During my early work years (60’s & early 70’s), I was employed in a family business, a wholesale-distributor located in Detroit and it occupied a building with large overhead doors which allowed vehicles to park inside.
It was not at all unusual to have one or two Detroit police cars parked inside. The officers assigned to those units would stop by for lunch, for coffee or simply to stay out-of-sight.
I was perplexed: the officers would occasionally receive a call for service on their radio and then do nothing. I came to learn that it was common practice to respond only to serious felonies IN PROGRESS, or after multiple requests from dispatch.
Call types that were generally ignored: traffic crashes, suspicious people, suspicious vehicles, domestic assaults, most home invasions, robberies (whether armed or otherwise) and all ‘report-only’ calls.
Proactive police work was a little-known commodity in Detroit at the time. I did not understand how this could be happening with no consequences for the officers involved. After some time in the ‘real’ world, it became clear. The elected officials in the city were only interested in self-enrichment and self-glorification – rather than doing what was best for the city’s residents.
The judges in the local courts returned thugs to the street often in less time that it took the cops to complete paperwork on an arrest. The judges’ rulings bent with the political winds rather than applying the law. It was the politically expedient thing to do.
If you lived through the 1960’s, you are aware of the outcome. In August, 1967 the Detroit “Race” Riots occurred (as they were then termed). I was witness to them at close-range.
Afterward, good law-abiding people of all races, colors and genders, who were able, fled the city for the suburbs. Only those who could not escape remained.
The human residue who stayed behind were largely an array of thugs in both public and private roles. The situation led to the demise, downfall and collapse of social order in Detroit. Law-abiding citizens were afraid to venture into the city. Living there was out-of-the-question.
Bankruptcy and complete municipal failure became a certainty. The only question: how long would it take for the failure to actually be declared?
Many years later, I graduated from the local police academy after working as a process analyst, technical consultant and trainer in law enforcement.
I gained experience patrolling full-time and part-time (in two different agencies). In 2007, I returned to work full-time as an LE trainer. I taught patrol cops how to safely use technology in public. The classes offered real-life insight into the risks introduced by the new gadgets and demonstrated how cops could mitigate risk to themselves.
My time as a patrol officer taught me that street cops never like being TOLD how to do their jobs. However, when new concepts are presented properly (as ideas, options and possibilities for consideration), they would usually react well. In nearly every session, I would hear, “I never thought of that …” I was often rewarded with words of thanks, grateful handshakes and sometimes, even a hug of gratitude.
The news of recent months has left me feeling angry, frustrated and having great desire to ‘do something to fix this.’ Think of Ferguson, Long Island, Madison, Cleveland, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Louisiana and more. Based on what the TV cameras display, it seems as though many of our country’s black population see cops as the principle threat to the lives of young black men.
Some are demanding that cops be removed from “their” community or to have the cops’ authority and/or tools weakened to the point of being ineffective.
My initial gut reaction: “Fine.” Let’s give them what they want. I’ve seen this movie before.
In those areas where cops are perceived as the enemy, imagine using these tactics:
- Perform little (or no) proactive work. End stop-and-frisk. Broken windows? Who cares? Cease approaching people who are recognized as trouble-makers to find out what they are currently ‘up to.’
- If/when we see something that doesn’t seem ‘quite right,’ simply look the other way. As one former Detroit cop put it, “We only respond to bad stuff when it falls on the hood of our car.”
- Take your calls for service from the police station, the nearby firehouse, the local 7-11 or any other cop-friendly place you can hang-out to stay out of sight.
- Avoid making traffic stops.
- When dispatch relays a request for service, acknowledge dispatch and then ignore it.
- If you accidentally stumble across one of the ‘complainers’ who are being put-upon by law enforcement, let them go with a warning.
- Don’t EVER go looking for someone who is the subject of an arrest warrant.
By taking these steps, you should realize many benefits. First, it will keep you out of trouble. You won’t be charged with any crimes, you won’t be subjected to the scrutiny of your local prosecutor, a grand jury or the Department of Justice. You won’t lose your job and/or your career. You will keep getting the same paycheck as when you were actually accomplishing something worthwhile.
