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Law Enforcement 1

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson On Officer’s Death: “This Could Have Been Preventable” Blames Sanctuary State Laws

Presser 2
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Facebook

Stanislaus County California – In a press conference earlier today, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson spoke about how the death of Corporal Ronil Singh could have been prevented.

Gustavo Perez Arriaga, 32, was taken into custody in Bakersfield, California earlier this morning. According to Sheriff Christianson, Arriaga is a self proclaimed member of the Sureno criminal street gang and has two prior arrests for driving under the influence.

Sheriff Christianson further stated “While we absolutely need to stay focused on Officer Singh’s service and sacrfice, we can’t ignore the fact that this could have been preventable. Under SB54 in California, based on two arrests for DUI and some other active warrants that this criminal has out there, law enforcement would have been prevented, prohibited, from sharing any information with ICE about this criminal gang member.”

Two addtional men were arrested for aiding the suspect escape and evade law enforcement during this investigation.  Adrian Virgen 25,  and Erik Razo Quiroz 27, were arrested for accessory after the fact to a felony.

When questioned further by the media, Sheriff Christianson reiterated his belief this was preventable,  “I simply want to focus on the fact that this is a criminal illegal alien with prior criminal activity that should have been reported to ICE, we were prohibited, law enforcement was prohibited because of santurary laws and that led to the encounter with Officer Singh. I’m suggesting that the outcome could have been different if law enforcement wasn’t restricted, prohibited, or had their hands tied because of political interference.”

Certainly, this is highly debated topic in the United States today. I hope this tragedy creates converstation on how tragedies like this could be prevented in the future. It’s a discussion we need to continue to have.

Hopefully these arrests begin the long and difficult healing process for the Newman Police Deparment and the Singh family.

 

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Law Enforcement 1

Breaking: Newman California Police Officer’s Killer Arrested

In Custody

Newman CA – The man suspected of shooting and killing Corporal Ronil Singh of the Newman Police Department has been taken into custody in Kern County, multiple news sources are reporting.

According to the Modesto Bee, sources said the suspect has been taken into custody. The exact details surrounding the arrest and the identity of the suspect, are expected to be released at a news conference scheduled for noon today.

A photo posted by a friend of Singh, Harinder Singh Toor, on his Facebook profile shows a photo of the apparent apprehension.

The arrest ends a mutiple day long manhunt for Corporal Singh’s suspected shooter. The story has garnered national attention as the police officer is a legal immigrant from Fiji, while the suspect is believed to be in the United States illegally.

Law Enforcement 0

Newman Police Chief Gives Emotional Press Conference, Suspect Still At Large

Chief conference
Photo: Stanislaus County Sheriff Facebook Page

Chief Richardson begins talking at the 2:52 minute mark. Sheriff Adam Christianson follows from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department with updates on the investigation and the identity of the suspect.

Video from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page.

Law Enforcement 0

Mercer County Officer Takes Own Life While At Work

Pablo-Santiago-2.jpg
Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer Pablo Santiago (via Facebook)

Trenton, New Jersey – A Mercer County Sherriff’s Officer Pablo Santiago took his own life while at work on Wednesday.

By looking at his photo taken just weeks ago, you would never guess this was coming. His coworkers, as expected, are all reported to be extremely surpised and upset by this news. It just goes to show that you never know what someone is going through, no matter how happy they appear.

Suicide. It seems to be a problem that has reached epidemic levels in law enforcement these days. All too often news of officers taking their own lives comes across your news feed. It is starting to garner more attention. A recent news article from Austin, Texas discussed how a Police Chief has seen so many avoidable firings and dicipline as a result of alocohol abuse and other stress related factors that come with being in law enforcement. They are taking steps to battle the issue before it becomes a problem. Kudos to Austin Police Department.

The statistics aren’t easy to come by, as there isn’t an “official” database that police related suicides must be reported to and tracked. As of December 19th, there were 14 police suicides confirmed, it is likely there have been more. At the very least this tragedy makes 15 and that’s 15 too many.

A GoFundMe account was started on Thursday morning to help Santiago’s family.

“Anyone who met Pablo knew him to always have a contagious smile, a beautiful spirit, and a kind (and many times silly) word,” the GoFundMe campaign page said. “Not only was he a respected pillar of the Mercer County community, and the President of PBA Local 187, but also a sheriff’s officer dedicated to his job beyond words, and above all else and most importantly, a devoted friend, husband and father.”

The GoFundMe campaign continued, “With his sudden passing, Pablo leaves behind a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.  Although nothing can replace his presence in this world, we are hoping to alleviate some of the financial burdens on his family following the tragedy.”

The fundraiser has reached $5,345 out of a goal of $20,000 in four hours at the time of this article.

