Disaster at Sac PD; Digging Deeper


Since I wrote my original piece on the situation over at the Sacramento Police Department, more information has made its way to me.  The good part about being in my position (a working cop) is that most of the people in my line of work know they can trust me, so I get some info that would never make its way to the “news” because no cop in their right mind would trust the mainstream media to do the right thing with that info.

Infighting for Chief of Police Position
Ever since the anti-cop Mayor Darrel Steinberg won the election, upper management at the Sacramento Police Department has been in an upheaval.  Steinberg, who incidentally is a complete moron when it comes to anything public safety related, like most liberal mayors, wants a yes man in the position of Chief of Police.  Steinberg and the mostly leftist city council have been initiating drastic changes that affect how Sac PD operates, and every single change has been based on the loud cries of the very vocal minority (whining anti-cop snowflakes).  One of those most recent changes involved the releasing of video from officer involved shootings.  The interim chief, Brian Louie, recently crossed the mayor and city council when he did not release video from an officer involved shooting as quickly as the city leaders wanted (because to them people’s feelings are more important than a police investigation).  That incident essentially ensured that Louie will not be the next chief, and it is my understanding he was told as much.  That is all old news to me, but what follows is new.

So, now that the Chief of Police position is again up for grabs, there appears to be a power struggle going on.  When this whole “Police Officer Beats Up Pedestrian” situation hit the news, Louie, the interim chief was out of town on vacation, so it was left to the deputy chiefs who are fighting over the vacant chief spot, and what better way to suck up to the criminal placating, cop hating city management than to throw a good cop to the wolves?  As an extra bonus, the cop in question is a white male and the “victim” (suspect) of the contact is a POC (person of color), even better since he is a young black male who claims (lies) to the media that he was totally innocent.  With that playbook in hand, one of the deputy chiefs stepped forward and publicly went to bat against his own people.  At this point, I’ve received no confirmation on who made that call, but I did hear that Deputy Chief Bray was one of the management folks hitting roll calls and giving the middle finger (figuratively) to all of the working cops.


A Good Man Betrayed
So much for the internal battles at the heart of this public sacrificing of a cop, it is time to talk about man himself.  I do not know him personally, but from what I hear from people who know him and work with him, he is someone I would be proud to work alongside.

While his law enforcement career is still in its infancy, his service to this country and the public in general is not.  He is a Marine Corps veteran who served two stints.  After his full time military service ended, he began his career as a cop.  While he has only been off probation for a short time, I’m told he has earned the trust of the senior officers on his patrol team.  He has a reputation as a hard worker who is both reliable and willing to help his coworkers.

And it is not just his coworkers that he is known for helping.  Not too long ago, there was a gang shooting at a park in his district.  Injured in that shooting were a couple of innocent children.  This officer was not only one of the first on scene at that shooting, but he and one other officer, who both just took a tactical life saving class worked on an 11 year old boy who had been shot in the chest, saving that boy’s life.  Not that this officer cared what that little boy’s skin color was, but seeing as the local media is making this incident to be about race, the boy he saved just so happened to be black.

Of course, you will not hear his department or the media talking about his heroic actions because they are both too busy either attacking him or very publicly abandoning him.

The Kicker
Yet another thing that you will not see the Sacramento Police management, or official department representatives talking about, is that this officer and all of his coworkers have recently been instructed to step up their pedestrian contacts in the very area where this jaywalking stop occurred.  Why were they instructed to do so you might ask?

Do you remember that gang shooting I mentioned above, the one where this officer saved a young boy’s life, BECAUSE OF THAT SHOOTING, that’s why.    Many of the members of the gangs involved in that incident are from the area and often travel on foot.  And no, I am not making this up.  This is one of those times where real life seems stranger than fiction.  During roll calls in the days leading up to this stop, supervisors have been instructing the patrol cops in that area to increase their pedestrian contacts.  Being the conscientious employee that this officer is, he did what he was instructed to do, likely never expecting doing so would turn him into the sacrificial lamb of some politically minded asshole deputy chief who was going to use this officer as a stepping stone to the position of Chief.  While any working cop knows this is not the type of guy you want at the helm of your department, I can pretty much guarantee this is exactly the type of guy Steinberg and the city council do want.  As I stated before, this event and the fallout from it are going to drastically reduce Sac PD’s ability to hire and retain cops.

Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee (not surprisingly) is happy about how this situation is unfolding.  While they acknowledge that the rank and file cops at Sac PD are “disgruntled” (a large understatement), they say this is how situations like this should be handled.

Sacramento PD: How NOT to Run A Police Department

This article is cross posted here and at Full30.


Sac PD Management Cements Their Role As A Horrible Example of How To Run a Police Department

The Sacramento Police Department has been in the national news the last couple days.  In less than five (5) days, the management at the Sacramento Police Department has demonstrated, to anyone watching, a perfect example of how NOT to run a police department.  And from what I am hearing through the grapevine, last night their upper management doubled down on that.

Monday 4-11-17
But first, some history for those living under a rock.  On Monday at about 5:30 PM, a Sac PD officer stopped a pedestrian for jaywalking.  While several people have argued the basis for the stop, there are many codes, both state and local city ordinances, that can be used to justify the stop.  During the encounter, the suspect refused to comply, stepped into the street, shed his jacket and, quite clearly (via the officer’s dash cam video) challenged the officer to a fight.  The officer took the suspect down to the ground where the two exchanged a few blows, and the suspect was taken into custody.

Present during the fight, but not for the initial contact, was a friend of the suspect who filmed the encounter and then posted the video to Facebook.  Local news station Fox40 ran with the cell phone video like it was gospel, and began generating and stoking mass public outrage.

Tuesday 4-12-17
In world record time, by about noon the next morning, Sacramento PD had thrown the officer involved to the wolves.  Not only did they publicly state that he demonstrated “unacceptable conduct,” but they also stated that they had placed the officer on administrative leave, started an internal investigation, and were considering filing criminal charges against the officer.  WOW!!!  That was really quick, his actions must have been so ridiculously over the line that it required such a swift, firm stance, right?  Yeah, not so much.

Sac PD also released dash cam video from several cars on the scene, including the primary officer’s car.

Fox40 also interviewed the suspect in this case.  The suspect made numerous, blatant lies in his statement, and despite the fact that those lies were plain as day to anyone who watched the dash cam video, Fox40 decided to air the lies as if they were truth.

Wednesday 4-13-17
By Wednesday, this incident had hit the national stage and the officer’s actions were being called into question by just about everyone, except for those of us who looked at ALL of the evidence, including the suspect’s actions and words.  Wednesday, I filmed a video in which I analyzed the situation and compared the information that was available.  In my opinion, the officer did nothing wrong, and the actions by the management were absolutely disgraceful!

(Some mild cursing contained in this video)

Shortly after filming that video, two more bits of information regarding the suspect came to light.  The information that came out helps explain his noncompliance and his hostility toward the officer.  First, he had an active warrant for his arrest from another jurisdiction.  This might explain why he refused to comply; he didn’t want to go to jail.  Second, he has a history of fighting with the cops, and had previously been arrested in Fresno, CA for the same thing.

Now, some folks in the comments of my video analyzing this incident pointed out to me that from the video, it appeared that the suspect did not actually jaywalk, and folks said that the suspect used an “unmarked crosswalk.”  I’ll be completely honest here; I do not know diddly about jaywalking laws.  I never worked traffic and I do not recall ever in my career stopping someone for jaywalking.  Since I was not fully informed on the laws, I dug into them, and boy there are quite a few.  (You can see the list of applicable CA laws here: http://www.legal-news-california.tozerlaw.com/jaywalking_laws_california.html)

For those unable or unwilling to watch my video, the following are a few points that I raised in my video.

While, at least from what we can see in the video, it does appear that the suspect crossed the street using an “unmarked crosswalk” as defined by CA law, he did not appear to allow traffic sufficient time to stop and just stepped out into the roadway, a violation of VC  21950(b).  Additionally, a cop from the Sacramento area sent me a message informing me about a couple of applicable Sacrament City Codes, namely SCC 10.20.20 and SCC 10.20.50.  Those can be found here, and they address standing in the roadway interfering with traffic and crossing the street within 300 feet of a marked crosswalk, both of which could be applied to this situation.  Now, you can argue against the need for jaywalking laws all day long, but the fact is they exist, and the suspect was in violation of those laws.  The probable cause for the stop on the suspect is legit.  He had a valid reason to stop him.

