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Category: Law Enforcement

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

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Law Enforcement 7

Another Officer Down – Why It Keeps Happening

the burden 3

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

CrimeSceneInvestigation

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

Law Enforcement 26

If I Could Forget What My Eyes Have Seen

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Image Source: JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would stop the years of tragedy from replaying in my head, while trying to sleep at night.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would no longer see the face of the young child I couldn’t save from drowning.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would no longer see the lifeless bodies lying on the highway at the countless fatality car accidents I’ve worked.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would no longer see that person take their last breath who was caught in gang crossfire.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would forget the look on a parent’s face, when I told them their child was dead and never coming home.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would no longer see the lifeless bodies of every homicide victim, I’ve seen over the years.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would not remember what a decomposed body looks like, even worse, what one smells like.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would forget the look of fear and pain on every domestic violence victim’s face, who endured abuse from someone they loved.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would erase the images of child abuse, sex trafficking, and child porn, I was forced to see throughout my career.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, my heart would be softer, my trust more attainable, and my guard not always up.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I’d be less skeptical, less cynical, and remember that kindness in humanity still exists.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would no longer break down and cry unexpectedly, like a dam of emotion breaking for reasons unknown.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would sleep without issues, cold sweats, and repetitive dreams of being killed, would be a thing of the past.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would not have to sit with my back against the wall when out in public, forever on alert, just in case evil were to show up.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I’d be forever free from the truth that evil is real, it’s out there, I know, because I’ve looked into its eyes.

If I could forget what my eyes have seen, I would not be a police officer.

These are the burdens we carry, the price we pay, to keep you safe.

This is the truth behind our badge.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 0

Truths The Anti-Police Crowd Refuse To See – Prevent Progress, Keep Us Divided

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Photo Source: Chicago Tribune – A rally with opposing protests in Chicago following the Smollett case dismissal

Dear Anti-Police Critics,

Whether you believe me or not, I hear you when you voice your opinions and concerns about police officers. I fully support your right to peacefully march or protest for causes you believe in. I understand the emotions you feel when someone you care about dies at the hands of another. The truth is, we are more alike, than we are different.

I know what it’s like to bury someone you love, went to school with, or in my case, wore the same uniform. I understand the feelings you experience when you hear about a preventable violent tragedy and think, “That could have been me.” It’s our worst nightmare, for both us. Like I said, we are more alike, than we are different.

I know how frustrating it is to be judged solely on your appearance and not your character. I realize I made a choice to wear this uniform and unlike some, I can change my appearance by simply removing it. However, the fact remains, nobody should be judged by appearance alone, it’s that simple. I ignore the dirty looks, the hateful comments, and the people who spit in my direction as I pass by. Whether you believe me or not, I go to work every day hoping to be a positive influence in the community and strive to treat everyone equally.

We both want safe neighborhoods, the ability to chase dreams, and a fair justice system across the board. Like you, I want violent criminals held accountable and the innocent protected from violence and evil. I take it personal when someone is hurt or killed on my watch. Despite what some may think, I especially don’t want to hurt or kill anyone. It’s truly every officer’s worst nightmare. Just remember, without hesitation, I’ll give my life to save yours. Whether you believe me or not, it’s true.

I can say with absolute certainty; all good police officers despise the bad ones. When deserving, we have no issue with them being fired or sent to prison. There’s no place for a dirty or corrupt police officer in our profession. Their lack of integrity, poor decisions, or corruption wipe away any good we’ve done and erodes the vital trust of the community. This sentiment is shared across the entire profession, whether you believe us or not, we simply hate dirty police officers.

In the end, police officers are human and like you, they make mistakes. Despite their humanity, the highest standards of accountability are paramount. However, accountability is a two-way street. Collectively, we must look at incidents objectively and assign blame fairly. If we move forward with a willingness to walk in each other’s shoes and learn from our mistakes, the potential for progress is endless. True change is possible, but it must be achieved together, not apart.

Behind my badge is a heart like yours.

In the end, we all want the same things.

I hope you see, we really are more alike, than we are different.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 2

An Open Letter To Police Critics – We Are More Alike Than We Are Different

Barclays Center protest in Brooklyn, NY on December 1, 2014.
Photo credit: Stephanie Keith

Dear Police Critics,

Whether you believe me or not, I hear you when you voice your opinions and concerns about police officers. I fully support your right to peacefully march or protest for causes you believe in. I understand the emotions you feel when someone you care about dies at the hands of another. The truth is, we are more alike, than we are different.

I know what it’s like to bury someone you love, went to school with, or in my case, wore the same uniform. I understand the feelings you experience when you hear about a preventable violent tragedy and think, “That could have been me.” It’s our worst nightmare, for both us. Like I said, we are more alike, than we are different.

I know how frustrating it is to be judged solely on your appearance and not your character. I realize I made a choice to wear this uniform and unlike some, I can change my appearance by simply removing it. However, the fact remains, nobody should be judged by appearance alone, it’s that simple. I ignore the dirty looks, the hateful comments, and the people who spit in my direction as I pass by. Whether you believe me or not, I go to work every day hoping to be a positive influence in the community and strive to treat everyone equally.

