Letter: Recent Experiences from a Southwest LEO



I am an LEO in the Southwest. I had a few experiences recently I thought the readers of the blog would be interested in.

First, our Police Department recently switched to Federal Flight Control Buckshot. All I can say is, “WOW”. For those not familiar with it, instead of a wad opening up like a tulip at the front, fins pop out at the back so the shot cup crown stays intact and round. It makes a huge difference. We were seeing all nine pellets within 5-6″ at 25 yards, and honest 8-10″ groups at 40 yards. We were hitting steel at 100 yards as well. This is a real game changer for those that use buck shot.

Second, I recently had a chance to sit down with a rep from Combat Medical Systems (the Quik Clot makers) at a training course. A point of note brought up was on the procedure for stopping bleeding with the impregnated Z-fold Quik Clot gauze. After packing the wound, DIRECT PRESSURE MUST BE HELD FOR 3 MINTUES. If after three minutes, bleeding has not stopped, UNPACK THE WOUND AND REPACK WITH NEW GAUZE. This is the only time I have heard to unpack a wound rather than pack more on top, so it was notable, but it is what was being taught. The philosophy is that the medicine in the first packing did not work; so if it is in place, the medicine from the second will not reach the wound. He also recommended that if three minutes of direct pressure didn’t stop the bleeding on a wound serious enough to use a hemostatic agent, it may be time to just go to a tourniquet.

Third, I recently went on a call for service regarding a cache that had been discovered. I thought it could be used as an interesting teaching point with some things to do, and things not to do.

Some teenage boys went hunting and located a sealed tin of ammunition tucked away in a rock pile. Being teenage boys, they opened it on a rock, and shot it up. Being teenage boys again, they came back the next day to look for more ammunition. During this second trip, they located an ammunition can. They opened this can, discovered some military EOD items, and called the police.

The cache was in the national forest, within 5 miles of a larger highway, and approximately 3-4 miles off of any road or trail. The cache was not buried, but was tucked in and under a large (car size) boulder pile (approximately 40 or so boulders). The cache consisted of multiple ammunition cans (15+) in various crevices.

My thoughts on the cache:

  1. Geographically, I think the cache was in a decent location. It was far enough off of the beaten path that it went undisturbed for roughly 20 years. It was on a probable route out of the closest metropolitan area, was defensible, and could be hiked to fairly quickly if needed. It was located at a prominent geographic feature, so it could be found again. The problem was that it was located at a prominent geographic feature, so it was found. If a certain rock pile or tree attracted your eye, rest assured it will attract others. There were hundreds of rock piles in the area, but the one he chose stuck out for some reason, even to us pointing it out to fellow responders. If he had used that same rock pile, and then used 150 feet of rope on a known azimuth, it would have most likely remained undiscovered.
  2. The ammunition cans were used, yet (after 20 years) were still intact with minimal rust and wear. The ammunition cans were hid around an area of approximately 60’x60′, so all his eggs were not in one basket though multiple cache locations would have been a better idea. The ammo cans were not coated with any anti-rust material. The cans were not buried and were merely hid and tucked under rocks. It had been good enough for 20 years of secrecy, but still found. If they were buried, they would still be out there.
  3. The items cached were varied and included food, medical supplies, firearms, ammunition, and a detailed inventory lists of contents of cans. This list had been updated at several points in time over the years, and was dated; hence I knew the age. There was a rough hand-drawn map of an overhead view of the area in one of the cans, with numbers at various locations. These numbers corresponded correctly to the can numbers on the inventory list. To “decode” the map, we found three cans by searching in a grid, then figured out the can numbers by comparing them to the inventory list. With three cans, we were able to triangulate the correct orientation of the map and quickly locate the other cans. If you include a map or inventory list, please come up with a better code.
  4. The cache also included non-tax stamped goodies and stolen military EOD compounds. Something for readers to consider: From a public safety standpoint, ammunition is no biggie in our neck of the woods, nor are reloading supplies (primers and powder), even in massive quantity. However, stolen EOD goods do raise feathers, and they usually lead to calls to a local military EOD team and the ATF, Both of which come with lots of really sensitive metal detectors and other things. So, instead of two or three cops looking around, you have 30 people from various agencies. From that same public safety standpoint, we can stop (or not even start) a search after a few hours, if we are looking for strictly ammunition. If we miss some it’s not a threat to public safety. If we miss EOD stuff, it’s a big deal. So, the few hours spent searching may turn into days.
  5. Personal information should be removed. I am in no way offering legal advice or any recommendation, nor advocating possessing non-stamped goods or EOD items. However, Venezuela just made hoarding illegal, and what is legal today may not be legal five years from now. Be mindful of this when you are preparing your cache. Sterilize any personal information from your cache. Remove price tags, maybe even cut off expiration dates or destroy them. Only cache private party sale guns. Cosmoline should remove any fingerprints, but be mindful of other non-gun items that weren’t coated as well. If you cached a legal AR or AK in California or New York 30 years ago and wasdug up now, there could be some legal ramifications. Consider placing your MBR and hi-caps separately from your other cache. Also consider various cache locations with different types of goods.

I know one of the main concerns when caching items is the safety of the items and the prevention of theft. I don’t mean to add more work on to people considering a cache, but protecting yourself against possible future legal ramifications should be considered as well. God Bless! – Anonymous

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