By Brian McKenna
As distasteful as it is to second-guess the actions of a fellow officer, especially one whose mistakes have cost him so much, it is even more distasteful to see an officer’s blood shed in vain, to deny others the lessons to be learned from his tragic misfortune.
Officer deaths and injuries are often unavoidable. Some errors are more obvious than others, but usually something could have been done to prevent the dire outcome.
The purpose of this column is not to unnecessarily critize those who have given so much-we have all made similar, if not worse, mistakes. It is to hopefully prevent similar tragedies in the future. This regular feature will analyze actual incidents in which officers have been killed or wounded, and will focus on what can be learned from them
With this in mind, “Officer Down” is dedicated to the officers whose blood was shed in the course of the incident it analyzes, and to all our brother officers who have been killed and injured in unselfish service to their communities.
DESCRIPTION OF INCIDENT
Al Benitez switched off the alarm and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. As he headed for the kitchen, he glanced over at the couch and noticed it was empty.
“Where’d she go?” he wondered as he made a quick pass through the house to discover, with considerable relief, that he was alone.
Benitez, a 39-year old officer who had been reassigned to the academy after suffering a serious injury several years before, had good reason to be relieved. The person who’d vacated the couch was Susan Harding, an attractive 32-year old whom he had dated until a short time before. Although he had been moderately interested in her at first, the relationship had soon soured. Harding had been far more interested in him than he’d been in her.
Also, her fascination with law enforcement, which had begun as a subject of mutual interest, had quickly become an uncomfortable nuisance. She’d started showing up at the academy, hanging around his office and even representing herself to the cadets as his wife.
As time went on, Benitez’s discomfort with the relationship turned to deeper concern. Harding was the kind of woman who could cause a lot of trouble. He couldn’t continue to see her, but he was worried that she would become vengeful if he didn’t let her down easily.
He had tried to back off from the relationship slowly but that hadn’t worked. He then tried to explain that he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship-again to no avail. She had shown up, uninvited, at his place late last night and told him she had nowhere else to stay. He hadn’t felt like driving anywhere at such a late hour and he was trying not to offend her, so he had allowed her to sleep on the couch.
However, he had kept his distance, making it clear that he wasn’t interested in any kind of physical relationship-he was simply letting her stay as a favor. It had been a tense situation and Benitez had not been looking forward to dealing with it in the morning. Therefore, Harding’s unexpected decision to leave before he woke up was a relief.
Although Benitez had to leave town on business, he was still getting ready when he heard a knock at the back door. Because he had lots of friends in law enforcement, it wasn’t unusual for visitors to stop by at odd hours. Benitez answered the door and was disappointed to see Harding standing there. “Can I come in?” she asked, “I need a ride into town.”
Benitez’s residence was in a semi-rural area several miles from town and he didn’t want to make her walk. Mindful to hide his irritation, he agreed to give her a ride and asked her to come inside.
Almost immediately, he noticed that she seemed mildly disoriented. Her speech was disjointed and she wasn’t making a lot of sense. He let her ramble on, suspecting that she was high on something, but also thankful to avoid talking to her directly.
As they were about to leave a few minutes later, they were interrupted by a heavy knock at the back door, followed by several more. Despite the intensity of the knocking, Benitez wasn’t concerned. His friends would sometimes bang on the door as a joke to mimic a drug raid. Relieved by the distraction from this uncomfortable interaction with Harding, Benitez went to the back door (which led from the rear family room to the back yard) and opened it.
As the door swung open, Benitez found himself looking down the muzzle of a pistol! Behind the gun was an overweight dirt bag, menacingly growling, “Are you Albert Benitez?”
But Benitez was already slamming the door. He threw his weight against it, spun the deadbolt into the locked position and moved to the right to get out of the line of fire.
The man outside was Ramiro Garcia, a 28-year old cocaine abuser with a history of mental illness, prior arrests for drugs, aggravated assault and assaulting a police officer. Although unknown at the time, Garcia had been hired to kill him.
For now, Benitez’s only concern was to fight back. His hand instinctively reached for the 9mm Beretta he kept tucked inside his waistband, but he grabbed empty air. With a sudden, heart-rending realization that he had left the weapon in his car, he felt hot anger-not over his near-helpless situation but at himself for allowing it to happen.
