Standard Operating Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP/SOG)

These sections will detail Standard Operating Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP/SOG) for the operation of the Sheriff's Auxiliary. As this Volunteer Handbook is generally visible to the public, we may also publish and distribute additional SOP/SOG which may have restricted content (e.g. specific security procedures).


There is a legal distinction between SOPs and SOGs as herein defined. Where this legal distinction is specifically intended in this document or other documents of the Auxiliary, the words Guidelines and Procedures shall be capitalized or italicized.

First of all, Auxiliary SOP/SOG may not conflict with applicable guidelines or procedures of the Sheriff's Office where such SOP/SOG is applicable to Auxiliary volunteers, including any SOP/SOG which applies to Sheriff's Office Personnel generally. SOP/SOG which only applies to Licensed Peace Officers of the LCSO may or may not apply to Auxiliary volunteers and shall be handled on a case by case basis.

A Standard Operating Guideline (SOG) states in general terms what the guideline is expected to accomplish. All major assignments are defined in general terms. Standard Operating Guidelines define "best practices" which are recommended by the Auxiliary to accomplish LCSO/LCSA policy objectives. As "Guidelines", they are subject to field requirements and may be modified where required by the specific conditions encountered, particularly in the interests of life safety. That bears repeating: when the safety of volunteers, victims, bystanders, law enforcement officers, etc., conflicts with Standard Operating Guidelines, safety shall take priority.

The orders and briefings for specific deployments shall provide additional guidance for particular missions and take priority over written SOGs; over time, best practices identified in these deployments will be used to create or improve written SOGs. Given the chaotic conditions of emergencies and disasters, it is not possible to follow Guidelines rigidly nor for the Guidelines to cover all conceivable circumstances, however, when written Guidelines are not appropriate and are not followed, the volunteer shall a) perform according to the limits of their authority, b) perform according to their training, and c) be able to articulate and defend their conduct. When Guidelines are found to be inappropriate or inapplicable, it is strongly recommended that the perceived conflict and the reason a particular decision was made be noted in the appropriate log for later analysis and possible adjustment to written documents.

Procedures are more formal and more restrictive than Guidelines. As used here, Standard Operating Procedure means:

1. Established procedure to be followed in carrying out a given operation or in a given situation.
2. A specific procedure or set of procedures so established.

Procedures should be kept short, limited in scope, formal in style, and either presented in or readily convertible to a checklist. Violations of procedure must be authorized by appropriate authority (e.g. the officer-in-charge), justifiable, subject to safety requirements, noted in logs. Violations of safety procedure are grounds for a designated safety officer to halt activity. Non-binding rationale in SOP (explanation of the intent of the SOP) shall be marked as such, typically by the use of the word "Rationale" as a subhead and shall be used in attempting to resolve apparent conflicts between procedural or policy requirements. Guidelines shall tend toward the use of "may", "must", and "should", while Procedures shall tend toward the use of "will" and "shall" statements.


Standard Operating Guidelines (SOG)

This section shall contain Standard Operating Guidelines for the operation of the Auxiliary where "Guidelines" is defined in this Volunteer Handbook. Individual Guidelines will link/refer to applicable Procedures where this makes organizational sense. Additional Guidelines may be published and distributed outside this Handbook if their content is of a sensitive or restricted nature which should not be visible to the public (see the LCSA Information Security (INFOSEC) document for definitions of what content may be restricted and how it shall be marked). Specifically, Guidelines which contain For Official Use Only (FOUO) content or which pertain to security processes may be restricted. In general, every effort should be made to organize content such that the majority of our guidelines are publicly available for purposes of oversight and for potential reuse by other organizations. Restricted information shall be kept to the smallest possible portion which may justifiably be restricted.

In many cases, the Sheriff's Auxiliary may conduct training or volunteers may be trained (through SEMA or FEMA, or via required certifications) on topics which are not covered by these guidelines or where they have not yet made their way into formal documents. This will especially be the case in the formative years of the organization. Where that is the case, volunteers are expected to follow their training.


Partisan Political Activity

Given that we perform uniformed service for the Sheriff's Office, we need to follow some rules regarding political activity.
First, do not engage in any partisan political activity (direct support for a candidate or party) while in uniform or on duty. You may participate in political events as a Sergeant-at-Arms, crowd control, or similar capacity as long as you do not participate in the political activity. You may also participate in community events with a political component in uniform performing outreach as an LCSA volunteer (e.g. working an information booth or handing out literature on the LCSA) again, provided that you do not participate in the partisan activity.
When not in uniform, you may not associate your partisan political activity with the LCSA, with your Auxiliary position or title, or with the county. Make it clear that any political statements made are personal in nature. Do not state, imply, or allow to be implied that the Auxiliary or the Office of the Sheriff endorses any candidate or party.
Political statements, letters-to-the-editor, and so forth on issues or policies (e.g. 2nd Amendment advocacy or law enforcement) are much less of a problem provided that you clearly state whether opinions are:

  • official statements on the issue of the LCSA (made, say, in a resolution by the Board of Directors) or of the Sheriff's Office
  • official opinions of your office within the Auxiliary ("As the LCSA Quartermaster, it is my official opinion that the proposed law will make it difficult for volunteer organizations to accept or properly account for in-kind donations of equipment.")
  • purely personal opinions ("The Auxiliary officially supports the shall-issue CCW process as it stands; as a private citizen, I am in favor of giving the local Sheriff more discretion to deny applications.")

Disagreements on issues and policy within the LCSA should be approached tactfully, to not expose dirty laundry best kept between members. When issues must be spoken of, again, make clear whose opinion is whose: "As quartermaster, I am not in favor of the proposed policy; my superior, the Chief-of-Staff is, but the Auxiliary as a whole has no official statement." Most often, it is best to simply avoid these sorts of complexities.
We serve the office of the Sheriff, not the person of the Sheriff. Volunteers of the Auxiliary endorsing a candidate for Sheriff must approach the situation with care and tact and must not do so in uniform or in our offical capacity. If the Sheriff's Office changes hands, we must be able to do our jobs without personality issues or political baggage. Who you vote for is no one's business.


Active Shooter Response Guidelines


An active shooter is defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as "an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm[s] and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims." Note that this definition is a simplification it that many "active shooters" use mixed methods, such as firearms and explosives, arson, hand-to-hand weapons, vehicles, etc., as part of the attack. An attacker may become an active shooter as part of a 'double-tap' attack where they initiate a first incident to trigger an emergency response and then attack emergency responders. Auxiliary members should always be aware of this possibility and the potential need to protect other (unarmed) responders until law enforcement can mobilize.

In 64 [of 160] incidents where the duration of the incident could be ascertained, 44 (69.0%) of 64 incidents ended in 5 minutes or less, with 23 ending in 2 minutes or less. Even when law enforcement was present or able to respond within minutes, civilians often had to make life and death decisions, and, therefore, should be engaged in training and discussions on decisions they may face. --- "A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013". US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. 24 September 2014

In order to deal with the potential complexity and the ambiguity of 'shooter' (who may be you shooting back), we will use the term 'aggressor' in the remainder of this document wherever possible.