The Officer Next Door extends its deepest condolences to the Santiago family and his brothers and sisters of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Law Enforcement 0

Update: Suspected Cop Killer’s Truck Recovered, Suspect Still On The Run, Yet To Be Seen Or Identified

Newman , CA – The vehicle being sought by police in connection with the murder of Coporal Ronil Singh was found abondoned. Authorities say the suspect (pictured above) has yet to be seen or identified. Police are asking this photo be shared and anyone with information to call their local law enforcement immediately.

Law Enforcement 0

Photos Released of Possible Gunman Responsible For Killing California Police Officer

California – Authorities today released photos of a man and a vehicle they believe could be the suspect responsible for the shooting death of California Police Officer Ronil Singh.

Please view and share the photos as the suspect has not been identified or located at this time.

If you have any tips, you can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Tipsters can also e-mail tips at http://www.modestopolice.com/CrimeStoppers.

All photos courtesy of the press release by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.

Suspect 3

Police killer truckSuspect 2

Law Enforcement 0

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

jmp santa0052
Source: Pioneer Press St. Paul MN

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the city
Burglars were out, stealing without pity
They stole away Christmas, from poor little boys
Eating the cookies and milk, and taking the toys!

There were robbers out too, some even with guns,
Robbing people of their money, every single last one,
The robbers were out late, in poorly lit streets
Preying on the festive, the drunk, the poor and the meek

Drunk drivers everywhere, from Christmas parties
Driving home intoxicated, on a white Christmas Eve
They crash and they hurt, and they kill people too
Making many families’, worst fears come true

Some people are sad, and they drink and they drink
And they have thoughts in their head, no one should think
They don’t realize they’re loved, and that people care
So they do some things, that no one should dare

But the boys in blue, they’re out fighting all of this
Every day, not only on Christmas
But this time of year is the worst, they see it all
Despite the odds against them, they answer the call

They talk people down, from ledges up high
And protect innocent families, as they say their goodbyes
Because people need to be safe, especially on this eve
It’s the most dangerous night of year, some of them believe

So please drive safe, and grab a cab if need be
Lock your doors up tight, Santa doesn’t need a key,
Know that people love you, despite what you think,
And please watch the excess, in which you may drink,

Because the boys in blue are out there, protecting your life
To make sure you get home, to your kids and your wife
They don’t like to see tragedy, no tears shed tonight
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a safe night!

Written By: Stephanie Waterhouse

Law Enforcement 0

San Francisco Mayor Seeks Brother’s Early Release From Prison For Murder Conviction

Mayor Breed Brother Combo
Photos courtesy of CDC / KTVU.com

I’m all for leniency when it is warranted. A second chance if it makes sense. However, I also believe in the rules applying to everyone the same. This topic can get blurry quickly, that isn’t lost on me. Police officers give breaks and warnings all the time. They have descretion. It happens, it’s a good thing.

However, getting a warning for a speeding ticket and getting released from prison early for a murder conviction, because your sister is the Mayor of San Francisco, are completely different things. So let’s not go down that path.

Mayor London Breed penned a letter to outgoing California Governor Jerry Brown on official “Mayor London Breed” stationary asking for leniency and an early release of her brother, Napoleon Brown.

Napoleon Brown has served almost two decades of a 44-year prison sentence for involuntary manslaughter and armed robbery.

Breed recently released a statement defending her request to the governor.

“Too many people, particularly young black men like my brother was when he was convicted, are not given an opportunity to become contributing members of society after they have served time in prison,” she said. “I believe my brother deserves that opportunity.”

“I do believe that people need to face consequences when they have broken the law, but I also believe that we should allow for the rehabilitation and re-entry of people into society after they have served an amount of time that reflects the crimes committed,” the statement continued.

Unsurisingly, Sandra McNeil, the mother of the victim, feels differently.

“I don’t think it would be justice,” she said. “She’s the mayor, so she’s got a little power, so she thinks she can get her brother out.”

In the end, I understand that Mayor Breed is a human-being and a sister. Just like police officers, who are human beings, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives. Like many siblings, Mayor Breed wants what is best for her brother. Where I take issue, is the fact she wrote the letter to the Governor using “Mayor London N. Breed” stationary, which simply gives the appearance she wants her title to be recognized and special consideration given.

I can only expect a public servant like Mayor Breed, believes police officers should be held to a higher standard. That’s part of being a public servant. As such, I doubt the Mayor would support leniency when police officers are found to have committed a crime.  I doubt she would writing letters on their behalf using “Mayor Breed” letterhead asking that the police officer be given a chance at rehabilitation.

So why should her brother get special treatment simply because she is the Mayor of San Francisco? Some will argue she’s just being a sister. I think it’s obvious her use of the title “Mayor” was not an accident. What do you think?

