Turning On The Lights
There's so many liberties taken on television shows, but one thing that always annoyed me was the practice of a LEO entering a dark building or dark house, and having to use their flashlight.
Virtually every X-Files episode has that scene where Mulder and Scully enter a house/cave/the woods/abandoned lab/spaceship and to create tension and horror, they swing their flashlights back and forth.
My question to everyone is: Don't you ever just turn on the light switch? For instance, if you are looking in a dark closet, and there is obviously a chain for the light - do you ever just pull it? If you enter a dark office and you think you see a body on the ground and there is a light switch right there, do you ever just turn it on? Do they even have standard operating procedures regarding light switches? It is a televisual trope that cops prefer to explore dark houses with their flashlights rather than flick on the overhead. What is real?
Thanks for your time.
The proper use of a flashlight can actually have tactical advantages. You can hopefully blind a suspect while not backlighting yourself. It just depends on the situation.
Yeah, I usually look for a lightswitch ASAP. What bugs me is when they leave their flashlights on, making themselves a target.
I as well, what bugs me are the bugs that might be lurking in the dark. I have never had roaches...thank God, but I wouldn't be happy if one hitched a ride home with me.
Originally Posted by Rhino
We teach them in the Academy to first turn on the light, enter the room tactically and scan. It will blind the bad guy temporarily and give the officer the advantage.
I guess it comes down to personal preference. I am one of those who doesn't turn on the lights. Meth lab/high risk warrant service 101. If its on, leave it on. If its off, leave it off. Also there is the possibillity of booby traps. Some habits are hard to break. If you practice proper light techniques then you aren't at a disadvantage.
I'll admit, it may be anal to think like that when it comes to answering a burglar alarm at the local pic-n-save, but you never know. :yo:
I agree it depends on the situation, good point on the meth labs.
Re: Meth labs and such- that's a different ball game. If I smell a lab, I'm leaving and I'll let someone with better training and equipment come in and deal with it. Those things are so booby-trapped and I love all my various body parts way too much. You might even say we've grown attached. :D
Yeah.......you can smell a lab. But with all the unknowns......you just never know. I also consider.......say you're clearing a home burglar alarm. Noone is home and the door is open. You and your partner are clearing it and the owner is a doper. He keeps his stash in a walk in closet. The light has a pull chain and is booby trapped to protect it from other dopers. You pull the light switch and "boom!" Gotta what if all this shit. Think of and plan for worst case scenarios.
Or maybe Im just too paranoid for my own good. ;)
Probably a little paranoid Monster, but I am with ya. lol. I over-analyze everything and it aggravates my Captain. He will throw a "what-if" and I counter it with another and then another. He has finally figured out to stop "What-if'n" with me! lol
I always used a flashlight, turning it on and off and not holding it right in front of me either. But thats just me and how it worked with me. I cant stand being with an officer that leaves the flashlight on all the time. I was clearing a school with another officer, it was her school, so she knew the building. Damn, she would out of nowhere flip- on lights, or then if she couldn't find the switch she would leave her light on. I stayed several steps away from her lol.
But Monster it is better to be a little paranoid! :)
Hell yeah- turn on the light, level the playing field.
This is assuming I am going into buildings or houses where the meter isnt pulled and the electric is disconnected. LOTS of abandoned houses in my area.
They always do that crap on CSI and it drives me crazy ... "look everyone" actor with flashlight in hand, "a pebble over here". Another actor then shows up with super duper infrared wide scanning device and finds four more pebbles.
TURN ON THE LIGHT!!! (unless not availible)
I always tried to get the lights on, depending on the type of premises. Unless it was a dynamic entry, then we'd get the lights off!
On firearms courses we taught 'Equalise the light'. Meaning if you are going to be entering a darkened area, make your area dark too.
On one job we wanted to approach in darkness. The local authority were taking an age to get the street lights turned off. The judicious use of a silenced .22 rifle saved them the trouble. :)