I’ve Seen Evil

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Photo credit: Jason Bullard and Karen Solomon for Blue H.E.L.P

As a police officer, I’ve seen evil.

Unfortunately, I see evil all the time.

Evil has many forms and doesn’t always look the same.

I saw evil at the drug overdose where I found a mother holding her dead son in shock and disbelief.

I saw evil when I arrived at the shooting minutes after it took place and watched the victim take their last breath.

I saw evil when I arrived at the freeway accident caused by a drunk driver and put sheets over the deceased.

I saw evil at every  domestic violence call and the marks evil leaves behind physically and emotionally.

I’ve seen evil alright.

As a police officer, even when I hear about a tragedy across the world, I can’t help but think about evil. Whether I want to or not, I think about what the evil looked like. I think about the brave souls who ran to confront it. And worst of all, I think about the people who didn’t deserve to experience it.

Evil.

It’s everywhere it seems, yet books about law enforcement tell us, “There is more in this world besides evil!”

I know it’s true, yet it’s persistence is formidable.

I’m not complaining. As some skeptics say, “It’s what we signed up for.” And to some degree, they’re right, I did sign up to fight evil. That part is true.

What I didn’t realize is the effect it would have on me. Once you see evil, it changes you, forever.

The badge and uniform I wear, don’t protect me from evil. Evil has killed many like me, in more ways than one.

Evil has killed many of us while we were on-duty, by our own hand, and even through alcohol or drugs. We are not impervious to evil.

The badge and uniform don’t protect us from evil, because what’s behind them, is no different than anyone else.

My heart hurts and tears fall, just like everyone else who confronted by true evil.

Despite all of this no matter what, I want you to know, I won’t quit and let evil win.

I wake up every day hoping to prevent evil and if I’m unable, I will fight to hold it accountable.

I protect and serve. I laugh and cry. I succeed and I fail.

But in the end, I’m a police officer by profession, a human by nature, and a warrior by choice.

Rest easy knowing, I will fight evil, so you don’t have to.

Evil will not win.

The Officer Next Door

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250 Miles and Three Words

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My entire life I have been the daughter of a police officer. I never felt that my dad was in any danger when he left for work every day. He had a ‘regular’ job and he came home every day in one piece. I didn’t give his job a second thought.

On August 9th, 2014, Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. On August 11th, 2014, I walked into my middle school to students yelling “f*** the police”. Hearing kids yell obscenities about police officers, about my father, put his job into perspective.

I realized that his job wasn’t a nine to five; it’s an eight hour shift with a side of two AM call-ins to work a wreck where a four year old child died. I realized that we don’t talk about his day at dinner because he’d rather not talk about the shooting that occurred earlier in the day. I realized that I could tell him goodbye in the morning and never see him again, because he decided to protect and serve a community that didn’t care if he was protected.

What the students at my school don’t realize is that the police, they curse, have a family they hope to go home to every night. They have a spouse that depends on them. They have a son that looks up to them. They have a daughter that they hug in the morning and hope that they’ll get to hug her again that night.

I am that daughter. Now, because of an event 250 miles away and three simple words, I am a daughter that is scared. I fear losing my father to people who don’t respect him like I do. I’m afraid I’ll hug him one morning and won’t be able to hug him that night. But, from all of my worry comes a lesson; I don’t take my father for granted. He gives me my freedom by willingly serving an ungrateful community. I appreciate everything he’s done for me even if others don’t. I respect him for leaving me every morning, not knowing what he has planned for the day, to keep me safe.

Every morning, I do the same thing. I wrap my arms around my father and feel his bulletproof vest under his navy blue uniform and I hug him a little tighter. My head rests against his cold, silver badge over his heartbeat and I stay a little longer. I don’t want to let him go because I don’t know what lies ahead, but I let go. As he walks out the front door, I pray for one more day.

-The Daughter of a Police Officer

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

I Made It Home The Way I Left – A Day In The Life of a Police Officer

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You’ve heard this line before. “Every day, I kiss my family goodbye, hoping I return the way I left.”

It’s just another shift, another day in the life as a police officer.

