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.

Militarization or Modernization?

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


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Warrior Cops on the Rise?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belts

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

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

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

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

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

Law Enforcement Diplomats

Social media is an interesting armchair style warrior. Lots of opinions and sometimes zero experience or knowledge on a subject. The problem is we Cops don’t always know what someone else might have experienced or what their personal Law Enforcement story is. One reader today regarded this page as a “circle jerk LEO” page which made me remember something. Cops aren’t just Cops anymore we are Diplomats and Ambassadors to society. There is a certain responsibilitiy which goes along with the ideal and is inclusive in the duties of a Law Enforcement Officer.

People who are not cops and have never been cops might never fully understand every facet of our calling. Why become angry with those who are under a differing opinion? Obviously it’s ridiculous to think that Law Enforcement Officers are all racially motivated or on the flip side of the coin that we are all “the right hand of the democratic party’s agenda.” Ignorance can be bliss but I would rather enlighten than insult. All may not be enlightened I realize yet in some occasions it is well worth the extra effort which may benefit the Police Reputation.

1I teach my children to ask questions and not simply obey commands given to them by someone claiming to be a leader. I also teach my children to be respectful in the asking of those questions and most importantly to listen to the answer and make their own determination. When people put forth ridiculous ideas regarding cops we should seek to answer those accusations with logic and truth. We can also do it diplomatically if the misguided person isn’t too hostile. We may not reach all using this method but less will also be turned away.

When working the streets I usually allowed the public to ask any question they wanted, so long as it was safe at the time for me to do so. In one particular incident I had made a felony arrest on a subject with a warrant. Several people came out of the buildings nearby and began yelling at me. I feared they would surround me so while I was mentally prepared to kill all of them if needed, I also politely told them to give me a minute and promised to answer their questions.

I put the bad guy in the back seat of my car and secured him safely while asking for a cover unit. The potential mob was still angry but at a safe distance. Once my cover partner arrived I had him keep an eye on my prisoner and I approached the group with a smile. I asked what questions they had and It turned out these people were relatives of the man in my car, or so they claimed to be. It really didn’t matter, at this point I felt a small obligation to attempt an explanation as to why in their eyes “the government was taking away their friend for no reason.”

It was calmly explained I had a warrant for his arrest, explained the booking process and provided information on how they could contact the jail to schedule a 3visit with the subject. I was then asked about the court process, this time they were much less angry in asking the question. I explained the court process and the likelihood the subject would be in jail until his first hearing which would probably occur on the following Tuesday. I was thanked profusely by most of the group and they returned to their homes. One guy even tried to give me a hug and stated: “now that’s respect.”

Later in the day I had a discussion with my partner who told me it was pointless for me to address the small group. I explained I had only done this when it was safe to do so yet he believed I was wasting my time. It was difficult for me at the time to articulate my reasons for doing so but in short I told him this particular neighborhood might be more cooperative with Law Enforcement in the future if we treated them with a little more respect. I tell this story because I believe it is not a waste of time to explain circumstances which the public may not fully understand. Hell, the whole point of writing here is to hopefully enlighten and educate not just to complain. Otherwise our words only serve to rally those who are supportive and turn away those who may be on the fence.

I started a text conversation with one of my favorite and most trusted beat partners regarding this subject and he summed it up quickly and accurately while heading out the door. In a short text message which took him less than a minute to write he hit the nail on the head and went on to prove my point here. Examine the following text message:

“I think we have a responsibility to speak rationally and logically when we speak for the side of law enforcement. It becomes obvious that we are cops in these discussions, so why portray ourselves as irrational asshats. We both know that law enforcement officers in general are not out there hunting minorities and just trying to f with people, but there are people out there who legitimately think otherwise. We have legitimate arguments which carry serious weight. I think we do us and the real issues a huge disservice when we just yell and down talk people. I think some people start seeing the validity of our points when we calmly explain them.”

 

More ‘Militarization’ Buzzword Usage

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“We MUST stop this ‘Militarization’ of the police!”

Not really, but that is what I hear so many people on the left, including the two current Democrat presidential hopefuls, as well as a few people who share a more libertarian view, constantly screaming.  Honestly, it really makes me wonder if they have the slightest clue what they are talking about.

