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Category: Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement 0

No Matter What The Jury Decides, I’ll Accept It – ‘In Tragedy, There Are No Winners’

guyger jean photo

The former Dallas police officer came home from work, parked her vehicle in the parking garage and walked to her apartment. Or at least what she thought was her apartment. These are the parts of our day we do on autopilot. Like your morning routine, you don’t think about it, you just do it.

Tragically, this autopilot aspect of life, led Amber Guyger to the same apartment door as hers, but on the wrong floor. To keep the horrible sequence of events going, the apartment door she walked to was defective or installed improperly and didn’t always close on its own like it was designed to do.

She puts her electronic key to the door, but it doesn’t work. That’s when she notices the door isn’t completely shut. She pushes the door open and walks into the apartment. As she stands in the entry way, she sees a shadowy figure in the light of the television. She gives commands common for a police officer about showing their hands. As the figure moves some more, she fires twice, hitting the figure once in the upper left chest, what proved to be a fatal wound.

(This is a summary of the testimony heard during the trail, it is not intended to be all encompassing of every detail from the trail, that transcript alone would be countless pages long)

Unfortunately, the true nightmare had just begun. She wasn’t in her apartment, the person wasn’t an intruder intending to do harm. Instead, the apartment belonged to the person she just shot, Botham Jean. A guy sitting on his own couch doing nothing wrong, certainly not expecting someone to come through his door and start shouting commands at him. Guyger begins to do CPR and calls 911 on her phone.

Many people scrutinized this move as she was in full uniform and had her police radio with her. I for one, was not big on getting on my police radio when I was off duty. In a big city like Dallas, radio traffic is almost constant. When you get on the radio and begin telling the dispatcher who you are and what just happened, the dispatcher is generally confused because they aren’t expecting to hear from you. Generally, you spend about the same amount of time telling them who you are, what your badge number is so they can “log you onto the system” as it would to just tell 911 what just happened. Calling 911 can actually be just as quick or efficient in that case.

As the panic continues, she apparently runs out to meet the responding officers. Once they arrive, they continue to attempt life saving measures, but the wound is not in a good place and the innocent man dies.

As a former police officer, I imagine everyone reading thinks I believe she’s innocent. I’m too biased to say she deserves to go to prison for what she did. Well, you’re not entirely correct. What I understand, is how she got to that doorstep, perceived what she thought was an unknown person in her apartment, and made the decision to shoot to defend herself. I understand the mindset. Does that mean she’s innocent? No. That’s up to the jury.

As countless people that lived in that complex testified, getting lost or parking on the wrong floor of that apartment complex was an easy thing to do. Does that absolve her of all criminal culpability and responsibility? No, that’s not what I’m saying. I just realize we are human, and we are usually on auto pilot during some aspects of our life, walking from your car to your door is usually one of them.

Yes, she should be more observant. Yes, she was apparently talking, texting, or “sexting” with someone, which could have contributed to her being distracted. But absent her being on her phone, this could have still happened. If his door was working properly, this may have been prevented. If only she looked up and saw the door number and realized she was on the wrong floor, this could have been prevented.

If only… if only… so many things you wish happened to stop this horrible sequence of events from transpiring, but they didn’t. Making the tragedy even more difficult to stomach.

One thing I will point out is her reaction to what just took place, isn’t unusual for someone who has experienced firsthand fear and stress of a deadly force situation. Many officers I’ve known that were involved in a shooting or were shot at on duty (myself included), know what those incidents are like and your reaction afterwards can be odd. Everyone reacts differently. There’s no playbook. There’s no do-overs like in training. There’s no stopping your physiological responses that in some instances cause you to react oddly, or even wrongly.

Of course, as we sit here a year later, it’s easy to nitpick and say what looks right or wrong. What she should have done or not done. But as we sit her offering our criticism, we aren’t realizing we just shot someone thinking they were in your apartment. I don’t know many people that would be perfectly under control in that moment. Life as you know it is over. A million things run through your mind. You freeze, panic, experience a range of emotions in a matter of seconds. Anger, sadness, panic, grief, anger, regret, self-doubt.

Worst of all, Mr. Jean lost his life. That is the most tragic part of this entire situation. I can’t imagine what his family is going through. If that was my brother, I’d be beyond furious. If it was my brother, I too would want justice, but I also would walk in her shoes. She didn’t want this to happen. She didn’t seek this man out with a plan to kill him. This was the culmination of a million things going right, as a result, what happened was wrong in every possible way.

I am simply trying to look at this entire case from an objective point of view. Not an emotional point of view. It’s obviously tragic and emotional. However, if emotion or the amount of tragedy dictated how our criminal justice system worked, the system would operate much differently. People who kill others would never get probation or light sentences. People who commit aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, or aggravated sexual assault, would never get probation or light sentences, but it happens. More than people realize. The haters think only police get light sentences. Well that’s changing and rightfully so. Not long ago, an officer was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a bad shooting from this same county, the same courthouse, the same system.

Society today is so quick to judge situations they’ve never been in. People read headlines and hear tidbits of information and form an opinion. Many of us haven’t served on a jury and decided after hearing ALL the facts presented. Yet, we all have our two cents about what a verdict should be, without sitting in that jury box.

That brings me to my final point. Reading this you may still think I’m biased because I tried to explain a few things about how she reacted and how we all react differently under extreme stress. I don’t care how much you train, until things really hit the fan, you never really know how you will react.

Having said that, I will accept whatever verdict the jury renders. Why? Because I must believe in the system. If they find her guilty of murder, manslaughter, or find her innocent, I will accept it.

Rioting will change NOTHING. Yet, the threats of riots and retaliation on police officers are already abundant on social media. I know there is nothing I can type to prevent a possible violent reaction to the verdict. If I could, I would. Until my finger stopped working. Sadly, some of us feel violence is the answer to tragedy. It makes little sense. At least to me.

You may say, “Easy for you, your friend, brother, community member wasn’t killed in his own apartment doing nothing wrong.”

You’d be right in this case.

But I can say, having been to countless police funerals, I know what it is like to see someone die tragically and senselessly, at no fault of their own. I know how it feels to be angry about what happened and want vengeance. However, such an approach to life would lead to an even uglier society than we have today.

The criminal justice system isn’t perfect. Police officers aren’t perfect. Humans are not perfect. Every system, every person, has flaws. We must continually work to be better.

Whatever the jury decides, I will accept it.

I wish others did the same, but I fear that won’t be the case.

In tragedy, there are no winners.

The Officer Next Door

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Law Enforcement 2

As The Jury Deliberates the Fate of Former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, Consider This…

guyger jean photo

The former Dallas police officer came home from work, parked her vehicle in the parking garage and walked to her apartment. Or at least what she thought was her apartment. These are the parts of our day we do on autopilot. Like your morning routine, you don’t think about it, you just do it.

Tragically, this autopilot aspect of life, led Amber Guyger to the same apartment door as hers, but on the wrong floor. To keep the horrible sequence of events going, the apartment door she walked to was defective or installed improperly and didn’t always close on its own like it was designed to do.

She puts her electronic key to the door, but it doesn’t work. That’s when she notices the door isn’t completely shut. She pushes the door open and walks into the apartment. As she stands in the entry way, she sees a shadowy figure in the light of the television. She gives commands common for a police officer about showing their hands. As the figure moves some more, she fires twice, hitting the figure once in the upper left chest, what proved to be a fatal wound.

(This is a summary of the testimony heard during the trail, it is not intended to be all encompassing of every detail from the trail, that transcript alone would be countless pages long)

Unfortunately, the true nightmare had just begun. She wasn’t in her apartment, the person wasn’t an intruder intending to do harm. Instead, the apartment belonged to the person she just shot, Botham Jean. A guy sitting on his own couch doing nothing wrong, certainly not expecting someone to come through his door and start shouting commands at him. Guyger begins to do CPR and calls 911 on her phone.