He usually took the gun out of his waistband while driving because the pressure of the car seat against the steel aggravated his back problem (a carryover from the incident that had changed his career), but he also made a point of taking it with him whenever he got out. However, last night, he’d forgotten to grab it before going into the house, and now it was locked inside the car. Even if he could get past the man outside, he didn’t have his keys with him, so the Beretta might as well be locked inside a bank vault.
He realized that the best he could do was keep his attacker out of the house until the police arrived. He did the only thing he could-keeping his left foot and hand firmly planted on the edge of door and his body pressed against the wall, he shouted at Harding, “There’s a guy out there with a gun! Call 911!”
Harding was standing in the hall between the family room and kitchen and there was a cordless phone on the counter just inside the kitchen door.
“OK, Al! Just don’t let him in!” Harding shouted back.
Assuming that Harding was making the call, but not wanting to take any chances, Benitez repeated the urgent request again and again, each time receiving an assurance from Harding. Time seemed to drag as Benitez waited to hear approaching sirens, but they never came.
Then came the unmistakable smell of burned gunpowder, intermingled with several loud pops, behind him.
Although he felt no pain or impact, and never looked directly back at his attacker, he knew Garcia was shooting at him from the hallway where Harding had been standing only moments before!
Without hesitation, Benitez unlocked the deadbolt, yanked the door open and bolted outside to escape the barrage. He had no idea where Harding had gone, and didn’t know if the police were on the way. Concerned for Harding’s safety as well as his own, fully aware that he couldn’t get to the firearm in his car and feeling an urgent need to make sure help was on the way, he headed back inside the house.
The door he had exited was just a few feet away from another exterior door. The second door led into the laundry room and in turn led into the hall next to the kitchen. Benitez threw that door open and ran through the laundry room and hall into the kitchen. In the heat of the moment, he gave no thought to the fact that the door, which was ordinarily closed and locked, was ajar before he reached it. The cordless phone was still in its cradle and Benitez snatched it up as he ran by.
In retrospect, the odds of Harding having returned the phone to its cradle during an emergency like this were all but impossible, but again Benitez was too busy to think about things such as this.
Although he now had the phone, he knew he had to keep moving to stay away from Garcia. He was half way to the doorway at the opposite end of the kitchen when another shot rang out behind him. Still feeling no pain, he kept running until he reached the doorway, ducked through it, and doubled back down the hall toward the laundry room again. Once there, he headed back outside.
Just outside the door to his left was a large covered patio. As Benitez ran that way, another shot cracked behind him. Although still numb to pain, he stumbled and fell forward onto the pavement. Before he could scramble back onto his feet, another shot came. Garcia was close behind, almost on top of him.
He forced himself back onto his feet, and started running again. Although Garcia had gained ground when Benitez fell, the man was grossly overweight and out of shape. Since Benitez worked out regularly, he was much more physically fit.
Despite his many wounds, Benitez pulled away from Garcia as he ran around the corner of the house toward the front yard. Not knowing how close Garcia was, and hearing nothing, he stopped long enough to glance over his shoulder. Although he saw no one, he kept going! In fact, he’d reached the sidewalk leading to the front door when he took a nose dive, crashing through a row of rose bushes and landing hard on his face.
It was then he heard a revving car engine coming from the garage and saw his car backing down the driveway toward the street. With some surprise, he noted that Harding was behind the wheel, with Garcia in the passenger seat. Benitez assumed that Garcia was forcing the woman to drive, and wanted to make sure he didn’t escape. He dialed 911, asked for a medical chopper, told the dispatcher he’d been shot, and gave her a description of Garcia, Harding and the car.
Benitez carefully rose to his feet as he talked on the phone. Having taken multiple hits to vital areas, he was bleeding profusely from several places on his lower torso, but he was determined to make it through this. He stayed upright on shaky bent knees, and refused to sit down while he waited for help.
It was a long 17-minute wait, but Benitez stood patiently, resolute in his determination to overcome his wounds and ensure that his assailant was brought to justice. Even after help arrived he stayed focused on the task. He gave detailed descriptions of Garcia and Harding, described the attack, and directed officers to key locations where evidence could be preserved.
At his insistence, Benitez was flown to the trauma center of his choosing. Although other hospitals were closer, he knew this one handled more gunshot wounds than any in the region.