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Guess what though, that tourniquet that was applied by the officer, the tourniquet that saved the motorist’s life, THAT is a piece of gear that was developed for the military, a piece of military gear that most cops carry every day.  I suppose we should not carry it because it is military gear?

This ‘militarization’ is not limited to law enforcement either.  Over the last 25 years, there have been HUGE advancements in emergency trauma medical care.  Those advancements were pioneered by the military, many coming out of combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. I suppose we should stop the militarization of our hospitals too?

The sooner people get over the appearance issues the better.  There are many things that started out as military gear or tactics that help law enforcement do our job better, safer, and more effectively, thus keeping the public safer, including many things that have been routinely used to save their lives.  This is not a new concept either.  Law enforcement has been doing this for hundreds of years.

Just because we adopt gear or tactics that were used or developed by the military does not in fact make us a military.
-Matt

Black Lives Matter Offers Policy Change Suggestions

CaptureMost Of Which Are Completely Ridiculous

Wow!  The #BlackLivesMatter organization has a new website where they are listing all sorts of policy change suggestions.  I am going to attempt to offer an analysis of each of their policy suggestions, which they have broken down into 10 different categories.   I apologize in advance, as this is going to be lengthy, really lengthy.

As a career cop, I was interested to see what they had to bring to the table so I took a look.  Sadly, it appears they are only ready to step up to the kids table though.  It is difficult to offer a serious analysis of their policy suggestions when one of the first paragraphs the page visitor encounters is this:

“A decades-long focus on policing minor crimes and activities – a practice called Broken Windows policing – has led to the criminalization and over-policing of communities of color and excessive force in otherwise harmless situations. Police killed at least 287 people last year who were involved in minor offenses and harmless activities like sleeping in parks, possessing drugs, looking ‘suspicious’ or having a mental health crisis.”

If that is the attitude they have, examining police policies with them is going to be like discussing physics with a developmentally delayed 5 year old with ADHD.  If they can’t figure out that “Broken Windows” has been around for over 30 years, not 10, and they are suggesting that the cops just roll up on people sleeping in the park or looking “suspicious” and shoot them, it is going to be impossible to have a serious discussion.

With that said, where to start?  Well, I guess I can go with my positive comments first.  At least they, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement have tried to offer some suggestions instead of just chanting, complaining and burning down another city?

I think that is it.  Uh, yup, that’s it, at least for now.  If there are areas where I agree in each section, I will specifically note those.

Now on to the part that where I differ, and my examination of each of their 10 categories.

1. End Broken Windows Policing
Before even clicking on that topic, I know I am going to disagree with it. The Broken Windows policing model has historically worked very well when it was employed. While it is no longer the primary policing model used by hardly any agency anywhere, it is a component of the more politically correct, more socially acceptable Community Policing model currently in favor all across the US.

For those unfamiliar with Broken Windows policing, the theory (which has been proven correct) is that when a neighborhood begins encountering an increase in minor crimes, such as vandalisms (ie: broken windows), petty thefts, littering, etcetera, and if left unaddressed by law enforcement, those minor crimes are followed by an increase in more serious crimes, like burglaries, robberies and homicides.

Now with that out of the way, their “Policy Solutions” in this area boil down to law enforcement ignoring “minor” offenses, to stop “profiling” (not racial profiling, profiling altogether) and to “Establish Alternative Approaches to Mental Health Crises.”

Area of Agreement:  Of the three subsections, on a cursory level, I can agree with the last suggestion.  I do agree that something needs to be done about the mental health crisis issues that are being dumped onto law enforcement, but that is where my agreement ends.  Their suggestions are both fiscally and logistically unreasonable.  Their suggestion demonstrates just how little BLM grasps the realities of how emergency services, to include law enforcement, fire and EMS, all work.

Their suggestion to ignore minor crimes is totally self-serving.   The minor criminal behavior they list is what is often found in ghetto neighborhoods: people hanging out on street corners, in front of businesses, drinking alcohol, smoking weed and listening to loud music.  That behavior is common to street gangs who want to demonstrate that the corner/street/neighborhood is their territory.  It is extremely damaging to the entire neighborhood, not to mention what it does to the businesses they are hanging out in front of.