Next issue is the use of force, and whether or not it was justified.  First of all, the suspect did not have the right to ignore the officer.  We know, based on the fact that the suspect raised his hands, that he could hear the officer’s commands, and we can see based on his actions that he was refusing to comply.  The officer continues to follow the suspect giving him verbal commands to comply.  Eventually, the suspect stops, takes off his jacket, and challenges the officer to fight.  Thus far, the suspect has committed two crimes (PC 148 and PC 415), in addition to the “jaywalking. “  The officer grabs the suspect by the shoulder (NOT the neck) and takes him to the ground where punches are exchanged, the cop wins the fight, and the suspect is arrested without any major injuries.

Photo taken from related article at BlueLivesMatter.com
Photo taken from related article at BlueLivesMatter.com

I spoke to a number of people who work for the Sacramento Police Department, and the scuttlebutt around their department is that a HUGE number of people just consciously made the decision to seek employment with other agencies, even senior employees.  I’ve written in the past about the problems Sacramento PD has been facing with both hiring and retaining current employees, but this situation, and the way the department is handling it, just greatly exacerbated that problem.

Thursday Night, 4-13-17
This morning, I again spoke to a few people I know who work for Sacramento PD, because I was trying to verify a rumor I had heard.  They had not heard the rumor I asked about, but they did have something new to tell me.  Apparently, Sac PD upper management, as in Deputy Chiefs and others, showed up at roll calls at the various stations to speak to the working cops.  Apparently, from what I am told, the chiefs and other management were very aloof about the whole situation, saying that they stood by how they handled it, and that is just the way it is, and the way it will be.

Needless to say, that crappy “tough shit” attitude displayed by their bosses was not well received by the men and women who should be able to count on management to have their backs.  Instead, management told them to expect to be thrown under the bus.  The way Sac PD management has handled this not only has assured their personnel problems are going to get vastly worse, but they have also demonstrated to ALL of the cops who work there that proactive police work will only get you in trouble.  Expect proactive cop work to cease, and expect the safety of city residents to be vastly lessened.  Odd, you’d think the idiots in charge over there might have heard of that whole “Ferguson Effect,” but apparently not.

I find it EXTREMELY ironic that a department that is constantly telling their officers to be kinder and gentler to the criminals they contact, those very managers cannot even reciprocate that same sentiment toward the people who are supposedly on the same team as them.  Sacramento PD management has just driven that final nail in the coffin.  If you happen to work in the backgrounds department of any neighboring agencies, I would expect to see a huge influx of lateral applicants as everyone bails from Sac PD’s rapidly sinking ship.

Media Ignoring Facts They Reported To Make Cops Look Bad


On February 25, 2017, three police officers from the small city of Rocklin, CA shot and killed a man in an absolutely justified shooting.  The district attorney just officially confirmed the same when they announced that no charges will be filed on the officers because the shooting was justified.  And that is where the story should end.

BUT the anti-cop media and Black Lies Matter will not let it go as they seem to be contending that the cops shot Lorenzo Cruz for no reason, and then are covering it up.  After all, look at the poor young man in the tuxedo, he would not do anything wrong… (seriously, I searched via google and the ONLY pictures I can find of Lorenzo Cruz are this one, in the tux)

Rocklin police officers who shot and killed a man after a February confrontation have been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

The Placer County District’s Attorney’s office announced their decision not to pursue any charges against the officers Thursday.

However, the matter is far from resolved, according to activists who showed up at the Rocklin Police Department with a list of demands.”  

Those are the first three lines from that story about the outcome of the shooting.  To those who have been following this shooting, this was the expected outcome because it was a textbook case of a justified shooting.  However, to the media and their favorite trouble makers, Black Lives Matter (henceforth referred to as Black Lies Matter), it is far from over.

”‘He’s a compassionate person, he’s never stolen anything, never been in trouble with the law, it doesn’t make since that he’d go from not doing anything wrong to breaking into someone’s house at 10 in the morning,’ said Faison.”

