Articles

It’s Been Over Two Years, What Has Kneeling Changed?

Kap Kneeling
Colin Kaepernick, right, and Eric Reid kneeling during the national anthem before an N.F.L. game last year. Credit Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem continues years later as we head toward Super Bowl LIII on February 3, 2019.

A petition calling for performers Maroon5, Big Boi, and Travis Scott on change.org to drop out of performing the Super Bowl halftime show, has now surpassed 100,000 signatures.

The petition which is titled, “Maroon5: Drop Out of the Super Bowl Halftime Show” has been gaining steam in the last few days, refueling the controversy around Kaepernick, the NFL, and the kneeling movement.

A possible secondary goal of simply kneeling during the performance, appeared in a petition update posted by organizer Vic Oyedeji today.

The update includes a link that if clicked, allows you to share a pre-written “tweet” that reads as follows, “@Maroon5, @trvisXX and @BigBoi: #TakeAKnee during your set. Show the hundreds of millions of people watching that you stand in solidarity with @Kaepernick7 and all players who protect police brutality.”

I can only speculate the petition organizer realizes it is unlikely at this point the performers will drop out, so a secondary goal of kneeling during the performance would suffice to spread their message.

So what do I think about it?

I support the ability of anyone to peacefully protest. With that, I have no issue. No one should. I am confused and have long been confused, as to how the act of kneeling will curb or prevent future acts of alleged, “police brutality.” It’s not lost on me that discussions about the topic may be one of his goals, clearly, that goal has been achieved.

I don’t condone police brutality.

Police officers don’t condone police brutality.

Anything involving police brutality or instances of obvious police misconduct, do nothing but make the job of hardworking, honest, police officers harder. With every instance of bad press and embarrassing mistakes, the divide between society and police officers becomes deeper.

This helps no one.

To suggest that police officers today actively support fellow officers with bad intentions is lunacy. The notion of a “thin blue line” covering up misconduct seems even more irrational now than ever, with the implementation of body worn cameras.

Speaking of body worn cameras, nearly every single police officer I know, who wears a body camera, loves them. Why? Because they can operate as they always have, without fear of being lied on. Think it doesn’t happen? Google, “False rape allegation DPS Trooper,” and read how devastating false allegations can be. Not to mention the damage it did to those who only read headlines and failed to see the follow up stories that it was in fact, a blatant lie. The damage is still done, sadly.

If Maroon5, drops out or decides to kneel during their halftime performance, so be it. It will appease some of their fans, maybe anger others who believe that police officers, by and large, do a great job.

No profession is absent of misconduct. It is standard logic that goes without saying. The difference is police officers bear a great responsibility of power and the ability to take a life. Therefore, we hear about their every misstep, on or off-duty. Rightfully so. The old, “held to a higher standard,” adage we hear surrounding police officers will ring true forever. As it should.

So the question is, “What can we do to have a police force worthy of praise in the eyes of Kaepernick and his supporters?”

Is there an attainable and tangible goal we could set and work toward?

Or are we failing to realize that as long as police officers are human beings, we will never have perfection.

Realizing an unattainable level of perfection and supporting a goal of striving for it, are two separate things.

I don’t have all the answers. I certainly would have told the world by now, if I did.

I know one side of the issue involves compliance on behalf of those interacting with police officers. However, it seems society these days is less interested in saying, “That guy could have simply put his hands behind his back, or not pointed that gun, or not swung at the officer, and he’d be alive today.” That too, is a tragedy in my opinion. If we are a society of fairness, we should consider all angles when assessing blame or causation.

I guess we will see what happens on February 3rd.

Ultimately, I hope people reading this realize one thing, police officers want to be perfect.

Any officer who blatantly breaks the law or abuses their power deserves to be fired, and if warranted, sent to prison. It’s that simple. I’ll say it again, police officers want to be perfect. It would make life so much better for everyone.