The Officer Next Door

 

Law Enforcement 1

Cincinnati Police Sergeant Found Dead By Fellow Officers

Cincinnati Police
Photo source: Youtube

Cincinnati OH –

Per a recent press release, the Cincinnati Police Department announced they located a deceased Cincinnati police officer at 2084 Eden Park Drive just after noon today. A death investigation is being conducted in conjunction with Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.

In the press release, Chief Eliot Issac announced that the officer has been identified as Sergeant Arthur T. Shultz, who was a 28 year veteran and a very well-respected member of the Cincinnati Police Department.

We here at The Officer Next Door extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Cincinnati Police Department and their blue family.

Unfortunately, this December has proven to be like many in the past. Suicides and violence toward police officers generally increase during the holiday season.

If ruled a suicide, Sergeant Shultz’ death would be the 15th reported law enforcement suicide in the month of December according to http://www.wearebluehelp.org which reported 14 suicides as of December 19th.

We want to encourage all first responders to watch after each other during this holiday season. Please reach out if you are in need of help and be safe.

Law Enforcement 1

Political Correctness or Policing, Which One Do You Want?

Curfew law expired
Photo Source: http://www.ocregister.com

In 2018 it is abundantly apparent that there is a new wave of activism taking place in the United States. Statues that have stood for years are being torn down. Buildings are being renamed to less “controversial” names. Even Christmas songs (Baby Its Cold Outside) and Christmas shows (Rudolph) are being attacked and labeled racist or misogynistic, or whatever term of political incorrectness fits the bill.

So how does this apply to policing? Well, in many ways to be quite honest. In a recent move to continue fighting the politically correct fight, the City of Dallas, Texas has decided to let a long standing city ordinance pertaining to juvenile curfew hours expire on January 18, 2019. The ordinance was first enacted in 1991. The ordinance forbids juveniles under the age of 17 to be outside without an adult between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and additionally restricts parentless kids from roaming the streets from 12:01am to 6 a.m. on the weekends. Basically, the nothing good happens after midnight rule is in effect here. Seems logical. Apparently not anymore.

On the surface, a person might be confused as to how getting rid of a simple law like not allowing juveniles to run amuck at all hours of the night is a good thing. Well, like I said, it’s 2018. We can’t even listen to songs or watch television shows that have been in existence for decades, without someone getting into a tizzy.

Specifically in Dallas, city council members with the backing of multiple civil liberties groups, support the move to let the ordinance expire and no longer be enforceable by Dallas Police Officers sighting concerns that it creates “disproportionate minority contact through enforcement”.

Okay. So does this suggest that only in minority neighborhoods are juveniles roaming the streets at all hours of the night? Do we really think police officers salivate at the idea they can roam around Dallas and detain juveniles for being out past curfew? You have go to be kidding me. I can assure you, they have better things to do. But don’t get me wrong, the ordinance is a tool in their tool belt. This will make sense by the end of this article.

For those of you unfamiliar with the state of affairs in the Dallas Police Department, they are not immune to the nationwide manpower shortage of police applicants and rapid attrition through retirement and people choosing other careers. Needless to say, Dallas Police Officers are too busy chasing multiple pages of pending calls for service, they don’t have the time to disproportionately enforce any 27 year old ordinance.

So what’s my point?

The point is quite simple. The law is the law. The ordinance in theory most will agree makes sense. It’s really quite simple, if you aren’t outside at the age of 15 roaming the streets at 3 a.m. without a parent, you don’t have anything to worry about. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what your last name is, or anything like that. Either you’re in violation of the ordinance, or you’re not. The suggestion that this ordinance somehow negatively impacts minorities seems to suggest that only minority children are out roaming the streets in the wee hours of the night. If that is the case, is that the fault of the police? Or maybe their parents? The saying “nothing good happens after midnight” isn’t a saying because it isn’t true.

I’m not suggesting that police officers across the country should be focused on aggressive curfew violation enforcement. That’s clearly nonsense. However, what I am saying, is the more we continually remove laws from the books that may seem minor, petty, or solely what we call “quality of life” laws, the more you are “handcuffing” police officers from doing their jobs.

Even the small innocuous laws are important for police officers, as they allow for what they call “reason for contact”. For those of you who aren’t legally inclined. Police officers need a law to be broken – or suspicion that criminal activity is taking place or about to take place – in order to stop (detain) someone. If you run a red light, speed, or they see you walking down the street with an open alcohol container if it’s illegal, they can now stop and talk with you. To add context pertaining to the curfew ordinance, if this law expires and is never reinstated, when that officer working the overnight shift sees four “young  juveniles who may be under 17” of any skin color, dressed in all black, walking down the street, the officer can’t stop them and see what they are up to. Maybe they have handguns in their waistbands and were planning to rob people as they returned home from the bar? Maybe they are headed to break into the local business? Maybe they are headed to watch a movie at their other friend’s house and they just happened to be wearing dark colored clothing? We can maybe any scenario to death, but the fact remains, laws allow officers to do their jobs.