We both want safe neighborhoods, the ability to chase dreams, and a fair justice system across the board. Like you, I want violent criminals held accountable and the innocent protected from violence and evil. I take it personal when someone is hurt or killed on my watch. Despite what some may think, I especially don’t want to hurt or kill anyone. It’s truly every officer’s worst nightmare. Just remember, without hesitation, I’ll give my life to save yours. Whether you believe me or not, it’s true.

I can say with absolute certainty; all good police officers despise the bad ones. When deserving, we have no issue with them being fired or sent to prison. There’s no place for a dirty or corrupt police officer in our profession. Their lack of integrity, poor decisions, or corruption wipe away any good we’ve done and erodes the vital trust of the community. This sentiment is shared across the entire profession, whether you believe us or not, we simply hate dirty police officers.

In the end, police officers are human and like you, they make mistakes. Despite their humanity, the highest standards of accountability are paramount. However, accountability is a two-way street. Collectively, we must look at incidents objectively and assign blame fairly. If we move forward with a willingness to walk in each other’s shoes and learn from our mistakes, the potential for progress is endless. True change is possible, but it must be achieved together, not apart.

Behind my badge is a heart like yours.

In the end, we all want the same things.

I hope you see, we really are more alike, than we are different.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

Parents: Police Will Not Arrest Your Kids For Misbehaving – Be Parents, Not Comedians

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I think most police officers agree there a few things that get old quickly as a police officer.

No, I’m not talking about the unpredictability of your work schedule, the dangers of the job, the fact you have to work weekends, holidays, and if you’re unlucky, mandatory overtime due to manpower shortages. No, I’m not talking about those things. Because like “they” say, “That’s what they signed up for!” (Another annoying saying)

I’m talking about the moronic thing parents say to their kids when they encounter police officers in public.

“You see that police officer over there? If you aren’t good, they will take you to jail!”

This is about as funny as our other favorite, “I didn’t do it officer!” (Insert hysterical laughing here)

Whew. Man. Good stuff. Really good stuff. Honestly, tears, tears are rolling down my cheeks from laughing so hard. “I didn’t do it!” (Shaking my head in sheer amazement someone could be so funny……..not really).

Alright, back to being The Serious Officer Next Door.

Honestly, police officers have enough to deal with when it comes to public scrutiny and negativity. There’s plenty of anti-police groups, extreme “libertarians” that hate the government and police, not to mention the criminal element police officers confront daily. The last thing a parent should want is a child that fears the police. “Stranger danger” doesn’t apply here, yet that’s basically what you’re telling them.

Young kids, of all people, need to KNOW they can run toward a police officer in the event of an emergency. Why create a fear of the police at such a young age? It doesn’t matter if you’re joking.

I don’t care what the media or the anti-police crowd tells you, a police officer’s best days are the ones they get to truly help someone, save a life, or do something positive. Yes, they’re a consequence, which naturally hinders their popularity, especially among those who live a life of criminality.

Sure, sometimes police do stupid things and end up on the news. But these are children we are talking about. They are impressionable and need to be taught that a police officer will help them no matter what it is they need.

I remember growing up, we didn’t need our parents telling us the police would arrest us and take us to jail if we misbehaved. Instead, we had a show called, “Rescue 911” and the intro to that show was creepy as heck. It honestly scared the crap out of me, yet, I loved watching that show. I’d go to bed terrified our house would go up in flames and I’d have to crawl through flames and smoke toward a firefighter with a mask breathing like a scary Darth Vader.

Yeah, I just made firefighters scary. Take that hose draggers!

I grew up more afraid of that scenario than anything else.

I guess I was lucky. I had parents that I respected and feared, in a healthy way. I was raised, “guilty until proven innocent,” by the very people who brought me into this world. The way it should be. As such, they didn’t need to tell me the police would come take me away for misbehaving. My parents were enough of a consequence, they didn’t need police officers to help raise or discipline their children. They also taught their children to respect teachers, police officers, and people in positions of authority. Ah, the good ‘ole days.

I’m not telling anyone how to parent. I’m not “parent shaming” or any other ridiculous term someone may want to throw out there. I’m simply saying people need to think about the messages they send to children when it involves the police. They’re an ally, not the enemy. Teach your kids that and maybe our society will be better off going forward. Be the change you want to see. Respect for authority doesn’t have to be a thing of the past.

Thank a police officer today.

Even better, encourage a positive interaction between a police officer and a child if you’re able.

It’s not just the children who will benefit.

We all will.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 2

Stop Doing This When You See A Police Officer

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I think most police officers agree there a few things that get old quickly as a police officer.

No, I’m not talking about the unpredictability of your work schedule, the dangers of the job, the fact you have to work weekends, holidays, and if you’re unlucky, mandatory overtime due to manpower shortages. No, I’m not talking about those things. Because like “they” say, “That’s what they signed up for!” (Another annoying saying)

I’m talking about the moronic thing parents say to their kids when they encounter police officers in public.

“You see that police officer over there? If you aren’t good, they will take you to jail!”

This is about as funny as our other favorite, “I didn’t do it officer!” (Insert hysterical laughing here)

Whew. Man. Good stuff. Really good stuff. Honestly, tears, tears are rolling down my cheeks from laughing so hard. “I didn’t do it!” (Shaking my head in sheer amazement someone could be so funny……..not really).

