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Updated: 48 min 59 sec ago

K9 Handler Gives Away Dog To Animal Shelter

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 05:36

A Jackson (MS) police officer has been demoted after dropping his K-9 off at a local animal shelter.

Officer Carl Ellis was the handler for Ringo (above), a K9 who retired from the force in October. After his retirement, Ringo was surrendered to a local animal shelter, according to an emailed statement issued by JPD Tuesday night.

Ringo was “thought to be living with his handler” but, unbeknownst to JPD, was adopted from the shelter, said Sgt. Roderick Holmes. Once the department learned of Ringo’s surrender and later adoption, Ellis was “reassigned to patrol duty.”

JPD Chief James Davis could not be reached for comment.

“The Jackson Police Department respects and holds our canines with high regard just as we do any other officer within our department,” the statement read. “They are family, and we do not feel they deserve anything less than a loving home in retirement.”

To prevent any other retied K9s from being surrendered, Davis has “immediately implemented protocol which requires quarterly welfare checks for all canines, both active duty and retired.”

“Additionally, policy is currently being drafted that will address specific requirements related to retired canines and their welfare, so that they are provided with the best care possible.”

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Bumps, Bruises and Scars

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 05:29

I have been nursing a sore back the last week, a recurring reward from an auto thief I received in 1986 as he rammed me and another officer, in our cruisers, in his unsuccessful attempt to escape. I began taking stock of other lifelong injuries, the cost so many on the thin blue line receive as we travel the warrior’s road.  Two bad shoulders make it difficult to sleep on either side, hands that go numb and knees that hurt continually.

The type of people we choose and the culture we create in law enforcement leads us to take bumps and bruises in stride as we protect and serve.  It is made even more difficult by the continual lies told and repeated by politicians, main stream media and terrorist groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa about who they say we are – bullies, thugs and criminals. Self-serving as they are, these groups may dissuade some new recruits from joining the line but those brave enough to step up will be willing to pay the price that many in society never realize is paid by those courageous public servants who will answer the call and run into trouble when everyone else is running away.

As I pondered these injuries and the thoughts of so many officers I know who have the bumps and bruises from standing in the gap between chaos and peace, I began to reflect on a conversation I had with my children this past summer.  I am fortunate to have been blessed with the greatest wife and kids a cop could have.  They have always been willing to put up with the long hours, shift work and the baggage that comes with the job.  But there are some things our law enforcement culture teaches us about the things we see.  My family knows about some of the PTSD that has accompanied my journey.  This is the PTSD that I thought was BS for most of my career because it showed weakness and we were taught to suck it up.  My family knows about why I have a difficult time grilling burgers or why I can’t eat fish sticks.  I never realized until I met Dr. Alexis Artwohl, listened to her lectures and read her book Deadly Force Encounters, that there was a real explanation to my quirks.

On a beautiful summer Sunday during lunch on our back porch with my family, a question came up that brought me to a difficult point.  My oldest had joined me in this profession and while explaining a point we moved past the bumps and bruises and got to those old scars.  As I explained the pain in my soul over the things my eyes have seen, and my mind can never forget, I felt tears building up in my eyes (even now as I write this article they return) as I explained the effects of those memories.  The memories of dead babies, suicides, crashes and homicides that I can never shake.  I was embarrassed at first but then realized they just needed to see what I had never before exposed in such a personal way.

It was liberating.

Dr. Artwohl had taught me and set me on a new mission. The more I learned the more I incorporated in my discussions with officers.  I see safety services’ mental health resources exploding and reaching out in this profession.  From books like Kevin Gilmartin’s Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement or The Price They Pay by Karen Solomon and Jeffrey M McGill, the story is being told about the scars we carry long after our service is done.  We see the emotional toll in the amount of law enforcement suicide which claims more lives each year than line of duty deaths.  Resources like Cops Alive and Blue Help who are reaching out to help us combat the cultural roadblocks we have created to our emotional well-being.

I am no longer ashamed of the tears.

I refuse to be quiet.  We owe it to the courageous men and women who go into harms way to give them all the tools and resources they need to make them whole again or prepare them for the damage that is done and begin to help them heal.  We are a tough group and that is how it should be, but we should know that pretending these things don’t take a toll is a lie.

If you are in leadership, a leader or just have influence, reach out to these organizations, set up some training or gain the knowledge you need to help our people get the healing they need for the bumps, bruises and scars they receive in what is truly a noble and honorable profession.

Be safe.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

A Cop’s Response To The ‘Racist’ Christmas Tree

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 17:44

Last week we reported on a story out of Minneapolis where a decorated Christmas tree was called racist.  Two police officers have been suspended and the Mayor has said that he will “fire” someone for decorating the tree.  Below is a response to this incident.

