What are you going to do?

The holidays are such an important time for family and friends.  I am writing this as my wife and I labor over what we should do for the holidays.  Some family and friends are gathering together in homes, which makes for a lot of close contact.  We wanted to take a trip across the country to family, but planes, trains and buses are crowded environments.  Ug!!! What to do?  Well, I know this.  The Word of God says: in 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

I just need a sound mind to make a good decision!!!

Also, in Psalm 91: 3 it states: Surely, he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence (COVID).

Then my daughter shared with me the exact words I shared with her:  You have to do what you feel comfortable with. 

I do not want my life to be controlled by COVID or fear of COVID.  Yet I need to be wise also – my wife and I are in our later 60’s!!

God, grant us Your wisdom and peace and protection in all we do.  Amen

A letter to the American public: Why ‘shoot them in the leg’ is not an effective strategy

When law enforcement practices become political fodder, both officers and civilians lose

Oct 19, 2020


If you are following the 2020 presidential election, you have seen how quickly fact-checkers jump on questionable statements. Unfortunately, it does not look like the fact-checkers were interested in some of Joe Biden’s unfounded claims at a recent town hall.

For instance, the former vice president made comments about how police officers did not like community policing or that good police were too “intimidated” to report the nefarious behaviors of bad cops. While Biden’s statements had me scratching my head, my jaw dropped when Biden discussed the need for de-escalation training, stating, “instead of anybody coming at you and the first thing you do is shoot to kill, you shoot them in the leg.” Apparently, this is the second time he’s suggested this course of action.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1317093015127838720&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.police1.com%2Fofficer-shootings%2Farticles%2Fa-letter-to-the-american-public-why-shoot-them-in-the-leg-is-not-an-effective-strategy-UOXIOH6n4pwJFmyf%2F&siteScreenName=PoliceOne&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

POLICE USE OF DEADLY FORCE

There is no question that the media has helped drive a false narrative on police shootings through a shock and awe approach to stories about police use of force that has prompted politicians to use police reform as fodder for their campaigns.

Regardless of media and political rhetoric, policing cannot be reasonably defined through the lens of singular adverse events. There are about 700,000 police officers in the United States who make an estimated 53 to 63 million citizen contacts in a given year. Sources consistently indicate that police officers shoot and kill about 1,000 criminal suspects per year. Statistically, that equates to 0.002% of police contacts resulting in a police shooting-related death. 

If fact-checkers cared, they would find that most police shootings are associated with armed suspects. Yet, even in cases of unarmed suspects killed by police, research has shown those suspects place officers or others in jeopardy of serious injury or death. Yes, there are police shootings that may have been avoided or catastrophic behaviors by a handful of police, but contrary to the trending discourse these are the outliers and nowhere close to the norm.

SHOOTING THE LEG OR ARM OF A LIFE-THREATENING CRIMINAL SUSPECT

Most of us haven’t been involved in a police shooting or other types of combat where death could be imminent, which is why a convincing conversation on the topic of “shooting them in the leg” is difficult to do on paper. One way to paint a picture is using the analogy of a more typical stressful experience such as a traffic collision or even a near-miss collision.

While an imperfect comparison for a police shooting, a car crash/near miss can be a proxy for understanding a rapidly evolving, time-compressed environment that may result in imminent harm.

Imagine for a moment, that split-second when the brake lights in front of a car you are traveling behind illuminate unexpectedly. Your chest immediately tightens as the fear of what is about to occur sets in.

There is no time to analyze the rate of closure, potential avenues of avoidance, or the appropriate application of brake pressure to avoid a skid. Instead, most people will immediately and automatically turn the steering wheel left or right and press the brake to the floor. An investigation may find the wheel should have been turned left, instead of right, or that locking the brakes on the wet road made things worse. However, based on standard driver training and experience, what decisions were reasonable in those 1 or 2 seconds?