Let’s just take a quick look at that pile of horse shit being shoveled by Faison, the Black Lies Matter representative.  I will refute her statement with information that has long been available to the public, via the media, and none of it has been denied.

“Police first encountered Cruz when they attempted to stop his vehicle for expired registration, according to the District Attorney’s letter. Cruz drove off at high speed. (Expired Registration – I, Evading Police – M/F) Officers determined a pursuit would cause too much risk to motorists and other people in the area, but they obtained a description of the vehicle and the license plate number.” –Sacramento Bee

Having personal knowledge of Rocklin PD’s pursuit policy, it would have been a clear violation of their policy to pursue Cruz in this situation.  That said, it can very well be argued that had they pursued him and apprehended him, NONE of the things that occurred later in the day, culminating in Cruz being shot, may not have ever occurred.  I would argue that the very restrictive pursuit policies, like Rocklin’s, those very policies that are pushed by liberal, anti-cop politicians, are the very reason more people are victims of crime, like the people who were victimized by Cruz later that day.

Continuing on with Cruz’s crime spree that day…

“Police later received a 911 call from a resident reporting that the same man was behaving in a bizarre manner and had rammed his vehicle into a gate in a residential neighborhood. (Felony Vandalism – F, Hit & Run crash – M) Witnesses reported that they were confronted by the man, and described him as angry and aggressive.

One witness reported that Cruz first attempted to enter his home through a sliding glass door, then broke a glass laundry room door and entered the home. Cruz reportedly retreated when the homeowner confronted him with a weapon. (Burglary – F)

Cruz then got into a neighbor’s vehicle and attempted to flee (Attempted Vehicle Theft – F), but was confronted by the three Rocklin police officers.”

Thus far, at a minimum we have documented one infraction, two misdemeanors (one which could possibly have been a felony), and three felonies.  But yeah, I can see how if I was a Black Lies Matter person, that could totally be seen as “not doing anything wrong.”  But hey, we aren’t done yet.

“When officers located Cruz and ordered him to surrender, he failed to comply and officers saw he had what appeared to be a firearm. Cruz was shot when he pointed the weapon at one of the officers. (Brandishing a Weapon – M)

Police later determined that the gun was a replica firearm that had been painted silver to look like a real gun, according to police.”

So, we can add two more crimes, a misdemeanor for brandishing a weapon and one which resulted in his being shot, felony stupid (the act of doing something so stupid it gets you killed – not a real crime).

Now that the DA has made their announcement, Black Lies Matter stepped in and presented a list of utterly moronic demands.  Personally, I am sick and tired of these juvenile, petulant idiots who completely ignore the culpability a person has in their own demise in order to put ALL the fault on the cops.

“Thursday, Black Lives Matter presented a list of demands to the Rocklin Police Department including: release of the police report and all video of the incident, charges brought against the officers involved, a community investigation, monetary compensation for Cruz’s family, and an apology from city officials.”

The proper response to those requests is “pound sand,” but in the politically correct world in which we live, where elected officials more often than not bend to the will of those who scream the loudest, I suspect we will see some capitulation.

Look, I feel for the family and friends of Cruz.  Sometimes we really don’t know the people we think we know.  I’ve been in those shoes.  A man I spent months working with, in the same car, a man I’d known 20 years, a man I called a friend, was arrested on very serious charges.  I get being upset, I get being blindsided.  I get being confused and angry.  I really do.

BUT, don’t blame the cops; blame the person who did the acts, blame the person who deceived you.

In the case of Cruz, friends, family and Black Lies Matter would have you believe that not only are the rotten, evil police lying to cover up their shooting of “another innocent POC” (person of color), but the cops also successfully convinced numerous private citizens to aid them by manufacturing all the incidents that lead up to Cruz’s shooting.  Oh yeah, the cops also apparently mastered time travel and successfully went back in time to create the original failed contact / pursuit in an attempt to bolster their story.

Seriously, what version of this makes more sense?  That friends and family of Cruz either did not know about his criminal behavior, or that they are ignoring it OR  that the cops shot Cruz and are covering it up?

