Showing restraint in judgment

Showing restraint is an integral part of being a Law Enforcement Officer.  Not only physical and emotional restraint, but judgment as well.

Our job is hard enough.  We are evaluated and judged on the split second decision we make.  Sometimes instinctive, sometimes reactive, sometimes malicious.  One thing you can guarantee, it will always be judged.  Whether that is by your peers or by a court of law.

The one thing where I feel we should show more restraint is when we pre-judge our peers is when it comes to an open investigation and when we do not have all the facts.

Being prejudice without all the facts is dangerous.  It invokes presumed emotions.

As Officers we have a duty to not be prejudice as it could affect our judgement.  It’s not supposed to matter if a convict had done it before.  It only adds to your case when it’s coupled with other facts to prove that he is guilty, or enough probable cause exists for the arrest.  But that’s not always what occurs is it?

It appears we didn’t learn much from Wilson vs Brown.  Here we are again basing our thoughts and outcomes without all the facts.  Well if you don’t already know, I am referring to Slager vs White.

Right now as I write this article a portion of the black community is near militant.  They are divided amongst racial lines that were wrongfully drawn between Law Enforcement and the community.  People are so emotionally committed and charged by this that they are driven from their normal routine lives to make their opinions heard.  Their opinions are not fact based but biased to prove that not only is Law Enforcement targeting black citizens, but circumvent our court system by demanding swift justice.  They and some of you have already judged this Officer.  You may be right, who knows.  I guess it is a 50/50 guess, right?

Topics like, “Good shoot vs Bad shoot” riddles Facebook and the Law Enforcement community.  We need to get away from that.

I get it, you want to talk about it, sure.  Talk about it.  Topics like, “What dropped on the ground in the video?”, “Is this the only video?”, “How many seconds between him being engaged with the Officer and the first shot?”, should be what we are discussing.  What if this was the 3rd time this person had engaged this Officer in a fist fight only to run and retreat and then reengage?  I am even ok with comments of, “It looks bad” because I have never seen even a justified shooting “look good.”

What we need to do is show restraint.  An independent agency is investigating this incident and they have already charged the Officer with murder.  Jumping to conclusions is unfair for us to do to a convict and it most certainly still applies to a former Officer who is protected by the same rights.  “Innocent until proven guilty.”

Tell me your thoughts..

– Frank Three

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A Rookie’s Wisdom

I was recently asked to provide some insights from the perspective of a rookie currently enduring the rigors and successes of a California police academy. As such, I will give the obligatory disclaimer that none of my views necessarily reflect those of my department or academy.

Here it goes.

First some background. After working for years in customer service, having gone a small stint in the military, and earned a few college degrees, I decided to follow some good advice and make my way into law enforcement. I didn’t go into it pursuing a lifelong dream or a desire to chase bad guys, guns blazing. I went into it because I am good at talking to strangers, have a profound sense of justice, and  have been told I’d be good at it. I decided to go on a few ride alongs and then I was hooked! After distributing the finer points of my work life and personal history to agency after agency, I was picked up for a corrections job at a local Sheriffs Department while waiting for a patrol position to open up at that same department.

Having gotten my feet wet in corrections for close to a year, I was blessed to be chosen for the academy sponsorship I had applied for. So here I was, about to undergo yet another substantial learning curve and yet finally have a chance to pursue my true career. It was an exciting time!

Then Ferguson happened. Then New York happened. Oh, let me back track a little bit. I am one of a few black recruits in my Academy and should I survive it and FTO, I will be the only black male deputy in my department (that I know of.) That being said, my perspective, much like my mind and body, have undergone some substantial changes in the last several months to a year.

When I was young, my parents taught me to have proper respect for authorities and how to properly conduct myself when dealing with law enforcement. That said, there was always an underlying mistrust there. Add to that, the more generalized or popularized perspective of black LEO’s is overwhelmingly negative, being seen as sellouts or traitors. Though I have had the undoubted support of my parents, this career path was not the first they would have chosen for me. That didn’t stop me however. I wanted to go out and help. I wanted a chance to change the image of black men and of cops in the minds of the public. Then came Ferguson. Then came New York.

The academy alone is tough by design as is FTO. There hasn’t been one week where I haven’t questioned my choice on some level. Questions such as whether I am strong enough, patient enough, young enough (I’m in my mid 30s BTW), or good enough. There hasn’t been one easy week. There hasn’t been a time when I believed this career couldn’t take me away from my family or take my family away from me somehow. There hasn’t been a time since I started the Academy, that the events from out East haven’t made everything more complicated.

All of the above surely begs the question, what then, are my views on said events as a rookie (a pre-rookie really,) who is black? The quotable I suppose would be this:

The mantra “black lives matter” is absolutely true. The underlying implication that “black lives matter more than others,” carried about by rabble rousers and divisive politicians, is absolutely untrue. The more accurate mantra of “all lives matter” is much more preferable in my opinion. Everyone is entitled to a level of respect but no one should ever expect more than they are willing to show to others. This is a lesson I learned long before going into law enforcement but it has been reinforced by seeing what life is like on the other side of the badge.

