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Category: Personal Perspective

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

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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 11

An Open Letter to the Anti-Police Crowd

Dear Anti-Police Crowd,

Whether you believe me or not, I hear you when you voice your opinions and concerns about police officers. I 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 the latest 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 based on your appearance and not your character. I know I made a choice to wear this uniform, but the principle is the same. Nobody should be judged by appearance alone, it’s that simple. I ignore the dirty looks, the insulting 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 and strive to treat everyone the same.

We both want safe neighborhoods, the ability to succeed, and a fair justice system across the board. Like you, I want to see the bad guys go to jail and the good guys protected from violence and evil. I take it personal when someone is hurt or killed on my watch. I’ll give my life to save yours, whether you believe me or not, it’s true.

I can say this with absolute certainty, all good police officers despise the bad ones. When necessary, 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 all the 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.

The truth is, police officers are human. Just like you, they can make mistakes. Despite their humanity, the highest standards of accountability are paramount. However, accountability must be a two-way street. Collectively, we must look at incidents objectively and assign blame fairly. If we approach our future with a willingness to walk in “each other’s shoes,” and learn from our mistakes, the progress we can achieve is endless. Through understanding, true change is possible.

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 4

I’ve Seen Evil

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

As a police officer, I’ve seen evil.

Unfortunately, I see evil all the time.

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve seen evil alright.

As a police officer, when I hear about a tragedy anywhere in the world, I can’t help but think about evil.

Whether I want to or not, I think about what the evil looked like.

I think about the brave souls who ran to confront it.

And worst of all, I think about the people who didn’t deserve to experience it.

Evil.

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

I know it’s true, yet it’s persistence is formidable. We see it so often, it’s hard not to become skeptical of humanity.

I’m not complaining. As some critics say, “It’s what we signed up for.” And to some degree, they’re right, I signed up to fight evil.

That part is true.

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

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

Evil has killed many officers on-duty. Sadly, evil has killed even more officers by their own hand.

We are not impervious to evil.

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

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

Despite all of this no matter what, I want you to know, I will never quit and let evil win.

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

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

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

Rest easy knowing, I will fight evil, in hopes you never will.

Evil will not win.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 6

250 Miles and Three Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The Daughter of a Police Officer

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

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

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

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

SEARCH WARRANT BASICS

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

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

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

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

“KNOCK AND ANNOUNCE” WARRANTS

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

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

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

THE “NO-KNOCK” WARRANT EXPLAINED

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

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

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

THE DEBATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 3

Slaying The Stigma

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I just want to be real with you.  I understand why cops are killing themselves.  I understand because I have been all the way to the end of that dark, desolate road.  The only difference, the only saving grace, the only thing that saved me in that moment—was a fellow officer who gave me a mission of hope.

The voices whispered into my thoughts, “just end it all…this life…there’s no point..there is no hope…with all the darkness you have seen…with the wretch of a person you have become..there is no hope for you.

Lies.  But I almost believed them.  And in that moment, I received a sneak preview of Hell itself.  Though I had begun to refuse to acknowledge the existence of a higher power, in my heart I still clung to a belief in a Creator..and Heaven…and Hell.

A grizzly, gruff Lieutenant in my department recognized my despair and heard my plea for help one day.  I was in the midst of an internal investigation and I was convinced my career was over, my wife would leave me, and my daughter would be taken from me.

Drowning in alcohol abuse, depression, rage, and darkness, I could see no hope—no way out.  I asked my Lieutenant, “How am I supposed to deal with this? I don’t know what to do.”  I was cautious not to let him see how much I was hurting inside—that I was crying out for help.  I didn’t want him to know the true pain in my heart, for I was so ashamed that I wasn’t tough like him.

Before I knew it, my Lieutenant had made a call to our department’s police psychologist and had given my name and number over to the “Cop Doc.”  Now, I felt like I had a directive from my leader—Go get help. 

Soon, I found made my first appointment with the Cop Doc.  I found myself sitting in a rickety chair in a small office in an old townhouse that had been converted for commercial use.  The soft noise from a noise making machine drowned any conversation in the tiny office from leaking through the paper thin hollow door.  Through heavy tears, I poured out my soul to this man who was supposed to be the enemy…this supposed “quack;” the police psychologist.