Alright, back to being The Serious Officer Next Door.

Honestly, police officers have enough to deal with when it comes to public scrutiny and negativity. There’s plenty of anti-police groups, extreme “libertarians” that hate the government and police, not to mention the criminal element police officers confront daily. The last thing a parent should want is a child that fears the police. “Stranger danger” doesn’t apply here, yet that’s basically what you’re telling them.

Young kids, of all people, need to KNOW they can run toward a police officer in the event of an emergency. Why create a fear of the police at such a young age? It doesn’t matter if you’re joking.

I don’t care what the media or the anti-police crowd tells you, a police officer’s best days are the ones they get to truly help someone, save a life, or do something positive. Yes, they’re a consequence, which naturally hinders their popularity, especially among those who live a life of criminality.

Sure, sometimes police do stupid things and end up on the news. But these are children we are talking about. They are impressionable and need to be taught that a police officer will help them no matter what it is they need.

I remember growing up, we didn’t need our parents telling us the police would arrest us and take us to jail if we misbehaved. Instead, we had a show called, “Rescue 911” and the intro to that show was creepy as heck. It honestly scared the crap out of me, yet, I loved watching that show. I’d go to bed terrified our house would go up in flames and I’d have to crawl through flames and smoke toward a firefighter with a mask breathing like a scary Darth Vader.

Yeah, I just made firefighters scary. Take that hose draggers!

I grew up more afraid of that scenario than anything else.

I guess I was lucky. I had parents that I respected and feared in a healthy way. I was raised, “guilty until proven innocent,” by the very people who brought me into this world. The way it should be. As such, they didn’t need to tell me the police would come take me away for misbehaving. My parents were enough of a consequence, they didn’t need police officers to help raise or discipline their children.

I’m not telling anyone how to parent. I’m not “parent shaming” or any other ridiculous term someone may want to throw out there. I’m simply saying people need to think about the messages they send to children when it involves the police. They’re an ally, not the enemy. Teach your kids that and maybe our society will be better off going forward. Be the change you want to see. Respect for authority doesn’t have to be a thing of the past.

Thank a police officer today.

Even better, encourage a positive interaction between a police officer and a child if you’re able.

It’s not just the children who will benefit.

We all will.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 7

All I Ever Wanted To Do Was Become A Police Officer

All I ever wanted to do was become a police officer.
Ever since I was a kid, I felt like it was a calling.
I’ve seen the news, read the headlines, and watched police funeral processions.
I knew it was dangerous, but that wasn’t going to stop me.

All I ever wanted to do was make my community safer.
I didn’t set out every day to write tickets or make arrests for minor crimes. Instead, I hoped to find someone that deserved to be in jail and put them there. Gang members, violent felons, or drug dealers, any would do. Someone has to hunt for those people, to be honest, that’s the only kind of police work I wanted to do.

All I ever wanted to do was truly help someone.
It didn’t matter how it happened. Whether it was making an arrest, helping someone when their car broke down, finding a missing family member, or recovering stolen property.  Or maybe just being there to listen when someone was at rock bottom. When you break it down, that’s really what the job is all about. There’s no better feeling than knowing you truly helped someone.

All I ever wanted to do was save a life.
It doesn’t happen every day or on every shift, but when it does, you’ll never forget it. You won’t hear us talk about it, because to us, it’s part of the job. No matter the circumstances, a bad car accident or medical emergency, saving just one life makes an entire career worthwhile. It reminds you why you answered the calling, despite all the challenges.

All I ever wanted to do was be there when someone needed me the most.
Whether it was to prevent something tragic from happening or responding quickly when it did, I wanted to be there. If I wasn’t, I took it personally. That’s why despite our own fears, we run, not walk, to wherever danger or evil lurks. We are truly the thin blue line that stands between society and evil.

All I ever wanted to do was make my family, friends, and coworkers proud.
With the badge and uniform comes great responsibility. It was up to me not disgrace the name on my name tag or the patches on my shoulders. While wearing them, I represented something bigger than myself. My family, my blue family, a brotherhood, a sisterhood, and the thin blue line that stretches across the world.

All I ever wanted to do was go home safe after my shift. It didn’t take long to realize this job would forever change me. The tragedy, violence, and evil, we saw on a daily basis was quick to take its toll. Putting on a bulletproof vest before every shift, was a stark reminder of the violence we may confront. I knew all this, but it wasn’t going to stop me.

All I ever wanted to do was become a police officer.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 2

A Dead Person, A Broken Water Pipe, and Not Poking the Bear – Lessons From The Streets

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I was on field training, which meant I had a trainer (veteran officer) with me on every call, every traffic stop, wherever I went as a new police officer, my trainer was there.

I was on my second phase of training, if I had to guess, I was roughly 9 weeks into my career as a Dallas Police officer. I was still very “green” and naïve. I don’t even know if I’d seen crack cocaine yet.

We worked an odd shift, 7pm – 5am which meant we stayed pretty busy. Southeast Dallas is known as a rough part of town. It was my number one choice of where I wanted to work when I filled out my wish list in the academy. I know, I have some screws loose.

Just south of downtown, we made a traffic stop. I don’t remember all the details to be honest. All I remember is the driver was clearly drunk. He wasn’t incoherent, but he was bad enough to where SFST testing was futile, so it was a relatively easy DWI arrest.