Let me see if I can channel their logic for just a moment:
I like to drive fast, always have, and so do many others.  Some people who were speeding have been callously murdered by the cops for nothing more than speeding*.  Because I like to engage in that sort of minor illegal activity, I think the cops should stop enforcing speed limits.  They are “arbitrary laws that really don’t hurt anyone” anyway.
(* I am using the same “logic” that suggests people are killed by cops for sleeping in a park or stealing a cigar.) 

I’m not going to spend much time on this part, because suggesting that cops stop profiling is the same idiotic logic that has the TSA patting down 90 year old ladies and 3 year old children as they board airplanes.  Like it or not, profiling works.  It is a natural process in the human brain.  We all do it every single day.  To suggest that cops be preventing from doing it is completely asinine.

2. Community Oversight
“Police usually investigate and decide what, if any, consequences their fellow officers should face in cases of police misconduct. Under this system, less than 1 in every 12 complaints of police misconduct nationwide results in some kind of disciplinary action against the officer(s) responsible. Communities need an urgent way to ensure police officers are held accountable for police violence.”

“Establish an all-civilian oversight structure with discipline power that includes a Police Commission and Civilian Complaints Office with the following powers”

Everything I quoted above is completely ridiculous.  They are demanding a group of people with no subject matter knowledge or expertise be the group solely responsible for judging whether or not actions taken by someone in that field were reasonable.  And they base that demand on the misconception that cops cover for dirty cops.  I have written extensively on this topic in the past, so in response to this, I will just say their perception is not remotely accurate.  If you want to know why, you can read this.

“Remove barriers to reporting police misconduct.  For all stops by a police officer, require officers to give civilians their name, badge number, reason for the stop and a card with instructions for filing a complaint to the civilian oversight structure.”

There are no barriers.  Every agency in the US accepts complaints from the public.  Demanding that we hand out a card for every contact with the information they are demanding is silly, would take up valuable law enforcement time, would prolong every single law enforcement contact/detention and would cost millions of dollars.  Call me crazy, but this seems like a really dumb idea.

3. Limit Use Of Force
You know, because there are no limits right now. We can just use as much force as we want, whenever we want…

How do you have a rational discussion with someone who remotely suggests that there are no limitations on the amount of force cops can use?

Honestly, I really do not know how to approach this, because other than once again suggesting that cops stop doing cop work (“End traffic-related police killings and dangerous high-speed police chases”), everything they demand already exists.

Let me examine just one of their bullet points here:

“ – use minimum force to apprehend a suspect, with specific guidelines for the types of force and tools authorized for a given level of resistance”

The law already provides that officers can only use that level of force which is necessary to overcome the amount of resistance they meet.  In fact case law, as ruled on by the Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor, is pretty darn specific in that matter.   But hey, if they acknowledge that there already are limitations on the use of force, then that destroys most of their argument…

As for the specific guidelines for what use of force tools to employ and when, every agency in the US has a use of force policy which discusses those specifics.  Sadly there are actually some agencies that still use those old “use of force ladders” or “use of force continuums,” which are notorious for getting lots of cops hurt over the years.  When someone in an office mandates specific steps that need to be followed on the street, where situations are volatile and unpredictable, they lock officers into following specific those steps before moving to the next, or face punishment.  Use of force policies based on the “use of force paradigm” allow officers to choose the proper level of force out of the gate, without having to use lower, inappropriate levels of force before moving to the appropriate level.

As an example, a use of force ladder would mandate that an officer try the lowest level of force (mere presence, followed by verbal commands) first, before moving up the ladder to physical force.  If I am confronting an armed subject, call me crazy, but my first level of force is going to be switching to guns.

Area of Agreement:  They definitely have a point, one I’m sure every cop out there will agree with too, that officers guilty of use of force violations that are significant enough that they would result in firing, who are actually fired or who resign to avoid being fired, should be prevented from ever working in law enforcement again.  I wholeheartedly agree!  Bad cops, or even good cops who screw up big time, which in reality make up a fraction of a fraction of a percent of law enforcement, make everything worse for the rest of us.

