Knowing Achievement

While discussing inner departmental politics with a friend I was forced to take a step back, breathe a little and use my brain in an attempt to understand some of the more political things which have occurred in my career. I was not able to conceive of an answer directly, even after multiple attempts which led my ADHD empowered brain to a new chain of thoughts. I asked myself what has been truly important in my career looking back all of these years? It certainly wasn’t “who got that good gig in Detectives” or “Look who got promoted but why?” While some of those questions occupied much of my time during my career years, the more important thoughts garnered some amount of recognition.

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I realized in a grand moment of temporary clarity the things in my career which resulted in meaningful change. It certainly wasn’t the shiny medals or the various accommodations I received from the Department. While I didn’t mind receiving those awards and was proud to have served, there wasn’t much substance contained. Often times a medal can be diminished by unwittingly comparing actions to someone else’s who have received a similar accommodation. The entire thought process seems to dilute the potency of such achievement leaving something to be desired. More importantly i observed great accomplishments in the many selfless acts of my partners which they thought were “no big deal” or “just part of the job.”

So grand realizations of those moments of pride came flowing back to me. There are so many lives touched by an officer serving for the good of the population rather than the good of the order. There are those rare calls for service or events which may spiral into an entirely new positive experience for an individual or victim. These types of effects can be difficult to perceive and takes a certain amount of introspection.

When an officer makes an arrest it is simply part of the job, we don’t get too excited about it. sometimes we get into a foot pursuit, chase somebody down and win the fight but a lot of those times no charges are filed. Sometimes the idiot we arrested just made a dumb mistake or was too emotional to behave like a civilized human being. Sometimes the subject was too socially stupid to Herve Leconte sits atop his vehicle to display a sign thanking all those who are dealing with the King fire while park alongside Highway 50 near Camino, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)warrant any pride from a resultant arrest. Sure there is the “job well done” feeling where Officers pat each other on the back the same way a carpenter looks back on his work and says “wow I did a good job on that cabinet” yet there is more to it than that.

True evil does exist. The willing and malicious damnation of fellow man through unspeakable acts of cruelty are defined as such. If we can nab one of them it is a fortuitous event which can be boasted of. Most of us count that type of arrest on one hand at the end of a long career. When you get to put that one away for good the effects upon time and space are astounding. That serial rapist won’t hurt anymore children. The sick kidnapper who imprisoned his victims for months and induced a feared loyalty upon them will be worshiped via fear no more. These are the events far more precious than a silver medal or a fancy letter from the Chief. The two may coincide and an officer may wear proudly upon his chest a mark of such achievement but the act itself is the source of pride. Everything else is just a distraction or a public relations campaign.

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It doesn’t end there. When an officer picks up a child with a skinned knee who fell off of their tricycle while the parent was inside smoking crank. When the woman whose child was found dead in a puddle by no mistake of her own is hugged by the responding officers who tried to save her. And when the officer places his hand on the arrested juveniles shoulder with a stern but warm look on his face and says “you can do better,” these are timeless as well. For that child the Officer shall never age, even after he has long since left this world. In the mother’s eyes the Officer’s boots will always shine in unison with that badge and those shared tears. Nothing can dry the memory of those heroes who stood with her when the world crumbled all around. And for the demon behind bars, that fiery gaze will forever be tormented by he who delivered justice. Even if the Department or the public didn’t happen to notice that time.

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The effects of a job well done are unending and incalculable. They truly spiral in every direction, undeterred by negative media attention, bad Departmental Policies or negative social attention. Those events are real and exist in a way which is infinitely repeatable yet important and distinct with each occurrence. The events are unchangeable and cannot be destroyed. The good will shown by officers who care is eternal and no hateful group or negative media attention can damage those moral deeds, for they have already been commuted.

Officer’s of the law stand proud during your career and do not minimize the great things you have done. Don’t listen to the garbage being spewed by public figure heads, brave keyboard bloggers or self righteous critics, they haven’t experienced the personal risk and reward system. Think back upon your career with pride and look upon the momentous life changing events you took part in for the better. Nobody can take that away from you unless you let them.
Good job and anybody who doesn’t think so or recognize it would never understand such an achievement anyways.