Many people scrutinized this move as she was in full uniform and had her police radio with her. I for one, was not big on getting on my police radio when I was off duty. In a big city like Dallas, radio traffic is almost constant. When you get on the radio and begin telling the dispatcher who you are and what just happened, the dispatcher is generally confused because they aren’t expecting to hear from you. Generally, you spend about the same amount of time telling them who you are, what your badge number is so they can “log you onto the system” as it would to just tell 911 what just happened. Calling 911 can actually be just as quick or efficient in that case.

As the panic continues, she apparently runs out to meet the responding officers. Once they arrive, they continue to attempt life saving measures, but the wound is not in a good place and the innocent man dies.

As a former police officer, I imagine everyone reading thinks I believe she’s innocent. I’m too biased to say she deserves to go to prison for what she did. Well, you’re not entirely correct. What I understand, is how she got to that doorstep, perceived what she thought was an unknown person in her apartment, and made the decision to shoot to defend herself. I understand the mindset. Does that mean she’s innocent? No. That’s up to the jury.

As countless people that lived in that complex testified, getting lost or parking on the wrong floor of that apartment complex was an easy thing to do. Does that absolve her of all criminal culpability and responsibility? No, that’s not what I’m saying. I just realize we are human, and we are usually on auto pilot during some aspects of our life, walking from your car to your door is usually one of them.

Yes, she should be more observant. Yes, she was apparently talking, texting, or “sexting” with someone, which could have contributed to her being distracted. But absent her being on her phone, this could have still happened. If his door was working properly, this may have been prevented. If only she looked up and saw the door number and realized she was on the wrong floor, this could have been prevented.

If only… if only… so many things you wish happened to stop this horrible sequence of events from transpiring, but they didn’t. Making the tragedy even more difficult to stomach.

One thing I will point out is her reaction to what just took place, isn’t unusual for someone who has experienced firsthand fear and stress of a deadly force situation. Many officers I’ve known that were involved in a shooting or were shot at on duty (myself included), know what those incidents are like and your reaction afterwards can be odd. Everyone reacts differently. There’s no playbook. There’s no do-overs like in training. There’s no stopping your physiological responses that in some instances cause you to react oddly, or even wrongly.

Of course, as we sit here a year later, it’s easy to nitpick and say what looks right or wrong. What she should have done or not done. But as we sit her offering our criticism, we aren’t realizing we just shot someone thinking they were in your apartment. I don’t know many people that would be perfectly under control in that moment. Life as you know it is over. A million things run through your mind. You freeze, panic, experience a range of emotions in a matter of seconds. Anger, sadness, panic, grief, anger, regret, self-doubt.

Worst of all, Mr. Jean lost his life. That is the most tragic part of this entire situation. I can’t imagine what his family is going through. If that was my brother, I’d be beyond furious. If it was my brother, I too would want justice, but I also would walk in her shoes. She didn’t want this to happen. She didn’t seek this man out with a plan to kill him. This was the culmination of a million things going right, as a result, what happened was wrong in every possible way.

I am simply trying to look at this entire case from an objective point of view. Not an emotional point of view. It’s obviously tragic and emotional. However, if emotion or the amount of tragedy dictated how our criminal justice system worked, the system would operate much differently. People who kill others would never get probation or light sentences. People who commit aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, or aggravated sexual assault, would never get probation or light sentences, but it happens. More than people realize. The haters think only police get light sentences. Well that’s changing and rightfully so. Not long ago, an officer was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a bad shooting from this same county, the same courthouse, the same system.

Society today is so quick to judge situations they’ve never been in. People read headlines and hear tidbits of information and form an opinion. Many of us haven’t served on a jury and decided after hearing ALL the facts presented. Yet, we all have our two cents about what a verdict should be, without sitting in that jury box.

That brings me to my final point. Reading this you may still think I’m biased because I tried to explain a few things about how she reacted and how we all react differently under extreme stress. I don’t care how much you train, until things really hit the fan, you never really know how you will react.

Having said that, I will accept whatever verdict the jury renders. Why? Because I must believe in the system. If they find her guilty of murder, manslaughter, or find her innocent, I will accept it.

Rioting will change NOTHING. Yet, the threats of riots and retaliation on police officers are already abundant on social media. I know there is nothing I can type to prevent a possible violent reaction to the verdict. If I could, I would. Until my finger stopped working. Sadly, some of us feel violence is the answer to tragedy. It makes little sense. At least to me.

You may say, “Easy for you, your friend, brother, community member wasn’t killed in his own apartment doing nothing wrong.”

You’d be right in this case.

But I can say, having been to countless police funerals, I know what it is like to see someone die tragically and senselessly, at no fault of their own. I know how it feels to be angry about what happened and want vengeance. However, such an approach to life would lead to an even uglier society than we have today.

The criminal justice system isn’t perfect. Police officers aren’t perfect. Humans are not perfect. Every system, every person, has flaws. We must continually work to be better.

Whatever the jury decides, I will accept it.

I wish others did the same, but I fear that won’t be the case.

In tragedy, there are no winners.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 0

Police Chase Stolen RV Synopsis

Video link:

For police in 2019, car chases are already highly scrutinized. The risks to the general public and the overall liability have caused most departments to strictly limit when they will allow a vehicle pursuit. Because these vary so much from police department to police department, I’ll stay away from that and just cover a few points from an officer’s perspective on the crazy RV car chase video.

One thing I can assure you they don’t cover in the academy is vehicle pursuits involving motorhomes or RV’s. After Breaking Bad, maybe it crossed a few police instructor’s minds, but I highly doubt there is much of a need for such training.

Improvising is a big part of being a police officer. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you end up in a car chase with a stolen RV. Then to make matters worse, there’s dogs in the RV and the suspect crashes the RV causing most of the passenger side to be ripped wide open. INSANE!

In my opinion, once half of the RV was ripped wide open, it became pretty apparent this person wasn’t going to stop. Not only that, officers have to constantly balance the issue of backing off and letting them drive wild, with no warning or ability to block intersections ahead of the chase, versus continuing the chase in hopes of making it safer. This may sound like a contradiction, but most agencies will block intersections ahead of the chase to try and mitigate risk. It’s not always possible and with policies being more and more restrictive these days, that all depends on the rules for the department involved.

There’s no perfect game plan for these types of incidents, because the entire event is up to the driver. Obviously, using a “PIT” maneuver to spin the vehicle and end the chase wasn’t an option here either. Spike strips were maybe an option, but I wouldn’t want to be the one trying to deploy them. They are extremely dangerous, and the lady had enough trouble controlling the RV even before she ripped half of it open.

In the end, woman driving was taken into custody and faces multiple charges. The dogs that were inside the RV, including the one that jumped out in the middle of the chase, were in the custody of animal services recovering from their injuries.

The innocent victim hit at the end of the crash was injured, suffering a punctured lung and broken bone in his back.

Not an ideal ending by any means. However, we can be thankful no one was killed, and the woman was caught.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

I Also Remember September 12, 2001

America Divided

It’s been eighteen years and one day since September 11, 2001.

Eighteen years and one day.

Just writing that made me shake my head in disbelief.

One would like to think our country going forward would be stronger, more united, and better than before such a tragedy. Unfortunately, when I look at our country today, I can’t help but shake my head again. We have clearly forgotten what it felt like to be an American, on September 12, 2001. We only have ourselves to blame.

On September 12, 2001, we were all in shock. The enormity of what took place in the last twenty-four hours had begun to set in. Seeing our country under attack, our way of life, our freedom, what we stood for, who we were as a country, united us like never before.

