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  • He Died Today

    He Died Today



    After eight years on the job, and now back in patrol from a rotational detective assignment, Dave was OK with is career as a Police Officer. He had once been very proud to put on “the bag” as some of the old timers called the uniform. Now, not as much. In his short eight year career, he felt that the job had changed....a lot. Well, the job was the same, it was just that he felt the community did not respect or appreciate the reality that, every day, he might not come home at the end of his shift. The local free weekly newspaper had recently attacked his jobs benefits and proclaimed in an editorial that cops should not get the retirement benefits they do, stating they were “gaming the system” . Then there were the city officials who wanted a lower crime rate, but continuously cut the police budget. There were less cops on the street now than when he started eight years ago. Crime was up.

    In recent years, the first real attack was to ban the so-called stop and frisk procedure. They thought this was some oppressive new program designed just to harass minorities. Never mind that since Terry v Ohio, ruled upon many decades into the last century, the act of a peace officer detaining a person where the officer had reasonable suspicion to believe the person was engaged in or about to be engaged in a crime was completely constitutional. That same ruling allowed peace officers to pat down or “frisk” a person if they have reasonable suspicion they are armed and presently dangerous. So, “stop and frisk” is not new, but because many minority youths were detained, the pressure built politically to stop the “program”. It was stopped in many large cities, even though it is completely constitutional and actually, good police work It prevented crime and took armed individuals off the street. Dave knew this, but Dave stopped being proactive. He just wanted to work his job and go home at night. He didn’t detain minority individuals when he had reasonable suspicion to do so. He handled his calls and went home.

    Then most recently was the so called Ferguson incident. Dave followed the news and felt that a grand jury that spent months gaining sworn testimony from forensic experts and witnesses would result in a just ruling. When the jury declined to indict, he felt the depth of the investigation before an independent body would be enough for anyone to see that it was fair and impartial. Dave found out how wrong he was. It seems now a police officer cannot defend himself even when faced with force likely to kill him. The Attorney General and the President weighed in. The tenor of their public statements suggest strongly that policing and police officers in America are racist, and that changes have to come to law enforcement. “Hands Up!...Don’t Shoot! Is the cry of those who believe the Ferguson officer just gunned down the black teenager for no reason.

    Dave thought this was the last straw. He started looking around and found he could make twice the money and get better benefits in the private sector. Dave talked to his family and, although he loved police work, he accepted a private sector job and turned in his notice. So, on his last night on patrol, he planned to take it easy, handle his calls, and turn in his gear at the end of his shift. Then it happened. Dave got a call of a drive by shooting with a child shot. Dave was not primary on the call, but assigned to assist. A vehicle description was put out. Dave went to the main streets where the involved vehicle may have gone to flee from the shooting. Not long after he arrived in the area, Dave spotted a car closely matching the suspect vehicle. He also observed the car contained four minority males, as described by witnesses. All of the units were tied up at the scene, so Dave had no cover unit. He decided to stop this car anyway. Dave exercised all of the appropriate felony stop procedures. By the book. He activated his emergency lights, and the car immediately pulled to the curb. The driver was ordered by Dave to turn the car off, throw the ignition keys out the window ,and to open his door using the outside door handle. By the book.

    Dave didn’t do one thing he knew he should. He did not draw his duty weapon. He knew it was protocol for a felony stop, especially where weapons may be involved. Dave also knew officers had been subject to internal investigation for pointing their weapon at minority male citizens. Dave did not want to go out with a cloud, so Dave did not draw his weapon. The driver got out and refused to raise his hands or turn around and face away from Dave. Red Flag!. Dave ignored it, and ordered him to do so...still no compliance. BIG Red Flag. Dave still had not drawn his weapon. Dave was politically correct. Then it happened...The driver moved his right hand toward his waist. To Dave, it seemed like slow motion at the end of a tunnel. Dave yelled at him to stop....no compliance. In this altered slow motion state Dave was in he thought of the cops around the country whose life had been destroyed because they used deadly force to protect themselves from armed minority males. He thought of all the interviews, being placed on administrative leave for months, the hate the minority community spouted, the death threats to his family. All of this happened in less than one second. That is all the time Dave had to decide whether he faced deadly force and should use deadly force to protect himself. Dave hesitated while this was running through his mind. His hesitation was micro seconds.....but it was enough. Dave didn’t feel the bullet pierce his neck just above his body armor. It was like someone hit him with a hammer in the neck. Dave felt himself falling.

    It was all in slow motion as events passed like changing movie scenes. His family, his friends all a slow motion blur. Dave felt things turning dark and he was so cold. He heard the car he stopped speed away leaving him alone in the street. He thought about why he hesitated, why he did not follow procedures, and realized his hesitation cost him everything. And, as the blackness came over him, he saw his wife and kids again, and then they were gone.....and so was he.
    Last edited by LawyerCop; 12-02-2014, 05:44 PM.
    T.K.
    http://tonykoester.blogspot.com/

    "Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence" (Mr. Justice Stewart, Elkins v. United States 364 U.S. 206 (1960)

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  • #2
    Strong article. My friend's uncle use to say, he'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

    Comment


    • #3
      Great piece, Chief.
      "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

      Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

      Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

      Comment


      • #4
        Wow. This is so true. A week or two after the Ferguson shooting, I had a black male try to pull a gun on me while on a traffic stop. He actually had it in his lap, then bushed it to the side of his leg before he repeatedly tried to reach for it, even though I had my weapon out and nearly point blank. All I could think of was how the media would hang me. I put out an officer needs help and grabbed the guys arm, pulling him half out the window while keeping my gun on him with the other. It seemed like an hour before back up got there, but it was really only 84 seconds. Thank God it ended the way it did (no one hurt, convicted felon back in jail with a weapons charge, and a gun recovered), but it could have gone very bad, very quick. It is the only time in 6 years that I have knowingly hesitated to do something I KNEW I needed to do, and it almost got me killed.
        Originally posted by Ceridwen
        Just one would be stingy of me, I'd have to get two. For the children.

        Comment


        • #5
          I sure hope that's not based on a true story.

          Glad to hear you're ok DKW. Unfortunately, I bet a lot of our brothers will be having similar experiences in the future


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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          • #6
            What is so upsetting about this piece....is that many of us are doing just that because of the political witch hunt sponsored by the Chairman and his co-conspirators.
            September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by So Fla Cop View Post
              What is so upsetting about this piece....is that many of us are doing just that because of the political witch hunt sponsored by the Chairman and his co-conspirators.
              That is correct. My purpose for this piece was to hopefully get the troops to recognize they are thinking about this crap and not following their training. If only for a micro second, it can get you killed
              T.K.
              http://tonykoester.blogspot.com/

              "Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence" (Mr. Justice Stewart, Elkins v. United States 364 U.S. 206 (1960)

              sigpic

              Comment


              • #8
                A sobering reminder

                Comment

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