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Tag: Police

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

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 1

Comic Relief: How To Avoid Becoming Anti-Police

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

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

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

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

It’s just that simple.

Thank an officer today!

The Officer Next Door

 

 

Law Enforcement 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 2

Stop Doing This When You See A Police Officer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alright, back to being The Serious Officer Next Door.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank a police officer today.

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

It’s not just the children who will benefit.

We all will.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 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 1

Police Officer Found Guilty of Murder, Activists Cry Foul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this real?

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

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

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

I’m truly baffled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Period.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

Dallas BLM Leader Under Investigation for Domestic Violence, Claims It’s A “Private Matter”

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Source: Facebook

Dominque Alexander has been a public figure and police critic for years in Dallas, Texas. In fact, the protest he organized and led on July 7, 2016, resulted in the deaths of five (5) Dallas area police officers. The deadliest attack on law enforcement since 9/11. I’m not blaming Mr. Alexander for what happened on that horrible July day. I’m simply highlighting the undeniable fact he’s been a public figure in Dallas for years. 

Despite all this time in the limelight, fighting for “transparency” and “accountability” for police officers, he inexplicably suggests a domestic violence complaint made against him is a “private matter.” Lee Merritt – a vocal civil rights attorney in Dallas – released a statement on Facebook today also suggesting it’s a private matter. However, Merritt was wise enough to acknowledge the fact Mr. Alexander is a public figure. Therefore, much like when police officers are accused of misconduct, such allegations become of a matter of public concern. 

A statement posted on Facebook by Lee Merritt regarding the allegation can be seen here:

Dominique Alexander doesn’t seem to realize how the “public figure” game works and feels we should effectively “mind our own business.” Apparently, accountability and transparency are apparently only applicable to public figures who wear badges.

Dominque made this known adding his own comment on Merritt’s Facebook statement. 

Private life

Is this guy serious? A private matter? I don’t think so sir.  

You CHOSE to be a public figure despite your background and issues in the past. That’s part of being a public figure. Welcome to the real world. 

I highly doubt the next time a police officer is accused of domestic violence, Lee Merritt or Dominque Alexander will rush to a podium, hold a press conference, or take to social media, to make a statement asking for everyone to “withhold judgement until due process can be carried out.” I doubt he will say that any prior discipline the police officer may have received in the past is irrelevant.

Why is it activists scream and yell on a daily basis calling for “transparency” and “accountability” but don’t seem to think it applies to them? 

Merritt ended his statement with, “We will not pile on as the family investigation begins to unfold.”

Well isn’t that convenient? Believe all accusers unless you’re the one being accused, do I have that right? I’m trying to wrap my head around how this activism game works with Mr. Merritt and Mr. Alexander. 

It’s interesting Mr. Merritt seems completely comfortable telling people to wait to pass judgement when it’s a fellow social justice activist accused of wrong doing. However, he has no issue with publicly and maliciously persecuting police officers based on an allegation alone.

Remember the DPS Texas Trooper accused of rape that caused national outcry and death threats toward the Trooper?

I do. 

Mr. Merritt was one of the first to break the false Trooper rape story and call for justice to be immediately served. Mr. Merritt took it further accusing the Texas Department of Public Safety of not following “proper protocols” asserting they were “protecting” the trooper accused of the horrific rape. Before any video was reviewed, or any facts had come out, Mr. Merritt had no issue at all accusing the Trooper AND the Texas Department of Public Safety of wrong doing. Mr. Merritt’s public release where he makes such assumptions and allegations early into the process can be seen below. 

As you may also remember, the entire allegation was proven false by the body camera footage and Mr. Merritt issued an apology with egg on his face. The death threats the Trooper received and the national embarrassment of such a horrible claim apparently made better by simply saying sorry. 

A few questions come to mind given Mr. Merritt’s track record of quick condemnation and allegation slinging against police officers on a national scale.

Why isn’t he condemning Mr. Alexander with the same relentless vigor before the facts come out as he does when it involves an allegation against police? Why in this case, must we withhold judgement and wait for the investigation to play out? Why isn’t Mr. Merritt attempting to push a narrative, create some anger, or organize an anti-domestic violence protest? Why does it seem they are incredibly selective on the justice they seek? Why doesn’t it apply across the board? 

