Officer shootings on the rise who is to blame? Media, politicians and a vocal minority.

Recently the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) made headlines when it delivered its CRITICAL ISSUES IN POLICING SERIES Use of Force: Taking Policing to a Higher Standard on January 29, 2016 titled 30 Guiding Principles.

Due to the violence perpetrated by protesters and activists who have chanted “pigs in a blanket fry ‘em like bacon” followed by politicians along with media who support them there have been calls for changes in the way that Police work. These changes are not in the best interest of society or the safety of officers but to placate the vocal minority of people who have become so violent due to a falsehood that has been reverberated through the media. 

Everyone has been subjected to the false narrative of “hands up don’t shoot” but it was based on a lie. However it was a lie that was told so many times before the truth was ever given time to be told that people no longer believed the truth.  An officer was charged and found guilty in the court of public opinion because of media and the optics of politicians who were only too happy to take center stage like the opportunists that they are. It is at the peril of our society as a whole.

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The result is a new policy that has been devised by people who may have good intentions, but have no idea what it is to do the actual work that they are developing plans for.

PERF Selected the Country of Wales in the United Kingdom. A place that is geographically similar in size to New Jersey. Wales suffered 574 homicides in 2015, whereas the City of Chicago a place that is gun free due to its strict gun laws in the city, county and state had 506 homicides by gun alone.  Remember we are not counting homicides by other means, such as knives, vehicles, fists, blunt objects etc.. A total of 2996 people were shot in the City of Chicago in 2015. The two places are not evenly matched let alone Wales and the United States of America, yet the comparison was made and the entire philosophy to change American Law Enforcement based on Wales model was distributed and actually hailed as wonderful by the media. A biased media that seems intent on finding fault with and disarming the Police at every turn as they seldom report on the consistent good our officers do.

Example, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) who went to Wales and made its recommendations decided that the Supreme Court’s decision as stated in “Graham v. Connor” “shouldgo beyond the legal standard of “objective reasonableness” – ‘because it does not provide police with sufficient guidance on use of force. As a result, prosecutors and grand juries often find that a fatal shooting by an officer is not a crime, even though they may not consider the use of force proportional or necessary.’

The case of Graham V. Connor itself allows Officers to make decisions at the time of an incident based upon what they are observing and believe to be true as what any ‘reasonable person’ in their position would. Apparently the PERF is not satisfied with what reasonable people would perceive, but rather expect an officer to employ hindsight in all matters that are occurring in real time. Does that sound like Officers are being asked to do something that they would be unable to do? Of course it is. But that is the least of the problems, because that is just a legal matter that the officers will face IF they survive the encounter based on the absurd training that they are being told to undergo with the new ‘rules of engagement’.

The next thing that Officers need to worry about is they must meet the test of proportionality – “How would the general public view the action we took?”. In Other words, how will this look when people talk about it on Facebook? Will I be hash-tagged as a bad cop on twitter? Well heaven forbid we upset anyone and actually arrest someone who has friends on social media!

The word “de-escalation” is used 19 times in this policy of 30 principles as if they have re-invented the wheel. Apparently Officers in the United States of America have NEVER thought of “de-escalation” in use of their tactics before. It was written that department should have policy “making it clear that de-escalation is the preferred tactically sound approach in many critical incidents.”.

After spending a career in Law Enforcement and having read this, shared thoughts with officers in various threads from around the nation I can only come to the conclusion that no officer is taking these recommendations seriously. To think for a minute that Officers would intentionally do anything but try and defuse situations knowing how quickly they can turn volatile. One can only assume that the writers of this policy have only watched television shows but really have never worked a shift on a patrol if they believe that Officers intentionally escalate violent behavior at their own risk.

It is important to note that that these policies that PERF want to implement are across the board and are intended to be implemented on a national scale. Perhaps showing exactly how out of touch the entire idea actually is fundamentally. While it may work in an area like Wales or perhaps even the U.K. (which it is not by the way) it would certainly never work across the diverse United States of America.

