Enough is Enough! Time to Fight Back!

Enough

Attention California Police Chiefs, Sheriffs, law enforcement labor unions, police officers, deputy sheriffs, traffic officers, probation officers, parole officers, correctional officers, and anyone else who is on the front line of the enforcement of California laws.

Attention California District Attorneys, deputy district attorneys, prosecutorial labor unions and anyone involved in the prosecution of criminals in the State of California.

Attention California community leaders and politicians who understand it is our role to make the community safer, not to pass laws making life easier for those who chose to victimize their fellow citizens.

Attention victim advocacy groups, law enforcement support groups, law enforcement chaplaincies, and anyone who has personally been affected by a criminal on the streets due to AB109, Prop47 or Prop57.

I am just a regular old street cop who has been running this blog for about five years.  If you have heard of me, chances are at one point or another, I may have written something with which you did not agree.  The fact of life is that even though we are all on the same side in this fight to maintain public safety, we do not always see eye to eye.  However, there is a growing trend in our state that we should all be able to unite to combat, and that is the movement to decriminalize crime.  It is time to put our differences aside, to come together to fight this dangerous game that our state’s elected officials are playing with the public safety, with our safety.

To the best of my knowledge, this trend began back in 2011 when Governor Brown signed AB-109 into law.  Since then, with the passage of Propositions 47 & 57, the ignorant voting public has believed the misleading proposition names and followed the governor’s lead, voting to either lower the severity of crimes, or completely decriminalize them.

The reduced violent crime rate that our professions fought so hard to accomplish through the 1990’s and into the early 2000’s has slipped, and the crime rate has begun climbing in this state more often than not since 2011.  In fact, it has risen the last three years in a row, with sharp increases in violent crime.

Many of us who chose to be vocal about these horrible laws dreamt up by ivory tower politicians, whom we personally protect on a daily basis, predicted the crime rates would climb, and we were not wrong.  It does not take a gifted prognosticator to figure out that when you put more criminals on the street, crime will rise.  I could point to all the FBI statistics that support my statements here, but if you are in this profession, you already know what I said is true.

However, for those not in this profession, here are those statistics which I took from the annually compiled Uniform Crime Report produced by the FBI.  The chart below shows the rates for each year starting in 2011.  The report for 2016 has not yet been released, but early reports from the FBI showed all violent crimes across the nation rose.

FBI-UCR-CA

Thus far, AB-109 has cost the lives of several cops in California, the most recent being Deputy Robert French of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.*  Before Bob came Officer Keith Boyer of the Whittier Police Department.  In addition to AB-109, when considering the changes that Prop 47 put in place, the death toll for law enforcement rises to five, adding Officer Jose Gil Vega of the Palm Springs Police Department, Officer Lesley Zerebny of the Palm Springs Police Department, and Sergeant Steven Owen of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

That is just the number of cops killed as a result of these ridiculous laws.  It does not include those who were shot and survived, or were attacked via other methods by persons who would have been locked up prior to the passage of those criminal coddling laws.  Add to that the number of citizens who have been murdered, raped, robbed or just plain victimized by these early releases, and the extent of this problem becomes abundantly clear.  Not a community in this state has been spared.

The only people who have not been victimized by these dangerous changes to state laws are the very people who created and passed those changes.

California politicians are making the entire state less safe, and they are only doing it to save money.  The even sadder part is they are not attempting to save money in an effort  to lower our taxes, because in fact they have continued voting to raise our taxes.  Instead, they are merely trying to save that money so they can spend it on other projects that do absolutely nothing to enhance public safety and benefit only a small sliver of the population.

I have had enough!  It is time that we, those of us whose professional lives are dedicated to public safety, stand together, face to face with these political elites and tell them “No more! Enough is enough!”  It is time to reverse this doomed course they have set us on, before it kills another member of our law enforcement family.

If these political elites cannot see fit to do something to enhance all of our safety, maybe it is time that we stop taking extra steps to provide for theirs.


* While Deputy French’s murderer was on the streets due directly to the unfathomable decision made by Federal Judge Sallie Kim, the broad changes that AB-109 made to the previous parole system, including what constitutes a parole violation and the length of punishments received for those violations contributed to him being on the streets.  Prior to AB-109, a person on parole who was arrested for a parole violation would not have been eligible for release, bail or not, prior to their hearing.  Deputy French’s murderer bailed out.  Despite what the CDCR press secretary Vicky Waters wrote in a press release, AB-109 absolutely, most definitely played a role in his release from custody.


If you are interested in being part of this project, please like and follow us on Facebook.  Please share both this blog post and our Facebook page on all your social media accounts.  The more exposure this post gets, the more support we will gain.  It is time we fix these laws so more California cops are not killed by violent felons who should have been in prison!

