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Updated: 1 hour 17 min ago

A New Apology For Baltimore

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 16:58

The recent apology by Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa to an audience at a rap conference was nothing new from law enforcement leadership.

“I want to take about 20 seconds to apologize for all the things that the police have done dating back 200 years,” De Sousa said.

“Two hundred years ago, all the way to civil rights. All the way to the ’80s where crack was prevalent in the cities and it affected disproportionately African-American men. All the way to the ’90s. All the way to the 2000’s when we had zero tolerance,” he said.

De Sousa promised changes to policing but oddly enough he never mentioned the countless changes that have occurred to policing in the last 200 years.

De Sousa was greeted with loud boos and profanity for his two century apology and it got me thinking that everyone in law enforcement, including the public is tired of our so called leaders blindly apologizing and nothing changing.

Don’t get me wrong.  An apology is not the problem.  I thought it was just fine that the IACP President apologized a few years ago and chiefs around the country have followed but when will it be enough?

Is it not time to discuss real, current issues that are facing Americans and especially Americans that are being hyper-victimized in their own communities?

So with that said, in order to help De Sousa out next time he decides to apologize, I came up with another apology that may bring cheers rather than boos.

Here it is:

As your Police Commissioner, I take the safety of your communities very seriously and I am heartbroken that some of you fear letting your kids out of your sight.  I am sorry that last year, under my command, that Baltimore had a record homicide rate with 347.  We were the most violent city in the country.  I am especially sorry that violence has affected African Americans at a higher rate than other races.  288 of those homicide victims were African Americans while almost all of them were men.  In fact, almost every violent crime category has been increasing in the last few years and predominantly blacks have been affected in a disproportional way, not only as victims but also suspects.

I am sorry.

I am sorry that under my watch, we have seen a decay in the very things that are increasing this violence.  When a child grows up without a father, they are 400 times more likely to live in poverty and according to former President Obama, they are five times more likely to commit crime. Here in Baltimore, I am responsible for keeping your communities safe but it is clear that means more than just catching criminals.  It also means doing what I can to bring fathers back in the home.  Currently, over 80% of our African American Children are living without a father in the home.

I am sorry that I have ignored this issue and quite frankly been hesitant to speak up but every criminal justice expert will tell you that the the driving force in crime is a lack of family structure and poverty.  We must be part of this solution instead of continuing to reap blame on the very ones that are here to stop the violence, which is the men and women here at the Baltimore Police Department.

I am sorry that in 2016, Baltimore Police enacted a policy that significantly reduced “stop and frisk” a legal form of police work when reasonable suspicion exists that someone has a weapon.  Historically, “stop and frisk” has reduced violence in neighborhoods and I am committed to bringing this sound practice back and I will make sure it is done legally and within the bounds of the Constitution.  

I am sorry that it is highly likely that my policies have discouraged good police officers from doing the very jobs we hired them to do, reduce crime and catch violent criminals.

I am committed to change within the Baltimore Police Department that reduces this violence and will give you and your children a safer Baltimore.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

What Would Tightening Police Use Of Force Restrictions Mean?

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 09:32

Editor’s Note: The recent Legislation put forward by the California State Legislature is one of the most dangerous policy issues we have ever seen here at Law Officer.  To think that a State could ignore the established Case Law from the United States Supreme Court that has guided law enforcement operations for close to three decades is staggering.  I recently taught 250 Law Enforcement Officers from California and the fear in their mind of what will happen to law enforcement if this proceeds is heartbreaking.  Many understand that performing their duties in any significant way of safety will be impossible with the proposed legislation.  My fear is that this move, by a dysfunctional political group, will make it’s way across the country and if that occurs, there will not only be a mass exodus in the profession but the job will become even more dangerous than it already is.  This is not paranoia but rather my opinion based on 25 years of experience in the profession and if you think the criminal element has been emboldened with the last several years of anti-cop rhetoric, just place this type of legislation out there and see what happens.  I am thankful that the Force Science Research Institute is addressing this important issue and the below information comes from their 363rd Newsletter.

Travis Yates, Editor In Chief

The persistent urge by police critics to tighten restrictions on the use of force surfaced again this month after a controversial shooting in Sacramento, California.

A state legislator told a press conference that she will introduce a bill to change the legal standard for law enforcement in California from using “objectively reasonable force” to “necessary force.” That means officers would be legally allowed to use deadly force only if “there were no other reasonable alternatives to prevent serious injury or death,” according to a spokesperson for the ACLU, which is among the activist groups behind the measure.

Also the bill would “encourage prosecutors to consider whether officers could have de-escalated a situation with verbal warnings or used nonlethal force” before resorting to gunfire, according to reports of the conference.

At this writing, exact wording of the bill has not been publicly revealed, but we asked a select group of police attorneys with Force Science credentials to comment on implications of the proposal. One noted in responding that “there are efforts in several parts of the country” to alter the current standard, so the drive for change is not unique to California.

Here’s what our panel has to say:

Cost will be fatal hesitation, court confusion, monetary windfall for plaintiffs
Atty. Mildred O’Linn, Force Science Analyst, Manning & Kass law firm, Los Angeles

What is required in use-of-force situations by officers under current law is a stringent enough burden without imposing additional scrutiny via a subjective “necessary” standard.

Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Graham v. Connor in 1989, force used by law enforcement must be “objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.” That means that officers must take into account everything they knew and believed to be true up to that moment when they made their force decision, and then they will be judged on whether their assessment was reasonable and their force appeared to be necessary.

Potentially relevant factors for consideration can be extensive, ranging from the perception of immediate threat to the relative size, strength, and age of the suspect compared to the officer.

If the legal standard goes from an objective “reasonable and appears to be necessary” standard to a subjective “necessary” standard—and the “appears to be” disappears—officers will be faced with impossible decisions with unbearable consequences. The evaluation of their choices and actions in those “split-second decisions” in life-threatening circumstances would then be based on the ultimate outcome of the incidents.

Judging an officer’s decisions in the bright light of day, when the smoke has cleared and the danger has passed and when you know the actual facts and circumstances, is clearly untenable. Officers cannot be expected to determine in the split-seconds available to them whether the weapon is real, the knife is sharp, the attacker is skilled, or even if the object in the hand is a gun or a phone when there is what reasonably appears to be an immediate threat to safety.

Requiring officers in dangerous circumstances to further evaluate and make sure their actions are necessary could mean death, for example, when an individual reaches for his waistband. Maybe the suspect is just pulling up his pants or grabbing his cell phone—or maybe he’s drawing a gun.

The cost of a “necessary” standard will be officer hesitation and deaths, a confusion in the legal standard for state and federal claims, and a monetary windfall to plaintiffs in civil litigation at great cost to taxpayers.

This proposal is politically and financially motivated in a time when criminal consequences have been minimized and offenders are empowered by the lack of meaningful consequences. The reality is that we already ask so much of officers and we need to be reasonable in our expectations.

“They want to prosecute more LEOs”
Atty. Lance LoRusso, Force Science Analyst, LoRusso Law Firm PC, Atlanta, GA

The goal of those who seek to change the standard is simple. They want to prosecute more LEOs who use deadly force.

Much of their criticism of police behavior is born of ignorance regarding not only the laws of the use of force, but also the mechanics of the use of force, the force options available to LEOs, the potential danger of a suspect, and the speed and reality of deadly force encounters.

These advocates look at the number of deadly force encounters with LEOs and argue they speak loudly of the clear need for additional training and changes to the legal standards by which LEOs are judged. In fact, the numbers speak loudly to the contrary. On average, LEOs arrest approximately 12-13 million people each year; they shoot and kill approximately 960. In truth, the use of deadly force by LEOs is rare.

Perhaps the knowledge gap and intervention of politics is precisely why the Supreme Court recognized in Graham v. Connor that the actions of a LEO must be judged from the perspective of a “reasonable officer” who is trained and aware of the realities of the use of force—by police and against them. The reasonable belief standard now prevails as the clear statutory standard in more than 40 states.