After a long flight, during which he refused to close his eyes or otherwise give in to his wounds, Benitez was rushed directly into surgery. He’d lost a tremendous amount of blood and died four times while on the table. Benitez had taken seven hits from a .380: three of them hitting him in the lower left side, two in the stomach just above the navel, one in the left forearm and one in the left buttock.
Fortunately, all of the bullets had been fully jacketed, but they had still done a great deal of damage, resulting in the loss of 45% of his colon, 40% of his small intestine, and 30% of his left kidney. Although he was released from the hospital a month later, he had to return for further treatment twice during the following two months. He returned to work within three months of the shooting, later changed agencies, and now serves as an in-service instructor and grant writer on a municipal police department. Although he has not yet fully recovered from his wounds, he is steadily improving.
Because of a lack of adequate resources at the local level, Benitez was compelled to conduct most of the investigation into the shooting on his own. With great care to maintain objectivity, he persistently followed up on countless leads and passed them to official investigators assigned to the case.
Eventually his persistence paid off and, with the help of a tip, Garcia was arrested for his attempt on Benitez’s life. Garcia’s arrest led to the identity and subsequent arrest of the person who had contracted the hit-not surprisingly, it was Susan Harding.
The investigation also revealed that Harding, who had ignored Benitez’s repeated pleas to call the police, had been infatuated with Benitez even before she began dating him. Although she had never been arrested, she had a history of mental illness, and had met Garcia while being treated at a mental health facility, where they had both been patients. Both conspirators were later tried and convicted: Garcia was convicted of Attempted Capital Murder and sentenced to 60 years without parole, and Harding was convicted of Solicitation of Capital Murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole for 50 years.
This highly unusual case provides an instrument for examining a rare, yet very serious threat-unprovoked attacks in our homes. Although the motive for this particular attack was strictly personal and-except for Harding’s infatuation with cops-had nothing to do with Benitez’s position as a police officer, other officers have been targeted for such attacks in retaliation for arrests or other official acts, or solely because of whom they are.
Regardless of the motive, these attacks are extremely dangerous because we are not likely to be armed or mentally prepared for combat. Worse yet, if family members are home, we have a burden unlike any we face on the street-the need to protect our loved ones as well as ourselves. This is as bad as it gets. Although such attacks are rare, so much is at stake that we must take the possibility very seriously.
The ability to relax is essential to emotional well-being and the maintenance of a normal family life. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be vigilant about security or alert for danger.
Unexpected knocks on the door, suspicious vehicles or persons near our homes, or anything else that’s out of place should raise our awareness and cause us to investigate, with a reasonable level of caution and preparation. If the situation appears serious or your investigation doesn’t eliminate your concerns, don’t hesitate to call the local police.
A threat to your home is not something you should handle alone and on-duty officers are better equipped to deal with a violent situation than you are. Just make sure to let them know who you are, and keep them updated on any changes in the situation. This is especially important if you decide to take action on your own. Remember, the on-duty officers are in charge once they arrive. You don’t want to be mistaken for an armed suspect, so back off and let the officers handle things unless there is an overwhelming need for you to get directly involved.
An important element of danger awareness is proper threat assessment. What may seem routine to us, may be perceived as a very serious threat to others, especially a suspect bent on revenge. We must take threats seriously and be sensitive to any behavior by a suspect that shows he is unusually angry or distraught. In addition, arrests and investigations of major cases, especially those in which our actions or testimony will play a key role in the prosecution, should raise our threat awareness.
We must also be cautious when dealing with individuals or groups who know where we live. This is especially true if we live in high crime areas or neighborhoods that are close to our beat.
Pressure from Family Members
Although not an element of this case, pressure from family members may discourage proper caution while off duty. Our families sometimes have difficulty understanding why we carry a gun off duty, or why we are suspicious of others. They may view our cautious attitude as overzealous and suggest we look the other way when we notice suspicious activity.
The best way to deal with these concerns is to discuss them openly with our loved ones. We should point out that we have a duty to protect others and this requires us to carry an off duty weapon. It’s our job to be suspicious.
We must remember that our families cannot be expected to be as cautious as we are. Like most ordinary citizens, they are not likely to give a lot of thought to home security. It’s up to us to educate them on security concerns and crime prevention measures, and to encourage them to make safety a high priority.