The worst thing about policing is we can’t measure the unmeasurable. There is no metric for measuring the murders, rapes, robberies, or shootings they prevent through proactive policing. You can’t measure what you prevented by stopping a person walking to the back of a closed business at 2 a.m. who happened to have a crowbar hidden on their person. Were they headed to commit a burglary or a murder? Maybe both? Who knows? There’s no “statistic” for that.

So it’s up to you. We can continue down the path of unabated political correctness and completely take away the ability of police officers to do their jobs. Or, we can have some common sense and see laws and ordinances for what they are, laws and ordinances. If you don’t break them, you won’t be affected by them. If you choose the path of complete political correctness, then don’t be pissed off when you tell a police officer you’ve been a victim of a crime and the police officer replies, “Oh yeah, I saw that person walking down the street earlier, I thought it was weird, but I had no legal reason to stop them. I’m sorry this happened to you.” Because that is the way we are headed.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

News 1

Florida Deputy Kills His Family, Commits Suicide In Front Of Responding Deputies

Hillsborough County Sheriff car
Photo Source: Fox 13 News

Breaking news coming from Hillsborough County Florida.

Reports coming in are saying that an unidentified Florida Deputy has killed three others and then drove to a high school in Plant City, Florida and where he committed suicide as officers confronted him.

During a news conference this morning, Sheriff Chad Chronister confirmed that a woman and child were killed at one residence, another woman was killed at a separate crime scene, and the deputy took his own life when confronted by three deputies near the Plant City High School grounds.  No students were at the school when this incident occurred.

Sheriff Chronister further stated that the deputy got on the police radio channel and stated that he had “caused harm to his family” as well as stating his plan to commit suicide at the nearby high school. A supervisor got on the radio and attempted to talk to the deputy to no avail. During the radio transmissions the deputy mentioned financial and health issues but further motives and details have not been released at this time.

Sadly, this is the second murder-suicide to take place involving a Hillsborough deputy this year.

Suicide in the law enforcement profession has been on the rise and has reached epidemic levels. More on this topic to come.

– The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

Community “Activist” Tweets Fallen Chicago Officers Are Stupid For Getting Killed

Carl Nyberg
Source: Twitter

Chicago, Illinois – In keeping with the theme of late, not only are the media complicit in making the jobs of police officers harder, community activists can have the same impact.

In a recent display of distasteful ignorance, Chicago area “community activist” Carl Nyberg tweeted the following, “Two people too stupid to avoid getting hit by a train were given firearms & the authority to kill people by the Chicago Police Department.”

Tweet Chicago
Source: Twitter

Clearly, this guy has an axe to grind with police officers. The fact he immediately makes mention of “authority to kill” goes to show his state of mind and how just far out in left field this particular person appears to be. I don’t know this guy, but he has every right to say what he wants. However, I’m not sure how this tweet helps his community in any way.

Most would say, “Just ignore him.” To a certain extent, I would agree. However, I feel it’s important to call out people for their nonsense and recognize that this sort of ignorance creates the anti-police rhetoric that leads to officers being ambushed while eating lunch, protecting protesters, or simply sitting in their police vehicles.

Police officers today don’t just fight “bad guys”. They fight the movement that paints them in this negative light. It furthers the hate toward officers and makes their job more dangerous.

Apparently Carl is too blinded by his own ignorance to see that the officers were investigating a “shots fired” call. They died trying to make the city he lives in a safer place for everyone. Bless his heart.

– The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 0

Media Headlines Matter

 

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

Today there was yet another news article published somewhere in the United States about the shortage of police applicants in their jurisdiction. Admittedly, I didn’t read the article. The headline stated what we already know, or at least what any reasonable person would suspect. People aren’t applying to be police officers anymore. At least not at the rate they did in the past. (If you could see me as I write this, I’m displaying my best shocked face).

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past four years. Since the Ferguson, Missouri police shooting and the subsequent riots and protests that swept the nation, police officers across the country have been labeled nothing short of racist and blood thirsty monsters. By and large, thanks to the mainstream media in this country. Why? The answer is simple. The controversy surrounding policing in the recent years has made them money. Sadly, it’s that simple. The more people protested, marched, and held rallies, the more the media could give them the microphone to stir the controversy. The more controversial a topic gets, the more clicks, views, and revenue they make. Their job is to make money. Nothing gets more views than something controversial.

