A Cops Random Thoughts About the NYC 2017 Halloween Terrorist Attack

fatal-incident

Some random thoughts after yesterday’s terror attack in NYC (originally shared as a Facebook post)

I was at a family member’s house last night and they had the news on about the terrorist attack in New York. At first they were watching Fox but at one point, switched it to CNN. Listening the to cop bashing, anti-gun leftist nitwits on CNN blathering on and on was mind numbing. The thought processes demonstrated by the hosts was like listening to children attempting to profoundly discus an alien invasion (extra-terrestrial, not illegals).

First of all, they kept asking different people “how can we prevent incidents like this?” Really? Are you people that freaking idiotic? You absolutely cannot ever prevent an incident like this. It was a solo guy in a truck who decided to run over people. No matter what his motivation is, whether it be radical Islam like in this case or some crazy jackhole who doesn’t like people on blue bicycles, it is not something that can be prevented. They ask this same question every time something bad happens, and their guests tap dance around the real answer. Let’s be on the adult program, please. Stop placating the public with bullshit. Tell them the truth. It is absolutely not possible to prevent every bad thing from happening. Evil exists. Acknowledge that, and be ready to face the evil when it shows its face.

Then, while they tap danced around the topic of his motivation, which to anyone with a freaking brain was pretty damned obvious. When a guy does something blatantly evil like that, then gets out of the car shouting “allahu akbar” it does not take a rocket surgeon to figure out what his motivation was. But they kept ignoring that and were pretending like he didn’t say it. Then after the note the suspect wrote was located, they almost acted surprised. These are the same idiots arguing that we need open borders to take in refugees from the very countries breeding these radical Islamic terrorists. It is like there is an absolute inability or outright, intentional refusal to put 2 and 2 together.

Third, not one time did they attempt to blame the truck (because of course that would be entirely stupid). In fact, very early on, many news sources were calling it a shooting, and some others called it a traffic accident. There was almost a refusal to admit that this was an intentional act committed by a murderous shitbag who was armed with something that was most definitely not a gun. Yet the fact is, trucks have been used a great number of times to kill and injure people in terrorist attacks. Terrorists attempted to blow up the Twin Towers with a bomb in a truck, a terrorist blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City using a truck. Terrorists in Nice, France just last year used a truck to kill 86 people. No one blames the truck, but these juvenile morons are the same idiots who, when there is a shooting, immediately blame the gun and start screaming about the “common sense need for gun control.” How does the general public not see the glaring hypocrisy on display? How do people listen to these idiots and give any credence to their moronic comments?

I just don’t get it. I cannot for the life of me understand how people who, by all other accounts, are intelligent and educated can be so utterly ignorant.
-Matt

 

LE Unions Feeling the Heat from Pissed Off Members

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It has only been two days since eight law enforcement labor unions decided to partner with the San Francisco 49ers, a move that has pissed off a huge portion of those very union’s membership.  As I mentioned in my previous piece on this topic, I’ve been contacted by members of at least four of the unions that signed this agreement without the knowledge and consent of their members.  Most of the cops I have spoken to are absolutely fuming about this move.

Apparently, this is not just a local phenomenon.  According to a friend who works for the LAPD, the president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPD’s union) sent out an email to all the members attempting to explain why they did so.  Below is the entire content of the email, absent the name of the person who forwarded me the email.

 

Membership Alert: Pledge for a More Understanding and Safer America

Dear XXXXXXX,

The League joined eight other law enforcement unions and the SF 49ers in signing a Pledge for a More Understanding and Safer America. The words understanding and safer are important to virtually everything we do as police officers. As members of law enforcement, any time we are able to bring more understanding to a situation or a crisis, the higher likelihood we have for a successful outcome. And we all know that any time our union has an opportunity to make your job and the communities we serve safer, we have a moral obligation to do so.

The other police unions we have pledged to work with have excellent reputations for standing up for their members’ rights and have in their own communities dealt with their fair share of anti-police rhetoric, unfair scrutiny and some of the very same issues that we face.

We were joined in signing the pledge by the owner of the 49ers, the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association, San Jose Police Officers’ Association, Sacramento Police Officers Association, Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Santa Clara County, Oakland Police Officers Association, Santa Clara Police Officers Association, Portland Police Association and the Long Beach Police Officers Association.

Here is some brief background on how this developed. 49ers owner Jed York reached out to the president of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association in an attempt to rebuild bridges with law enforcement. San Jose’s president, Paul Kelly, who has been a true ally to other police unions across the country, told him fixing the issue wouldn’t be easy. Police officers were mad. We were insulted. We were angry.

Fixing this issue requires rebuilding trust. It requires a sincere personal commitment by Mr. York. Money would not solve the issue. It would require his personal support correcting the false narrative about the American police officer being spread by anti-police individuals and organizations. There has not been one of us who has not said something along the lines of, “We have to fight back against the false narrative and lies being spread about cops.”