Just want to thank those two guys from Minneapolis who made the ugly Christmas tree.

We had them too. And because I’m now retired I can say it without fear of losing my job. And the last few nights I’ve woken up thinking about that. I’m amazed that it’s actually being considered to fire a cop over a tree!

I’m sure the mayor can’t understand. Probably his home and workplace are decorated with beautiful trees that evoke a Norman Rockwell impression of what society wants to see for Christmas.  Why were we moved to create these trees when I worked? Trees decorated with condoms, drug paraphernalia and the like?

I know the mayor believes and the public believes it’s about racism or hostility toward the public. In my experience that was never the point. Do you see these trees I posted? The ugly Charlie Brown tree juxtaposed with the beautiful tree we imagine Christmas to be about?

That’s what we live.

Every damn Christmas.

We are still looking at the ugly and facing the things the public does not want to see.

Our trees have been judged and condemned. Unfit for public display.

But mayor, Do YOU SEE US?

Can you try to see us?

This is our Christmas!

Do any of us need more of this and at Christmas time?

What have you seen at Christmas? Our trees are our ofrenda. A place where we can memorialize what we have been through, seen, survived.

These trees are a way we communicate what we cannot say in words.

Christmases of search warrants where moms are shoving drugs into the toddlers diapers to hide them so we do not see them. Only the K9 hits on the baby’s diaper. Now how do we proceed..  Families with children that have had Christmas ruined one more time by mom or dad’s criminal behavior.

The Christmas homicide or suicide.

The Christmas Day prostitution still going strong. The dead guy in the apartment that’s been there a week that has no family and no one cares or checks on him until the apartment starts to stink.

Our trees are an outlet.

A way we manage.

And I know these guys are not alone. They are not the only trees. But now I’m sure all trees have gone into hiding while a simple method of trying to express ourselves is shoved deeper down with the rest of the stuff we bury.

Mayor Do YOU SEE US?

This would have been a perfect time to contrast the police Christmas with the public Christmas. A time to talk about police suicides an alcoholism and how we sacrifice relationships our sanity and our health for this job. And we lose our friends who are killed protecting the public. We sacrifice our very lives.

But instead you have given the public one more reason to hate us. Another reason to cause more pain. It could have been an opportunity to bring understanding and you blew this one.

To all my brothers and sisters in blue I see you. Wishing you a Christmas of love and better understanding and peace.

Editor’s Note:  We received this from a retired Minnesota Police Officer.  They asked to not be given credit but indeed, they deserve much.  What is written here, rings true to so many in this great profession.  Most will never understand and that alone can make Christmas and every other “holiday” very lonely.

The post A Cop’s Response To The ‘Racist’ Christmas Tree appeared first on Law Officer.

Categories: Law Enforcement

Deputy Disciplined After Wearing Unauthorized Patch In Vice President Photo

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 16:48

A Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been demoted after he was photographed wearing a #QAnon patch while meeting Vice President Mike Pence last week.

Broward County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said the Sgt. Matt Patten was not authorized to wear the patch, which read “Question the Narrative.”

#QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory popular with a small group of supporters of President Donald Trump.

Patten received a written reprimand on Monday. He was also removed from the Sheriff’s Office’s Strategic Investigations Division’s Office of Homeland Security and from the agency SWAT team, Coleman-Wright said. Patten will be reassigned to the Department of Law Enforcement, she said.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies greeted Pence at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday after the vice president attended an event in Hollywood. The vice president’s staff took photos of the meet-and-greet and posted them on Twitter.

Patten was cited for conduct unbecoming an employee and called #QAnon controversial.

The post Deputy Disciplined After Wearing Unauthorized Patch In Vice President Photo appeared first on Law Officer.

Categories: Law Enforcement

Michigan State Police Strike ‘Super Troopers’ Pose

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 17:46

Mother of God! Look at this right meow.

Forget the Spurbury Police Department, the Vermont State troopers depicted in the outrageous 2001 comedy “Super Troopers” and its 2018 sequel have some new competition.

And they’re known as the Michigan State Police.

In the showdown you didn’t see coming, a group of Michigan State Police troopers recreated a classic photo of actors Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske on the set of “Super Troopers.”

“Who wore it better,” a Tweet from the official Michigan State Police account reads. It also includes a photo of five MSP troopers in the exact pose of the actors.

Read More

 

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Minneapolis Officer Fired For Decorating Christmas Tree Deemed Racist

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 17:33

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey says a police officer will be fired for a “racist display” in the form of Christmas tree decorations in the North Side precinct, though African-American community leaders say the damage is already done.