4. Independent Investigations and Prosecutions
“Local prosecutors rely on local police departments to gather the evidence and testimony they need to successfully prosecute criminals. This makes it hard for them to investigate and prosecute the same police officers in cases of police violence. These cases should not rely on the police to investigate themselves and should not be prosecuted by someone who has an incentive to protect the police officers involved.”

So, the people complaining about the cops are demanding the creation of yet another branch of law enforcement?  I’m totally confused.

Logistically speaking, fiscally speaking, logically speaking, suggesting a new state agency that investigates “all cases where police kill or seriously injure civilians” fails to pass any sort of reality check.

For argument sake, I will use a small state as an example, say Maryland.  Say the Baltimore PD shoots a suspect in a case, at the end of a pursuit on a busy street in a busy neighborhood.  BLM is suggesting that this new state agency is going to respond and handle the entire investigation of that shooting, which not only includes processing of all physical evidence (all CSI stuff), interviewing all witnesses and officers involved, reviewing of the original call for service, any and all video, etc.  That takes a significant amount of time and manpower.

Now, imagine that across town, another officer arrests a person and during that scuffle, the person gets face planted into the ground and suffers a broken nose and maybe a fractured orbital socket.  Now that same state run agency has to respond to the second scene.

Then say somewhere in Cambridge, MD, a cop arrests a person and that person put up a fight, and got their arm broken while resisting.  Now that state agency has to respond to there and handle that investigation.

And that is using a tiny little state as an example.  Imagine a densely populated state like New York, or a geographically large state like California, or Texas, and you begin to see how utterly unreasonable this suggestion becomes.

5. Community Representation
Can I just call them racists right now?

“While white men represent less than one third of the U.S. population, they comprise about two thirds of U.S. police officers. The police should reflect and be responsive to the cultural, racial and gender diversity of the communities they are supposed to serve.”

We’ve tried racial quotas in the past.  We had a thing called “affirmative action” here in the US for decades.  Hell, most agencies are still doing their best to hire as many non-white, non-males as they can.  There are no hiring policies, by any agency in the US, that prevent the hiring of cops based on gender or ethnicity.  If there were, you can bet your butt that agency would be on the losing end of a huge lawsuit.

You want better “community representation” by your local law enforcement agency?

APPLY FOR A JOB!

It really is just that simple.

Suggesting that law enforcement agencies do anything special to recruit or hire “minority” applicants is not only racist (showing preference to one person over another based on nothing more than ethnicity), but it results in disastrous consequences.  Anyone familiar with what happened with LAPD’s Rampart Division?

6. Body Cams / Film the Police
“While they are not a cure-all, body cameras and cell phone video have illuminated cases of police violence and have shown to be important tools for holding officers accountable. Every case where a police officer has been charged with a crime for killing a civilian this year has relied on video evidence showing the officer’s actions.”

Area of Agreement:  Absolutely, 100%, Amen, Hallelujah!!!!!

While BLM seems to indicate cops do not want cameras, I would and have argued that the vast majority of us actually do want them.  What we do not want is some mouthy jackass with his cellphone camera interfering with us as we do our job.  You want to record, that is perfectly fine, but do it from a reasonable distance and do not get involved.

As for body cameras, Hell Yes!  Just like in-car cameras, they have actually proven, repeatedly, that the cops are actually justified, and not lying about events, as compared to “committing police brutality” in the realm of 1000:1.  Cameras save far more cops butts than they have ever hurt, especially when the entire incident is viewed, just not some carefully edited snippet that both BLM and the media like to show.

Yes!  Absolutely Yes!  Give us cameras, please!!!!!

7. Training
“The current training regime for police officers fails to effectively teach them how to interact with our communities in a way that protects and preserves life. For example, police recruits spend 58 hours learning how to shoot firearms and only 8 hours learning how to de-escalate situations. An intensive training regime is needed to help police officers learn the behaviors and skills to interact appropriately with communities.”

Sorry, but all I am hearing in every single one of their bullet points here is “the cops need to be nice and understanding and caring and cuddly and fluffy.”

Cops go through a significant amount of firearms training because their ability to handle a weapon safely is a huge liability.  Many academy recruits have never held a gun before.  Not many of those same recruits have never spoken to a person of a different cultural view before.  Most of us in life have had at least 18 years of “training” of how to interact with other human beings.