The idea that the United States could implement the tactics that the U.K. employ universally as suggested are at best wishful thinking at worst just dangerous for Officers. Apparently it never comes to mind that the United States has officers in its jurisdiction that ride alone, and have no back up to speak of or will wait 20 minutes for it. That dealing with a subject who has a knife in an apartment there are few options, that there are not 30 officers to call upon as there are in the U.K..

PERF States: The policies, training, tactics, and recommendations for equipment detailed in this document amount to significant, fundamental changes in a police department’s operations and culture. It is important that these changes be undertaken in a comprehensive manner, and not in a piecemeal or haphazard way. The policy changes must be backed up with thorough, integrated retraining of all officers.

To think that Officers in rural areas of our land operate as they do in metropolitan areas is naive. Even in parts of the country Highway patrols have different duties as do Sheriff’s Departments. Some Sheriff’s Offices do nothing but handle Jails while some are the major law enforcement agencies in their counties with the heaviest patrol concentrations. Their blanket statement shows a total lack of knowledge or understanding of how diverse Law Enforcement really is in the United States.

Many Police Departments are understaffed, overworked, some have the best equipment money can buy and wonderful intelligence gathering tools, while others are hamstrung with budget deficits being the first agencies cut during shortages of municipalities. Some agencies have excellent training tools and academies with their own staff, while others have to send officers to other jurisdictions for even the most basic training.

The one size fits all recommendations do not sit well in such a vast and diverse population as the United States. To put forward recommendations based upon one country that barley fits the dynamic of one city in the USA with half its crime problems is not a solution to the needs of America.

Going through the rest of these recommendations would be a waste of time for all involved as most people have already read them or would find that anyone with common sense would already be implementing these ‘new techniques’. Such as the ‘new policy’ to give First aid, which is always given to injured persons no matter who they are, suspect, victim or officer. Why it was even put in the guidelines is beyond comprehension.

However there are a couple of issues to be taking note of such as:

  1. Shooting at vehicles must be strictly prohibited. Agencies should adopt a strict prohibition against shooting at or from a moving vehicle unless someone in the vehicle is using or threatening deadly force by means other than the vehicle itself.

Apparently a 4,000 pound moving object that could crush you like a bug, is NOT a threat to an Officer nor can it kill them. Therefore, under no circumstances, should an officer be allowed to use deadly physical force to defend themselves against this force. I can only wonder if the writers of this policy would think the same thing if someone tried to run them over. Should every law in the United States now be rewritten that covers vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide changed since it is apparently NOT deadly enough for an Officer to defend themselves over?

Also the deaths of Police Officer Richard K. Martin Houston Police Department, Texas E.O.W. 05/18/2015 – Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Trooper Taylor Joseph Thyfault  E.O.W. 05/23/15 and Hutto Police Department, Texas Detective Sergeant Christopher Dan Kelley E.O.W.  06/24/15 who were all intentionally run down with motor vehicles causing their deaths on duty is not enough evidence that Officers SHOULD be able to use deadly physical force to defend themselves when only a motor vehicle is being used to threaten them. Or in PERF’s eyes these three men who died was not enough of a sacrifice on the altar of political correctness?

The document also attacked what has become known as “the 21 foot rule” in modern day Police training. I defy anyone to do much better in reaction time in drawing and firing a weapon than 21 feet.  While the document states:

  1. Use Distance, Cover, and Time to replace outdated concepts such as the “21-foot rule” and “drawing a line in the sand.” Agencies should train their officers on the principles of using distance, cover, and time when approaching and managing certain critical incidents. In many situations, a better outcome can result if officers can buy more time to assess the situation and their options, bring additional resources to the scene, and develop a plan for resolving the incident without use of force.