A photo circulated social media Friday showing the Fourth Precinct tree decorated with a Newport cigarette pack, a can of Steel Reserve malt liquor, police tape, a bag of Takis and a cup from Popeyes Louisiana Chicken — all items longtime civil rights activist Ron Edwards called a “wink wink” to racist stereotypes against black people.

“It’s a modern day version of a dog whistle, tainted with racism, specifically against the African-American community,” he said.

Frey quickly responded to community outrage as the photo circulated Twitter and Facebook Friday morning.

“This behavior is racist, despicable, and is well beneath the standards of any person who serves the city of Minneapolis,” said Frey in a statement. “The offending party will be fired before the day is over. Shifting the culture of the police department requires swift and decisive action. Termination is necessary — both to discipline the officer and to send a clear message: Chief Arradondo and I will not tolerate conduct that departs from our values.”

Read More

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Categories: Law Enforcement

A Coward, Due Process & Good Men Behind The Badge

Wed, 11/28/2018 - 17:36

The headline in the local newspaper in Carroll County (AR) reads, “Wrong Men Pay For Sheriff’s Mistake.” As the Founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute and Editor In Chief here at Law Officer, I often get sent articles that depict bad police leaders. After 25 years in the profession, I would say that nothing surprises me anymore but I know better.

Carroll County Sheriff Randy Mayfield did not run for a third term after managing just four years in office but he doesn’t leave until December 31st and he wasn’t going to leave quietly. It started on October 2, 2018, when Mayfield asked two staff members to meet. In that meeting, Sheriff Mayfield used a homosexual slur towards another elected county official, Justice of the Peace Lamont Richie. I won’t repeat the word here but let me just say there are some words that a leader should never recover from and this was one.

Of course the rumors started and it wasn’t long before Richie confronted the Sheriff on what was said. Mayfield denied it for weeks but there is a problem for cowardly leaders in 2018 and that problem often lies with technology. Scott Loftis was the managing editor for the local paper and he contacted Major George Frye in regards to an open record request on any video or audio that may have captured the meeting.

Oops!

While the meeting room did not have audio, the hallway outside the room did and caught the conversation and the word. What happens next is often what I refer to in our Courageous Leadership Seminar as the “Art of Self Preservation.”

The leader has a choice.

They can either admit their mistake (which should have happened when he was confronted) or they can protect themselves at all costs.

Can you guess which way Sheriff Mayfield went?

According to Loftis, “the day this newspaper obtained video footage from a security camera outside the meeting room at the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office where Mayfield made the asinine remarks. Mayfield issued a written apology, describing the whole thing as a “momentary loss of professionalism.” He didn’t apologize for lying about it, instead claiming not to remember making the remarks because in his words “that is not my belief or character.”

If it stopped there, maybe Mayfield makes it to December 31st without me writing anything about him but there is a pattern I have seen with cowardly leaders….the kind that call people horrendous names and then lie about it.

The pattern is they will continue to destroy others in an attempt to protect themselves and that is exactly what happened to Major George Frye. Frye’s crime was that he answered a phone call from a reporter and then followed the law by giving the reporter the audio per the Freedom of Information Act request.

That type of moral obligation and honesty is dangerous to a cowardly leader and then the unthinkable happened.  Frye reached out to Richie privately “disavowing and condemning the mindset” that came from Mayfield’s comments.

That came out not because Frye said anything but Richie resigned on October 30th, citing the comments made as part of the reason and in his resignation letter he mentioned what Frye did for him, which I happen to think is courageous and right and we need more of it.

Like I said, that is dangerous to a cowardly leader.

According to Loftis, “Frye could have covered for the sheriff. He could have made the damning video go away. He could have chosen not to be kind to Richie. Instead, he followed the law, he did his job and he was a decent human being.”

And for that, Frye must pay.

Sheriff Mayfield promptly fired Major Frye on his next day at work.

That was it. A distinguished career culminating in an upper management position wiped away by a coward and I wish I could say it was an isolated incident but it isn’t.

I have seen hundreds of stories just like this in 2018 alone and it has me changing my mind on something. I have come to the conclusion that law enforcement leadership is so bad, we must give our heroes behind the badge due process rights.

American Sheriffs will get mad at me but if they were truly leaders they would agree. It is not right or fair to just ruin someone just because you want to. I know many Sheriffs and thank God most are not like Mayfield. Most treat others with respect and dignity and they would never fire someone without cause.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Sheriffs, especially new Sheriffs should select their command staff. No one would expect the CEO of Microsoft to not have a say in upper management but firing good men and women without cause is not acceptable.