I Remember.  Do You?  Will You?

911-september-11th-attacksI vividly remember exactly what I was doing when I first heard what was happening in New York City on that horrible day, September 11, 2001.  I had gotten up early after working swingshift the night before.  I had to go to a parole hearing, so with little sleep, and after a quick shower, a cup of coffee in hand, I jumped in the car, a 1970 Datsun Roadster, and headed off to work.  I was driving through town heading to the station and had only gotten a few miles from my house when I turned on the radio and heard that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers.

It was so surreal.  I honestly thought it was some sort of “War of the Worlds” kind of stunt, so I picked up my cell phone and called my wife at home.  She was still sound asleep and I woke her up.  I asked her to turn on the TV and tell me if there was anything on the news.  She turned the TV on, and from the scream she let out, I knew it was true.

M-9-11I got to the station, threw on my uniform and geared up.  I loaded my patrol car and headed to the parole hearing.  There were no smart phones at the time, and my department’s patrol cars at that time did not have AM/FM radios in them, so I was completely in the dark as to what else was going on.  I got to the parole hearing and sat in the waiting room with a bunch of other cops.  We all sat there, fixated on the tiny TV in the room, watching the footage, rolled over and over, of the plane hitting the tower.  As we watched, the second plane hit.  After about 30 minutes, we were told the hearings were all cancelled.

I got back into my patrol car, and even though it was a full 7 hours before my shift was supposed to start, I got a hold of one of the sergeants and asked if he would like me to hit the field, which was met with a very quick, “yes please.”

Firefighters Todd Heaney and Frankie DiLeo, of Engine 209, cCalls for service, early in the day, were quite routine, and it was eerily quiet (low call volume).  As the day progressed, and as the news began coming out about terrorist involvement, all the paranoid crazy people started coming out of the woodwork.  The sheer volume of calls about Middle Eastern men wearing a turban or some other sort of headwear, walking down sidewalks, driving taxis and ice cream trucks, or just being seen in a store, was staggering.

Every single person I contacted that day was in shock.  Store owners, pedestrians, drivers, sandwich artists, hell, even the dirtbags were in shock and were acting like normal human beings, if only for a few days.

On that day, 9-11-01, I had been a cop for a few days short of five years.  But that day, that very day, was my first day as a solo, finalized patrol cop.  I had worked in the jail and an administrative job up to that point, and only recently come to patrol.  I had taken the final test the night before, and passed.  This was supposed to be a celebratory day for me.  Clearly, that was not going to happen.

I spent 17.5 hours in my patrol car that day.  I took a couple of reports.  I contacted dozens of people, most of whom I do not remember, all of whom were devastated, even the turban wearing Middle Eastern guys that everyone kept calling about.

Police officer Mike Brennan helps a distraught woman known oI got home from work that night, well, technically very early the next day, and crawled into bed at about 1:30am to my wife who was still awake.  She was still in shock, and had been crying a lot that day, which for her was not normal as I don’t recall seeing her cry before, ever.

We hugged, and talked about what had happened, about all the lives lost, and about the need I felt to set my career aside and enlist in the military, so I could go help hunt and eliminate the chicken shit bastards who just killed thousands of my fellow Americans in a most cowardly way.    My wife, who had just found out she was pregnant with my oldest son, convinced me to stay here and to continue my career keeping our community safe.   It is a decision I made, and 364 days of the year, a decision I am happy with, but there is that one day of the year, today, 9-11, where I regret not signing up to go hunt the animals who attacked us.

The following day, I woke up and turned on the news.   I was greeted by vivid reminders of what I LOVE about this country.  People from all walks of life, from every color and creed, all came together for a single purpose.  That day, 9-11, was for my generation what December 7th was for my grandparent’s generation.  They were both days that brought this country together, gave us focus, gave us purpose.  It is sad that it takes horrible events like those to bring us together.

article-2032893-0DA8715100000578-585_634x487That day, and some of the days that have followed, especially recently, remind me of a great quote from Ronald Reagan:  “Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong”

Sadly, we as a nation continually prove that we do not learn from our past.  As the threat we were and still are fighting has diminished, the country has once again gotten soft.  People with very short memories, and even less intestinal fortitude, quickly grew weary of maintaining vigilance.  The sheep, who were briefly awakened to the cold reality of evil, by the wolf pounding on their door, have gone back to grazing is blissful ignorance.

