Death of the White Knight Cop

I grew up in an era, and maybe the place, where the neighborhood police officer was revered by many, and feared by the rest. To me, as a prankster of a young man who teetered on lawless, the lawman commanded respect.

Nothing I had ever done was really bad, especially by today’s standards, but I had soaked up my share of beer while in high school, and even TP’ed a few houses. Okay, more than a few.

It really wasn’t a big leap for me to go from my military service, which began because I was simply a rebellious post high school kid who wanted an easy way to get out from Mom and Dad’s house, to someone who learned discipline during a 4 year stint in an elite military unit, and then joined civilian law enforcement after.

Fast forward nearly 30 years and so much has changed. The revered or feared local cop has been replaced by a person who is less prepared but more challenged than ever, fighting for the very soul of your neighborhood, your community, your nation.

You made him this way. You made him who he is now as opposed to who he was before. The revolving door justice system, where prisoners give up no comfort whatsoever and then are quickly released, creates no fear of consequence. The liberal education system creates the beta-cop who enters with diminished standards of performance simply because of his or her ethnic identity, who frequently cannot fight the hardened criminal element, cannot shoot, cannot test, but still is shuttled into positions out of society’s sense of fairness.

Still, in spite of this, there are battle-ready police who make it onto the force. The percentages are lower, but they still exist. The real question is, what is in their minds?

What would you think if your president, in the earliest days of his tenure, referred to police who were called to a scene, and simply tried to identify someone who was actually breaking into his own house, to insure he was the homeowner, as stupid? And has never let up with the anti-police rhetoric since?

What would you think if you worked at a Department where your local politicians routinely accused your entire profession of misconduct and systematic racism, even while statistics clearly showed you were being attacked far more frequently from those the politicians defend? Which you already knew, because you had been living those attacks? And then, when someone believe those politicians, shot and killed two of your friends, your coworkers, honorable men?

What would you think if appointed politicians – read: Police Chiefs, Commissioners – were placed in charge of you, and then formed “associations” that were routinely quoted by the media as indicative of your voice, in speaking blatant and dangerous falsehoods on behalf of their liberal political masters?

What would you think if your police captain, despite two officers being shot, clocked out and went home? What would you think if your police commanders who acted that disconnected were shuttled into their positions because of their ethnicity and someone’s idea of fairness?

These things aren’t so unusual in the police world. In fact, when these things hit the news, around the entire nation officers say “Yeah, that’s not surprising.”

So fast forward to Beyonce and her shenanigans in the Super Bowl, glorification of a movement that calls for the death of police nationwide, and her video that seems to perpetuate YET ANOTHER lie about police. Beyonce goes on tour and there seems to be at least some resistance to providing security for her concerts. I know *I* will not voluntarily do it. And many officers I know have said the same thing.

A few officers are breaking out the rhetoric, the King Arthur “I will do what I have to do to protect my citizens and uphold the law” White Knight slogans, and I’m sure those few actually do believe it. But they’re misguided about me, and why I am who I am.

Here’s the real truth.

I am not a puppet.

I have honor, but it’s not honor for me to suffer for the amusement of the criminal element, and it’s not honor for me to be sacrificed on the altar of politics. I am a person who serves people who wish me to serve them. I can’t be anything more than that, and neither can the few remaining White Knight cops; they just don’t know it yet.

I listen to Hillary and Bernie talk all manner of trash about us still, perpetuating lies and acting like tiny percentages of our profession are indicative of vast corruption, and simply isn’t the truth of what is happening in our communities. I’m afraid things won’t get better.

Whether the cop serves you, or not, is up to you.

– Copzilla

A Split Second……

Harry_CallahanThat’s the amount of time you get to make a life or death decision, a split second. How long is that really? Turn your head, look left and then look forward that’s about 1 second. Traveling in a car at 50 mph you have just traveled about 75 feet. A trained police officer can fire at least 5 rounds in that same 1 second; it’s actually a lot of time.  In a stressful event we have all heard that “time stands still” making that 1 second seem like an eternity. So how fast can an encounter with an armed subject go from bad to worse? A lot faster than than one second.

http://youtu.be/4mhAufUPitc

The current use of body cameras has allowed all of us to be the Monday morning quarterbacks of officer involved shootings. We get to watch after the fact from the comfort of our living rooms and judge the tactics and encounters we witnessed. How did the officer do? Did he compare to our favorite TV cops, or did our inner CSI show the flaws in what happened.