Like most homes, the Benitez residence was a relatively soft target. If he had been able to see who was behind the door before opening it, he could have refused to answer it, providing extra time to assess the situation. Security cameras and intercoms are the best way to safely identify people outside your door, but peepholes are also very effective.
If there is a window adjacent to the door, this can be used to obtain visual identification, but keep a low profile just in case someone is waiting for you to look out the window. Similarly, don’t announce your presence when using a peephole, because a door cannot be counted on to stop bullets.
It is also advisable to further strengthen door entries with solid doors and a good deadbolt. The lock should be equipped with a strike plate, secured with long, heavy-duty screws set deep into the studs of the door frame.
Patio doors should be secured with a good lock and also pinned, and a horizontal rod may be added for extra security. In addition, windows should be pinned and secured with heavy-duty locks. Blinds and/or drapes on patio doors and windows are a good idea because they make it harder for anyone to locate you from outside.
Lighting is also important in target hardening. Besides helping you scan for suspicious activity and signs of forced entry, good exterior lighting will make your windows function like one-way mirrors by reflecting light back at anyone trying to look in. You can take advantage of this by extinguishing your interior lights before investigating suspicious circumstances or keeping your interior lighting to a minimum, while leaving all your outside lights on.
In one case, an officer who was inside a building during a stakeout was warned of the approach of a possibly armed suspect. As he waited for the suspect to arrive, the officer turned all the interior lights off, but left the outside lights burning. A short time later, he saw the suspect approaching, a gun clearly visible in his waistband, and was able to confront him unexpectedly at gunpoint. Although the suspect chose to draw the weapon, the officer had the upper hand and quickly ended the encounter with a fatal gunshot to the man’s chest.
Alarms can add another level of safety, however, be sure the security company immediately reports all alarms to the police department-many delay notification. Audible alarms are also preferable because they alert you to intrusions and may chase intruders away or at least temporarily distract them while you prepare to defend your home.
Telephones should be placed at strategic locations throughout the house. Even though cordless phones can be used anywhere, they tend to get left in different locations, and could be hard to locate in a crisis. It’s best to carry a cell phone, even while at home. In some areas cell phones have the disadvantage of dialing a central location (like the sheriff’s department or highway patrol) when being used to call 911, regardless of the agency that serves the venue where the call originates.
To expedite calls to your local police department, put their telephone number in the cell phone’s memory under the name AAA. This will make it the first number on the list, so you won’t have to search for it. The last option is the traditional landline phone with a cord. Corded phones are very reliable, can be used even when the electricity is off, will dial the proper agency when calling 911, and are always where they are supposed to be.
On the other hand, they lack mobility and cannot be used if the phone line is cut. Since most people own a variety of telephones, the best option is to pick a strategic location for each of them and make a point of keeping them there so you can get them quickly.
Remember, calling for help is a much lower priority than getting your family to safety. Repelling or defeating intruder/s will be your responsibility, but the safety of your family may depend upon everyone else doing his part. This requires preplanning.
As with a fire escape plan, we must consider various factors beforehand. These include the age, number and maturity of our children; our home’s floor plan, the best location for a safe meeting place outside; the kinds of threats that are most likely to occur at various times during the day. In most cases, it’s best to get everyone out of the house as quickly as possible, while you stay behind to deal with the intruder/s.
Another option is to use one or more safe rooms with heavy-duty interior doors and locks, well-secured windows and-if the room is to be used by one or more adults-a weapon hidden in a quickly accessible location. Intruder drills are also a good idea, as long as they are carried out in calm, matter-of-fact manner and the children are mature enough to participate. If drills are not appropriate, another alternative is to discuss your plan in a calm, non-threatening manner. The key is to make sure everyone understands his role in an emergency, whether it be a fire, natural catastrophe or home invasion.
The final decision on keeping your firearms readily available for home protection and how accessible they are can be difficult. This will depend largely upon your perceived vulnerability, the maturity of your children and your family’s knowledge of firearms.
Certainly, gun safety education is essential for any law enforcement family because there is a possibility that our firearms will become accessible to someone in our family during our careers, regardless of how we try to prevent it. Guns are just too much a part of our lives to expect otherwise. Even with proper gun safety education, we still have to balance the threat of an attack against the threat of a firearms accident. Loaded weapons should never be kept in the open where they can easily be reached by unauthorized persons.
