Advertisements
Skip to content

Tag: Officer

Law Enforcement 1

Police Officer Found Guilty of Murder, Activists Cry Foul

IMG_5250

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this real?

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

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

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

I’m truly baffled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Period.

The Officer Next Door

Advertisements
Advertisements
Law Enforcement 32

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

newoficer09301401pop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 24

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

SWAT breaching door

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

Such allegations are concerning, no doubt.

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

Boom. Done. Simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The public needs to hear that statement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

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 1

Cincinnati Police Sergeant Found Dead By Fellow Officers

Cincinnati Police
Photo source: Youtube

Cincinnati OH –

Per a recent press release, the Cincinnati Police Department announced they located a deceased Cincinnati police officer at 2084 Eden Park Drive just after noon today. A death investigation is being conducted in conjunction with Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.

In the press release, Chief Eliot Issac announced that the officer has been identified as Sergeant Arthur T. Shultz, who was a 28 year veteran and a very well-respected member of the Cincinnati Police Department.

We here at The Officer Next Door extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Cincinnati Police Department and their blue family.

Unfortunately, this December has proven to be like many in the past. Suicides and violence toward police officers generally increase during the holiday season.

If ruled a suicide, Sergeant Shultz’ death would be the 15th reported law enforcement suicide in the month of December according to www.wearebluehelp.org which reported 14 suicides as of December 19th.

We want to encourage all first responders to watch after each other during this holiday season. Please reach out if you are in need of help and be safe.

Law Enforcement 1

Community “Activist” Tweets Fallen Chicago Officers Are Stupid For Getting Killed

Carl Nyberg
Source: Twitter

Chicago, Illinois – In keeping with the theme of late, not only are the media complicit in making the jobs of police officers harder, community activists can have the same impact.

In a recent display of distasteful ignorance, Chicago area “community activist” Carl Nyberg tweeted the following, “Two people too stupid to avoid getting hit by a train were given firearms & the authority to kill people by the Chicago Police Department.”

Tweet Chicago
Source: Twitter

Clearly, this guy has an axe to grind with police officers. The fact he immediately makes mention of “authority to kill” goes to show his state of mind and how just far out in left field this particular person appears to be. I don’t know this guy, but he has every right to say what he wants. However, I’m not sure how this tweet helps his community in any way.

Most would say, “Just ignore him.” To a certain extent, I would agree. However, I feel it’s important to call out people for their nonsense and recognize that this sort of ignorance creates the anti-police rhetoric that leads to officers being ambushed while eating lunch, protecting protesters, or simply sitting in their police vehicles.

Police officers today don’t just fight “bad guys”. They fight the movement that paints them in this negative light. It furthers the hate toward officers and makes their job more dangerous.

Apparently Carl is too blinded by his own ignorance to see that the officers were investigating a “shots fired” call. They died trying to make the city he lives in a safer place for everyone. Bless his heart.

– The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 0

Media Headlines Matter

 

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

Today there was yet another news article published somewhere in the United States about the shortage of police applicants in their jurisdiction. Admittedly, I didn’t read the article. The headline stated what we already know, or at least what any reasonable person would suspect. People aren’t applying to be police officers anymore. At least not at the rate they did in the past. (If you could see me as I write this, I’m displaying my best shocked face).

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past four years. Since the Ferguson, Missouri police shooting and the subsequent riots and protests that swept the nation, police officers across the country have been labeled nothing short of racist and blood thirsty monsters. By and large, thanks to the mainstream media in this country. Why? The answer is simple. The controversy surrounding policing in the recent years has made them money. Sadly, it’s that simple. The more people protested, marched, and held rallies, the more the media could give them the microphone to stir the controversy. The more controversial a topic gets, the more clicks, views, and revenue they make. Their job is to make money. Nothing gets more views than something controversial.

How do I know this? I know from experience in writing and posting articles like this one on my website and social media platforms. The number of “views, clicks, or shares” articles get, seem to be directly correlated to the photo or title that accompanies the article. To test this, I’ve posted the exact same article with two different photos and guess which one got more traction? The one with the more controversial and sad photo. Same article. Same title. Different photo. Completely different results in readership. The photo and title I choose for this article will be relevant the first time I post it. Then the following day I will repost it with an even more controversial person in the photo, I’m almost certain, the results will be completely different. We will see how it affects readership and I will update this article. I don’t like or want to be controversial. I started this to be honest, truthful, and give officers a voice. Their side of the story if you will. But, sometimes controversy happens.

Conclusion, the more sad or controversial an article title or photo appears, the more “clicks, reads, or views” it garners. So maybe we as consumers are also to blame? Apparently, America just loves controversy and sadness. This may all be true, but it doesn’t remove responsibility from the mainstream media to be mindful on how they report facts and stories, or worse, how they choose to skew them.