My trainer wasn’t particularly my favorite person in the world. He’s no longer a police officer.

Needless to say, he was a big guy. No, not eats 15 donuts a shift big. He was probably 6’4” 260 pounds nearly all muscle. Maybe bigger. Needless to say, he wasn’t worried about people trying to pick a fight with him.

So back to the DWI traffic stop. As I’m about to put the guy in handcuffs, my trainer says, “Don’t do anything stupid, my rookie has an itchy trigger finger.”

Really?

Needless to say, I didn’t appreciate that comment. I didn’t have an itchy trigger finger. How would he know? I hadn’t shot anyone. I was brand new and still learning the job. I wasn’t overly aggressive or said or done anything crazy to suggest I was eager to shoot someone. Quite the opposite actually. No police officer wants to shoot someone. In fact, despite many close calls, I never shot anyone in my 12+ years with the Dallas Police Department. Thank God.

It should come as no surprise, the person being arrested didn’t appreciate the comment either. Insinuating he could be shot despite the fact he was cooperating was rather ridiculous, so I understood why he wasn’t thrilled. But being new, I just ignored it and continued on with the arrest.

Later on at jail, I was able to apologize to the guy. I told him I was sorry my trainer was such an as*hole and I didn’t understand why he said what he said. The guy thanked me for being cool. The person being arrested wasn’t upset with me. He knew he was wrong for driving in his condition. He knew it was nothing personal on my part, I was just doing my job. Thankfully he wasn’t an aggressive drunk.

Fast forward a month or so later.

I’m now on a different phase of training with a different trainer, different shift, same neighborhood. A call about a house with water pouring out of it comes in. The call also mentions that the owner of the house hadn’t been seen in a few days.

Awesome. (Sarcasm) Immediately I thought, “Today is the day, what every rookie is inevitably subjected to, a decomposed dead guy.”

If my memory serves me correctly at this point in the summer, we were well into double digit consecutive days where the high temperature surpassed 100 degrees. Needless to say, I was prepared for the worst on this call.

We arrive and sure enough the yard around the home had standing water and it is clear something has gone amiss inside to cause the flood. Turns out, a pipe under the house burst open and was spraying water all over the place, flooding the yard. That busted pipe was a blessing!

As we walk up to the house and began doing what police do, snoop around looking for a way into the house, the neighbor who called walks up.

As my luck would have it, it was the guy I arrested for DWI on my previous phase of training.

Awesome (Sarcasm again). At first, I was nervous. Seeing people you’ve arrested is naturally awkward and avoided if possible for obvious reasons. Luckily, this guy not only remembered me, he remembered how I treated him compared to my previous trainer.

Minutes later, that same guy was boosting me into his neighbor’s window. He was now helping me. A guy I had arrested just weeks before.

In the end, I found his neighbor deceased from natural causes. Thankfully, the broken water pipe kept the home cool and the deceased person had not begun to decompose. That stroke of luck started my streak of 12+ years without ever standing in the same room as a decomposed body.

Yes, you read that right. I went 12+ years in Dallas, Texas, as a police officer, and never once stood in the same room as a decomposed body. I was slated to go to homicide for a 6 month training program at one time in my career. Had that happened, my streak would have surely ended. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I’m definitely okay with that.

The moral of the story is simple. Today’s arrestee could be tomorrow’s witness or victim. Just because someone is going to jail today, doesn’t inherently make them a bad person. More importantly, as a police officer, you never know when you may need help or from whom.

If the only person around to help you, is someone you’ve arrested, I sure hope the arrest went well. If it didn’t and the guy was a complete scumbag or pain in the neck, so be it. Obviously those people exist too. Not every arrestee is rationale and takes responsibility for their actions. Not every arrestee realizes it’s usually their (bad) choices that led to them being in handcuffs.

Despite all that, we still have control over how we treat people, even if they are the worst of the worst. If that’s the case, let the arrest report do the talking. No sense in stooping to their level and having to answer to internal affairs over a pissing match or letting them get the best of you.

I was glad I learned that lesson so early in my career. I always tried hard to be fair and professional to the people I dealt with. Sure, I made mistakes or had bad days. We all do. I am far from perfect. But for the most part, people respected me and I respected them. That’s how it works. Or at least how it should. If someone fought me, I fought back. If someone was cool with me, I was cool back. Pretty simple really.

It was much easier to walk a prisoner into jail, instead of dragging someone kicking and screaming, acting like a child because you made them mad. Let me be clear, sometimes people just act like that because they’re childish and it may not be the fault of the arresting officer. Videos on social media would surely lead you to believe otherwise, but that’s a whole other topic.

I’m not suggesting police officers need to coddle everyone they encounter, just be professional. Comments like my trainer made, only stood to create more division between us and the community. Something we don’t need more of in our society.

So if you’re reading this and you want to become a police officer, I hope you enjoyed this story and maybe learned something from it.

You just never know who will be there to give you a boost when you need it.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

Police Officer Found Guilty of Murder, Activists Cry Foul

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Activists: “Hold police accountable when they use unjustified force! Fire them! Throw them in prison! We demand accountability!”

A Minnesota jury finds former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor guilty of shooting an unarmed woman who hit the trunk of their police car, scaring the officer.