Damn the humanity.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

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Colorado Avalanche Not Afraid To Honor The 148 Fallen Police Officers of 2018

The Colorado Avalanche recently honored the 148 heroic police officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving their communities in 2018.

During the pre-game activities, they displayed the thin blue line flag across the entire ice surface and honored those who gave their life protecting their communities with a moment of silence. See a video from The Brotherhood for the Fallen Aurora below.

 

Initially, I was thrilled to see this video. I think anyone who supports law enforcement would be. Then I remembered the new “movement” that suggests the thin blue line flag is controversial and racist. I worried that this show of support would be spun into something it wasn’t meant to be, racist.

Due to this, I searched the internet and social media for any signs of outrage or controversy, thankfully, to my knowledge, there isn’t any.

For those of you who follow me on social media, I recently addressed the controversy surrounding the “thin blue line” flag and other anti-police issues, on The Officer Next Door Facebook page. Needless to say, it attracted plenty of haters, but I feel the message was important.

Unfortunately, the thin blue line flag has been deemed by some, as a “symbol or racism” due to the fact, it was displayed at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in 2017. Needless to say, the thin blue line flag being present at an ignorant event like that, repulses me. I’m sure I can speak for all of law enforcement when I say that.

However, I also hope our society wouldn’t allow the actions of a few misguided hillbillies, the ability to represent a profession that includes nearly 1 million people across the country. It seems a little short-sighted to me, but I digress.

People who don’t represent law enforcement, shouldn’t represent the beliefs of law enforcement. I can stand in a public place waving a flag that says, “Firefighters hate puppies.” It doesn’t mean it’s true, or represents the views of firefighters across America.

I also recognize the argument by some, that altering the flag in any way is “divisive” or “offensive”. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on that one. I know plenty of police officers that also served in our military.  They don’t seem to have an issue with the thin blue line flag.  I believe they see it for what it is, a flag that represents law enforcement being the “thin blue line” that stands between the evil in our country and the rest of America. That’s it. Nothing more.

Clearly, the Colorado Avalanche were not deterred by the possibility of angering the anti-police crowd who believe the flag is something it is not. Kudos to them for honoring the fallen. There’s no harm in that. For once, maybe people saw the gesture solely for what it was, a show of support for those who died protecting our country. Nothing more, nothing less.

The NHL has long been an example of class, when it comes to honoring law enforcement. Back in 2016, the Dallas Stars were allowed to wear decals on their helmets as show of support, following the tragic deaths of five police officers who were directing traffic at a protest march on July 7, 2016.

I chose the words, “allowed to wear” on purpose, due to the fact the NFL did not allow the Dallas Cowboys to do the same. Say what you want about sports leagues, they certainly have the right to support who they want, but it seems pretty evident the NHL gets it right. Every. Single. Time.

What a breath of fresh (cold) air.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

 

 

 

Police Officers Will Keep Dying For You

side by side

Those who follow law enforcement news, already know 2019 got off to a tragic start.

Recently, two young female officers, both only 22 years-old, were gunned down in back to back days, each with less than one year of service to their community.

Any police officer being killed is tragic, however, I think we can agree that young, vibrant, and beautiful women getting shot and killed is difficult to stomach. Call me old fashioned, it just seems more egregious.

As the tragic news comes out and social media is a buzz, inevitably, someone asks, “Why does this keep happening?”

I’ll tell you why.

It will keep happening, because brave men and women get up every single day, strap on a bulletproof vest, kiss their loved ones goodbye, and head to work knowing they may not make it back.

It will keep happening, not because it’s “what they signed up for,” but because despite that, they took the oath anyway.

It will keep happening, because police officers are the “thin blue line” that stands between the evil in our society and the rest of us.

It will keep happening, because police officers do more than write speeding tickets and take reports. They confront unknown dangers, violent gang members, and armed drug dealers.

It will keep happening, because there are people in the world that don’t value life. There is evil among us, willing to kill a police officer in hopes avoiding accountability for their criminal acts.