Furthermore, suggesting that we “Intentionally consider ‘unconscious’ or ‘implicit’ racial bias” is yet another load of progressive liberal hogwash.  This is just more of the “white privilege” that they have been trying to stuff down our throats.

Perhaps, in order to solve these problems, perhaps they could consider training the public that the best way to not become a victim of “police brutality” is comply with officers commands if and when they are contacted by the cops?

Call me crazy, but as a kid who drove too fast and hung out with some really stupid friends, I encountered the cops far more often than the average kid my age.  Oddly enough, I never was the victim of any form of “police brutality.”  The best training they could receive would be to watch the following two videos (both videos are NSFW due to language).

 

8. End For-Profit Policing
“Police should be working to keep people safe, not contributing to a system that profits from stopping, searching, ticketing, arresting and incarcerating people.”

What did I miss?  Do we get bonuses for tickets?  Did I miss out on that free toaster for my 100th arrest?  Seriously, does anyone believe this stuff?

First, ticket quotas are already illegal.  Agencies that fail to figure that out, end up on the losing end of very expensive lawsuits.

Second, law enforcement agencies neither set the levels of the fines nor do they benefit financially from the money collected from said fines.  Suggesting that failure to appearing for traffic citations not incur fines or warrants is once again suggesting that 1) cops stop doing cop work and 2) suggests law breakers be ignored.

Area of Agreement: I do agree that in some states, civil forfeiture has taken a rather bizarre turn for the worse.  I do think that civil forfeiture laws need to be reexamined and changes similar to what they suggest should be put in place.  Seizing money or property should only be done if criminal charges are accompanying, period.

9. Demilitarization
I hear lots and lots of dog whistles and “trigger words” here.

“The events in Ferguson have introduced the nation to the ways that local police departments can misuse military weaponry to intimidate and repress communities. Last year alone, militarized SWAT teams killed at least 38 people. The following policies limit police departments from obtaining or using these weapons on our streets.”

First, in order to demilitarize something, it has to have been militarized in the first place, and as I have written extensively on this topic, there is no such thing actually taking place.  Suggesting that because 38 people were killed by SWAT teams last year is in no way, shape or form any sort of evidence of militarization, nor does it even indicate that any, let alone all, of those deaths were not justified.

What in fact has been going on in law enforcement is modernization, not militarization.  Law enforcement is not using tanks, they are not running around in “full battle rattle,” we do not have machine guns, and we are not running around if fire teams.  Armored cars are not new and have been employed by law enforcement as early as the 1920’s.  An external, load bearing vest is not a plate carrier.  A semi-auto AR-15 is not a “machine gun.”  Nearly everything that goes into the “militarized cops” argument is just emotionally charged BS.

10. Fair Police Union Contracts
Ah yes, “fairness”… The new rallying cry from the left. The whole “life has to be fair” argument that is so touted by the progressive socialists.

“Police unions have used their influence to establish unfair protections for police officers in their contracts with local, state and federal government and in statewide Law Enforcement Officers’ Bills of Rights. These provisions create one set of rules for police and another for civilians, and make it difficult for Police Chiefs or civilian oversight structures to punish police officers who are unfit to serve.”

Apparently, according to BLM, it is:

  • unfair that cops are given certain protections when they are forced to give testimony in a police investigation, you know because the average person cannot be forced to testify (that whole silly 5th Amendment thing), where as we can be…
  • unfair that the average citizen is prevented from “having the power to discipline, subpoena or interrogate police officers,” you know, because they currently have the right to do that with other average citizens…
  • unfair that cops can appeal their internal departmentally prescribed discipline with their employer, because the average citizen can appeal discipline at their job so some other outside ruling body, or something…
  • unfair that cops cannot be forced to take a lie detector test, just like the rest of the country can also not be forced to take one…
  • unfair that cops can have unsustained complaints against them removed from their personnel files…
  • unfair that cop’s personnel files are not routinely subject to freedom of information act requests (they can be subpoenaed in court, just not released to the public under a FOIA request)
  • unfair that an officer be paid while they are forced to be off the job while they are subject of an investigation into a shooting they were involved in (guilty until proven innocent now?)