I walk out the door and head to my car. My mind already starting to think about the shift ahead. I’m in uniform, so naturally I’m in “police mode” as I drive to the station. I wonder what will happen today.

As I near the station, the stress settles in, I wonder what kind of internal nonsense will be thrown my way. Will it be internal affairs saying they’re conducting another investigation? Could my promotion be in jeopardy? Or will it be my sergeant with the latest policy changes or list of new “initiatives” they’re implementing. Which is code for “another hat to wear, more work to do, but no more time to do it.”

It seems every shift starts with a barrage of negativity from within, we need to do this, stop doing that, do more this, nothing positive, nothing but negative that rolls downhill. It just never ends.

The “beatings will continue until morale improves.” That t-shirt couldn’t be more true most days.

We wear many hats during our shift. We are police officers, mental health workers, social workers, civil dispute solvers, armed secretaries, accident investigators, and worst of all, “uniformed parents” for those who don’t know how to parent themselves.

Luckily, today was a good day. No scolding from the command staff, no negativity, just the usual information on recent crimes. No good news of course. We are police officers, so inherently all we hear about is crime, sadness, and people being harmed. It takes a toll, but we don’t admit it.

Finally, I’m out in the field. A small sense of reprieve washes over me as I enjoy being out in the neighborhood I patrol. I get my usual coffee and head to take care of the list of “checks” I was assigned from my supervisor. Drive by this vacant house, stop by a recently vandalized park, and check on a business that was robbed last week.

As I’m approaching my first “honey-do” item from my supervisor, an officer calls out for help on the radio. Shots were fired in the area and he’s in a foot pursuit. I’m not far away so I rush to his aid.

The “honey-do” list from Sarge will have to wait another day, surely I’ll hear about it tomorrow.

Driving fast with lights and sirens, I rush to help my fellow officer. His voice was elevated, as he was running and trying to talk on the radio. I round the corner and see the suspect running across a field with an object in his hand. My adrenaline is pumping as I get closer and closer to the suspect.

Before I know it, I’m on the ground running after a guy I’ve never met. I don’t know why he’s running, what he just did, or what he plans to do next, I can only assume the worst but hope for the best. I’m really hoping that isn’t a gun in his hand.

Before long, the suspect tires and is taken into custody without incident. It turns out he did have a gun. Thankfully he tossed it to the ground just before giving up and laying down.

The gun is reported stolen, taken in a home break-in the week before. The guy is wanted for aggravated robbery and happens to be a convicted felon. A great outcome all around.

A gun off the street. A violent person in jail for his warrant and new gun charge.

As we walk him to the squad car, we hear the usual appreciation from his friendsin the neighborhood. “F*ck the laws!” As they video us talking to their phones like reporters for the 5 o’clock news. Their account of what happened filled with embellishment and anger.

“Y’all are racist!” Another kid yells as he videos us defiantly.

We’re recording too. The entire thing is on video. What should be a rock solid case, could very well turn into more probation. But that is out of our hands. Sadly, we will see this guy again. “Criminal justice reform” they call it.

As I get back to my squad car, I notice a missed call from my wife. The kids are already asleep. I missed my chance to say goodnight.

The rest of shift is fairly uneventful. I even managed to grab a bite to eat with my buddy that works the same area.

We had a few laughs and talked about the latest changes made by the command staff. It’s amazing how much policing has changed over the years. I head back to the station nearly an hour before my shift ends. It’s mandated I download my body camera and squad car footage before I go home every night. I complete the required paperwork that once took ten minutes, now takes almost twenty.

I head home almost on time. I sneak into the house trying not to wake everyone. The dog greets me at the door and my wife is relieved to hear the sound of velcro as I take off my bulletproof vest.

To her, I made it home the way I left.

A quick shower and I hop in bed. My wife has already fallen back to sleep knowing I’m home safe. I lie down but can’t fall asleep. My shift plays back in my head as if it’s a movie. Did I do all the required paperwork? Did I forget to put anything in that arrest report? As I close my eyes, images from the dead body call just before shift end pop into my head.

