Quote of the Day: Ballistic Big Brother Edition

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“This product will give us the ability to know the exact time the officer drew his weapon, the time between the drawing of the weapon and the firing of the weapon, and then the exact time between each individual shot. … It really is about knowing when a person is engaged in a hostile confrontation and getting them the assistance they need to make that situation safe.” – Santa Cruz Sheriff Phil Wowak in “Smart guns” could help officers in tight situations [at cbsnews.com]



  1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Apparently it only works on……..

    “He is also one of a dozen deputies now carrying a .9mm pistol”

    I still haven’t seen one of these. I’ll be hunting for one at the next gun show.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      I’m telling you, .7mm. That’s the ideal caliber for a mechanical pencil. My heavy hands crush .5mms all day.

      Not to start a caliber war, but I think .9mm is just too small to provide reliable stopping power. I’d want 10 times bigger at least in a handgun. In a rifle I’m thinking of 5.56 minimum. YMMV.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Yep, only needed to read a couple of sentences and I stopped there.

  2. avatar jwm says:

    Smart guns for cops? Officers and unions better bury this idea before they have to bury officers.

    1. avatar Sian says:

      This is a tracking and reporting device. It has zero to do with the function of the gun.

      1. avatar Barstow Cowboy says:

        Like he said…

  3. avatar the ruester says:

    Lol the civilian version will also text your mawm to let her know you’re alright.

    1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Hey now! You leave my meemaw out of this.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        +2 for the Big Band Theory reference!

        1. avatar Alex says:

          -1 for spell check!

        2. avatar Chip Bennett says:

          But it sounds like my kind of show.

  4. avatar Shire-man says:

    This beats a relay of “shots fired!” how?

    Though I would get a lot of joy out of seeing cops carry smart guns and have their backup arrive with the same response times as you or I would get.

    Gun fires, station sees report, call comes back “backup will arrive in 3-5 minutes (or if really unlucky 15-20). Sit tight.”

  5. avatar James in MO says:

    And this will help prevent/determine/prosecute … What exactly?

  6. avatar Mediocrates says:

    It’s time to disarm our local standing armies. Why can’t we be more like the United Kingdom?

    1. avatar Chris. says:

      Because we won the war — to not be like them.

    2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Why do you just move there instead?

      It would be much easier for everyone involved.

    3. avatar gregory says:

      I will buy you a one-way plane ticket to the UK if you sign a contract forbidding your return to the US. Let me know if this works for you and I will send you my contact information.

    4. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      You want to be more like the UK? Where the entire civilian population is pretty much forbidden from keeping or bearing arms? Count me out.

      1. avatar Timmy! says:

        Chris, ROH, Gregory, and Hasdrubal,
        I think he meant OUR cops should be disarmed like THEIR cops. Plus, “sarcasm alert” sort of thing.

        “Stop! Or I’ll yell ‘Stop!’ again!”

  7. avatar Dave says:

    I think this is actually worth while.

    Think about what happened in Ferguson – the station would have known Wilson was possibly in trouble when his gun was first fired in the car – when he was too busy getting punched in the face to radio for help.

    1. avatar Gregolas says:

      I think bodycams would do this much better. Set them up so they can’t be rewound by officers or erased, and make them universal.
      “Smart” guns? Does your smart phone work all the time? I like mine, but I wouldn’t trust my life to it.

      1. avatar Dave P says:

        But that would mean someone to constantly monitor the video feed, which may not be possible – especially for a large department.

        And don’t forget – this isn’t a “smart” gun, it’s just a “shots fired” tracking device. It in no way interferes with the officer’s ability to use his gun.

        1. avatar Roscoe says:

          According to the interview I watched on the Nightly Nooze with Dem-state-prog-lib-tard Scott Pelly last night, these tracking devices also relay un-holstering data. The question becomes is it enabled at all times, or can the user disable it at will. Certainly un-holstering to transfer one’s sidearm, switch holsters, clean the weapon, range activities etc. are events that the dispatch-OPS center doesn’t need distracting personnel from actual high risk patrol or investigative activity. So if the officer doesn’t turn it on, then what? A failsafe function of some sort? Maybe on duty vs. off duty status data monitoring with the device is always on? Battery life? Seems there are lots of opportunities for functionality to go sideways, starting with officer behavior. Same as with cameras.

        2. avatar Skeptical_Realist says:

          I imagine it will be treated like server logs.

          They are mostly ignored until something goes wrong. Then, you can look through the logs to see the exact chain of events.

          Mundain holstering, unholstering, and live training will simply be logged, and the data will only be useful if a shooting ends up going to the courts.

