I Know My Rights!!! Or Do You? A Look at the Current Generation and Rights


By Deputy Gage Donnell

It seems like every day you turn on the news and all you see is someone, somewhere, getting their pants all bunched up over something. This article is to help shed some light on issues that have plagued us these past several months.

Now in order to understand what I’m about to outline (not challenging your intelligence) we must look at the progression of an incident. I recently spoke with a Dr. of political studies on the 5th Amendment and how it applies to John Q. citizen. I add that I am a cop….police man, the 5-0. I do not have an advanced degree in political underwater basket weaving. But I, unlike my counterpart, have applied this in several years worth of convictions through arrest and blah, blah, blah.

His interpretation of our rights within the 5th Amendment was that being a U. S. Citizen gives you the right to not, under any circumstance, give out your name, DOB or SSN to a requesting Law Enforcement Officer. I stated that this only applies when the encounter is consensual and you are not a suspect, witness or victim of a crime. He could not wrap his head around this so he threw out a scenario…..which by the way is the first sign of someone trying to justify something they can comprehend to themselves. Anyway, He opened with:

“So if you, the police, have a search warrant for a person….you’re telling me this means he/she has to identify themselves to you? Furthermore, if you stop me for a driving infraction, I have to identify myself even if I’m not pulled out of the car?”

The answer folks: YES.

First off, in any state there is no such thing as a search warrant for you….only arrest warrants. Search warrants are for your property, place or curtilage. That’s why, when writing one, you outline in great detail what you are looking for, where it is you are searching and why.

An arrest warrant is used to search your person, hence ” Search incident to arrest”. The only warrant out there which includes something within you is a search warrant for your blood, such as those used in a DUI. But even then, it’s for your blood and the same search guidelines apply.

Next if you are wanted for a crime, a suspect in a crime, etc. you must identify yourself to L.E. or you risk an arrest warrant for impeding an investigation.

If you are stopped, you don’t have to be in handcuffs to be detained. Case law supports that merely clipping your driver’s license to my person could make a reasonable person believe that he/she is detained. When the lights come on, you are detained….Now, once your ID is returned and your stop is concluded, any conversation with the officer/Deputy is now consensual.

So on to rights, At the end of the day if you are being questioned by police, it’s not because of race, religion or sexual orientation. It may be because a crime has occurred involving one of those categories but that is all. Police do not wish to be talking to you…really….we prefer intercepting crimes before or during the incident, not standing at your house at 4am asking questions we really don’t want to know the answer to. We like being proactive….don’t you? that’s what you pay for right?.

So with some of those things in mind, a look at the current generation is something to consider. Kids today think Law and Order is something to waste their time or jam them up on a personal level. I had a 13yo tell me that that he hates cops because all we do is arrest people and make life hard. I politely said, how about my partner that did CPR on an infant while going to the hospital? Or the Cop that pulls the man dying from smoke inhalation out of the burning car before the fire department arrives? He freaked out and apologized, but it shows that the only way to fix this is through education of these young minds about their rights and how they came to be instead of using them as a tool to sue a police agency.

This topic is an open forum based and I would love some feed back….lets keep this conversation going!



Off Duty! Never: Thoughts, questions and tips on improving officer safety off duty


by deputy Gage Donnell

Going to the store, movies or a restaurant can become exhausting when you are the guy with the gear.

Its not bad to be the cop that leaves the house off duty with everything shy of a grappling hook, but  are there ways to improve our loadout without needing pockets for pockets or a go bag built into our shirt?

When I go out, I usually have, at minimum, a firearm, knife and the usual keys wallet and phone. However some days will dictate, if it’s nice out and I want to wear some cargo pants or the threat level at a location I’m going to is higher, I usually don a little more. Extra mag, small flashlight and some type of less lethal tool.

It’s good to think about gear and how to place it so that it’s somewhat inconspicuous but first we must look at a few things.

Let me side step and point out that putting Thin Blue Line stickers on your car and wearing nothing but the latest and greatest in 5.11 isn’t really inconspicuous. In the Army you could pick out a private by the clothing: jeans, affliction shirt and his summer tan boots. That is the equivalent to the boot cop, tan 5.11 pants and a badge related shirt. Oh and don’t forget the right or left hip bulge.