No Rest for the Weary

Service

Yesterday, our Facebook page was pretty quiet.  That is because all of us admins who live in Northern California made the trip to Roseville, CA to attend the services for Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputy Bob French.  There were thousands of officers there from all across the country in attendance.  NYPD, Chicago PD, Aurora (CO) PD, and so many other agencies, not to mention just about every agency from CA was represented.  In addition to the cops, the number of Firefighters who showed to pay their respects was amazing.  Topping off all those first responders, the outpouring from the general public was tremendous.  On such a sad day, it served as an excellent reminder just how many folks, most of whom are part of the silent majority in this country, actually appreciate what we do.

As we sat in the huge church that was filled to capacity (standing room only) waiting for the service to begin, they ran a slide show to music showing pictures from Bob’s life, both at work and his private life.  Moments before the service was to start, about 20 people from the Sacramento Police Department section jumped up and rapidly made their way to the exits.  One of those people was their new chief, and the rest appeared to be other command staff and supervisors as there was a collection of bars, stars and stripes.  As they left, nearly all were either reading something on their phones or were talking on them.

To those of us in this line of work, when something like that happens, it is a very bad sign.

People in the audience began talking amongst ourselves wondering what was going on, and just as the service started, we got word that two (2) Sacramento PD officers had just been involved in a shooting, and both were shot.  One was reportedly shot in the chest, the other in the leg.  Their condition was unknown at the time, but we did hear that the suspect was deceased.

Holy crap!  This cannot be freaking happening!

Here we are trying to honor the life and service of a heroic cop who was shot and killed last week, and now we have two more members of our blue family shot?  Their condition is unknown?

Talk about a flurry of emotions.  What should have been a calm time to mourn the loss of a brother was now a mix of sadness, loss, anger, frustration, anxiety, restlessness, grief and hatred.

There is not much more weary a group than those mourning the murder of well-liked coworker, and those people cannot even get three hours to allow their souls to heal just a little before same thing has potentially occurred again.

Thankfully, shortly after the service began, word made its way around the room that the injuries received by both Sac PD cops were not life threatening.  Thank GOD!

Now we could get back to healing.

The first law enforcement speaker to give a eulogy was Sheriff Scott Jones.  In my opinion, his eulogy was absolutely amazing.  He started by thanking all in attendance, and thanked the family for allowing us to honor their loved one.  He continued by welcoming the various dignitaries who were present (thankfully, Governor Moonbeam smartly chose to be unavailable).  Then, mere seconds after greeting the politicians who were present, he began talking about how angry he was, saying “I feel angry that his killer should never been out of prison,” very obviously referring to AB-109, which is the reason Deputy French is no longer with us.

Sheriff Jones’ eulogy seemed, at least to me, to be very honest and from the heart.  He very clearly was feeling the same things many of us in that giant room were.  His words spoke to me, they rang true, for like Sheriff Jones, I too was full of mixed emotions.  I would encourage anyone who has not seen it to take a few minutes and watch.

The following piece was included in the program they handed out at Deputy French’s service.  It is attributed to Lt. Al Benner, Ph.D. from the San Francisco Police Department.

“To function effectively in our job, you must annihilate, smother and suppress normal emotions like fear, anger, revulsion, and even compassion.  To do otherwise it to invite overwhelming doubt or hesitancy when decisive action is required.  The penalty for your achieved competence is a mindset that might as well be a foreign language to your social contemporaries.  We are…..victims of our own success.  When these same normal and appropriate emotions…..surface in personal relationships, we automatically shut down and wonder why, over time, that the people we care about the most complain that we are aloof, cold and uncommunicative.”

From all accounts given at the service by the people who knew him, Bob managed to walk a thin line between what is discussed in the excerpt above, yet still maintaining compassion.  It takes a very strong human being to do that.

Law enforcement as a whole is weary, we are tired, we’re sad, and angry.  Despite that, we will suit up and carry on, because that is what we do, that is who we are.  We have to, because if we don’t, who will?

Deputy Killed After Putting Himself Between AK Toting Felon and Fellow Officers

Bob

In my position here with this blog and with my Facebook page, I sometimes become privy to official information before it is released via official routes.  That is exactly what has happened in the case of the murder of Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputy Bob French.  The original, official versions of the incident in which Bob was killed left a lot to be desired.  There were inconsistencies and blatantly erroneous information in the official versions, leaving those with intimate knowledge of the case extremely frustrated.  To many folks who knew the full story, it felt as if the department was hiding the truth.

Come to find out, there were a couple of completely erroneous rumors floating around the department regarding the incident and management was trying to get all their ducks in a row, evidence wise, so that they could dispel all of those rumors at the same time that they released the full story about how heroically Bob acted that day, and heroic he was.

What follows is a Readers Digest version of what transpired that day.  Not having access to the actual evidence, what follows is what I have been told by a number of sources who have had direct access to the evidence, and directly from those who were at the scene.  There may be some minor discrepancies, but the overall picture should be accurate.


