De-policing, Political Indoctrination, Social Justice and Community Education
Too many books written about what cops do—or should do—are written by academic non-cops or former cops for whom the streets have faded long ago. They tend to base their work on behind-a-desk, theoretical hypotheses. This is a book written by a cop who served Seattle for nearly twenty-two years, all of it on the streets. The public deserves to hear from cops who actually do the job. It’s important to note that this is the perspective of one cop. Each cop will have his or her own unique view of police work. However, having been in the profession for over two decades, and having met hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the country, I am comfortable that the main emphasis of my points are supported by a majority of America’s patrol officers (street cops), the ones most affected by liberal policies. And for those of my brothers and sisters who hold divergent points of view to mine, I invite you to write your own book.
There is no shortage of people telling cops how they should do their jobs. Even pro-police supporters often get it wrong. Law enforcement and their jurisdictions have a horrible record educating the public about what cops do and why. For example, recently a pro-cop TV pundit criticized the police for handcuffing Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples during her arrest. The pundit commented that the police didn’t have to handcuff Davis, as she posed no threat. Whether she specifically is or is not a threat is not the point. Police institute policies to protect both prisoners and officers.
Think about it, what would the media say about cops who handcuff young black males but not middle-aged white females? I think we all know the answer. People, even good, cop-supporting folks, need to understand what cops do and why. In this age, when even the leaders of a supposedly mainstream political party endorse avowed cop-haters, cops don’t need their own supporters’ lack of knowledge to hinder a broader understanding of just what cops face today. Most recently, many cops are encountering a phenomenon called, de-policing.
So-called de-policing happens when cops cease self-initiated patrol activities, such as investigating suspicious acting individuals, enforcing minor infractions and making traffic stops. Police officers don’t wake up in the morning and decide to “de-police.” Instead, officers restrict themselves to answering 911 dispatched calls out of an instinct for self-preservation. In fact, de-policing isn’t something cops do to their communities. De-policing is something communities do to their cops. De-policing is not about police apathy toward the community. De-policing is about liberal antipathy toward police. Take what former LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman says about the issue, “You can’t make cops see what you want them to see.” In other words, enforcement is the cop’s choice.
You’ve heard the saying, “Do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” When I first became a cop people asked me how I liked it. I told them being a cop was better than working for a living. Five years later, after I became a field training officer, my student officers would ask me what I thought about police work. “It’s better than working for a living,” I’d still tell them. Going to work was fun, challenging and truly felt like a privilege. There were plenty of cop-haters around but not like today.
In 1999, following the World Trade Organization (WTO) riots, Seattle’s social justices began their leftist thrust in earnest. Policing began to feel more and more like working for a living. Then, except for a brief respite of broad community support after 9/11, coppin’ became something to endure—to survive—until retirement. Beyond 2004, the last decade of my career, policing was no longer better than working for a living. It became work just to avoid becoming the target of a department internal investigation.
I retired from law enforcement probably ten years earlier than I otherwise would have, not only because community activists, city and department leaders no longer supported their police officers, but because they had become openly antagonistic toward them. Along with the antagonism came hazards I, as a police officer, never imagined I’d have to face. The blood, guts and violence I expected. Attempts by my city to politically indoctrinate me, I never expected.
Astonishingly, for the past several years, the city of Seattle has been indoctrinating their cops in leftist political ideology. Today, it’s all about “white privilege” and “minority and gender victimhood.” City leaders demonize and castrate their officers making their jobs as difficult as possible. I don’t know of another profession where more people believe they know better how to do the job than the professionals trained to do it.
There are always changes affecting police officers. As with other professions, law enforcement training, tactics, technologies and philosophies are always evolving. However, what happens when rather than teaching improved or even experimental law enforcement methods the instructors instead spout political propaganda? Many city governments, including Seattle’s, no longer attempt to cloak their leftist political bias, though they still disguise the training itself—at least a little. The social justices also don’t care that many employees receiving the training are diametrically opposed to the political philosophy being forced on them. If the situation were reversed, the left would never tolerate such an unethical abuse of authority from the right.
The final impetus to write this book came when Seattle’s social justices savaged me in the media in early 2011, simply for expressing an opposing, widely held, political view. I wrote an article that appeared in the December 2010 issue of the Seattle Police Officers Guild’s newspaper The Guardian. Following its publication, Seattle’s progressive institutions, which included the Mayor, city council members, the city attorney, and the chief of police and liberal mainstream media vilified me.
For writing an article critical of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), Seattle’s social justices called for my badge, impugned my character, inferred I was racist, intellectually lazy and was, according to my boss, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, “stupid” for writing such an article. I suppose that puts me in good company with my Obama-maligned, “stupidly-acting,” brothers and sisters in the Cambridge Police Department.
The article, the last in a series of four, went on to garner local and national media attention and dragged me along for an incredible roller coaster ride during which I would learn that even the good guys won’t leap to help an individual in such a situation—if he’s a cop. After the initial onslaught from the left, I was deluged with well wishes from folks all across America who sympathized with my situation. These included luminaries such as, David Horowitz. Horowitz was very kind and publicized my situation in his Front Page magazine. I will be forever grateful for his support.