It is long past time for the public to start demanding honesty from our “news” sources.  They have all turned into tabloids, running whatever story will get the most traffic.  They push known lies for the sake of the story and they give a voice to people who are blatantly lying because doing so makes them money.  None of that is acceptable.

Militarization or Modernization?

NOTE:  This was originally published July 24, 2013 at The Bang Switch (no longer around).  I revived it due to the recent/ongoing clamoring about how law enforcement is “militarized.”


Warrior Cops on the Rise?

I read an opinion piece on the Wall Street Journal’s website yesterday where the author examined one instance of a raid on a suspected marijuana grow in which the resident was shot and one of the SWAT officers was killed during a gun battle that ensued after the SWAT team breached the door and were clearing the home.  The resident, portrayed in this article as an innocent military vet attacked by the cops, fired 31 rounds from his Beretta pistol (at least 1 reload), at uniformed cops who had been in the home for several minutes, and had cleared all but one room of his home where the man lay in wait with his gun.  The man was found to have 16 marijuana plants growing in his basement, which was the basis for the warrant the cops were serving.  The author uses this instance to suggest that the cops were somehow at fault in this situation, and that the “militarization of the police” was somehow a factor.

Granted, all that I know of that particular case is from research I have done on the internet, but even the über-liberal Huffpo article about this incident does not make it sound as fluffy, cuddly and innocently one sided as the WSJ article does.  I fail to see how the incident singled out by the author demonstrates anything but the opposite of what he is trying to convey.  The armed, pot growing, mentally unstable man inside the home shot 6 uniformed cops and killed another.  How is that the fault of the “militarizing” of the cops?  Quite the contrary, had they been more militarized, they might have gotten out without nearly as many injuries.

If you, the reader, are going to argue that pot should not be illegal, please just stop now.  That is completely irrelevant to this discussion, because the fact of the matter is, at the time and place that incident occurred, it was illegal, and the man in the home damn well knew that.  As did his ex-girlfriend (likely a pissed off ex-girlfriend) who provided the information about the grow to the cops and upon whose statements their warrant was based.

Countering Points
After recounting his version of that case from Ogden, UT, the author points to the fact that law enforcement is receiving “military-style equipment”  to bolster his claim that cops are becoming more militarized.  The military for the last 100 years or so, has been giving surplus equipment to law enforcement.  Way back in the day, many agencies were the recipients of full-auto Tommy guns which they used when conducting raids.  In a comment that took me back to the most recent presidential debates, the author makes a completely erroneous comment about cops using bayonets.  Really, bayonets?  Let’s just leave those silly, uneducated comments to the gun grabber in chief shall we?

A static display showing the gear worn and carried by the two dirtbags in the North Hollywood Robbery and subsequent shootout.
A static display showing the gear worn and carried by the two dirtbags in the North Hollywood Robbery and subsequent shootout.

In the same sentence as his bayonets comment, he complains that cops are using M-16 rifles.  The rifle issue to me comes across as a somewhat schizophrenic argument.  On one hand, the public demands that we be able to deal with the crazed armed gunmen, but in the next sentence, we are being derided for carrying a weapon that will better allow us to do just that.  The incident that drove the push for patrol rifles for many departments around the country was the North Hollywood Shootout in 1997.  After that incident, departments rightfully saw the need for rifles to be available to regular patrol cops instead of only to dedicated tactical teams (SWAT).  Many departments did not have the budget to run out and buy rifles, so they relied on freebies from the feds, just as they have been doing for over 100 years.  The feds had stockpiles of Vietnam era M-16’s laying around which they freely gave to just about any agency that asked.  My department and the adjacent local PD (nearly the same size patrol force as my department) both quickly took advantage of this program.

Now, before you start freaking out about tons of regular patrol cops running around with full-auto M-16’s, let me explain that both of these agencies went to the trouble to convert all the patrol rifles to semi-auto only.  While not every agency may have done this, I think you would find a majority of them did.  Police administrators look to the lowest common denominator when making many of their administrative decisions, and weigh the pros and cons.  While having rifles available to patrol cops is prudent, I think you would find most administrators think giving them all full-auto rifles would not be.