Agencies should eliminate from their policies and training all references to the so-called “21-foot rule” regarding officers who are confronted with a subject armed with an edged weapon. Instead, officers should be trained to use distance and cover to create a “reaction gap” between themselves and the individual, and to consider all options for responding.

Distance, cover and concealment have ALWAYS been the standard in Academies, this is nothing new. However ‘creating reaction gaps’ is not always possible in every event in the real world environment. It is the nature of Police work as officers do not chose the areas that they are sent to, nor do they always control the subjects that they are confronting.

Please see the video’s  at the end of this oped for encounters that are so fast paced and can not be planned for they show exactly WHY there is no way to create a ‘reactionary gap’ as suggested while functioning as a Police officer in society.

On one hand they are being told by PERF that they should NOT make a confrontation and to back off and on the other they are being told that they need to decide where and when then how they will contain the situation. Unfortunately, for the officers this is political theater. You cannot have it both ways on the street when time is a luxury and your life is in the balance of a heartbeat.

Either Officers are going to control a subject that is a threat to themselves fd9673a457ae41543981cb2049168467and others or they are not going to. If they are not going to then the subject has the ability to harm others, it is just that simple and the Police cannot be held responsible, EVEN ON FACEBOOK!

Oddly enough as PERF pushes Officers in the United States to de-escalate based on what they learned in Wales, in the United Kingdom Police officers themselves are now being issued more firearms than ever. The London Police have 2,200 Officers equipped with firearms currently and will be adding an additional 600 this year alone according to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe.

While the U.K. does not have the gangs, drug problems, or other high crime rates that the US does they are worried about terrorism and are adding these weapons to their arsenal to combat terrorism. Apparently, they are fighting weapons with weapons, just like the United States Law Enforcement does. We have more problems to be sure, yet we are being told that our Law Enforcement Officers have to do the opposite of what the U.K. is doing based on what, well the U.K. is actually doing!

Wales, does not have the murder rate of Law Enforcement officers that we do here either. The last Law Enforcement officer that was killed in Wales was in 1994 and he was stabbed to death. To date in the USA we have had 26 officers killed in 2016. That is just 84 days or an average of 1 officer’s death on an average of every 3 days here. Not exactly equal in the line of violence toward officers.

Although some Police Departments are attempting new training programs to placate the politicians and media, the efforts are seen to be less than helpful to officers on the street. The N.Y.P.D. for example suggested to its officers that during stressful situations “Officers should “take a deep breath’’ — and close their eyes — when dealing with angry people”. According to the New York Post this was part of a $35 million “smart policing’’ primer by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

Perhaps the LAST Thing you will ever do in facing an angry person is close your eyes and take a deep breath. It may well be the last breath you take if you are a Police Officer. Thousands of N.Y.C. Officers have gone through this retraining and learned that not much of it is hands on training. Many have fallen asleep according to instructors the Post reported.

Apparently some pretty strange ideas have come up but they are politically correct, such as officers were to be instructed to use breath mints when they felt the urge to swear. Instead of swearing the officers were going to be instructed to pop a breath mint in their mouth to take their mind off swearing. This is the training that Officers need to be worried about when we have an average of one officer dying every three days?

I read quite a few papers on this policy model and perhaps one of the best was written by Jim Glennon titled “30 Guiding Principles” & Not a One on Officer Safety? . Lt. Glennon was far more understanding than I in his assessment of what is being done to our Officers. I believe that our officers are being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and we have already seen the sacrifices.

Seaside Police Department, Oregon Sergeant Jason Goodding  Seaside Police Department, Oregon E.O.W. 2/5/2016 Attempted to arrest a subject that was wanted. The Sgt. used a taser on the subject that was ineffective. The subject murdered the sergeant.

Another Officer was killed on the altar Deputy Sheriff Derek Geer Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado E.O.W. 2/10/2016. He and other deputies were investigating reports of an armed subject in the area and spotted the juvenile, who matched the description of the subject. As Deputy Geer spoke to the juvenile, the boy asked him if he was being detained. When Deputy Geer told him that he was being detained the boy pulled away from him and a struggle ensued.