Changing from a “reasonable belief” standard to a “necessary” standard would be unworkable in the daily reality of law enforcement.

“The calculus of reasonableness [allows] for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation,” Graham states. If force that appears reasonable to the involved officer at the time and under the stress of the event is later found to be unnecessary, the LEO should not face a penalty for his or her actions, the Court ruled. A “20/20 hindsight analysis…in the peace of a judge’s chambers” is expressly forbidden.

A “necessary” standard invites and virtually ensures a hindsight analysis of LEOs’ actions. Any standard that invites the use of hindsight disregards the reality of policing.

Impossible, unworkable standard will cost police & civilian lives
Atty. Scott Wood, Force Science Analyst & Force Science faculty, Wood Puhl & Wood law firm, Tulsa, OK

If necessary means you have to wait to see a gun, and wait to see if it is pointed, and wait to see if the suspect fires, it will be an unconstitutional statute. If it requires you to exhaust all other less lethal options before using deadly force, it will be an impossible standard, and extremely costly to law enforcement in terms of lives lost.

If such a statute were passed, and I was an officer in California and did not quit my job, I would demand to be retrained in this new way of analyzing whether deadly force was “necessary.”

One of my favorite citations on the use of force is from, ironically, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Scott v. Henrich, (39 F3d 912, 914):

“Requiring officers to find and choose the least intrusive alternative would require them to exercise superhuman judgment. In the heat of battle with lives potentially in the balance, an officer would not be able to rely on training and common sense to decide what would best accomplish his mission.

“Instead, he would need to ascertain the least intrusive alternative (an inherently subjective determination) and choose that option and that option only.

“Imposing such a requirement would inevitably induce tentativeness by officers, and thus deter police from protecting the public and themselves. It would also entangle the courts in endless second-guessing of police decisions made under stress and subject to the exigencies of the moment.”

Exactly right.

If an impossible and unworkable standard is adopted, more calls will turn into “drive through” investigations. On the most dangerous calls, lives will be lost, police and civilian, while the numerous calculations of what is “necessary” are carried out.

The genius of Graham v. Connor, which bends and moves with the facts of every case, has guided use-of-force training for almost 30 years. Tinkering with such a cornerstone of law might have serious and far-reaching consequences we can’t even see now.

A “feel good” gateway into no man’s land
Atty. Emanuel Kapelsohn, Force Science Analyst & Advanced Force Science Specialist candidate, president of the Peregrine consulting corporation, Fogelsville, PA

The feel-good attempt to change the standard from “objective reasonableness” to “necessity” would discard well-established case law, and put the police officer, and the courts, into no man’s land.

A standard of necessity for the use of force does not require officers to exercise reasonable judgment, but instead requires them to foretell the future. Consider this hypothetical:

An enraged man, screaming obscenities and brandishing a machete, advances toward an officer from less than 20 feet away, ignoring commands to stop. At some point before the attacker is within contact distance, most courts would say it is “objectively reasonable” for the officer to fire in defense of his life.

But was it “necessary”? How do we know that if the officer had simply holstered his gun, knelt down, and pleaded for his life, the attacker wouldn’t have abandoned his attack? Or if the officer had used pepper spray or a Taser or empty-hand defensive tactics or had simply run away, it would not have proven effective? We cannot say any of these unlikely options would not work without trying them. And if any did work, then shooting the attacker was not necessary, was it?

If your response to this is that necessary, as a use-of-force standard, doesn’t actually mean “necessary”—it means what the officer reasonably believes is necessary—then we have returned to the “objectively reasonable” Graham v. Connor standard that already exists. But if “necessary” means what most people would understand it to mean—that the officer had to use the force he used, because no lesser force would have sufficed; in other words, that the officer used the minimumamount of force that would control the violent situation—then this is requiring the officer to foretell the future.

The fact is the untrained media commentator—or politician or member of the public—usually has little, if any, understanding of the factors that properly enter into an officer’s decision to use high levels of force. Changing the standard that guides that decision is merely a “feel good” measure that scraps 29 years of carefully established federal case law and imposes an impossible, superhuman task on officers.

Challenge to politicians: Experience reality exposure before supporting change
Atty. Laura Scarry, Force Science Analyst & Force Science faculty, DeAno & Scarry law firm, Chicago

It is clear the proposed legislation is purely emotional, a knee-jerk reaction to a recent controversial shooting as opposed to a well-thought-out and educated response to a complicated issue.

What I find most frustrating about the proposed bill is that the legislature spends so much emphasis placing the responsibility on police officers in deadly force situations. Sure, officers must be held accountable when they engage in criminal behavior but in my experience representing officers after shootings, I have yet to represent one who “wanted” to kill the suspect who confronted them with real or perceived threats. A common thread I see with all my clients is that they felt they had “no choice” but to react the way they did and often ask, “Why did he/she do what they did to force me to act?”

The power of that question resonates with me deeply. Officers KNOW that they work in a fish bowl, they KNOW that their every move can be found on video, whether it’s from their dash cams, body cams, civilian cell phones, or surveillance cameras. So why would an officer murder someone when they know their actions are going to be criticized afterward? Even those who were justified in using deadly force to subdue a suspect risk losing everything they worked hard for.

Officer behavior, as we well know, is primarily in response to suspect behavior. I often wonder what the outcome would be in these high-profile incidents had the suspects just complied with the officers’ lawful orders to stop, get on the ground, or show their hands.

By Illinois law, deadly force is justified when an officer “reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another person.” I am not really concerned about the use of the word “necessary” per se. What I am concerned about is whether the proposed bill in California eliminates an officer’s “reasonable belief” that such force was necessary.

Also I have concerns about the suggestion by the bill’s sponsors that officers must use other alternatives before resorting to the use of force, including “warnings, verbal persuasion, or other nonlethal methods of resolution or de-escalation.” This is completely unrealistic.

I challenge supporters of this bill to experience reality-based training simulators/videos to truly understand why police officers may make mistakes in the use of deadly force, before requiring the unattainable.

Law Officer is a proud partner with the Force Science Institute.  This article originally appeared in Newsletter 363. 

Visit to learn more about the research FSI conducts and the training they provide.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Modern Day Knights

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 09:08

This most recent addition to the Law Officer “Chaplain’s Corner” arsenal comes in the wake of recent critical incidents (not the least of which is the Florida school shooting) and the plethora of commentary from non-sworn pundits and other so-called “experts” who have never served in the heat of a deadly force conflict. That commentary, frankly, deserves a response from those of us who have made “running to the sound of gunfire” a way of life as an all-too-regular part of our servant-warrior ethos.

My response comes in the wake of more than three decades as a sworn officer and police trainer. In addition, my response is also strongly rooted in a biblical (God’s) worldview inasmuch as I’ve also served concurrently as a police chaplain for the last dozen years.  Let’s dig in!

Right off, we need to define some terms and put to bed the idea that police officers must be downgraded from the servant-warriors God has called us to be and into some kind of politically correct (and oxymoron if there ever was one) “guardian.”

Where does the term “warrior” come from? Scripture (ultimately undeniable evidence) of course! Here are just two brief examples:

Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle ( Psalm 144:1)

The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name . (Exodus 15:3)

Part of the problem is that most today, especially those in academia and the media, have never served in a combat unit or taken on violent offenders as a sworn law enforcement officer. Fewer still will take the time to understand the concept of evil or embrace what it means to be what my friend — Lt. Col. Dave Grossman — describes as a “sheepdog” (see “On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs”), to wit, those of us who have answered the call to run to the sound of gunfire (chaos) and engage the wolves (the criminal element) that would otherwise feast with impunity on the sheep (the defenseless public) we’ve sworn to serve and protect.