Major George Frye is one of the good ones and one thing I have figured out in my career is that honest, hard-working cops scare cowardly leaders and it is that reason that due process must be implemented for every hero behind the badge.

 

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  

The post A Coward, Due Process & Good Men Behind The Badge appeared first on Law Officer.

Categories: Law Enforcement

Three Fallen Officers Bring Sober Reminder

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 19:04

On November 24, 2018, America lost three heroes behind the badge. Literally from one coast to another, tragedy struck and the common theme with each one deserves our attention and action.

In 2010, I sat across from Dale Stockton in a Chicago Restaurant. At the time, Dale was the Editor In Chief here at Law Officer and we were among several trainers having a spirited discussion on law enforcement safety. There was no secret where I stood. For a decade before, I had written and taught across the country on primarily law enforcement driving issues and I was insistent when I told Dale and others that we could get Below 100 deaths in law enforcement if we started paying attention to driving related issues.

The Below 100 slogans than followed said “Watch Your Speed” and “Wear Your Belt” and while I have had my fair share of compliments on coming up with the Below 100 concept, the truth is it would still be just a concept if Dale did not get involved. He had the audience and more importantly the credibility to take a conversation over a beer and turn it into a phenomenon that many reading this have heard of.

I spoke and trained thousands on Below 100 in the years that would follow that conversation. We’ve had some reductions in line of duty deaths and we’ve had some increases. I’ve heard from some that the program changed their way of thinking and others have told me they could care less. Despite where anyone stands today, November 24th needs to be a wake up call for all of us.

We need to do more when it comes to law enforcement driving.

Officer Leann Simpson of the Philadelphia (MS) Police Department was killed when her patrol car hit a light pole and rolled. An Army veteran, Simpson had been with the Philadelphia PD for a little over one year.

Deputy Antonio Hinostroza of the Stanisalus County (CA) Sheriff’s Department was killed in a single vehicle crash during a vehicle pursuit.  He was a Marine veteran and a 19-year veteran of his department.

Officer Hunter Edwards of the Winchester (VA) Police Department was killed in a single vehicle crash responding to a fight call.  He was a four-year veteran of the department.

We don’t know everything about these incidents but we do know that they were all single vehicle collisions and we know that makes up approximately half of all law enforcement deaths behind the wheel.  We also know that in the last two decades, it has been driving that has killed more cops than anything else.

We know it but are we doing enough?

I’m not blaming anyone for the tragedies that occurred on November 24th but I will blame anyone that moves forward from that date and does not do everything they can to prevent driving related issues in the future. Yes Chief and Sheriff….I’M TALKING TO YOU!

I’m tired of taLking about it and I’m tired of burying cops. As my friend Dale Stockton often says….THE TIME IS NOW.

Indeed it is.  The time is now to do something and we all play a role. Now get to playing!

 

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Categories: Law Enforcement

It Is About Time….

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 19:27

It’s about time.

Those were my first thoughts when I saw Boston Commissioner William Gross tear into the ACLU this weekend after another ridiculous lawsuit they levied on his community.

Calling them “paper warriors”, Gross took to his Facebook page after his agency was sued over the gang database.

That system, the ACLU claims, targets, labels and investigates a disproportionate amount of black and brown students who may not belong to a gang.

It’s a tired lawsuit where the ACLU goes into cities across America, takes their arrest, gang and stop data and if the demographics don’t match the census population exact, here comes the lawsuit.

To say that crime and those that are victimized should fall exactly as the population of a given city is is shortsighted, ridiculous and falls outside common sense.

Most cities and police chiefs take it and they stay silent, letting the officers suffer the consequences of being labeled racists when they simply respond to crime.

But not Commissioner Gross and for that he should be applauded.

“No ACLU present when we have to explain to a mother that her son or daughter was horribly murdered by gang violence,” Gross wrote.

“No ACLU when officers are shot. No ACLU when we help citizens,” he added. “Despite the paper warriors, we’ll continue to do our jobs.”

“I sure as hell didn’t see the ACLU in El Salvador working to find a solution to our youth being inducted into the MS-13 gang …,” he wrote, saying he did travel to MS-13’s homeland and “took a hell of a risk while doing so.”

MS-13 has been wreaking havoc in Boston with violent killings in Eastie, robberies, extortion, drug dealing and racketeering — with 49 gang members recently convicted, many of them facing life in prison.

Gross said he “didn’t see” the ACLU back police or 22 youth programs working together to curb the gang’s “atrocities.”

Gross also knocked the lawyers’ group for not having the “common decency” to call with condolences after a city cop was shot in the face.

