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Category: Personal Perspective

Law Enforcement 1

Mass Shootings Aftermath – We Should All Be Ashamed

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

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

We should all be ashamed.

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

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

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

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

We should all be ashamed.

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

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

We should all be ashamed.

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

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

We should all be ashamed.

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

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

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

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

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

We are better than this.

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

Unfortunately, today, we should all be ashamed.

The Officer Next Door

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Law Enforcement 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quite frankly, it’s ridiculous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank an officer today.

Never forget.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 6

Your Rhetoric Killed My Colleagues

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Dear Politicians and Media,

July 7, 2016, happened because of you.

The deadliest day for law enforcement since 9/11.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THEY RAN TOWARD THE COWARD WITH THE RIFLE.

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

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

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

Your rhetoric killed my colleagues.

Sergeant Michael Smith #6141

Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens #8193

Police Officer Brent Thompson #420

Police Officer Michael Krol #9217

Police Officer Patrick Zamarripa #10112

Gone but never forgotten.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 28

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 8

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 5

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

Adversity

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.

Katlyn Alix.jpg

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)

chicago thug guns
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?

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

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

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