Now some might suggest that being a “warrior” or even running to the sound of gunfire are somehow at odds with modern  Peelian principles of policing. Frankly (and the subject of a future article), I think that’s plain rubbish (a good British term).  However, anyone who follows my own teachings knows that I routinely add the biblical concept of being a “servant” to “warrior” (servant -warrior) and “leader” (servant-leader).

In a previous article, I asked what it meant to have and live a servant-warrior ethos in this “age of guardians” (smh). Let’s review:

Fellow writer Steve Willis rightly wrote, “The consummate warrior is defined by his indomitable spirit, fierce will, personal integrity, and a willing, vigorous dedication to whatever written or implied code(s) of conduct his government might place upon him in addition to his exceptional skill at arms.”  Is this not consistent with what we do as cops? I believe it most certainly is.

The rarity of true servant-warriors who will run to the sound of gunfire and take on evil is not new.  On this, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote, “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”  Amen to that!

And the servant part of being a warrior? The word servant in the Greek of the New Testament is diakonos. We get the word “deacon” from that. It has the same meaning as the word “minister” used by the apostle Paul in Romans 13:1-4 where he rightly calls for the police to be God’s “ministers for good and a terror against evil.” Here’s what Jesus Himself said on the subject of servanthood that has powerful application for us as civil servants: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your servant; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Matthew 20:25-27)

Finally, we look again at the word ethos. The Oxford dictionary defines ethos as “the characteristic spirit of a community as revealed in its beliefs and aspirations.”

Put these three terms words together (servant-warrior ethos) and we come up with something like this: “The characteristic spirit of the community of those who are called to be servant-warriors as revealed in their beliefs and aspirations.” And to what should we aspire? Consider the following:

  1. To always place the mission first (with the “mission” being our summed up in our Law Enforcement Code of Ethics – a copy of which still hangs on my office wall).
  2. To never accept defeat and to never quit until the fight is done.
  3. To never leave a fallen comrade.
  4. To serve, protect and defend the public – including the “weak and the defenseless” (Psalm 82:3-4Isaiah 1:17).
  5. To TRAIN in accordance with our ethos (true warriors will train like warriors).
  6. To always seek to love, serve and protect others before self — even at the risk of our own lives. No, I’m not suggesting that we in any way toss sound officer safety in the gutter or make getting home at the end of our shifts any less important.  Rather, I am in fact saying that our oaths call us to step up higher. However, this does NOT – as our Supreme Court has rightly affirmed – include allowing ourselves to refrain from using deadly force until after deadly physical force is used against us!

So with all this in mind, here is the hard truth: the vast majority of us would have done everything in our power to have been able to stop the carnage at Douglas High School; Las Vegas concert venue; the Orlando nightclub; Virginia Tech; Sandy Hook; Sutherland Springs; Dallas; Lakewood; Los Angeles; the abortion clinic in Colorado Springs; the theater in Aurora; Platte Canyon and Columbine high schools (my home state of Colorado is no stranger to these kind of incidents); the 9/11 attacks; the Murrah Federal Building and far too many other places. Praise God, law enforcement intervention greatly reduced the body count at many of these events, and there have also been countless other potential massacres that have been prevented because we did in fact run to the sound of threat and “gunfire” (explosions, crashes, disturbances, suspicious circumstances, etc.) — often at the price of our health and yes, our lives.

Finally, let me state — for the record — that the real issue here is not guns (or planes, bombs, knives, etc.) but rather the unchecked allowance for evil, disobedience to God’s standards and lawlessness in general. As a nation we have turned our backs on God and there are righteous consequences for having done so.

Ultimately, and in these perilous time, it will be us, the servant-warrior peace officer, the sheepdog, who will stand on the thin blue line between good (order, peace) and evil (chaos, anarchy, lawlessness) and will answer the call (“here am I, send me“) to righteously run to the sound of gunfire to protect and rescue the defenseless and, if necessary, take out the wolf.  So help us God!


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Categories: Law Enforcement

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Apologizes for Starbucks Arrests

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 17:06

After defending his officers after the arrest of two men that refused to leave a Starbucks last Thursday and discussing the disrespect one of the men showed his officers, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross has now apologized to the two men and said that his comments made the situation worse and “failed miserably” in the messaging around the arrests.

Well, so much for our praise for Ross.

In a hastily arranged news conference at Police Headquarters, Ross said he was unaware that people sit inside Starbucks for hours. “I apologize,” he said in remarks intended for Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the men arrested for sitting in the store without making a purchase.

“Shame on me” if I have done anything to perpetuate racism, Ross said, adding that no one had told him he should apologize.

Ross said a new policy will be announced on how the Police Department will respond to similar calls. One reason, he said, is  so that officers will not be manipulated by businesses. He said he was not sure if that happened in this instance.

The commissioner said the number of officers responding to the call was not excessive.

Ross said it was the wrong for him to have said in a Facebook Live video on Sunday that the “officers did not do anything wrong.” Still, he said they followed the law.

Read More

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Two Florida Deputies Murdered In Restaurant Ambush

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 16:43

Two deputies in Trenton (FL) were killed in the line of duty on Thursday.

Around 4 p.m., the deputies, with the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, were shot and killed in a suspected ambush, according to the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office.

The shooting occurred on SR-26 and East Wade Street in Trenton, Florida. Trenton is approximately two hours north of Tampa Bay.

Sources indicate that the deputies were killed in a restaurant. The suspect has also been killed.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said: “My heart breaks with the tragic news of two Gilchrist County deputies that were senselessly killed today while in the line of duty.

“The daily risk that law enforcement officers take to protect our communities is overwhelming. My deepest condolences and prayers are with their families as they mourn the devastating loss of their loved ones.

“May their families, friends and fellow officers find peace and comfort during this very difficult time.”

The identities of the deputies and the suspect has not yet been released.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Leadership, Deadly Force and Race

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 09:35

It will not shock many that following the officer-involved shooting of Elijah Smith, age 20, by the West Valley City (Utah) Police Department, the protesters are calling the shooting excessive and questioning the use of deadly force in the incident.

Some are depicting the shooting of an “unarmed black man” for just putting his hands up,

It is oddly similar to a recent case in Sacramento where a suspect ran from police after a series of car burglaries and formed a shooting stance towards officers.  Those officers shot and killed the subject but unlike the Utah Incident, protests have been going on for weeks and the California Legislature has introduced a bill that would place further restrictions on law enforcement including removing the “reasonable” standard from United States Supreme Court Case Law (Graham v. Connor).

Both cases involved a black/male that was suspected of theft and both men ran from law enforcement.  One suspect ran into a backyard of a residence to hide while in Utah, Smith ran into a home and hid in the garage.

Police shot and killed both men for simulating the pointing of a weapon and there is body camera footage in both instances.

So why has the Sacramento Case drawn international attention and few have heard about the Utah Case?

In my humble opinion, there is one reason and that is Courageous Leadership versus the lack of Leadership.

Following the release of the Utah Incident Video,  Police Chief Colleen Jacobs said. “I am sad for his loss. It is an unfortunate incident that Mr. Smith lost his life in this incident. He did not lose his life because of his race.”

It was short, definitive and sent a clear message as the leader of the agency.  There was no back peddling and waiting for the completion of the investigation.  There was no bowing down to political correctness or the calling in of an outside entity.  More importantly, there was not any silence.

The video, situation and context was clear and the Chief did not mix words.  Yes, it is tragic that Smith lost his life but blaming law enforcement for the actions of criminals has got to stop and stopping it lies at the feet of our leaders.

Whether Chief Jacobs knew it or not, she did exactly what is advocated with the Courageous Leadership Institute.  She made a statement quickly and she gave an assessment of the incident.  It set the tone for the media, the activists and for the officers that heard it.

For Courageous Leaders, making quick, accurate and factual statements will not stop those that hate cops from acting out but it does set the stage for the general public to understand the incident.  For far too long, law enforcement has ignored the general audience and placated to the very small audience that makes scenes in public and talks tough online.