So, back on track, what can we do to offset the ever-changing world of threats? First we must look at ourselves and then look outward at our family and what we can control within a 6 to 8 foot bubble.

How about our loadout? If we are going to the 7-11 we probably don’t need more than a weapon and a spare mag. Yes some will say “be ready for anything” but its just not applicable when you want to remain a Dog in Sheep’s wool.

If something breaks bad, we the defender are not sticking around to duke it out. We stop the threat and seek cover. Family and self come first. We must remember that just because we are armed doesn’t mean it’s the end all fix all.

Whenever you bring a gun into a store, parking lot or place of commons you have just placed a gun in play. Just remember that and you will have an edge in the OODA loop.

Next comes emergency action plans. Does your wife/husband or kids know what to do if mommy or daddy need to go to work? Rehearsing plans is a good way to ensure your focus is on the threat and not the family. It could be a safe word that means “go the other way” or a gesture that means “act like you don’t know me”. Then go out and spot check them, walk though a store and randomly drop the word and see how the family reacts. Then if you wish to upgrade and the spouse can handle it, look at team movements. What can we do to react to the threat and also ensure the lives of those around us?

Psychological preparation.

This is key. You might be prepared ’cause it’s your job but your wife or kids are not. We must explain that if something breaks bad, we must all be prepared for what is ahead. Explain that if you’re not in your jurisdiction, you all may be detained and questioned. This, and how to deal with the sight of death, is something hard to talk about but is a topic that should be discussed.


Remember: the equipment you carry is something that could save your life or the life of your family. So yes, aim somewhat expensive. The quality may be better and thus last longer. Its not everyday you get into a incident, thus the equipment you use will sit and usually only be used in training and with a family can be little.

– Surefire makes some 6P series lights that are compact and durable. usually around $85.00 to $100.00

– Vexor MK3 from Zarc professionals makes a extremely strong OC spray at around 17.5 SHU and if you know what SHU means, you know that’s no joke $15.00

– Hornady Hollowpoint Critical Duty ammo, great for not over penetrating but has stopping power. usually around $25.99 – $32.99

– My new favorite for a carry knife is the Spyderco Roadie. Its a sheepfoot-style blade ground from Böhler-Uddeholm N690Co steel, a high-performance stainless steel alloyed with cobalt, molybdenum, and vanadium. Its not fixed blade but has a closed profile of 2.99″ and opens up to an aggressive 2.09″ blade making it ideal for quick deployment cuts. $79.95 MSRP

These are just some of my favorite carry tools and I hope this is a conversation that may shed some light. I plan on doing more reviews of the equipment on this list and if you have anything you need research for, please contact the admin.


Thanks for the time

10-8 in service



The Forgotten Massacre – Beslan Russia and the 3 Day Siege


By Deputy Gage Donnell

Not many people know of Beslan, Russia. Well, this topic is going to start with what happened in the simple town of Beslan and how it could be coming to America. Beslan had a population of around 40,000 people. Most were farmers, and poor industrial development.

50 Chechen and Arab suspects began a 53hr siege that held 1200 hostages, 339 Dead and 700+ dead.

For weeks, the hostage takers began to embed themselves and stage sympathizers in the city. On the day of the attack they moved to the only dual purpose school in the city. This school celebrated the first day of school as a day for all of the families to join the students. This was to commemorate their child’s first day of education. The terrorists chose the school because of its floor plan, specifically because it would suffice in making rapid and effective counter-assault difficult.

The suspects came armed with Ak-47’s, Sniper rifles and even an RPG. Several explosives (grenades, HME….etc) were set up as booby traps in order to alert them of impending counterattack.

A security officer and a policeman were on-scene as the takeover began and were killed immediately. As the school went into lockdown, response came from military units many hours later. The time delay allowed the suspects enough time to fortify their position.

During the siege, more than 100 men, women and children, including babies, were penned in an unventilated gym. As days passed without food or water, temperatures rose to 115 deg.

Survivors ate flowers they’d brought for the teachers and were fighting amongst themselves over urine to drink from their shoes. Women and some children were repeatedly and continuously raped by the terrorists.

