Mailvox: a police officer’s perspective

A former police officer writes in response to my post on the Dallas police shootings:

The short:

Good article and overall I agree with it.

The long:

In regards to the “Us Vs Them” mentality; unfortunately, it was ingrained in us from the beginning at the academy and if you do not guard against it you will find yourself moving in that direction after a short time working as a police officer.

Tribe was ingrained in us from comments such as “there are two kinds of people, those in jail and those that should be.”  “In God we trust all others we run through NCIC”.  NCIC is the national records database.

As you started working something happened to me that I was not prepared for one of those unintended consequences, everybody lied to you.  And I mean everybody, about everything.  It did not take long where you fell into “my tribe” mode.  When you make the call that you need help and all your tribe show up – that is a powerful feeling and reinforces, good or bad, my tribe.

Military affectation.  True.  When I joined, Desert Storm had just ended and the DOD was giving away the store.

As far as these current rash of shootings caught on camera – people do not want to see the bad side.  I believe that most people think that when a shooting goes down it is “Hollywood”.  Good vs Evil – clean – sanitized.  One thing people do not understand is how fast events can turn.  And I have been in situations where things went from mild or this aint’ so bad to someone did or was going to die in milliseconds.  People can not even begin to understand the violence that can happen in situations.  This is not an excuse I just offer and explanation into the mindset.

And if I can use NAPALT.  I only recall one instance of behavior that was wrong coming from a police officer.  I had a prisoner in cuffs and this officer came up to the prisoner and threatened to “kick his ass”.  If this officer would have laid a hand on my prisoner I would have protected my prisoner.  It did not get that far. Then again, I was being interviewed for the county sheriff’s department and was asked if I would take revenge on a person in cuffs if they had resisted arrest. I told her no, once cuffs are on and there is no resistance there is no reason. To this day I do not know if the look she gave me was one of disbelief or “this guy won’t fit in with us because that is how we roll”.

I agree with your statement “that being scared is insufficient justification for shooting a member of the public” and “start holding killer cops fully accountable for their actions”.  However, just because someone is unarmed does not mean they are not a danger.  In one situation I had a guy reach for a gun and as I was getting ready to shoot I saw he was reaching for a Maglite flashlight.  This guy’s intention was Suicide by Cop.  My intention was to save my life and my partner’s life. Unfortunately, my partner was shot and killed 6 months later.  He stopped an unarmed man, the man started fighting with him, took his gun, and killed him with it.

People see these videos and project their feelings, fears, biases into them.  Once the evidence starts to come out the story we end up with is usually different from what we began with.

As I mentioned in my response to him, my opinion is largely informed by my personal acquaintance with police officers in several countries. I get along quite well with cops, in fact, at a recent get-together I was the only male non-cop there. I’ve had cops for sparring partners and weightlifting partners and friends.

But that doesn’t make me blind to the institutional and structural problems with the police in America. Nor does it mean that the lessons of 4GW which Mr.  Lind and LtCol Thiele teach in 4GW Handbook don’t apply to them. Ironically, one of those lessons is that an occupying military should behave more like traditional street cops, while what we’re seeing is the traditional street cops being trained to behave more like an occupying military.

Policing is a serious and important societal role and it ought to be treated as such. Police officers should be valued and respected, but they, in turn, must always behave in a respectable manner. They should never be deemed above the law or unaccountable, to the contrary, they should be held more accountable for their actions than the average untrained individual.

And no free man should ever descend to licking a boot or a badge.

And if you want to know what a badge-licker looks like, this is it:

John Sanders ‏@Platniumblum
@voxday outed himself as a closeted SJW. Blacks have no agency, no responsibility. The cops had it coming. #Dallas #disavowBLM

So virtuous! I expect he’s preening in anticipation of all the likes and retweets from noble police officers ever so grateful for his support.