The actions of Chief Jacobs are rare today and I applaud her for what she did.  Not because she blindly supported cops in a deadly force incident to hide wrongdoing (because she didn’t).  Because the cops did nothing wrong and she stated that implicitly and quickly.

That is Courageous Leadership!


Travis Yates is the Founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute

Find out how to become a Courageous Leader here.

What others are saying about “Courageous Leadership For Law Enforcement”

“This class is absolutely outstanding.”  Nathan Mendes, California Narcotics Officers Association

“This class should be required for every single police officer in America.” Officer Jason Cummings, Claremore PD

“In my 12 year career, this was the best class I have ever taken on leadership.”  Sergeant Josh Johnson

“The best presentation I have had in over 22 years in law enforcement.”  Sgt. Michael Huber, McMinnville (OR) Police Department

“This is some of the best training I have attended in over 40 years of law enforcement.”
Scott Johnson, Chief of Police – Grand Rapids (MN) Police Department  


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Categories: Law Enforcement

A Tale Of Two Leaders

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 18:35

The Starbucks Incident has been an incredible thing to watch. Not only does it highlight the power of misinformation, social media, emotion and race but the leadership styles of all involved have proven what I have been saying as my role within the Courageous Leadership Institute.


Last Thursday, two men walked into a Starbucks in Philadelphia and asked to use the bathroom. The manager told them that the use was for customers only at which time the subjects sat at a table. At one point, the manager advised them that occupying the restaurant (which was quite busy at the time) was for customers. They could purchase an item and stay. The men refused and when the manager told them she would have to call the police they advised her to call the police.

Some Philadelphia Police Officers arrived and told the men that they needed to either purchase an item as a customer or they would be trespassing. The men refused. Officers then asked the men to leave three times and they refused. Officers told them they would be arrested if they didn’t leave and they refused to leave. In addition to their refusal to the officers, one of them men told the officers that they had no idea what they were doing because they “are only $45,000 employees.”

This is the point in the story that patrons began to take video and become upset because according to them, these men did nothing wrong. Except of course refuse to leave and follow the simple instructions of a Starbucks Manager and Philadelphia Police Officers and commit the crime of trespassing, that is a law in every city in America.

The men are arrested, handcuffed and taken to a police precinct. Starbucks then refused to prosecute and they were released.

Within 24 hours, the partial video of the incident made international news with story after story saying these men were only arrested because they were black.

“This is what it is like to shop and be black in America” lamented one article.

Leader Responses

Law Enforcement has been here many times. A partial video is recorded, the story is told by someone that knows nothing about the incident and racism is screamed from the rooftops. And that is exactly what was happening here. As the story broke last weekend, the anger and hostility was directed towards the Philadelphia Police Department. “Racial Profiling”, “Biased Policing” and just about any other buzz word out there was being thrown at the agency.

In the past, it would continue and agency leadership would either say nothing or give the proverbial “we are investigating” nonsense. That approach has done more harm to this fine profession than any criminal could ever do.

Then, just as law enforcement was prepared to take blame without anyone standing up with the facts, a leader stood up.

It’s what I call Courageous Leadership not because it’s technical or difficult to do but because it is extremely rare for the leaders in law enforcement to stand up quickly and defend their officers when they are being accused of something they did not do.

This is exactly what Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross did. A few hours after the news broke, Ross recorded a video on the department’s Facebook page and said that the officers “did nothing wrong,” as they were simply doing their jobs when called in by the Starbucks staff. “They did a service that they were called to do,” he said. “And if you think about it logically, that if a business calls and they say that someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business, (officers) now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties. And they did just that.”

Ross said that the officers asked the men to leave three times and they refused. He said the officers were professional in their conduct toward the two men but “got the opposite back.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney made an immediate statement about the incident saying that it “appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.”

The Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz calls the arrest of the men “reprehensible…ashamed…” and “embarrassing.” He is making the media rounds, already met with the two men and plans to close all 8000 stores for a day and provide “unconscious bias training” to every employee. It’s a move that will cost the company millions but he has said that the company intends to “fix” the issue.

The Result

The dynamics have certainly changed since the leader of the Philadelphia Police Department and Starbucks talked about the incident. Commissioner Ross gave facts and defended his officers while Schultz has given no facts, riddled his comments with emotion and apologies while the Starbucks employee that called the police has left the company.

The response to both organizations this week has proven what I often say in the Courageous Leadership Seminar. Leaders must stand up for whatever is right, apologize when a wrong has been done but never do either when it is not appropriate.

If your organization is right, you must stand up for that and in the midst of the 24 hour news cycle, it needs to be quick. When the organization is wrong, admitting that and apologizing is also important.

Commissioner Ross did this perfectly and for most of the media and the public, the Philadelphia Police Department has been absolved of wrong-doing. This is a lesson that every law enforcement leader needs to take note of.

In contrast, Schultz could have easily done the same but weak leaders are exposed in times of crisis and this incident has certainly been that for Starbucks. The truth is, Commissioner Ross is correct. These men were disrespectful and were given plenty of chances to not be arrested. That particular Starbucks has been very consistent in this policy, no matter the race, and even refused a Philadelphia Police Sergeant that wanted to use the bathroom because he was not a paying customer. That sergeant quietly left the establishment. If these two men last Thursday would have acted like men, they would have done the same.

On a personal note, I have purchased many items from establishments so I could have the privilege to occupy their space or use the bathroom. Sometimes I did it out of common decency for the business but other times I was asked to do it and I did it. I’ve also been asked to buy something and I left. Never has it crossed my mind to do what these guys did. Then again, they are being hailed as victims and their actions will cost Starbucks millions in lost revenue and have taken a company with one of the best reputations of inclusiveness to the exact opposite.

Claiming racism is nothing to take lightly and certainly there have been instances where African Americans have been treated horrible just because they were black. Law Enforcement, businesses and every citizen must ensure that racism is removed from every aspect of our society and while the cowardly leadership of Starbucks is being praised by some, it only hurts the real issues of discrimination and racism that plagues us.

Both of these leaders had a choice.

Go with facts or emotions.

Stand up for what is right or kneel for a lie.

Defend an employee for doing their job or throw one down for doing their job.

It is not yet known what the fate of Starbucks or their leadership will be but there is a long history of cowardly leaders ruining the organizations they are over and in my humble opinion, the table has been set at Starbucks and it wasn’t set last Thursday when two men decided to refuse a common sense policy. It was set when the leadership team of Starbucks decided to not lead.


Travis Yates is the Founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute

Find out how to become a Courageous Leader here.

What others are saying about “Courageous Leadership For Law Enforcement”

“This class is absolutely outstanding.”  Nathan Mendes, California Narcotics Officers Association

“This class should be required for every single police officer in America.” Officer Jason Cummings, Claremore PD

“In my 12 year career, this was the best class I have ever taken on leadership.”  Sergeant Josh Johnson

“The best presentation I have had in over 22 years in law enforcement.”  Sgt. Michael Huber, McMinnville (OR) Police Department

“This is some of the best training I have attended in over 40 years of law enforcement.”
Scott Johnson, Chief of Police – Grand Rapids (MN) Police Department  

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Watch: Texas Officers Approach Home As It Explodes

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 16:40

The Hurst (TX) Police Department released video footage from an April 7, 2018 call where officers approached a house as it exploded.  The victims are in stable condition.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

The Man In The Mirror

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 17:22

I have worked for and with different characters in my career. I have also been a police officer since 1981 and seen the rise and fall of public sentiment.  I will certainly agree that the media portrayal of police is less than fair and that it is a hard time to be a cop. But I also know that our personal disposition is the most important factor in anyone’s life.

I recently used a quote in a class on police mindset by Henry Ford where he said, “Whether think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”  There are plenty of studies on how people’s perceptions and the outcome of everything from weight loss to cancer make a difference in their success or failure.  Teaching police mindset is a passion of mine, but I want to hone this article to job survival, resiliency and success.