Activists: “The officer was only found guilty because he is black and the victim was white!”

Look, I don’t care what ethnicity or race the officer was, nor do I care what the race or ethnicity of the victim was, if the officer shot and killed someone unjustly, he deserves to be punished. Period.

In my opinion, if we must see color, then the officer is blue. He was wearing a uniform at the time of the alleged crime and was being judged as such. The question being debated and decided by the jury was, were his actions justified under the color of law, not the color of his skin.

To make the claims of the activists even more mind bending, the jury was ample in diversity.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Noor case was decided by a jury of 10 men and two women. There were six who appeared to be people of color on the panel, four of them immigrants. I’d also like to add, one of them was a firefighter. So much for that first responder “brotherhood protection” theory.

Do we really live in a world where there is no winning?

If you hold someone accountable for their poor decisions, apparently it’s not because of their poor decisions, its due implicit bias by the jury? Despite the fact that half of the jury members were described as, or appeared to be people of color. Yeah. You read that correctly.

Is this real?

So let me write this out so we can all read it and think it through like rational people.

If you convict a police officer for unjustly shooting someone, it’s a good thing. We could even consider it progress in terms of fair and equal accountability. But, if the officer happens to be a minority and the victim is white, throw all of that out the window.

On the contrary, if the jury lets an officer off, they will likely be accused of “feeding the system of protection for bad, evil, and racist police officers.” Or the jury is enabling the “thin blue line of silence and impunity” to continue to exist and flourish.

I’m truly baffled.

Why can’t we accept the verdict from the jury for what it is, a finding of guilt based on the actions of the accused?

At what point do we look at verdicts rendered by a jury of our peers for what it is, a verdict? They heard all the facts and came to their decision for a reason. Yet, media outlets and activists run to print stories that suggest 6 of the 12 jury members were somehow implicitly biased and racist, despite being minorities themselves!?

Shake me, because I must be dreaming. Order me another coffee, I’m clearly not comprehending this correctly. I must not be properly “woke”.

I don’t have an issue with the fact a police officer was found guilty of a crime. Why? Because that’s how the system works! He shot and killed someone and the jury made the determination that it was NOT justified. Now he will be sentenced and he will serve his punishment. Just like if the roles were reversed and the officer was shot and killed.

I didn’t have a problem when a Texas jury found Roy Oliver, a former Balch Springs police officer, guilty of murder. Roy Oliver was white, the victim was black. Roy Oliver was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Some say that was too light of a sentence, maybe so. But I wasn’t in the courtroom. I wasn’t in the jury room. Regardless, I accept their guilty verdict and I accept the subsequent punishment.

Again, I don’t care what Roy Oliver looked like, where he came from, what box he checked when filling out a form regarding race, ethnicity, or religious affiliation. Was he guilty? According to the jury, the answer was yes. That’s how our criminal justice system is designed to work and I accept that.

When people speak about justice, they seem to all want the same thing, a system of justice that is fair and equal. Justice that looks at the actions, the mitigating factors, and what transpired during the alleged crime and reaches a conclusion (verdict) regarding whether or not the person is guilty. Or in the case of a police officer, they decide if their actions were justified. Pretty simple.

The sad irony is police officers are being held accountable for their missteps and poor decisions now, more than ever. Yet, instead of celebrating progress when it comes to equal accountability, we find fault in it with a new layer of criticism.

I don’t want to throw my hands up and admit defeat. I really want to hold on to the idea that we as a society are better than this.

I have to believe, we can come together and hold “wrong” accountable no matter what “wrong” looks like, or what job “wrong” was doing when they committed the “wrong.”

That’s the society I want to live in. I’m all for EVERYONE being held accountable for their actions equally.

Selective justice is not something we want as a society. In fact, I thought that was what every activist has ever fought against.

Though it seems we are moving in that direction, with certain District Attorney’s across the country picking and choosing which crimes they will prosecute and which ones they will not. A slippery slope if you ask me.

This police officer was found to be wrong. That’s the bottom line. The jury said he wasn’t justified in his actions and now he will pay for it. That’s how the system works and that’s how the system should continue to work.

Period.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

Behind The Scenes: Investigating The Death of a Hero

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The Call 

Immediately as we arrived to celebrate my husband Robert’s amazing achievement, being promoted to the rank of Major with the Dallas Police Department, the text messages and news alerts started coming in. Sergeant Merritt called me and said, “You’re up, one or two officers down, it’s unclear at this point exactly what happened.” “I’ll meet you at Home Depot.” Ugggghhhhhhhhh!

As I drove to Home Depot, tears filled my eyes. It sounded bad. I listened to the radio traffic as countless heroes converged on the scene, calmly but swiftly searching a creek for the suspect. SWAT thought they had him. They wanted to throw a flash bang. Turns out, it wasn’t the right guy, stand down.

I was assigned as the lead detective on this case and when I arrived at the scene, I was informed that two officers Rogelio Santander and Crystal Almeida had been shot and were “low sick” (unlikely to make it). A loss prevention officer, Scott Painter, was also shot and in critical condition.

Really?!? No! We can’t do this again. Not this soon after the ambush attack on July 7, 2016 where five (5) officers were killed. I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t do this again. Get it together. Everyone needs you to get it together and do your thing. Begin gathering facts.”