Up to now, the NFL, political leaders and others have left the rank-and-file beat cop out of the national conversation about policing in America. We cannot expect to influence the national dialogue about policing with no seat at the table. We can’t be expected to correct the lies and misinformation about policing in America without a platform to do so.

Jed York committed to funding that platform, funding a national public service announcement campaign and working with other NFL owners to amplify our message about policing in America. The goal of this campaign is to work to ensure that every encounter possible between a police officer and the citizens we serve be grounded in mutual respect.

As these discussions were occurring, the mass shooting in Las Vegas happened. A massacre that killed 58 people, including an officer, and injured over 500 people, including over 30 members of law enforcement. There were over 200 law enforcement personnel in attendance at that concert and their lives along with thousands of others will never be the same.

The issue of mass violence was on everyone’s minds. As law enforcement, and the 49ers as the operator of a major entertainment venue, this was an area where we could work together to make things just a little bit safer for all of us.

Remember, the pledge is for a more understanding and safer America.

We have stated continuously that we are unwavering in our support for the Second Amendment. Unwavering. We stated that at the press conference as did the other law enforcement representatives, as did Jed York. The pledge looks at addressing a few key gun accessories, not guns.

Let’s look at bump stocks

No major organization that we know of has endorsed this device. Not the NRA, not law enforcement leaders. There is a specific bill going through Congress right now that addresses bump stocks. It has bipartisan support.

Whether you feel that a bump stock, or similar device, truly turns a semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic rifle makes a small difference. The reality is that it exponentially increases the rate of fire. It allows you to fire hundreds of rounds in a minute. This device aided the Las Vegas shooter in firing rounds into a crowded space. He used this device to fire on many of our own LAPD brothers and sisters.

If there is something specific you are concerned about from a legislative point of view on bump stocks, we now have a seat at the table to address any unintended consequences, such as outlawing a “drop-in-trigger.” We would not have that opportunity if we were staunchly opposed to this reasonable regulation.

As a League, we have a record of defending the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Recently, we fought to ensure that our retired officers and reserves were able to carry large capacity magazines to help protect the public’s safety in the City of Los Angeles. Our commitment to the Second Amendment has not changed one bit.

Correcting the Anti-Police False Narrative

After nearly five years now of false narratives about how the American police officer does his or her job, false narratives of bias and on use of force, it’s time to address this head on.

The pledge was about going beyond politics, protests and fist pounding. It was about creating defined goals and concrete solutions to a problem we have been dealing with for years. That is, an inability to have a seat at the table and offer our perspective of what it is like policing in America. It is usually the police chiefs or police commissioners and politicians and protesters that are talking about and making decisions about policing and community relations.

That changed with the signing of this pledge. We secured half a million dollars to help with our public awareness plan that will develop, produce and disseminate a series of public service ads aimed at correcting false narratives and educating the public on what and why the police do what we do. Every dollar will go towards these ads; absolutely no money will go towards advocacy of any legislation.

The pledge states: As such, those signing this pledge will dedicate the necessary resources to strive to make every encounter between an American police officer and the citizens they serve to be grounded in mutual respect.

The pledge further states: To partner with professional sports franchise teams, corporations, faith-based and community-based organizations to produce, promote and distribute a series of public service announcements designed to improve police and community relations.

For the last five years, law enforcement unions, including our own have boycotted concerts, performers, movies, directors and products. Yet our problem persists.

We are problem solvers. The false narrative about policing will go on with or without football. What we are aiming to do is use the immense public platform of professional sports to deliver our message to the American people. We can shout until we are blue in the face that players should stand for our anthem, or we can take action to educate our citizens about who we are and what our values are. We are choosing the latter.

We have inserted ourselves into the national conversation about community-police relations in a manner that is productive. Currently, it’s a shouting match that is being had without the voice of the rank-and-file officers.

And as we move along, we will encourage the players that rather than take a knee, take a seat at the table. For those who continue to protest, without taking any real actions to provide solutions, their efforts will become minimized.

We could focus all our attention on the players. We could demand that they stand. But then what? What happens when they stand yet some still use their public cache to disparage police officers? How have we helped you while you’re on patrol?

Our pledge also now commits at least one professional sports franchise to stand up and lobby for more resources in dealing with the mentally ill. This is an issue that few care about and is constantly on the back burner but affects every officer on the street every day.

And our work does not end with the 49ers. Jed York has committed to working with us to get other sports franchises involved; to get other major organizations aligned with creating real meaningful programs aimed at bettering relations between communities and their police.

Does this all mean that we are not still offended and upset about what has been said by some athletes regarding law enforcement? Absolutely not. But we have an obligation to work through our anger and work toward improving the environment that police officers work in both today and for years to come.

We understand your anger, but we must utilize that anger and channel it into something meaningful and productive. A national campaign to educate the public about policing from the perspective of the beat cop will be meaningful and productive. This is a pledge with one NFL owner who understands, as we do, that there has been enough talking past each other, and it’s now time to start talking to each other.