Detectives were going to contact the hotel room related to an earlier stolen vehicle.  The room was supposed to be unoccupied, with only some physical evidence inside to be recovered.  Deputy Bob French was one of the deputies on that call.  Bob was in his car and was positioned two businesses to the east.  He was the only cop in a car at the time, and was in position in case one of the stolen vehicle suspects who might possibly be at the hotel, made it to a car and fled.

As detectives attempted to enter the supposedly empty hotel room, the suspect inside, a man who would have been in prison were it not for AB-109, opened fire with a handgun through the hotel room door and walls, striking two CHP officers, injuring one seriously and the other not quite as bad.  The injured CHP officers and one other Sacramento Deputy fled to the stairwell and began to head to the parking lot to be evacuated to the hospital for medical treatment.  All of this was broadcast via the radio, and additional resources began heading to the scene, including Bob.

At that time, the suspect in the room, who was now armed with a folding stock AK (which is not a “high powered” rifle as has been reported to the media), started to flee out the back of the room onto the balcony.  One solo Sacramento County deputy was on the back side of the hotel at that time, and due to the ongoing investigation, his name is being withheld.  That deputy, who was armed only with his handgun, engaged the suspect in a firefight that lasted more than 60 seconds.  The deputy was miraculously not hit, but everything around him was shredded by the incoming rounds fired by the suspect.  The suspect, realizing the deputy was not going to disengage, managed to get to the ground and fled east, the same direction the other deputy went as he evacuated the two wounded CHP officers.

Let me just say this right here, that unnamed deputy who was by himself on the rear of the hotel, that man is a big damn hero!

While that firefight was occurring, Bob had driven his car from the location down the street to the front of the hotel.  As he parked, the deputy and two wounded CHP officers exited the building and ran toward Bob.  As they reached Bob’s car, one of the wounded officers started to get into the rear seat of his car.  Bob told them to head to the evacuating deputy’s car which was a few feet away so that Bob could watch their backs.

As they ran from Bob’s car to the other car a few feet away, the suspect emerged from the same location from whence the injured cops had just come.  As he exited, he saw the cops and immediately engaged them with his AK.  Bob stepped forward and returned the favor with his AR, causing the suspect to slow and redirect his fire, at Bob.  Bob continued engaging the suspect in a firefight for a short while, as Bob used the rear corner of his patrol vehicle as cover.  During this time, the deputy who evacuated the wounded CHP officers sped off to the hospital with the more serious of the wounded cops.

Other units arrived and also engaged the suspect.  One of these responding units was positioned behind Bob and perfectly captured the ensuing firefight on the in-car camera system.

During the gun battle, one of the suspect’s rounds hit the window of Bob’s car and ricocheted, sending a large fragment of the bullet into Bob’s shoulder, between the top edges of the vest panels.  That bullet fragment somehow missed all of the bones and went directly to Bob’s heart, entering his left ventricle.  I have been told that even if a trauma surgeon was on scene and started working on Bob at this point, Bob would not have made it.

That fact did not stop Bob though.  He shook it off, likely not realizing how badly he was injured, and reengaged the suspect who was just getting into a car at this time.  As the suspect fled through the parking lot, he continued firing his weapon at the cops, and the cops present, including Bob, did the same in return.  (The suspect later died from the wounds he received during this gun battle.)

Once the suspect left the parking lot, Bob walked back up to the front of his car.  It is at this point that it appears, at least from the video, that Bob realizes he is seriously injured.  Bob, being the calm, seasoned cop that he was, dropped the magazine out of his rifle, cleared the chamber and returned the rifle to the gun lock in his car.  He sat down, then fell to the pavement.

At this time, one of the deputies on scene ran to him.  In typical, calm Bob fashion, with his chew still in his cheek, Bob provided a suspect and suspect vehicle description.  As he laid on the ground waiting for medical help to arrive, again in typical Bob fashion, he told one of the cops there with him “hurry up and move me, the Goddam asphalt is hot.”

I’m told Bob was talking up to the end, and only spit his chew out once he was in the ambulance.  Bob, being the tough bastard he was, lived for 10 minutes after receiving a non-survivable wound.

Between Bob and the unnamed deputy on the back side of the hotel, those two men almost assuredly saved the lives of the two CHP wounded officers and the deputy who was evacuating them.  Bob died a huge hero.  Bob’s story deserves to be told.   His heroism must be known.

Bob, thank you for your service and your sacrifice.  We have the watch from here.  Rest in peace brother.


 

* This recounting of the events is in no way meant to downplay the actions of any of the involved officers. From what I have been told, there were a number of heroic actions performed that day, by a number of different people, up to and including the firefighters who tirelessly tried to save Bob.  I’ve been told that the professionalism displayed at this incident, especially considering the circumstances, was awe inspiring.

 

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