Week 8: The Tampa Citizen Police Academy

    The Mark & Carrie Experience
    WOW did the 8 weeks of classes go by fast!!! We made great new friends and have a new respect for our Tampa Team Police Officers. We hope that you also enjoyed following our experiences in the Citizens Police Academy.
    Tampa’s famed Chief of Police Jane Castor, District Majors, staff, students family & friends were all there for our Special Graduation Ceremony.
    Thanks to the Columbia Restaurant who catered the graduation event with a special menu and a graduation cake. The newly appointed Citizen Police Officers and their families laughed at the classes videos the corporal made during our weekly seminars. Tazing, police car chases, shooting, SWAT team exercise and our ride alongs were in the often funny moments DVD.
    To participate as 1 of 20 members in the next springs Citizen Police Academy contact Tampa Police downtown special events.

Week 7: The Tampa Citizen Police Academy

The Mark & Carrie Experience
Vehicle Operations
J-Turns, Pursuit Course & P.I.T.
    Mark had miss the class the week before. Carrie & the rest of our classmates were so very thoughtful that they allowed Mark to experience being Tazzed before the class started. It really didn’t as hurt much as you might think. I think it was like in Star Trek getting the Vulcan shoulder freeze!!! LOL The 10,000 volts freeze & contracts up your muscles. You can see how when it stops you feel like falling down. The shot last 5 seconds but it seamed like 5 minutes. 
    Out on the police training field it was vehicle operations.  They can describe it all in advance but nothing prepares you for this experience. We were passengers in the cars for all the demonstrations. The first is called J-Turns.  In this scenario a bad guy just pulled a gun and is pointing it you in the car. The officers puts the car in reverse and hits it to a speed of 40+ then spins the car into a 180 turns and drives off at top speed. OMG I though he was going to flip the car!!! For REAL!! In the P.I.T (Pursuit Intervention Technique)  we had the chance to be both the good and bad guys. At a high speed the officers hits the rear or front of the bad car sending it into a spin.  At the Tampa police training facility there is actually a curvy, up and down course complete with blind spots and hidden surprises. Just to drive the course would be hard for anybody. Out Tampa Officers not only do it in high pursuit but at the same time run the cars tags on their computer while keeping in constant radio connection. Talk about multi tasking. After seeing just some of the driving training that Tampa officers go thru… I don’t know how anybody could ever think that could “Out Run a Officer!!!”
    Back inside to the training class room. Here we watched video on hand to hand training. The videos were a cross between wrestling, kick fighting and dirty street fighting. The average take down is under 2 minutes. Here in these videos the officers fighting other officers in a classroom, the fights went on for over 10 minutes. You could just see the determination on their faces.
Next week we have “District Ride Along” and then Graduation Ceremony

Week 6: The Tampa Citizen Police Academy

The Tampa Citizen Police Academy

The Mark & Carrie Experience
L/L shotgun, Taser, O.C.
This week Mark was out of town in Minnesota for his father, Sam Bias funeral. If a picture says a thousand words than this video will speak volumes.  http://youtu.be/3pXzXGZ49DE.  
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Week 5: The Tampa Citizen Police Academy

The Tampa Citizen Police Academy
The Mark & Carrie Experience
Street Tactics, Simmunitions, Shoot don’t shoot, Traffic Stops
    This weeks class started with a presentation by Major Brain Dungan. He serves over Tampa PD District 2. The Major explained CSI Forensic, new finger printing system, communications and narcotic enforcement.  He also talked about “H.I.D.A.” High Intensity Drug Area. This would include Miami, Tampa & Houston, TX.
    Outside it was time for UTM simulated rounds fired in Glock 19 pistols. YES!!! We got to fire guns!!! First we learned how to use both hands in firing and lined up the sights to shoot. The next was way the fun way. It is called, “point & shoot”. This way you just point the gun & shoot. Sure snitt’n,  we both were great shots!
    Then the whole class went on a “Shoot… don’t shoot” demonstration. We broke off into groups of two. We were told there was an alarm going off and to answer the call. As we cleared the area around the large warehouse building we came upon 2 people breaking into a car. We yelled stop POLICE and the bad guys ran off. Here is the big difference. With out training as ciivilian we were happy they ran off and nobody was hurt. As police officers we totally F*#ked up!! We should have run after them and caught the bad guys. But hey we are only civilians in the police classes!
    The police shows make this look so easy but it’s not easy at all!!!! Next week ‘Wild Police rides’