Yeah, all of those things sound really “fair” to me…

Conclusion
While there may have been a few (4) things that I could find common ground with in this laundry list of “policy suggestions,” most of the items they listed are based on their warped perception of reality, and all really boil down to the fact that they want cops to ignore illegal activity and that when someone gets hurt by the cops, it is all the cops fault no matter what.

Here are some policy suggestions I have for BLM which I can absolutely guarantee will solve 99.9% of their problems:

  1. Obey the law.
  2. If you fail to follow #1, and are contacted by the cops, obey their commands.
  3. If you break the law and are caught, man up and acknowledge your mistakes.
  4. If you think you can do this job better than us, please, PLEASE join the ranks and show us first hand.

Media Attempting to Create Ferguson v2.0

Capture

Some more information has been released in regards to the shooting in Arlington, TX that the media is trying to turn into the next Ferguson. The media’s intentions should be abundantly clear in looking at the title of this AP article, and then the second paragraph of the article.

The man, legally an adult, is continually referred to as a “teen.” He was “killed at a car dealership”, not while committing multiple felonies. The cop was an old white guy while the suspect, sorry, “victim” was a young, unarmed black teen.

Yup, no agenda, no slant…

Press Conference
The Chief of the Arlington Police, Will Johnson, gave a press conference yesterday. The department, very smartly so, recorded the whole thing and put it up on their YouTube page. The Chief makes some very good points during his presentation. I wonder how many of the “news” agencies edited his conference, for time of course, and inadvertently removed some of the noteworthy points he made?

Here is the full video:

Surveillance Video
Next, the security surveillance video in full has been released. It shows everything from the moment the suspect arrives at the dealership until the cops arrive. The video covers the time frame of the shooting, but the shooting itself is not shown.

In the video, the suspect can be clearly seen committing multiple felonies. But beyond that, his behavior is bizarre. He appears to be high on something.

He can clearly be seen peeling open the broken windshield of a car with his bare hands. He then slides through the opening wearing nothing more than shorts and a t-shirt. Anyone who has even been in a car accident where a windshield was broken can attest to how windshield safety glass breaks leaving thousands of glass slivers. The suspect seems to be totally impervious to the pain caused by the glass slivers as he both peels open the windshield and then slides through it.

Here is the “full” surveillance video. I will say this in regards to the fullness: it is NOT the full video. There is no way to include all the camera angles into a single video, and the actual shooting is also not captured, so it is clearly a compilation video. Also, please note the title of the video… no agenda…

That said, here it is:

My Educated Guess
Now that I have had a chance to listen to the information the Chief of Police put out, and now that I have watched the “full” surveillance video, I have some information on which to base a semi-educated guess on what occurred.  I must stress, this is ONLY A GUESS.

Based on the suspect’s behavior in the surveillance video, I am going to go out on a limb and say he was high, and likely on some sort of drug that involves pain relief or elimination.

Knowing that only two officers entered the building to apprehend the suspect, who is high and not feeling pain, I suspect they were unable to overpower him, which is why a Taser was deployed.  The Taser, as is often the case when used on people high on drugs that eliminate pain, proved useless.

The two officers, one being the officer who shot, is 49 years old, and from his photos, notably not a triathlete (not intended as an insult, I’m no triathlete either),  and the other is a 19 year veteran (likely putting him in his 40’s as well).   The suspect, is 19 years old, and a college football defensive back.  I’m betting I am pretty safe in assuming that he, the suspect, was in far superior physical shape than either of the cops.  Couple that with his being high and not feeling pain, I suspect the officers were quickly on the losing end of that physical confrontation.

Going even further into educated guess territory, most car dealerships I have been in over the years have brochure racks near all the exits.  Additionally, there are chairs and all sorts of other items in a dealership showroom that can be used as weapons.  It is quite possible the suspect may have grabbed something to use as a weapon, and with the Taser having no effect, the next step up is the handgun.

Now, I realize all of that is nothing but my guess.  But that said, my guesses in the past (*cough, Ferguson, cough*) have proven far more accurate than all of the early media reports.  Take what I am saying with a grain of salt, but please do the same with the bullshit the media is spreading.

My only motivation here is the truth, what is the media’s motivation?