Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Warriors

Yuri posed some clarifications on his questions and Discussing Random. For some reason he was not able to post these discussion points in the comments field. Well, duh, Yuri, I blocked everyone over so many words. Just kidding! I do think when you add links, it might limit the comment field. 

He creates great thoughts and I find his information fascinating! Join us in the continual discussion. Yuri, please clarify if I am misunderstanding your points. I hope you don't skip over this because it is long. It is very interesting and I really enjoy this kind of chatter. Remember, I have my "inside voice" which is police perspective. Yuri is posing "outside voice" or citizen questions.

"And military tactics have proven to be the best methods for our safety in a bad situation."

Question 1: Best for officer safety, but is it best for the community being served? 

Yuri sent me some links to the following publications:

1) Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces by Radley Balko 

I have not yet read this, but it looks interesting. You can purchase the book on Amazon.com. 

First, I will state that maybe my "warrior mindset" is completely different than what your thoughts on the meaning of those two words are and I am referring to the book reference. Perhaps I should have asked you to clarify. When I think of "warrior mindset", my training and thoughts go to Lt. Col Dave Grossman (retired). 

So, let me take a different approach. I will give my perspective on Yuri's points. Our society has changed to the point that the police have to have military training. It is for our safety and yours. You are always going to have heavy handed officers and those that are different and above grade. 

I have not worked with any that just want to go out there and kill, destroy, tear up the place. If I did train anyone like that, I would fire them. They aren't going to cut it in the real world of police. I will address Wheels below. 

I am not familiar with this website, however, I did read the article by the author of the above book. He brings some very good points up and appears to be a well written and widely versed in policing. I may not always agree with him, but he is a sort of "checks and balances" I was referring to.

It is not inclusive of enough details to even comment on the meat and potatoes of the first gambling case he mentioned, but the author is trying to state police are over the top. I believe it is, anyway. Ok. First, if the family got paid out millions...the department had some issues. I have no idea what happened there or what the real crux of the matter was except police screwed up and blew a small gambling wager into a "federal case." Not cool. How the "bullet to the chest" just got thrown in there...I have no idea in this excerpt... it was not explained how that came to pass. If I were just to sum up what I can gather from this...the original detective was an asshole and gave out some very misleading information which led to tragedy. But then I'm guessing and jumping to conclusions. Balko goes on to describe (paraphrasing) how SWAT is used for gambling, poker, and "white collar" crime raids...not just the drug dealers and killers.  Yes. It is true.

I can tell you from the inside looking out...I wouldn't want it any other way. Just because someone is a white collar criminal, doesn't mean they aren't dangerous. The entire approach a warrant is executed depends on the detective and shows how important knowing your criminal, doing surveillance, and training is to the raid team and to the public. Now, can we read minds to know how someone is going to react during a raid? No...but we ANNOUNCE unless it's a drug raid or a dangerous entry and announcing is going to be detrimental. It's not once. It's three times or so. It's loud and it surely isn't like Hooks off of Police Academy (the movie series).

Not every search warrant is executed with breaking down the door. Only the good ones. (Ok. Yuri, that was a bad Fargo joke there) In all seriousness, they are not all SWAT entries and they are not all "break and take" search warrants. It depends on the circumstances. Search warrants at my department were executed somewhere almost daily, if not daily,  and many times several times a day.

Those that destroy a house on purpose while doing a search warrant...are abusing the power. It will not be neat and clean upon our departure, but it doesn't mean cops need to purposely toss things around or break things. That pisses me off. That did happen sometimes, but not on my warrants. I didn't tolerate it.

There are many cases where police lose sight of the real issues or make mountains out of molehills. I don't think it is an epidemic, but maybe I have rose colored glasses on. I can say, media and certain extreme groups would like to portray things that way. Police are actually missing or disregarding "smaller issues" because there are so many "big fish" to fry. We do have procedures. Especially when it comes to search warrants. We can do the knock and talk kind which is often done at a business...or bust the door down kind. It is all pertinent to knowing your target audience...of criminal, that is. 

2) Yuri sent me a link to this article. It's in reference to the dog shooting that has gone viral and made so many upset.  http://reason.com/archives/2013/07/08/its-time-to-train-officers-not-to-kill-d

My views on officer safety come from a totally different realm than your perspectives as civilians. To an officer, it does not matter how many cops are in the vicinity, if an animal poses a risk, it will be removed. Sometimes the removal will be kind; sometimes it will be tased, sprayed, or killed. 