If you need an example of that blissful ignorance, look no further than what college students are being taught about that horrible day from only 14 short years ago.  Is our memory really that short?

Apparently it is.

Americans have elected leaders with no experience, no plan and no spine who continually capitulate to our enemies.  They have chosen people without honor who refuse to respond when American’s call for help.  They chose men who side with criminals and terrorists instead of with soldiers or first responders.  They have chosen cowards who have weakened our country, and shrunken our military.  The soft headed people of this once great nation have chosen, once again, to put this country on a road which will once again lead to the inevitable; to an attack by yet another foreign power, whether it is terrorist group, a foreign country, or a country run by terrorists.

And we will once again awaken temporarily from our intentional blindness, but only for a fleeting moment, just as long as our collective short term memory lasts.

For our sake, and the sake of our children and grandchildren, I hope and pray that America will open her eyes and really wake up, before it is once again too late, and more lives are lost.

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Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…

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My father used to tell me “People say stupid things all the time. Some they mean, and some they say in the heat of the moment. Try to resist saying stupid stuff you will regret”.

This never more evident, than the recent resignation of probationary Firefighter Ron Drake from North Randall, Ohio Fire. Drake, who posted a comment on Action News 19’s Facebook page regarding the  NYPD brothers recently assassinated, stating “cops n gunman goin’ to hell lol”. Following up, when taken to task by another commenter with similar absurd statements, such as “most of your race is disgusting” (side note, if someone asked me my race, it would be “PURPLE” as a combination of blue and red blood to signify our brotherhood as first responders) .

Here is the thing that I find hilarious.  If you are a firefighter, cop, paramedic or anyone else than Joe Q. Public who works at the gas station and you are in a position subject to higher scrutiny, you should probably keep your thoughts off public sites such as Facebook, or, mores specifically… A NEWS STATION’S FACEBOOK PAGE…

That’s the funny thing about Facebook genius, it has useful things on it, like WHERE YOU WORK.  If you don’t have your privacy settings locked down, people can see everything you post and even WHERE YOU WORK…

I don’t get people on the best of days, but when you couple how legitimately absurd people are.  I see all kinds of things over the many places I frequent over the interwebs, but the funniest (and saddest) thing that I see often, is the penchant of the masses, who consider everything they hear on Facebook as gospel. Like for instance, people’s first amendment rights.  People take that as gospel, and think that anything they say is protected speech.  Here’s the kicker, if you threaten a cop, or anyone for that matter, it’s not just you “blowing off steam” or whatever absurd reasoning that you try to use as an excuse for your conduct.  If you threaten a public official, newsflash genius – It’s not protected speech, it’s a CRIME GENIUS.

Words have consequences, and with the onslaught of social media relating to the recent hatred directed towards law enforcement and other first responders by default, people get caught up in the emotion of the situation and just lose their minds, that is no excuse for jumping on the bandwagon and doing the “me too” response. So, when I look at a fireman/paramedic who ends up resigning because he jumped on the “me too” bandwagon, forgive me if I don’t shed a tear.  You are held to a higher regard because you are in public service, it’s what we as cops know and except. If everyone else can be brothers and sisters in arms, you don’t get to be the one single delicate flower that get’s to alienate yourself from the herd because you want to join with the “protest mentality”.

What’s the point of this post you ask? Well, I guess it’s two-fold.  One, the first amendment doesn’t cover threats or protect you from recriminations in the workplace for your views, especially in public service. Two, I was always taught, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  The world, and the interwebs in general should take heed of that saying.  If we all treated each other online like we would in person, there would be a lot less hate filled vitriol going around the various social media outlets. There would also be fewer people losing their jobs and careers because they can’t keep their trap shut.  Your company/agency/department WILL NOT BACK YOU IF YOU ARE CONTROVERSIAL.  Popular thought of the minority or not, think, before clicking the post button “could this post upset a lot of people or be detrimental to my employment”  if the answer is yes….step away from the keyboard.