Adult males and larger male students were used as forced labor to help fortify the building and then executed.

Bodies were thrown out of an upper-story window, down onto a courtyard.

The terrorists used negotiations to buy time to fortify their defensive positions. Hostages (mostly women and children) were surrounded by armed guards standing on “dead man switches” wired to explosives.

Children were forced to sit on window sills to serve as sniper shields. The terrorists used an amphetamine to keep awake.

Armed, outraged parents and other civilians arrived and initiated rolling gunfights outside the school in a futile attempt to defeat the takeover. The crowd identified one embedded terrorist and literally ripped him apart.

The media was everywhere and unrestrained. So many people were milling around inside the perimeter that responders often could not establish a clear field of fire.

Explosions touched off inside the school starting multiple fires. Russian Special Forces initiated a counter assault however terrorist snipers mercilessly gun downed the soldiers and children they were trying to rescue.

Responders who made it inside had to jump trip wires and as they ran up stairs under fire from above. By then, terrorists were holding hostages in virtually every room.

Teams were subjected to continual ambushes.

Gunfights occurred predominately within a range of 6ft; some responders having to fight for their lives in places so cramped they couldn’t get up from their hands and knees.

The children who successfully fled the building were so crazed by thirst that they ran to an outdoor spigot and were killed by gunfire as they filled their hands with life saving water.

Terrorists who escaped during the melee ran to the homes of sympathizers. Some townspeople who volunteered to help as stretcher-bearers for the injured were, in fact terrorists.

By the end 300 RSF responded, 21 were killed during the fight, 32 of the 50 terrorists were killed., 1 captured and 17 escaped and are still at large today.

Now, do I think an incident of this horror could take place today, here, NOW?

No…..but it begs the question: as a first responder could I sustain myself and victims for 58hrs worth of combat?

Could I enter and be able to accurately put down a threat after negotiating booby-traps and dead children?

If you work in a field that could require you to respond to such a situation, COULD YOU?

During America’s history of school shootings, we have responded fast and saved lives, but do we have the mindset to combat a well planned, symphonic Attack?

A lesson to learn here is this:

-S.I.M  (security, initiate plans for attack, Medical care to the wounded)

If we can come to the realization that attackers like these exist and have every intention of carrying out such an operation on American soil, I believe we can better protect our future. The better we prepare for such an eventuality, the less likely an attack of this magnitude will succeed.

How many sides to a box? 4 or 6? Think outside of it and do work. This is what is going to win the fight.

My next article will be posted in the coming days. It outlines a course I attended called Terrorism response (active shooter). This program was taught by an instructor from the San Marco’s Police department, my office and the Quantico Marine base police and is known as  A.L.E.R.R.T, or Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training. I will go in depth with what new and solid approaches to active shooter, room clearing and methods that were introduced for you to take back to your patrol car, fellow responders or even your local school board.

Until next time

stay safe     10-8

Things Rookies Should Know When Field Training


LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN….That is the biggest part. You don’t know as much as you think and the day you do is when you should look into getting out.

Always be an open book and keep your curiosity alive and well.

Now, you will find the report takers, the go getters and yes “those guys”; the ones that are always the bad policy changers. It’s good to rattle the cage every now and then but be smart. Listen to the ones that care about the team, office and community, not the one that shows up just for a paycheck.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

If your FTO yells at you for asking questions pertaining to the job, or doesn’t try and answer you by adding “you will figure that out on your own”, it’s time to go higher.

An FTO should be geared toward producing an efficient product. Why? You will probably back him/her up someday and they want to know they can count on you. He/she is your mentor and will build you up to bust you back down. This lets you know that you are doing a good job but take things in stride.

Next, Don’t let your inevitable screw-ups over take you. Don’t take things to heart but do learn from them.

When your FTO tells you how bad you did on something, they should follow up with a how to fix it. If not, you might need to, again, go higher. However, you don’t want to be that guy that goes to the Sgt. every time they say something you don’t like, but you also need to be afforded the best training experience.

Once your FTO puts you in a phase when you’re doing the work, be proactive….the only way you’re going to know how to do things is to experience them.