The Cop Doc let me finish, he listened and he acknowledged my pain.  He did not try to minimize it, and he did not brush it off or tell me to “tough it out, suck it up.”  The Cop Doc was the perfect balance of reality, compassion, and understanding.  He walked with me through the darkness and he pulled me out of the bottom of the deepest, darkest pit I have ever been in.  Slowly, I put my armor back on.

In the weeks that followed, the Cop Doc allowed me to text him directly and treated me as a friend and not a patient.  He never wrote anything down and he assured me that all we discussed was completely confidential.   He was my only friend at a time when I had none.

Soon afterwards, I began attending church and committed my life to God.  But I kept going to see the Cop Doc; I knew he could help me.  For the first time in so, so long, I felt hope.  To this day, I still have a relationship with my Cop Doc, and I am thankful for his friendship and for the simple fact that he will always stand by my side.

Today, I am a survivor.  My life is back on track, and I’m still a cop.  I love my job and I love helping people and making a difference every day.  I still face the darkness and the impossibilities of this job, but the new light shining from within me will never be extinguished.  My fellow brothers and sisters, we MUST DESTROY the STIGMA.  We are NOT weak if we ask for help.  We are all human and we are all broken.

Your badge is a shield, but it will not shield you from the trauma and the darkness we face.  We must seek help when we are hurting, and we must surround ourselves with a support network that will always uplift us and extend a lifeline of hope when we find ourselves in troubled waters.  Seeking help is the only weapon we have against the enemy of suicide.

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.  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 14 years and has two children.

Law Enforcement 3

Police Playing Russian Roulette? Wait Before You Speculate.

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By now most people who follow the news have likely heard the tragic story out of St. Louis, where 24 year-old police officer, Katlyn Alix, was shot and killed by a colleague of hers, while allegedly playing a game of “Russian roulette.”

I have waited a few days to discuss this befuddling tragedy, like most, I was in disbelief  when this story broke.

I want to believe the officer who fired the fatal shot is telling the truth, but I’m not naïve and usually when something doesn’t sound right, it isn’t. Maybe it is the cold hard truth? Maybe not? There’s likely more to the story, but I won’t speculate, for good reason.

That being said, in all my time in law enforcement, I know one thing to be true, you’ve never, “seen it all.” I remember times while writing arrest reports exactly how the arrest happened thinking to myself, “There’s no way anyone will believe this report, this is insane.”  But it was the truth. Sometimes things happen that are nothing short of bonkers and hard to believe. Thank goodness for body cameras, at least now the craziness can be recorded.

Am I outwardly saying that Officer Hendren and his roommate, also a police officer, are lying? No. I’m simply saying we don’t have the entire story right now and this story seems hard to believe. Maybe because we don’t want to believe that officers could be this stupid. They of all people should know better, so that naturally creates disbelief.

Either way, we need to wait. Unfortunately, that’s how our system works. The trial will reveal the facts and I’m sure that between now and then, more information will be released when appropriate.

Let’s not forget that the two police officers who were on-duty when this happened, have been charged with serious crimes. Protecting the integrity of the case for prosecution is paramount in order to have a fair and effective trial.

This holds true whether police officers are charged with a crime, or a citizen. However, in today’s world, everyone demands ANSWERS NOW! This short-sighted behavior needs to stop. There’s a process in place for a reason and that reason is to seek justice no matter who is on trial, potentially dirty police, an alleged drug dealer or gang member, or a citizen. The process is the same every time, as it should be.

It doesn’t matter who is on trial. The process must be done the same way and with integrity to allow the system to work the best way it can. And no, the system isn’t perfect, but that’s an entirely different subject.

This case is similar to the highly publicized incident in Dallas, Texas involving former Dallas Officer Amber Guyger who came home from work and killed someone she thought was in her apartment. Come to find out, she was in the right apartment, but on the wrong floor. A tragic mistake to say the least.

All of the facts surrounding that case are yet to be made public, but rest assured, the rumors and nonsense have swirled. Why not just wait for the actual facts to come out? Why speculate or spread rumors that there were ulterior motives? Hidden relationships? Or other ridiculous allegations that are nothing but that, allegations. What does that do to help the situation? I’ll tell you, nothing.

I guess we are a society that demands and expects instant answers and gratification. Patience, a virtue according to the most, seems to be a thing of the past. Try sitting at a green light for more than 0.2 seconds after it changes. You’re sure to get honked at and told you are number one. Pretty shameful if you ask me. Relax. Life’s a game you’re bound to finish, so calm down. 

So what’s my point? There’s a few.

This story seems odd, maybe it really happened the way they say it did, maybe it didn’t. Time will tell. Thankfully, the officers involved who appear to be responsible for this tragedy, have been charged and the process of seeking truth and justice are in motion.

Let me say that again for the anti-police haters, the internet trolls, the people who think police support pages and police officers blindly support police officers no matter what, THANKFULLY THE OFFICERS INVOLVED WHO APPEAR TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS TRAGEDY, HAVE BEEN CHARGED AND THE PROCESS OF SEEKING TRUTH AND JUSTICE ARE IN MOTION. (I’ve had my share of trolls and haters on social media lately, but I doubt they’re listening, this doesn’t fit their narrative).

I recognize this may be hard to understand, but no police officer wants bad police officers to be employed and active. What good do bad police officers do for anyone? Nothing. It ruins police and community relations and makes the job of the good officers harder. It’s that simple folks.

Had this officer played “Russian roulette” and killed a civilian, my feelings would be the same. If the officer is wrong, fire him and lock him up. If a jury decides he isn’t culpable, then so be it.

Unfortunately, the wheels of justice are slow. Until they turn completely and all the details come to light, we can only wait. But we should wait in silence. Let the case play out, let the facts be sought, gathered, and shared when necessary. Spreading rumors and adding your own speculation across the internet does nothing positive or beneficial.

This was nothing short of a PREVENTABLE tragedy and for that, we should be upset.

May justice be served and Officer Alix never forgotten.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 8

Thugs With Guns Talk About Killing Police (Video)

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Video and Photo via Chicago Code BLUE Facebook page

 

Watch this video and tell me police officers are not targets.

Watch this video and afterward, explain how you truly think police officers are the problem in society.

Watch this video and tell me officers act on fake fear, despite having encountered people in cars just like this and lived to tell about it.

After watching this video, realize this, that officer didn’t know what was next to him, just like officers don’t know who they’re dealing with on a call, a traffic stop, or simply walking to get lunch.

After watching this video, realize if that officer pulled that car over, you’d likely read about an officer involved shooting, or worse an officer killed.

Who is to blame for this? The officer? Or the thug with a gun?

Remember, had there been a shooting, the news media would be quick to post photos of the kids holding those pistols, wearing church clothes, being hugged by their Moms.

Mom would tell the country via the news media her son wasn’t, “A bad kid, he was a good little boy.”

Meanwhile, the police officer can’t speak to the media.

On social media, the officer is made out to be a racist, blood thirsty killer, who manufactured fear, so they could shoot another innocent person.

This will simply further the hate toward law enforcement, making the target on their back bigger. A vicious cycle, that likely won’t be broken, due to society choosing the false narrative over the truth.

It makes no sense.

Yet this seems to be the narrative that is winning:

Police are bad.

Gang members are misunderstood.

Gun laws keep “bad people” from having guns.

The police need to step up and do more, without hurting anyone.

Impossible. Irrational. Irresponsible.

Fight the false narrative with truth.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what do I think about it?

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

I don’t condone police brutality.

Police officers don’t condone police brutality.

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

This helps no one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Damn the humanity.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 0

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://twitter.com/DallasStars/status/786548871732142081/photo/1

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

What a breath of fresh (cold) air.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

 

 

 

Law Enforcement 4

Police Officers Will Keep Dying For You

side by side

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

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

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

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

I’ll tell you why.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gone, but never forgotten.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Personal Perspective 0

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

pointing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The proof is in the pudding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 5

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

myers combo photo

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

I have avoided politics for a few reasons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

seth meyers

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

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

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

My point?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 0

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

jmp santa0052
Source: Pioneer Press St. Paul MN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written By: Stephanie Waterhouse

Law Enforcement 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Officer Next Door

 

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