Officer John Moynihan was shot point-blank in the cheek by a convicted felon in March 2015 during a traffic stop in Roxbury. After remaining in critical condition, Moynihan made a miraculous recovery. The felon was killed that day by other officers.

“I sure as hell saw a member of the ACLU in the background taking pictures as a certain group tried to crash through the crime scene three hours later,” Gross said of that day.

“No ACLU when officers are shot. No ACLU when we help,” he added in his post. “But always hiding and waiting for a slow news day to justify their existence.”

Gross is not alone and he should know there will be consequences for going after the keyboard warriors but I’m betting he doesn’t care and his leadership is not only courageous but should be admired and copied by others.

Unfortunately it won’t be.

Too many Chiefs and Mayors run scared when the ACLU comes to their city. Milwaukee paid over 3 million dollars when the ACLU sued them and after attacking the ACLU, Milwaukee Chief Flynn (see below video) found himself unemployed. While his retirement reportedly had nothing to do with the ACLU, it certainly came in a contemporaneous fashion and at the time, Flynn was right just as Gross is now.

On behalf of law enforcement, I thank them for standing up to a bunch of bullies that should be paying attention to true atrocities rather than cops trying to stop violence in the communities that they serve.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Virginia Officer Killed In Single Vehicle Crash

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 19:07

On November 24, 2018 at approximately 10:50 p.m., Officer Hunter Edwards, 30, was involved in a single vehicle crash on West Jubal Drive in the City of Winchester (VA) that took his life. Officer Edwards was responding to a call of a fight just a few blocks away. Officer Edwards is survived by many family members including his wife, Tara Edwards, and stepson.

Chief John Piper addressed Winchester Police Officers in the early morning hours of November 25th at the Winchester Medical Center where they had gathered to pay their respects for their beloved colleague. “This is going to be a very difficult time for Hunter’s family and for each of us. Take care of yourselves; take care of each other.”

Officer Edwards served the Winchester Police Department for four years assigned to the Patrol Division. He was a member of the SWAT team and had also served on the Civil Disturbance Unit. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Courtesy Winchester Police

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Mississippi Police Officer Killed Responding To Officer

Sat, 11/24/2018 - 18:03

A 23-year-old Philadelphia (MS) police officer, with just 15 months of service, died Saturday morning while responding to a call for help from area deputies. Her patrol car hit a light pole and flipped several times.

The Neshoba Democrat reports Officer Leann Simpson died as a result of the single-car wreck shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday.

Philadelphia Police Chief Grant Myers says sheriff’s deputies were on a traffic stop on Mississippi 16 and 911 communications could not make contact with them so she was responding to a call to check on them.

The cause of the wreck is under investigation but Myers says weather was a factor.

Read More

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Police Chief Works Thanksgiving Day, Giving Officer Day Off

Sat, 11/24/2018 - 17:54

Last year I told you about Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Bryan Roach and his annual tradition of working holidays in the place of patrol officers. Roach joined the department in 1991 and was the assistant Chief before being named the Chief January 2017. I tell his story in every Courageous Leadership Seminar and the audience is amazed and I am amazed for a very different reason.

Why is the story of this selfless, servant minded police chief a unique one? Why is it such a big deal to tell his story? So much so, I’m telling it again this year?

Chief Roach worked this Thanksgiving and according to IMPDNews, “every Thanksgiving he works patrol so that another officer can have the day off to be with family. This year, he took the place of an officer on North District Day Shift and patrolled the Broad Ripple area.”

Chief Roach at squad meeting prior to his Thanksgiving Shift. Photo courtesy: IMPD News.

I don’t know why this behavior is so rare in law enforcement but I have spoken to many that are working towards changing it. For now, I am grateful that Chief Roach and a few others are setting an example for all and if anything, that gives me hope that leadership in the finest profession on the planet will continue to improve.

An IMPD Officer posted this Christmas 2018 when Chief Roach worked.

Some of my favorite “Courageous Leader” examples include Chief Tim Barfield and Green Bay Chief Andrew Smith. If what you read sounds simple, it is. But simple doesn’t mean that the majority of our police leaders are doing it. The time is now for change.

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  

The post Police Chief Works Thanksgiving Day, Giving Officer Day Off appeared first on Law Officer.

Categories: Law Enforcement

The Disease…and the Cure

Thu, 11/22/2018 - 11:59

I glance over at the clock, but my vision is so blurred that I can barely read the time because I’m so drunk.  In less than an hour, I have consumed an entire bottle of wine and I am now working on my second beer. That familiar feeling, that numbness, is one that I welcome every night.  I can forget about all the pain, all the hurt, all the worries for a while. When I sober up, I’ll wish I wasn’t such a slave to alcohol. I’ve tried to quit so many times and I cannot.  Alcohol has me trapped in a timeless prison. I finally drag myself to bed, unsteady and still feeling a bit sick. I don’t usually throw up, but I overdid it tonight. I hope my wife didn’t hear me as I vomited in the toilet.  I am breathing so hard as I lie in bed, I feel like my heart might stop.  Oh well, maybe I won’t ever wake up…and maybe that’s not a bad thing.