Frustrated, I toss and turn for 30 minutes and finally drift off to sleep. It’s not a restful sleep. My dreams are vivid and unfortunately, I’m at work again. I can’t escape it as I’m in a yet another foot pursuit, only this time the guy turns quickly and shoots four times. I stop and squeeze the trigger as hard as I can, but no matter what I do, my gun won’t fire. The bad guy keeps shooting and I’m panicking. What the hell is wrong with my gun!? Eventually, a bullet slowly rolls out of my gun and I wake up in a panic.

My wife asks me if I’m okay. I lie and say, “Yes, just another dream.” She’s heard it before.

Physically, I made it home the way I left, but with each shift I’m forever changed.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

The “Thin Blue Line of Silence” Doesn’t Exist – Facts Over Feelings

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Luckily, I don’t believe the “thin blue line of silence” exists in 2019.

Say what you want. Conjure up conspiracy theories. I am telling you right now, the “thin blue line of silence” is no longer an epidemic or real thing. I know this article will cause plenty of anti-police groups to attack my social media page or comment on my website with profanity laced ignorance, so be it.

At least read what I have to say about “dirty cops” before you lose your mind with anti-government rhetoric and “bootlicker” comments.

You can support police and condemn the bad ones. This doesn’t make you a “bootlicker.” Nor does that mean you don’t support the police.

Good police, don’t support bad police, it’s that simple.

But here we go anyways.

The Police Perspective

Policing in 2019 has evolved in many ways that not only enhance transparency, but embrace it. Almost every police officer I’ve asked about the use of body cameras, has told me they love them. Why? Because they protect them.

Many skeptics seem to believe police officers will go to great lengths to lie for each other. Luckily, with the implementation of body cameras, most things are recorded. As such, there’s little debate about what happened during an incident once you hit play. How can you lie if it is on video?

Did the officer swear, be disrespectful, say something racial, plant evidence, or sexually assault a prisoner?

All these things have been alleged and quickly disproven by body camera footage. Conversely, any lying on the part of police officers, will be quickly exposed and handled accordingly.

Simply put, bad police officers make the job of good police officers more difficult. As such, it does no police officer any good to protect one that is openly in the wrong, dirty, or corrupt.

Eventually that “bad” police officer will do something stupid, make headlines, causing the profession as a whole to take two steps backwards with the community. Why would any police officer want that to happen? Potentially make their job more dangerous or difficult?

Here’s a newsflash, working riots or protests as a police officer are not fun. Not even a little bit.

What’s almost comical is the notion that zero accountability or discipline takes place internally. If you were to take a poll of 1000 police officers about the stressors of the job, I can almost bet with complete certainty the number one cause of stress as a police officer, comes from the internal workings of the job.  Internal discipline, policy changes, pressure to perform, poor leadership or management, the list goes on. It’s commonly talked about by police officers as their biggest stressor and likely a big contributor to the police suicide epidemic we are now seeing.

Also, not every “bad” or ‘dirty” cop is conducting such corrupt behavior out in the open. We live in a time where you are on camera nearly every minute you are in public. If you add in a body camera (assuming a dirty cop would properly use it) then they’re almost always on camera.

As such, if they are operating in a manner that is corrupt or dirty, you can be rest assured they are doing so in a manner that is hard to see or detect. But not everything they do that is “dirty” is out in the open. They could be tipping off drug dealers of impending drug raids, running an illegal side business, or any other number of corrupt acts that may not always pertain directly to their daily duties or be visible to co-workers.

There is this overwhelming belief from people that comment on my articles on social media or this website, that police officers should be “arresting” their fellow officers or watching their every move to keep them accountable. This sounds good in theory, however, most police officers are either in their patrol car alone, or have a partner.

If you have a partner, odds are you and that partner answer and handle most calls alone as a pair. Therefore, your ability to “oversee” the actions of your co-workers during the shift is impossible, or improbable. Of course, these dynamics vary depending on the size of the city, department etc. It’s like suggesting the secretary on the third floor should be able to tell you if the secretary on the fifth floor takes too long of a lunch break every day. Police officers operate independently more often that the public realizes.

Either way, police officers owe it to themselves to report anything illegal, corrupt, or immoral. I believe this happens far more than the general public realizes. I can think of multiple examples off the top of my head, but maybe that’s because I pay attention to such things.

