Society's failings are not the police's fault

One of the narratives that is alive and strong today, more so in certain circles, is that the police are nothing more than a wing of the government that is meant to oppress, tax, and murder.  Usually along with that narrative is that modern policing sprout from slave catchers pre- and during the Civil War era in the US.  That frame of mind does nothing but put police on the same plane as the pro-slavery supporters, Nazis and bloodthirsty communists of the 20th century, and the sociopaths that police routinely put behind bars.
More times than I care to count I have been on the scene of a shooting, usually a young man, more often than not black/African American, and normally known to us from arrests or not-so-positive interactions.  Usually they are in their gang's territory, or were followed.  In any case, there are usually young teenagers or young adults.  Many have been in and out of bad homes, or come from single parent house holds, or even just raised by grandma.  They found s…

"It's what they signed up for" - Line of Duty Death

Every time a police officer is killed in the line of duty a piece of a community goes with him or her.  Sometimes it is the newest rookie on the street or the well worn veteran officer that leaves us.  Behind them there are memorials, funeral services, bagpipes played, tears of sadness, laughs from memories, salutes, fly overs, news cameras, and names etched in stone.  
Caskets and honor guards, roses and wreaths, freshly dug earth and granite head stones, 21 gun salutes and mounted officers; all the components of a fallen officer's funeral we know in every minute detail.
Every officer knows that this tour, today's date, their last radio transmission may be their last.  
Every officer knows the cost, but never counts it.   Every officer knows the price, and is willing to pay it. Every officer knows the sacrifice, and has already made it when they pinned on the badge.
Most cops have experienced death in one form or another.  Whether a fatal crash, homicide scene, well-being ch…

Unspeakable Evils

Let's be honest, shall we?
Humans do some really fucked up shit to each other.  
There really isn't another way to put it.  We are the smartest animals on the planet, with a conscious and internal moral compass, that we are able to somehow completely ignore and perform some heinous acts on each other.  Whether it is a heat of the moment, gripped by passion kinda situation, or something premeditated and played out several times over before the plan is executed, we do harm against each other.
Recently in Chicago a young mother was killed in a drive-by.  While she may not have been a saint by societies standards, she wasn't a monster like the 2 individuals were that took her life.  If you haven't seen the video it's hard to watch.  When I first saw it, along with several other officers, being angry or incensed would be an understatement.
No mother, no matter how big or little of a criminal they might have chosen to be deserves to die holding their baby in the streets…

What should you ask that cop friend or family member?

Last year, 2018, more cops took their life than were killed in the line of duty.  2019 hasn't started off much better for Chicago or the US.  Just about every cop has been touched by suicide of a brother or sister in blue, myself included.  Even when it isn't someone we know, the sadness still dwells in our hearts, but we regroup and return to duty.
Our veterans of our wars take their lives at an alarmingly high rate, roughly 22 per day.  But other than a push-up challenge and a few celebrities speaking out on it, its probably not on the forefront of most people's minds.  We've asked them to put themselves in horrific situations and circumstances and then forget their service outside of a few holidays.
Most know it's rude to ask a service member if they have taken a life in war, and most people wouldn't ask that.  Most people would probably ask about what cool weaponry they used or their fallen brethren.  Most people know not to ask the sensitive questions.

Dealing with death - One cop's perspective

There's a weird thing about police work.  It never stops.Like never?Never.While some officers work smaller areas, towns, cities, or middle of nowhere, there is still something to do.  Calls to be handled, complaints to be listened to, reports to be filed.  Always something needing to be done or someone needing something. As you move into larger cities or municipalities or departments the shift seems to go from things needing to be done to things needing to be done NOW.Traffic crashes, burglaries, crime scenes, stolen car recoveries, complaints and reports as usual and then, as population density increases so does violent crime.  Seems that the closer and denser people are to each other, the more the violence potential increases.  Sprinkle in low employment, poor services, deserts of all types, and you have created society's powder keg of violence.And with violence comes death.  And usually violent deaths.Any cop who has handled a murder scene, or their first dead body, they…

The noble burden of police work

Sun Tzu said it is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.
Robert Peel, in his 7th of 9 Principles of Law Enforcement, wrote that "the police are the public and the public are the police".  Referring to that notion as having been a historic tradition of policing itself.
The knights of England, and many other countries, were trained in war and worked in other pursuits during peace time.
So what is, or what has become, modern day policing?
Is it viral videos of entire departments dancing or doing the newest online trend?  Is it that sneaky video a citizen took as an officer does some sort of mundane task for another like tying a tie or helping change a tire?  Is it officers running their department's twitter or social media feeds to inform the citizenry of traffic incidents, crime, or other things?  
Or is it more of what someone may deem as nefarious?
Is it that officer not properly using the authority given to them by the people they swore to serve?…

What is the "Thin Blue Line"?

There are American flags with a blue line down the middle.  Or the flags of other nations modified to show the blue line.City flags with blue lines down the middle. T-shirts espousing that the blue line will be defended.Spartan helmets and the infamous Punisher skull with a blue line on them.When a cop is killed profile pictures change and a blue line runs across the photo.So what is the "Thin Blue Line"?  Is it a symbol of white supremacy and an alt-right movement?  A symbol of a code of silence where a cop can get away with everything under the sun and never have anything happen to them because no other cop will say anything?Or something more poetic.  Perhaps a recognition that police are the ones that figuratively, and at times literally, separate normal citizenry from the evil that lurks within their fellow man?  As the idea that George Orwell so plainly put forth: people sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men and women stand ready to do violence on th…