– The Tactical Platypus (TP)

 

 

We Hear You…

Orockwellnce upon a time in America this picture was common place, there was nothing unique about it, nothing extraordinary it was simply a slice of life this is what was expected. I miss this time.

What happened? Lots of stuff, some of it real, more of it manufactured to distract the masses in the name of control and power. If we really look deep into those who fuel the fires of hate, we will discover they are not the honorable souls searching for the truth and harmony laced into their screams of inequality. Behind each and every rally cry is someone who is profiting off the raw emotions of people who don’t realize they are being taken advantage of. However, that’s not what I want to talk about today, I want to look at something else altogether.

Paul Harvey, (Radio commentator and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner) in his famous narration “What are Policemen Made of?” wrote he believed “Buried under the frost is the fact: Less than one-half of one percent of policemen misfit the uniform. That’s a better average than you’d find among clergy”  What are Policemen Made Of

Let’s think about this quote for a moment, let it really sink in, roll the number over in your head for a moment. Let’s muse through that number just to see what it means, what it implies, “Less than one-half of one percent”……The most recent number floating around estimates there are at least 900,000 sworn police officers in the United States.

900,000 officers…..1% of that is 9,000 and another half brings us down to 4,500 that’s. .005 of the total number, .5% who may be considered “misfit”. The population of the United States in 2014 was estimated at 323,885,035 people. The total number of Law Enforcement Officers in the US is therefore .2% of the total population, and those who “misfit the uniform”…. .0013% of the total population of the United States according to Mr. Harvey.

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Over on the Facebook page Matt, along with the rest of us, have shared stories discussing the current insanity gripping the nation. We all have written about our outrage at the current climate but there is so much more to focus on. It’s time to take a moment and talk about the people (like so many on this page) who support what Law Enforcement Officer’s do to protect their community and their way of life. There are so many more of you (us) than there are of them. “They” are the loud rabble, the “vocal minority” the “useful idiots” who fall prey to the charismatic snake charmers fueling the fires of hate. Rallies support Police- USA Today

It’s time to take a moment and celebrate the good, generous hard working people and let them know how much we (those of us working as first responders, LEO’s, Fire Fighters, Medics) truly appreciate you. We hear you, we know you are out there, you are why we suit up every night, answer the bell, race to the scene when you hear a bump in the night. We will do our job regardless of what the media says about us. We will continue to fight for what is right in spite of what the race-baiters make up about us. We will do this regardless of the climate, we don’t need praise, we don’t need “thank you’s” we do this because this is what we do. However, there are little things that make a difference.rally3

No matter how bad a day may go, when I drive down a street at night and I see a house with a blue porch light ablaze I am recharged with a sense of duty and pride. I know that my being out on that street that night away from my family is for a reason and I will go on to the next call, find the next criminal and hold them to answer.

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When I see pictures of rallies, people carrying signs in support of their cops I am energized. I don’t need the praise, I don’t want any glory but I am energized because I know they understand. I know the people who are walking the streets taking time from their day and their families understand what I do, what I stand for. When I drive by a school and the children run to the fence and wave, I feel proud of what I do I want to work that much harder to earn the innocent trust I see in those faces. I don’t want to be feared but I demand respect, not through force, but through example. I don’t want to fight every time I drive into a neighborhood, but if the fight comes to me, I am going to win at all costs, I am going to go home. I am going to protect the people who called for my help.   Seattle Times-Pro Police Rally

I think what I am trying to say on behalf of all of us is simply “Thank you” we hear you. Although the voices of support at not always the loudest, they are without a doubt the strongest. I (we) understand the rest of this is static, it will pass we will continue to stand strong. We will be there for you, it is so heartwarming to see the outreach that is going on all across the country. I have included pictures from a rally in Virginia Beach, a link to a rally in Seattle and You Tube video showing a community outreach of young people working to rebuild positive relationships with their officers. I am so grateful every time I see these stories, and I am filled with resolve to continue and fight for what is right and just. I will work to pass these traits on to the next generation of cops. We will be here for you, just as you have always been there for us.

 

So know, when you put that blue light up, or you wave at us as we drive down your street we see you, we know and we are grateful. Let’s take back our country and our streets through that same positive example, we will not get drug down by the negative cries of the few.

-Doc

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