The academy can’t put you in alot of the situations that you need to be in. If they could, it would be uncontrolled and without risk. Now don’t go out and get your self hurt, but go out and make some stops, arrests and hell, some fights. (didn’t hear that from me)

Look at other guy’s cars. See how and why they have things set up the way that they do. Some have a passenger seat that makes their trunk lonely and others use the “if I have a role over, its just another thing to kill me” reason (totally valid btw).

Your equipment must be accessible, safe and operational. To add to this, When you’re released remember: your car is an extension of your office and uniform. If it looks like crap, the person stepping out of it will look the same. I have heard night shift say “well it’s dark, it doesn’t matter”…again, don’t be that guy. Taking pride in your gear goes a long way with the community and your chain of command.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to use the tools on the belt. If you get sued…hey jack it’s going to happen if you stay in for any length of time. Civil liability coverage is a bitch to the public.

If you have to point your weapon at a person, then so be it. I promise a good FTO isn’t going to yell at you (on scene) if you deploy and challenge.

So covering just a few things, I will add this:

  • check your weapon and gear before coming to work
  • always leave your at-home crap at home….don’t come to work distracted
  • keep water, crackers, spare boots and batteries in the car
  • have a blow out (first aid) kit close
  • don’t stop at the same places every day/night doing property checks and such….be unpredictable
  • HAVE THICK SKIN….if your squad mates don’t jack with you, that means they don’t like you…
  • confidence is good……Cocky is bad……just enough to let the bad guy know you mean business
  • K.I.S.S –  keep it simple stupid, if you think it’s wrong….it probably is.


I think that will do it for now, if you want to add to this please comment on the bottom.

Till next time, 10-8 back in service………………………………….

Law Enforcement Training: Why Wait Every Six Months?


Why wait? To train that is. This day and age, most agencies can’t afford to train, or outsource training, every week, month or even quarter. It could be shooting, technique or even your mandatory yearly hours. Agency budget usually can’t fit but so much in. So how does one go about self education?

Its going to start with a little leg work.

So, first, there are a ton of companies willing to provide training to you. The only problem: finding a creditable one. Several companies out there are full of crap. Some wannabe with a website and too many Chris Costa DVD’s sitting in a garage waiting to take your money.

Find out the local hype about the company. Does the local agency know about it and use it? Does the company have a history of producing good product?

research, my friends

So after establishing the have from the have not’s, we must find out if it’s something that is going to benefit your state licensing regulation.

Agencies that are accredited or agencies with a professional standards division typically will not approve training with cost if it doesn’t contribute to you state hours of education. So cost, legitimacy and quality is considered leg work for you to find.

Another consideration to one’s education is free courses that provide hours. Yes I said free and yes they offer hours. Now in VA the NRA headquarters, or what most liberal call Hitlers Eagle’s nest, provides LEO only specific class at no cost and can be considered Career Development hours. They understand that agencies can’t front the cash for the class so they stick a neck out for you. And yes the classes are legit.

PreSys group is a TCCC combat med class that is put on by a good group of guys. They are nationally recognized and would cost upwards of $500 -$800 to attend. LEO specific and at no cost to you. Plus, you walk out with tourniquets, gift packets and the hours to count. Not selling anything but this is just one of many FREE courses they offer. So basically put, NO REASON TO NOT BE GOING TO TRAINING.

I was once told that this is the hardest job to get but the easiest to lose. I have seen it and will not subject myself to that due to lack of training.

Laws, technique and methods change on the fly every year. If you consider the amount of training required by an agency, you are only getting a days worth of updates a year.

Defense Attorneys, criminals and media are researching, looking and hunting for ways to beat the system. It’s on you to stay ahead of it.

Now one problem most officers run into is “we didn’t need/do it back then, we don’t need/do it now”. This is deadly to one’s career and life. Have you ever heard “don’t be that guy”? Well don’t! Stay ahead and leave the nay Sayers to their own demise.

Lastly, If you don’t have the time to practice saving your life to come home to your family, shadow train at home, empty and make safe your weapon when the kiddies are asleep and practice draw strokes on Diane Feinstein while watching C-SPAN. Or, practice court testimony while driving to court and or stand in front of a mirror and try getting to the equipment on your belt with both hands.