Priorities for response will depend on where you are in relation to the violence:

Hot Zone
You are standing where the violence is occurring. In the setting of a mall, for instance, the aggressor begins killing indiscriminately in the food court where you are eating lunch.
Warm Zone
You are near but not directly embroiled in the violence. You therefore have a potentially safe position to your back, and some time to prepare or maneuver if the aggressor comes in your direction. Continuing the mall example, you are in a department store or mall concourse adjacent to the food court when the incident starts.
Cold Zone
You are outside the area where the violence is occurring. You are in the mall parking lot, at the opposite end of a department store, etc., not near the food court where the violence started and have a clear view of the Warm Zone or of defensible barriers between you and trouble.

Priorities For Response

As we are not law enforcement, the typical volunteer does not have the authority or training to 'go in after' the aggressor (volunteers who are retired law enforcement or qualify in advanced tactical training may be excepted). Our potential roles in a protracted incident would focus on perimeter control, communications support, chaplaincy, assistance in parent-child-reunification, and medical force protection. One of the missions of the Auxiliary, however, is to disperse trained responders in the community ahead of a no-notice incident to maximize the chance of someone being nearby when needed. Understanding that these incidents are unusual, it is possible that one or more volunteers may be present, on or off-duty, when one occurs.

Hot Zone

If you are at ground zero (e.g. in the same room as the shooter) when an incident occurs, then this simply devolves to a defense of person circumstance and should be treated no differently: act as necessary to protect life (yours and that of other bystanders). Afterwards, communicate with Dispatch and begin response operations (e.g. assist wounded) until someone arrives to take over and formally assign you. If the scene is safe, clear and holster your weapon as soon as possible. Always be certain that Dispatch knows that armed friendlies are present, how many you are, whether you are in or out of uniform, etc. In many cases, someone will have called 9-1-1. If convenient, simply find out who it is, have them tell Dispatch that you are present, and maintain focus on the critical tasks of triage and initial response, using the bystander with the phone to relieve you of communication overhead. Do not disturb the scene prior to arrival of law enforcement any more than is necessary to protect life.

Warm Zone

In the event of an active shooter or similar threat nearby but not in your same location (e.g. in the same building), your responsibility is to:

  1. get yourself and your partner into a secure position
  2. call for backup, observe and report on the threat
  3. protect or evacuate civilians behind you
  4. care for wounded if tactically sound
  5. respond with force *only if threatened* (or if the civilians you are protecting are threatened)

As soon as you hear gun shots, you should be moving. Put cover between you and the danger. Put yourself (and your weapon) between the danger and other bystanders. If it is possible to escape and help bystanders escape, do so. If not, close doors, barricade doorways, or whatever is necessary to secure your position. Identify yourself. Be wary of drawing your weapon until it is necessary so that you are not mistaken for the aggressor. Use force if necessary to protect your life and that of those around you but do not go seeking trouble. Remember in particular, that many aggressors use long-arms and soft body armor: going against the aggressor with a concealed-carry handgun, limited ammunition, no armor, and no support may simply make you a victim. It is often better to find and defend a strong position, protecting those you can.

As soon as your position is as secure as you can make it, communicate with dispatch (or, again, locate someone who has already called 9-1-1 so that you can focus on life protection). Make certain that dispatch knows that armed friendlies are present. If you have your radio, follow Missouri protocol by setting your primary channel to Law Mutual Aid to coordinate with law enforcement and your secondary to Multi-Disciplinary Mutual Aid (MTAC) to communicate with the larger response, such as medical. If you know and have programmed the channel for local law (e.g. municipal PD), announce yourself there first, say that you are switching to Law Mutual Aid and then do so. Be aware that it is becoming common for law enforcement to deploy singly or in pairs as soon as they arrive on scene. Also keep in mind that a sophisticated aggressor may be listening to radio traffic. Keep dispatch aware of important information: where the aggressor is, how many, what they are armed with, how many victims and where they are located, etc., but do not monopolize the channel. By securing your area and coordinating with dispatch, you provide a possible safe initial entry point ("beachhead") for arriving law enforcement. As you secure a means of retreat, you should then create a rally point out of the Warm Zone in the Cold Zone so that victims can be gotten out and other responders in (see Cold Zone, below.)

If you have wounded nearby, and if your situation is secure (if, for example, you have a partner to watch your back), begin tending to wounded. Otherwise, direct bystanders if possible ("You in the blue shirt, take this and put direct pressure on that wound. Is anyone here trained in First Aid?"). Where it is possible to give bystanders something useful to do, it may keep them (and you) calm and focused. As taught in CERT Training and First Aid we do not move wounded unless it is necessary to save their lives, but if it is necessary, say if someone is going through and shooting wounded, by all means move them, or, better, have someone else move them while you watch their back.

Once law enforcement arrives on the scene, one of two things may occur. If you have coordinated with the specific LEOs before, are wearing uniform, vest or jackets (or are otherwise readily identifiable), and are in close communication with them, then ideally, they can simply move in past you or check your location, verify your identity, and continue with their sweep. If you are not in close communication and they are not directly familiar with you, you will need to place your weapon in a non-threatening posture before they make entry. If you have entering LEOs on one side and an armed aggressor on the other, this may be very tricky to do safely. Follow any directions given. Holding your weapon in the universal "Please don't shoot me," position (as discussed in Weapons Retention and the Securing and Disabling Weapons Practical [Note: add photo or diagram]), placing your weapon on the floor with your foot on top of it, or placing a wastebasket upside down over a weapon and then sitting on it with your hands up are good default options. Once again, in these circumstances, it is often best to keep your weapon holstered until it is necessary to draw and fire it. This minimizes the chances of becoming a friendly-fire casualty. This is why present-from-hoster-and-fire dry-fire practice is necessary.

Be aware that it is possible for off-duty LEOs to arrive and enter the scene without contacting dispatch and therefore without being aware of your presence. This is bad and they should not do it, but there is little you can do to prevent it except try not to get shot. Law Enforcement may also go into tunnel vision where they may not register your attempts to identify yourself and may not recognize an ID on a lanyard. Holding or mentioning a weapon before it is necessary may be very dangerous.

Cold Zone

If you are in the Cold Zone at incident start or arriving in the Cold Zone (you were already deployed at a larger event when the incident started or you are called in for support), then you should first follow any orders received and coordinate with any response in progress. Communications should again default to Law Mutual Aid and MTAC, absent other instructions.