I have had the good fortune of working under great bosses in great conditions, under horrible bosses in horrible conditions and everything in between. I know what it is like to have great equipment, schools and pay and leaving my long-time employer after 32 years where the city was in financial emergency and unable to pay its bills. I am now the chief of a department that has offered me such joy combined with all the struggles of dealing with budgets, people, bosses and citizens that I sometimes never get a break whether from the calls or the concerns in my head. Through all of this I have tried to keep a happy disposition and make “lemonade out of lemons”. I know there have been times when I have succumbed to the negative thoughts in my head and have paid dearly for doing so. It can be a pretty miserable existence and it is self-created. Here is a fact of life – NOBODY CARES BUT YOU.

Brian Willis, deputy executive director of ILEETA, edited an eclectic collection of stories in two books under the titles “If I Knew Then” and “If I Knew Then 2”.  I like to make these books required reading. The experiences of officer from all over the world about the ups and downs of good cops, who did not attain goals they had because of perceived unfairness or they got caught up in the negativity trap of complainers, is well worth the time to review.  Bad and unfair things happen because of fate, politics and perception but they happen to everyone.

I work and have worked under the same conditions as officers who have hated their jobs.  I choose to seek the joy, happiness and reward of an honorable and noble profession.  Many I know have chosen to see the bad, unfair and disappointing side of the same circumstances.  You get what you look for and so many choose to see bad supervisors, poor working conditions and undesirable citizens.  It is true that all of those exist, but I would suggest that if you are so bitter and resentful of what you have you might try looking at the man in the mirror first.  Maybe the solution to your disposition starts with your view of the world, the people you work with and for. Maybe some time reflecting on your perspective of the things you think and can control would give you a different outlook on everything from family and friends to the work environment.  Coming home at the end of a shift to an untidy house could lead to thoughts about how unorganized and unworthy your wife is. Going to work for a lousy boss or to co-workers who are inept or seeing the citizens as unworthy of your time leads to hating your job and a miserable existence.

When you look at the man in the mirror, do you see someone who brings a complaint or a solution?  Is the boss a bad supervisor or are you a bad employee? Is the co-worker inept or do you refuse to coach and lead by example?  And are all the citizens unworthy or are you unworthy to serve them? These are tough questions, but I don’t think they are asked or answered honestly very often.

There are problems to be solved and you may not be able to solve them all, but I think each one of us needs to take a good long look at what we bring to the table and how we set that table before we look at the world around us.  Science tells us that a good mindset leads to good results. Remember the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Be safe.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Starbucks, Lack of Respect and Common Sense

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 16:35

Two Black Men Arrested for Acting Entitled At Starbucks. Here is another example of African American men feeling that they are above the law. A major issue in the black community is the lack of respecting authority. This situation would have been a non-issue if these two black men would have just simply followed Starbucks protocol like everyone else.

Also, If white people were not so afraid of being deemed racist or even feel a high level of white guilt, this video would have never been recorded. Starbucks being the cowardice organization they are, apologized for no reason. What a shame. This isn’t helping black people or anyone in America for god’s sake.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

The Starbucks Incident

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 16:30

Two black males entered Starbucks to wait for a friend to arrive and did not order anything from the business. Prior to ordering and prior to their friend’s arrival, they decided to attempt to use the restroom. An employee denied the men access to the restroom because they had not purchased anything and asked them to leave. The men calmly refused and the employee called the police. The police arrived at the scene and asked the men to leave the facility. The men refused numerous times. The men were told that they would be arrested if they did not leave the restaurant. The men told the officers to arrest them. The men calmly stood up and allowed the officers to arrest them. They were transported to jail, when Starbucks contacted the police department and stated that they did not want to follow through with charges against the men. They were released.

Why did the police officers have to arrest them?

Why didn’t the officers investigate further?

Any employee of a business has the right to ask a person to leave their business. If a person refuses to do so, it is trespassing, period. The modern-day purpose of that charge is to reduce physical conflicts, escalating situations and to protect patrons/employees. The number 1 reason why trespassing is important is because the mentally ill and homeless “camp out” inside of businesses scaring/employees and customers. I trained near downtown and I was frequently called to arrest the mentally ill/ homeless for trespassing. It isn’t to discriminate against them, but they cause disturbances. I removed a guy for clipping his toenails on a table. I removed a woman for bathing in the toilet. I removed a man for masturbating in a trash can next to a family with small children. We have a homeless/ mental illness problem in America and there is no real solution to the problem. Trespassing charges are the quickest way to remove them and the nuisances associated with their behavior.

If you have ever been to a parade or any other event, you know that business often post signs stating that no one can use the restroom unless they are paying customers. You can imagine the nuisances caused by hundreds of drunk people creating a line only to use the restroom, pushing actual customers away from a business. It has caused numerous fights and disturbances. Trespassing charges are the easiest way to get people to leave and go on with their day.

In this Starbucks situation, the police were called and an employee wanted the two men out of the store. When the police arrive, it is their job to arrest someone who refuses to leave after being asked to do so by the business. Period. It doesn’t matter if the men were correct or not. A business can ask someone to leave. This prevents escalation between patrons/ employees for the most part. If a patron has a separate civil issue with the company, they are free to file that complaint or seek justice in other methods. The officers did nothing wrong.

As an officer, I know that most officers hate arresting people for trespassing. In an officer’s heart, they are hoping that the person being asked to leave will be gone prior to arrival. Most officers are disappointed to see the person still at the location. Trespassing charges are way too much paperwork and take too long to process at jail considering the charge. It’s annoying, but needs to be done in some circumstances. The officers asked the men to leave several times hoping they would just leave. They refused and told the officers to take them to jail. The officers were forced to take them to jail. They were professional and did their jobs. This is a civil issue and the issue lies with Starbucks and not the officers.

Racism / Cognitive Bias

It is not my place to accuse the employee of being racist, as I don’t know her heart and I wasn’t there. Racism and cognitive biases towards black people are real. I experience it all the time. Both affect black people the same way, regardless of the intention of the person exhibiting that behavior. It is tiring.

The beauty of this incident occurring at Starbucks as opposed to any other restaurant is that Starbucks encourages and cultivates an environment of loitering. College students spend hours there studying without making a purchase. People go on first dates without spending a dime. Business meetings take place there without a dime being spent. Friends gather there to pass time while waiting to go to a concert. People go there to read books. People go there to hang out. Starbucks has less standing to try to enforce a strict bathroom rule because of the environment that it encourages among citizens.

Many people use the restroom before placing an order. I would never order anything prior to using the restroom. You might miss your name being called for your order. I don’t like leaving my food/beverages unattended while in the restroom. I will not take my food/ beverage in the bathroom.

There was nothing about those two men that should have made this employee think they were mentally ill/ homeless. There was nothing about these men that should have made this employee believe they were a threat. There was nothing about these men that should have made the employee believe they were at a parade and using the restroom without intentions of patronizing their business.


I get numerous messages from white people who desire to understand why black people get so upset about situations like this and I will try to explain.

I’ve gone to jail to do an interview with a prisoner, wearing the proper credentials and I had a jail worker put their hand on my chest (and the badge allowing me access) telling me that I can’t enter the facility. I was with a white officer, who was not wearing the proper credentials and he was allowed to pass through. When the white officer saw that I had problems passing through security, he came back and told the security worker that I was an officer. I did everything I was supposed to do, but my credentials meant nothing because her racism/cognitive bias told her that most officers are white males and she decided in her mind that I couldn’t be an officer. What if I punched her for putting her hand on my chest? How would I be viewed? She never looked at my credentials. She only saw my hair and face. I needed my white co-worker to validate my existence.