On September 12, 2001, the bond, unity, and kindness we showed toward one another was truly a sight to see. We looked at each other as Americans. Not as republicans or democrats. Not as gay or straight. Not by the color of our skin. We saw each other for what we had in common, not how we differed. We were Americans.

They say tragedy brings us closer together. However, we don’t need another tragedy to bring us back to the America we experienced on September 12, 2001.

We, us, the American people, the nearly 330 million of us, control how we “are” as a country. We are what makes America, America.

We have control.

Not the news media. Not politics. Not religion. Not skin color. Not differences. Not disagreement. Not varying opinions. We control how we treat each other. We control whether we are proud to be an American.

Yet we have somehow allowed the country to continue down a divisive path. We have somehow arrived at a point where being patriotic is viewed, by some, in a negative light. We have inexplicably come to a point, where some deem the United States of America, a horrible country founded on horrible principals and evil.

I am by no means an expert in history. There are certainly horrible things in our past as a country. I’m not writing this to suggest we are a country without our historical atrocities. However, you will never convince me that the ills of our past, somehow prevent us from returning to the September 12, 2001 version of America.

On September 12, 2001, we made it a point hold doors open for each other. We showed unyielded kindness. We hugged complete strangers. American flags were sold out and displayed nearly everywhere you looked. Pride for our country wasn’t something we disputed or argued about, it was embraced, expected, even comforting in our time of pain.

We looked at our flag as a symbol that united us, the best country in the world, the UNITED States of America. Not the Divided States of America.

Sadly, today when you look around, watch the news, or scroll through your favorite social media platform, you rarely see pride in being an American. More than anything, you see anger. You see division. You see arguments over what is causing the anger and division. Shockingly, you even see people being told they are wrong for being patriotic. How far we have fallen. A damn shame to be honest.

This is where WE are going wrong.

WE control our America. Yet it is sadly apparent we’ve forgotten WE are much more than our political affiliation, our religious affiliation, the color of our skin, the country we came from, or our ancestors came from. Because in the end, we are all Americans. We are not a homogenous country. Our strength is in our diversity, yet in 2019, you wouldn’t know it. For that, we should be ashamed.

In the “we have forgotten September 12, 2001” society, we are quick to call each other names, make accusations of being racist, misogynist, or xenophobic, at the drop of a hat, with no regard for the seriousness of such accusations. Such accusations are often made solely because someone doesn’t agree with you.

We have forgotten that tolerance is not predicated on agreement.

Absolute agreement isn’t necessary to be tolerant, accepting, or proud to be an American together. We can disagree about anything and still love each other, be American together.

We will always have differences. Instead of allowing them to divide us, it’s time we use them as a strength. That’s what our country is really about.

We can blame the news media. We can blame politicians. We can blame whatever we want to blame, however, in the end, our country is made up of us, the people. We control the overall sentiment in our country. We control the divisiveness or hopefully, the lack thereof.

Remember that.

And if you happen to agree with me, be the change. Be the American you were on September 12, 2001.

Be unapologetically proud to be an American.

Be proud and thankful you live in the United States of America.

It’s the greatest country in the world. Even with room for improvement, it’s still worthy of the pride and unity we exuded on September 12, 2001.

We owe it to ourselves, our country, and those we lost on September 11, 2001.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 3

OIS Synopsis – Richmond, Virginia

This commentary is simply my opinion of what took place in this video, based on over 12 years of training and experience as a police officer in Dallas, Texas. This commentary is in no way affiliated with the Dallas Police Department or the Richmond, Virginia Police Department.

On May 14, 2018, the incident began at a hotel which isn’t shown in this video. I edited the video for brevity and to show the actual interaction that took place leading up to the shooting and after the shooting. According to reports, the individual, Marcus Peters, drove to a hotel where he worked part time as security. Hotel surveillance video showed Peters arrive to the hotel and eventually left the hotel naked and drove off.

All of this was not known to the police officer, Richmond PD, Officer Nyantakyi. Officer Nyantakyi only observed Mr. Peters driving erratically where he allegedly hit a vehicle and did not stop. As such, officer Nyantakyi pursued Mr. Peters until he crashed. This is where the video above starts.

The officer gets on the radio and tells dispatch the driver appears to be mentally unstable. It’s clear by the drivers’ actions he is upset, or something is terribly wrong. Most officers at this point would likely believe the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, simply based on their training and past experiences. Due to the fact the person is not in their right mind and not simply exiting the vehicle and complying with commands, the officer has his gun drawn. Again, Mr. Peters didn’t stop after causing an accident, for all the officer knows at this point, the driver is fleeing for any number of reasons.

Eventually, Mr. Peters exits his car and runs into the highway where a vehicle hits him. Mr. Peters seems unaffected as he rolls around on the highway for a short period of time. Once again, the officer is patient and waits for cover. The officer didn’t rush Mr. Peters and attempt to arrest him or escalate the situation, he waited. I think this was smart being he was still alone.

Mr. Peters suddenly jumps up and notices the officer. Mr. Peters has enough awareness to recognize that the officer is holding a taser and says something to the effect of, “Drop that taser or I’ll kill you!” Mr. Peters is walking at the officer aggressively and is obviously ready to fight.

The officer deploys his taser and pulls the trigger. It seems to have little or no effect on Mr. Peters. Something that is far more common than most people realize. Mr. Peters rushes at the officer and a struggle ensues. The officer attempts to fight him off and realizes the taser is not working. Police officers are trained to escalate force as necessary. Meaning, if you use a baton and it doesn’t work, you move up the force continuum to a taser. If the taser has no effect, unfortunately the next step is deadly force.

I certainly understand why shooting a naked man who clearly doesn’t have a weapon may seem unnecessary. And in most instances, you’d be right in that assessment. This situation illustrates how violent and unaffected by pain people can be when they are under the influence of drugs. Or a combination of drugs. In this instance, the toxicology later revealed Mr. Peters had a mixture of marijuana and Ritalin in his system. Not what I would have first guessed. Based on what I saw in the video, I would have suspected PCP. Mainly because most people I’ve seen high on PCP exert the symptoms Mr. Peters did. They are naked because they are overheating due to the PCP. They feel no pain. And I mean no pain at all. I’d seen people high on PCP hitting other people with an arm clearly broken in two.

Eventually, the officer made the decision, as he was retreatingm to shoot Mr. Peters twice. The officer didn’t shoot multiple times and go completely overboard. The officer shot to end the threat. The officer never escalated the situation by crowding Mr. Peters or trying to be a superhero and arrest him while alone. The officer was patient and was waiting for backup. Unfortunately, they came just a little too late. The officer’s reaction after the shots were fired clearly illustrates, he wasn’t happy he was forced to shoot Mr. Peters. He’s angry that it happened and likely in shock and disbelief. I can assure you he immediately was worried about whether he just made the wrong decision and if he was going to be fired, or worse, sent to prison.

In the end, this is a tragedy. There’s no other way to describe it. Mr. Peters didn’t deserve to die that day. But nor did Officer Nyantakyi. We don’t have the ability to know what Mr. Peters would have done to Officer Nyantakyi should he have taken the taser away from him. We don’t know what kind of fighter Mr. Peters was and if he had the ability to take Officer Nyantakyi to the ground or knock him out and take his weapon. Maybe none of these would have happened. I do think with the behavior Mr. Peters exerted, it was abundantly clear he wasn’t in his right mind and needed help or detox or both.