If there is no response in progress, then you are it. Your priorities should be:

  • Report in to dispatch and initiate incident communications. Can you establish communications with friendlies inside?
  • Protect your life, that of your partner/team mates, and the public if threatened. Remember that the Hot Zone may shift without warning.
  • Make certain you are readily identifiable. If you are in uniform, then good, otherwise, secure a jacket, vest, or other means of identification as quickly as possible (e.g. from a vehicle go-bag).
  • Create a rally point in the Cold Zone for escaping victims, triage, and arriving responders.
  • Establish perimeter and scene safety. Direct bystanders--- who may range from completely unaware to panicked--- away from danger.
  • Coordinate with whatever authority arrives and begins setting up an Incident Command. Identify yourself physically to Incident Command As Soon As Possible. They must know how many volunteers are present, where they are, and how to identify them.

Do not enter the Warm Zone or Hot Zone without orders. Without close coordination, you will become another potential victim, something else responders need to worry about, and potentially mistaken for the aggressor.


Guidelines For Volunteers On Patrol

These Guidelines are applicable to Auxiliary patrols generally, including security patrols and livestock patrols. These guidelines should be used as the basis for operations orders or as a fallback in the case of a no-notice deployment.


Patrols should always consist of at least two pairs of volunteers who will be available for mutual support. Volunteers may also be paired with law enforcement officers or other responders (e.g. CERT, Cattlemen, Missouri Militia, National Guard) if the mission requires it.

Use of Force/Rules of Engagement

Volunteers may carry sidearms or pepper-spray during patrol according to LCSA and Sheriff's Office policy. Our mission is Observe and Report only: force, including deadly force, shall only be used for Life Protection or under direct orders of a Peace Officer. Volunteers may defend themselves if directly threatened and no retreat is available or if retreat would expose civilians to threat of severe bodily harm or death. Volunteers shall not pursue. LCSA volunteers are specifically prohibited from using force to defend property from theft or vandalism. Volunteers shall not block roadways or otherwise restrict flight unless directed by law enforcement.

Volunteers using firearms on patrol, even when required in self-defense, must be mindful of the potential for friendly fire. Every attempt must be made to properly identify targets and to ensure a clean background, including the potential for inhabited structures.

If a patrol vehicle comes under fire, the first preference should be to maneuver away from the danger and call for help.

Observation of Suspicious Activity

If directed to follow a suspect, stolen vehicle, or otherwise continue to observe suspicious activity, volunteers shall do so without forcing a confrontation with the suspects unless directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer. Volunteers shall maintain a full 360-degree look-out while observing suspicious activity to remain mindful of other threatening individuals, traffic, the positions of and potential danger to bystanders. Volunteers shall make a recording of activity if possible.

Patrol vehicles shall obey all traffic rules. We are not authorized to have or run lights and sirens.

Patrols are not authorized to trespass. We require permission from land-owners to enter property.


Patrols should be organized to have (at least) one licensed communications specialist per team. By default, Personnel Accountability Report (PAR) checks should be made every 60 minutes with dispatch. Any time a significant action is made, for instance, when a volunteer stops to investigate activity, they should check in with dispatch or a patrol leader before taking the action. That way, if something goes wrong, leadership can determine a last-known whereabouts for the patrol and send help. In remote areas of the county where communications is poor, use a cell-phone or relay to another patrol vehicle to make a report.

A rally point shall always be designated for a patrol, where volunteers who have lost communications will be expected to return to by a specified time.


Securing of Firearms or Other Deadly Weapons

Firearms are sometimes required in conjunction with Auxiliary duties. In addition to following all applicable laws, regulations, Sheriff's office instructions, and Auxiliary rules regarding responsible use of firearms, it is the responsibility of a volunteer to ensure that firearms (or other deadly weapons) are, to the extent possible, secure at all times against theft or misuse. To that end, specifically, all operable firearms must either be on the person and under the bearer's direct physical control or acceptably secured in one of the following manners:

  • Under control of the Sergeant-At-Arms in accordance with his office,
  • Under control of a Range Master during a fireing exercise,
  • Secured in a personal vehicle in accordance with Missouri law,
  • Stacked according to regulations for 'stacking arms' with a volunteer assigned to secure and monitor such arms at all times,
  • While under visual control: unloaded, locked by a device which fully disables the mechanism (such as a bolt lock; a trigger lock is not acceptable), or disabled by removing critical parts of the action (such as the bolt from a bolt-action rifle or the slide or cylinder from a handgun) and the ammunition/magazines or removed parts secured separately,
  • Locked in a 'secured container', such as a pistol box, where the meaning of that term is informed by statute and case law. To the extent practical in field deployment, the 'secured container' must be affixed to a non-easily portable object, cabinet, tree, post, or item of furniture so that the container may not be removed wholesale without tools, noise, or other potentially detectable effort.

In general, arms under physical control or secured under visual control are to be preferred to passive locks and security measures. As an example, it would be acceptable to remove the action from a rifle (disabling it), pocket the action (such that it is under direct physical control), and stack the rifle nearby (under visual control). The best place for a firearm is on your body. Unattended firearms should preferably be locked in common areas where attempts to bypass the lock or remove the container might be noticed as opposed to in a pistol box under a cot in a personal tent or a vehicle in a distant and unobserved parking lot. Volunteers should note that they may be called to perform physical labor where a firearm may need to be temporarily removed and provision must be made ahead of time to do this safely and securely. 
No one shall threateningly display, brandish, or otherwise misuse a firearm or other weapon readily capable of lethal use in such a way as to violate RsMo 531.030, any applicable instructions of the Sheriff, or LCSA regulations.
These rules shall be enforced by the Sergeant-At-Arms against all LCSA volunteers in a called-up status (wherever they are operating) and against all persons (including visitors or members of other organizations/agencies) on an LCSA-controlled site. The Sergeant-At-Arms may detain or eject such persons, regardless of rank or status, who may be in violation and may confiscate arms found unsecured. Similarly, a designated Range Master may eject such persons or confiscate such arms as violate these rules, safe practice, or the instructions of the Range master. Violations of these rules shall be considered a danger to other volunteers, the general public, or the public order and shall not be tolerated.
A short summary of these rules shall be posted conspicuously at all LCSA-operated sites and the Sergeant-at-Arms, Range Master, or designees shall wear prominent red blazes on their sleeves or red arm-bands.

Use of Force Guidelines

This section contains general guidelines for use of force in and out of uniform, on and off duty. Other guidelines will describe use of force considerations for specific missions and scenarios. Detailed Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) for specific cases shall also be provided in the appropriate section of this Handbook.

As a matter of conscience, the Sheriff's Auxiliary may not state categorically that a volunteer may not intervene to save the life of another or to defend their own life in the face of an actual threat, particularly when the volunteer is not on duty, not in uniform, and where the law protects the rights of a private individual to so intervene or so defend. What the Sheriff's Auxiliary and the Sheriff's Office can and does state is that certain uses of force, in and out of uniform, on or off duty, are not authorized, not consistent with policy, not consistent with training, or are inconsistent with law. Such use of force may result in disciplinary proceedings, including dismissal from service or civil and criminal action. It must also be kept in mind that when a volunteer, even when off duty and out of uniform, engages in any use of force, whether or not authorized, condoned, or consistent with training, it will reflect on the reputation of the Auxiliary, of the Sheriff's Office, of our instructors, of the very concept of armed, non-law enforcement volunteers and armed citizenry.

