Losing Touch with Police Bashing

Out of touch?

Every once in a while, I wonder if I’m getting out of touch with police bashing and other issues since I’m no longer on the job as an active cop. Not having to face the BS daily, I wonder if things might be getting better. Maybe I’m not as cynical as I think. (Anything is possible). I think: perhaps, some sanity has seeped into the liberal cabals. And then life provides me a sobering slap in the face.

Anti-police bias.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of chatting in a coffee shop with two cops each from neighboring [to Seattle] police agencies. Both are sergeants with many years of experience. One I’ve known for years, the other I’d just met. They expressed their concerns about policing today. Both spoke of the anti-police bias held by so many in the left wing of politics. They wondered how groups (such as Black Lives Matter) with such a blatant predispositions against cops could be so influential in a mainstream world (easy, they have the Democrats—and the media).

Cops today hesitate.

They spoke of being frustrated with the nonsense being taught to cops today, such as the emphasis on “crisis intervention training” for dealing with the mentally ill. We agreed, cops need to act based on an individual’s actions, not on what ancillary afflictions he or she may or may not have. They lamented police academy students and student officers who hesitate during mock scenes (scenario-based training), when placed in a position where force is necessary. Hesitation kills. Now, you probably didn’t hear that here first. That’s because it’s common sense—or it should be.

“Glad we’re not SPD.”

What struck me most were their comments regarding the Seattle Police Department. Neither of them blamed me for retiring as soon as I could but long before I had to. In fact, they wondered how I lasted as long as I did. One of the sergeants said, “SPD is the department we [surrounding agencies] are supposed to look up to. Now, we’re just glad we’re not you guys.”

No secret what the DOJ did to the SPD.

I was surprised at how in command of SPD issues they were regarding the department’s decline. One of the sergeants said, “It’s amazing how the DOJ could come in, not validate their negative findings, and then implement “fixes” that destroyed the SPD.” Yes, he used the word “destroy” (and the sergeant doesn’t even read this blog—but he or she will now that he or she knows about it).

Educating the public about what cops do.

These police supervisors confirmed for me things are still as bad for law enforcement as they’ve ever been. Part of the problem, which I’ve mentioned so often, is that law enforcement is awful at educating the public about what they do. However, that can’t all be put on your average police officer. After all, street cops normally deal with people individually or in small groups. It should be up to the people who run police agencies to educate the public. They are the people who have the “microphones.” Unfortunately, any police chief, as an appointed official—in Seattle, appointed by the mayor and city council, is likely to “educate” the public akin to how a liberal mayor would. And we’re seeing the results of that. Instead of teaching why the police had to do what they did, city leaders too often teach people that the police were wrong even when they weren’t.

Return to police bashing.

Perhaps, part of why I start to think things might be getting better for cops is when there happens to be a lull in police bashing because of some other media distraction. I just have to remind myself that the political left and media will always get back to “bad” cops, eventually.

 

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  1. Matt says:

    Is it really the Black Lives Matter group that has become so influential in the mainstream world, or the continuous stream of videos of black men being shot?

    In my view it’s the videos that are disturbing the average American, not the protests. The latest out of Chicago is probably the worst I’ve seen, and sounds an awful lot like an attempted cover up. I’m all for cameras as a way to rebuild trust. It may not be perfect, but at least there is some evidence to protect both sides from false statements.

    • Steve Pomper says:

      Matt, I’m curious about the “continuous stream” you talk about. I suppose with the 24/7 news cycle, it can seem like a stream. I’d suggest you check out the federal stats–they don’t back a “continuous stream of black men being shot.” And, of the black (or any other race, for that matter) men who are shot by police, how many are actual criminals whose actions required the officer to use deadly force? I’d argue, the vast majority. Thanks for your thoughtful comments and for reading.

  2. Matt says:

    I don’t watch much news, it’s all garbage, but a video seems to surface every few weeks nowadays. In the last year+ some videos I’ve seen: John Crawford III (shot in Walmart while holding a BB gun), Tamir Rice (12yo kid with toy gun shot in Cleveland), Levar Jones (shot while reaching for ID in traffic stop, after being requested to do so), Jeremy McDole (guy in wheel chair in Delaware), Walter Scott (traffic stop, tazed, ran and was shot, officer planted tazer next to body and claimed Scott had attacked him), Samuel DeBose (traffic stop, unarmed), Jason Harrison (mentally ill, held screwdriver), Laquan McDonald (recent Chicago case, shot 16 times while walking away from police), and another video yesterday in San Fransisco, of a guy with a knife trying to shuffle away being shot by multiple officers.

    Bear in mind, I am not saying all these guys are innocent. Often we don’t have the proper context to understand the mentality of everyone involved and people jump the gun. But often there are also cases where you have to ask yourself, did it really need to go that way? I haven’t seen you write about it, but I’m sure you’ve seen a few questionable encounters.

    The argument isn’t: ALL of these shootings were unnecessary. The argument is: SOME of them are, and without cameras the victim has no recourse. In other words, I’m concerned about a very small % of shootings, not the majority.

    Regarding the stats, my understanding is the FBI and fed numbers are incomplete, as states are not actually mandated to submit the information. I use the Guardian’s “The Counted” interactive website (http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database#) which lists 266 blacks killed so far in 2015, and a per capita rate of 6.32/million vs 2.65/million for whites.

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