Now, consider the case of Aaron Hong who confronted police officers with a sizeable knife. Officers attempted to de-escalate the situation by retreating and literally begging Hong to drop his weapon. Instead, Hong charged an officer who, fearing for his life, fired seven rounds. When the shots are fired, both Hong and the officer are in motion. Hong, struck by at least one bullet, falls to the ground only to get back up, attack the officer and attempt to disarm him. He is ultimately shot and killed by another officer. This event is just one of many similar situations that demonstrate bullets, even those fired at center mass, don’t always stop a deadly threat.

The Hong shooting provides other considerations. One, the officer in this scenario has no time to analytically consider all variables and possibilities while Hong continuously closed the distance in a threatening manner. Second, the officer has no time to stop, take a steady shooting stance, align the front and rear sights of his weapon on a leg and then fire. While this process might take a few seconds, empirical research has demonstrated that a young male such as Hong, could cross 21 feet on a flat level surface in an average of 1.5s. The valid inference is that aiming for a leg can result in the officer being stabbed – either by missing or failing to stop the threat.

POLICE TRAINING AND CENTER MASS SHOOTING

Police officers have used tactics such as keeping distance, using cover and communicating with threatening suspects long before the word “de-escalation” became trendy. While each is an essential tool for mitigating the use of force, officers also know that some people and situations cannot be de-escalated for a variety of reasons. Most prominently are those situations in which suspects do not allow for communication while continuing to place officers or the public in significant danger. Therefore, officers are also taught to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to stop – not kill – an ongoing threat to life and limb. As a side note, the femoral artery is located in the leg and could just as easily result in death.

Police officers are also taught about their reactionary gap with a potentially threatening suspect. Most laypersons simply do not comprehend how quickly a violent confrontation can occur. Human beings can be amazingly fast with punches, kicks, knife stabs and handgun presentations. All of these can occur in less than half a second from a seemingly innocuous start position. In some cases, police officers have been shot and killed by suspects who draw and fire before the officer even perceived what happened.

Lastly, police officers are taught to aim for the center of mass when using deadly force for good cause. Police trainers and firearms experts know this point of aim provides officers with the best opportunity at surviving a deadly force encounter based on the challenge of hitting a moving target with a small projectile while operating under intense stress.

CONCLUSION

In closing, our society contains folds of significant violence where personal accountability is less and less a national priority. All the while, an ideology espousing the sanctity of human life has informed and reformed police practices on a national scale. I simply hope that the politicians and pundits who were vital to those reform efforts do not forget the sanctity of a police officer’s life is equally important. In the end, policing practices should not be used as off the cuff fodder for political expediency.

Be safe. Be vigilant.

About the author

David Blake, Ph.D., is a retired California peace officer and a court-certified expert on human factors psychology and the use of force. He has significant experience teaching use of force and human factors psychology to law enforcement officers in several states. David has undergraduate and graduate degrees in criminal justice and psychology. He has authored over 30 professional and peer-reviewed journal articles on the application of human factors psychology to first responders and their operational environments. David continues to conduct research on police deadly force and human factors psychology. He is the lead consultant at Blake Consulting and Training.

Who’s right?

I started to share some of my experiences as a white male growing up in a white neighborhood. I’ve had numerous bad experiences because I am a white male. Not every day. But often enough that it changed the way I live and the way I look at people. But I am conflicted.  I have much to be bitter about.  But the Word of God is clear.  Difficult?  Yes, very difficult, but clear.  Luke 6: 27-30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. Wow.  All bases were covered there. That certainly does not come naturally nor does it come easily.  This does not apply to LEOs in the line of duty.  Other scripture verses make that clear also: Romans 13 1-3 Be a good citizen. All governments (authorities) are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So, live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.  3-5 Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly—not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live.