Law and Policy Regarding Use of Force

As a matter of law and policy, Auxiliary volunteers are not licensed Peace Officers and :

  1. are not empowered to defend property, only life
  2. do not possess powers of arrest
  3. do not pursue

Volunteers must conform to applicable Missouri and US law regarding self-defense and use of force. Such laws are covered in the required CCW training, in the Constitution, Law, and the Auxiliary (CLA I&II) training, in the Law Enforcement Academy (POST) 303 Justification Use of Force class. In Missouri, Weapons Offenses are generally defined in RsMO 571, and the Defense of Justification for use of force in RsMO 563. Volunteers are required to read and periodically review these chapters of Missouri law.

Use of force incidents, whether on or of duty, in or out of uniform, will result in a Use of Force Review as defined in policy of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office. Use of deadly force is held to a higher standard of review than less-than-deadly physical force. Auxiliary officers may be required to participate in a Use of Force Review for an incident involving another volunteer (as witnesses, or as members of a jury or panel) if such participation is requested and required by the LCSO. Volunteers, in accordance with LCSO policy and the Sheriff's authority, may be suspended from duty or potentially taken into custody until a review is completed.

Authority Conferred By a Licensed Peace Officer

Missouri law allows law enforcement to confer certain authorities on ordinary citizens who are requested or required to assist them. As Missouri law permits this for all citizens, no specific statutory authority is necessary for law enforcement to enlist Auxiliary volunteers.

Under RsMO 571.020, any citizen, including an Auxiliary Volunteer, is exempt from certain weapon offenses (for instance, carrying weapons into a school or government building) while under orders of a Licensed Peace Officer and actively assisting such officer in the performance of their duty. Similarly, RsMO 563.051 allows a law enforcement officer to confer temporary powers of arrest on an individual and to use force "when and to the extent that he reasonably believes such to be necessary to carry out such officer's direction unless he knows or believes that the arrest or prospective arrest is not or was not authorized" (RsMO 63.051.1). Given that a volunteer does not normally possess arrest powers, does not enjoy the protection from prosecution extended to law enforcement officers, and will be subjected to a Use of Force Review, it is critical that the volunteer understand and be able to identify:

  1. Who is giving the order and what their authority is
  2. What, precisely, the volunteer is being ordered to do
  3. What level of force is being authorized (i.e. none, physical force short of deadly force, deadly force)
  4. What the limits of the conferred authority are

For example, the volunteer should be able to later state, "Officer Smith of the AnyTown PD ordered me to detain Mr. Decker, to use deadly force if necessary, and to turn him over to law enforcement officers when they arrived" or "Deputy Smith of LCSO ordered me to guard this entrance, to restrict all entry other than those authorized by him, to use physical force to do so, to use deadly force only in self-defense, and to call for backup as required". Another possibility is "The Auxiliary officer in charge of my team conveyed an order by the Sheriff to guard this location and specified the Rules of Engagement in our team briefing at the start of the shift," or "Officer Smith of AnyTown PD ordered me to pursue the suspect, keep them in sight, report movement, but not to confront the suspect."

In specific deployments, orders and briefings should specify the default Rules of Engagement (ROE), and what authority, if any is being conferred. We will generally have a labelled section of the Operations Order containing that information. The SOGs/SOPs may specify default ROE and authority for defined circumstances such as livestock patrols, Search and Rescue (SAR) force protection, or public events. If none of these things have provided guidance, it is the responsibility of the volunteer to ensure that orders by law enforcement on the scene are clear and seek clarification if necessary. In a case of immediate life safety, for instance, where a law enforcement officer is under attack and their life is threatened, in short, where the issue becomes defense of person under the law, we do not require delegated authority to protect that officer and, unless we have orders not to intervene, we do not need to wait for orders to act, consistent with scene safety, friendly fire concerns, and other applicable policies.

Citizens' Arrest

A citizen's arrest is an arrest or detention made by an individual who is not a sworn law enforcement officer. United States common law and Missouri statute (RsMO 563.051.2) states that a "private person acting on their own account may..." use physical force to effect arrest or prevent an escape according to the limitations given in that section. This means, in theory, that an Auxiliary volunteer, acting on their own authority, without orders from a licensed peace officer, may arrest someone, for instance, who has committed or is attempting to commit "a class A felony or murder". However, Auxiliary policy strongly discourages this practice in all cases except where a continued threat to life exists if the suspect were not immediately and forcibly contained. Even where force may be justified to effect an arrest in this manner, the volunteer should expect that their actions shall be held to the highest standards of review, that even if the volunteer's actions do not result in conviction, they may result is substantial legal mess for all concerned, and if found to be not justified, the actions may result in discipline, in civil and criminal penalties. It cannot be emphasized enough, therefore, not to do this unless circumstances are so dire that there is simply no other alternative possible.

Auxiliary volunteers do not have training or equipment to detain suspects. We do not, for instance, carry handcuffs, tazers, or other tools which may be used to detain someone short using deadly force. If we attempted a "citizen's arrest" therefore, and the suspect decided not to comply, we might be forced to employ deadly force either to cause compliance or to defend ourselves in a situation where we have legally become (or may be considered in an unfavorable light to have become) the aggressor. This is especially true if we intervene in a situation where we may be mistaken about what is actually going on. If, for example, a volunteer holds a suspect for a felony offense and it is discovered that only a misdemeanor has occurred or that who we believed to be the aggressor was actually the victim, we may be prosecuted for false arrest (or aggravated assault, etc) without enjoying the same mistake of fact protections normally afforded to law enforcement. It should be noted here, and as emphasized in the Justification Use of Force POST class, that "holding someone for the police" is legally a form of arrest. Under the USSC case Tennessee v. Garner, even law enforcement using force against a fleeing felon may find their actions not justified upon court review. We must be much more cautious when acting without explicit authority.

The correct approach is therefore to act to halt any immediate threat to life and let the suspect flee if they choose to do so, particularly if they drop a weapon or release a hostage in order to flee. If someone beating a helpless victim stops beating the victim and runs, we are not authorized to hold them under our policy, even where Missouri law appears to authorize such action.

Related Guidelines

  • Use Of Force Guidelines/ROE For Livestock Patrol
  • Guidelines For Carry At Public Events or In Crowds
  • Guidelines For Active Shooter Response

Applicable Standard Operating Procedures

  • Procedures For Use of Force Incident
  • Procedures For Volunteers Entering the Lawrence County Justice Center, EOC, and Sheriff's Office


Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

This section shall contain Standard Operating Procedures for operation of the Auxiliary as the term Procedures is defined in this Handbook.