How do I know this? I know from experience in writing and posting articles like this one on my website and social media platforms. The number of “views, clicks, or shares” articles get, seem to be directly correlated to the photo or title that accompanies the article. To test this, I’ve posted the exact same article with two different photos and guess which one got more traction? The one with the more controversial and sad photo. Same article. Same title. Different photo. Completely different results in readership. The photo and title I choose for this article will be relevant the first time I post it. Then the following day I will repost it with an even more controversial person in the photo, I’m almost certain, the results will be completely different. We will see how it affects readership and I will update this article. I don’t like or want to be controversial. I started this to be honest, truthful, and give officers a voice. Their side of the story if you will. But, sometimes controversy happens.

Conclusion, the more sad or controversial an article title or photo appears, the more “clicks, reads, or views” it garners. So maybe we as consumers are also to blame? Apparently, America just loves controversy and sadness. This may all be true, but it doesn’t remove responsibility from the mainstream media to be mindful on how they report facts and stories, or worse, how they choose to skew them.

Basically, media headlines matter.

The narrative they push matters and has direct and tragic real life consequences when they create hate that leads to police being ambushed and killed like in Dallas on July 7th, 2016. Other consequences are less tragic, but equally concerning when it comes to the lack of police applicants nationwide. Soon, there will be a crisis. I’m calling it now. Unless the economy crashes and people are in dire need of jobs, police applications will remain low, continually pushing police departments to levels that put officers and the public at risk. Who honestly wants to work holidays, weekends, and be called a monster for doing your job for $60,000 a year? Not to mention the obvious dangers associated with the job.

Sadly, the mainstream media doesn’t care about the repercussions of their controversy creating headlines. They don’t care if people who once strongly desired to be a police officer, are now rethinking their career choice. Can you blame them? After over a decade of wearing the uniform myself, in one of the largest cities in the country, my simple answer is, NO. I don’t blame them. In fact, I think it is wise to really question your desire to be a police officer in 2018 and beyond. If you really, really, want to be one, then do it. Because those are usually the best ones. It’s not just a job, a paycheck, or something you should do half-assed. It’s a serious job, with lifelong consequences for you, your family, and everyone you deal with. If it’s nothing more than a paycheck to you, you’re likely the kind of officer I wish never became one. They generally seem to become officers that make negative headlines in legitimate way.

Buzzwords like “police reform” now flood media headlines and political rallies because somehow “they” believe “they” can change the fact that every day police officers confront the violence most people deny exists. Yet somehow, “they” get upset when the confrontation turns deadly. Well, let’s keep speaking the truth, “they” only get upset if the police officer survives and a citizen dies. However, if the officer happens to be one race and the deceased another, CHACHING!!! Time for an inflammatory headline! Let’s not worry about the facts or circumstances surrounding the incident, publish that inflammatory headline! To hell with the consequences! Who cares about the facts or the fact the entire incident was on video and  likely justified!? Profit through division. Tell me I’m wrong.

Sadly, no matter how many community events police plan, cute lip-sync videos are made, or ice cream cones are handed out in the summer. One even remotely controversial police shooting and we are back to square one with the help of the media. Police are quickly painted with a wide accusatory brush suggesting that because of ONE particluar incident, we must remind you that ALL police are racist, blood thirsty monsters! It’s like a sad game of chutes and ladders.

Meanwhile police recruiters hastily hold up signs at a job fairs, “Sign up folks! Come join the team! It’s the greatest show on earth! Let’s make a difference! You can help people!” Come on, let’s stay on the honesty train. Times have changed and your good intentions no longer matter. It’s now all about what the media headlines say that define police officers’ actions. The media doesn’t care if you are the best officer to ever wear the uniform, never been disciplined, or have 58 medals pinned on your chest. Ultimately, when given the chance you, the American police officer will be crucified to their benefit.

To my knowledge there’s never been a protest or rally after a police officer was shot and killed. If there has been, please enlighten me, because I am unaware of such an incident. Vigils don’t count. Police haters generally spew the usual despicable response when an officer is killed, “That’s what they signed up for.” Get real. No one signs up to die.

I’ll be the first to say, dirty or racist cops of any kind should be fired and go to prison if warranted. The recent 3 year prison sentence of a Police Chief for framing African Americans for crimes they didn’t commit was too short. The punishment should have been harsher for ruining people’s lives, betraying the trust of society, and tarnishing the badge. His despicable acts have consequences for everyone involved and the damage is permanent and likely irreparable. For that, he should’ve been punished more harshly.

To conclude, I will say this. Police officers don’t become police officers to get rich. They don’t become police officers to hurt people. They genuinely view their job as a way to keep the evil from hurting the good. They know their role is to hold those accountable for THEIR bad decisions. Becoming a police officer, is a way to serve their community and bear burdens of which most people are blissfully unaware. They don’t go into notoriously violent communities – no matter what the racial makeup may be – looking to hurt someone.

