

Here’s to a great 2015, with fewer real-life homicides, more crimes solved and always, more amazing mysteries/suspense/thrillers to read.

 

 

*Photos by Patti Phillips

Be Sociable, Share!