Additional Procedures may be published and distributed outside this Handbook if their content is of a sensitive or restricted nature which should not be visible to the public (see the LCSA Information Security (INFOSEC) document for definitions of what content may be restricted and how it shall be marked). Specifically, Procedures which contain For Official Use Only (FOUO) content or which pertain to security processes may be restricted. In general, every effort should be made to organize content such that the majority of our procedures are publicly available for purposes of oversight and for potential reuse by other organizations. Restricted information shall be kept to the smallest possible portion which may justifiably be restricted.

Disciplinary Process, UCMJ, simplification

As discussed in the CLA/2 class material, internal discipline in the Auxiliary uses the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) as its template. The Auxiliary is not precisely a military unit, but it is a hierarchical structure which sometimes must operate in dangerous circumstances within a chain of command. We are, however, quite a bit smaller than an organization like the US military. The State of Missouri, which is also smaller than the US military, adapts and simplifies the UCMJ for use with its national and state guard units in RsMO 40. We do the same thing in our policies with respect to Missouri Chapter 40. Some of these refinements must be made over time as we discover what works and what does not.

Among key differences between ourselves and the US military or the state/national guard units is that we are volunteers. That makes an entire array of disciplinary punishments inapplicable: we cannot readily garnish wages, fine, incarcerate volunteers, etc. If we attempted to do so--- even for a serious offense--- the volunteer may simply leave. Therefore, any offense so serious that it would merit such actions will be turned over to civil or criminal law, or, where that cannot be done, dismissal with cause may be the most serious action we can take.

For a variety of smaller offenses, a balance must be struck between too much focus on discipline which may drive volunteers away and too little which will prevent us from operating effectively in the field (and would likely drive volunteers away). A similar balance must be struck to maintain fairness: in a small organization, bulky disciplinary processes cannot work and yet, efforts must be made to ensure that discipline is fairly and evenly applied, to sort true accusations of misconduct from false ones.

This subsection of our policies will note critical departures in our process from RsMO 40.

Commander's Mast, Administrative Punishment, cf 40.043

As noted in RsMO 40.043, the accused may elect to submit themselves to discipline "before the mast", to be judged administratively by their commanding officer. The Commander's Mast will consider the accusation, hear the accused, solicit testimony of those on hand, and determine appropriate action. Also as noted in the Missouri and Federal UCMJ, administrative punishment does not preclude the possibility of formal process and punishment at a later date or administrative discharge by the Sheriff's Office, but willingness to submit to administrative discipline and completion of punishment imposed shall be taken into consideration in any later formal action.

Temporary Suspension: For (alleged) violations which prejudice the honor of the service, or which potentially impugn the trust of the volunteer such that they may not be permitted to perform their duties until the matter is resolved, the volunteer may, at the discretion of the commanding officer (or the Sheriff), be temporarily suspended until this administrative hearing can be held and a decision reached. This delay shall not normally be longer than the time to the next regularly scheduled meeting. Such suspension may be considered as time served if suspension is later imposed as punishment.

Ideally, most Auxiliary disciplinary matters which rise or may rise above admonition or reprimand should be handled before the mast, with court-martials only being convened for rare complicated issues where fair action is not clear or where culpability cannot readily be determined.

Contemptuous words, used against certain officials cf. RsMo 40.280

40.280. Contemptuous words, used against certain officials — court-martial. — Any person subject to sections 40.005 to 40.490 who uses contemptuous words against the President of the United States, Vice President of the United States, Congress, Secretary of Defense, or a secretary of a department, the governor of the state of Missouri, the Missouri general assembly or the adjutant general of the state of Missouri, the governor or the legislature of any state, territory or other possession of the United States in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

In the Sheriff's Auxiliary, this offense also includes conduct against the County Sheriff & County Coroner, the County Commission, and County department heads as they are effectively our executive, legislature, and cabinet secretaries, respectively.

Shall Include conduct by officers and enlisted: In federal service, this offense is limited to commissioned officers. As above, Missouri extends it to "all persons...". The Auxiliary follows Missouri in this respect.

Shall not cover mere political conduct: By tradition and precedent, this offense does not extend to mere political conduct or political disagreement, even contentious political debate. The offense requires contempt to be expressed to or of the person of the official and their authority, not a mere disagreement over policy. Note that political speech in uniform or otherwise representing the Auxiliary or the Sheriff's Office, not directly related to our duties or the needs of the service, may still be inappropriate or against policy even when exempted from this offense.

Against other officials: Contemptuous actions toward other or lesser officials would then be covered under what is referred to as the "General Article" offense: "40.410. Neglecting or prejudicing discipline of the military — bringing discredit to state military services..." or, if the conduct is serious enough, "40.395. Provocative gestures or words, constituting a threat of violence...". The offense of "40.408 Officer's conduct, unbecoming to an officer and a gentleman..." is similar to and more serious than 40.410 but applies only to commissioned officers.

This offense, depending on the seriousness of the specific act, may be punishable by any means within the power of the Auxiliary, including dishonorable discharge.

Counsel For Volunteers, No JAG, cf. 40.098

No JAG: One of the key differences between ourselves and any larger military or para-military organization is that we do not have any equivalent of a JAG (Judge Advocate General) Office, no dedicated corps of attorneys to act as judges or representatives. Almost all discipline must therefore occur within the chain-of-command, formal process must be simplified, and cannot take volunteers too long away from their regular duties. A year-long General Courts Martial is simply not an option.

Appointed Counsel: As a matter of fairness, a volunteer undergoing a disciplinary process should have access to counsel to advocate for them and help them understand that process. Such counsel shall consist of an active or retired officer or NCO. However, the restrictions in RsMo 40.098 apply that such an advocate may not be involved in prosecution, witness for the prosecution, etc. in the same matter. In a small unit, there may be no such officer or NCO available. In that event, the accused and command staff shall jointly request the assistance of an eminent member of the community to advocate for the accused. Command staff shall cooperate fully with the advocate to provide information needed for a proper defense and to come to agreement on fair procedures.

Attorney Not Required: The requirement in 40.098 that an appointed advocate be an attorney and specially qualified for the task shall not applied. A volunteer may always obtain their own attorney to advise or represent them at their own expense.

Court-Martial Composition

There shall be no distinction between Special and General Court-Martials. If a volunteer objects to trial by Summary Court-Martial, the matter shall be handled by a court-martial consisting of a judge and three or more jurists (more jurists may be used if command-staff can do so within pragmatic constraints). Regardless of how many jurists present when convened, three shall be the minimum number for purposes of RsMO 40.105.