Sherry Leonard came up to me, her hand was shaking as she showed us the photo of the suspect vehicle. She’d been searching the Home Depot surveillance video for a clue and she found a big one. The info was immediately put out citywide and the hunt for the suspect was on.

The Investigation

After several hours of Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and Homicide detectives interviewing witnesses, canvassing for video, checking statuses at the hospital and getting officer’s statements; we needed to sit down together and go over what we had so far to decide next steps. It’s a team effort, always.

As we were briefing in the conference room, Sergeant Merritt whispered to me that officers were in chase with the suspect.

We all stood around the radio and listened to the chase. Our helicopter, “Air One” was calling the chase and the suspect was firing shots at the pursuing officers. He got to a dead end, tried to back out and struck a car. We all suspected the officers in the chase would be forced to shoot this maniac. And that meant SIU would be working another OIS (officer involved shooting). Thankfully, God never gives us more than we can handle. The suspect threw his gun out the window at some point. He was surrounded, no way out. After all that, shooting three people, a massive car chase, shooting at pursuing officers, he exited the stolen vehicle he was driving, laid down and gave up. Wow.

The restraint the officers showed at the end of the chase is by far the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen. I can promise you, every single one of them wanted to put a bullet in his head, like he had done to Rogelio, Crystal and Scott. But they didn’t. They upheld their oath to serve and protect even the worst criminals. They knew they were not to be judge, jury or executioners. They didn’t give him a whooping or mistreat him, they were 100% professional. The amount of adrenaline going through them had to be hard to control. But they did it. The end game was of upmost importance and the officers knew it. These guys and gals did an outstanding job taking him into custody.

He will now be coming to police headquarters for interrogation. In preparation, I go over the body camera footage from the shooting at Home Depot with my team. Again, just like 7/7/16, watching my family in blue get murdered over and over, making sure I know every detail. It’s grueling to say the least. Those images will NEVER leave me.

The Interrogation

I am now tasked with interrogating a cop killer. Santander had not been pronounced dead yet, but we were aware his injuries were not survivable. Detective Ibarra looked at me and said, “Do you want me to talk to the suspect and you take the female?” I said “No way! I want him. He’s mine!”

This is quite possibly the interrogation of my career. The gravity of the situation was not lost on me. I knew the importance of this part of the investigation. We briefly discussed some strategy, but I knew what I needed to do. I’d done this a thousand times before. Just never with a Capital Murder Suspect. Never with a cop killer.

The patrol officers guarding him assured me they’d be just outside the door if he jumped bad. I took a deep breath and opened the door. I was now face to face with a cop killer. I moved the table out of the way and sat as close to him as I could. My knees were between his legs. He said he was thirsty, so I gave him a bottle of water and he drank the entire bottle of water in what seemed like one gulp. I got the confession. Details, many of them. Many very important details. I wish I could share them here, but they must be saved for trial.

Surprisingly, it was like any other interview. It had to be. I had to conduct the interview like I had every other one before. I had a routine that I’d perfected over my 13 years as a Detective. I had to follow the routine so I got everything I needed, to ensure we get a conviction. I couldn’t be nervous or let the gravity of the situation get to me. Same as any other interrogation.

After it was over, everyone praised me. Everyone. Detective Ibarra said it was a text book interrogation, that’s huge coming from him. The DA’s office agreed. I remember feeling good about it, but needed confirmation from them. They assured me I covered everything. God guided me, was right there with me, I give Him the glory because to this day, I’m not sure how I did it.

Temporary Relief, Family Sacrifice

It’s now about midnight and my daughter Kate calls me via FaceTime. Crying, she asks when I’m coming home. I told her I was still at the office with all my buddies and we were working on the officer’s case. I turned the camera around and all the detectives and lawyers standing there with me, put a smile on their faces and waved to her. She’s only 10. She just wants her Mom home safe. She worries about me more than I’ll ever know and it’s become worse since 7/7 happened. I told her to try to go to sleep and I would be home as soon as I could. My dad, who was staying with her since Rob and I were both working, got on the phone and told me she was having a hard time. No doubt.

Back to the grind, I typed offense reports and obtained arrest warrants to put the suspect in jail. Two attempted capital murder warrants and one aggravated assault warrant should be enough to keep him in jail for the night. It was 2 a.m. at this point and we were all exhausted. Emotions were running high. I finally got home about 4 a.m., about 12 hours after the original call. Kate was still up waiting for me. She couldn’t sleep until I was home safe. I may never realize the effects my career choice has on her.

The Final Stretch

I felt like I didn’t sleep. Maybe an hour or two. I was up at 6:30 a.m. and in the shower. I let Kate sleep in because she was up so late, worrying about me. Rob got a message that Officer Santander had passed. He was officially pronounced dead at 8:11 a.m. We knew this was coming. We knew he wouldn’t survive. Sadly, it was time to obtain the Capital Murder warrant.