We now have a seat at the table—a table we helped create.

Very truly yours,

Craig Lally
President
Los Angeles Police Protective League

In reading that, specifically this part, “We understand your anger,” it is pretty clear to me that the union leadership is feeling the heat from a very angry membership, and rightfully so.

Put The Tinfoil Away!

Tin-Foil1

To steal the words of a coworker, “Put the tinfoil back in the drawer. It was an act of terrorism committed by a piece of shit – not a conspiracy conducted by a secret government agency.”

Caveat:  While it does not fit the FBI definition of a terrorist act, because there was no stated political goal, it sure fits the mold of most recent terrorist acts.  Some asshole, or group of assholes, killing and maiming as many people as they can, then offing themselves in a most cowardly fashion.

With that said, can we please stop with all the idiotic conspiracy theories? Please?  This shit is getting out of hand.  I want to address the theories I have seen thus far as best I can.  Most of these revolve around a supposed second shooter.

Video
There is a video floating around which claims to be definitive proof of a second shooter.  It is shot out the driver’s window of a car leaving the Mandalay Bay main entrance.  Here is that video.

There are a number of problems with this video, in terms of being proof of a second shooter.

  • First, the flashing light flashes at a constant rate, and is flashing before the gunfire starts (normal since sound travels slower than light) but it continues flashing at the same exact rate when the shots stop for a short break, and then keeps flashing until the shots resume.
  • Second, and most importantly, there were no windows broken out of the hotel that low. Unless these conspirators have some sort of magic bullets that can travel through glass without breaking it, this video proves nothing.

Natural News
A website named Natural News post an article very early yesterday morning titled “Five things that just don’t add up about the Las Vegas mass shooting.”  This article was clearly written by someone who knows nothing about firearms, firearm laws and has never investigated a shooting first hand.  I’m going to point to each of their five things and explain why they are wrong.

  • “Dozens of concert-goers reported the presence of multiple shooters” – Really? No shit?  Out of 20,000+ people at a single scene, dozens reported seeing something different from everyone else?  Anyone who has ever been involved in investigating a shooting will tell you that it is completely normal for people to see and hear different things, that is why we get statements from as many witnesses as possible.  At a shooting with 10 people present, you will likely get multiple people who saw it and tell you exactly what happened (if they are cooperative that is) and you will have other people whose minds automatically fill in missing blanks by making up things.  It is a normal human reaction in a situation like that.  Your brain tries to fill the gaps and you are completely unaware that it is even happening.  To you, it seems like that is really what you saw.  But hey, don’t take my word for it.  Here is an expert on the subject saying the same thing.
  • “Who warned concert-goers they were ‘all going to die’ a full 45 minutes before the shooting started?” – Wait, a crazy person running around the Las Vegas strip telling people they are all going to die? Have you ever been to Las Vegas?  I go to Vegas every January for SHOT Show and I have had at least one person say something similar to me on every single trip there.  The strip is host to a large collection of crazies and druggies who do and say stupid crap all the time.
  • “The weapon you hear on videos was FULL AUTO, which is almost impossible to acquire through legal means” – Complete bullshit! I will just give them the full-auto aspect (even though I am hearing  rumors they were not).  Full-auto weapons are completely legal in Nevada, they are just highly regulated and very expensive.  The suspect in this case is rumored to have been very well off financially and had no serious criminal record, meaning he could have easily purchased legal full-auto weapons.  Besides that, it is relatively simple to convert any semi-auto rifle to full-auto if you know what you are doing.  Again, since the suspect had money, he could easily have paid someone to illegally convert them, or he could have purchased illegal full-auto guns.
  • “Why were the exits blocked, trapping victims like rats in a maze?” – Every single concert venue I have ever attended has had limited exit routes. That is absolutely normal.  When something like this happens, and you have 20,000+ people trying to get out of a few exits, it creates a huge bottleneck.  If this truly was some sort of conspiracy, and they were blocking exits, why would they not have blocked all of them?
  • “Why did the shooter have as many as 10 firearms in his room?” – Uh, because he was prepared? He actually had 16 weapons, not 10 (correction: last update from LVMPD said 23).  Anyone familiar with firearms knows that you can only fire so many rounds rapidly through a weapon before they start getting very hot, to the point that things melt or light on fire.  If you don’t believe me, go to YouTube and search for “rifle meltdown” and you will find plenty of videos of that very thing occurring.  Also, anyone familiar with firearms knows that sometimes malfunctions occur and it is easier to grab another gun than it is to stop and clear a malfunction.  The fact that he had multiple guns just means he was prepared.

Seriously people, these conspiracy theories serve no positive purpose, and they are generally created by people who are not firing on all cylinders.  If you don’t believe me, try perusing the Facebook page that posted the video I included above.  How’s about we all sit back, let the investigation get completed and then, and only then, if you have some wild theory about something, let’s talk about it.  In the meantime, how about we let the families and friends of those lost or injured mourn in relative peace, without throwing all this conspiracy theory bullshit around.