Dismissal with Cause and Administrative Discharge, General Guidelines, cf. 40.110

In the UCMJ, the Commander-In-Chief (President, or, at state level, Governor) may dismiss any subordinate with cause at any time ( In our service, the Commander-In-Chief is the county Sheriff. A dismissal with cause may be appealed to a court-martial proceeding, but the court-martial is only empowered to consider converting the dismissal-with-cause to an administrative discharge (at least as far as the Auxiliary service record of the volunteer is concerned; an Auxiliary court-martial has no power over the Sheriff's Office to amend or change its policies). In either case, the volunteer leaves the service and may only be restored by an act of the Sheriff. An administrative discharge (with or without stated cause) by the county Sheriff may not be appealed.

In the Sheriff's Auxiliary, dismissal with cause or administrative discharge may be considered by any court-martial, regardless of size or type and the volunteer may be indefinitely suspended until the decision is reached.

Procedures For Alcohol

Intoxicating alcoholic beverages or spiritous liquors (alcoholic beverages) may not be brought into LCSA encampments and facilities nor consumed onsite except under the following exceptions:

  1. Bona fide religious or ceremonial use (e.g. Communion, Sabbath prayers)
  2. For medicinal purposes under control of the CMO or Senior Medical Officer on site (collectively SMO)

In both cases, such alcoholic beverages shall be stored in a locked container under control of the SMO.
Alcoholic beverages required for religious purposes must be retrieved from the SMO, the SMO must understand and approve the use, and the SMO must approve participants for continued duty, with remaining beverage being returned to the locked container.
Alcoholic beverages or spirits being administered for medicinal purposes are no different from administration of any medication which may cause intoxication, decreased motor function, or impaired cognitive function; specifically, if there is a danger of intoxication, the volunteer shall be removed from active duty until cleared by a medical officer or medical professional with appropriate authority.
A volunteer shall not report for duty intoxicated and shall make every effort to not be intoxicated when called for scheduled duty. If a volunteer who has elsewhere consumed alcohol (or any intoxicating substance) reports for emergency duty, they shall voluntarily disclose this fact and be cleared for duty by appropriate authority if there is no apparent intoxication, impairment, or danger posed by the volunteer to themselves or others.
For these purposes, "intoxicating alcoholic beverages or spiritous liquors" shall specifically not include root beers, small beers, small ales (e.g. "ginger ale"), beverages such as sekanjabin or posca made from diluted sour wine or vinegar, nor any acid-rather-than-alcohol-forming fermented beverage ("soft drink") which does not legally qualify as a "hard" beverage (>0.5% alcohol by volume). Likewise, medicinal or flavoring extracts/concentrates intended for use in highly diluted form do not fall under this definition, although 1) abuse of such items shall still constitute an offense and 2) some effort shall be made to secure these items when/where abuse is a problem. Finally, denatured alcoholic products intended for fuel, disinfectant, reagent or other purposes do not fall under this definition and need not be secured for these purposes.

Procedures For Shared Keys/Passwords During Deployment

During deployment, it is often necessary to manage a number of pad locks, locked boxes or cabinets, keys to vehicles, keys to facilities and so forth. If not handled properly, it can quickly become a confused mess, things get lost or security is compromised. It can be particularly embarrasing to the organization to lose keys to vehicles or facilities entrusted to us by the community or the Sheriff's Office. The following procedures shall be followed to avoid these issues.
The Auxiliary has a small key safe for use on deployment which shall be mounted to the inside of a cabinet or chest. One key shall be held by the company (or site) Quartermaster and the other by a designated individual, normally the Chief of the Watch. The designated holders of the key safe key may be referred to as "the Keys". At a watch change, the key is officially relinquished to its next holder.
All keys for Auxiliary property not in active use and all spare copies of keys which are in active use shall be stored in the key safe and given numbered tags. When a key is needed, it is signed out and initialed by one of the Keys.
When keys are received and held by Auxiliary personnel, they are to be checked in to the key safe, recording any identifying marks, and information on who is authorized to use or possess the key. For flat keys, it may be convenient to use a rubbing to record its shape and any engraved numbers. One of the Keys fills out a receipt in triplicate: one copy for file, one for the individual checking it in, and one to the client. They then may be checked out as usual. When it is time for the key to be returned, the client's receipt is marked with the time, signed, and filed.
Combinations and passwords entrusted to the Auxiliary may also be written down and stored in the key safe. Retaining a copy of a master password so that it may be passed on if the individual who originally created it is not available is referred to as key escrow. It is critical, for instance, to escrow administrative passwords for Auxiliary accounts in case the authorized holder is injured. It is only necessary to escrow the high-level passwords which have the authority to change or reset lower-level passwords (i.e. the administrative or super-user password of a machine can be used to reset the passwords for user accounts). Similarly, it if a group of passwords are to be stored in a password manager (such as Apple's Key Safe of Gnome's desktop utility) then the password manager must be backed up and only the top-level password must be escrowed in the key safe.
Passwords to be written down in this manner must be recorded in logical groups, labelled with a code, and sealed in an envelope. The code identifying the password to be used must then be labelled prominently on the machine it belongs to. A number after the code designates the version of the password in use. An example may make this clear:

LCSA-WIFI 1 : Oscysbtdel?
LCSA-WIFI 2 : Trrg,tbbia
LCSA-Backup 1: GJklump836
LCSA-Admin 2 : %Plump7&illoccorb
LCSA-Admin 3 : DERF45Ford)!
Safe (Sentry 579824N) 1:  23R-18L-5R

The LCSA-WIFI password has been changed once and the LCSA-Admin password twice. The old versions are stored for a time in case it has not been updated in all places (I have turned on an old machine in many offices where no one remembers what the password was the last time it was used...).
Whenever a password/combo must be given out, such as to a relief worker from another organization, change it as soon as it is no longer in use or at the end of the deployment. Do not give out a password or combination over a radio or any other insecure channel as everyone will then have it!
Passwords for top-level Auxiliary accounts (such as to our hosting provider) which are not needed on site may be escrowed with the Chief of Staff and in the Sheriff's safe.
When writing out a password or combination, use a loose sheet of paper or flip the top sheet of a pad so that you are writing directly on a hard surface. Otherwise you will leave page impressions which can easily be recovered and used. Destroy the paper when finished or put it in the burn bag.

Procedures For Use Of Force Incident (Volunteer)

This section defines the procedure for a volunteer who is involved in a Use of Force incident on or off duty, in or out of uniform. The definition of Use of Force includes any altercation which results or is likely to result in civil or criminal legal action and specifically includes:

  • use of less-than-deadly physical force (e.g. pepper spray or physical restraint)
  • the presentation or brandishing of a weapon whether or not it was required to use it
  • the discharge of a weapon during confrontation whether or not injury occurred
  • the actual use of deadly force

This procedure is printed on the inside back cover of the Auxiliary's ICS 214 - Activity Log booklets. It is recommended that volunteers have a copy of this booklet in their go-kits, purse, glove compartment or other location where it may be readily accessed after an on or off-duty incident. More copies of this booklet may be requested from the LCSA Quartermaster.