Unfortunately, it ended with Mr. Peters losing his life and Officers Nyantakyi’s being altered forever as well. Nothing Officer Nyantakyi did caused this to happen. He didn’t make Mr. Peters get in the car and drive. He didn’t cause Mr. Peters to take the mixture of marijuana and Ritalin that very well made him act the way he did. Officer Nyantakyi was presented with this bizarre set of circumstances and ended up in the worst situation an officer can be in, using deadly force. This shooting was ultimately deemed justified and charges were not brought against Officer Nyantakyi.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 2

A Letter To Myself in High School – Bullies Will Always Exist, But They Won’t Win

Bullying

Dear High School Version of Me,

If I could tell you one thing, I would tell you to remember high school is just the beginning, not the end.

It’s hard to see now, but what feels like the most important thing to you now, won’t even cross your mind in five years. Don’t get me wrong, what matters to you now is important. I’m not intending to be dismissive about what you deem important at your age. But whatever you do, please remember, high school is just the beginning. It should never feel like, “the end”.

With that in mind, I know bullying is an issue. Unfortunately, it was an issue 50 years ago and will likely be an issue 50 years from now. Knowing this, I feel the best way to tackle the issue, is by helping you see bullying through the eyes of someone who has been there before.

If you only remember one thing after reading this, I hope it’s that you are not alone. Also, know you are not doomed to a life of being bullied. Nearly every friend I have as an adult, tells me they were bullied to some degree as a kid. Believe me when I tell you, it’s not a life sentence. All my adult friends who were bullied in school, are extremely successful, have tons of friends, and lead happy lives.

When it comes to bullies, it’s important to understand why they are bullies in the first place. Typically, they are bullies because they are weak minded and unhappy themselves. One of our biggest flaws as humans is our ability and willingness to be mean and cruel to each other. Also, jealousy is a strong emotion and likely fuels most of the bullying you will encounter or see in your lifetime. If this is the case, it just means they wish they were more like you. I always like to say, “If you have haters, you’re doing something right.” When they bully you out jealousy, feel pity for them, but keep doing what you’re doing.

On the other hand, some people are just woefully unhappy and because of that, they will seek to bring others down to make themselves feel better. This is your high school bully in a nutshell. At the very least, I hope this sheds light on why a “bully” is a “bully”. It’s important to understand it’s more about their own flaws and their crappy way of dealing with it, than it is about you. Being picked on, singled out, or left out, is never fun. I just can’t stress enough that it happens to everyone. Yes, even the “cool” kids get bullied, picked on, or have bad things happen to them.

No one is immune.

If by chance, you’re reading this and you are the bully, I challenge you to look in the mirror and make changes now. You can’t go through life being angry and blaming everyone else for your struggles. Tearing other people down won’t change your situation in life, only you can. Being a bully only guarantees you’ll continue down a path of anger and loneliness. Instead of being mean to people, try helping someone out or giving them a compliment. Seek their friendship, not their demise. If you have a rough homelife or abusive parents, I can understand your frustration. Again, seek friendship, not enemies.

Unfortunately, people being mean to each other is part of life. I would be lying if I told you once you graduate high school, people being negative, mean, or wanting to see you fail, suddenly stops. Full disclosure, it doesn’t. Thankfully, there is good news. People who are petty and mean in high school, tend to grow out of it. Luckily, as an adult, you aren’t confined to the walls of a high school or college campus. As such, it’s important to recognize you have control over who you surround yourself with in life. Find people who add to your life, not subtract from it.

Find people who encourage you to take chances, succeed, and grow as a person. Pay no attention to those who say you can’t do something or say you aren’t good enough. Ignore them and work harder to prove them wrong.

They say you’re an aggregate of the five people you associate with the most, so choose wisely. The most successful people in life, tend to enjoy proving the naysayers wrong. If you can use that to your advantage, you’ll be a happy and successful person in whatever you choose to do in life.

As you get older, you will see life is about your “currency”. Your “currency” is whatever you have a passion for and enjoy doing. Ideally, we could all find a hobby and make that hobby into a “job” but that isn’t always possible. At the very least, figure out your “currency” and pursue it with all you have. Don’t worry, it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, or even the twentieth. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers on graduation day. Also, if your currency changes later in life, don’t be afraid to pursue it. Life is too short to be unhappy because you’re afraid of change.

Lastly, just remember social media is simply the highlight reel of people’s life. Don’t spend your time comparing yourself everyone else’s “highlight reel”. Instead, focus on making your own. Don’t be afraid to get away from social media. Be present. Life is what you make it, not what you present online.

Be strong, be happy, be the change, be you.

Bullies will always exist, but they won’t win.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

Mass Shootings Aftermath – We Should All Be Ashamed

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At a time where our country should be united, we are divided.

Instead of uniting as Americans against clear and obvious enemies like, hate and evil, we have allowed our country to become divided by political party lines and ideologies. This has done nothing but prevent any semblance of progress. Sadly, the longer we choose to make each other the enemy, the longer we allow hate and evil to win.

We should all be ashamed.

Any form white supremacy is disgusting and intolerable. This isn’t up for debate, nor should it be a dividing point in our society. As a country, we should stand arm in arm as Americans, to fight such disgusting and destructive ways of thinking. This should happen immediately without finger pointing, or blame, without second thought.

It hasn’t, and we should all be ashamed.

This same approach should be applied toward ANY and ALL forms of extreme or radical ideologies that only prove to be harmful to our country. It does not matter where these ideologies originate, which political party their “actors” associate with, or which religion they may practice, they ALL must be stopped and fought against. Once again, this should not be a debate, or a point of division in this country.

In the days following the tragedies in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, and Gilroy, California, it is abundantly clear we have failed at coming together. We have failed at uniting as the great country we are to fight the enemy. Instead, we fight each other about who to blame, foolishly looking backward, not forward. Inexplicably, we seem eager and determined to cast blame everywhere but on the shoulders of the cowards themselves who pulled the trigger during these horrific tragedies.

We should all be ashamed.

In the days following these tragic events, our refusal to band together has made us weaker. We have taken sides, engaged in frivolous social media arguments, and allowed the mainstream media to divide us once again to their benefit and profit. What has such infighting solved? What have we accomplished by arguing over who is to blame? When will we stop the blame game and start moving forward with solutions?

Instead of closing ranks and fighting the common problems and symptoms of the recent tragedies, we have chosen to make each other the enemy. We have chosen to turn on each other and point fingers, pick sides, and dare I say, hate, each other for varying opinions, beliefs, or ideas, on how to best move forward.

We should all be ashamed.

I believe it’s futile to complain about a problem without offering a solution. While I don’t claim to be an expert on public policy, law making, or ways to implement solutions to end violence in our country, I think we can all agree, our current path is not the answer. My suggestion in a nutshell is simple, we need to fight the real enemy, not each other. Until we do that, we will go nowhere.

The longer we make each other the enemy, the longer hate and evil win. I can’t think of a more simple way to put it. The longer we stand in the proverbial schoolyard screaming at each other, the more time evil and hate has to fester, likely leading to yet another tragedy, that could very well have been prevented.

We should all be ashamed.

Evil, hate, bigotry, racism, mass shootings, rising murder rates in our big cities, the list of enemies and problems facing our country unfortunately is quite long. Yet, despite this long list, you’ll notice “people with different political affiliations and belief systems” or “people with different solutions for a problem” are NOT on that list.

On September 12th, 2001, we didn’t fight among ourselves, point fingers of blame across political party lines, or use tragedy to further our political agendas. We didn’t allow the mainstream media to divide us along political party lines, determine the narrative, or pit us against each other.

We looked forward, not backward, as a nation.  Through tears, pain, and anger, we came together as Americans, to fight together, not each other.

We stood strong, we came together, we were united, and we won.

What we are doing now, looks nothing like September 12th, 2001 and that alone is a tragedy.

We are better than this.

We are the greatest country in the world and it’s time we acted like it.

Unfortunately, today, we should all be ashamed.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

Woman Tragically Killed By Police While Shooting at a Dog

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A truly sad and tragic even took place in Arlington, Texas today. Arlington police officials are reporting an officer accidently shot and killed a woman while shooting at her dog that was charging at the officer.