Quick Story

Once, while working a case in narcotics, something troubling popped up suggesting an officer could be dirty. I immediately showed the other officers in my squad and we agreed it needed to be looked into. We took it to our supervisor and called a meeting with the unit that investigated potentially criminal acts by police officers. They took it from there. Eventually, he was busted doing something criminal, but unrelated to my initial concern. He is no longer a police officer. Fine with me. No room for people like him.

The point is, my co-workers were as eager as I was, to refer this potentially dirty officer to the “powers that be.” The misconception that police officers want to protect dirty cops makes no sense. The general attitude I always see from officers regarding a dirty cop is, “Get rid of them!”

That being said, people also seem to forget that police officers still have rights. They surrender some of them as an employee, like an expectation of privacy in their work locker for example. But they do have a right to a lawyer, to remain silent if charged with a crime, or any other right that citizens are afforded in the criminal justice system.

Conclusion

In the end, the point remains, the thin blue line of silence is not real. No police officer or police department stands to benefit from lying to protect each other. Even if such things allegedly existed years or decades ago, I can assure you things have changed.

The sad irony in our society, is we are quick to be upset if anyone is judged as a whole for the actions of a few, yet that idea is completely acceptable for the public when it comes to police officers. Why?

We must punish those who deserve it, harshly and quickly, for betraying the public trust.

But we must not allow such incidents to tarnish the rest and impact the ability of the “good” to effectively and efficiently do their jobs.

If we allow this, we will all lose.

It’s happening more than you think. A recruiting crisis is brewing, if not already here.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

“No-Knock” Search Warrants Are Not the Enemy, Violent Criminals With Guns Are

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I won’t speculate on how the search warrant in Houston was carried out in regards to tactical specifics. Did they hit lights and sirens on a patrol car? Did they scream “Police!” as they were making entry? I don’t know. At this point, even that aspect of that tragedy is convoluted with no concrete answers on what transpired. Needless to say, there’s no point in speculating and making a bad situation worse. Immediately after the tragedy, comments were made about “stopping no-knock warrants” in Houston by Chief Acevedo. A typical response by a Chief scrambling to appease the masses. I could elaborate for pages abouit that topic, however, this article is simply aimed at explaining the two methods of search warrant executions, that’s all.

This topic is inherently controversial, even amongst police officers. It’s similar to a Chevy vs Ford debate in the sense that it comes down to personal preference and opinion, except it gets much more heated. Why? I think because some people are adamant that one method is more dangerous than the other. Other police officers make the argument you can get shot, or end up shooting someone, regardless of which method is used. Either way, I’ll do my best to explain every aspect of search warrants without writing a book and let the fiery debates and arguments begin!

SEARCH WARRANT BASICS

I have just over three years of personal experience writing and executing narcotics search warrants, so this article is written solely based on that experience and does not reflect current policies or procedures as they may have changed. It’s also important to understand that every agency has their own way of writing and executing search warrants. Depending on their training, department policies, the district attorney’s office, or simply preference in style, search warrants will generally vary to some degree from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Having said that, every search warrant is the same, in that it must have a few basic necessities in order to be signed by a judge. First and foremost, it must articulate probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed and the search warrant in which you are applying for, is seeking permission to go somewhere and search for evidence that relates to that specific crime.

So for the purposes of discussing narcotics search warrants, most evidentiary warrants I wrote, sought permission to enter a residence and search for narcotics. The warrant was based on the fact that either I or a confidential informant purchased narcotics from that residence. There are other methods but for the purposes of this article, that is all I’ll cover.

At this point, all search warrants are the same, in that they will simply describe in great detail the location they intend to search, the person(s) (if known) they believe are in care, custody, and control of the residence, and it will detail why you think there are drugs being sold from the residence.

“KNOCK AND ANNOUNCE” WARRANTS

The one way search warrants differ, is whether or not you as the lead detective would add a “no knock clause” in the search warrant. In simple terms, this clause, if GRANTED by the Judge, allows the entry team to go to the residence and immediately begin working on the making entry into the residence. On the contrary, a warrant without a “no knock clause” would have to be executed in a normal “knock and announce” fashion. This is the “default” way a warrant will be executed.

