Tag Archives: police

APB – Cops do math & physics at work!!!



As part of the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering we spent an amazing 2 hours in a free workshop put on by the Escondido Police Department. The audience was a mix of homeschool families and high school students and it was standing room only…

IMG_3685The presentation was broken into two one hour sections – Traffic Accident Investigation and Forensics. Both areas were engaging and clearly demonstrated how math and science are used on an every day basis within the police force.


We learned about all of the tools that the Collision Investigation Unit use – both high tech and low tech to help decode and deconstruct the scene of an accident so they can then replicate it, both to determine cause and to demonstrate the information to others (i.e. in a court room).

We learned how to calculate velocity and what the ideal safe speed is for a car driving at night based upon visibility provided with high beams and human response times (hint… it’s around 28-30 mph).


We learned about how kinetic energy logic is used to measure the velocity of a vehicle in an accident (what goes in to a force comes out of the force with equal energy – like the balls).

And we learned how you can use math and physics to determine angle and velocity of the vehicles in a crash based upon the angles of momentum and the size of crash damage. I was blown away with how effectively the officers conveyed the information and how they managed to connect it so simply and clearly with the kids in the room!


The Robbery/Homicide team came in and ran a mock investigation of an incident with blood spatter to determine who’s story was correct between two complainants. It was a little slower paced because the group was so large and they had kids doing some of the work but there were lots of good nuggets of information.

The BEST part of the whole 2 hours was the recommendation that students get a BACHELOR’S DEGREE if they want to become police officers. It was a slam dunk for Hunter that he now needed to shift his goal from college to university – whew… THANK YOU ESCONDIDO POLICE DEPARTMENT!

Oceanside Night Market – National Public Safety Week


The City of Oceanside has both a weekly farmers market and a weekly food/fun market – both of which happen on the main drag on Thursdays. Hunter and I love food carts and food stands of any kind so we try to catch the market a few times when we are in town. It was a huge bonus when our first Thursday in town was also Public Safety Night at the night market – obviously we had to go!


As part of National Public Safety Week, communities across the USA were creating events to connect with and educate the public about what they do. Both the Oceanside Police and Oceanside Fire Departments had a large presence, which was great for kids young and old!


The police had a few cars, their boat, their SWAT truck and their mobile command centre out. Hunter was very disappointed to learn that you have to be 16 to participate in their Explorer Program where you get to train as a junior officer. Almost all of the police vehicles were open and could be checked out from all angles and the officers were very open to answer a wide variety of questions from a curious young boy…


Oceanside Fire and EMS were easy to find thanks to their ladder truck having the ladder fully extended – Wow, that is big! Firetrucks are somewhat old hat to us from all our travels. We’ve found that firemen are typically super friendly and welcoming about letting Hunter explore their trucks and learn about their profession.


A big thanks to all of the Oceanside Public Safety Staff – being out and approachable sure helps inspire and motivate kids, both to trust them and to consider the roles as a future career.

San Diego Sheriff’s Museum – what a gem!

IMG_2935Hunter and I had a “downtown day” and hit Old Town San Diego as well as caught a few cultural events. The best unexpected gem was the San Diego Sheriff’s Museum, which is just on the south eastern edge of Old Town.

We started by wandering around the State Historic Park and saw the first Court House and accompanying holding cell, both which were established back in 1850. We learned that Sheriff’s are elected while Police Chief’s are appointed and that back in 1850 you could only run for one term and it lasted one year. Now they are 4 year terms and there is no cap on the number of times you can be re-elected.

IMG_2958We then headed down the road to explore the Sheriff’s Museum, which covers regional law enforcement from 1850 to today. In addition to great exhibits, the museum is staffed by former Sheriff staff and they do a great job of bringing the museum to life for kids of all ages! Note: The newly elected Sheriff used to get to choose the colour of their cars – hence the “dusty rose” from the 1960’s and the green taxi car’s from the 1980’s & 90’s. All cars are now mandated to be black and white to be more easily recognizable.

First stop was the gun room (aka the historic arsenal) where we learned all about a broad variety of weapons (peaceable and otherwise) and all of their various applications.

Next we experienced life from a criminal’s perspective and had to charm our way out of prison – good thing we are cute and polite!

We learned that in San Diego County the Sheriff staff wear their bullet proof vests under their uniforms for an entire shift – that makes for one long, hot sticky day! We also got to check out their various police vehicles, from off road bikes, heavy traffic motorcycles through to their patrol cars.

IMG_2957We also got to work through a crime scene and think about clues.

IMG_2960As Hunter is currently fascinated with Law Enforcement, and the RCMP in particular, this was a great find. We learned about all of the jurisdictional nuances between municipal, highway, county, state and federal law enforcement in the USA and had fun working to compare it all to what we have in Canada.