Early reports indicate an Arlington police officer was responding to a “welfare check” call regarding a person passed out in a grassy area.

As the officer approached the woman, an unrestrained dog began barking and charged toward the officer. In response to the dog, the officer fired his weapon several times, inadvertently striking the woman in the background. She later died.

According to police, the incident was captured on the officer’s body camera, which will be reviewed.

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It’s hard to imagine a much more tragic scenario than the one described above. There’s no way you can make this incident easy to stomach. Having been a police officer in neighboring Dallas, I’ve had my fair share of encounters with aggressive dogs, close calls, and have known officers who were forced to shoot dogs.

I knew one officer who waited so long to shoot, the dog was able to bite the gun and the officer’s hand.

Despite what critics say, officers don’t enjoy shooting dogs. Nor do they enjoy being bitten or hurt by one either. It’s a no-win situation really.

Immediately, the comments on social media ask valid questions, “Why not use mace or a taser?”

I’m no expert on proper use of force against dogs. I imagine mace or a taser could work on dogs, just like they work on people. Though people unfamiliar with tasers likely don’t realize you need to have two prongs hitting the intended target to have a “connection” which is what makes the taser effective.

Hitting a small target like the chest of a dog charging at you would likely prove difficult. Hitting the dog with one prong will do nothing at all. Mace may work too. Or, despite the mace, the dog could keep coming and latch on. What should have been done, versus what happened, it’s all speculation at this point. Something I’m trying to avoid yet be reasonable in my assessment of this tragedy.

In any scenario, multiple factors and all options of force must be considered immediately by a police officer. However, they must make these assessments and decisions as they are happening, not always an easy task. Unfortunately for police officers, that’s the job. Split second decisions. No “do-overs” or second chances.

Seeking a legal opinion regarding this tragedy, I spoke with Tom M. Thomas II, a Dallas area attorney who is also a former police officer, he stated, “Accidents that occur under emergency circumstances do not often rise to the level of criminal negligence, especially in cases involving first responders who are attempting to protect themselves or the public from harm. This is where prosecutorial discretion is warranted.”

It can only be assumed charges of negligent homicide or manslaughter will be considered. This is where waiting for all the facts is important. Factors such as, the demeanor of the dog, the reasonable alternatives available to the officer, for example, must be considered when looking at this incident legally and objectively.

We haven’t seen the video, so opinions regarding “what should happen” to the officer, without the facts are without merit or objectivity.

I preach constantly about waiting for the all the facts before rushing to judgement. As such, I will do so in this case.

That doesn’t mean I’m “taking the officer’s side” or “backing police officers unconditionally.” Quite the opposite. I’ll be the first to call out a “bad” officer or one that acts criminally or improperly. I’m simply saying, I will wait to see the video, before I call for the officer to be fired or sent off to prison.

If the video is released and the prosecutor’s office deems charges are appropriate, I will certainly accept that. You won’t see me calling for protests, suggesting we riot, or storm the District Attorney’s office demanding they change their mind.

Justice should be applied equally and fairly, whether it involves a police officer or not. Being held to a higher standard regarding their conduct, doesn’t change their legal culpability or negate their Constitutional rights.

The presumption of innocence and due process apply to everyone in this country, even on-duty police officers.

A truly tragic story, I wish I wasn’t writing about.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 6

Breaking: It’s Not About Pouring Water On Police Officers – It’s About Respect

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By now, most of you have seen the videos showing buckets of water being poured on New York police officers while they are answering calls for service or attempting to affect an arrest on a traffic stop.

In every video, the reaction by the police is the same, they don’t. They essentially take the dousing in stride and don’t attempt to make an arrest. Utterly and completely baffling at first glance.

Knowing it’s 2019, you pause and wonder if we are being “punk’d” by these videos. Maybe this was just a neighborhood party and the cops were in on the water fight? Next I thought, maybe we were only shown part of the video, the part that makes it look bad or controversial, in hopes the video would go viral and the clever person who posted it would make some money on their YouTube channel? Nope. Not the case. I somehow forgot that tactic is only used to make police look bad, not make police look like they have self-control, silly me.

Since the videos surfaced and went viral on social media, there’s been no shortage of speculation regarding the incidents themselves, the failure to react by the officers, and who is to blame for the officer’s choice to do nothing in response. Quickly the question has become, why did these officers look like mistreated puppies who tucked their tails and walked away? Why weren’t they arresting the people who were dousing them with water, potentially ruining their radios and equipment, presumably rendering them in no condition to continue their shift? Why? Why? Why?

Little do people realize, the equipment and gear police officers wear every day is heavy when it’s dry. After being completely drenched, I can’t imagine how heavy their bulletproof vest, uniform, and boots became. Not to mention their body cameras, tasers, and radios, possibly being rendered useless or damaged. An officer safety issue for sure.

Like always, we all have our opinions regarding the proper scapegoat for these events. I was quick to agree with the statement released by the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association that effectively blamed the rhetoric of the Mayor for this behavior. The rhetoric over the years from the Mayor of New York has painted the police officers of New York as the enemy, or a necessary evil if you will.

Put simply, his rhetoric has emboldened the criminal element in New York.

It’s not lost on me there is a stark difference between bullets and water. Being ambushed with a five-gallon bucket of water on a hot day would be refreshing. I have a sense of humor and am always down for a joke, prank, or a way to interact with the community other than arresting someone. Despite what people may think, being a consequence gets old. It is nice to do things other than tell people what to do and put people in jail.

After some thought about these events, I’ve concluded that no one person is to blame.

The true culprit is the loss of respect in our society today.

This falls at the feet of everyone, not just an anti-police Mayor despite his convenient comments condemning these incidents. A little late to jump on the support bandwagon Mr. Mayor. (I’m not using his name on purpose)

The minute it became acceptable to disrespect our elders, our teachers, our coaches, and our first responders, is when this type of behavior became possible.

Gone are the days teachers, coaches, and police officers, are allowed to do their jobs. Gone are the days we take what they say as the truth and respect their assessments or decisions.

Inexplicably, in today’s world, if a kid gets bad grades, ignorant parents blame the teacher not the student. If a kid on a sports team doesn’t get enough playing time or become the next superstar athlete, it’s the coach we blame, not the athlete. If someone gets arrested for blatantly breaking the law on video, somehow in 2019, it’s the police officer we blame, not the person who broke the law. Baffling to say the least.

Quite frankly, it’s ridiculous.

How we’ve evolved into a society that blames the consequences not the actions that caused them is something I’ll never quite understand. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I think most will agree with my assessment of why these events happened.

The reason these events happened in the first place, can be boiled down to lack of respect and the fact we no longer care about holding people accountable for their poor decisions. Instead, as I previously stated, we blame the teacher for the fact the student didn’t turn in the homework. We blame the coach if the athlete isn’t a superstar. We blame the police when people choose to break the law. How has this become the norm?

I guess when participation trophies and feelings are more important than facts or reality, this is what you get.

As our society has become more about being politically correct and less about holding people accountable for their actions, it has managed to create an empowered criminal element.

If we properly backed teachers, coaches, and police officers and placed blame where it belonged, maybe these blatantly disrespectful incidents wouldn’t have happened? Maybe the water yielding thugs would have feared the consequences and not felt so emboldened to be such disrespectful turds?

Even better, if the politicians and mainstream media would get on board with placing the blame where it belonged, maybe we would return to a society that embraces old school ideals like respect or law and order? How wonderful that could be.

It’s a sad day in America when you see first responders who just 18 years ago, ran into burning towers without hesitation as everyone else ran out, be treated with such disrespect. How soon we forget what these men and women are willing to sacrifice for the betterment and safety of our society.