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.

 

Copyright (c) 2017 Deputy Matt and Others Who Serve, all rights reserved.

The Ford Explorer & Carbon Monoxide

FordPIU

Back in March 2017, there were several incidents involving Ford Explorer cop cars (Police Interceptor Utility) and carbon monoxide poisoning.  Several officers were involved in single vehicle crashes for unknown reasons, some of which involved career ending injuries.  At the time, the descriptions provided by the officers in those crashes seemed to point to, at least the potential of, carbon monoxide poisoning.  One of the most comprehensive articles I saw about the issue was from Law Enforcement Today in which they documented a number of incidents, including one in which an officer from the Austin Police Department (TX) was involved.  As noted in that Law Enforcement Today article, after the accident in Austin, the Austin PD took a very smart step and installed carbon monoxide detectors in their cars.

Here at my department, our patrol fleet is comprised of 55% Explorers, and the rest is either Crown Vics or Tauruses.  Based on that makeup, when I first heard about these potential issues, I became concerned and did some digging around.


Side Note: Just for a little personal background on me, so you know where I am coming from.  I have been a car guy all my life. I grew up in the garage working on cars with my dad.  Prior to entering this career, I worked in a number of jobs in the auto industry (parts sales, restoration, minor mechanical work).  Early in my law enforcement career, I was the Assistant Fleet Manager (a deputy position at the time) for my department.  I spent 15 years in a patrol car, and I am now a full-time EVOC (emergency vehicle operations course) instructor.  To this day, I still am a car guy and enjoy working on cars on my off time.  So, when I say I have a bit of knowledge about cars and how cops use them, I am not just basing that on hypothetical information I read in a book.  Additionally, going all the way back to my childhood years, I’ve been a Ford guy.  I’ve owned six fords over the years, five of them classics, and I still own one now.  I am not some Ford hater just out to bash them.


Fast forward a few months and we are still seeing reports about carbon monoxide issues in the Ford Explorers.  On July 11, 2017, an article came out that talked about five (5) Austin cops being hospitalized for carbon monoxide issues.  Remember where I mentioned that Austin PD installed CO detectors in their cars? Well, as it turns out, those CO detectors all showed harmful levels of CO present in the cars.  In fact, a sixth cop had the detector alert him/her but they did not need treatment.

Jump forward eight more days and yet another news story about another cop in another city being hospitalized for CO exposure.  This time it was a cop for the Meridian Township Police Department, and yet again, a CO detector was in the car to confirm actual harmful levels of the deadly gas.

This is legitimate problem.  It is not just some paranoid cops smelling something and then getting their hypochondriac on.  There is actual verifiable evidence that the problem not only exists, but also that it is not limited to just one department.

Then on July 28th, a news story hit the interwebs that says Ford plans to fix all the Ford Explorer cop cars that have carbon monoxide concerns.  In that news story, the Ford representative is apparently blaming vehicle upfitters for the problem.  The statement appears to blame the issue on “holes and unsealed spaces in the back of some Police Interceptor Utilities that had police equipment installed after leaving Ford’s factory.”  Really?  Every cop car since the dawn of cop cars has had police equipment installed in it after leaving the Ford factory.  Not that a hole in the car could not be to blame, but if it were really the fault of the equipment installers, do you really think Ford would be stepping up to the plate to pay for the repairs?  I smells me a scapegoat…

Back when the whole CO issue started popping up, I made a bunch of phone calls to talk to different folks at different agencies about what they were experiencing.  While I am not able to name the agencies, I can tell you that one of them is a very large statewide agency with a huge fleet of cars.  At the time of my phone conversations, they had about 1800 Ford Explorer cop cars.  They had also experienced several officers complaining of carbon monoxide problems, and several of those cops were taken to the emergency rooms for treatment.  That agency conducted an extensive amount of scientific testing using very precise testing equipment, and of all the cars tested, they only found one vehicle that they could confirm CO infiltrating the cabin, but it was not entering where Ford is claiming it enters.  They found the CO entering through the steering column, and it would only do it at high speeds. That particular car also had some damage to the exhaust system, damage that is all too common on the Explorer.

folding-parking-postDamaged exhaust system you say?  Yes, and in my opinion, this is likely a major contributing factor in this whole CO debacle.  Let me explain.  The Ford Explorer cop car has less ground clearance than the Crown Vic it replaced.  I can only surmise the Explorer’s lower ride height was done to improve its cornering/handling characteristics.  In addition to the lower ride height, the lowest part of the car is the exhaust system.  In fact, the lowest part of the exhaust is just behind the engine, where the exhaust down pipes turn rearward, and it is the middle of the car (side to side).  It is in the best possible position, if your intent was to have it hit the ground.  You see folks, cops don’t drive like regular people.  We routinely have to jump curbs, go over center divides in the roadway, travel off road at less than ideal speeds, drive across freeway medians, and so on.  Ford, who has been building cop cars for as long as they have, should know this.  Yet, the design of the exhaust system in the Explorer seems to indicate otherwise.  The exhaust is so low on the Explorer that it will not clear a fold-down pole blocking access to a bike trail (like the one pictured).  How do I know?  A coworker nearly ripped the exhaust off of his Explorer going over one of those.