Immediately upon getting to the office, I start typing the warrant carefully as to not make any mistakes. I know I am being crazy controlling, but this case has to be perfect. Every word needs to be spelled correctly, every detail and crime scene process needed to be documented perfectly. I know I drove the Physical Evidence Section (PES) guys crazy. They got it though and were true professionals. I owed it to Rogelio, Crystal, Scott, their families, and all of Dallas PD to make damn sure this scumbag gets convicted. The pressure I put on myself to not let anyone down was immense. Three detectives and Sergeant Merritt read over my Capital Murder warrant for accuracy. All looked good, time to head to courthouse.

It was surreal, Judge Kennedy, on the bench wearing her black robe, asked me to raise my right hand and swear or affirm that the affidavit was true and correct. I did. Unfortunately, the facts were true and correct. Then she asked how we were doing today. She has a soft way and tone about her. You can tell she cares. I replied “hanging in there.” She nodded and signed the warrant. $1 million dollar bond.

I executed the warrant, adding the Capital Murder charge to the list of charges as the scumbag sat in jail. I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it. The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) had just publically posted Officer Santander’s death. It was official.

Closure

I felt a strong need to go to hospital. Something we didn’t get to do on 7/7/16.

Rogelio, Crystal and Scott’s hospital rooms were all right next to each other. I loved that they were together. Their rooms were completely surrounded by cops. There were probably 25-30 officers in, around, and outside of Rogelio’s room. Many to say their “goodbyes” to him. Crystal’s family was so sweet. My co-worker Eddie gave them our business cards. Scott’s wife, Scarlett, was amazing. She was so thankful and strong.

When I left the hospital, I thought how tragic it will be when Crystal is finally strong enough to be told her partner had been murdered. That she missed his funeral. That she would never see him or have him by her side defending Dallas, ever again. I knew one thing, I sure as hell didn’t want to be the one to tell her.

I already have thought about how this Capital Murder trial will go. How he will get convicted and how I will travel to Huntsville to watch him pay for his sins.

RIP Rogelio Santander #10934, we have the watch from here.

Angela Arredondo #7651
Dallas Police SIU/Homicide

Law Enforcement 0

If I Had Chosen Suicide

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If I had chosen suicide, would my department have given me full honors? Would my body have received a full motorcade with my brother officers riding proudly on their freshly detailed Harley Davidson motorcycles, the blinding brilliance of blue lights piercing the night? Would they have lined up on the streets to pay their respects? Would my comrades have saluted, standing tall as the cold, dark casket passed them by? Would the crowd have jumped at the first sound of gunfire as the volleys of unified blasts rang through the air?

What would they say about me at the graveside?

“Everything seemed to be fine…”

“He was just awarded officer of the year last year…

“He smiled and laughed…”

“I had no idea what he was facing…”

“Doesn’t surprise me that he checked out…”

If I had chosen suicide, would anyone have cared? I had already decided my life was over anyway. Would my wife have grieved my death? She and I were barely speaking. I know it was my fault, I hurt her so badly, and I’ve done so many unspeakable things. Would my five year old daughter have been able to flourish and grow as she carried the unexplained death of her daddy? Would my friends have been devastated, plagued by survivor’s guilt, wishing they had recognized the signs of someone who was a high risk for suicide?

“I’m praying for the family..”

“How will they survive without his income..”

“I know he was hurting but I never thought…”

“He was drinking a lot more heavily…”

If I had chosen suicide, would anyone have done anything about it? Would they have named a street or dedicated a park in memory of me? Would they have retired my badge number— to honor me, or would it have been to prevent another officer from being shrouded by the shame? Would they have begun to consider taking peer support and mental health more seriously? Or would they continue to cloak their own thoughts in shadows and make fun of officers who are hurting?

“I heard he was messing around with…”

“I heard he got pulled over and he was drunk, and still in his uniform…”

“I heard he got suspended for blowing up in roll call…”

“I told him I refused to talk to him, after what he did…”

If I had chosen suicide, would I have gone to Heaven? I believe at that moment, I would have burned in Hell forever. I know I never would have come to know the God who I believe created me and loves me as His child.

If I had given up and chosen suicide, I never would have seen my marriage restored, I never would have been able to give up alcohol forever. I never would have seen the birth of my son. I never would have been able to completely heal from depression, post-traumatic stress, and endless sadness.

If I had chosen suicide and killed myself, I never would have given myself the chance to get the help that I so desperately needed. I never would have been able to lift up in prayer, and reach out with hope, to my hurting brothers and sisters in blue as they encounter the darkness and struggle to not succumb to the demons.

It takes a strong person, a true warrior, to daily face and battle the hell of this world as a police officer. It takes reaching deep to realize that you’re hurting, that you’re no longer that same person you were when you took the oath to protect and to serve. Warriors reach out to get help to win the battle. Warriors choose help to win the war within.

Warrior, get help. I’m so thankful I did.

——

Read the powerful true story of how my life was changed forever in my award winning book, Break Every Chain: A Police Officer’s Battle with Alcoholism, Depression, and Devastating Loss, and the True Story of How God Changed His Life Forever. Available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Books-A-Million, Walmart, Ebay, and iTunes. Also available as an Audiobook. For more information, visit https://JonathanHickory.com.
———
Jonathan Hickory is a master police officer in Charlottesville, Virginia. In his 15 plus years of police experience, Jonathan has mentored and instructed other officers in police driving methods and as a field-training officer. Jonathan spent seven years investigating the reconstruction of fatal vehicle crash sites and three years as a motorcycle officer. Jonathan proudly serves as a member of the Police Department’s Peer Support Team providing Critical Incident Stress Management support to fellow officers. He also leads a Life Safety team with The Point Church in Charlottesville and the local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers. Jonathan has been married to his wife Stacy for over 15 years and has two children.