I was talking on my phone in CVS getting ready to buy toiletries for a trip. I was being followed around the store by an elderly white woman. I ignored it and continued to speak on the phone. Suddenly, an officer was called to the store. I saw the officer, but I didn’t care because I am an officer and I just knew he wasn’t there for me. The officer walked up to me and asked what I was doing in the store. I told him I was shopping. He told me that a suspicious person call came out about me. I started laughing and began to look for the elderly white woman. I knew she called because these things happen to me more than they should. She was peeking around a shelf to see what would happen. I knew she called the police. As he began to ask for my name to check and see if I had warrants, I showed him my badge. He stopped gathering my information. The officer was very professional. It wasn’t his fault that he was called there. If he refused to investigate and I robbed the store, he would have been in trouble. He marched me over to the elderly lady and asked her why she called the police. He showed her my badge and she still didn’t believe that I was an officer. He criticized her behavior and stormed out of the store. Good thing I had my “I’m not just another black person” badge. What happens to those who don’t have one? I needed the white officer to validate my existence.

I was at work for nearly 48 hours finishing up a big case. I went to my car to retrieve something and began to walk back into the police department headquarters. I was wearing plain clothes and wasn’t wearing identification. A white officer was in front of me wearing plain clothes and not wearing identification. A uniformed white officer was exiting the building and asked the white undercover officer, who looked like an extra from “Duck Dynasty,” if he was an officer. The guy stated that he was an officer and the uniformed white officer allowed him to enter the building. I was a few steps behind that exchange and the white uniformed officer asked me for my identification as I began to approach the building. I have been through this production many times so I already knew where this was headed. I told him that I was an officer to see if that same privilege would work for me as I entered the station. He repeated that he needed to see my identification and blocked the door. I was tired from being at work for so long and wasn’t as politically correct as usual. He began to try an enforce policy stating that he needed to see my identification. I told him that I would not show him my identification until he chased down the white, homeless looking guy that he didn’t recognize as an officer and ask him for his identification. He was clearly upset. He was upset that his authority wasn’t respected. He asked why everything had to be about race. I told him I’ve been trying to figure that out my whole life. He plead for me to just show him my identification because it wasn’t a big deal. I told him it was a big deal. I won’t comply because that’s what you want me to do and you want your authority respected. I told him to show me his identification and he refused. He got upset and walked away cursing me out. I wouldn’t have had a problem showing him my identification because it is policy. I wasn’t showing him anything because he trusted the white undercover officer’s word, but mine wasn’t good enough. If only I had a white officer with me to validate my presence at the police department.

What would that officer say about me if I filed a complaint? What if I got loud with him? Would he label me as another angry black woman? Would he tell everyone on the department that I am a race baiter to defend his behavior? I didn’t complain.

I went to Gloria’s (Addison) for a birthday party around 2 pm. I had on Timberland boots, but was dressed fashionable. The security guard let the rest of my group in, but told me that I couldn’t wear tennis shoes inside. I told him that I was wearing boots and he said boots and tennis shoes were the same. I politely asked to speak with the manager. I tried to show him my “get out of looking suspicious” police identification and told him that I wasn’t there to cause problems, I drove an hour to get here and I was there for a birthday party. He rudely said that I wouldn’t be attending any party at their business. There were numerous white guys wearing actual tennis shoes and they were immediately allowed inside the business. I pointed to those guys and asked why those tennis shoes were acceptable? He called more security guards to the scene and said that I would not be allowed inside their business. I missed the party, nor did I desire to be there anymore. I never go to that Gloria’s and I think about that experience every time I pass by it. This may not seem like a big deal to you if you are white. These things don’t happen to you all the time.

Every day black people have to be calmer and pick and choose their battles. It is tiring. I understand the frustration of white officers who don’t understand all the frustration exhibited by blacks. These incidents don’t happen to them daily. Their position is validated just by existing. I understand why white people say “just be compliant.” Generally, people should just comply, but sometimes you have to dig your heels in the sand to effect change.

Again, the police did nothing wrong in this situation. There is no recourse when white people call the police because of their own racism/ cognitive biases. What if those men were supposed to see their daughters off to prom and missed it due to their arrests? What if they had to acknowledge this arrest as they applied for jobs? What if their sons had soccer games that they missed because of this incident?

If these white people didn’t step up and say that they come to Starbucks all the time without ordering and are allowed access to the bathroom, where would those black men be? If those white people refused to get involved because the incident didn’t affect them, where would those black men be? If those white people didn’t record the incident, documenting proof of how calm the black men were, where would those men be? If those white people didn’t raise so much hell, that the company called the police station and refused to press charges against them, where would those black men be? Where would black people be without white chaperones to prove their existence is valid and harmless? Black people should not need validation from white people to exist.

Just as criminals don’t wear signs indicating that they are criminals, racists and people with cognitive biases don’t wear signs indicating their status. If you are white, I encourage you to try to imagine going through incidents like this every day as you buy groceries, pump gas, ride the bus, purchase clothes at the mall, attend parties, go to bars, watch your children play sports, and a long list of other everyday activities. It doesn’t make you a racist if you don’t insert yourself in situations such as this to defend people. It takes a special person to stand up for people dealing with an issue that will never affect you.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Officer Needs Assistance: A Shift In Priorities

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 21:57

No matter what you are doing at the time, writing a report, driving on patrol or in the middle of a call there will be a shift in priorities when the call goes out. Whether it is an emergency tone triggered, a notification by dispatch or the panicked voiced of another officer. When the call for assistance goes out, whatever you were doing there will be a  shift in priorities.

Your number one priority now will be to get to that officer. Your heart will race. Adrenaline will course through your body. Part of that added strength will be put into driving the gas pedal through the floor, hoping that you can get a few more miles per hour out of your squad.

Time will go into slow motion, and each second will seem like an hour. Your mind will fill with the possibilities of what is happening at the scene of the distress call. It will imagine the worst, as you hope for the best.

Along with your concerns, there will be a weight on your shoulders. Your responsibility to get there to help your fellow officer will fall on your shoulders. That weight will be immeasurable.

The engine will roar, the tires squeal, the siren will blare as you race to the scene. There will be only one ultimate thing on your mind, get there, now. Traffic, streets, traffic lights, pedestrians will all be a blur. Tunnel vision has set in as your mind focuses on that one thing, your promise. “I will be there for you.” “I got your six.” “You can count on me.” “I would die trying to get to you.”

You may come around a curve and feel the rear end break free and there will be a sudden shift in priorities.

It may be a 16-year-old girl on her cellphone, too busy to see your lights, too late to hear your siren who pulls out in front of you. As she snaps her attention in your direction, dropping her phone,  as she screams her final word, “No!” Her eyes seem to grow larger and you’re not sure if it is because of fear or simply because you are about to drive through her car door. It doesn’t matter, it’s how you will remember that moment, forever.  There will be a shift in priorities.

In that moment nothing will be more important. Getting your squad back where it needs to be will be your priority.  “If you get me back on the road, I promise I will slow down.” “Give me room to swerve around this car.” Or perhaps a curse will escape your lips, as you blame yourself, your car, the other driver, or bad luck.

If your attempts fail there will be a shift in priorities. “Please, let me live. I don’t want to die.” “Take me but save her.” “Who will take care of my family?”

Other officers with one priority on their mind, getting to the officer needs help call, will hear the call reporting the crash or maybe even see the wreck. There will be a shift in priorities.  Now, instead of one officer at one location needing help there are two at different locations.

Officers will need to make a decision. Which site do they response to? Will it be determined by location? Jurisdiction? Friendship? Or a supervisor’s discretion?

Regardless of what location they respond to they won’t be there. Not totally. Their minds will be on the location that they are not at. Worrying about the officer they can’t see. Worrying about the cop they can’t help. There will be a shift in priority. A split in priority. Their focus won’t just be on their location and the tasks at hand. They will be distracted. A cop who cannot focus on the task at hand is a danger. A danger to themselves. A danger to their partners. A danger to the community they have sworn to protect.  

Drive too fast to an Officer Needs Assistance call, or any other call and you endanger yourself. Your health, Your life. Your future. Drive too fast and you won’t be there for them. The partner in need of help. Your family.