I spoke to two of the mechanics that work on the patrol cars for my department and asked them about the exhaust systems.  They both noted that nearly every single Explorer in our fleet has some damage to the exhaust system.  They said that they have replaced an inordinate number of exhaust manifolds on the Explorer, but they did not keep track of how many.  You remember that large statewide agency I spoke to about the CO issue?  They kept numbers.  They have replaced more than 800 broken exhaust manifolds, at the cost of nearly $500,000 to the taxpayers.  You see, Ford refuses to pay for the repairs if there is a single scratch on the exhaust.  That agency echoed the same thing that our mechanics told me, and that was nearly every car in the field has damage to the exhaust.  If my memory serves me, they said that at least 80% of their fleet had damage to the exhaust.

Here is the biggest problem with the exhaust system design.  The first part to make contact is the bottom of the down pipes.  Depending on the severity of the contact, the rearward force on the exhaust system can cause the rear exhaust manifold (more like a traditional tube header than an exhaust manifold, but with a catalytic converter built into it) to break causing an exhaust leak.  That exhaust leak is in the engine compartment, and coincidentally enough, that leak sits almost directly below the fresh air intake for the ventilation system.

PIU-Exhaust

Now, this is just an educated guess on my part, and please bear in mind that I am just a dumb cop, and clearly no rocket scientist, but it would seem to me that an exhaust leak just below the air intake for the HVAC system, caused by a poorly designed exhaust system,  just might be the culprit.  Additionally, since the piss poor design of the exhaust system, on a vehicle the manufacturer sold for use as a cop car, and should reasonably have known would be driving over obstacles, left said exhaust system in a location where anyone who understands cop car usage would have reasonably known it would be damaged.  Thus it would seem to me that not only should the manufacturer be on the hook for the repairs to said damaged exhaust systems, but it would seem to me that they should also be tasked with designing a replacement exhaust system that will not be so easily damaged.

But like I said, I am just a dumb cop so what do I know…

 

Officer Noor OIS: Important Missing Info

In case you have been living under a rock for the last several days, there was an officer involved shooting in Minneapolis, MN over the weekend.  Late Saturday night, around 11:30pm, officers responded to a 911 call about a disturbance in an alley.  At some point in time, after officers arrived, the 911 caller, Justine Damond, approached the patrol car on the diver side and was shot by the officer who was seated in the passenger seat.

pjimage45

The above information is the super simplified version of what happened.  If you read many of the news reports about this incident, you might find all sorts of other information either added, or conspicuously lacking.  Sadly, as in the cases of most officer involved shootings, the information that is obviously lacking is causing many folks to try and fill that void, mostly with rumor and innuendo.  I myself am guilty of that on occasion, and have done so to a minor extent in this one.

Luckily, the fact that I am a working cop, and a street cop at that (as opposed to an administrator) lends me some credibility with other cops, at least those who know my reputation.  In this case, that lead to a cop familiar with this incident reaching out to try and fill some of the voids as best they could, without releasing information that could hinder any sort of investigation.  To be perfectly honest, what this cop told me is exactly what the police department should be releasing, but for whatever bizarre reason, they are being very tight lipped with all the information surrounding this incident.

Please take everything that follows with a grain of salt, as some of this information is from word of mouth and not direct knowledge, and other parts are intentionally vague to avoid causing problems for the person I spoke to.


First of all, most news reports are saying the 911 call was about a possible sexual assault, but from what I was told, it was dispatched more as a disturbance in the alley, with no specific location indicated in the call.

Second, and very importantly as most of the mainstream media is throwing a huge fit over the fact that their body cameras were not on at the time of the shooting, the officers had already checked the area and were not able to locate the source of the disturbance, so they drove to a dark area to clear the call, and while doing so, turned off their cameras.  That bit is also quite important as the media is throwing a fit over it.  Despite what the media is saying, turning the cameras off as they clear the call is totally within the department policy (or so I was told).

Despite what is being reported by many outlets, the officer only fired one shot.  While I think we will all agree, one shot was one too many, it is significantly different from what I read at various outlets that suggested multiple shots were fired.  While this may seem trivial to some people, one shot can be explained as a negligent discharge, where multiple shots cannot.  This is in fact quite important.  A negligent discharge does not make the shooting excusable, but it does make more sense than the officer just randomly shooting a caller for no apparent reason, which many of the news reports about this incident make it sound like.