Most officers I worked with, including myself, are going to choose the kindest and least destructive method. However, we are going to protect human life first. That includes injury to be bitten or attacked. Most people think since a dog is only going to bite, rip, and tear, that an officer should sustain that until the animal can be contained. I pose this. NO. We don't have to be injured. We do not have to be bitten. We can shoot first when it comes to animals. The video clip on YouTube and all the others that are going viral. We do not know the entire incident. We get a "clip". Do we know if there were other methods? If there were other methods to remove the dog, was his wrong? You have to remember there is not use of force continuum for animals when they invade your dynamic situation as a cop. Obviously, cops should not go around randomly and needlessly destroying other people's property. 

I can tell you when we are busting down a door and a dog attacks us...even though that dog is acting as it should...it might get destroyed. It might get tased, it might get tackled, it might get shooed away. I don't know until the incident arises. Same goes when I am trying to effect an arrest. Animals cannot be a distraction. We can't guess what they are going to do and we shouldn't have to get bit before we decide they are dangerous. If they act aggressive, we have to act accordingly. Now...most officers will tolerate an animal running around frantic who is just scared and we will ignore it. However, you have to remember scared animals may be aggressive because that is their survivor mechanism. I think it's sad to think I would have to kill an animal. I have done it before. It ruins my day. 

All I have to say about this is the warden was an idiot. Anyone that went along with his search warrant and didn't question it...is an idiot. Again...maybe the shelter threatened to take law enforcement out. Who knows? Ok. Maybe that was an exaggeration. I am skeptical of media reports if I don't get both sides. 

HOWEVER,  the warden could have gone to the shelter and inquired like a normal professional. Then if someone is violating wildlife regulations, they act accordingly. Of course, all of you know how I feel about the Red Coats. I'm biased. 

4) Yuri writes..."In regards to Wheels, never meant to imply anything negative about him.  Just an example of his previous training not fitting the situation. As you say, "It's just a kid that tried too hard with the tools he was given in life at the time and how his misperceptions of good police work was."

Yuri, I know you didn't mean anything negative and maybe I should have clarified that, so I apologize. I think I know what you are referring to and that is law enforcement that is too heavy handed or militaristic. You were using that particular call and Wheel's early training days as an example.

I think we need to have officers who have a happy medium. Some can be trained that way and some cannot. The problem is that the world is changing so rapidly and dynamic police situations are more abundant. Thus, officers are getting more active shooter and SWAT training. Fact of life. It's necessary. SWAT is a necessity. I will address that below as well.  

5) Yuri brings up another point..."From my perspective, the divide between officers and citizens is becoming greater in large metro areas.  (In parts of Detroit, the police are considered just another armed gang." )http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130729/METRO01/307290052

Yuri, the link you provide refers to some officers that conducted an armed robbery while being law enforcement. To me, that is a whole "notha ball o wax" and deals with corruption. Yes, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, New York, and any other large metropolitan area is going to go through some house cleaning on occasion to get rid of corrupt officers. Some have more than others. Metro officers have a different mentality than smaller agencies. I will agree with that as I have met several in trainings. They "clique" together, so to speak. I also have worked with officers in my department who came from New York, Detroit, and Las Vegas. Some of them will tell you their units were good cops, some will tell you they needed to leave the department because of corruption or the violence of the city. With big city officers, come big city crimes, violence, and other problems. I think the only way to tackle those internal problems is a constant watch and checks and balances. The division between citizens and officers in these communities is something they and the citizens created. We didn't have that because our administration was not about that. Perhaps in the big city, it is due to the "trickle down" theory. On the other hand, it could be something the street created. I don't know. It is individual to each community and department. 

When police officers commit crimes, they should pay the price just like any other criminal. Wyoming has had our share of idiots that did robberies and got fired. Why does it happen? I have no idea why anyone would think it was a good idea. The ones in Wyoming did it as a joke. NOT FUNNY. STUPID. Some do it for greed or to scare someone. These examples are all dangerous people. It is important to deal with them accordingly. They need to be fired from police work.  However, we can't throw a blanket out there and expect all departments or officers are like that. I believe, and it may be a clouded belief...but I do believe that generally speaking...mainstream media is very distrusting of police departments.