The next time you hear about a fatality car accident with multiple people killed, a deadly shooting, or any horrific tragedy, pause for a minute and ask yourself, would you want to be the one rushing to that scene? Do you want to see the dead bodies sprawled across the highway? Do want to see the person taking their last breath after being shot by a rival gang member? How would you feel about the fact the media is able to portray you as a monster or an inherent racist with a few simple keystrokes, despite knowing nothing about you? Despite the fact you rush to those scenes without knowing or caring about the race of the victim. You just want to HELP. Would you be able to handle it? Again, I think we know the answer. When you think about it in these terms, the nationwide police application shortage comes as no surprise. There is an elephant in the room. The question is, how long until it reaches a critical point?

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door 

Law Enforcement 3

The School Shooting Solution, Is There One?

schoolshooter2

Every parent’s worst nightmare, a school shooting. I can’t imagine having to experience it as a kid, a teacher, or a parent. I vaguely remember an incident in my high school where a kid brought a gun to class. Luckily, he didn’t use it and the situation was quickly resolved. It was in the classroom across the hall from me, so there’s little doubt I would have been involved to some degree had things gone bad.

Throughout my career, I went through what police call “rapid rescue” or “rapid response” training on more than one occasion. I won’t get into details, but essentially the training was geared toward how to respond to an active shooter, primarily in a large building like a school. When I was a patrol officer on the day shift, I can tell you with absolute certainty, that an active shooter at a school was my worst nightmare. I thought about the possibility of that call coming out every single day, usually as I put my patrol rifle in my squad car at the beginning of my shift. I knew if I had my rifle, I was equipped to get into that situation and handle business with accuracy and confidence. Pistols are just not as accurate, especially at longer distances and under extreme stress, so I was thankful I had that tool. In preparation of my worst nightmare coming true, I studied where all the schools were and even the ones near the borders of my patrol division. I probably should have prepared more and walked through them a few times, but I didn’t. Thankfully, that call never came.

So what is the million dollar school shooting solution? I’ve thought about it, like most of you probably have and I never quite reached a perfect answer. I would hope if there was one, it would have been implemented by now. Short of turning schools into something resembling a prison, I don’t know if there is a hard and fast, guaranteed way to prevent any and all mass shootings in schools. Can you imagine making all of the school windows bulletproof, requiring access cards to get from room to room, pat downs and metal detectors at every entry point, armed guards with a bird’s eye view of the perimeter? Sounds awful.

Also, before I go any further, this topic could turn political quickly and that is certainly not my intention. I am looking at this solely from a police and teacher perspective in regards to their roles in prevention and in ending an incident quickly, should one arise.

First off, I think school resource officers are paramount in every school. They have so many upsides, I don’t see why a school wouldn’t have one. To start, they are there daily and get to know the kids. By always being there, they know who likes who, who fights with who, and may even have an idea of someone that could be at risk of carrying out such an atrocity. As we have seen in the past, there are usually warning signs, but not always. This doesn’t mean that intervention or prevention by police is a certainty. Hindsight is always 20/20.  Sadly, people fail to realize that law enforcement could intervene in certain situations, however, we don’t live in a full on “Big Brother” society that allows police to follow “those suspected of being dangerous” on a 24 hour basis. Police aren’t always ready to step in at the first sign of trouble. That just simply isn’t realistic. I hate to break it to you, that’s just the truth.

Yes, you could arrest a bad apple for making threats or getting into fights or whatever it is that the bad apple did to raise suspicion. If you’re being realistic about how KIDS are dealt with criminally, unless they kill someone, they will eventually be released to a parent or guardian and able to carry out their previous threats, should they be so determined. It’s just a fact. Unless people are honestly willing to lock up kids forever anytime they threaten to carry out a mass shooting, then the notion that it is solely up to the police and justice system to intervene is ridiculous.

Should we arm teachers? Initially, I was like, “Heck yeah we should!” And to some degree, I see benefits of it. But like most things in life, there are also drawbacks or unintended consequences we must consider. To start, where do you keep the firearm and how do you ensure it won’t be taken and used against kids in the school by a bad actor? Even if the teacher keeps it on their person, they could be disarmed by a big angry kid who has been bullied for years. Do you secure it in a safe in the classroom? If so, will the firearm be accessible when it is needed when seconds matter? Which teachers should be armed? Do we take volunteers and only allow those who may have a military background, are avid hunters, or have a concealed weapons permit? That seems to make sense, but it may not be the perfect solution, if one even exists. I don’t see the advantage or forcing someone who has no interest in using a gun, to use one. They’d likely be more of a danger than a help, if an active shooter took place.