Many news outlets are saying that the victim, Justine Damond, was standing at the patrol car driver’s door speaking to the officer driving when the passenger officer “drew his weapon and shot her through the door,” I was told this was not in fact the case.  There are several problems with that statement.  First, I was told she was not actually standing there talking to them, but rather that she was jogging/running toward their car.  Second, Officer Noor did not in fact draw his gun from the holster because he already had it out.  Apparently, as they checked the alley, they had their handguns unholstered and Noor had not yet reholstered his gun.  Third, Noor did not “shoot through the door,” at least not in the way that that statement makes most people picture the incident.  According to the person I spoke to, there were no holes in the door, so it is likely the shot went through the window, whether or not the window was down at the time is unknown.

In regards to Officer Noor himself, many outlets have (correctly) pointed out that he is a Somali immigrant.  However, many of those outlets seem to be insinuating that this incident may have been racially/religiously motivated.  The person I spoke to has had numerous first-hand dealings with Officer Noor and said there was never any indication that this could be a racial or religiously motivated incident.

Several people have posted comments in various locations, my Facebook page being one of them, indicating that Officer Noor was a problematic patrol trainee.  Some people said that his training had been extended, some saying extended more than once, because he was far below acceptable levels, and that he was being treated special because of political correctness reasons (he fit several hiring check boxes).  The person I spoke to said, to the best of their knowledge, none of that was true.  They said they even asked around to other people who are in the know regarding Officer Noor, and those other folks had also heard the same rumors, but they too said the rumors were inaccurate.  The consensus was that Noor was neither a problem trainee, nor was he ultra-stellar.  He was just an ordinary, mostly average trainee.

Noor was described to me as an “okay new cop, still pretty green.”  Some coworkers were put off by what was described as a slightly cocky attitude, but that attitude is not specific to Noor.  In fact, most young cops, especially those from his generation, seem to share that trait.  As for his greenness, it is also not specific to him.  Most senior cops, myself included, will tell you that the first two years you are in patrol on your own, you are a mess.  It takes most of us at least two years before we really know what we are doing, and Noor was not there yet.


I asked some questions I had specific to how the department there functions.  First, I wanted to know if all of the patrol cars were two-officer units or if the fact that two cops were in the car was unusual.  I was told that nearly all, if not all, of the patrol units fielded were two-officer cars.  The second question I had, which I asked based on personal observation at my own department, was if they were allowing two new cops to double up, or if they were putting new cops with seasoned officers.  I was told that there was no directive on that, and that most new cops tended to double up with other new cops.  In this particular incident, both Noor and his partner were fairly new to the job.

Now, as for specifics about the shooting and the ongoing investigation, I wish I had more information, but I do not.  We are just going to have to wait and see what comes from the investigation.

No matter what happens with the investigation, a truly innocent woman died needlessly.  That in and of itself is horrific.  Nothing that happens from this point on will bring her back, and nothing the city, the department, or Officer Noor does will make her loss any less tragic.  For her family and her friends, I offer my sincerest condolences.
-Matt

Ayala Vehicle Stop a Huge “Nothing Burger”

According to the news reports, on June 19th (nearly a month ago), two Florida cops performed a vehicle stop on a car occupied by Florida’s State’s Attorney Aramis Ayala.  The reason for the stop, as stated by the officers in the video, and confirmed by their department, is that they had run the license plates on her car through DMV on their computer and there was no record for the plates in the DMV computer system.  The officers, at least in all the versions of the video that I have seen, are polite and friendly to Ms. Ayala, who coincidentally is obviously perturbed and asked for the officer’s information.

The video of this stop was released a few days ago and since it was released, certain people’s heads are exploding.  The allegations that the stop was racially motivated are being thrown around like crazy.  Some people, namely those who have not the slightest clue about cop work, are straight freaking out over this.

Let’s watch the stop in its entirety.

So, let’s compare that traffic stop above to another one from a quite a number of years ago.  A CHP officer runs the plate on a mint green 1995 Ford Thunderbird, one that looks like it has seen better days, and has dark tinted windows.  The plate comes back not on file.  The CHP officer initiates a vehicle stop and the driver, me, a pale white guy, is contacted.  The CHP officer was polite and friendly, as was I, and once the CHP officer confirmed that the vehicle and license plates were not stolen and there was a legitimate reason the plates did not show up in DMV’s computer (it was an undercover cop car), we parted ways, and that was the end of it.  Which is exactly what should have happened in this case, but sadly that is not what is happening.

Folks, the media is playing you.  Just look at the incendiary headlines regarding this nothing of an incident.