The glaring bias and hypocrisy of both Mr. Merritt and Mr. Alexander are now on full display. 

I guess it’s rather obvious. They don’t really want justice for EVERYONE. They only want justice when it suits their agenda. Even in Mr. Merritt’s statement today, he inexplicably mentions race when condemning violence against women. “Violence against black women is intolerable.” he stated.

I understand the need for such specificity. I condemn violence against ALL women. I don’t care what their race happens to be. It’s wrong. No matter what. Period.

If the Texas DPS Trooper had in fact committed the horrible crime of which he was falsely accused, I’d have happily called for his immediate termination and punishment to the fullest extent of the law.

That’s how transparency and accountability are meant to work. 

You don’t get to pick and choose when those rules are applied, even if it makes your “team” look bad. 

As I’ve said multiple times regarding police officers and accountability. 

Support the good. Honor the fallen. Condemn the bad. 

This should apply to all public officials and persons who hold themselves out to be public figures, all the time. Not just when it’s convenient. That’s part of the gig. 

If the accusations against Mr. Alexander are proven to be false, then I will accept such findings. As of now, only two things are for certain: Dominque Alexander has been accused of domestic violence and the investigation is underway. 

We will see what happens and react accordingly. Like we should do with ALL accusations and investigations. No protests. No calling for punishment before we even know the facts. We wait and let the system do what it is designed to do, seek truth and justice.  

It’s really that simple. People should take note. 

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 4

Heartfelt letter to fallen Maine State Trooper from person at scene of his tragic death

Trooper Campbell

This letter was posted on Facebook by the person identified as the driver of the car Maine State Police Detective Benjamin Campbell stopped to help. This is posted with direct permission from the author, Robert A.

Dear Detective Ben Campbell,

Today, I lost control of my car and did a 180 on I-95 South. I was shaken up, but otherwise fine. I called 911 and requested help in getting turned around on the busy highway.

You stopped to help me. You took my ID as per the standard. You came back to return it. You wore one of the warmest smiles I’ve ever seen. A smile that, without words, could give the world a moment of peace were it to look upon. I honestly felt safer in that moment as you stood by my drivers side window.

That changed. In a split second, I saw your smile turn to the briefest shade of concern as a logging semi came over the hill, before a tire came into my peripheral vision.

I blacked out. My first and only thought upon waking up was “I’ve died, haven’t I?” I couldn’t see anything but bright white light. Then my ears began ringing. I was able to open my eyes. My glasses partly crushed as I lifted my head before they fell off. My airbag had deployed. You weren’t beside me anymore…

I stumbled out of my car, moving to the other side of the guard rail to avoid anything else hitting me.

That’s when I saw you. Two tires had fallen off the truck. One struck my car, the other struck you.

Out of breath and still dizzy, I came to your side, pleading for you to wake up. You responded with a sound so haunting, I don’t dare describe it out of respect.

My mind raced. It had been years since I had any formal CPR training, and I was afraid that if I touched you without knowing just how bad you might be hurt, I’d just make it worse. I began waving and jumping up and down at oncoming traffic, desperately trying to get others to stop and help.

I leaned over you as another trooper and the driver of the semi came to help.

I looked into your eyes
You looked back
And then… You were gone…

The news reports you died in the hospital, but I knew in that moment, it was over…

I should have died twice today. I survived a high-speed spinout. When death came for me a second time, you were there. You traded your life for mine in the line of duty.

I vow for as long as I live, I will never forget your smile. I will never forget your kindness. I will never forget your sacrifice.

I owe you a debt I don’t think I can repay.

Rest in peace. May your soul find tranquility.

–  Robert A.

Never forget Trooper Campbell.

– The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 0

The Truth About Dirty Cops

Officer in cuffs

There’s nothing worse than a dirty or corrupt police officer.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back and those stuck in “we hate the police” echo chambers, THERE’S NOTHING WORSE THAN A DIRTY POLICE OFFICER!

It’s been said multiple times, but one thing I’ve learned writing police related articles on this website and running multiple police related social media pages, people honestly believe police officers support, protect, or shield the dirty ones.

The truth is, they couldn’t be more wrong. Apparently, this topic needs to be addressed more often and more clearly, so people stop believing such falsities and mistruths about the policing profession.