To the contrary, the Seattle Police Department, many believe on orders from the Mayor, brought internal charges against me ostensibly for “violating” department policy. Anyone who takes the time to review the pertinent policies finds the accusation laughable. What was the real reason for the charges? You see, officers are not allowed to speak about on-going investigations. What an effective way to squelch any opposition—not to mention free speech. The City of Seattle demonstrated it will violate its officer’s free speech rights any time it feels it needs to. Why not? It worked! This caused what lawyers refer to as a “chilling effect” on officers’ free speech rights, which is still being felt to this day. I know an officer who decided not to write a planned article for The Guardian and a sergeant who actually withdrew an article he’d already submitted in fear of similar retaliation from the department.
I’m constructing this book by blending common policing subjects with what Seattle’s social justices are doing to police officers in order to implement liberal government’s version of social justice and how it leads to de-policing, which is devastating American law enforcement.
A few years back, as it has with so many other American police departments, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) came to Seattle and perpetrated a fraud against an excellent police department. They conducted a flimsy investigation, the methodology of which they refused to share with the city, as part of a campaign to federalize local police forces. This blueprint is being employed across the country. I don’t know if they have ever failed to find a “pattern and practice” of police misconduct after their “investigation.”
Despite the fact that a criminal justice professor conducted his own study and found the DOJ report to be severely flawed, Seattle’s government and police command rolled over and surrendered their officers and citizens to an expensive and unnecessary federal consent decree. Thus, a once nationally respected police department, lauded for its professionalism, ethics and innovation, nearly overnight, degraded into a translucent figure of its former self.
As a result, officer morale has fallen to nearly non-existent. My friends who are still active often tell me about some of the interesting consequences of the DOJ’s political extortion. These consequences are documented in this book. You’d be well advised to suspend any affinity you have for logic while reading the anecdotes.
When I decided to retire it had gotten to the point that I was simply not allowed to do the job I’d been trained to do. Instead, it felt as if I were being trained for some liberal circus act having to jump through social justice hoops. Combine that with the social justice proselytization, and it was time for me to go.
I did not write this book because I am retired. I would have gladly published it while I was active had time and opportunity been more fortuitous. However, I can’t ignore that exercising ones free speech rights can be tricky for law enforcement officers, as I learned the hard way back in 2011. Even before I left the department, I attempted to bring to light an officer’s perspective about what was happening in Seattle. I wanted to provide a voice from one of those directly affected by the changes. The final article I wrote for The Guardian was censored, which shocked me. I wasn’t allowed to publicize a lawsuit brought against the DOJ by over 125 officers.
In another attempt to provide an officer’s perspective on the issues directly affecting them, I submitted a similar article to the Seattle Times. After thirty-eight days of jumping through the Times’ liberal hoops, cutting the word count, completing several back and forth suggested edits, and citing with footnotes every item they asked for, the Times declined to publish citing “inaccuracies.” I found this humorous coming from such a bastion of accuracy as the Seattle Times. Apparently, I’d placed quotation marks around a couple words meant as sarcasm and had mistakenly written “NPR” instead of “PBS.” Yes. Really. That was it. So, if anyone ever tries to tell you the Seattle Times is interested in presenting various perspectives of an issue, think of these initials: B.S.
I encourage officers to speak their minds politically but also to keep in mind that police officers have certain special limitations, considerations and responsibilities due to their distinctive role in society. Though there can be ugly consequences to free speech: loss of promotion and special training or desired assignments among them, there come times when officers should and must speak out and if it comes to it say, “I will not comply.” If police officers, who are among America’s guardians of liberty, fail to speak out on behalf of Americans’ constitutional rights, who should?
One of my missions is to educate the public on some of the basics regarding what cops do and why—and why they deserve the public’s benefit of the doubt. American police departments fail miserably in educating the public about a police officer’s complex job. People also need to know the damage their city’s social justices are doing to their police departments by indoctrinating cops with leftist political ideology disguised as law enforcement training.
When a high-profile incident splashes into the media, rather than statements about how “uncomfortable” the officer’s use-of-force makes city officials feel, perhaps educating the public on what the officer faced and why he or she acted in such a manner would be more useful. Uses of force rarely look “good,” but sometimes they are unavoidable and need to be explained to the public so officers get the benefit of the doubt they deserve.
Today, the self-appointed social justices in too many places have embarked upon a sacred mission to replace equal justice, which honors the Constitution, with government-sponsored social justice, which mocks it. Through what I call social justice reeducation day camps, Seattle’s social justices are attempting to indoctrinate police officers in leftist political ideology. They’re not training cops in objectively improved law enforcement techniques or ideas, but in subjective, partisan political nonsense.
Federal, state, city, county, university and tribal agencies need to teach communities what their cops do and not teach the cops what the social justices feel cops should do. So, since they won’t teach you, I have picked up a few things during my many years on the streets. Perhaps, you’ll allow me to ramble a bit about being a right cop in a left city. I’ve got to know at least as much about law enforcement as some of the leftists who claim to know more about how cops should do their jobs than the cops who actually do it every day.
As you can see, there are many tangential and intersecting issues that affect police work. You can also see that society, if it leans too far to one political side or another, can damage law enforcement in a community. Again, de-policing isn’t something cops do to their communities; de-policing is something communities do to their cops.
Now, let’s move on to chapter one and learn a bit about what cops do—and why.