The paragraph you just read is a glimpse into my life.  Four years ago, I was drowning my demons in an ocean of alcohol.  I had been an alcoholic for over ten years, and a police officer for twelve.  Alcohol, anger, depression, darkness, and brokenness were destroying me and, worse, my family.  I felt there was no way out, and I had nowhere to turn.

One dark afternoon, the battle for my soul was raging as I seriously considered killing myself for the first time.  And at that moment, I was fortunate enough to recognize the existence of one of the darkest, evil spirits in the room with me.  I shudder to think of that presence, even now. The ominous, silent, cold presence of eternal death lay in the shadows. I cried out.  God, help me. I cannot do it anymore.

As police officers, it is in our very nature to be the one to fix any problem that comes our way.  We can take any situation, handle it, and be home in time for supper—well, most of the time. We often don’t think twice about the suicide scene with the pooled, sticky blood as thick as paint mixed with molasses, still dripping from the cavernous hole in the victim’s head.  As a coping mechanism in the moment, we may even have a nervous laugh about that piece of brain matter we almost stepped on—that was a close one!

When we get home, when all the action is over, and the next shift has taken over the street, we collapse at the end of the day like a sack of potatoes in zero gravity.  As we grasp the transition back into “normal human” mode, we can’t help but re-process all of those graphic images. We wonder whatever will become of the suicide victim’s wife and children, and will they ever recover from this?  Why can’t we just shut it out? Why can’t we just move on with more important things, like what’s new and trending on Netflix?

As tough, seasoned, or strong as you may think yourself to be, you are still a human being.  And as a human being, you cannot turn off the way you were created. You know these traumatic incidents are taking a toll on your soul and on your ever-hardening heart.  But that’s just the job, and there’s nothing you can do about it, right? Besides, if you even tried talking to someone about it, they’d laugh at you, or maybe just stare.  “You’re a cop. Suck it up, tough it out. You gotta let that stuff roll off your back like water off a duck’s back.”

As much as you try, you can’t ignore how much you hurt inside.  If you continue to try to fix yourself like you do every other problem, you will fail.  And when you do, it’s going to be ugly. You may not wind up dead, but I guarantee stuff won’t be pretty.  Failed marriages, children’s behavioral problems, substance abuse, and general dysfunction soon follow. Heroes don’t deserve to live like that.

So what’s the answer?  How do you treat this sickness inside?  How do you survive? Turning to the world only will only lead to self-destruction and dysfunction. The only place we can turn is to He who made us; who knows our hearts, our sorrow and struggle.  By asking Jesus Christ to come into our hearts we begin a genuine, meaningful relationship with the very One who created us. It’s almost like taking the defective heart back to the manufacturer for refurbishing…only this time it comes with an eternal guarantee (see John 3:16)!  He has a perfect plan for your life. Trust and lean on Him to be with you and bring you through.

If you have a strong faith in God and a relationship with Him, He will free you of all of your demons.  He freed me from the clutches of over ten years of severe alcoholism overnight—through a simple prayer. He freed me from anger, lust, depression, darkness, and worthlessness.

What can He do for you?  Trust Him, allow Him to lead you, and He will bless you without limit.  Drop your heavy burdens and let God take them from you, one by one. As a police officer walking with Jesus Christ, you will now be protected by the FULL ARMOR of GOD, and not only will you survive challenges of this job—you will thrive.  Call on Jesus today, embrace His grace before the ultimate battle is won by the darkness.

Read more about how I was saved from the darkness in my book, Break Every Chain: A Police Officer’s Battle with Alcoholism, Depression, and Devastating Loss; and the True Story of how God Changed His Life Forever.  Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Cowardly Leaders and the Results They Bring

Thu, 11/22/2018 - 11:36

I just received notice, Officer Mike Amiott of the Euclid (Ohio) Police Department had just been awarded his job back after losing it almost a year ago.  The media attack and lack of perspective on police work and use of force is chasing good people away from law enforcement and the lack of leadership in the ranks just incites the mobs to cause more chaos and shrink the ranks of those who might serve.