It will keep happening, because police officers confront violent members of society every day, not knowing they’re dealing with, what their intentions are, or what they plan to do.

It will keep happening, because when bullets fly, all hell breaks loose, or tragedy strikes, the police run toward it, while everyone else runs away.

It will keep happening, because despite the tragedy, heartache, or the pain of losing brothers and sisters in blue, they will continue to show up when called, holding the line, keeping you safe.

It will keep happening, because when police officers are cut, bruised, bleeding, or injured, they keep fighting, even if in the end, it costs them everything.

It will keep happening, because police officers are sheepdogs. Sheepdogs live to protect the sheep from the wolves, it’s innate, it’s in their blood.

It will keep happening, because police officers are human and under that vest is a servant’s heart. They’re no different than you or me, but they’re programmed to serve others no matter the cost.

It will keep happening, because the spirit of police officers can’t be broken, the bond is too strong, the family too close, the brotherhood and sisterhood too real.

Some days are quiet and go by fast, others they see things that will haunt them forever.

Police work is a calling. They’re drawn to it because being a police officer is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of life. A desire to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

As we go forward, remember why, “it will keep happening” and support the men and women who run toward the things everyone else runs from.

Gone, but never forgotten.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Tired Of Sadness and Tragedy? Try this article on for size.

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People complain about the negativity in the news and on social media all the time. Yet, little do they know, it’s their fault. I bet if I titled this article something mundane like, “Tragedy Sells” or “Tragedy Rules the Media” it’d get passed over even more than with the current title. In fact, I’ve written a similar article before, it garnered very little readership, so we will see how this one goes.

I recently saw an officer comment on social media something like, “We were on our way to serve a warrant looking for a murder suspect, we had our heavy gear on, helmets, and as we were headed toward the target location, multiple voices could be heard saying things like, ‘Be careful!’ and ‘Protect yourself!’” The officer went on to say how much that meant in that moment. It’s the little things.

All too often police only hear criticism for “wearing militarized equipment” or “looking too aggressive,” as if to suggest police officers should go into situations being outgunned and under protected. That kind of rhetoric is sheer nonsense. But that’s a whole other axe to grind.

Back to the topic at hand, people’s love affair with tragedy.

Why do we as a society eat up tragedy with such vigor? A tragic event hits the news and we hit that share button on social media, spreading the word like wildfire. However, ‘mum is the word’ when a positive news story comes out, unless it involves a cute puppy or something funny and worthy of going ‘viral’. It’s sort of a shame.

Two officers have been shot in the last 12 hours, one has died. I haven’t rushed to share either of those stories, despite the fact I know they would garner a large number of “likes” and “shares” which is your ultimate goal running a website.

Why?

I don’t want to constantly be the bearer of bad or tragic news. If I were “greedy” for “likes”, “shares” and “comments,” then I could easily “fall in line” and share the sadness like all the rest. I could bask in the glory of my “website traffic” and “social media reach”. But I hesitate. And maybe it will be the death of The Officer Next Door, who knows? I guess we will see.

I will likely share some “tragedy” from time to time, it comes with the territory, so don’t burn me at the stake the next time it happens. I’m just hoping to have a different priority. A different focus if you will. Maybe I will resort to “falling in line” to surive? I hope not. I guess we will see.

Why do I hesitate to share constant negativity despite the “popularity” that comes with it?

I recently saw another police officer post on social media expressing his desire for a more, “positive police social media group or website”. His point is valid. He spends all day dealing with other people’s problems. He sees tragedy in all forms while at work, the last thing he wants to see when he gets home is more “bad news” on social media. It’s like the bullying crisis we have in our schools today. With social media, it is now possible to be bullied around the clock, not just while at school. Same goes for police officers and their constant bombardment of negativity.

If that officer only knew how badly I want The Officer Next Door to be that “positive and supportive police page”.  Unfortunately, there’s a few problems with that goal.