I’ve watched a bunch of these videos and even the best of them still leave out as  much as they show. The Lego_CSI_by_niskoristi angles are wrong, the clarity is lacking or the resolution is    grainy. Earlier I posted a link to one of the better videos I have  seen; it struck me that even as good as it was there were still  missing pieces there were still detractors.  One lawyer  questioned the officer’s use of force because the suspect clearly  dropped an item (you really cannot make out what he drops in  the video) and reached for it. The lawyer did not feel the suspect presented a threat which justified the use of lethal  force. How in the world can Mr. Lawyer know that?

I know my eyes see things that a camera never can, especially in a split second. It is safe to say the officer was able to see the gun the suspect was reaching for. Now comes the fun part…… ”Well if the suspect was only reaching for the gun then why did the officer shoot?”

True, the suspect was reaching for a gun, so why didn’t the officer shoot the gun out of his hand Lone Ranger style? Or engage the suspect in witty banter like Dirty Harry? Because that’s not real life….plain and simple there really is no other way to put it. Movies are for entertainment, they are not real. Real cops do not shoot at low percentage targets like hands and guns; they shoot to end the fight. I guarantee Wyatt Earp never shot a gun out of someone’s hand, it makes no sense. It does, however, make for good entertainment.

NFL quarterbacks often make “split second” decisions; race car drivers make “split second” and cops make split second decisions. So what goes into that split second, I mean in this video the officer already had his gun pointed at the “unarmed” suspect why shoot? I have recently had the opportunity to participate in several classes dealing with these types of reaction times. In one drill two officers stood side by side, one gun up and on target, the other gun in hand at his side. The officer on target shoots as soon as he senses movement from the other. I watched this four times and each time it was at best a tie, usually the officer with the gun at his side won.

How is that possible? There is actually a lot of science involved and it has to do with reaction time, the time it takes the officer to perceive the movement as a threat vs. the amount of time it takes the bad guy to move. Remember, the bad guy will have the edge; he is the only one who knows for sure if and when he is going to shoot. The officer will need to sense the movement, interpret that movement and react to the movement. If the officer waits, he will lose almost every single time.

I found some studies by Dr. Bill Lewinski of Minnesota State University at Mankato. Dr. Lewinski has made a name for himself studying reaction times. In his studies he has listed the time it takes a shooter to fire a round in various situations, for example a cross body draw seated in a car took .15 seconds or 15/100ths of a second!! That is a split second.  It took a suspect 09/100th ‘s of a second or .9 seconds to pull a gun from his waist band and fire from waist level and nearly the same to draw and fire with an outstretched arm. If the suspect already had the gun at his side in his hand, it took .38 seconds for him to fire. So, how fast could you react?

The study found the average officer, on target, could perceive the movement and fire in the area of 0.40 seconds or just a split second “slower” than the suspect could get off a round. On a plus side, the officer’s tendency was to be more accurate, but that is not the statistical tie I want to be on the wrong side of. Try it yourself, grab a couple of airsoft guns and see how you do….but those pellets do sting a little. On the other side the folks over at cop block call the study “Snake Oil” and think that Dr. Lewinski is a puppet for law enforcement, but based on my own training and experience I would say he is dead on and the cop block folks should either try it or go smoke another bowl.

SAGEBRUSH BRUSH

What’s the point? In the end I just wanted us to all remember there is always a lot more going on in these videos than we realize. I don’t mean to sound like I’m against the body cameras, I have said many times before I have no issue with them. In the case I cited here I think it will go a long way to make life easier for the officer, it’s a shame we are at the point where that’s even necessary but here we are. The videos are going to be at best another glimpse into what was happening but they will never be able to give the viewer the emotion, the sounds, the smells and the overall vision of what it was like to be there. Watch the videos, learn comment, but remember it all happened in a split second.

-Doc

 

The Prophecy – Not one I wanted to come true

Nuclear Bomb Google Mushroom Fire

 

I have a love hate relationship with the media on the best of days.  I kinda am one of them somewhat, if you call writing for several publications “media”.  I am by no means part of the mainstream media and for that I am thankful.  I was sorting through some old articles and came across an op-ed that I wrote shortly before the Wilson grand jury returned a no bill on charges.  This day I was fed up and disgusted with the media circus and the hood rat element that had destroyed a city (and this was prior to the grand jury decision) all without consequence.

After reading it today, I realized how many of the things I summarized in this article actually happened after this was written or got worse.  Think NYC, EDP, Government, the media and social justice groups and read on:

– TP

 

Originally published Sept. 15th, 2014

 

Police deaths: Is the need for the media to be first, contributing to public mistrust ?