Week 4: The Tampa Citizen Police Academy


Week 4: The Tampa Citizen Police Academy 
The Mark & Carrie Experience
SWAT Team, Bomb Squad, Marine Unit
    It was another interesting and exciting week at the academy. Mr Vegas law class also joined us.  Major Keith O’Conner started of this weeks class. He is in charge  of the special ops. This includes 12 + special units, squads & teams. The 4 main ones are SWAT, Hostage, Bomb & Marine Divers.
    Sergeant Richard Mills is in charge of the SWAT Team.  This is the very top 2% of the police force and is very hard to get into. All the members are volunteers who also work full time positions with the police. These volunteers are on call an impressive 24/7. The best discriptions is “They are the Cop, that Cops call when then need Help!!” The SWAT team did demonstration for us. A police chase cars with a hostatage take over. It all ended up with officers jumping of the top of building and rescuting the hostage. WOW
    The Tampa Bomb Squad is one of the very best in the country. They train with the FBI and Army. Each officer goes thru a 6 week class costing $120,000 each.  The squad cover 6 counties and has 250-270 calls per year. The bomb suits cost $19,500 and can only be worn for 30 minutes due to the heat. The Robotscost an average of $160,000 each.  We then watched a video rates “FOUO” For Official Use only. WOW did we feel special. After the film it was out side to see 4 bomb explosions!!! The truck was way cool too. Tampa is one of only 4 in the USA to have a bomb container.
    The rain started as the Marine Unit pulled up with one of their boast. There are 6 full time officers  who maintain & operate the Tampa fleat of 6 boast.  These boats are left in position thrupught Tampa Bay. they work together with the US Coast Guard, Tampa Fire and Stets of FL. beside regular operations they also escote cruise ships and chemmical ships in the harbor.
Next week is “Use of Force” Street Tactics, Simulations, Shoot don’t Shoot & traffic Stops.  Until then signing off…  Mark & Carrie
“Dishing with Mark & Carrie” is an Internet blog followed by over 60,000+ people every week. Visit www.MCFilmFest.com to see more.

Week 3: The Tampa Citizen Police Academy

Week 3: The Tampa Citizen Police Academy 
The Mark & Carrie Experience
Helicopter, Horses, Dogs & more 
    It was another exciting week at the Police Academy. The police cadets moved the parking cones off the lot and down came the police helicopter. Officer & pilot Dave Denison gave a great tour of the beautiful machine. There are 6 full time pilots and 6 assistants on the force.  The copper are in the skies over Tampa about 10 hours per day. The cost to run the coppers is $1,000 to $1,500 per hour. Our Tampa force has 2 large choppers at a cost of 4-5 million each. There is also a smaller one. They are equipped with some very high teck things. One of the impressive new items is…the officers and dogs on the ground now wear LED lights that only the choppers can see. This is a huge aid in observations from the sky.  After a fun photo of the chopper made a dramatic exit .It was kinda like Glenda the Good Witch leaving OZ.
    Officers Tim & Kelly introduced us to the horses.  Coming from Ybor City we both recognized the horses.  “Tank” is a very big horse and “Termite” is always chewing. There are 8-10 horses in service. 4 full time officers and 10 other that are qualified to ride.. All the horses are donated from the public. Each horse wears rubber boots 9 this helps protect them from broken glass. the riders all use English saddles. this give the officers more control. The horses are especially effective in crowd control. The demonstration was impressive as how gentle yet effective this horse are. The officers said that when they ride up on a horse and ask you to move, don’t get upset. What the officers are really saying is “Your a potential victim and need to get out of here.”
    Officers Ryan & Ray introduced us to their partners & buddies “Razo” & “Chestney”. These police dogs are the best of the best. They are purchased from breeders at a cost of $10,000+ each. they then go thru 600 hours of training over 3-5 months. There are 14 dual purpose dog that do regular police work and 1/2 narcotics and 1/2 bomes sniffing. The dogs understand English and some Dutch & some German too. When the dogs retire the ofice get the first chance to adopt them Most of the dogs remain with the officers. Did you know that in the Air Force Carrie was a drug dog trainers? At home later this same night there on TV were Ryan & ray doing a demonstration at a local  water park. All our Police Officers work long days!
    The night ended with a quick tour of the Forensics Truck. Officer Alicia Kaufman  explained the big truck comes with a generator that runs large LED outside lights. There were hard hats, shovels and tons of other things to collect evidence. It was interesting that metal paint cans are used to put cell phones in. Once placed in a can or wrapped 5 times with foil. The phones can not be de activated.
Next week It’s Specialty Teams including TRT/HNT Demos & EOD Demo & Specialty vehicles & Marine -Dive Team.  We can’t wait!!!
“Dishing with Mark & Carrie” is an Internet blog followed by over 60,000+ people every week. Visit www.MCFilmFest.com to see more.