First, it isn’t easy to come up with stories that are positive. Not because they aren’t happening, they’re just severely under reported. They certainly aren’t self-reported by police officers, I’ve said it many times, they’re too humble to do that.

Second, people don’t tune in to positive. So if you’re a news station, a lowly blogger just trying to spread a message, or someone trying to generate some revenue to do things like donate to police charities, posting and writing stories of positivity sounds great, but nobody will listen. You’ll go broke and basically be talking to yourself.

Half the time, it seems people only read the headline or look at the photo associated with the articles anyway. If they aren’t controversial or sad, they get passed over. I’m still debating what to call this article. I know one thing is for certain, the more controversial or sad I make it, the more readership it will get.

How do I know that we love negativity like we love our apple pie, smart phones, and baseball?

The proof is in the pudding.

I’ve been writing articles on this website for just over six months now. I’ve written articles on a wide variety of police topics. Happy ones, sad ones, thankful ones, short, long, medium ones, news related, original stuff I pulled out of my very own brain, I’ve tried them all.

The most popular? The saddest and most tragic things I can think of, or report on.

You would think social media “groups” or “pages” related to policing would yearn for positivity. I can’t imagine the “non-police” civilian followers on such pages – who no doubt are there to be supportive – enjoy seeing constant negativity either. It has to wear on them like it does our police officers.

So what is my solution? It’s a challenge really.  

Luckily, I’m not just writing to grumble. Unlike most politicians and other ding dongs with a large voice, I present a problem and offer a solution. Novel idea, I know.

Start looking for ways to be a positive supporter of our men and women in blue. Our men and women riding our ambulances, our fire trucks, our military. Any first responder, or public servant. I don’t discriminate.

I challenge you NOT to wait for tragedy, or a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day” to speak up and recognize someone for their hard work or job well done.

Let’s put a positive spin on the unfortunately necessary catch phrase, “See something, say something!”

If you see something positive, hear something positive, even think of something positive, message me. You can message me on this website via the contact button. You can find The Officer Next Door on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I have made it rather easy to find me, so please do. I’ll share your positivity as much as I can. Then once I share it, share my posts or article. Use the power of the internet to our advantage.

Just know that I may start posting things that don’t seem as “topic relevant,” especially on my social media pages. I want people to laugh more than they cry. So hang in there if you really enjoy the negativity and sadness.

I hope The Officer Next Door continues to grow and help officers in ways I haven’t even envisioned yet. We shall see.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Seth Meyers’ Disgusting Tweet, Dismisses Victims Murdered By Illegal Immigrants

myers combo photo

I have gone to decent lengths to keep this website and my social media pages relatively free of politics. I say “decent lengths”, because inevitably, some topics related to policing are political. The recent suspension of the Broward County Sheriff, for example. It’s political, yet relevant to policing. So I shared the story with my own thoughts mixed in. That’s what I do.

I have avoided politics for a few reasons.

One, there’s enough negativity and squawking on social media and the mainstream media as it is, you don’t need more from me.

Second, it’s divisive. I didn’t create The Officer Next Door to be divisive, quite the opposite. So it stands to reason I avoid such topics like politics to maintain my goal of marching to a different beat.

But sometimes, you need to go against the grain, or even your own rules. So here it goes. Luckily for you, this is more about optics and respect, than it is “politics” so don’t get too upset with me.

As many of you know, the president addressed the nation last night to address the government shutdown and the issue surrounding the border wall funding.

Apparently while doing so, he mentioned the murder of Ronil Singh, a California police officer killed the night after Christmas by an illegal alien. Trump’s exact words were, “America’s heart broke the day after Christmas when a young police officer in California was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien, just came across the border. The life of an American hero was stolen by someone who had no right to be in our country. Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders.”

Much to my dismay, but out of necessity, I covered Singh’s murder extensively as the magnitude of the incident was enormous. For a while, we weren’t sure if the suspect had successfully eluded law enforcement, having little to go on, the sharing of the information we did know seemed vital.