The argument for the cops having access to a rifle is no different than the argument for Joe public having a rifle, except that statistically speaking a cop is more likely to need to employ their rifle at some point in time as compared to the average gun owner.

Armored Personnel Carrier vs. a Law Enforcement Armored Vehicle
Armored Personnel Carrier vs. a Law Enforcement Armored Vehicle

The author then cites a 22 year old study about homicides in an effort to demonstrate that drug dealers and growers are not heavily armed.  This tactic is often employed by the gun grabbers, so readers here should be quite familiar with it.  While the two crimes (drug dealing and homicide) do have some correlation, you cannot logically apply murder statistics to show that drug dealers only have low powered handguns.  It just doesn’t work that way.   AND, even if it did work that way, he is apparently suggesting that we should just knowingly send in the cops under-gunned because statistically speaking, there is a low chance the drug dealers will have big guns?  Sorry, but Homie don’t play that.  I have the same attitude at work that I have at home:  It is better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.  That is the same reason you and I carry concealed weapons is it not?  Always hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst?  Why should cops serving warrants (as in his examples) be any different?The “armored personnel carriers” is another hyped up, glorified argument.  It is not like local SWAT teams are driving Strykers or Bradleys, or even MRAPs around (that is the DHS).  That said, most SWAT teams do have some sort of armored vehicle, many use a Bearcat.  These armored vehicles fill a vital role in being able to approach barricaded, armed subjects without being shot.  My department has one, and it has taken quite a few rounds over the years, a few of which would have likely been fatal head wounds had the officers been in an unarmored vehicle.

Finally, he addresses something that he deems a new concept, he says it as “Whatever I need to do to get home safe”.  While that concept is not new, the author’s choice of words is.  That concept goes back a very, very long time, except it is more often said as “My number one job is to go home safe every night”.  I may be arguing semantics, but word selection is very important, and his choice of words is misleading.

Where I Concur
The author does make two points that I am very willing to concede, and that is that far too many agencies feel a need to have their own SWAT team.  I definitely think that every jurisdiction should, at the minimum, have one team available, even if it is a joint team consisting of members from the various local agencies.  SWAT teams perform a vital role that cannot be filled by most average patrol cops.  That said, why on earth do Fish & Wildlife Service, NASA or the Department of the Interior need SWAT teams?  I can think of a federal agency present in just about every area of the country who has some of the finest SWAT teams out there, who would easily be able to assist those other federal agencies if needed – the FBI.

The other valid point is that SWAT teams are used now more than they used to be, perhaps over used.  There have been times in my career where our SWAT team jumped on something that could have easily been handled by a couple seasoned patrol cops.  The attitude of some (definitely not all) SWAT team personnel, the “you’re either SWAT or you’re not” attitude, seems to emanate from them and from their leaders.  It is as if they think us regular patrol cops are just a bunch of morons who cannot handle a simple event.  That said, it is prudent to err on the side of caution, and if you have a tactical team that is ready and available when you are going to be serving a high-risk search or arrest warrant, would you not choose to use them?  I know I would.

On a side note, much of the argument made by the author seems to revolve around drug cases, specifically marijuana cases.  The first case examined was a raid on a marijuana grow where the author completely ignores the illegal actions that prompted the police response.  Other examples he used to bolster his argument were of marijuana eradication efforts beginning in the 1980’s, which leads me to believe there may be some ulterior motive for him writing this, but maybe that is just the suspicious cop in me seeing that.

The Bigger Picture
I would like to address the bigger picture for a bit though, as attempting to dissect the author’s points individually is not necessarily productive.  The bigger picture, at least what I take away from this article, is that cops are trying to be more and more like the military, both in appearance/gear and in the way that we interact with the general public.  Bear in mind, I work for a larger agency in a very suburban area, so not all my comments will necessarily ring true for a smaller or rural agency.

Gear and Uniforms
One of the issues seems to be the general appearance of the cops, right down to their uniforms (BDU style uniforms).  Just like the military, so has the patrol cop’s standard load out changed though out the years.  With the evolution of police gear, and the introduction of more and more options for less-lethal weapons, the demands (driven by the public) for what we carry with us have continued to grow.  Long gone are the days of a cop carrying a pistol, some spare ammo, a baton and handcuffs (1 set).  Oh how my lower back wishes that was all I had to carry.