Week # 2: The Tampa Citizen Police Academy The Mark & Carrie Experience

Special edition
Week # 2:  The Tampa Citizen Police Academy
                            The Mark & Carrie Experience
                             Communications Center
    This week we were off to the Tampa Police Dept. Communications center. The building is just north of Hillsborough Ave in a hurricane bunker. The com center is run under TPD Retired Major Tom Wolff.
    Into the training room. This room is also used for special comm event hubs like the RNC last year. Together the instructors have 130+ years of experience. Major Diane Hobley-Burney talked about the importance of a priority 1 call and how never to say there is a gun when there is not.
    Officer Maginnis took us thru a variety of live call-ins and videos from TPD helicopter. He explained there are 3 different sections in the call center. The 911 calls. this is where the  police and fire/EMS calls come in at. The second section is Dispatch. This is where they send out the police and or fire departments. the third area is non-emergency. this is the administration department and where the most irate calls come into.
    Over 30,000+ calls come in every month. a priority #1 call is dispatched in 45 seconds or less. priority #2 are dispatched in 2 minutes and follow standard operating procedures.   The peak time for  calls is 5PM
    Diana Hall a 16 years veteran took us into the main Comm Center. We were surprised at how small the room actually was. On the wall were 3 TV’s the outer two both had Bay News 9 on them. The center HDTV played Fox News. The supervisor is in the center of the room with the 3 different sections around it . On one side is also the fire department dispatch.  Diana explained how greatly improved are the communications between FDLE and other agencies with the Tampa Police.
    There were many different screens for an assortment of things. Phone calls pop up with maps & locations. Many times the callers are confused and give the wrong locations. They speak English & Spanish but do have translators avaliable a short call away.  Everything seemed to going great but new software would help here.
    Officer Alicia Kaufman of TPD Forensics Investigations was a real hoot. The TV’s portrayal of  CSI and actual local forensics are as different as night & day. No 60 minute results! The Tampa department is made up of 17 officers, 3 supervisors and one manager. This group has covered an impressive 6,500 calls last years.The officers are usually the last to the crime scene. Here they collect finger prints, DNA & misc thing. 100’s of photos are taken. Then everything goes to the Tampa crime lab with the results given over to the detectives.
    Next week we will be with the TPD K-9, Mounted Horse Patrol & Air Service Demo.  Can’t wait!!!

Week #1 The Tampa Police Department Citizen’s Police Academy

Week 1: The Tampa Citizen Police Academy
The Mark & Carrie Experience
Welcome, Chief Castor and Command Staff
Tampa Police Department Division breakdown
    What a HUGE Honor it is to be accepted into the Fall 2013 Tampa Police Dept. Citizen’s Academy.  We hope you enjoy this fun 9 week blog.  There are 2 classes with 25 students selected each year. We knew a couple of people in our fall class. From Attorneys, bank officers, students and general community leaders that were selected to help their local community.
    The introductory class started with all the top Tampa Police officials introducing themselves. Cookies & drinks were provide. Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor then took the stage. If you ever get a chance to hear Chief Castor speak, do go. She is one of the most interesting & fun public speakers we have ever seen. Chief Jane has served under former Mayor Pam Iorio & current Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
    Over the past 10 years Tampa has seen a 81% deduction in crime. Chief Castor talked about how the city was cut into 3 districts and is now run like a major business. The new Police Mission Statement was changed from lawyer talk to very day lay terms to, “The Mission of the Tampa Police Department is to Reduce Crime and Enhance the Quality of Life Through a Cooperative Partnership with all Citizens.”
    In the USA there is a national crime database, U.C.R. (Uniform Crime Report)  The Chief realized if she were to focus on 4 main areas in Tampa the UCR would drop. This became known was the “BIG 4”. The areas of crime in the Big 4 are burglary, robbery, auto burglary and auto theft. Other new groups include “The Quad Squad” focusing on street level drug sales & distribution, “ROCK SQUAD”  and the “WOW” (Worst Of the Worst) program.
Tampa PD Public Information Officer Laura McElroy was introduced and talked about communications with the public. Laura  comes from 16 years as a TV anchor & news reporter.
     There is a facebook for the Police at https://www.facebook.com/TampaPD The web site is at http://www.tampagov.net/dept_Police/. There is also a Twitter and online magazine “Signal 14”.
    Assistant Chief John Bennett gave a very interesting talk about the Tampa Police New Police computer software. It used to be that when a police report was filed by the officer, then taken in to supervisor, then post. This could take 3-5 or more days  The new software lets the officer post his report in the field instantly. This new online system is made up of 4 parts. Part 1- the Data, part 2- Blogs, part 3- Validate & part 4- the reports. It is much like a doctors patients chart except for crime. All officers can add to it at any time. There is a civilian version like this at www.raidsonline.com
    There is also a searchable data base to. Example… search for burglar thru dog door in xyz area. If several crimes popped up similar they probably are looking for the same person. This logical and common sense approach has caught the eyes of many law enforcement agency’s across America. Even the US Military are taking a closer look at this Tampa produced program.  Talk about making you PROUD OF OUR TAMPA POLICE FORCE!!!
    The remainder of our first class we went over the up coming weeks classes. Next week we will  be at the Communications Center learning about 911 Tapes, Live dispatch and call center facility tour. We can’t wait to tell you all about it!!!
“Dishing with Mark & Carrie” is an Internet blog followed by over 60,000+ people every week. Visit www.MCFilmFest.com to see more.