 

 

I’ve resisted the urge to write about this topic at length previously, but as I scroll through the endless pages of social media available to all of us. I come across notification of the 3rd law enforcement murder in just over 24 hours, I sit here in bewilderment at the disgusting trend that has increased since the media circus that was Ferguson, Missouri a few weeks prior.

Let me first qualify that I am a journalist, and also a former police officer. So I have an understanding of both sides of the fence here. On one side you have the largely liberal media, who are more than willing at this point to put anything that they hear, truthful, verified or not, out to the public in their need, with the onset of digital media to be “first”. Regardless of the accuracy of their reporting, or verifying any part of the information as fact before airing it. More on this later.

On the other side of the fence, you have the Police. From both large and small departments, just trying to do their job. Sometimes, that job requires them to put themselves in danger to protect the innocent. When I became a police officer, there was the usual disrespect and loathing that comes from people that are caught breaking the law and have no justification at all, so project it on to the arresting officer. This is the “why are you doing this to me” or “you’re just doing this to me because I’m **insert minority, gender or socioeconomic class here**”. You come to expect that in the job. Criminals are not regarded as the sharpest knives in the drawer most of the time, usually finding a way to bring themselves to your attention when they have done something wrong. Their excuses range from the creative, to the absurd (these aren’t even my pants…).

I probably read thousands of posts in relation to both sides of this situation over the ensuing weeks, but social media, as much as it has done for connecting people globally, has done equally as much to divide it. The abuse was flying from both sides of the fence relentlessly. Spawning a truly disturbing trend that has sadly, started to become reality in the day to day lives of law enforcement officers.

Posters to Facebook sites such as “Cop Block” went from being a group of dope smoking kids who were mad at the police for pulling them over and arresting them mid joint, under the guise of citizens being on the lookout for so called “rogue officers”, to people posting their rampant hatred for all levels of law enforcement with some wishing death, or promoting the murder of law enforcement officers. some of the more macabre and disgusting posts, I duly reported to Facebook. This included postings of leaked or stolen images from crime scenes showing graphic pictures of murdered officers.

What was Facebook’s response to these macabre images or the threats made to kill officers you ask? Well, it was to say that the posts that were reported were not in violation of their community standards… Of course, I am not naive enough to think that a real person reviews all post reports. With 11 million pictures uploaded to Facebook daily (Yes, 11 million, that’s six zero’s).

However, the faith placed in algorithms that are supposed to vette what I am sure is millions of reports daily, also serves as a point to this article. In the digital age, when emotionally disturbed persons (EDP’s), are able to access this kind of violent content, it may just hit a nerve with a single EDP on the right day, that they decide to go out and commit a heinous act against law enforcement.

The mass social media frenzy after the Ferguson incident had almost everyone taking sides. Those who were screaming “police brutality” and “he could have shot him in the arm” etc. to those staunchly in the corner of law enforcement with retorts such as “play stupid games, win stupid prizes”. The reality of the matter, no matter which side of the fence you chose to sit on was this.

The media, government and the civil rights groups all descended on Ferguson, Missouri and before the sun went down that day, the media was reporting that the criminal was shot in the back multiple times by the officer and the criminal had his hands up :according to witness reports”. Other deplorable reporting, such as continuing to refer to the offender as “an unarmed teen” proceeded unabated. This shaping the mental picture of a small defenseless kid in the public’s mind, being accompanied by a picture of a 13 year old wearing headphones, while it took days for the media to actually report that he was over 6 feet tall and almost 300 pounds – far from a defenseless unarmed teen that is a model student that goes to church on Sundays as was being purported.

I could go on for an entire posting about the deplorable reporting that went on in this case and 50 others, but the reality is this. This type of negative, careless reporting has consequences. This played a large part in the rioting that occurred in direct response to all of the inaccurate reporting taking place. Much of which has been slowly debunked through evidence, not speculation. However, the media machine was comfortable enough to feed off the rumor and suggestion of one single witnesses account. This account provided by the one guy that had motive to lie, having just been present during a strong-arm robbery that they just committed together.

As someone who prides themselves on accurate fact checking of stories that I write in magazine publications, I wonder what the journalists of today think when they publish content that they know they have not verified as fact? Do they look at it online or on the television and smile with satisfaction as something they are proud of? Do they look at the riots in Ferguson, Missouri after a situation like this and feel guilt that their reporting may have contributed in part to the larger situation that occurred? Or are they that ingrained to being first, to winning this imaginary news race that each network runs every time something juicy happens, that they have no regard for the ramifications of their ill informed reporting its being first that matters. Be damned the consequences, right, because they were FIRST! knowing that in a few days, they will be on to the next story and never pay consequence to the mess they leave behind?