Drive too fast and you endanger your partners. The officers who will now have to try and respond to a situation, distracted by concern, stress and emotion.

Drive too fast and you endanger the community. Yes, the 16-year-old driver was driving distracted and failed to yield to an emergency vehicle and is at fault. That knowledge won’t bring her back, or you.

So, I am asking you to make a shift in your priorities. On each high-risk call make your priority driving no faster than you can arrive safely, every time. Make that promise today. Make it to yourself, to your partners, to your family and community. Make that promise your priority when responding to all calls.  By keeping that promise, you will never break your other promise, of always being there, for them.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Supporter Of Law Enforcement, The Gunny, Dead at 74

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 21:47

R. Lee Ermey, a former drill insructor who became a Marine Corps icon for his portrayal of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman aka “The Gunny” in the 1972 film “Full Metal Jacket, is dead, his manager said. He was 74.

“It is with deep sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey (“The Gunny”) passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia,” his manager, Bill Rogin, posted on Facebook. “He will be greatly missed by all of us. It is a terrible loss that nobody was prepared for. He has meant so much to so many people. And, it is extremely difficult to truly quantify all of the great things this man has selflessly done for, and on behalf of, our many men and women in uniform.”

Rogin quoted one of the famous lines from “Full Metal Jacket”: “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine” to describe Ermey. “There are many Gunny’s, but this one was OURS,” Rogin said. “And, we will honor his memory with hope and kindness. Please support your men and women in uniform. That’s what he wanted most of all.”

Ermey served as in the Marine Corps from 1961-1972, according to the Marine Times. According to the Marine Times, he left the Marine Corps as a staff sergeant, and later received an honorary promotion to gunnery sergeant from then-Commandant Gen. James Jones in 2002. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for one year until 1968, when he spent 14 months in Vietnam, according to Variety

Ermey had over 60 film and television credits, and was a frequent guest at law enforcement conferences across the country.


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Categories: Law Enforcement

The Keto Diet

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 10:12

Note: Before starting any new diet program or taking any supplements, you should always consult with your doctor. The KETO diet is not for everyone. This is NOT medical advice.  People with certain medical conditions like liver and gall bladder disease, eating disorders and genetic disorders can put themselves at risk by going KETO and fasting. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products/programs are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The reader/user accepts full responsibility for using the content listed by Janine Henkel LLC. This information has been generalized for healthy adults who want to try a ketogenic diet. These guidelines may not fit all persons.

*Heads Up! Some of my resources contain affiliate links. All that means is you don’t pay a penny more but I get a small commission to keep writing articles for you.

Warning – This article is INFO OVERLOAD because a KETO diet is a powerful tool.

Chew slowly because there is a lot of great stuff in here.  At the end I have a downloadable eBook that answers more questions and will help get you into Keto step-by-step.


The Keto Diet – fried stuff in cheese?


When I first heard about the Keto diet, I envisioned someone slouched in a chair, watching TV and shoving sticks of butter in their mouths. Is this Paleo 2.0? Or Atkins circa 1992 where people just ate bacon and cheese all day? Maybe the fat commodities taking a dump so the ‘fat industry” had no choice but to launch some sneaking marketing campaign?

Just like you, I’m a healthy skeptic so I dug deeper. And what I found out made me want to grab onto someone’s shoulders and yell “you have to read this!”.

The Backstory – so good they made a movie about it.

Ketogenic Diets were commonly prescribed in the 1920’s to children suffering from Epilepsy. By the late 1920’s, Epilepsy patients worldwide were being prescribed ketogenic diets. It was that effective. But by the 1940’s, anti-convulsant drugs muscled their way in and the Keto Diet was phased out. Always easier to take a pill, right?  Predictably, this was followed by heated fat debates and poor-quality studies.

Then something pivotal happened.

In 1993, Hollywood movie producer Jim Abrahams’ 1-year old son Charlie began to suddenly have seizure attacks. Charlie was a normal, healthy toddler but for no apparent reason, began to have up to 100 seizures A DAY.  The Abrahams looked everywhere for help. But after hitting several dead ends through conventional/alternative medicine, they discovered a book – ‘Seizures and Epilepsy in Childhood: A Guide for Parents’ by Dr. John Freeman.  Inside, Dr. Freeman had quietly snuck in nutritional protocols. I say ‘snuck’ because Dr. Freeman’s first attempt to have the book published was more focused on the diet. And no publisher would touch it.

The Abrahams agreed to try this strange “ketogenic diet” and guess what? After one-month, Charlie was seizure and drug free. This life changing event started The Charlie Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to spreading the word about a Ketogenic Diet, especially those suffering from seizures. The Abrahams story was ultimately made into a movie called “First Do No Harm”.

As if by magic, strong interests in Ketogenic Diets for therapeutic use was resurrected. Which brings us to today.

What is Ketosis?

Simply put – A Keto Diet puts you into ketosis, which is when your body and brain shift from relying on glucose (carbs) to fatty acids and ketone bodies (fat) for fuel. This usually occurs when you change your macronutrient ratio (protein, carbohydrates, fat) to look like this: 70% fat + 10% carb + 20% protein. What this means is your daily calorie content needs to be 70% from fat.

For example. If you eat 2000 calories a day, your macronutrient breakdown would be: 1400 calories from fat (156g fat) 400 calories from protein (100g protein) 200 calories from carbohydrate (50g carbs).  Most of your carbohydrates will come from leafy, non-starchy greens (around 6 cups a day).

*70% from fat is a good starting point. Most people can reach ketosis in this range if they pair it with Intermittent Fasting (IF), which is restricting your “feeding window” to 8 hours a day (i.e. only eat from 11am to 7pm).

“But what about protein!?” There is a TON of interesting research on muscle growth using a Keto Diet. But I won’t bore you here. Just know that Protein, when eaten in excess, can be turned into glucose by the body by gluconeogenesis.  Simply put, it’s when the body takes non-carb sources (i.e. protein) and turns them into glucose. Since protein is gluconeogenic, excess may be converted to glycogen in the liver. Which in turns raises insulin levels thus lowers your ketone levels. And prevents/pushes you out of ketosis.

Another fate of excess protein is simply eliminating it (money literally down the toilet). There is a limit to how much new muscle you can make each day and how much protein you can actually use. Excess (unused) protein goes through something called “deanimation” where it gets turned into ammonia, then urea, then peed out.  So, you’re basically wasting money and risking lowering your ketone level. Say whaaatt?

Nerd stuff: There are two main two main ketone bodies; acetoacetate (AcAc) which gets measured in urine and 3-beta-hydroxybutyrate (3HB) which gets measured in blood. A third ketone body is called acetone (a breakdown of AcAc) which gets measured in your breath. And if you’ve heard of Ketoacidosis, it’s medical condition that primarily effects Type I Diabetics.

Here’s also the technical mechanism of a Ketogenic Diet .

Ketones (fats) vs. Glucose (carbs)

On a carbohydrate-based diet, your body relies on glucose (carbohydrates broken down) as its primary fuel source. The issue becomes this: when you eat carbohydrates, whatever glucose you don’t need gets stored as glycogen in the liver (and a small amount in the muscles). Once these stores are full, excess glucose has to be stored somewhere right? So, it gets turned into adipose tissue (aka fat). Too many simple carbohydrates and you are at risk for insulin resistance. This can lead to type II Diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

Once you become ‘keto-adapted’, your body has shifted from using glucose for energy to primarily fat for energy. This includes stored fat on your butt and other places you wish would go away.

And if you’re a fitness fanatic like me, this is where it gets interesting.

Keto Diets for Athletic Performance, Weight Loss and Brain Energy.

I have to be honest. The real reason I started looking into a Keto diet was because of athletic performance. As I dug deeper into research, I found that many professional athletes LOVE the Keto diet because they don’t ‘bonk’ during lengthy training session, easily build muscle and have quicker recovery. Why?