  • Policeman pulls over black woman and quickly discovers she is the state attorney (Independent.co.uk)
  • Florida state attorney pulled over in traffic stop that goes nowhere fast (CNN)
  • Black Florida State Attorney Pulled Over in Traffic Stop, Prompting Criticism (NBC)
  • BLACK WHILE DRIVING: FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY STOPPED BY POLICE IN VIRAL VIDEO (Newswek)
  • VIDEO: Orlando police officers struggle to explain why they pulled over State Attorney Aramis Ayala (Orlando Weekly)
  • Florida Cops Goof In Pulling Over Black Female State Attorney For Garbage Reasons (HipHopWired)
  • VIDEO: State Attorney Aramis Ayala Racially Profiled By Orlando Police? (Florida National News)

This vehicle stop is a HUGE NOTHING!  Absolutely nothing about this traffic stop is remotely newsworthy, nothing.  And despite many of the articles, no one was scrambling to explain why they stopped her.  They very clearly stated the reason, a very legit reason.

For those of you who have no idea what we do, cops run license plates all day long.  We run them while we are driving to calls, we run them while we are driving to dinner, and sometimes we run them while we are heading to the station near the end of shift, but not as often then.   It is how we find stolen cars, wanted persons, verify registrations are current and valid, and many other things.  Not only is it legal to do that, it is actually part of our job and we are expected to do it.

In the case of Ms. Ayala’s stop, these cops ran her plate and it came back not on file.  There are many reasons why a license plate might not be in the DMV computer system, and only one of them is legal (the situation encountered in both previously mentioned vehicle stops).  Other reasons (the illegal ones) would be that the plates are counterfeit, of which there are many ways to fake this, or they could be very old plates that are no longer in the system and do not belong on the car.

In cop work, when a plate comes back not on file, we call that a clue, which usually prompts us to investigate why the license plate is not in DMV’s records, which is exactly what the cops in both of the vehicle stops previously mentioned did.  A stop was conducted, the driver was contacted, the vehicle and license plates were confirmed to be legit, and the drivers were released.  Everything occurred exactly as it should.  The only difference was one of the drivers (not me) got upset about being stopped and asked for the officer’s names and other information (insinuating that she is going to file a complaint).

Some people are insinuating she was stopped because she was black.  Was I stopped because I was white?  If she was stopped for being black (which she wasn’t), why were the cops so polite to her?

Come on folks, not everything is racist!  Stop looking for racism where there is none.  You are not fixing things, you are making them worse!

Deputy Shot In Face – Long Road To Recovery Ahead

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Yesterday, while I was out of town on vacation, I caught wind of a deputy having been shot in Sacramento, the town I grew up in.  The incident was still very fresh when I first became aware of it, and all I knew is that a Sacramento Deputy had been shot and that the suspect was outstanding.  Despite all my efforts using the various means I had available at the time, including texting a number of friends who work for that department, I was unable to ascertain the deputy’s condition.

What a horrible feeling!  I knew a cop in my hometown was shot, no idea about his identity or his condition, and here I was hundreds of miles from home where I have more resources available to help figure out what was happening.

Thankfully, I got a text about an hour later from someone in the know letting me know the deputy had been shot in the face, but was undergoing surgery and expected to recover.  Phew!  Thank God!

Shortly thereafter, I got word that the suspect had been apprehended and was in custody.  From what I was told, the teamwork, dedication and professionalism displayed by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputies on the scene, as well as numerous outside agencies including the Sacramento Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, was nothing short of commendable.  As I was not present, I cannot offer any examples, but the man who told me that has my absolute trust.

The following are the words of a friend who happens to be in a supervisorial position with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department:

Things got real tonight at work, I am always impressed by the professionalism shown by the people around me, a job well done.

Today, more information made its way to me.  The deputy who was shot, Alex Ladwig, is not only early in his career, but he is also relatively young.  While I have not heard how it happened, it appears that after a violent fight, the suspect shot the deputy with his own handgun and then fled.

The suspect has been identified as 27 year old Nicory Marquis Spann, who has a significant criminal record including being involved in a double homicide in Santa Clara in 2008.  Wait, double homicide in 2008?  That was only 9 years ago.  How is he on the streets again?  Oh yeah, California… where criminals are the victims and are coddled by the state while the cops are the “bad guys.”  Appears (as always) it was easier to just plea that down to a couple significantly lesser charges, and a few short years later he is out on the streets again.  Sadly, no shock there.

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Deputy Ladwig was shot in the face by a career criminal who should have been in jail.  Deputy Ladwig has a long road to recovery ahead of him.  At this point, there is no way to know how long he will be off, but I’m sure he could use some help from us.  If you are able and want to help a man who was injured while keeping the public safe, a Go Fund Me account has been set up to help him by one of his coworkers.  Even if you cannot give, please share this on the chance that someone else will be able to. Also, if you are the praying type, you might consider sending a few his way.

 

A Black Eye For Law Enforcement: Dirty Cops Suck!

WalnutGrovePD

No one hates a dirty cop more than good cops.  As a law enforcement officer, the community is supposed to be able to trust us, and when one of us screws up, no matter how slight, it makes the rest of us look bad.  BUT when one of us goes full-blown criminal dirtbag pedophile, it is even worse.  Sadly, that is exactly what appears to have happened in the case of Mike Zeug, who just so happens to be the Chief of Police for a very small police department in Walnut Grove, MN.