If only we could go back to September 12, 2001, without the need for a tragedy to wake us up…

Thank an officer today.

Never forget.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

We Aren’t Perfect

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We aren’t perfect.

We make mistakes. We regret things we’ve said. We regret things we’ve done.

We make decisions in the blink of an eye with lifelong consequences, hoping we always make the right choice.

By some, we are seen as opposition, an opposing force, or even the enemy. Yet, in many ways, we are no different than anyone else. We have mothers, fathers, kids, and pets. We have hobbies, dreams, likes, dislikes, biases, preferences, favorites, and opinions.

We aren’t perfect.

With the job, comes great responsibility, power, and public trust, there’s no denying that. Something we must yield appropriately with honor and dignity. Let’s be honest, it takes a certain kind of person to run toward danger, when natural instinct tells us to run away with the masses.

Similar in many ways, thanks to our shared humanity. Yet different, because of the job we do, the uniform we wear, and the oath we took.

We aren’t perfect.

The best among us, realize we have power, but don’t look at it that way. The best among us, realize we have a job to do, an oath to uphold, and a duty to protect everyone no matter their color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.

With this job, this oath, this uniform, comes great responsibility. The power to take someone’s life or freedom, is not to be taken lightly or abused. Unfortunately, because we are human, mistakes happen. When they do, the damage affects us all.

We aren’t perfect.

Though we should always strive for perfection, if we are being honest with ourselves, we know it’s not possible. No human is perfect. No human is without error or flaws. Mistakes will happen and when they do, consequences should be expected and accepted.

We aren’t perfect.

Sadly, there are some who slip through the cracks. They apply, go through the same rigorous background checks, interviews, polygraphs, and somehow pass. Despite this, their corrupted moral compass, lack of honor and ethics, will eventually shine through. When it does, it will tarnish the badge and the profession. Making it that much harder for those who tow the line with honor and dignity.

We aren’t perfect.

Humanity isn’t an excuse for corruption.

Humanity is not something to hide behind when we let you down.

It’s a simple undeniable fact that with humanity, comes imperfection or room for error.

We aren’t perfect.

Despite all of this, when towers fall, bullets fly, and the unthinkable happens, we will be there for you. Without pause, we run toward what everyone else instinctively runs from. We are willing to give our lives to save yours, without hesitation or discrimination.

We aren’t perfect.

We do this because our humanity is different than yours. Our imperfection allows and compels us to run toward what everyone else runs from, in hopes of making a difference, saving a life, or stopping evil in its tracks.

We aren’t perfect, we are police officers.

-The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 6

Your Rhetoric Killed My Colleagues

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Dear Politicians and Media,

July 7, 2016, happened because of you.

The deadliest day for law enforcement since 9/11.

Five families will never be the same. Their loved one will never come home. Their children forever without a father. The city they served, forever without their service.

The truth is, the tragedy of July 7, 2016, happened for one reason. The dangerous anti-police rhetoric constantly pushed by pandering politicians and most of the mainstream media. The false narrative that police officers are killing unarmed minorities at an epidemic rate, radicalized the cowardly shooter and caused the horrific tragedy to take place. The shooter said it himself, he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers. What other proof do you need?

It’s a fact, the media and politicians stand to benefit from a divided nation. As such, they continue to fuel the fire of anti-police hate with reckless and racially charged headlines and speeches to keep us divided. It’s a well known fact, the media headlines and social media posts that get the most “interaction” and “views” are the ones that create anger or are controversial in nature. The media and politicians know this and use it to maximize their profits and exposure. They care more about profits and getting elected, than the fact their dangerous rhetoric is pitting minority communities against the police, benefitting nobody.

Without “problems” to fix, politicians have nothing to offer you. Without biased headlines, the media goes largely unnoticed.

It’s truly a shame to watch it happen year after year, headline after headline, speech after speech, where police officers are talked about with such wide sweeping accusations with no concern about the ramifications for their rhetoric. Yet, rest assured, they’ll be quick to point out if anyone says or does something that isn’t, “woke” or “offends someone” despite the fact the rules on what is socially acceptable to say or do changes by the hour, or depends on who is making the rules that day.

Making matters worse, the media is continually reckless. Before the facts come out, before we have any idea what took place, headlines designed to create anger and division hit the news and the anger and controversy spreads, long before we have any facts regarding what happened. We fall for it every time.

You would think politicians would have statistics, trends, something, anything, to support their talking points. Nope. Pandering politicians tell us they want a, “unified nation!” But stare into the television during a debate and say that police officers across this country are implicitly racist. Yeah, I’m talking about you Mr. Mayor of South Bend. Shameful generalization to say the least.

Ask yourself and be honest, are you familiar with the annual statistics surrounding police involved shootings? Do you know how many fatal shootings occur across the population of approximately 330 million people? How many “unarmed” people have been shot? Are the numbers trending a certain way?

I’ll tell you, since 2015, the numbers regarding “unarmed” people being shot and killed by police are trending down. A good thing, but you wouldn’t know that watching political speeches or reading headlines. What a shame. It’s disgusting really. Below is a chart that shows raw data, as collected and published by the Washington Post. They have no reason to skew the numbers, so we can assume they’re at least somewhat unbiased, if anything, they would likely skew them to be against the police. And to some degree they do.

Shootings get classified as “unarmed” by the Washington Post, if no gun is found, regardless of whether the person acted as if they had one (suicide by cop), or the gun pointed at the police turned out to be fake, or the person attacked the officer and attempted to disarm them. They simply lump those incidents into the “unarmed” category. So, if you are able to be objective, understand these statistics aren’t exactly as they appear. Dare I say, upon closer examination, the statistics would likely show police shoot even fewer “unarmed” people than this data set suggests.

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And no, these numbers don’t proportionately reflect the racial percentages of the population, because that isn’t how things work in the real world. Yes, I’m aware blacks make up roughly 13% of the population in the United States, that doesn’t mean there’s a rule that exactly 13% of interactions between police and citizens are perfectly proportional to racial percentages of our population. If we are being honest, we know that isn’t the way things work in the real world.

When you look at the numbers provided by the Washington Post, you will notice the number of shootings since 2015 vary very little every year. They are absent of a sharp increase since 2015, which would support the false narrative police officers are blood thirsty, racist killers, and the problem has been increasing to epidemic levels since the incident in Ferguson, Missouri.

It’s also interesting to note, in most police departments, police officers are assigned the area they work, especially in larger police departments. Due to this, I’ll never understand how an officer is immediately assumed to be racist when a shooting occurs should the officer and victim differ in race. If a white officer is assigned to a mostly all black community, who do you think they will be interacting with? If a shooting were to occur, what race do you think the victim will be in that scenario? How does that make the officer inherently racist?

I have yet to see anything to support racial motivation regarding a police shooting. Key word, motivation. I have yet to see video with audio where an officer says something racially motivated and shoots someone unprovoked out of sheer bigotry and racism. If something as disgusting like that were to happen, I’d be the first to call for a hate crime indictment and hope they get the maximum sentence allowed by law.

Again, ask yourself, have you ever read a news headline that mentions the race of the victim if they were white? No, you haven’t. I’ve searched countless headlines; I’ve used every search engine possible and I was unable to find a media headline that mentioned the race of the person shot UNLESS they were a minority. You never see the headline, “Police shoot unarmed white man.” Why? It doesn’t create division, anger, or controversy.

When it comes to police officers in the United States, I will be the first to admit, we are far from perfect. Those of you who have read my previous articles, know I have no problem calling out an officer when they are wrong, are deservedly fired, or sent to prison. The police profession, like any profession, has its warts. True. We are humans doing a job that is much harder than the talking heads will ever know.

