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

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All I Ever Wanted To Do

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Photo Credit and Permission: Laus Photography

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

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

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

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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

The Truth About Dirty Cops

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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

Why Do Police Officers Keep Dying?

 

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Every time a tragedy happens and an officer is hurt or killed, people invariably ask, “Why does this keep happening?”

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

It keeps happening, because police officers are the “thin blue line” that stands between the evil in our society and the rest of us who simply want to live a safe and prosperous life.

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

It keeps happening, because there are people in the world that don’t value life. There is evil among us, willing to kill a police officer in hopes of remaining free and not be held accountable for their criminal acts.

It keeps happening, because police officers confront the most violent members of society each and every day, without fear, without knowing they’re dealing with, what their intentions are, or what they plan to do.

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

It keeps happening, because the media and anti-police “activists” want people to think police officers are the enemy, making the target on their back even bigger. Despite this, they still show up when called, holding the line, keeping you safe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Mercer County Officer Takes Own Life While At Work

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Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer Pablo Santiago (via Facebook)

Trenton, New Jersey – A Mercer County Sherriff’s Officer Pablo Santiago took his own life while at work on Wednesday.

By looking at his photo taken just weeks ago, you would never guess this was coming. His coworkers, as expected, are all reported to be extremely surpised and upset by this news. It just goes to show that you never know what someone is going through, no matter how happy they appear.

Suicide. It seems to be a problem that has reached epidemic levels in law enforcement these days. All too often news of officers taking their own lives comes across your news feed. It is starting to garner more attention. A recent news article from Austin, Texas discussed how a Police Chief has seen so many avoidable firings and dicipline as a result of alocohol abuse and other stress related factors that come with being in law enforcement. They are taking steps to battle the issue before it becomes a problem. Kudos to Austin Police Department.

The statistics aren’t easy to come by, as there isn’t an “official” database that police related suicides must be reported to and tracked. As of December 19th, there were 14 police suicides confirmed, it is likely there have been more. At the very least this tragedy makes 15 and that’s 15 too many.

A GoFundMe account was started on Thursday morning to help Santiago’s family.

“Anyone who met Pablo knew him to always have a contagious smile, a beautiful spirit, and a kind (and many times silly) word,” the GoFundMe campaign page said. “Not only was he a respected pillar of the Mercer County community, and the President of PBA Local 187, but also a sheriff’s officer dedicated to his job beyond words, and above all else and most importantly, a devoted friend, husband and father.”

The GoFundMe campaign continued, “With his sudden passing, Pablo leaves behind a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.  Although nothing can replace his presence in this world, we are hoping to alleviate some of the financial burdens on his family following the tragedy.”

The fundraiser has reached $5,345 out of a goal of $20,000 in four hours at the time of this article.

The Officer Next Door extends its deepest condolences to the Santiago family and his brothers and sisters of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.