If involved in a Use of Force incident, notify your superior in chain-of-command ASAP. If off duty, such as a defensive shooting, do the following:

  1. Notify the appropriate law enforcement if you have not already
  2. Notify responding officer you are an LCSA member, were off-duty, and will need a Use of Force Review
  3. Request to contact your superior or LCSO, or that responding officer contact LCSO and notify Sheriff of situation
  4. Request copy of report as soon as available and ensure one is sent to LCSA/LCSO
  5. Contact your attorney. We may have a list of attorneys who are willing to work with us with use-of-force incidents

Responding officer may take weapons involved for examination. You should be able to get a receipt. The LCSA/LCSO will attempt to send an officer SAP to advise you on the review process and take a statement. You may request the services of a Chaplain at any time. If only given '1 phone call' contact your attorney and have them contact LCSO. If you don't have one, contact your superior in the LCSA or the Sheriff to inform them that you need one.


We include "physical restraint" in our list of triggers for incident review of a volunteer's actions. Physical restraint incident to arrest is usually not a trigger for Use of Force Review for Law Enforcement Officers, but, as we are not typically authorized to make arrests or restrain suspects, such actions should trigger review for non-Peace Officer volunteers.

Related Procedures

  • Procedures For Use of Force Incident (Responding Officer)

Related Guidelines


Soft Airgun Equipment Calibration

This section defines the procedure for calibrating Soft Airgun/Airsoft devices at training events and exercises.

A standard chronograph designed for Airsoft or Airsoft/Paintball use shall be used to calibrate all airsoft devices brought into the event.

Each weapon brought for inspection shall either have the internal magazine or one external magazine left empty for inspection unless it is of a type such that the LCSA has compatible spare standard magazines dedicated to inspection.

Inspection of protective equipment must occur first, and all personnel within the inspection area must wear their eye and face protection.

When the participant approaches the inspection table, they shall have the firearm safetied, and holstered or slung and pointed in a safe direction. No magazine shall be loaded and a barrel blocking device shall be visibly in place on any long arms. Inspector shall visibly inspect the Airsoft device for signs of damage or unsafe condition. If the weapon appears to be unsafe, the inspector may, by themselves or on consultation with other inspectors, refuse to calibrate a device and deny it entry to the event.

During inspection:

  1. Participant shall hand inspector the magazine to insert into the mag well.
  2. Inspector shall load the magazine with 3 .2g BBs from a designated store of calibration BBs. .2g BBs shall always be used for calibration no matter what weight the participant intends to use.
  3. Participant holds up their rifle, then inspector removes the barrel sock.
  4. Inspector holds on to the end of the barrel with one hand & another on the chronograph, guiding the barrel.
  5. Inspector instructs the shooter to take the safety off & fire three shots, one at a time.
  6. Inspector gets 3 good chronograph results, recording the average of the three.
  7. Inspector instructs the shooter to release the magazine.
  8. Participant clears the Airsoft gun with 3 dry shots.
  9. Participant switches the Airsoft gun to safety.
  10. Inspector removes any previous inspection markings on the device.
  11. If the Airsoft device qualifies for the event, inspector places inspection markings on the device according to the rules of the scenario.
  12. Inspector puts the barrel blocking device back on the barrel.

Inspector shall look for any signs of unsafe operation during inspection. If the inspector believes that the Airsoft device or the participant will not operate safely, the inspector may, by themselves or on consultation with another inspector, deny them entry to the event.

Two inspectors may work in pairs to check and calibrate armory Airsoft devices belonging to the LCSA, the Sheriff's Office, or other participating agency. Airsoft devices shall not be inspected by a single individual.

The rules of an event shall designate inspection markings for Airsoft devices. Generally, these will consist of color-code zip-ties around the barrel of the device which signify that the device has passed inspection and any range/standoff limitations based on the velocity of the BBs fired. The colors of these zip-ties shall be varied on a regular basis in order to readily determine whether a device has been inspected for that event. Inspections shall occur at each separate event or once for a related group of events (e.g. several related exercises during a one-week period). A safety officer may request and require a device to be reinspected at any time based on any suspicion of unsafe or potentially unsafe operation.

By default, Airsoft devices will be separated into those firing 0.2g BBs less than or equal to 350 fps and those firing 0.2g BBs at more than 350 fps, the latter requiring a stand-off of 15 feet or better to engage. Unless the event rules specify otherwise, a device which chronographs at less than or equal to 350 fps with 0.2g BBs may be used with BBs of a lighter weight even though this may increase the velocity of the BBs fired (as the energy of the BBs will still be limited). In other words, a device which chronographs at 220 fps with 0.2g BBs but will be used with 0.12g BBs at 400 fps will be marked in the <=350 fps category.

Placing an inspection marker on any device without authorization or willfully bypassing any safety inspection shall be a disciplinary offense in the Sheriff's Auxiliary.


Soft Airgun Procedures For Starting and Stopping Action

In exercises using soft airguns (Airsoft), all participants (players, role players, exercise staff) within the marked safety zone shall have protective gear in place while the scenario is running. Before the scenario begins, all Airsoft devices carried shall have safeties on and shall be stowed or holstered. Long arms may be aimed in a safe direction with safeties activated and Barrel Blocking Devices (BBDs, barrel socks) in place and visible.

Starting the Scenario

A warning shall be given before action is initiated. Unless otherwise specified in the scenario rules, a whistle, air-horn, or similar device shall be sounded once an announcement made to don protective gear ("Masks On."). Safety officers shall verify that safety equipment has been donned within their zones of responsibility. On approval of safety officers, a second signal shall be given and the announcement shall be made to "Make ready". At this point, Barrel Blocking Devices may be removed and handguns may be unholstered or unstowed. Finally, the signal shall be given and the announcement made to "Run scenario".

Stopping the Scenario

Once the scenario is running, masks and safety equipment shall not be removed until it is halted. Each exercise shall have a defined signal to halt the action which shall be clearly conveyed in pre-exercise briefing. Unless defined otherwise, participants shall halt all action for three short blasts of the signalling device, the call of "Stop scenario!", or "HOLD!". A safety officer may give this signal at any time for any reason and shall repeat it until the desired effect is obtained. All participants shall respond immediately and should repeat the signal to ensure that everyone receives it. Participants may also call for a stop to the action if they see any dangerous condition which requires it.

When the signal to halt the action is given, all participants shall halt scenario activities and take a safe position. All participants with Airsoft devices shall activate safeties, point them in a safe position (generally the low carry position), and look to exercise staff for instructions. Once compliance with the halt is obtained, further action may be taken by exercise staff, such as ordering in real-world medical responders to deal with an injury. No unmasked individuals may enter the safety zone until the action is successfully halted. Participants shall not remove their safety gear unless and until instructed.