General Public Disconnect
Cops are expected to carry not only their duty gun, ammo and handcuffs (most likely 2 sets), but now we have a portable radio, pepper spray, a Taser, a flashlight (or two), a baton, a cell phone, leather gloves, germicidal hand wipes, rubber gloves.  Some officers carry a spare rifle magazine, a first aid kit, a CPR pocket mask, a backup gun.  My recent article about the Hawthorne, CA police shooting the dog had people suggesting we carry tranquilizer guns.  Every time a new less-lethal device comes out, the public demands we carry it.  That 1940’s era mostly empty gun belt quickly ran out of room.  Cargo pockets on the BDU style pants are not there for looks, they are there to help carry some of the gear that the public demands we carry.  It may not look pretty, but given the physical space requirements, they are a necessity.


The bigger problem that I see, that the author does not specifically address, is that there is a general disconnect between the public and the cops who work in their community.  Historically speaking, when you look at policing at the beginning of the 20th century, the local cops knew their beats, they knew their people, they knew their crooks, and for good reason, their beat was very small.  In cities, the cops were on foot.  They had a small area of responsibility and they got to know the people in their area.  The cops could tell when something was amiss, and they could count on the people to back them if the chips were down.  That cop was a part of that community, and it was a good relationship for both the cop and the citizen.

Sadly, that era has gone the way of the dodo.  Except for some very rare examples such as the NYPD, where a foot beat still makes some sense, that type of policing will never be seen again.  As technology has improved, so has an officer’s ability to cover a larger area.  To the administrators and the bean counters, if by providing a car, you can have 1 cop cover the area that was covered by 10 or more cops, it is a no-brainer.  With the advent of radios, that area grew.  With the advent of computers and computer aided dispatch, that area again grew.  Officers, who 100 hundred years ago, would have covered an area consisting of a few square blocks, are now covering an area hundreds of times that size.  The district I routinely work in is 44 square miles of suburban city.  Generally speaking, on swing shift (statistically speaking, the busiest shift), that area is staffed by 5-8 cops, but some days as few as 3.

My point in discussing that evolution of the patrol cop’s beat is not meant as a pity party.  I bring it up to point out the very real problem that evolution has created.   There is a massive disconnect between the cops working an area and the people who live there.  No one can reasonably be expected to know even a fraction of the people living in their beat.  A person would be lucky to notice small changes in a neighborhood that they drive through  only on rare occasions, and only when they are heading to a specific location to deal with a call for service.  We (patrol cops) typically only get to know the criminals in our beats, and we get to know the neighborhoods the criminals live in, because that is where we spend our time.  Since we don’t have daily, positive contact with the public, we begin to be seen as just some guy who shows up when needed, and we begin to see the public as some person who just calls us when their world has gone to shit.  The advent of newer, better technology, which makes some aspects of our jobs more efficient, has eroded the once good relationship that the cops used to have with the public, and that hurts all of us.

Let’s Play A Little What-If
That eroded relationship with the public affects not only how cops do their job (less direct knowledge of people and area), but also how the public views the way we handle our job (no direct knowledge of the cop’s personality or attitude).  Using the author’s primary case example, let us imagine that had occurred 100 years ago.  It is highly likely that the local beat cop would have been the first person that the pissed off ex-girlfriend would have contacted.  Her claims of “he is a huge drug dealer” would have a much better chance of being filtered down to reality (he is crowing a few plants for personal use) because the beat cop would be familiar with the area and likely would at least have some hint if there was a huge drug dealer living in his beat.  That beat cop, if he even thought it was necessary, might call one or two beat partners to join him in contacting the resident of the home.  The contact at the home would likely have played out entirely different if the cops responding had the intimate knowledge of the area that cops used to have.

Times change, things evolve, including police work and gear.  As technology has evolved over the years, so has the way cops operate, and not always for the best.  Our ability to cover larger areas has removed us from the personal contact cops used to have with the people in their beat.  With that loss of contact, society seems quicker to blame bad outcomes on the cops, whether or not the blame is deserved.