It was about 20 years ago that I was involved in a use of force situation that cost me my job in law enforcement.  The attack at the time came from a cowardly captain who wanted a feather in his cap more than he cared about his integrity and honor.  Try as they might, they could not get the ranks to drink the Kool-Aid. Without going into the cowardly details, they exonerated every supervisor present, there were three, and then got caught lying on tape.  Winning my job back caused me to study use of force so this would not happen to me again. I have worked since that time to convince and train cops that they should understand use of force law because most cops, and that includes the supervisors, don’t know or understand the law, the dynamics of force or how to explain it.  

I have often joked that most police chiefs don’t know the difference between Graham/Connor and a Graham Cracker.

It is this passion that led a local news station to reach out to me on the Amiott case. I was contacted by Paul Kiska of News 5 in Cleveland.  This is important because of two vital issues. First, I refused to speak with them unless they were willing to have a discussion about the law, not just a soundbite.  I found Paul willing to be educated and fair which is not often found in mainstream media. Second, I have always made myself available to media because someone has to speak for cops since we usually only respond with a “No Comment.”

It was after the airing of the news story with my comments, that I received a phone call at work the next morning from “that cop on the video”.  I spoke with Mike and that first conversation was just a “thank you” for being willing to stand up for him and law enforcement. He felt betrayed by those who said he was part of their family.  I later learned that the department had informed him that they had reviewed the incident and that he was “reasonable” in his actions. It wasn’t until the media turned up the heat that his department changed their thoughts on the topic.  Nowhere in the story does it mention that he was injured during the incident to include a ruptured tendon in his hand, a broken finger, and four pulled muscles in his shoulder along with months of physical therapy that he had to work through.  Nowhere does his department talk about the training they had provided its members to react to a resisting subject or their initial ruling of reasonableness. And after the department acquiesced to media demands for his job, the department brought up settled complaints by singling out Officer Amiott’s prior involvement in a couple of incidents trying to paint him as a rogue cop when witnesses exonerated his conduct and dismissing the actual arresting officer’s involvement.  There have been no criminal charges against the officer because his use of force was reasonable under the law.

I have written about these cowardly acts by chiefs and supervisors before but this one is fresh and has once again been overturned by an arbitrator who is willing to look at facts and not be submissive to the mob mentality that scares those who refuse to stand up for and support the thin blue line.  The charges were not about his use of force but rules violations separate from legal issues. The arbitrator ruled that there was no progressive discipline. The point to progressive discipline is not to show a pattern against officers but to correct behavior with the hopes of helping every officer succeed.  

Isn’t the success of our people what we as leaders are trying to accomplish?

I was talking to a criminal justice college department head who spoke of the declining enrollment in our local college.  Other rank chimed in about the declining number of candidates who seek employment in this profession. I know that a large part of the fear of professional policing choices have to do with the media scaring away good people by the lies and slanders they spew daily, BUT I also know of departments that have no problem finding enough candidates to fill their ranks.  I attribute this to the leaders’ reputations who have the backs of their people and are willing to stand up for their officers.  That does not mean overlooking bad judgement or mistakes. It does mean understanding this profession, the risks and the human factors that go along with it and trying to develop people, who when they make mistakes we help them improve.  Professional sports athletes receive millions of dollars, have the best trainers, doctors and coaches and they miss a catch or botch a play in a game. IN A GAME! Cops don’t have any of those perks and they aren’t playing a game, this is real with real consequences for them as they go against real opponents who are breaking the law. 

Good leadership should be working hard to make their people feel as if someone cares for them and that they want them to succeed.  Poor leadership sells its people out because they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the mob rule that grows ever more aggressive with each media battle they win.  Chiefs, mayors, prosecutors and management that continually lose arbitrations are not being fair to their people.

If you want your people to fail, sell them out every time someone turns up the heat.  

If you want your people to succeed and prosper, let them know that you will back them when they are right, correct them when they are wrong but always care about them like you told them when they got the job, “Welcome to the Brotherhood”.  Otherwise the thin blue line will disappear completely. It is time for us to develop leaders in our ranks and raise them up to positions of authority and stop the bleeding, both real and figurative before there are no more heroes.

Be safe.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Texas Agency Welcomes 7-Year-Old Battling Cancer To The Force

Thu, 11/22/2018 - 11:26

The city of Bellaire (TX) welcomed its newest and youngest officer to its force this year. Max Boatwright took his oath Tuesday morning.

Officer Boatwright earned the honorary status for the day after he showed amazing courage, bravery and resilience during his fight against cancer.

ABC7 reports that the 7-year-old battled a brain tumor and leukemia, and recently went through a bone marrow transplant.

“I’m going to be a police officer. I wanted to be one, and they invited me,” said Boatwright.

Trey Boatwright, the child’s father, said the experience meant the world to his son.