Basically, media headlines matter.

The narrative they push matters and has direct and tragic real life consequences when they create hate that leads to police being ambushed and killed like in Dallas on July 7th, 2016. Other consequences are less tragic, but equally concerning when it comes to the lack of police applicants nationwide. Soon, there will be a crisis. I’m calling it now. Unless the economy crashes and people are in dire need of jobs, police applications will remain low, continually pushing police departments to levels that put officers and the public at risk. Who honestly wants to work holidays, weekends, and be called a monster for doing your job for $60,000 a year? Not to mention the obvious dangers associated with the job.

Sadly, the mainstream media doesn’t care about the repercussions of their controversy creating headlines. They don’t care if people who once strongly desired to be a police officer, are now rethinking their career choice. Can you blame them? After over a decade of wearing the uniform myself, in one of the largest cities in the country, my simple answer is, NO. I don’t blame them. In fact, I think it is wise to really question your desire to be a police officer in 2018 and beyond. If you really, really, want to be one, then do it. Because those are usually the best ones. It’s not just a job, a paycheck, or something you should do half-assed. It’s a serious job, with lifelong consequences for you, your family, and everyone you deal with. If it’s nothing more than a paycheck to you, you’re likely the kind of officer I wish never became one. They generally seem to become officers that make negative headlines in legitimate way.

Buzzwords like “police reform” now flood media headlines and political rallies because somehow “they” believe “they” can change the fact that every day police officers confront the violence most people deny exists. Yet somehow, “they” get upset when the confrontation turns deadly. Well, let’s keep speaking the truth, “they” only get upset if the police officer survives and a citizen dies. However, if the officer happens to be one race and the deceased another, CHACHING!!! Time for an inflammatory headline! Let’s not worry about the facts or circumstances surrounding the incident, publish that inflammatory headline! To hell with the consequences! Who cares about the facts or the fact the entire incident was on video and  likely justified!? Profit through division. Tell me I’m wrong.

Sadly, no matter how many community events police plan, cute lip-sync videos are made, or ice cream cones are handed out in the summer. One even remotely controversial police shooting and we are back to square one with the help of the media. Police are quickly painted with a wide accusatory brush suggesting that because of ONE particluar incident, we must remind you that ALL police are racist, blood thirsty monsters! It’s like a sad game of chutes and ladders.

Meanwhile police recruiters hastily hold up signs at a job fairs, “Sign up folks! Come join the team! It’s the greatest show on earth! Let’s make a difference! You can help people!” Come on, let’s stay on the honesty train. Times have changed and your good intentions no longer matter. It’s now all about what the media headlines say that define police officers’ actions. The media doesn’t care if you are the best officer to ever wear the uniform, never been disciplined, or have 58 medals pinned on your chest. Ultimately, when given the chance you, the American police officer will be crucified to their benefit.

To my knowledge there’s never been a protest or rally after a police officer was shot and killed. If there has been, please enlighten me, because I am unaware of such an incident. Vigils don’t count. Police haters generally spew the usual despicable response when an officer is killed, “That’s what they signed up for.” Get real. No one signs up to die.

I’ll be the first to say, dirty or racist cops of any kind should be fired and go to prison if warranted. The recent 3 year prison sentence of a Police Chief for framing African Americans for crimes they didn’t commit was too short. The punishment should have been harsher for ruining people’s lives, betraying the trust of society, and tarnishing the badge. His despicable acts have consequences for everyone involved and the damage is permanent and likely irreparable. For that, he should’ve been punished more harshly.

To conclude, I will say this. Police officers don’t become police officers to get rich. They don’t become police officers to hurt people. They genuinely view their job as a way to keep the evil from hurting the good. They know their role is to hold those accountable for THEIR bad decisions. Becoming a police officer, is a way to serve their community and bear burdens of which most people are blissfully unaware. They don’t go into notoriously violent communities – no matter what the racial makeup may be – looking to hurt someone.

The next time you hear about a fatality car accident with multiple people killed, a deadly shooting, or any horrific tragedy, pause for a minute and ask yourself, would you want to be the one rushing to that scene? Do you want to see the dead bodies sprawled across the highway? Do want to see the person taking their last breath after being shot by a rival gang member? How would you feel about the fact the media is able to portray you as a monster or an inherent racist with a few simple keystrokes, despite knowing nothing about you? Despite the fact you rush to those scenes without knowing or caring about the race of the victim. You just want to HELP. Would you be able to handle it? Again, I think we know the answer. When you think about it in these terms, the nationwide police application shortage comes as no surprise. There is an elephant in the room. The question is, how long until it reaches a critical point?