Deputy Geer deployed a taser, however, the subject was able to pull out a handgun and open fire . Deputy Geer was struck multiple times, including in the face. He was able to radio for assistance but had become unresponsive by the time another deputy arrived at his location. He was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital where he remained on life support so his organs could be donated.

Yet another Deputy, shortly after who was just trying to de-escalate found his way to the list of the dead as well. Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland E.O.W.2/10/2016 The deputies had been dispatched to the restaurant, at 3412 Merchant Boulevard in Abingdon, after a report was received that the subject was there. Deputy Dailey located the man sitting at a table inside of the restaurant and engaged him in conversation. Without warning, the man produced a handgun and fatally shot Deputy Dailey in the head.

Will these policies that PERF suggest be the cause for deaths of our Law Enforcement officers? Looking at the Greenville, S.C. Police Department one can only surmise the answer to be yes.

Recently an 18 page department policy on the use of force was disseminated “in the wake of racially charged shootings in Baltimore, Cleveland and North Charleston” according to Greenville online.  Police Chief Ken Miller who is new to the position has changed the use of force policy that states in part:  officers are also prohibited from using lethal force when:

  • There is no reasonable probability of hitting the intended subject.
  • There is substantial risk to the safety of innocent bystanders or officers.
  • The subject is unarmed and fleeing from police

Of course that may sound very nice and reasonable except when it comes

Greenville Police Department,S.C. Police Officer III Allen Lee Jacobs E.O.W. 3/18/2016
Greenville Police Department,S.C.
Police Officer III Allen Lee Jacobs
E.O.W. 3/18/2016

to working in reality like on March 18, 2016 when Officer Allen Lee Jacobs was chasing a youth known to be a violent felon, that was wanted for questioning in connection with a weapons trafficking with his weapon in it’s holster per department policy. The officer never had a chance to defend himself as the man Deontea Perry Mackey turned and fired upon him with a pistol killing the officer before the man killed himself.

The officer died with his weapon holstered without ever having the chance to defend himself.

The Greenville Police Department changed it’s use of force policy according to the Greenville Online because as the Chief of Police stated:

Not long after that, (the “in the wake of racially charged shootings in Baltimore, Cleveland and North Charleston”)  public Miller said he began to look at crafting a new use of force policy, drawing upon policing trends embraced by the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing policy think-tank.

Many of the principles recommended by the think-tank are found in the department’s new policy, which instructs officers to protect and defend the “dignity of individuals and the sanctity of human life.”

Apparently the duty of “officers to protect and defend the “dignity of individuals and the sanctity of human life.” was not considered about the Officers themselves under the policy.

The list goes on, because officers are not the trigger happy murderers looking to kill everyone that they meet as media and politicians would have people believe. What they are now is a breed of people that are being targeted for trying to make their communities safer and better places to live.

They are scapegoats for failed policies by people who have allowed the wrong people to lead for too long and they continue to do so for the sake of political correctness. If that was not the case why would other countries be taking lessons from us as the highly trained Royal Thai national police officers did from the Dallas Police Department in February of 2016?

According to 5NBCDFW The group said they learned a lot about crime-fighting strategies here in Texas that they can take overseas. In particular, the DPD training officers shared important strategies for finding drug dealers, and what to do if a suspect pulls out a gun during an escalating confrontation.

The 17 Thai police officers engaged in hand-to-hand combat training exercises side-by-side with DPD recruits. “If we can adapt that into our country, we can work more effectively,” said Royal Thai officer Prot Setthakron. Dallas Police Maj. Jimmy Vaughan said experiences like this are exactly what the Royal Thai group will bring home and teach to others. “During that reality training, when he was being shot at, their commander said, ‘Wow! That happens really fast! I said, ‘Yes, you gotta be fast, you gotta protect yourself,'” Vaughan said.