The things that situations like Ferguson, Missouri teach us, is that the media as a whole, and also our government for that matter, have set a dangerous precedent. They have both condemned the police officer without any evidence at all and sided with the criminal element before one single verified fact of the incident was known. The Governor of Missouri even called for the officers prosecution, without knowing any of the facts or seeing any evidence. This to the people of Ferguson was a red rag to a bull, compounded by the non-stop reporting of the incident and minute by minute updates in the case being beamed into houses around the country.

The larger problem is perception of law enforcement. When the government, from the level of the state Governor all the way up to the federal DOJ and the President, are condemning this officer and this department with no basis, what kind of message does this send to the public about the confidence and support that police officers can expect from these government bodies? Well, that’s easy, it’s already been demonstrated that without evidence, they are convicted in absentia, without due process, by the media and the government figureheads trying to appease their voter base with rhetoric and checks they can’t cash. Something that every person in the country is guaranteed to be afforded by the constitution, is the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty by jury of your peers. This is something Darren Wilson has not been afforded by our government.

How does this equate to the original point of the story you might ask? Well, the last few days have been rough on law enforcement, if the trend continues, this year will be a record for the highest number of law enforcement fatalities in many years. In the last 36 hours, there have been 6 officers shot by offenders, 3 of which died from their injuries. One on a traffic stop was murdered by the person he pulled over, the second was one of two officers in Pennsylvania that was ambushed while just walking into their state police post. The third officer, succumbed to his injuries this morning after being in a gun battle with a suicidal emotionally disturbed person (EDP).

These officers were fathers, brothers, sons, uncles and friends. Why should their job, require them to give their life before the end of their shift because someone decided that today was the day that after watching a government official condemn the actions of a police officer without knowing any facts or reading the thousands of social media posts full of hate, spite and vitriol towards law enforcement, was the day that they were going to leave their house, intent on killing a police officer.

Ostensibly, a police officer is a person that has the willingness to defend the weak and to run towards the gunfire instead of the instinctive human response to run away from danger. But what no officer signs up for, is to expect to be assumed guilty if they have to take defensive action to save their life or the life of someone else.

The knock on effect of this kind of mentality, is that when the media becomes involved, and in their rush to get the scoop on a rapidly developing story, they are willing to go to print or to air, with nothing more than speculation and third or fourth hand information, regardless of its truthfulness. This by its very nature, when it involves a case where there is any variance in a suspects race, ethnicity, age or any one of a million other things that may make it newsworthy, will bring out the news media in large numbers, willing to cover any angle they can. Even if the angle may have negative consequences, such as the media coverage of the officer in Ferguson who remained nameless for a long period. Members of the media took it upon themselves to broadcast live from the neighborhood he lived in, the street he lived on, and even from in front of the officers house while featuring the number of the house on live TV.

Is this what journalism has come to? Reporters are now more interested in getting a good story than protecting the life of someone at the center of a firestorm of controversy for just doing his job? The selectiveness in which the media will cover a story is deplorable in many ways. There has been an increase in officers being assaulted and killed since this incident, but there has been exactly zero news coverage of this statistic. For anyone who had any doubt that the mass media has an agenda and takes sides, that is a pretty damning thought to ponder.

I was once told a story by another officer about an interaction with a reporter at a scene after a spate of particularly negative media coverage of his agency. He asked the reporter why the media hated the police so much. The reporter smiled and said “we are not anti police, we are just pro controversy”. In this case and many others like it, my question to the media is this: At what point does being pro controversy dictate that you should report so irresponsibly that it has the potential to jeopardize or end someone’s career, end someone’s life or completely destroy a city?

As someone who has walked a mile in both sets of shoes, I choose to take the dignified high road and check my facts to avoid anything I write causing anyone undue harm, both personally and professionally. Sometimes, it is more important to protect someone who would be clearly in harm’s way if you reported something, than to be first, or best or the winner. Maybe it’s because I have walked the beat and know right from wrong more than a 24 year old who has done nothing but graduate college and work for a newspaper and has not one single thread of life experience to draw on, who knows? I only wish that those in government and the mainstream media would entertain the same thoughts. It could just save another officers family the heartbreak of them losing a father, mother, husband, wife, son or daughter…

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

OH-North-Randall-firefighters-Facebook-comments-1

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.

rally2
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.

rally1

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

 Turn Lights Blueblue light