After action is halted, a further instruction may be given for participants to "Stand down." Upon this signal, all participants shall holster or stow handguns and shall place visible Barrel Blocking Devices on long-arms. The order to "Stand down" shall be relayed by exercise participants as necessary to ensure that it is heard by all. If safe and practical, participants should take a knee or otherwise assume a position where they can stay in place for a period of time and safety officers may see over them.

If appropriate, action may be restarted after a halt or stand-down by repeating the "Make ready" and "Run scenario" signals after any staff who have entered without safety gear leave the safety zone.

Once compliance with the stand-down order has been obtained and verified, the order may be given for "Masks off". Once the masks off order has been given, the entire three-step process must be repeated to ensure that safety gear has been donned before action may be restarted.

Summary of Steps

  • Starting/Restarting Scenario
    1. Masks On
    2. Make Ready
    3. Run Scenario
  • Halting Scenario
    1. Stop Scenario
    2. Stand Down
    3. Masks Off

Soft Airgun Safety Equipment

This section defines required safety equipment for Soft Airgun/Airsoft training and exercises.


All personnel participating in the exercise in either the Hot or Warm zones (the "safety zone") shall meet minimum requirements for safety equipment while the scenario is running. This includes participants using simulated weapons, role players, evaluators, observers, and safety officers. The safety zone shall be clearly marked with signage saying, for example, "Safety Masks Only Beyond This Point". Caution tape, cones, or other markers shall be used to clearly delimit the area of the exercise. It shall be the responsibility of safety officers and observers to monitor the boundaries and call a halt to the scenario if any individual without safety equipment enters or any individual within the zone removes their equipment while the exercise is in progress.

These requirements apply to equipment provided by the Auxiliary, equipment provided by the organization hosting an exercise, and any equipment provided by volunteers. Any equipment not meeting these procedures, subject to exceptions detailed below, shall not be used in training or exercise.

Personnel without safety equipment (such as medical responders for real-world injury) shall not enter the safety zone unless a halt has been called to the scenario and all participants have gone to their stand-down positions (as described elsewhere in these SOPs/SOGs).


Where these procedures conflict with the rules of a particular scenario, for instance, where the exercise is being conducted by an organization other than the Sheriff's Auxiliary, safety equipment of LCSA volunteers shall meet the more stringent of the two standards. In other words, if the LCSA standard requires mouth protection and the organization responsible for the exercise does not, volunteers shall wear mouth protection. If the our safety requirements conflict with the requirements of the exercise scenario, the designated LCSA safety officer shall make a determination as to the rules which shall be followed for that scenario. If the safety officer declines to make such an exception, then LCSA volunteers shall not participate in the exercise scenario.


As noted above, the designated LCSA Safety Officer for an exercise may approve one-time exceptions to these safety rules necessary to the conduct of the exercise due to conflict between the rules of different organizations. The Safety Officer, with prior-approval of command staff, may also give written approval to equipment for experimental or exploratory use. For example, a safety officer may designate a specific mask as acceptable for experimental use in a particular exercise or exercises. The safety officer may also designate any equipment as not acceptable for a specific event, even if it would normally be allowed according to these procedures. It is expected that such exceptions will be common as the SOPs are being developed and refined.

The Auxiliary shall maintain a list of any equipment which has been discovered to be unsafe or not meet standards even though sold for Airsoft/Paintball use. Any equipment so listed shall not be permitted at training/exercise events.

Minimum Requirements

All personnel inside the safety zone during an active scenario shall have:

  • Eye protection rated for Soft Airgun/Soft Airsoft or Paintball use. Any ANSI-Compliant safety googles shall also be acceptable. Equipment known not to withstand .2g BBs at 500 fps from 5' (muzzle-to-mask) without significant degradation shall not be used.
  • Neither ANSI-compliant safety glasses (non-sealed) nor metal mesh eye-protection shall be acceptable by themselves. Metal mesh eye protection shall be acceptable if compliant safety glasses, with side-shields, are worn underneath the mesh. This shall also provisionally include 3-weapon fencing masks (foil, epee, schlagger) with approved safety glasses underneath.
  • If the eye protection does not cover the entire face, a lower half-mask designed for Airsoft/Paintball use shall be used, covering the mouth and nose. If the mask includes a grill, none of the holes may permit a regulation BB to enter.
  • Ear protection. If the mask covers the ears, this shall suffice. Otherwise, soft inserts or external muff-type shooters' ear protection shall be used. Ear protection is intended to protect against BBs accidentally lodging in the ear canal, but also protect against the noise of gas-operated airguns and distraction devices (simulated explosives). In any scenario where loud distraction devices are used, hearing protection shall be used even if the mask covers the ears externally. Ear protection must be designed to permit the wearer to hear voices on the field, such that they may hear instructions from exercise staff and safety officers.
  • Gloves
  • Close-toed shoes, preferably standard duty boots. Athletic shoes or other footwear appropriate to the scenario may be used with approval of the safety officer.

Volunteers are to be encouraged to own their own safety equipment which they know fits them, which does not interfere with their ability to see, hear, and otherwise safely participate. The Sheriff's Office and Auxiliary will maintain stores of safety equipment, but these stores are primarily intended to be used as spares in case of loss or failure.

The following are recommended and may be required for exercise participants in designated scenarios:

  • Knee and elbow pads. Any pads acceptable for CERT deployment shall suffice.
  • Long sleeves and long pants.
  • Gender-appropriate protection

Inspection Requirement

All participants shall be checked to restrict prohibited items, particularly live firearms or other live weapons, from entering the exercise area. Participants shall be checked every time they enter the field, even if they leave and return after the event has started. This check should be conducted be in three stages:

  1. Participant checks his or herself.
  2. Participant is checked by his or her training partner.
  3. Participant is checked by safety personnel.

The checks are to discover equipment accidentally carried into the exercise area, not weapons deliberately concealed, so a frisk should not be conducted. Rather, the checks are a thorough walk-through to remind the participant of or discover anything they may have on their person. An example dialog and procedure is provided on pp 66 of "Force-On-Force Police Training Using Airsoft" by Luis E. Martinez, Outskirts Press, Inc., 2008 and should be used as a basis for checklists and exercise materials. A particular danger is that of a participant who leaves the exercise area to go to lunch, replaces an airsoft weapon with their service weapon, and returns to the exercise area. Exercise participants have been shot in precisely those circumstances, thus necessitating a check on every entry.

All volunteers shall have their clothing and safety equipment inspected at exercise check-in and prior to entering the safety-zone. Safety equipment shall be visually inspected by designated safety personnel for signs of wear or degradation, including the sufficiency of straps. The volunteer shall don the safety equipment on request and shall permit safety personnel to verify proper fit. Equipment passing inspection shall be marked or tagged as designated for the specific training or exercise. Equipment not so tagged shall be denied entry to the field. A safety officer or their subordinate may call a halt to the scenario at any time in order to reinspect any safety gear. Any exercise participant may call a halt to a scenario at any time in order to inform a safety officer of equipment failure or impending failure, for example, upon seeing a loose mask.