However, extreme security measures will make your weapon inaccessible in an emergency. Two options offer a good balance between safety and accessibility. One is to keep the weapon out of reach of children, out of sight and unloaded, with the loaded magazine/ speedloader hidden close by (also well out of reach of children), and the other is to lock it up in a gun safe. If you opt for a gun safe with key pad access, make sure you know the combination well enough to remember it under extreme stress. If you use one with a key lock, the best place for the key is on a chain around your neck. A trigger lock can be added for extra safety, in which case one with a pressure-activated lock is the simplest and quickest to remove.
Of course, the safest, yet most readily accessible place to keep a gun is in a holster on your side. Although this may appear to be an extreme measure, it is well worth considering if there has been a specific threat on you life or you have some other reason to be extra cautious. One thing is certain when it comes to firearms, however: as Alberto Benitez is quick to point out, your weapon should never be left in your car. Besides making the firearm useless for home defense, it is vulnerable to theft. If someone breaks into the vehicle and finds the weapon, you could be facing that weapon as you try to stop him! Even if you don’t catch him, the firearm will probably wind up on the street, perhaps in the hands of a potential cop killer.
Similarly, if the car is stolen, the perpetrator/s will likely find the firearm, which will put any officer who tries to arrest them in danger.
Finally, a loaded weapon, left unsecured in a vehicle may also be found by a child or other unauthorized person, which can lead to an accidental shooting. Keep your firearm on your person and in a holster when driving. If circumstances prevent you from using a holster, always make sure that you take it inside when you get home. That’s the only way to make sure it’s there when you need it and safe from unauthorized access.
Other weapons can also be placed at strategic locations throughout your home to supplement or substitute for your firearms.
OC spray, stun guns and projectile electronic devices are reasonable alternatives, because they are non-lethal, yet reasonably effective. However, it is important to make sure family members are properly trained in the use of these weapons and are fully aware of their limitations. Non-lethal weapons should not be expected to do more than temporarily distract an attacker while the intended victim escapes or obtains a more effective weapon. Baseball bats, batons, heavy-duty flashlights, hammers, etc. are more likely to incapacitate an assailant, but they are also more dangerous if the assailant gets hold of them. Unless the person wielding such weapons is willing to use them decisively with maximum force, they may do more harm than good.
One very good improvised weapon, suggested by Lt. Wayne Corcoran of the Maricoupa County (AZ) Sheriff’s Department (1) is a fire extinguisher. Although non-lethal, ABC dry chemical fire extinguishers will instantly blind an attacker and immediately stop his breathing when sprayed in his face. (2) They are also easy to use with minimal familiarization training and can be used as an effective impact weapon. Family members should also be reminded that hair sprays, disinfectants and other household sprays may be used to blind, disorient and impair an attacker. They should be instructed to deploy these sprays without warning in order to maximize their effectiveness.
Another effective “weapon” for home defense is a dog. Attack dogs provide the greatest security, but they are not always desirable or practical. Larger breeds are almost as effective as attack dogs and are more appropriate for most families, but smaller dogs are also fiercely loyal and naturally aggressive when defending their owners. Even if they are too small to inflict much damage on an intruder, their aggressive defense can be very distracting for anyone trying to enter the residence. In the meantime, their bark provides a very effective alarm that will give you time to initiate proper countermeasures.
In Benitez’s case, the back door provided an excellent means for countering Garcia’s initial attack, and he used it effectively Instead of freezing up, he quickly slammed the door shut before Garcia could open fire, which may have saved his life. But if there is no door to use as a shield, you will have to rely on other countermeasures.
Your first objective is to aggressively attack his weapon. Grab it and knock it out of the way while you simultaneously dodge the muzzle and, when possible, press in close to your attacker. This will move you out of his line of fire as quickly as possible and should catch him by surprise.
If you are proficient with disarming techniques, use one; otherwise, simply keep a viselike grip on his weapon while you aggressively thrust your fingers into his eyes or crush his windpipe with a hand strike. A pen or similar improvised weapon can also be used. These techniques must be applied with full force and with speed and decisiveness, because it is imperative to incapacitate him before he can pull his weapon free and use it against you.
If you are too far away to attack his weapon, your only alternative is to exit the kill zone. In that case, lateral movement is preferable to backward movement because lateral movement makes you a much harder target. Also, since you can exit the kill zone quicker if you have planned for it, escape routes should be part of your home defense plan and everyone in your family should be thoroughly familiar with them.
