About Bradley's Blog:

A cop, a writer and a whole lot more.

Here you'll find my thoughts on writing, links to my published works, law enforcement musings and other tidbits. Please subscribe to my blog and I encourage you to share anything you find worthy. Thanks!

Disclaimer: these are my opinions and mine alone. I am not speaking as a representative of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in any shape or form here. These are not necessarily the opinions of my employer.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Be Careful What You Ask For


I've written a lot of posts about policing in America recently, I guess that's to be expected from a lifelong cop. I really wanted my next post to be about writing and publishing, but it's going to have to wait. Besides, timing is everything, as they say, right? There's something coming soon that I'm excited to tell you about, but it's not time yet.

With that said, there's still quite a bit of turmoil about law enforcement and the use of deadly force. It's amazing how this has become such a hot button issue. I'm not downplaying the seriousness of the highly publicized events in the past several months, but police officers using deadly force isn't anything new. Accidental deaths involving the police also, aren't anything new. Every one of them is tragic with real people being affected, including the police involved.


I don't condone or make excuses for police misconduct. But they're not the norm, they're the exception. So many incidents are being labeled as excessive force by people who have no training or experience, that it begs to argue, why is everyone jumping on this "cops can't do anything right" bandwagon? I don't think there has been a statistical increase in police shootings over previous years, so what has made this the center of so many discussions and news stories around the clock? If anything, I think police shootings are down across the country. I know they are in my agency.

Could it be there's some influential group pushing a narrative? Could it be someone has an agenda and part of that requires tearing law enforcement to shreds in the eyes of our communities? That's a bit too much conspiracy theory for me, but it seems to be getting truer each day.

The video of the aftermath of a police shooting in Billings, Montana shows a very human side of policing. Not one cop ever gets over it. Most recover and go back to serving their communities, but they hardly go a day without thinking about the hurts, the fears, the pains of their actions. Even if a shooting is without any question justified, the officer thinks, "Why did he (or she) make me do that?"




Then out of Phoenix, comes the news report below. Jarrett Maupin, a community activist and vocal opponent of police in use of force incidents, rose above the fray and openly accepted an invitation to see first-hand, how policing and use of force incidents can be.




So low and behold, you might think that could start a tsunami of discovery and understanding across the nation. Perhaps more community leaders and activists with loud voices might choose to see things from all sides. Perhaps the Sharptons, the Holders, the de Blasios and many more might show some interest in objectivity. For some reason, it seems it's not to be. They can't expose their refusal to be objective, that might give birth to understanding or condemnation, which might take money off their tables or siphon power away.

I want to take a second and give the folks at Fox10 in Phoenix some serious respect for putting that piece together and being real journalists. They didn't know what the outcome would be, but they went with the intent to understand. My hat is off to you.

On January 8th, in Salt Lake City, a police officer used deadly force on James Barker after he struck the officer violently with a shovel. The officer reportedly suffered broken bones in his arm and foot during the melee.




Activists have staged protests in Salt Lake City over Barker's death. Newspapers have found several people who talk about Barker as a peaceful man. Others have complained that the officer had no reason to stop Barker and demand his identity. Some have theorized that the police edited the video from the body-cam, when the truth is, the camera was damaged in the violent attack.

Analysis:

If a stranger came to your door offering to clear away snow when there was none on your sidewalk, wouldn't that be odd?

If you had seen the man the day before, peering into car windows on your street, what would you think? Would you call the police?

Barker did not live in the house where the officer found him with the shovel. Should the officer have just backed away and ignored the possibility that Barker was casing for burglaries?

Wouldn't that officer be neglecting his duty to the citizens of that community if he hadn't investigated?

I've seen it many, many times--someone uses a ploy to knock on a door in the middle of the day. If the homeowner answers, the ploy is used. "Do you want me to shovel your (non-existent) snow?" "Is George here? Oh, I thought George lived here."

But if nobody answers, BOOM! The door gets kicked in or a back window is broken and the house ransacked.

I offer this: if Mr. Barker was just minding his own business and doing as he said, just trying to make a few bucks shoveling (non-existent) snow, why would he have a problem speaking rationally with the officer and providing his name as the law requires?

I hope if someone starts beating you with a shovel and you're armed, that you have the courage to do the right thing. You don't use a taser which is not effective every time (especially with people wearing heavy jackets and multiple layers), and you don't try to shoot the shovel out of his hands. You shoot to stop the threat which in most cases, means center-body-mass, because it increases the chance of your shots successfully stopping the threat.

If you want the cops to ignore suspicious activity, especially that which has drawn the attention of a citizen caller, somehow, I've ended up in the wrong society. You and I will never see eye-to-eye. But I will still go out there tomorrow and protect my community as I have always done.


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