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These five officers were ambushed by a coward radicalized by media headlines and political rhetoric that perpetuated the narrative police officers across the country are racist killers.

These five officers were gunned down while protecting and serving the very people the media and politicians allege they hate. Yet, when the bullets flew and the chips were on the table, hundreds of Dallas Police officers didn’t react by running away saying, “Black lives don’t matter.” No, they didn’t.

THEY RAN TOWARD THE COWARD WITH THE RIFLE.

Officers dove to the ground and indiscriminately shielded people with their bodies, who mere seconds before the shots rang out, were protesting against them. They acted with bravery, valor, and professionalism, without hesitating. Why? Because that is what police officers in this country do. Every. Single. Day.

Yet, the media and politicians in 2019 have the audacity and ignorance to continue to sell you the false narrative, police officers are implicitly racist.

As time has passed since the worst day of my life, July 7, 2016, it’s time the politicians and media hear the truth.

Your rhetoric killed my colleagues.

Sergeant Michael Smith #6141

Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens #8193

Police Officer Brent Thompson #420

Police Officer Michael Krol #9217

Police Officer Patrick Zamarripa #10112

Gone but never forgotten.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 8

Heckler says: ‘Whatever officer gettin’ shot need to be’ [VIDEO]

CrimeSceneInvestigation

As an officer lies stranded in the backyard of a nearby residence, mortally wounded by a domestic violence suspect, an equally sad side of society was on display.

The video is disturbing. On many levels. Sadly, it’s not just the sounds of rapid gunfire coming from a domestic violence suspect that will disturb you. The comments made by angry bystanders toward the responding police officers are enough to invoke a range of emotions.

Posted on Twitter by Matthew Keys, a digital editor for Comstock Magazine, officers can be seen attempting to establish a safe perimeter by putting up crime scene tape.

The hecklers can be heard making comments like, “Y’all not fitting to shape no narrative today.”

Not to be outdone, another despicable woman can be heard saying, “Whatever officer [is] gettin’ shot need to be!”

As the video continues you can hear gunshots in the background.

Tragically, Officer Tara O’Sullivan, 26, was shot and killed during the incident, who was reported to only have been with the Sacramento Police Department for 18 months.

***WARNING: The video below contains language that could be disturbing to some viewers. Please use discretion.***

It’s clear there are issues in our society, sadly, if we are being honest, there will always be “issues”.

There will always be room for improvement, mistakes will be made by police officers, and people, including police officers, will demand accountability.

What is most disturbing is the fact the officers in this video are simply trying to keep people safe and protect them from gunfire. Gunfire the officers likely knew was coming from someone who shot a police officer and wasn’t going down without a fight.

“Bullets have no names,” they say. Yet these people felt it necessary to heckle officers as they secured the scene, solely intending to protect the very people that were heckling them, from harm.

All while their colleague was stranded in a nearby backyard, dying.

They say police officers are the enemy. The media portrays them that way because it makes them money. The more angry people are, the more they have stories like this one to share.

This is what they – the media – want. Division. Anger. Death. Sadly, it’s working. You can hear it for yourself while watching the video.

A real tragedy.

Multiple tragedies really.

First and foremost, it’s a tragedy we lost a young 26 year-old hero. Even in today’s climate, she CHOSE to be a police officer.

The other tragedy is there are people out there so warped and angry, they hate police officers blindly, even as they worked to protect them from an armed lunatic.

Beyond ridiculous and sad, but it’s our reality today. A good look at what police officers deal with on a daily basis.

Rest In Peace Officer O’Sullivan.

Gone, but never forgotten.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 7

Another Officer Down – Why It Keeps Happening

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56.

That’s how many law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice so far in 2019.

Every time a police officer is killed in the line of duty and the story is shared on social media, inevitably someone comments, “Why does this keep happening?”

I have ignored the question every time I’ve seen it. I felt like the answer is obvious. However, since I continue seeing it, I feel compelled to answer to the best of my ability.

It keeps happening, because brave men and women wake up every single day, strap on a bulletproof vest, kiss their loved ones goodbye, and head to work knowing they may never come back home.

It keeps happening, because police officers are the “thin blue line” that stands between the evil most of society pretends doesn’t exist. They are what stands between the criminal element and potential victims.

It keeps happening, because police officers do much more than write speeding tickets and take reports. They confront unknown dangers, violent gang members, and armed drug dealers on a daily basis.

It keeps 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 of remaining free and not be held accountable for their criminal acts.

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

It keeps happening, because the media and anti-police “activists” want people to think police officers are the enemy, making the target on their backs even bigger. Despite this, they still show up when called, holding the line, keeping you safe.

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

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

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

It keeps happening because police officers truly believe in standing for something, even if it costs them everything.

Some days are pleasant and uneventful, other days 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 true calling that isn’t for everyone. A desire to be a part of something bigger than yourself for the greater good.

As we go forward, I challenge you to remember why “it keeps happening” and support the men and women who run toward the things everyone else runs away from.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 25

You Want Us To Protect You, But Punish Us When We Do

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Society wants police officers to be “knights in shining armor” that show up immediately when needed, but without speeding, or running red lights.

Society wants police officers to arrest every “bad guy” in the city, but do so without using force, regardless of the force used upon them.

Society wants the criminal element held accountable, but without dangerous car chases or putting society in any sort of danger.

There’s been much debate about the “Ferguson Effect” in policing since 2014. Basically in short, the idea of the Ferguson Effect is police officers are becoming more reactive in nature. Out of fear of punishment or prison, should things take a turn for the worse. As a result, police officers are choosing to take a more, “hands off” approach.

What many citizens may not realize about police officers, is there are MANY different kinds of police officers within every department. Some enjoy working car accidents, some enjoy working narcotics cases, and others simply prefer answering calls and the wide variance of situations that arise from answering 911 calls. Every police officer has their “preference” or “niche” in what they enjoy doing.

In policing, however, there is a stark difference between a “reactive” and “proactive” officer. Some officers just aren’t proactive. They don’t enjoy seeking out the criminal element or going to jail. Some would even go so far as to call these officers lazy. Truthfully, like any profession, some officers are lazy. They take the path of least resistance and do the bare minimum. This could be for any number of reasons. Maybe they were hard workers in the past, but have been punished and lost out on pay raises and promotions enough times, they finally gave up. Maybe they decided they’ll simply do as little as possible, in hopes they don’t get in trouble?

Others are probably just lazy by nature and would be lazy no matter what profession they were in, basically a fireman with a badge. Citizens call, dispatch tells them where to go, they show up, do what they have to do according to what transpired, and then move on to the next call. Pretty simple. This kind of police officer is great at, “customer service” because citizens expect officers to show up when called. But don’t expect to see this officer chasing thugs on foot, or knocking on doors looking for someone with a felony warrant. That’s for those “go-getters” they’ll say. That kind of stuff is for the “crime fighters.”

Then there’s the other side of the coin. Some officers, dare I say, most officers, go above and beyond every day and not only answer calls, they do much more. They actively seek the gang member with a felony warrant. They pay attention to which cars were taken at gunpoint the day before and watch for them during their shift. Basically, some police officers work extremely hard and are diligent in their efforts to make a difference by holding the criminal element accountable.

However, the harsh reality is being this kind of police officer almost always comes at a cost to the officer. Whether the general public wants to believe it or not, internal and external punishment is a constant with police departments. Complaints from citizens have a major impact on a police officer’s career, daily mental health, and stress. Even if the complaint is found to be a lie, or the officer is later exonerated, the pending investigation could have a lasting negative impact on that officer’s career.

Especially because investigations often take a considerable amount of time, which could cause an officer to miss out on a promotion, a transfer to a different assignment, a pay raise, or other career enhancing benefits.