So what happens when the U.K. for instance has a shooting like here you might ask? Isn’t there any backlash? Well yes there is. There is an independent hearing called “IPCC” Independent Police Complaints Commission that was supposed to oversee all Police deaths.

Recently an officer was arrested for killing a gang member who was black, the officer was white. There was a terrible outcry from the black community regarding the death of the black male who was breaking another man out of prison who was shot. Jermaine Baker was killed by a single shot at approximately 9am on December 11, 2015. The man was sitting in a stolen vehicle, with an unregistered gun, while waiting for 2 gang members to be sentenced and come out of court to break them out of jail.

Once agitators threatened to “BURN London” because the Officer didn’t use a body camera the “IPCC arrested the Officer but they put out a carefully worded message that wouldn’t offend officers because as the Dailymail stated “Theirs is a voluntary, high-risk specialism, and on a number of occasions in the past, members of such units have threatened to down arms after what has been perceived as unfair treatment by top brass.”

Once Officers became fearful that they would be charged or put under pressure for using their weapons as American Officers have been by politicians or media Officers took a stand and said that they had had enough. They decided that the public be damned and that they would go back to patrol cars without their wespons and let the public go without protection.

Police campaigner Norman Brennan has told Sky News officers who carry guns have said they would rather go back to driving patrol cars because of the threat of prosecution. Sky News.

Fearful that Officers will no longer protect citizens the ‘top brass’ began backing it’s officers within days.

Yesterday some of the nation’s most senior retired officers said it was disproportionate and called for the inquiry to be resolved swiftly, pointing out that firearms officers have to make split-second decisions in highly dangerous situations. Former Met Police Commissioner Lord Blair said the arrest ‘sent a very bad message’ to other officers and Tony Long, the country’s deadliest firearms officer, accused the watchdog of wanting to prosecute ‘to prove their own worth’. Some police marksmen have also threatened to hand in their guns over the case. Prime Minister David Cameron has now announced a review into whether officers who ‘shoot to kill’ in the line of duty should have greater legal protection.  Daily mail

Yet again it was stated In the Daily Mail Former Met Police commissioner Lord Blair told the Sky News Murnaghan programme: ‘There is a danger that the police officers are treated as if they are criminals from the outset. ‘These are men and women who go to work to do an incredibly dangerous job for which they volunteer and if they do their duty and shoot somebody because they have to … they should not be treated as criminals. ‘I don’t know the details of the case but in the latest shooting case in north London they have arrested the officer. ‘That is not necessary. He can be called in to the police station with his solicitor and interviewed under caution. They are not going to search his home for anything. ‘It seems to me that this is sending a very bad message to the rest of the police officers.’

The newspaper said it was told that the Prime Minister was prepared to change the law to reduce the prospect of officers facing lengthy court proceedings and to find ways to speed up investigations. It quoted a senior source as saying: ‘Terrorist incidents both at home and abroad have shown very clearly the life and death decisions police officers have to make in split second circumstances. ‘We must make sure that when police take the ultimate decision to protect the safety of the public they do so with the full support of the law and the state – there can be no room for hesitation when lives are at risk.’

The U.K. Officers do not shoot their weapons like the U.S. Officers do either. While United States officers are trained to shoot for the largest target available or “center mass” to ‘Stop the threat” U.K. officers are trained to shoot people “in the head”.

Shooting people in the leg, or arm, is Hollywood, I won’t even get into it here other than to say to the keyboard warriors. Under good conditions it is difficult to hit a small target the size of a leg or arm, and if you did you risk hitting a major artery causing someone to bleed to death. Many leg and arm wounds that are single shot cause death such as in Fredericksburg, Va.. Under pressure, stress hitting a small target is next to impossible, try to hit a pie plate from a few yards with a baseball when fatigued, while it is moving and someone is rattling your cage. You may have a small inkling of what it takes to shoot a weapon under stress.