Athletic Performance: Your body only has around 2000 kcal of glycogen stores (glucose that has been converted into your muscles and liver for energy). But has upwards of 40,000+ kcal of fat storage for energy. What this means is if you are keto-adapted, your body has more access to fuel (fat) than if it were not keto-adapted and relying on glycogen.

Weight lifter? In chapter 4 of “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance”, Dr’s Phinney and Volek explain how once you are keto adapted, you produce less lactic acid during any one workload. This means your exercise threshold is elevated (maybe one or two more reps without burning out?).

*There is also some speculation that when you’re not dependent on muscle glycogen, your brain doesn’t stress about lack of fuel (like, you’re running low on glycogen) so it doesn’t send a signal to STOP. This means your workouts may have more power and stamina.

Worried about muscle loss? Drs Volek and Phinney also go into great detail in their book “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance” about how insulin promotes muscle synthesis. How? Because blood leucine (which increases in a ketogenic diet) is a potent regulator of muscle synthesis. (Did you read that?)

You can also check out this 6-minute video here that explains this in more detail.

*If you want to seriously geek out on this, check out Dr. Dominic D’Agostino’s website (rabbit hole). Not only is he an athlete, he’s a medical doctor who specializes in Keto Diets and research.

Weight Loss: this is a common ‘side-effect’ at first. There are a lot of reasons for this, one being weight homeostasis. This means your body naturally finds a healthy weight when you follow a healthy keto diet (low carb/phytonutrient rich greens, healthy fats, wild/grass-fed protein). Blood sugar regulation, lowered cravings, increased fat burning, weight loss and hormone regulation are all benefits that can be seen on a ketogenic diet

Brain Energy: Ketones also provide a very clean energy source for your brain, which can only use glucose or ketone bodies. If your blood sugar gets low, which can happen if you haven’t eaten in a while, you’ve probably felt that foggy brain feeling. Blood sugar can also get low if you eat A LOT of carbohydrates called “reactive hypoglycemia”. Why? Because your body sends out insulin to pull out excess glucose from your blood which then lowers your blood glucose level. You may recognize this as a ‘Sugar Crash’.

Keto Diets and Disease Prevention – it’s very promising.

Besides seizure control, a Keto Diet has gained serious momentum in cancer prevention/treatment, Type II Diabetes and Neurological Health (Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinsons’).  Dr. Thomas Seyfried published a much-referenced paper titled Cancer as a Metabolic Disease”. It explains the mechanisms of cancer progression (think too much sugar) and how a carefully monitored Ketogenic Diet can be used to treat cancer patients.

Not unlike Dr. Freeman, Dr. Seyfried openly talks about the professional risks of looking at cancer treatment from anything other than chemo and pharmaceuticals.  You can listen to this interview with Dr. Seyfried as he talks about the mechanisms. Miriam Kalamian is a Nutritionist that specializes in helping Cancer patients through Keto diets. You can find tons of videos/podcasts with Miriam here.


*need to nerd out? You can read more about the mechanisms here.


Dr. Dale Bredesen has successfully reversed early-onset Alzheimer’s using a keto diet as well. He also goes into great (nerdy) details in his book ‘The End of Alzheimer’s’ on how inflammation appears to be the main contributor to Alzheimer’s. And one of his main successful tactics is nutrition.

Ketogenic Diets have also been extensively studied for many metabolic conditions like Type II Diabetes and obesity. A quick search in PubMed and you’ll witness the insane amount of positive studies surrounding the use of Keto Diets to treat disease.

I won’t get into the heavy, mind-spinning evidence but I’ll say this:  the medical world is sitting up and taking notice.

How do you start a Keto Diet?

A Keto Diet is a little more sophisticated than most ‘diets’.  But the effort is worth the payout. You need to prepare because shifting from Here are a few things you need to iron out first:

  • Medical clearance – Keto isn’t for everyone and certain medication can interfere with ketosis.
  • Your macro calculations – 2:1 ratio (fat to carb/protein)
  • Customizing your protein levels.
  • Testing – Blood? Urine strips?
  • Food – You need to prepare, or you will fail.
  • Exogenous Ketone Supplements – do you need them?
  • Fasting – Most Keto dieters use intermittent fasting (IF) as a tool to get into and stay in ketosis (IF is also used as a therapeutic tool for brain health)
  • Tracking and troubleshooting – Key to your success. Period.

Don’t freak out George! I created something awesome for you to effortlessly guide you through. It’s a short eBook that lays out the steps on how to get into ketosis, troubleshoot, free apps and more. Short and to the point.

Click here to download Keto 101 (boring title, great book).

This is a mass-oversimplification of a ketogenic diet to get your palate wet. The leaders in this field (and who you should turn for more info) are Dr. Thomas Seyfried (cancer),  Dr. Peter Attia, Dr. Dom D’Agostino, Dr. Stephen Phinney, Dr. Jeff Volek and Miriam Kalamian.




  1. Seyfried, T. N., Flores, R. E., Poff, A. M., & D’Agostino, D. P. (2014, March). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from
  2. Bredesen D. The End of Alzheimer’s, The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline. Penguin; 2017.
  3. (many published papers and videos)
  4. Yancy WS, Foy M, Chalecki AM, Vernon MC, Westman EC. A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2005;2:34.
  5. Allen BG, Bhatia SK, Anderson CM, et al. Ketogenic diets as an adjuvant cancer therapy: History and potential mechanism. Redox Biol. 2014;2:963-70.
  6. Volek J, Phinney SD. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance, A Revolutionary Program to Extend Your Physical and Mental Performance Envelope. 2012.
  7. Wilson J, Lowery R. The Ketogenic Bible, The Authoritative Guide to Ketosis. Victory Belt Publishing; 2017.
  8. Boden G, Sargrad K, Homko C, Mozzoli M, Stein TP. Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(6):403-11.
  9. Gibson AA, Seimon RV, Lee CM, et al. Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2015;16(1):64-76.


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Categories: Law Enforcement

Police Vehicle Hits Protester In Sacramento

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 13:36

A police vehicle reportedly hit a protester who was participating in a demonstration in Sacramento, Calf., over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man.

The woman was hit at about 9 p.m. Saturday by a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department vehicle, ABC News reported.

Wanda Cleveland, a local activist, was hit in her right leg and taken to a hospital, where she was treated for injuries to her arm and back of the head and released.

The videos of the incident show officers telling protesters to move out of the way multiple times before two sheriff’s vehicles drove forward.

The incident came amid protests over the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark.

Clark was shot by Sacramento police last month after he was observed by the police helicopter breaking into an occupied home.  Police were called to the area following the report of a man breaking into cars.

Clark ran from the area of the burglary when he was confronted by a citizen and again when police saw him.  He jumped a fence and went into a backyard and started looking into a car.  When police confronted him.  He walked towards officers and pointed an object at the officers.  Believing it was a gun, law enforcement shot.  You can watch the video below:

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Alton Sterling: No Charges Against Officers

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 12:07

The two police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling in 2016 will not be charged by the State of Louisiana because evidence showed they acted properly, a state official said on Tuesday.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Baton Rouge officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake had good reason to believe Sterling, 37, was armed with a gun and was continuously resisting arrest.

The decision comes 10 months after the DOJ declined to file federal charges and two years after President Obama met with the Sterling family.

Officers were called to the location after a homeless man reported a man had a gun in front of the store.  Upon their arrival, Sterling resisted officers and a fight ensued on the ground where Sterling reached for his weapon.

“Our investigation has concluded that officers Lake and Salamoni attempted to make a lawful arrest of Alton Sterling based upon probable cause,” Landry told a news conference.

Sterling’s death in Baton Rouge helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement and raised questions about racial bias in U.S. policing.

Sterling’s relatives told the media after today’s decision that this is “white America.”


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Categories: Law Enforcement