    2. avatar David P. says:

      I understand your point but they would have also used the information against him saying that there was a delay in gun fire and that was when the officer was “hunting” him. And then they would have the barrage of bullets at the end was shot too fast to give brown a chance to surrender. His radio ended up on the wrong channel, electronics failed him.

    3. avatar Evan in Dallas says:

      I agree. I also think people are reading this to mean smart guns as in, doesn’t fire without some kind of RFID device. The only thing they talk about here is a device that essentially records and notifies when shots are fired. I’m okay with that for police. Just like the cameras, you have no right to privacy when you are serving the state. Especially when you shoot somebody. Don’t like it? Don’t be a cop. There are plenty of things I don’t like about my job, and I am free to leave at any time.

    4. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      Given that Wilson radioed for backup before he ever reversed his SUV to re-accost Brown and Johnson, and that the backup he requested arrived within 2 minutes of the shooting, I don’t see how this technology would have impacted the Ferguson incident in any meaningful way.

      That said: if police want to use this technology for their own purposes, and LEO purposes aren’t translated into non-LEO purposes, I have no problem with it.

      1. avatar Dave says:

        Valid point – I forgot that he had already radioed in for help.

        I still think that LEO’S could find it useful though.

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          F$&@ that. I’ll keep my standard .40 cal, thanks.

        2. avatar Roscoe says:

          I’m with A81, but then I’m a risk avers/risk taking (stack the deck in my favor) S/A anticipate the worst kinda guy who has always been one step ahead of…trouble, both in and out of LE. Plus, no one really likes having someone else always looking over their shoulder, so to speak.

          However, I can also see the utility of having a system such as this in place as a redundant backup should things go south and you’re too busy or injured to put out an 11-99.

  8. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    I don’t really care if they make government employees do it… Just don’t tell me I have to get one.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      This, precisely!

    2. avatar Roscoe says:


      I can already envision Kamala up at CA DOJ rubbing her hands together in anticipation of yet another legislative restriction of some sort both for gun ownership and another new requirement on the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale.

      Keep throwing shit against the wall of constitutional protections and see what sticks.

  9. avatar David P. says:

    I am assuming from the context that the smart gun will radio the police station when unholstered. If that is not the case then how would this be any better than police wearing body cameras?
    My solution for making a situation safe is making sure I have a gun that will fire, but I’m simple minded like that.

    1. avatar Sian says:

      Because body cameras don’t stream directly to the home office? (yet)

  10. avatar Kerry says:

    Next step…
    They’ll program the minimum time the gun allows between shots (by increasing that time of course!). They don’t want any chance an officer could “over do” it.

  11. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    great idea – saves big $$ on possible pension costs. Gun doesn’t fire. cop dies in line of duty. not vested in pension. no carrying costs for municipality. /sarc

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      A bit more direct than OCP’s approach to get rid of cops in Old Detroit perhaps, but it could work.

  12. avatar LJM says:

    Linked article has that darn .9 mm pistol reference, where do I find those!

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      You have to use a strong magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe just to load the mag on that thing.

      And when you strip it for cleaning, those tiny springs and pins and whatnot tend to fly everywhere never to be seen again…

  13. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

    At the very least this will get police officers on record stating why smart guns suck.

  14. avatar LJ says:

    I’m surprised you guys missed the part where some cops now use .9mm smart guns.

  15. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    From the linked article….

    ” The system is simple. Using the chip in the gun and the officer’s smart phone, it sends a “yellow” alert when an officer draws his gun. And a “red” alert when the weapon is fired.”

    First, I don’t think they understand what the word ‘simple’ means.

    Second, this is a neat idea but aren’t there other ways to accomplish the same thing? Methods that would be more effective, efficient, and probably less expensive? Wouldn’t a body camera, or improvements to the existing dashboard camera, be better/quicker/cheaper? Wouldn’t a simple panic-button like the elderly wear accomplish the same thing and only cost $49.95 plus shipping and handling per officer?

    I’m all for interesting technology improving the world in interesting ways, but this idea is neither.

    1. avatar Sian says:

      None of those things send immediate alerts to dispatch.

      1. avatar Chip in Florida says:

        No, they don’t. But it seems like it would be easier to modify an existing system, cheaper too, instead of this bit of proposed technology.

        And…. this bit of technology is just as fallible as the radio being on the wrong channel. The firearm is removed from the holster and ‘triggers’ the system. That signal has to go to a smart phone or computer in the car. What if that signal doesn’t make it? Battery failure? Radio Signal interference? I can make a really long list of things that could go wrong but there are many others who have done so already. This is a technological solution for something that isn’t going to benefit from a technological solution, and something that doesn’t really require a technological solution. At least in my opinion.