Anything to help you understand, this is not a job….IT”S YOUR LIFE and it depends on it.

I hope this little message address or brings forward the thoughts of what to do next. One debate that could help rectify the current belief in Law Enforcement could be more government funding in training. If you want smarter officers, send us grants to train more with better equipment. Don’t handicap us by giving us Nerf guns and telling us to defuse a riot. Actual training, detailed and updated training.

Please be safe tonight as you go on watch……till then.

10-8 back in-service

The American Condition

tattered flag

By Deputy Gage Donnell    

All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent the opinions or policies of any organization                   

America, the ­former heavyweight champion of the world. We had once been a country founded on principle, hard work and even a little known word today known as independence. The country, in the past decade, has quickly changed into a modern dark age. We have seen in the past a generation have its proverbial “ups” and “downs”. This is a different kind of “down” and we aren’t ready for it.

Today the U.S of A is made up of double standards, lies, CRIPPLING emotional coddling and a dash of severe incompetence. So what drove us to wallow in utter stupidity?

Was it technology?

How did a decade pass and we manage to drive generations of hard work down the toilet.

I would start by addressing the things wrong with us at least by my opinion. To preach this as fact would definitely put me on someone’s watch list.

So, we live in a country that:

  • has educational institutions that bans a symbol of their county that stands for independence and labels it as a racist symbol and a source of governmental oppression.
  • has a citizenry that will tell you to start living a certain way which benefits the lazy and maximizes funding for welfare via taxes but if you don’t agree, well then you are “un-American”.
  • The police are subject to such ignorant and out of touch scrutiny that they can’t protect their communities, let alone themselves. If they do however go against the grain they are burned at the metaphorical stake and the people rally in chants against the officer’s life. Damned if you do but then damned if you don’t.
  • The military standards are diluted to such a degree that make the militaries of third world countries cry in laughter. They take which once was the most feared fighting force in the world and cut it, de-fund it and stomp regulations into its face until we have a better chance of going to war with Canada. No offense. Yes we are still striving for the highest tech advancements in war but that is due to the lingering leadership that won’t stand down against a child fighting wars from an arm chair.

Which brings us to politics.

We have had political icons in the past that have squashed communism, fought off nuclear annihilation and even held a country together as it was killing its self in the fields of Virginia. No, they weren’t always perfect, but now we have leaders whose only legacy is plausible deniability. Which, my friends, is a topic for another time.

Our citizens run on a fat, lazy, impulsive instinct with no forethought to the future. We are raising a generation of blind losers turned bitchy whiners.

Working with your hands is taboo and working the system is almost customary. So I guess I can only ask, where do we go from here?

Before you prepare your statements to call me an “Un-‘Merican” Judas. Let me explain myself.

We are far past repair and damage control. We need to look at a re-birth. We can’t live like this and be successful. What would you do in your house if a pipe broke and a flood created a slew of issues in your basement? Would you leave it there and wait for the magical obamawizard to tell someone about your problems?

No? Why?

Aside from the fact that he would just tell you that he didn’t know about it until he heard it from the plumber, I presume you would go and fix it yourself. You would cut your losses and move forward with a remodeled, better-than-before basement.

That is what needs to happen here. Shock factor. Leave all the people who don’t want to better themselves to their own devices. At this rate, I will never even taste social security so why make it harder than hard for my children.

So I wonder, could we become more strict and severe with punishment, guidelines on taxes, and political power and stop baiting each other into arguments instead of problem solving conversations? Now the first question proposed is going to be, “who gets the say”?

Well let’s look back on our forefathers for that.

Instead of telling everyone they’re winners, why don’t we start looking out for our country instead of ourselves? After all, without the country I fought for, I wouldn’t have a home.

So I implore you to stop looking for ways to undercut, chastise, criticize and blame. Start working with each other and start pulling your weight.

Use common sense to accomplish the task. Even if it involves working. If we continue, we will fall and all of our pillars of life will have been built for nothing.

We have rules, amendments and bills that still work. we are just too busy trying to find ways around it.

be thinking about it…..

‘Till next time

10-8 I’ll be back in service.

Deputy Michael G. Donnell #578

Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office