6) Now add in to the mix SWATting.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swatting

Yeah. Had that happen. I was the negotiator. The Lieu was the commanding officer. It was his town. I was called out in the middle of the night and responded. The entire SWAT unit had the place surrounded. Guess what? You aren't going to like my answer. We have to deal with all these calls as if they are real. From the onset to the ending. When they are a prank...the pranksters get arrested for terroristic threats...a state and federal felony. 

In my case...The Lieu gave my sleepy ass the rundown...man holding his wife and kids hostage at gun point...going to kill anyone that busts through the door. I show up. SWAT has the place surrounded. They can't get any communication to the inside. Enter...magic negotiator. I call inside and man answers. We have a nice chat. Now I had and have been doing this long enough to know how to gauge not only WHAT a person is saying, but their tone, inflection, pitch...blah, blah. This man had been sleeping. He did not call this in. It was one of those prank thingys. I told him what to expect and to come outside with his arms up. He complied. We had coffee. Some people might not have been so gracious.

Then I went home. The next day..The Lieu got some action going. Two people were arrested on the west coast for terrorist acts. Federal prison. Dumb move.

Now the innocent parties? That SUCKS BALLZ. I don't know what to say. We have to do what we have to do. I just hope people are aware of it. No...don't bother suing the police. They didn't do it. The bad guys will be arrested. 

Question 2: Would this (SWATting) have been possible or prevalent 15 years ago? Why or why not?

I know the days of Mayberry and Sheriff Taylor are long gone, but damn.  Listened to this yesterday driving home from 8mile & Mound. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWPnlvQkFBg

"I don't know what the trouble is...I just can't stick around to find out."

Yuri, isn't that song and video about the truth of it? And it's a good song, however.

No, it would not have been possible that long ago because people weren't that evil and since that time the aliens have landed. We gave out tin foil hats which deflected a lot of it, but now the invasion is too great. Pscyh!

The technology was there, but we were in a different decade. The world has changed exponentially since 911. I blame everything on that. It would have been something we would have maybe dealt with differently. Now we charge high because it isn't just a prank. You are messing with privacy and a man's castle...with full force. Luckily police departments don't go busting in on hostage situations or it could get real ugly. Homeowners could shoot police and vice versa. What a mess. Technology is our friend and foe, but now it is harder to find out who did it. Back then it was easier. Just like IP Address tracking on child porn and unsecured Wi-Fi. 

My answer: People were stupider back then. 


Jump in there and get discussing or commenting! Yuri...super great points and thank you for clarifying. I hope I have addressed things better, and if I have missed the mark again...help me out!


Well Seasoned Fool said...

I believe it comes down to mind set. You have Peace Officers, and you have Police. The attitude of the leadership often determines the attitude of the individual officers.

Picking on Wyoming, as a reference in common, the officers of the Wyoming State Patrol are Peace Officers. Police? Cheyenne, Sheridan for two.

Anonymous said...

Well Seasoned Fool, that's it summed up nicely. In the post 9/11 world, the trend seems to be more Police and less Peace Officer mind set.

Momma Fargo, I don't trust the media either. Should the shiny side face out or in on my TFH?


Momma Fargo said...

WSF...my sentiments exactly. When you know your state agencies and how they function, you know what Well Seasoned Fool is talking about. Funny thing is...I never had much luck with Cheyenne Police either. In the Bush homicide...I could go on and on and on...in regards to how bad I was treated when I worked down there. It was awesome when I brought DCI in...they shut the eff up. But why does it have to come to that?

Yuri...it depends...shiny side out...deflects aliens and the FBI. Shiny side in keeps the voices in line. And thanks again for posing these thoughts. I found it interesting, fun, and you brought out some great materials! You are very well-read as we all know. I appreciate it!

Bob G. said...

Momma Gargo:
The BEST part of your comprehensive answers (imho) was THIS:
"The division between citizens and officers in these communities is something they and the citizens created."
Takes TWO to Tango!

Any city that has such problems HAS to look at those problem(s) FIRST, and if there is no community cohesion and communication WITH law-enforcement, the problems only get larger...and worse.

Community-Oriented Policing, for example, ONLY works when you HAVE a community that will work WITH the po-po, rather than battle against it.

Excellent post, Dear.

Rpll safe out there.

Momma Fargo said...

Bob G...you are right. I worked in a community that half supported the police. However, there definitely was an economic division. The ghetto remained divided even though we put extra efforts into that part of the community to thwart evil doers.