Maybe if teachers were armed there would have to be extremely strict rules and protocols that had to be followed? For example, if a shooting is taking place, as soon as the school went into lockdown, any armed teachers must remain in the room they are in, no matter what. An armed teacher could only confront a shooter, IF the shooter managed to enter a “locked down room” and it was vital and necessary to take action, in order to protect themselves and the kids in that particular room. Basically, no running around with pistols in your hand trying to save the day. If a teacher is armed and is actively attempting to find and end the shooting while police are also running into the school, how do they know who are “good guys” and who is the “bad guy”? I know the arguement to this will be, “So just sit there while the shooter is actively killing? It defeats the purpose!” Yes, this topic is difficult. No one shooting is exactly the same. You can plan all day and set up measures to prevent a shooting and one could still happen.

In a recent presentation I attended about the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, the officer said when he ran into the building it was complete chaos. The fire alarms were going off, water was spraying everywhere from bullets that hit waterlines, and everyone was screaming and running. Communication was nearly impossible. Adding teachers running around with guns into the mix, doesn’t seem like a great solution to the problem, it could easily make the incident worse and lead to even more tragedy. That is why I think the lockdown method may be the most realistic. If nearly every room had a gun, then the hope would be that the threat would be neutralized quickly. Of course, everything always sounds good in theory.

Lastly, let’s not forget, it takes a special person to run toward a horrible event like an active shooter. There’s no other way to put it. Human nature tells us to run away. So we need to consider the absolute courage it would take to confront a shooter in a school. Not to mention, asking a teacher to shoot someone they likely know as a student. Horrible to even think about, I know. I can assure you, the idea of it isn’t any better if you’re a police officer. I’ve said this many times in my articles, police officers don’t want to kill anyone. Period. I don’t care if they’re the biggest monster in the world, in the end, you’re taking a life and that isn’t normal. I don’t care what anyone says, it will change you. The training for this type of incident using fake ammunition similar to paint balls, really gets your adrenaline going. I can’t imagine what it is like heading into a live situation where the consequences are real and permanent. I would like to think that if I was charged with handling that kind of situation, I would have in an efficient and effective way. Luckily, I never had to find out.

So what is the solution? I honestly don’t know. I think every solution needs to be heavily thought out and we consider pros and cons of every decision. I think ultimately it starts with parents, and trickles down to teachers and eventually the kids. Bullying is a major issue. I have yet to hear of a situation where a student likely to be voted “Homecoming King” goes on a killing spree to get revenge on all the people that like him. That isn’t a joke, it just highlights an obvious underlying root cause, being bullied, ostracized, and picked on.

So what can parents, teachers, and kids do? Well you know the answer to that. Be smart, be vigilant, and be kind. See something, say something. All the clichés are already out there. Also, we can’t ignore the harsh reality that there is a certain percentage of humans that are just pure evil. There’s no other word for it. Evil. Someone that is pure evil, likely can’t be stopped if they are determined to be evil. If I figure out how to prevent or stop someone from carrying out acts of pure evil, I will let you know. Until then, stay safe and take care.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 2

I’m Thankful, But I Remember

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Source: Unknown

This morning I went through my normal routine of getting ready for the day. Like most people, it involves showering, brushing your teeth, if you still have hair, you fix it. Being that it is the week of the Thanksgiving holiday, I started to think about all the things I’m thankful for in my life.

It’s a long list to be honest. I’m a lucky guy. I’m thankful for my wife, my parents, my brother, my dogs, my job, my home, my health. You get the picture.

Then I started to think about it in a deeper way.

Honestly, I’m thankful I’m not sad.

I’m thankful that this holiday is still enjoyable because I haven’t suffered significant loss or heartache that makes this holiday season unbearable. But I remember those who have.

I’m thankful my family is alive and well. But I remember the families who are spending their holidays in a hospital.

I’m thankful for those who continue to serve our country as first responders and in the military whose service doesn’t take a break on the holidays. But I remember what it was like working on holidays and how much I looked forward to them being over.

Unfortunately, the holidays are not always a fun time for everyone. We all suffer loss and family members pass away. It’s the inevitable circle of life, I dealt with it myself just a few months ago. However, for some people in our society, they may have just lost everything. Their husband or wife, their Mom or Dad, their provider, their hero.

The family of Chicago Police Officer Jimenez is planning a funeral this week, instead of worrying about when they are going to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Officer Jimenez had a wife and three children and did nothing to deserve his fate, other than become a police officer and serve our country. He heard the “shots fired” call come out at a hospital and responded, like any police officer would. He went toward the danger and paid the ultimate price. I’m thankful for him, but I will remember his family during the holidays.