Law Enforcement 33

You Want My Badge? You Can Have It.

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I can’t recall all the times I was told by someone I was arresting they would “have my badge!” They assured me they knew “someone important” and I would soon feel their wrath and be fired. This usually sent a sarcastic shiver down my spine. I’d heard it so many times, it honestly became funny after a while. Especially when the person was guilty as sin, or being arrested for something like an outstanding warrant. Something I had zero part in causing. I was simply doing my job bringing them to the house of accountability (jail).

Sorry, not sorry.

These days, it seems people are all about one thing, emotions. No one cares about common sense or accountability anymore. Everything is about ensuring everyone is treated with “kid gloves” even when it comes to law enforcement. The police officer is the one in the wrong these days, not the criminal. I’m sorry, “alleged” criminal. That is really where we are in society. When you go sit in a courtroom, the police officer is actually the one on trial, not the accused. Even with the implementation of body cameras, I can assure you the officer is still mostly the one on trial. Now it isn’t good enough if everything is captured on video, it’s about whether or not the officer was perfect. Did they do everything perfectly? If not, let the criminal walk.

Fine, just don’t throw tantrums when crime skyrockets. I’m telling you now, it’s going to happen. Then and only then, will the pendulum swing back to supporting police. The citizens will beg us to rid the streets of those who cause the rest of us harm. The kicker is many fail to realize the police are simply one “cog” in the wheel of justice. The latest trend across the country of District Attorneys moving the goal posts regarding what crimes will be prosecuted is more concerning than the current lack of respect our society has for law and order. At least that can be remedied come election time. Interesting times to say the least. But, just like the economy, the housing market, and fashion trends, it’s all cyclical.

(Insert obligatory “not defending bad policing” paragraph here)

While pointing out the truth about how things are these days, I’m obliged to say I am not advocating for lackluster policing. Sloppy police work should never be the bar in which we set our standards. Short cuts and corruption have always been condemned since I started this website almost one year ago. So save yourself the time of rattling off in the comments or sending me an angry email, suggesting I advocate for lazy, corrupt, or shortcut taking in police work, because I don’t.

What I am wondering, is when will we go back to the “good old days” where we respect police officers? When will we put the blame back where it belongs, on the ones committing the crimes or the ones FIGHTING the police? It isn’t the officer’s fault when the bad guy runs, fights, and gets hurt then cries foul alleging police brutality in the end. I have yet to see a video where the officer yells, “Run bad guy! Run! We want to chase you and fight to get you in handcuffs! I enjoy being scraped up, spit on, and hurt myself! So run you S.O.B!” Then suddenly the bad guy takes off running and they end up rolling around in clouds of smoke like a scene from a cartoon.

Sorry, it just doesn’t happen that way.

Even better is the new trend when an officer is fighting with a suspect, people stand there recording the incident like a bunch of moronic robots trying to get the latest TMZ video. Why is this a new trend? I’ll tell you why. We have allowed the pendulum of morality to swing so far out of whack, instead of putting the phone down and helping the police officer, we film them while saying ignorant things like, “That’s excessive force!” With help, the fight could be over quickly and no one gets hurt, but nah, stand back and criticize while recording. Good stuff.

Skinny jeans. I blame skinny jeans. I think they restrict blood flow to the brain. (Shrug) It’s not scientific. I’m just in a sarcastic mood today.

A work environment like this that has a lot of officers simply choosing to find other professions. There’s a saying, “Welcome to law enforcement, where you are equally hated for both doing and not doing your job.” It’s true. And I don’t care what anyone says, it would take a toll you too. I don’t think anyone would enjoy going to work on a daily basis constantly feeling as if they’re under attack or heavy scrutiny. I’m not saying under attack like actually being shot or hurt every day. Though, assaults on officers are statistically on the rise, likely due to that whole lack of respect for authority thing we have going on.

I’m also not saying police officers shouldn’t be scrutinized, held to a higher standard, or held accountable when they are clearly in the wrong. I’m simply saying the constant scrutiny in the media and from within the department, takes a heavy toll on officers. It’s just a simple fact. That’s the message I’m trying to convey to those who’ve never worn the badge and gun or been a police officer. It’s a heavy burden and it is that burden that is creating the nationwide shortage of police officers. Fewer people are applying and people are leaving the profession at record rates, creating a shortage. Would you sign up today? Many people I talk to say, “Not a chance.”

After a few years, I think some officers just say “screw it.” They eventually get to the point where they feel it’s not worth the backlash and potential life altering repercussions of a “bad day” at work. Fired, stabbed, shot, killed, on the news, or in prison. A heavy price to pay for making a mistake or simply showing up to a car accident scene.

So some quit. Some tough it out and are miserable, likely on a path of self-destruction. Others love it and rise to the occasion every single day. Thank goodness for them. We need them more than ever.

However, I feel that many officers these days eventually feel the same way…

You want my badge? You can have it.

There’s plenty of ways to make $40,000-$80,000 a year.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

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