BrownCountyJailRoster

He was arrested on June 9, 2017 as part of a sting operation, and the charges are listed on the Brown County Jail Roster as 1) Prostitution and 2) Use minors in sexual performance/pornographic.

“Zeug, who is the police chief of Walnut Grove, is accused of initiating communication with who he believed to be a 17-year-old girl. The charges state he told the girl it wasn’t his first time and wanted reassurance she wasn’t working with law enforcement. He asked the girl sexual questions and asked her to send him nude photos. He also asked her to stand at the front of the house and flash him as he drove by to prove she wasn’t involved with law enforcement.

Zeug was spotted doing multiple laps around the residence and the area once he was given the address of the supposed girl. He was arrested near the residence in Redwood Falls.” – CBS Minnesota

Now before anyone screams about the bad cops doing bad things, stop and realize who investigated and arrested this sexual predator.  It was other cops, doing what 99.9% of us cops do, taking bad guys off the street.  Sadly, for all involved, this bad guy wore (past tense) the same uniform as those who put him behind bars.  Furthermore, who is sitting here writing about the whole incident, but another cop.

Getting hired as a cop is not an easy task.  There is an academy, an in-depth background, a psychological exam, multiple interviews, a criminal history check, and more.  The point behind the entire long, drawn out hiring process is to try and prevent the wrong people from being put in a position of power.  As this case demonstrates, that process is not perfect and sometimes, albeit rarely, a dirtbag slips through.  There was recently a recommendation by Obama’s justice department, that in order to “diversify” America’s police forces, law enforcement needs to streamline the hiring process, lower standards and overlook past criminal history.  If people like Mike Zeug are slipping through now, with the hiring process as stringent as it is, what would it look like if we were to loosen standards for the completely arbitrary purpose of diversifying law enforcement?

Loss of a Friend and Compatriot

BobOwens

About an hour ago, I was sitting at the dinner table with my wife and kids enjoying a nice meal when I got a message from a friend of mine.  A man with whom I was friends online but had yet to meet in person, a man I respected for his honesty and integrity, a man with whom I shared interests and passions, a man whom I figuratively stood beside in the constant fight to maintain our rights, especially our Second Amendment rights, that man reportedly took his own life today.

Bob2That man was Bob Owens.  He will be greatly missed.

In addition to our rights, he was also an ardent supporter of law enforcement.  He and I often spoke about LE shootings that we were both defending.

I feel like I just got punched in the gut, then kicked in the nuts.

Bob and I had many mutual friends, many of which knew him far better than I.  One of those people is Tim (MAC) here at Full30.  Sadly, I got to be the one to break the news to Tim.

While Tim and I spoke, he immediately started doing the same thing I was already doing; playing back all his recent conversations with Bob to see if there was something he said, something he should have said, or something he missed that Bob said, a clue or hint that could possibly have prevented this horrible event from happening.

One thing I have learned in my 20 years as a cop, unless that person said “I’m going to kill myself” and you failed to act, there is nothing you could have done.  But that does not stop us from second guessing ourselves.  If you find yourself in the same boat, take some solace in knowing that what happened is not our fault.  It was a decision made by a grown adult, a decision I will never pretend to understand.

It is absolutely acceptable to grieve, to be sad or angry.  It is absolutely okay for you (me) to feel what it is we feel.  But it is not okay to blame yourself.  Don’t do it.

I feel absolutely horrible for Bob’s family and for his close friends.  The unexpected loss of a loved one is a very tough thing to deal with, especially when that person took their own life.

But in Bob’s case, I feel even worse for his family and friends because I know what is practically guaranteed to happen as soon as the anti-gun crowd finds out about this incident.  Bob’s poor family will not only have to deal with their loss and their grief, but they are likely to be victimized by the very people who claim to care about people who find themselves in the situation Bob found himself in.  I won’t pretend to know the specifics, but it is apparent that he was facing something that was bad enough in his mind, that death seemed the better option.

On that same line, I feel guilty and angry, because in the back of my head, I am concerned that what happened today is going to be used as ammo by the very people Bob battled on a daily basis in the fight against us.

I’m angry at Bob for giving them that.  I’m angry at myself for being angry with Bob.  I’m sad for his loss.  I’m sad he felt he had no other way out.  I’m angry at myself because even though I know I didn’t, I feel like I must have missed something.  I’m so freaking conflicted.

Suicide freaking sucks!

It victimizes the family and friends of the person who killed themself, and most times it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Please, if you are contemplating suicide, reach out to someone for help.

National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

To Bob’s family and close friends, please know you have my most sincere condolences.
-Matt


 

If you are the giving type, a GoFundMe account has been set up for Bob’s wife and two young daughters.


(This blog post was originally written for Full30 but due to some technical problems, I have been unable to post it there yet.)