Unfortunately, the world does not acknowledge the Word of God. It would make things a lot easier if it did. There is no grey in God’s Word. Everything is right or wrong. Not liberal or conservative. Not Democrat or Republican. Not Black or White. Not rich or poor. Not citizen or alien. Are you choking on some of those? I am. I know people of color who have a very different view point than I do. But we talk. We explain why we feel the way we do. And you know what? It turns out, neither one of us is 100% right or wrong. Some have risen out of bad circumstances and have learned to succeed in our society. Some have not. We all have emotions, feelings, ideals, concerns, perceptions and we believe that what we were taught, or what we have learned in life, makes our opinion right and the other person wrong. Some of us were taught that the world owes us, and some of us were taught that if you want something, you work your butt off to get it. This is tough stuff. Societies change. Opinions change. There is no perfect society. There is no perfect government. So how do we get from where we are today to a more peaceful society? My suggestions would be that first we have to acknowledge to ourselves that we might not be correct in some of our beliefs. Secondly, we have to be willing to listen, really listen to the other opinions out there. And thirdly, and most importantly, we have to go back to the only thing that never changes: God and his Word. Share your opinions.

Just the facts, Ma’am

I could not pass up the opportunity to share this with my brothers and sisters BLUE!!! This is not my information. This is Candace Owens. She is one smart lady. Click on the link and enjoy!!

Police officers have become the targets of violent activists who are seeking to upend America as we know it. Heather Mac Donald, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The War on Cops, is in the studio this week to break down the myths behind “systemic racism” and “police brutality.”

https://www.prageru.com/video/the-candace-owens-show-heather-mac-donald/

10-9?

This week’s blog will focus on our Comm folks.  They always seem to get left out so I wanted to make this post just for them.  Most cops don’t think of the person at the other end of the radio.  You might as well be a computer voice to them:  Alexa?  You listening?  Shamefully, some officers still adhere to the “If you ain’t sworn, you ain’t born” philosophy.  The only time they give you special attention is when they aren’t communicating clearly and they want to reach through the mic to wring your neck like it’s your fault that you can’t read their minds correctly.  Hopefully, that is changing.  When I was a rookie and they had someone call in sick from the Comm center, they would assign a rookie to fill in.  Remember now, this was way before all the computerization that you folks have to know and keep up with.  And the shifts were 8 hours back then, not twelve.  Our Comm center used to be in the basement (another indication of how well you folks were valued!!) Believe me, when my Comm center shift was over, I was never so glad to get out of there.  And I suddenly had a very deep respect for what you did. 

Another time when I realized what an extremely important role you play is when we had an officer go down in an alley.  He was losing consciousness after advising on the radio that he had been shot.  The patrol folks were trying to locate him and the dispatcher kept talking to him.  Yelling, no, screaming at times, to keep him alert and fighting for his life.  She saved that officer’s life and I’m sure neither one of them will ever forget that night.       

12 hours locked in a room with other folks, some of whom you might not even like.  But you learn, faster than the patrol folks, that it is a team effort.  Call after call, someone is having what they perceive as an emergency.  And after it is all said and done, all you get from the patrol folks is “10-8, report”.  Did the baby that fell into the swimming pool survive?  Did that old man who was assaulted pull through when they got him to the hospital?  Was the store owner who got robbed okay?  Were the people who crashed on the motorcycle going to make it?  On and on it goes.  All day or night, rarely getting closure to most of the calls.  Sometime you answer the intake line and all you have is screaming on the other end.  You had to calm them down just so you could understand where they were and what the emergency was.  What if you are trying to take the information and you hear shots ring out on the other end!!  It is up to you to remain calm and do what you can to get an officer in route to help…if it’s not too late!!  Or how about this: 131? 131? Headquarters to 131? Tone alert! Headquarters to 131, respond!! Crickets.  

I can’t pretend that I know what you go through, considering the very few hours I worked the Comm center.   But maybe there is something you can share that will help another Comm spec somewhere.  How did you cope?   How are you doing?  Have you ever asked yourself:  How long will I be able to do this?  Get help if you need it.  PTSD is not career selective.  It can get anyone!!!

Retire?