“He loves police. He loves Batman, superheroes and firemen,” Trey said.

The nonprofit Stuff the Sleigh helped organize the event for Boatwright and his family.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Tennessee Deputy Shot During Pursuit Of Robbery Suspect

Thu, 11/22/2018 - 11:18

A Fayette County (TN) Sheriff’s Deputy was shot Thanksgiving morning after responding to a robbery.

According to Fayette County Sheriff’s spokesperson Ricky Wilson, the shooting happened at Murphy’s Express in Oakland, a small town to the east of Memphis, around 8 a.m.

A broadcast was immediately put out to area law enforcement regarding the suspect, and around 8:20 a.m. officers with the Memphis Police Department were able to stop him and take him into custody.

Local 24 News has on the shooting scene as well as at Regional One Health Medical Center where both the deputy and suspect were taken.

According to the Memphis Police Association, the deputy is in non-critical condition.

Read More

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Introduces Police Chase’ Attraction

Thu, 11/22/2018 - 11:14

Imagine speeding away from a traffic stop, leading police on a high-speed chase and getting away with it.  In the real world, it’s not legal. But at

Las Vegas Motor Speedway, now, it is!

It’s a new attraction offering an unusual thrill.

Screeching tires, high speeds and blaring police sirens. The new experience coming to Las Vegas in mid-January for sure a thrill for a bucket list.

The experience begins inside a former prisoner bus that picks you up at the Strip and brings you over to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Once you’re here, you’re in for what Damian Sheets, co-founder of “Police Chase Las Vegas,” describes as an adrenaline rush of a lifetime — a simulated hot police pursuit.

“You get to go out and do something that you wouldn’t normally be able to do,” Sheets said. “You get to live the fantasy of being a police officer for a day or you get to be the crook for a day.”

These are your options. You can be the driver or a passenger inside a police cruiser or inside the suspect’s getaway car. And as you jump inside, that adrenaline rush begins.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Man Asks Police Where To Buy Marijuana, Leads Them On Car Chase

Wed, 11/21/2018 - 16:56

Tulsa County (OK) Sheriff’s deputies arrest an Arkansas man they say drove up to Tulsa Police officers late Tuesday and asked them where he could buy marijuana.

Just before midnight, Tulsa Police say 31-year-old Joshua Stacy pulled up to officers near 4th and Houston while they were working a traffic accident and asked about buying the drug.

Officers say Stacy then drove off leading police as well as Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputies on a slow speed pursuit from Tulsa into Sand Springs.

Deputies say eventually, thanks to the use of stop sticks.  They said the truck’s tires went flat after rolling over four stop sticks.

Eventually, they say Stacy stopped his truck in the parking lot of the Sand Springs Atwood’s in the 9100 block of West Charles Page Boulevard, but refused to get out of the truck.

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Categories: Law Enforcement

White House Grants Law Enforcement Powers To Troops At Border

Wed, 11/21/2018 - 16:50

OAN reports that the White House is authorizing military personnel at the southern border to engage in law enforcement roles and use lethal force against illegal immigrants if necessary.

The cabinet order signed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Tuesday adds crowd control and detention to the duties of troops deployed to the border, who have already been tasked with the protection of Border Patrol and customs agents, as well as fortifying the border. As of Wednesday there are about 5,900 active duty service members at the border along with about 2,100 National Guard troops.

Kelly says the move is in response to intelligence indicating migrants at the border in Tijuana may prompt incidents of violence and disorder.

The move comes as reports of a possible planned stampede of migrants across the San Ysidro, Calif. port of entry.

According to Angels without Borders, an advocacy group for illegal immigrants, the migrants could attempt to rush through port of entry in large numbers. Reports say the migrants would then blame U.S. forces for the resulting chaos and any related injuries.

But Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said during her visit to the border Tuesday, no one will get into the U.S. illegally.

Read More

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Categories: Law Enforcement

Police Hall of Fame Nominations Sought

Wed, 11/21/2018 - 16:42
Nominations are now being accepted for induction into the 2019 Law Enforcement Officer Hall of Fame. Inductees may be active, retired, or deceased law enforcement officers from the USA and Canada.   The Law Enforcement Officer Hall of Fame has award categories that include: Never Forgotten Award Lifetime Achievement Award Trainer of the Year Award School Resources Officer of the Year Career Achievement Award Distinguished Service Award Courage in Service Award   For more information, or to nominate a candidate of outstanding service, please visit: LEOHOF.com.   The LEOHOF is also requesting corporations, organizations, businesses, or individuals that would be interested in helping to sponsor the event, to please contact them.

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Categories: Law Enforcement