The negative Nancy types reading this may say, “Tough! Don’t be a jerk of an officer and you won’t get complained on!” Well negative Nancy, it’s not always that simple. Sometimes you get complained on for just being at a call. Sometimes, you can do nothing wrong at all, the body camera may prove it, but that doesn’t mean the complaint won’t be taken and a thorough investigation won’t take place.

“Well if you did nothing wrong! It shouldn’t matter!” Ah yes negative Nancy, in a perfect world, you’d be right, but the truth is in some departments there is backlog of complaints and investigators get overwhelmed and can’t take short cuts. Due to this, though the officer may be cleared in the end, but they could still be inadvertently punished due to the pending investigation.

Add to this the growing trend of officers being sent to prison, or maliciously prosecuted for political gain, yeah I’m talking to you Baltimore, and you can’t help but ask yourself, why stick your neck out as an officer?

No, I’m not saying officers shouldn’t be held to a higher standard. No, I’m not saying officers shouldn’t be complained on if they do something wrong. If you’ve read other articles I’ve written, you’d know I’ve staunchly called out “dirty” or “bad” police officers and will continue to do so.

The point of this entire is article is simple. The harder a police officer works at defending you from evil, the more likely they are to end up in a shooting, a fight, or something negative that the social justice warriors will deem “wrong” in their YouTube videos. For their efforts and bravery, there will be consequences, usually negative ones, even when everything they did was “by the book.”

One heck of a deal if you ask me.

The question is, which officer do you want patrolling your neighborhood?

The fireman with the badge who does the bare minimum and simply shows up when called?

Or, the one who goes the extra mile to seek out the true criminal element in our society and put them in jail where they belong?

If you were an officer, which one would you be?

The fact is, you want us to protect you, but when we do, inevitably, it comes at a cost.

Across the country, there seems to be two trends taking place. Police departments are having trouble recruiting new officers and crime is on the rise.

I could be wrong, but the very cause of these trends are in the title of this article.

The best police officers live to hunt the evil you pretend doesn’t exist. And they pay a heavy price for doing so. I wish people understood.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

Comic Relief: How To Avoid Becoming Anti-Police

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Some may wonder how someone becomes one of those anti-police haters we see on social media. So I felt compelled to create a guide on avoiding such a fate.

This is meant to be read with a hint of sarcasm and humor. So those of you who take life too seriously, I suggest you stop reading and go back to your den of anger.

A step by step guide on how to avoid hating the police:

  1. Don’t shoot people. If you’re out there rolling around town and feel like “busting some caps,” you’re likely already a police hater or a felon, so we will just move right along.
  1. Don’t smoke crack, it’s whack. Self-explanatory.
  1. Don’t sell drugs. Get a real job.
  1. Follow traffic laws! No one likes getting traffic tickets, but they’re completely avoidable should you just follow the laws.
  1. Don’t hit people. Your girlfriend, your boyfriend. It really doesn’t matter who they are, let’s just keep our hands to ourselves kids.
  1. Remember, Hugs Not Drugs. Words to live by.
  1. Don’t steal stuff. If you don’t steal things from people or businesses, the odds of you getting in trouble with the police are slim. Baffling, I know.
  1. Don’t do meth. I needn’t elaborate.
  1. Don’t join a gang. Don’t be a fool, stay in school.
  1. Don’t fight or run from an officer. You’ll just go to jail tired.

It’s just that simple.

Thank an officer today!

The Officer Next Door

 

 

Law Enforcement 4

Fourteen Year Old Gunned Down in Dallas – Lack of Outrage Puzzling

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A fourteen-year-old was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas last night.

The fourth murder in as many days in Dallas.

According to initial reports and video surveillance, the victim wasn’t doing anything illegal. He wasn’t selling drugs or engaging in criminal behavior. He was simply standing in a gas station parking lot.

Unfortunately, for the fourteen-year-old, that parking lot is known for such activity. When shots rang out between two vehicles, one driving by and one in the parking lot of the gas station, the innocent victim was caught in the middle and tragically killed.

There’s no other way to put it, a young teenager killed in crossfire is simply tragic. Equally as tragic, is the fact that it occurred at a place known for drug sales, gang activity, and violent crime. It’s tragic because it’s becoming increasingly clear that the criminal element in Dallas and other big cities across the country, feel as if they can operate with impunity.

Protests and marches certainly have their place. However, despite what anti-police critics echo in their news conferences and statements to the media; police officers across this country never want to shoot or hurt anyone. Protests when someone is clearly and unjustly killed by the police make sense. People look to police for protection and when an officer kills someone unjustifiably, it creates anger and distrust.

Understandably so. Wrong is wrong. Justice should be applied equally and equitably across the board. A higher standard should always exist regarding the actions of police officers.

Not long ago, an officer in a city that borders Dallas, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for an unjustified shooting that took the life of 15-year-old teenager, Jordan Edwards. Tragically, Edwards like the latest victim in Dallas, was not doing anything wrong or criminal when he was killed.

The aftermath of the shooting by former Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver, spurred immediate outrage and calls for justice by members of the community and the District Attorney’s office. Again, understandably so.

Sadly, in the aftermath of the recent and senseless murder of a 14-year-old Dallas resident, I can’t help but notice the lack of community outrage. I watched a live feed of the Police Chief addressing the media mere hours after the senseless murder. No mention of crowd control. I had no trouble hearing the Chief speak to the media over the non-existent shouts from non-existent community members demanding justice and accountability.

Nothing.

Cars passed by the crime scene as if nothing happened. A congregation of police cars, crime scene tape, and news media trucks, just another Tuesday night in Dallas.

No outrage.

No protests.

I’ll ask the obvious questions.

Why is this crime acceptable? Where is the outrage about the fact in the month of May alone, Dallas logged more than one murder per day? Forty-one murders to be exact. The majority of which were in communities with a high population of minorities.

That’s a lot of tragedy in one month considering Dallas has typically averaged between 130-170 murders per year since 2015. You would think if anyone would be upset about an alarming number of murders in a neighborhood, it would be those who live in it.

Race, ethnicity, or any other identifier aside, if there was an alarming number of murders in my neighborhood, I’d be upset. Pissed off maybe. Wouldn’t you?

Apparently, if murder or violence in your neighborhood is the norm, the only time you get upset about tragic and senseless killings, is when a police officer is to blame.

A real shame to be honest. I don’t care where the crime spike occurs, one life lost is too many. Especially a senseless murder like the one of that took place last night in Dallas, Texas.

No fourteen-year-old deserves that fate. I don’t care what neighborhood or city you’re in.

Either way, it’s becoming abundantly clear, “activists” like Lee Merritt and Dominque Alexander – who have been actively involved in protesting and advocating for “justice” in Dallas – pick and choose which victims they care about. Lee Merritt had no issue rushing to make a statement and call for press conferences when a woman falsely claimed a DPS Texas Trooper raped her during a DWI arrest last year.

However, the innocent 14-year-old senselessly gunned down last night, apparently doesn’t meet their criteria for outrage. I didn’t see either of them rushing to Adam’s Food Mart to assemble and make a statement to the news media. Nor did I see emphatic calls for justice or plans for a protest or march announced on social media.

Nope.

Nothing.

Apparently, it’s “business as usual” in Dallas, Texas tomorrow. Just another young kid murdered for no reason other than the criminal element has been allowed to run wild in Dallas. A nationwide trend as police become increasingly reactive in nature.

In Dallas, a police force dwindled by a mass exodus of officers and a District Attorney and Police Chief, that favor making excuses for criminals, over holding them accountable. A true recipe for disaster.

As of writing this, I don’t know the race or identity of the 14-year-old victim, as the details haven’t been released. Quite frankly it doesn’t matter.

The fact remains, the silence is deafening and sad.

The Officer Next Door

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