As a person of color in law enforcement, walking the thin blue line becomes all the more precarious when people try to draw black and white ones on either side. This is exacerbated by  politicians who use the situations mentioned as a political asterisk in their career and a blood thirsty news media desperately looking to inflate their ratings. As a result of this irresponsible behavior, my brothers and sisters of both badge and ethnicity are left feeling disenfranchised by the very same lip service that purports to be looking out for us.

So what am I to do in a nation increasingly hostile to law enforcement? How do I do my part to quell the artificially and unnecessarily stoked fires of racism? I do what I have always done in my life, when an insurmountable challenge is before me.

I carry on, I don’t quit, and I trust God.

This “law enforcement Vietnam” as someone aptly put it, will pass some day. I plan to use this baptism by fire to make me a better officer and member of the community I am working to serve. I plan to prove the haters wrong and change some lives for the better.

– Academy 1 Bravo

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Confessions of a Corporal: Cynicism, Copblock, and a kind word

Stop the Cop Haters is made up of a collection of people throughout the United States. Some of us have regular jobs in the public sector and want to show support of officers, others are current law enforcement or retired law enforcement officers.

Our goal is simple, to show people the many kind and wonderful things that police officers do everyday. Lately with social media and hate groups like Copblock, police have gotten a bad rap. Sure there have been some incidents of bad behavior, but by in large, the majority of officers are good people. If you have a bad visit at the dentist or doctor, do you hate all doctors and wish them dead? Of course not, only a sociopath would think that mentality is acceptable.

Officers are people just like you. People with families and children. They are somebody’s son, daughter, brother, sister or friend.  No one should hate another simply for the color or their skin or the color of their uniform.  Always remember there is a human being behind that badge who loves and bleeds like you.

That was the paragraph I penned a few days ago for the About us section of the webpage.  It is a truth I hope everyone understands but sometimes I do not actually believe myself.  They inform you in the academy that people will look at you differently, treat you differently and you will have a hard time maintaining the friendships you used to have.  At the time I did not quite understand it.

After nearly a decade policing, I have come to the realization that it does not matter how well I do my job, someone is always going to hate me.  This is not a regular type of hate, it’s a seething, rabid and disgusting hate that only someone inflicted with evil could have.  How else to you explain it?  They don’t really know me.   They don’t know who my favorite sports teams are,  my favorite food,  my family or financial status.  They do not know that I pride myself on being a good father and husband.  They do not know the many things I have done in my community on my days off to help the citizens of my jurisdiction.  Nope,  all they know, is that I wear blue and have a badge.

They will make all kinds of excuses as to why,  from previous confrontations, to family members being arrested or to enforcing marijuana laws.  They always have an excuse,  and not a single excuse points to them.  It’s always someone else’s fault as to why.  Reading through Copblock posts is like reading Charlie Sheen’s hate mail.  If all they want is accountability, then why does our Facebook page get death threats whenever we mention Copblock.   The truth always comes out.  It is there right now if one wishes to look for it,  but this isn’t about Copblock.

This is about being cynical after months of being on the defensive with Michael Brown, Eric Garner and other high-profile incidents.  I was starting to believe that maybe the public was viewing us like the pathetic members of Copblock do.  I had even considered moving on into a job in the private sector.  A person can only put up with so much before they decide to take leave of their situation.   That’s exactly whats happening.  Good Officers are leaving the career because anti-police people and the media are making them out to be the bad guy.  I was contemplating being one of them.

Then something happened.   I went to eat at one of my favorite places while on duty.  It was a Friday night and the place was fairly busy.  I would normally grab something small and avoid crowds at all costs,  but I was really hungry.  I find my place to sit,  no spots available with my back to the wall, dang it.   I sit down and look around.  I can feel everyone’s eyes on me.   In my mind, they are thinking,  “great,  a damn cop just ruined our meal.”  Then it happened.  God gives you what you need, not what you want.

As the other tables around me began to leave to pay their bills,  almost every person within a 40 foot radius of my table,  stopped at my table and offered beautiful words of encouragement.

“Thank you for serving our community.”

“Please be safe out there.”

“I appreciate what you do for us.”

“Police are getting a bad rap,  there are many of us who support you, don’t forget that. “

I was practically dumbfounded.  Reading Copblock’s page for our Facebook page, sorting through hate mail, seeing comments on news stories, and 10 years on the job, had made me cynical and made me believe that no one cared.  That one meal showed me it was the furthest thing from the truth. There are many, many, many more good people out there than bad,  The bad ones just make the most noise,  the good ones salute you in silence. Those kind words were all I needed to rejuvenate my resolve to continue helping and serving others.  Its something we should all remember.

I will now go out of my way to let other officers know I appreciate them and their sacrifices are not in vain.  Remember,  sometimes all it takes is a kind word to inspire others.

If you are one of the cop-haters, copblockers, or just all around bad guys who can’t judge a man on his merits, but instead, on his career choice,  well then I feel sorry for you.  Hate is an awful thing.   A strangers kind word will always mean more than your hate filled rant.

BE INSPIRATION

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Authored by:

Admin S (formerly Nightrider)