So why was this Police guide written? It was written so that Police could be uniform across the nation and Police like they do in Wales, a place that is the size of New Jersey that has less violence against Police Officers than any state in the United States and to keep a very vocal minority happy. Media and politicians can now point to something by some very smart people who apparently have no clue what American Law Enforcement are up against today so they went to Wales. Where things slower paced than American Law enforcement activities we have been told. Where they think American Police Forces can learn to copy and de-escalate Police Force, however they do not even understand the culture of American law Enforcement. Yet in the same breath, in the U.K. we are being told that no matter how many weapons you have speed is perhaps the most important element and a rapid response is most essential with a “shoot to the head” is the appropriate response.

A quick and forceful response is exactly what the U.K. wants when a threat appears there. The U.K. has just spent a large sum of money for a “major uplift in firearms capability and capacity so we can respond quickly and forcefully to firearms attacks”.

While other nations are now arming officers better, training them the way that American Law Enforcement has been working for decades. They are taking a stand to protect their officers and back them up in the court of public opinion as well to defend them so the officers feel secure in their jobs.   Our politicians and media are doing their best to put our officers in greater danger to make headlines and win points at the voting booths.

It is time for our citizens to force our politicians to stand up for our officers. No longer can we allow the vocal minority to continue to run roughshod over our officers through politicians and media. Demand media tell the truth and show our Law Enforcement Officers for the people that they are.

They put their lives on the line every day and deserve better than what they are getting from media and politicians who are just looking for votes and viewers. Policies that are made to make Officers targets are not acceptable.

Nor are politicians or media that make statements made like the following acceptable in anyway shape or form.

They deserve better!

WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEOS CONTAIN GRAPHIC AND VIOLENT CONTENT!

Alan Cartwright stabbing CCTV captures the moment the teen is fatally knifed on his bike shows how quickly a person can be attacked without notice or warning. This happens to officers constantly, which is WHY they take precautionary measures even when they break for meals.

Why they do not shake hands when meeting people or why they appear to be ‘unfriendly’ when approached by people.

A Police Officer stops two men on a motorbike for riding where only cars were allowed. They overpower him and murder him on the street as people pass by. Nobody stops to assist him. There is no way to create distance or space while doing the job as suggested unless of course you do not do the job at all.

De-escalation techniques used by police in the U.K. – people expect Police in the USA to use the same techniques, not realizing that many departments in the USA do not have the luxury of even having two officers available let alone 30 to answer such calls.

Two men fatally wounded by men that they did not know caught on camera. The speed of a knife attack displayed. One stab is all it takes to kill someone. Yet people believe foolishly that knife attacks are somehow less lethal than guns or that the “21 foot rule need not apply”

An Arkansas Officer on a traffic stop murdered. The situation escalates without warning. Contrary to the guidelines discussed or training methods given, “closing your eyes” during tense situations may not be the best method to deal with situations like this. Nor can they be predicted.

This is the Original “21 foot rule” video most Officers see after practicing or attempting to do this themselves in training. It is basic body action and reaction times that are not negotiable. It is not an end all be all answer to knife situations, it does however show reaction times in knife vs gun situations that have only increased in difficulty for officers with the advent of security holsters.

Officers routinely practice this for themselves in academies across the United States and work on techniques to avoid using deadly physical force at all costs.

Perhaps our Officers should start taking suggestions and act like other officers act in other countries, giving criminals a wide birth.

Officers can then use the principles of using distance, cover, and time when approaching and managing certain critical incidents. In many situations, a better outcome can result if officers can buy more time to assess the situation and their options, bring additional resources to the scene, and develop a plan for resolving the incident without use of force.
Officers can use distance and cover to create a “reaction gap” between themselves and the individual, and consider all options for responding.

Just like these officers here have done? Will the Politicians, Media and vocal minority be happy then?

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