Back to the Meyers debacle. Presumably while the speech was being given and after the murder of Officer Singh and others were mentioned in the president’s speech, Seth Meyers felt the need to tweet the following: “Is this Oval Office: SVU?”

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Wow. I get he’s a comedian, I understand he, like many others in Hollywood hate the president, that’s fine. I really don’t care one way or another about your political views. But this sank to a new level of low. Arguably worse than holding a bloody head portrayed to be the president, or destroying a star on the walk of fame in a fit of unabated rage. “Hollywood” has had egg on their face multiple times in the last few years, no doubt.

However, this is different because it involves people that didn’t ask to be victims. It involves people who have suffered great loss and heartache, they aren’t public figures and therefore, don’t deserve to be comedic punching bags.

I can’t imagine the families of the murder victims the president mentioned were laughing. I can’t imagine any police officer across America found his quip funny in any way possible. I can’t fathom why he would find it appropriate to stoop to that level of disgusting.

My point?

This is the sort of rhetoric that does nothing but create division. It isn’t lost on me that ignoring this tweet may have been a good way to deal with it, but I started this website to stand up for law enforcement, not watch as they are marginalized and kicked around like lowly public servants.

What Seth Meyers tweeted was disgusting. There is no other way to put it. Downplaying the fact that a wife lost her husband and a young baby will never know his father, isn’t funny, it’s disgusting.

The fact that Meyers feels so strongly about a political issue or dislikes the president is completely his prerogative. His job as a comedian and public figure, is to make people laugh and be a role model, I think it is fair to say, this tweet fell well short of that goal.

Some things just aren’t funny. Ever. So this isn’t me being “triggered” or being a “snowflake” as some may feel inclined to say.

This is me standing up for the 800,000+ police officers in our country that risk being the next officer killed while simply doing their job. Every. Single. Day.

People being murdered isn’t funny, under any circumstance. It leaves a permanent void in the lives affected by such crimes. Police officers dying in the line of duty is no laughing matter and I can bet the 148 families that lost their loved one in 2018 would agree.

I won’t call for a boycott. I won’t tell you what television shows to watch and who to support politically, but I will tell you when someone has crossed the line.

One can only hope Mr. Meyers apologizes. He owes it to himself and any fans he may have. Maybe by doing so, he can salvage some semblance of dignity after stooping to a new all-time low for Hollywood. An impressive feat at the very least.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

The Coward In Broward Out, Sources Say

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Florida – Multiple reports from various news outlets are reporting that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has been suspended by the newly sworn-in Governor Ron DeSantis.

How the Sheriff has lasted this long is beyond me. The way Broward County Deputies handled the Parkland school shooting is one of the most embarrassing and tragic stories surrounding law enforcement in recent history.

Back in November 4, 2013, Sheriff Israel reportedly changed the active shooter policy for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office from “will respond” to “may respond”. This alone should be cause for the removal of Sheriff Israel, as it is clear his policy change cost lives on February 14, 2018.

In a recent interview with Fox News, Jeff Bell, President of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, citing Sheriff Israel’s poor leadership stated, “Broward County Deputies are limited to only four hours of firearms training each year.”

Bell went on to say that due Sheriff Israel’s training policies, “they spend more time in classrooms learning about politeness while policing” than engaging in other training that could better prepares them to do their job.

It is clear, Sheriff Israel has implemented multiple changes to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office that ultimately led to an atrocious and negligent response by his agency on that horrific and tragic day. For these reasons alone, he should have been fired long ago.

After multiple calls to oust Sheriff Israel, even a union “vote of no confidence” where 85% of members voted to get rid of Sheriff Israel, it seems the deputies in Broward County will finally get their wish.

Good riddance Sheriff Israel, though calling you a Sheriff may be giving you too much credit.

We can only hope the new leader takes the department in better and more efficient direction.

The members of the nation’s largest fully accredited Sheriff’s Office in the country deserve it, as do their citizens.

The Officer Next Door