I saw this article from Police 1 and thought it was perfect for LEOs today. Enjoy:

As someone who has been successfully retired for 14 years after an active 33-year career in law enforcement, I’d like to share that successful retirement is a bit like finding that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Today’s newsletter features a variety of resources to help you find that pot of gold. Here are some quick tips that have worked for me.

Financially: Don’t let people and circumstances inspire you to get mad and quit suddenly. Mad is temporary and quit is permanent. Most people I know who quit mad, eventually regretted their rash decision. If you can weather the storm, it will pass, and you too may discover a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: a retirement with full benefits.

Even with full benefits, to financially retire comfortably you will probably have to take on at least a part-time second career. Choose a second career that you love almost as much as law enforcement. For me that was training and writing. Make sure it’s something you enjoy.

Physically: To survive your career and enjoy retirement, maintain an ongoing fitness routine. Working out used to allow me to outrun criminals; now it allows me to outrun my grandchildren.

Emotionally: To maintain emotional health I recommend you find a balance of faith, family, fitness, friends, fishing-like pastimes and finding the positive in every circumstance.

Know that these hard times we are going through in law enforcement will pass. In the meantime, keep fighting the good fight, while knowing it is indeed a good fight. When the time is right, retire, fully prepared to enjoy what you have so courageously earned.

Stay safe,

— Police1 Columnist Lt. Dan Marcou (successfully retired)

12 hours of making decisions for everyone else, and then…

Most of the folks in patrol work 12 hour shifts. Throughout the day, for a 12 hour shift, they take call after call. Most calls are for you, a police officer, to help citizens who have reached the end of their resources (mental, physical, spiritual, financial, etc). It doesn’t matter that the couple you are supposed to give marriage advise to has been married 35 years and you just got married last month. It doesn’t matter that the couple is having problems with their 14 year old daughter in school, when you don’t even have kids. It doesn’t matter that the victim has a problem with their neighbor not cutting their lawn when you live on the third floor of a condo you rent. YOUR life experience doesn’t matter. You need to have “all wisdom for all people”. No matter the circumstances. Then, when you get home, your partner has issues too: The washing machine quit working. The car got a scratch. The toilet is clogged. The dog threw up in the laundry room. STOP!!! You just want to stop and let your brain rest. Rest from making any more decisions!!! What do you do? How do you handle that? Do you crash into your favorite lazy-boy recliner and yell: DON’T BOTHER ME!!? I heard of one guy (not me) who drives into his driveway and before he goes into his house, he hops on his motorcycle and rides for about a half hour, just to clear his head. Or another couple who have decided they could only talk about work for 30 minutes, and then they had to face their personal issues. Whatever you choose to do, however you and your significant other agree to handle life, you need to come to an agreement. And stick with it, as long as that solution is working. When it quits working, decide on another course of action. Your partner really does want to have your six. Help them understand how rather than assuming they know.

Refocusing the Church

Taken from Ton Evans’ book KINGDOM MAN, PAGE 180:

Far too many men in the church are like teenagers living in a house. They want their own room, their own television, their own iPod, and their own phone, and they want to shut and lock their own door. But later they will come out and ask, “What’s for dinner?” In other words, they want convenience when it comes to the corporate dwelling, but they do not want to be disturbed with anything else. Many men have come to view the church for its convenience- help me, bless me, serve me, preach to me, sing to me, pray for me, but don’t expect me to be a vehicle to minister to anyone else or join with you to impact the world….Many men have come to view church as a task to be done rather than a community to be in.

What are your thoughts on that? How can the church change or improve to capture the hearts of all mankind?

PTSD?

A recent FOP survey found that 90% of officers believe there is still a stigma that prevents cops from seeking help for emotional or behavioral health issues. Does your agency take seriously the issue of officer behavioral health, including suicide prevention and PTSD recognition? If you or your loved ones even think this might pertain to you, you can always start by talking with a chaplain. Your conversation is confidential.

After I retired from Law Enforcement, I broke my arm and went into depression, although neither myself nor my wife saw it. Take care of yourself. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones!!