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door 

Law Enforcement 2

I’m Thankful, But I Remember

IMG_8359
Source: Unknown

This morning I went through my normal routine of getting ready for the day. Like most people, it involves showering, brushing your teeth, if you still have hair, you fix it. Being that it is the week of the Thanksgiving holiday, I started to think about all the things I’m thankful for in my life.

It’s a long list to be honest. I’m a lucky guy. I’m thankful for my wife, my parents, my brother, my dogs, my job, my home, my health. You get the picture.

Then I started to think about it in a deeper way.

Honestly, I’m thankful I’m not sad.

I’m thankful that this holiday is still enjoyable because I haven’t suffered significant loss or heartache that makes this holiday season unbearable. But I remember those who have.

I’m thankful my family is alive and well. But I remember the families who are spending their holidays in a hospital.

I’m thankful for those who continue to serve our country as first responders and in the military whose service doesn’t take a break on the holidays. But I remember what it was like working on holidays and how much I looked forward to them being over.

Unfortunately, the holidays are not always a fun time for everyone. We all suffer loss and family members pass away. It’s the inevitable circle of life, I dealt with it myself just a few months ago. However, for some people in our society, they may have just lost everything. Their husband or wife, their Mom or Dad, their provider, their hero.

The family of Chicago Police Officer Jimenez is planning a funeral this week, instead of worrying about when they are going to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Officer Jimenez had a wife and three children and did nothing to deserve his fate, other than become a police officer and serve our country. He heard the “shots fired” call come out at a hospital and responded, like any police officer would. He went toward the danger and paid the ultimate price. I’m thankful for him, but I will remember his family during the holidays.

In an odd conflict of emotion, I struggle to simply be thankful and happy, because I know what others are experiencing. I wish I had a solution or something I could say or do to help them, but I know I can’t. These words will do nothing to heal the pain, they’re simply intended show sympathy and understanding that it exists.

No words I can write will stop the pain felt by the families who have lost their hero at the hands of the evil that walks among us.

So when you’re done eating your Thanksgiving turkey and you’re drifting off to nap to the sound of the football game, be thankful and remember those who aren’t so lucky. I know I will be.

I’m Thankful, But I Remember.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 84

It’s Not Normal

Police funeral

It’s not normal, to see the things police officers see, hear, smell, touch and experience.

It’s not normal, to carry the burdens police officers do, emotionally, physically, and mentally.

It’s not normal, to see dead bodies, mangled bodies, decomposed bodies, dead kids, abused kids, homeless people suffering, and people victimized, taken advantage of, raped or killed.

It’s not normal, to respond to scenes of horrific suicides, fatal car accidents, gang violence, domestic violence, random violence, dead animals, and abused animals.

It’s not normal, to tell a family member their loved one has died and won’t be coming home during a death notification call for service.

It’s not normal, to respond to shooting calls where you watch someone take their last breath, or stabbing calls that make you cringe when you see their flesh cut wide open and blood everywhere.

It’s not normal, to stand next to a dead body for hours securing a crime scene, waiting for the coroner to arrive, so you can go eat dinner, as if nothing happened, as if “it’s just another call”.

It’s not normal, that seeing such horrific things becomes your “normal” and you tell yourself it doesn’t bother you. It’s not normal, to be numb to things that would likely devastate the rest of society.

It’s not normal, to experience extreme highs and lows in one day, one minute you’re  typing a report and the next you’re responding to the local business being held up at gunpoint with shots fired. It happens that fast, it is fun in some ways, but it’s not normal.

It’s not normal, to work rotating shifts, rotating days off, work on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and maintain a semblance of a “normal” life. It’s not normal, to miss these moments in life and expect it not to take a toll on a marriage or the relationship with your children.

It’s not normal, to slowly lose friends that aren’t police officers too. It’s not normal to say, “they just don’t understand me anymore” or “they don’t know what it is like to be a police officer”. It’s not normal, for lifelong friends to wonder why you’ve changed, become more cynical or even angry and distance themselves from you.

It’s not normal, to go to work and not know what time you will get to go home, or if you’ll even make it home at all.

It’s not normal, to wake up at night in a cold sweat because you dreamed you got shot multiple times by a “bad guy” and you were powerless to stop it. It’s not normal, to lie in bed unable to sleep, because all the things you saw that day play in your head like a bad movie you can’t turn off.

It’s not normal, that nearly every call you answer, someone is counting on YOU to help them. They may be at their lowest point, maybe they are experiencing a crisis, a loss, and you have to be there for them, no matter what is going on in your personal life.

It’s not normal, that you as a human being could be personally dealing with a crisis, a divorce, a dying family member, alcohol addiction, or thoughts of suicide, and you’re expected to show up and solve other people’s problems with no regard for your own.

It’s not normal, to go to work every day in hopes of making a positive change or influence in someone’s life only to be spit at, kicked, punched, stabbed, or shot. It’s not normal, to feel you can’t “win”, no matter what you do, or how many lives you save or stickers you give to kids.