A “knock and announce” search warrant, means that the officers executing the search warrant do not believe there is any exigency in entering the residence quickly. For example, if they are searching for a murder suspect, or evidence that cannot be destroyed, there is no exigency for an entry team to quickly get inside. Additionally, if it is the belief that knocking and announcing their presence would NOT endanger the police officers in any way, then they would not include a “no knock” clause in their warrant.

This warrant would be executed by showing up, surrounding the residence, and announcing their presence with directions for anyone inside to exit the residence. The warrant team would take up positions of cover and wait a “reasonable” amount of time for anyone to exit the residence. Eventually, if there is no answer, they will go ahead and make entry into the residence. A slow and methodical search for the person or evidence they are seeking will be conducted, with or without the consent of anyone inside.

THE “NO-KNOCK” WARRANT EXPLAINED

A “no knock” clause would be added and applied for, if any of the previously mentioned details were different. If the lead detective felt knocking and announcing their presence, waiting an undetermined “reasonable amount of time” to allow people to exit the residence, would hinder their investigation or create a more dangerous situation for the officers, a no-knock clause would be included in the search warrant. This clause is subject to approval by the reviewing judge or magistrate and could be denied.

Examples of why a “no knock” clause would be applied for include but are not limited to: The drugs being sold inside the residence could be easily and readily destroyed. Drug dealers utilize multiple methods to destroy their drugs quickly in the event the police show up. This would have to be articulated in detail for example they have a constant open flame, a hot plate with oil, or they sell out of the bathroom next to a toilet. Other factors include the residence being heavily barricaded with cages, which means it will take a significant amount of time to gain entry (element of surprise is gone). There are cameras that will likely tip off the drug dealers that the entry team is there (element of surprise is gone). Guns and other weapons have been observed inside the drug house, or any other articulable facts that a reasonable person would believe that standing outside the residence, announcing their presence and waiting for the occupants to surrender, would either allow for the destruction of evidence or potentially pose a greater threat to the officers as they wait to be allowed inside.

It’s important to note that even in a “no-knock” warrant situation, the likelihood that suspected drug dealers do not see the police coming or are not somehow alerted, is slim to none in most instances. Drug dealers go to great lengths to give themselves the best chance to destroy evidence, or flee the residence in hopes of not being arrested. This is their job. They plan for the possibility of getting caught and do everything in their power to avoid it.

THE DEBATE

This is where the debate among police officers and citizens alike gets hairy. Some police officers feel that no amount of drugs are “worth their life” and therefore, any method other than a “no knock” warrant should be employed in order to catch the violent drug dealers that plague our streets with drugs and related violence. Others, feel it is a worthy cause and that warrants no matter how they are executed, carry risk.

I think when it comes to the public and maybe some police officers who haven’t executed these kinds of warrants themselves, the common misconception is that a “no knock” warrant means nothing is being said, no warning or announcement is given while entry is being made. This couldn’t be FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

During a “no-knock” search warrant execution, upon reaching the doorway or caged door of the drug house in question, the second they begin working on breaking open the door or removing caged barricades, the entire entry team begins announcing their presence by yelling “Police!” At this point, the secret is out, they are there and they are coming in.

The main difference in “no-knock” versus “knock and announce” is the officers are authorized to immediately work on making entry (break down or open caged doors or barricades) once they arrive and immediately enter without waiting for people to surrender on their own.

Most of these houses are not “houses” as you think of them. Many of them are “trap houses” that may be rented by someone and outfitted to solely sell narcotics from them. They don’t have furniture, beds, dishes, etc. They have heavily barricaded doors and windows, hidden compartments, and maybe an air mattress or a couch where the drug dealers hang out and play video games while they wait for their next customer. It’s a business folks, they protect it by any means necessary.

I hope this explains “knock and announce” vs “no-knock” and dispels some rumors or myths about how they are obtained and more importantly explains how they are executed.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Houston Police Chief Prematurely Alleges Officers Lied To Obtain Search Warrant, Causes Widespread Controversy and Anger

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Let me start by saying, I disagree with how Chief Acevedo has handled this incident. Before the completion of the investigation, he has publicly stated he believes there were “mistruths” in the search warrant affidavit. Then Chief Acevedo doubled down and said, “I’m very confident that we’re going to have criminal charges on one or more police officers,” according to an article from NPR.

Such allegations are concerning, no doubt.

However, he could have simply stated: “As with every police involved shooting, we are conducting an extensive internal investigation into this incident. We are also reviewing the narcotics investigation that precluded the execution of the search warrant to ensure everything was done properly. I can assure the citizens of Houston, IF any criminal misconduct or policy violations are found, they will be handled swiftly and properly. Any criminal charges or administrative discipline deemed necessary, will be forth coming once the internal investigation is COMPLETED.”

Boom. Done. Simple.

Then we wait and see what happens. If misconduct is found, file charges, issue terminations, announce it, and be transparent at that time.

Instead, he released detailed allegations that are potentially criminal in nature. I disagree with this approach. You can be transparent and promote accountability without throwing your troops under the bus BEFORE an investigation is completed.

Continuing his tornado of knee-jerk statements, Chief Acevedo stated the Houston Police Department will no longer use “no-knock” search warrants, in a heated meeting with a group of activists and members of the public.

The method of HOW they served the warrant was NOT the reason bad things happened. The shooting could have still taken place if different search warrant tactics were used. The fact remains, the people inside the house decided to shoot at police officers.

Remember how the Chief stated this all transpired in an article dated January 28, 2019, in USA TODAY:

“Suspects opened fire as soon as officers breached the door at a residence in southeast Houston, Police Chief Art Acevedo said at an evening press conference. Two suspects died at the scene from police gunfire, but Acevedo said police do not know how many suspects shot at police.

About a dozen narcotics officers and six patrol officers, Acevedo said, were at the scene to serve the warrant and provide support to investigate the sale of black tar heroin. Officers breached the front door just before 5 p.m. local time while announcing themselves and hitting the siren and lights on a patrol car.”

However, that has all changed, because on Monday, February 18th, an article from the New York Times stated the following:

“Chief Acevedo stated the Police Department would largely end the practice of forcibly entering homes to search them without warning as officers did the evening of the deadly raid. Moving forward, he said that if officers want to use the tactic, known as no-knock warrants, they would need his permission.”

Without warning? I thought they announced themselves while breaching the door, hitting the lights and siren on a patrol car? I don’t know about you, but to me, that is warning.

Yelling: “Police! Search warrant!” + Siren noise = warning. Not to mention it was 5 p.m., not exactly dark out. I can only imagine they were wearing articles of clothing and/or body armor with the word “POLICE” clearly displayed on them.

So why is this such a debacle? Maybe because Acevedo rushes in front of the cameras to say ANYTHING at all, in hopes of appeasing the public. By doing so, he makes himself and the Houston Police Department look foolish. No one likes flip-flopping. Wait for the facts, it isn’t that difficult.

Search warrant tactical debates aside, I see nothing wrong with saying the following: IF the Houston narcotics detective(s) lied, cut corners, fabricated facts, or did anything untruthful to obtain the search warrant, they deserve to be punished.

If you have a problem with me saying that, fine. Don’t follow me or read my articles. I started this website to tell the truth about policing from an officer’s perspective. My main goal is fighting false and inflammatory narratives that exist today, making police officers’ jobs more dangerous.

The very same narratives that lead to people becoming radicalized and killing my co-workers in Dallas, Texas on July 7th, 2016, or days after in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

That is why I say if wrong, they deserve to be punished.

The public needs to hear that statement.

This isn’t me saying ANYONE is guilty, anyone lied, or speculating before an investigation is complete. It is an “IF THEN” statement. IF wrong, THEN punish them. IF they did nothing wrong, THEN they should be vindicated. Presumed innocent, until proven guilty like anyone else.

It’s the Chief’s fault for releasing such detailed allegations this early, while the detective was still in the hospital. His statements and the specificity of them, are the reason the controversy about truthfulness exists.