Although not overly ambitious about physical fitness, Benitez made a point of staying in shape. He lifted weights and did calisthenics on a regular basis, watched his diet and limited his use of alcohol. As a result, he was in much better physical condition than Garcia. In addition, his high level of physical fitness played a key role in his ability to recover from his injuries. This case once again proves the importance of physical conditioning in enabling officers to defeat their attackers and overcome life-threatening wounds.
Benitez possessed many of the essential traits of a winner. Even when caught at an extreme disadvantage, he never gave up. Rather than surrender to the apparent hopelessness of the situation, he kept thinking and stayed focused on what he could do to deal with the threat. As soon as he came under fire the first time, he quickly abandoned his vulnerable position, exited the kill zone and kept moving. In this case, escape was his only option and he kept at it in the face of brutal and continuous gunfire. In the end, he managed to escape in spite of the odds. His determination and persistence paid off.
Benitez’s ordeal had only begun once the gunfire stopped. He still had a long and discouraging wait until help arrived. Nevertheless, he didn’t give in to despair. He knew he was in control of his own thoughts and understood that his mind could make or break him. He chose to fight back against the growing weakness that threatened to overwhelm him and refused even to sit down.
After help arrived, he continued to focus on what he could do to improve the situation by helping to ensure that his assailant was apprehended. He gave a detailed description of Garcia, directed the responding officers to vital evidence and, although he staunchly refused to believe he would die, even volunteered to make a formal dying declaration. This kind of refusal to submit to fear or injury and to stay focused on the positive, is what makes winners. It marked Alberto Benitez as an inspiring example for us all. P
• Remain alert for suspicious situations even when at home, especially if anything has happened to make you vulnerable to a revenge attack.
• Discuss the need for home security with your family.
• Recommended means for target-hardening your home include security cameras; intercoms; peepholes; solid wood or steel doors; deadbolt locks; heavy-duty locks, pins and blinds or drapes on patio doors and windows; good outdoor lighting; safe rooms; and strategically-placed telephones.
• Make an escape plan and consider conducting home intruder drills.
• Accessibility of your firearms for home defense will depend largely upon your perceived vulnerability, the maturity of your children and your family members’ knowledge of firearms.
• Make sure your family is well educated about gun safety.
• Alternatives to firearms for home defense include OC spray, stun guns, projectile electronic devices, baseball bats, batons, heavy-duty flashlights, hammers, ABC dry chemical fire extinguishers, aerosol sprays and dogs.
• If you are unarmed when attacked at close range, attack his weapon first, and then aggressively attack his eyes, windpipe or other vital target.
• If attacked from a greater distance, exit the kill zone, preferably by moving laterally.
• Physical conditioning is crucial to winning lethal encounters and overcoming life-threatening wounds.
• Stay focused on what you can do to defeat the threat, even if the odds seem to be against you.
• Keep fighting no matter what.
*The incident recounted here is true, but the names of persons and places were changed to insure the privacy of those personally involved. Likewise, in order to preserve confidentiality and clarity, some facts may have been altered slightly, but the essential elements of the story remain unchanged.
(1) Remsberg, C. “How to Protect Against Revenge Attacks.” Law Officer Magazine. July/August 2005, pp. 33-34.
(2) The only first aid that is generally required if an ABC fire extinguisher is accidentally discharged in someone’s face is to flush with water. In the rare case that normal breathing is not restored within five minutes, an ambulance should be summoned to the scene as a precaution. The author would like to thank Glenn Devlin of the New Florence (MO) Volunteer Fire Department for his assistance regarding ABC fire extinguishers and the first aid concerns associated with them.
Note: As a service to its readers, The Police Marksman includes “Officer Down” as a regular feature in each issue. In order to present cases that demonstrate clear and relevant case studies, we would like to draw from our largest available resource-our readers. If you have, or can obtain factual information on actual incidents that you think we can use, please email:
About the Author
Brian McKenna, a 31-year police veteran, is a lieutenant with a midwestern police department, where he serves as a shift supervisor, lead firearms instructor and in-service training officer. He holds an MS in management and development of human resources, is a certified police instructor with teaching experience at both the academy and in-service level, and is a member of ILEETA, ASLET and The Police Marksman National Advisory Board.