  16. avatar dwb says:

    I bet the tracking device is small since it’s a .9 MM. What happens if you only have 1 bar on the cell?

    The only thing that will “provide a clear record of what happened in any officer-involved shooting” is a body camera. And even then, only if the body camera is at the right angle, and (ahem) functions properly.

  17. avatar DerryM says:

    This is a “sensor” device, not a fire control device. It is not a “Smart Gun” of the variety that controls WHO can fire the weapon, but a reporting device that reports when the weapon was unholstered, when it was discharged, and, apparently, reports the location of those activities and identifies the Officer (to whom the gun is issued). Don’t get your hopes up or undies in a wad by misunderstanding what this is. Watch the video and it’s quite clear in only a couple of minutes.

    I can think of pro’s and con’s, but this field testing by Santa Cruz, Sheriff’s Dept, will produce solid data better than speculation.

    1. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

      I think most of us “get” that, but any objections from police regarding unreliable electronics inside a firearm only bolsters our arguments against guns that actually do control the firing mechanisms (using similar or even more complicated electronics).

      And there WILL be objections to this monitoring system, if the arguments against police being required to wear body cameras is any indication.

      1. avatar DerryM says:

        Agreed. I sort of take it for granted we oppose electronic fire control systems because of reliability issues. However, the eventuality someone will develop a foolproof electronic fire control system is only a matter of time.
        This device, having nothing to do with fire control, presents another class of concerns. If integrated into a firearms design it could record data useful to Law Enforcement (for or against the owner) which is downloadable, if not transmitted instantly. So, time and date, shots fired, GPS location, firearm’s serial number (linked to original registered owner), time and date active, or de-activated (if battery is removable) and probably other data that did not come to mind immediately, would make it a formidable monitoring device in new guns. Retrofit to older guns could be possible, if compact enough (which it appears to be).

        Nope, it’s not a “Smart Gun” for fire control, more of a “Where was Waldo, what did Waldo do and when did Waldo do ir?” gun…probably more potentially sinister than a fire control system when you think about it. Micro-stamping never worked for the gun grabbers, but this could if mandated for new gun designs.

        1. avatar Chip in Florida says:

          But if I remove the battery and don’t replace it, the gun will still fire?

        2. avatar DerryM says:

          Yes! This specific device has nothing to do with firing control. It ONLY detects when the gun is fired, probably by motion or sound sensor, so if you remove the battery, or the device itself, the gun still fires and functions mechanically like it always did. Watch the video and you see the device fits inside the grip between the magazine well wall and the back of the grip. Looks like there’s a little compartment and the device is placed into it.

  18. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “… It really is about knowing when a person is engaged in a hostile confrontation and getting them the assistance they need to make that situation safe.”

    What a load of crap. It will be all over and ready for chalk outlines long before help can arrive. Every. Stinkin. Time.

  19. avatar former water walker says:

    As long as this garbage is not mandated for us non cops this is OK by me. I know it may cut back on the volume of Chicago PO-leece shootings. I can’t imagine the cost or layer bureaucracy attahed to this. Especially for a small town.

  20. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

    This sounds like a potentially good idea to me. As long as it doesn’t actually affect the use of the gun (just records data and notifies dispatch as appropriate) it seems like it is a useful tool for police departments. I could also see the technology put into use by private security companies.

    I’m puzzled by some of the comments re: having body cameras as an alternative. There’s no reason they can’t have this AND have body cameras in use.

    The primary purpose of body cameras vs. this technology are different. Cameras record what happened so that you can go back after the incident and see what actually took place. This helps with that too, but it is also a real-time tool as well that helps with relaying some information about an ongoing event back to dispatch immediately.

    [This is all, of course, assuming that it isn’t made mandatory for non-LEO persons.]

  21. avatar Ralph says:

    Maybe the developer can also rig up a device that sends a signal whenever an officer tosses a flash-bang into a crib.

    1. avatar Salty Bear says:

      Great idea! That way they can just get instant promotions instead of being placed on paid leave while a judge decides that it was just a case of an officer doing his duty to protect and serve!

  22. avatar Mark N. says:

    Santa Cruz? Really? I have to wonder if Santa Cruz cops ever fire their guns any place but on the range.

  23. avatar gemalo says:

    …and when the network crashes, or the wi-fi doesn’t work, they can approximate the time the officer was killed by the thug with the REAL gun.

  24. avatar Hannibal says:

    “…It really is about knowing when a person is engaged in a hostile confrontation and getting them the assistance they need to make that situation safe.”

    All they would need for that would be a simple “oh crap!” alert to be sent upon firing, not a half-dozen metrics. Not that I care, more info is better I suppose, I just don’t like the doublespeak.

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