Part of fighting the false narrative of  “thin blue line of cover-ups” involves admitting mistakes, accepting responsibility for poor decisions, and denouncing behavior that is detrimental to police officers’ reputations. This needs to be done regularly and doesn’t suggest we can’t fight false accusations or stand behind an officer when they are in the right.

In today’s society, if you remain silent about something even POTENTIALLY negative, the masses assume you condone it. It’s that simple.

Put simply, a dishonest police officer has wide spread, long lasting, negative ramifications on the entire profession.

Recently, the FBI announced they are conducting an investigation collaboratively, yet independently, into the search warrant and possible civil rights violations.

As I mentioned, I have multiple follow up articles planned regarding this incident and related topics.

They include: Search warrants – “no-knock” versus “knock announce” how they differ and the pros and cons about each of them, the myths about the “THIN BLUE LINE OF SILENCE”, and lastly, how knee jerk policy changes by police chiefs simply attempt to appease the public but do more harm than good.

So stay tuned and feel free to subscribe for email notifications when an article is published.

As always, thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

“Police Shoot Unarmed Man!” The False Narrative of an Epidemic, Proven Wrong By The Numbers

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Below are the statistics of fatal officer involved shootings according to a Washington Post study that began in 2015.

These statistics and this article serve as the foundation for topics I plan to discuss in the future.

Fatal police shootings, unarmed fatal police shootings, race as it relates to fatal police shootings, and lastly, the media’s coverage of such tragic events.

Highly contested topics, no doubt. But topics I feel need to be addressed, despite the expected backlash from trolls, anti-police haters, and career criminals. They will likely come out of the woodwork, spew hate in a feeble attempt to feel better about themselves. That’s fine, their hate and how it plays into the cycle of violence in America will be discussed in a future article.

Here are the numbers broken down by year, race, and a second set of numbers focused ONLY on the unarmed fatal shootings:

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A few things to note regarding the unarmed shooting statistics.

The Washington Post does a great job of taking their data collection one step further when classifying these incidents. They track subcategories regarding unarmed shootings which are, “attack in progress” and “mental illness.”

These contributing factors alone do not justify the officer’s actions. That is NOT what I am suggesting. However, it usually adds context as to why the incident took place and could justify the shooting.

For example, the unarmed statistics include people who were reported to have fought police, attempted to take their gun, or reached into their waistband or jacket. Though tragic, this could justify the officer’s actions in most cases. And certainly changes the perception that these people did nothing at all to cause the shooting to occur.

I can already hear the haters.

“Fighting the police shouldn’t be a death sentence!”

I agree. I wish it never happened. I wish people never fought the police. I wish the police never had to shoot anyone. Wouldn’t that be a great society to live in?

Unfortunately, that is not reality.

This does not excuse officers who use deadly force unjustifiably. Nor does it negate people’s bad decisions to fight police, attempt to disarm police, or disobey commands and reach into their waistband. The police didn’t force them to make such horrible decisions, they simply reacted to it.

Unfortunately, this line of thinking, suggests we are being rational and honest when assigning blame for what transpired. A difficult task in a country fueled on media headlines and emotion. People who refuse to read an article and gathering facts before simply taking a headline as gospel, good, bad, or otherwise.

Somehow it is lost on some people, if you don’t fight the police, you’ll likely be lumped into the 60+ million annual encounters between police and citizens where NOTHING bad happens. Yes, as of 2015, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 60+ million encounters occur annually between police and citizens every year.

Lastly, and most importantly, a narrative exists that suggests police shooting unarmed people has become an “epidemic” in America. The narrative suggests that the trend is increasing or worsening.

However, a quick review of these statistics collected by a third party, a presumably unbiased news source nonetheless, would suggest otherwise.

In fact, it appears to suggest the opposite, a downward trend since 2015 in unarmed shootings by police in America. Interesting to say the least. You would think this would be good news. Fewer shootings, less tragedy. But yet the media remains silent, waiting for the next possibility to stir controversy through headlines.

The new rhetoric and sentiment remain, “the police are the enemy.”

More on this, the media, and related topics to come.

Be safe and thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door