In an odd conflict of emotion, I struggle to simply be thankful and happy, because I know what others are experiencing. I wish I had a solution or something I could say or do to help them, but I know I can’t. These words will do nothing to heal the pain, they’re simply intended show sympathy and understanding that it exists.

No words I can write will stop the pain felt by the families who have lost their hero at the hands of the evil that walks among us.

So when you’re done eating your Thanksgiving turkey and you’re drifting off to nap to the sound of the football game, be thankful and remember those who aren’t so lucky. I know I will be.

I’m Thankful, But I Remember.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 3

The Burden They Carry

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Photo Credit: YouTube

I saw the news break late last night before heading to bed. A shooting reported at a bar in California. I initially thought, “Maybe it’s not a shooting, just gunfire in the area and no one was hurt?” Wishful thinking, but why not? I try to be optimistic.

This thought immediately caused a flashback to July 7th, 2016. A day I can’t seem to escape, despite having not worn that Dallas Police uniform going on 11 months now. The evening the shooting took place – resulting in the death of five police officers – I received a text from my Mom, “Shots fired at the protest.” My response was dismissive and annoyed. Once again, I thought, “shots fired” doesn’t mean anyone got hurt, hopefully it’s just someone being ignorant shooting into the air, trying to be a pain in the ass. Sadly, I was wrong, very wrong.

Despite the fact these events seem to occur much too frequently, it doesn’t make them any easier to accept. I stayed up a little later and watched some more television and eventually went to bed. No matter how much I told myself I’d get some “good sleep” and that I was “tired”, I knew it’d be a crappy night of sleep. All because of a simple “breaking news alert” with little to no information about what transpired. I didn’t know the number of people shot, dead, or if anyone was even shot or dead.

Two hours later, after tossing and turning, battling visions of red and blue lights flickering in my head as if I was at the scene of the shooting when I closed my eyes, I did what anyone does that can’t sleep, I picked up my phone. There it was, confirmation of more disgusting and unthinkable evil in the world. I don’t remember the headline exactly, I just saw the words “dead” and “officer”. I knew more innocent people had been killed and apparently a police officer was among them. What a joke.

I put my phone down in disgust. I’m thousands of miles away, my phone didn’t ring, no bad news came my way personally, yet here I am, struggling. I haven’t worn a bulletproof vest in months, haven’t seen a dead body in years, yet I lie there awake, frustrated, bothered, sad, angry. I think about the victims, who did nothing wrong but go out to have fun with friends. I think about the police officers, firemen, and EMS who ran toward the scene and the horror they were confronted with once they arrived. I think about how they will never be the same and those who survived will also be forever changed.

I don’t know why I still carry this burden, as if I wish I could have been there to help. I’m angry it happened, despite not knowing anyone involved. Maybe that’s just who I am, or more accurately who I was. No matter what happens, especially the bad in the world, I always feel like I should have been there. I should have helped, maybe prevented it, saved a life, something, anything. Not because I want a medal or an award, nothing like that, those are meaningless, but because that was just my mentality for just over 12 years. When bad things happened, I am who you called. It was up to me to help you. Stop the evil, or even better, prevent it.

Each and every time I hear about incidents like what transpired on July 7th, 2016 or November 7th, 2018 at the bar in California, I feel like I’ve let society down. I didn’t do enough. I wish I could have been the officer who out of sheer luck, made a traffic stop as the shooter was on his way to the bar to carry out his evil plot and stopped it all from happening. Wishful thinking and almost silly to think I could be that “good” but I’m just being honest. When these things happen, it pisses me off to my core. It’s just in my DNA I suppose.

Before I was married, I’d be angry that the officer that gave his life was a 29 year veteran police officer and was married. It’s been reported he called his wife to tell her he loved her before rushing into that bar and giving his life in attempt to save others. Why couldn’t it be me instead I’d ask myself. I don’t have a wife. I don’t have kids. It should have been me.

I don’t know why these thoughts rush into my conscience. I don’t ask them to, I certainly don’t want them there. In the end, I know I’m powerless and just have to accept the fact that another tragedy happened and it is over. Just like on July 7th, 2016, I survived, some of my friends didn’t, I have to learn to live with that reality.

Honestly, I should consider myself lucky. Unlike the hundreds of officers who responded to that scene last night, I’ve never done that. I haven’t had to run into complete chaos with dead people everywhere, injured kids crying for help. Maybe that adds to my guilt? Yet another psychological bullet I dodged and my brothers and sister in blue have to absorb.

In the end, I know this, this burden is real. You can’t escape it, you can’t ignore it, and you can’t just make it go away.

It may never go away and I only carried it for 12 years. I can’t imagine 30.

I will forever support those who run toward danger and the burden I know they carry.

Thank an officer today, trust me, they need it.

The Officer Next Door

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