You will be doing precisely what the demonstrators have been demanding.
WITH GOOD REASON
The statistics would evidence that the cops in many large cities have instituted the above plan of action. Some refer to it as the “Ferguson Effect.” In a recent settlement between the ACLU and the Chicago Police Department, street cops must complete a two-page form on every contact they have with every citizen. I have heard that completing each form takes upwards of five minutes. Proactive stops by Chicago cops have dropped some 90% from last year. Who can blame them?
The results: murders are up dramatically; non-fatal shootings are up; arrest rates have dropped like a rock. The actions of our politically-attuned leaders have essentially caused mob-rule to take over in these cities.
When interviewed on TV, these same leaders spew a bunch of inane nonsense and confusion about the causes for the increase in violent crime. As Jim Glennon recommended in another article, “If you want to know what’s happening on the street, ask the patrol cops who work there!” What a concept, eh?
It’s obvious: the leaders don’t give a damn about anything but being re-elected or keeping their jobs. Why should the cops be the only ones who are trying to do the ‘right’ things by enforcing the laws and maintaining a reasonable quality of life for those who live or work in the cities they serve?
I remember responding to a call for service in a city in advance of training classes. My partner and I went into a sizeable community of Section 8 (subsidized) housing.
There were many women milling about with a gaggle of very young children running through the streets, parking lots with no concern for the safety of the youngsters’ safety. Noticeably, there were no men/fathers present. No one was watching the kids.
One woman, who was visibly very pregnant, boldly announced that, “next month after the baby comes, my [government] check will be bigger.” The frustration I felt was beyond words. It seemed that her primary interest with the imminent birth was the increase in her income.
I was witnessing another generation of human beings who would likely mature as abject failures. The young black men will declare open season on other young black men and begin killing one another at a horrendous rate at an early age. The females will likely use their God-given sexuality with no sense of responsibility and begin the process of creating another failed generation all over, again.
If these folks want to know the source of their suffering, I suggest that they go take a long look in the mirror.
WHERE’S THE FIX?
This mess will come to a conclusion ONLY when the individuals take personal responsibility to end it. The tools are there. Individual desire is the element which is missing.
The government cannot end it. And, we – through our government – should stop rewarding personal misbehavior with cash.
A LESSON LEARNED
A few months ago, the thugs won in Omaha. The city had a model cop: Kerrie Orozco. She was 29 yrs old, with 7 yrs on the job. She gave of herself to the Boys/Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, she coached baseball for young folks and was active in her Catholic parish. She was married with two step-children.
In February, she and her husband brought their first child into the world: a baby girl born prematurely. Kerrie’s new infant was due to come home from the hospital with her new mom. But, that was not to be.
Just hours before Kerrie was scheduled start her maternity leave, she was gunned-down by a worthless thug. Kerrie and the OPD fugitive team were attempting to execute a felony arrest warrant for the dirt-bag.
Kerrie is dead. The hearts of her brothers/sisters in blue are broken in anguish.
A Friday morning news broadcast delivered the horrible news about how five Dallas cops were slaughtered and seven critically injured the night before. A few days later, the news blared again about the deaths of two cops in Michigan along with the injury of a third.
Will there be any demonstrations demanding that thugs stop their unending rampage against cops? Will the race-baiters (e.g. Al Sharpton) find his way onto even ONE news show demanding better treatment for cops? Will the Department of Justice investigate or will the President demand change?
Don’t hold your breath waiting for any of these events.
You might have thought, “Maybe I should just quit.” I hope you will press on. You are doing God’s work. It is honorable. That notion is affirmed in the Bible. Each one of us – whether active or retired – is on a mission. Each of us will remain on that mission until our last breath.
There are a multitude of stories throughout history when great men faced daunting challenges and evil. You and I are no less than they. This is our time. This is our challenge. We are a strong, smart, ethical and hard-fighting Band of Brothers. We will not be beaten. No today. And, not ever.
When it’s all said and done, it comes down to saving just ONE life.