It’s easy to hate a group or profession if you convince yourself they’re ALL corrupt and part of a conspiracy.

Changing the narrative and shining the light on the police profession’s hatred for corrupt police officers isn’t an easy one. It’s a lofty goal, I realize that. I’m fighting the media and other “sub-groups” who have much more reach and influence on society than I do.

That won’t stop me from writing articles trying to fight the anti-police narrative, in hopes of making our communities and police officer’s safer. If you read this and appreciate the message, do me a favor and share it. It’s the only way the message will get out. We can’t let the false narratives win and allow the target on our first responders backs to remain, simply because no one stood up and said the truth.

So here we go.

If you truly think the 1% of dirty or corrupt police officers represent the profession as a whole, or worse, the 99% support or embrace the dirty 1%, ask yourself this question: What do police officers nationwide stand to gain by protecting bad and dirty cops?

I’ll tell you, NOTHING.

Why?

For starters, this is 2019. Nearly everything we say or do is on video. Whether it’s from body cameras strapped to the officer’s own chest or surveillance cameras nearly everywhere in public, you’re likely on video more than you realize. This holds especially true for police officers. This is a good thing. Police officers should be held to the highest standards and the public is not wrong for having an extremely high expectation of professionalism and honest conduct. The point is, because we are always on camera, eventually, a bad police officer will be found out and it will come to light. It’s inevitable. Like the officer in New Jersey in my previous article, his bad actions were bound to see the light of day eventually, so protecting such a vile, corrupt, excuse of a police officer, serves no purpose. 

If it’s on video like the New Jersey hospital incident was, two things should happen. First, the officer should be immediately fired. Second, they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Double the prison sentence while you’re at it. Yes, you read that right. Double their sentence if they’re found guilty, ESPECIALLY if it’s on video. There’s nothing to debate, if it’s on video. They of all people should know better, so they should be punished more harshly. If the max is 20 years, give them 20 years. Ten years for breaking the law and the second ten years for disgracing the badge and making the job of the good ones more difficult and dangerous. I have no problem with that. I don’t speak for all police officers, but I can only imagine they share this sentiment. If only the police haters knew how much the good ones despise the crooked and dirty police officers. I hope they’re listening.

Unfortunately, despite all of these facts, people walk around in a “bubble” with the belief police officers nationwide are party to a huge conspiracy called the “thin blue line of silence.” Even in 2019 with cameras everywhere, on police officer’s chests, in their squad cars, and cameras in every citizen’s pocket, people think officers will stop at nothing to protect one another. Maybe decades ago, when everything was decided solely on witnesses and testimony of those involved and nothing more. I realize body cameras are not a 100% corruption ending invention, but as I mentioned, there’s almost always another set of “eyes” watching you. Police officers are human and therefore susceptible to being imperfect or corrupt. It’s true. However, I believe we’ve come a long way and officers collectively hate dirty police officers and actively work to get rid of them. 

The more prevalent cameras become, the more and more police officers are being held accountable, especially internally. Police officers are now going to prison for bad shootings and civil rights violations. Officers are now testifying openly about what was “right” or “wrong” which ultimately helps prosecute dirty police officers. A much needed change for law enforcement as a profession. It’s here. It’s happening. It will continue to happen. For the betterment of everyone involved.

Ask any police officer, “What the most stressful part of the job?” I can almost guarantee they instantly answer, “Internal discipline and punishment from the command staff.” It’s not running toward gunfire, it’s not searching a building with a possible armed suspect inside, it’s the internal accountability. Why? It has an effect on promotions, pay raises, being able to work overtime, the list goes on. Officers are always under scrutiny, when in the streets and back at their police stations. Just because the public doesn’t see the internal accountability for police officers, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Maybe that should change? I don’t know. That’s beyond my pay-grade.

If a police officer is corrupt, dirty, or flat out criminal, there’s only one place for them, prison. It’s really that simple. This clearly needs to be said more often. I have no issue saying it, in hopes it prevents deadly ambushes like what took place in Dallas and Baton Rouge in 2016.

Maybe this message will gain traction and those who need to hear it most, will attempt to look at things with some semblance of objectivity and honesty about the way things actually are in the policing profession.

One can hope.

Support the good. Honor the fallen. Condemn the corrupt.

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 32

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

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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 1

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

police-entry-warrantless

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 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 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.

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