It’s not normal, that simply sitting in your work vehicle being present, can get you shot and killed because the decal on that work vehicle said, “POLICE” on it, like NYPD Officers Liu, Ramos, and Familia. Gone, but not forgotten.

It’s not normal, to be shot while eating dinner, minding your own business, only because the patch on your shoulder said, “POLICE”, like Florida Sheriff’s Deputies Sergeant Noel Ramirez and Deputy Taylor Lindsey. Gone, but not forgotten.

It’s not normal, to never be “off duty”. To always be alert, aware, cautious, even concerned, that you may be a target at any given time due to your chosen profession.

It’s not normal, you do the job and maintain a professional demeanor or smile while holding back tears, because in the end you know, someone has to do it and you’re proud that you aren’t normal.

It’s not normal, to attend a funeral for a coworker who died doing the same job as you, almost annually.

It’s not normal, that no matter how much all these things bother you, you couldn’t see yourself doing any other job, because carrying this burden is what you were meant to do. This is your calling.

You are not normal, you’re a police officer.

Luckily their normal is not your normal. If you’re reading this and you aren’t a police officer, some of the things you just read may have bothered you. Odds are good, the images that popped into your head made you uncomfortable, or were hard to think about or even picture. I hope this was the case, because that is a police officer’s daily reality. At the very least, I hope it changes your perspective of police officers and what it is they actually do and experience every single day.

This topic isn’t widely talked about among police officers, for a multitude of reasons. To start, it isn’t a fun topic to talk about. Yes, there are times that officers gather and share “war stories” about all the crazy things they have seen and dealt with. But don’t think for a minute, that the ugliness of it all isn’t still lurking beneath the surface, waiting to rear its ugly head when they least expect it.

Most officers simply choose not to talk about these things and change the subject when asked about what “crazy things they’ve seen”.  Some may even lie and say “nothing crazy has happened lately” just to avoid the topic altogether. Most officers don’t rush home to tell their significant other what they saw or experienced during their shift. For most, it’s easier to say, “Today was fine” or “I don’t want to talk about it” to avoid the conversation and having to relive the bad things they may have seen or experienced that day.

This sort of behavior is common, a defense mechanism if you will. Over time, police become “numb” to seeing the worst side of society. But in the end, it’s still there, lurking and waiting to show up in their subconscious again. It’s like a pressure cooker that constantly gets tested to see how much more can be fit inside. Almost inevitably, it eventually gives way and explodes. Sadly, it can explode in many different forms.

For some, it explodes in the form of an unexplainable outburst, angry rage, or reaction to something that normally wouldn’t bother that person. For others, they may just break down and cry inexplicably until they feel better, not really knowing what triggered it to happen. Some turn to alcohol or other substances to mask the pain or feelings, which lead them down a path of destruction. No two people are the same, therefore, no two police officers are the same. They all experience different things in their careers and each thing affects them differently than the next officer.

Maybe now when you see them, you don’t just see a man or woman in a uniform that took an oath to protect you, but also a person who runs toward the things most run away from each and every day. They see things so you don’t have to see them. They carry a heavy burden and do it because they were chosen to carry it, so you don’t have to.

Being a police officer is much more than writing traffic tickets, breaking up a fun little house party with underage high school kids, or responding to the fender bender to facilitate the exchange of personal information. A police officer is much more than what meets the eye or what you see on television.

People in society simply create their image of what something or someone is, based on their personal experiences and that makes total sense. For example, if your only experience with police officers is being pulled over for speeding, I imagine it is possible you haven’t thought about what a police officer experiences on a daily basis.

I hope this article changes that. The next time you read about a fatality car accident or horrible tragedy, feel sympathy and empathy for the victims, but don’t forget the people responding to the scene, what they experienced and how they are affected too.

I fully recognize that police officers chose their profession and I also recognize that, “if they don’t like it, they can quit.” Some people try being a police officer, only to find out, “it isn’t for them” and kudos to them for having the courage to admit that.

I firmly believe it isn’t a job, it’s a calling. If you become a police officer solely to pay the bills, you are likely not the kind of police officer most people want on their department or patrolling their community.

Being a police officer is recognizing that you will see the worst side of humanity that society has to offer and you accept that as your normal. Chances are good that when a police officer starts their career, they have thought about these things but didn’t quite know what it actually meant until they experienced it firsthand.

It takes a special kind of person to do this job, one that isn’t…”normal”.

To the hundreds of thousands of brothers and sisters in blue around the world, who put their lives and their “normal” on the line every day, thank you.

Don’t be afraid to admit if you’re struggling, need help, or just want to talk to someone. As weird as it may seem to you, asking for help is “normal”.

Thank an officer today.

– The Officer Next Door

%d bloggers like this: