Damned if you don’t…

In a city that consistently ranks as one of the most violent in the country, if not the world, this is what today’s online paper looks like:

The top story on the front page of the most read website in St. Louis is about a cop giving a fist bump to a motorcyclist on Natural Bridge Blvd.

If that road sounds familiar to you, even those of you who’ve never been to St. Louis, it’s because you’ve maybe heard it in a Nelly or other rapper’s song, or you may have read that it’s one of the most dangerous streets in the country.

Murder after murder and shooting after shooting, none of it creates more than a blip on the local media scene, because dead young people is old news.

We’ve grown accustomed and oblivious to the fact that a couple of hundred young men and women will die on our city streets alone at the hands of violence, and we honestly couldn’t collectively care less, as long as it’s not a police officer who is the “killer.”

Those damned police officers. I guess we make for good ratings.

Every Sunday, when the weather is nice, hundreds of people take to the streets in their cars, motorcycles and even their ATV’s, and cruise all around the north city and downtown areas.

The cruisers are loud, oftentimes armed, and almost always end their night with somebody getting shot or killed over something stupid. It has been a headache for police officers in St. Louis City for every bit of the almost 20 years I’ve been a cop, and nothing has changed other than it’s gotten worse.

It’s gotten worse in part because police officers aren’t allowed to enforce the law by chasing down those who choose to break them, and the “bad guys” know this.

When a police officer in the city gets behind a car and turns the lights on, there’s a 50/50 chance the car will stop. If that car is a sport bike, those odds go down in the officer’s favor tremendously.

To be quite honest, I don’t even waste my time trying to stop them when I see them break a traffic law now, and I’m sure this officer feels the same way. In a best case scenario, the biker takes off and maybe crashes into something hard, hopefully not injuring himself too badly, so he or she can be ticketed and arrested. An ambulance has to show up to take him to the hospital, and then officers will have to sit with the biker until a doctor declares them fit for confinement. It’s a lot of resources being used to enforce a traffic violation.

In a suburb or small town, that’s great.

In the City of St. Louis, we simply don’t have time for this. We don’t have time to chase bikers and cruisers around, especially when the odds are great that our state prosecutor, not only won’t issue any charges against the offending biker, but would bend over backwards to find a way to charge a police officer criminally, should a biker kill himself or god forbid, somebody else.

I’m not condoning fist bumping the biker, but an officer trying to be cool with somebody who presumably doesn’t like him is what we’re all about now. Building bridges and all that feel good crap, right?

Where there’s one sport bike, there are many. Turning lights on and causing bikes to race off in various directions at high speeds is not a better alternative to doing nothing.

Monday morning quarterbacking from people who’ve never answered a 911 call is tiresome to witness over and over again.

“I would’ve done this…” or “He shoulda done that…” Ya know what?

Shut up.

If you’ve never pursued another car on city streets, you have no idea what you’re talking about. It’s the most dangerous thing that we as officers can do, and it’s a last resort reserved only for the most violent of offenders.

That wasn’t a decision made by a police officer.

No, we actually love to chase cars. The decision not to allow pursuits, and it’s probably the right one, up to a certain extent, was made because that’s what society has decided it wants, either explicitly or via large judgements in courts of law across the country against officers and departments who are involved in pursuits that end in injury or death

Losing money causes change, and now, we don’t chase people.

That the local newspaper has thrown it on it’s online version’s front page should be more of a reckoning as to what passes for news nowadays than the perception that city officers, or this one specifically, did something wrong.

Viral videos shared by others on FB or Twitter is one thing, but viral content sharing being passed on as journalism is putrid. I’m not suggesting that the Post is wrong to share the story, but the way it’s presented is antagonistic against city officers, and that’s what the goal is. The paper loves to have a lively group of pro versus anti police readers clicking away on their website. It’s trash journalism, but it’s apparently where we are today.

This officer was in a no-win situation. He knew these bikers weren’t going to stop. We all know that. Why risk injury or death or even just the embarrassment of having bikers race off on you only so you can turn your lights off and carry on in your travels?

While the commenting is certainly entertaining, at the end of the day, the problem won’t be solved until somebody decides to put their foot down.

I don’t have the answer to what that is when it comes to keeping sport bikes from doing stunts on busy roads, but I know that if I have a choice today between fist bumping a wheelie rider or chasing him until somebody crashes and I lose my job, then I’ll be sticking my fist out the window next time as well.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Apathetic is pathetic…


It doesn’t seem so long ago that death was something shocking and emotional.

What happened to us?

Several months ago I responded to a house for a baby in distress, but by the time I had arrived, there was no more distress.

The baby was dead.

A formerly healthy two month old baby was dressed in her onesie, laying on her back with her arms to her side, eyes closed as if she was asleep. One could imagine she was asleep, without having to use much imagination.

As teams of first responders made their way through the house, the mother, a teenager herself, pecked away on her phone with enough seeming disinterest that part of me wanted to slap her upside her head. The baby’s grandfather couldn’t wait for all of us to leave, because he had to water his flowers. He left at one point to go and buy a bag of chips, all while this little person who lived with them for two months laid dead in a bed upstairs.

A few weeks later, we got what has become a dime a dozen call these days, an overdose.

Heroin is a hell of a drug, and its contribution to the death toll in the St. Louis region isn’t insignificant.

This particular woman was also on her back, arms to her side and eyes closed. There was no pretending that she was asleep though. Her pale and bloated body was on the floor of the disgusting apartment she shared with her drug addict boyfriend. Dressed in nothing but her purple panties, her contorted face tried in vain to share the horrors of what her last few minutes on earth, as she realized she was dying, must have been like.

The boyfriend’s convoluted story about what happened to his girlfriend were also significantly lacking in empathy or sorrow for the woman he allegedly loved. His emotions all centered around the possibility that he was about to be in a heap of trouble, with no hint of concern over the death of this woman.

Accidental deaths and deaths from drugs and violence, especially gun violence, is nothing new.

The types of drugs change, as do the players and the reasons for the violence, but the one thing that society could deal with for years was that most of the issues surrounding drugs and violence were other peoples’ concern.

Poor people, usually.

Druggies were people who lived on the streets, maybe they were hippies or high school drop outs. Violence was mostly afflicted upon people who didn’t have clean hands themselves. Mob and gang violence was mostly reserved for other mobsters and gangsters. People who were buying or selling drugs should know the dangers of such activities.

Shame on them, we could all say from suburbia as we stockpiled our guns and worry just in case one of these crazies tried to come into our homes.

As the drugs and violence spread into suburbia, laws were changed to protect the kids. Suburban kids had joined the homeless and high school drop-outs as everyday drug users.

To protect our new suburban drug addicts, drug laws became looser, even going so far as to incentivize calling 911 for help, should one of your loved ones find himself overdosing on heroin. In Missouri, if you call for help on behalf of a person overdosing on drugs, and drugs are found on them or somebody nearby, they can’t be arrested. The idea that we want people to call for help instead of worrying about going to jail and letting another human being die instead, isn’t a bad one, but let’s not pretend it didn’t take white kids in the suburbs becoming the drug addicts to change the rules of the game.

The violence that often follows drugs has also made its way into suburbia, not only into suburbia, but into the most trusted of places in our communities, our schools.

School gun violence was never even an afterthought when I was a kid.

I remember in junior high that one of the bussed city students was dismissed from school for having a gun in his locker. He used to sell us baggies of bubble gum, which we weren’t allowed to have in school, so his sudden absence was noticed.

I doubt a letter was sent to our parents, and it never occurred to any of us that he ever intended to use it against another person.

Our junior high student body had a fight date every Friday after school. If two people got into it, they would agree to fist fight each other behind the nearby McDonald’s. Sometimes, other kids would choose sides and it would turn into quite a rumble, but nobody ever died and by Monday, we had all forgotten what we were mad about on Friday.

Today, fights are too often settled with guns, and those that are settled with fists are videoed and posted online and talked about incessantly, so that it is next to impossible for today’s kids to forget on Monday why they were mad on Friday.

Kids have always had cliques with other, similar kids in school.

The jocks and cool kids hung out with like minded friends, as did the nerds and goth kids and all the other different groups that I’m sure still exist today.

The popular kids did their thing and the less popular or social kids did theirs. On Mondays, the less popular kids may have learned that there was a big party they weren’t invited to, but it could be shrugged off, because they didn’t necessarily know what they were missing. The nerds or “weird” kids did their thing on the weekends, and nobody cared or gave them grief.

Today’s kids know what they missed at the party they weren’t invited to because they see it on Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat or whatever app that these kids know how to use that adults don’t. The things that weird kids do to make them weird are likewise shared online, meant to tease them as a joke, but oftentimes, they go viral and that joke ends up more hurtful than we could ever know to those private kids.

Bullying is a big deal nowadays because it often leads to suicides, and even violence.

Seventeen people were killed in a high school in Florida last week, and if you read most of what can be found online, very little of the response has to do with empathy, sympathy or love for each other.

Most of it is vitriol and politics.

Extremists on both sides of the political spectrum are yelling and shouting nonsense at each other, and it’s causing those of us in the middle to tune it out.

We have become apathetic, even to death in our schools.

Our childrens’ schools.

I think the kids have noticed this and have come to the conclusion, rightfully, that if things are going to change, then it’s up to them.

Watching empassioned kids articulably plead for their futures is encouraging.

How we as adults can’t draw the line at kids being murdered in the streets, and especially in schools, is mind boggling, but not surprising. In a society where Nazis have made a resurgence and racism is proudly trumpeted in public, any asinine occurrence is possible, especially anything that lacks logic and reason.

More guns in schools is one such illogical and unreasoned potential occurrence.

Arming teachers or custodians with guns literally makes a bad problem worse by introducing guns where they weren’t before.

There is no argument, no matter how passionate you are about whether or not gun possession is your God given right, that guns make it easier to kill people.

Don’t even try.

AR-15s are fun to shoot.

I’ve shot them at targets and it really is a rush, but they are meant for killing, and they do it well.

These sorts of rifles are not only popular with rural/suburban school shooters, but also with the murder suspects in many urban neighborhoods.

Victims shot by most handguns, assuming the bullet doesn’t go through their brain or heart, actually stand a pretty good chance of surviving, if they make it to a decent trauma center.

These same victims, shot by rounds from an AR, are normally less likely to survive. The damage is exacerbated by the speed and strength of the round.

That’s why the homicide rate has gone up in so many cities recently. The firearm used now isn’t a .22 or a .9mm. ARs are turning yesterday’s “assault” charges into today’s homicides because the victims are dying more often as a result of being shot.

The rounds will more easily go through doors and cars and even a police officer’s bullet proof vest, because that’s what they’re made to do.

The idea that Mrs. Brooks, my amazing 3rd grade teacher, could match a madman’s rush with an AR-15, with any sort of firearm she might carry, makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

It’s such a stupid idea that when I asked my eight year old what the thought, he literally said, “That’s stupid,” when I asked him if he thought it would make the school safer for him if Mrs. B. Had a gun in the classroom.

Don’t ask me what the answer is, because law enforcement spoke fifteen years ago when we didn’t want the assault rifle ban lifted. We said that we would be outgunned, and we are. We are outgunned everyday, and we have SWAT officers to help back us up.

Arming teachers with anything less than hours and hours of training each year, along with firearms equal to or more powerful than what the bad guys are all using is a waste.

At the end of the day, who will benefit from more guns and ammo and training for teachers?

The gun people will.

The NRA.

Let’s make this decision on our own, people, without money or profits or whatever clouding our judgement. I mean, if we can’t come together to protect our own kids, then fuck us all. We’re awful and useless.

I think these Parkland kids and kids all around the country see that we adults can’t be trusted, and they’re right.

Godspeed, kids. May your lack of apathy make a difference.


As a reminder that gun violence against kids isn’t just a “school shooting” problem, here’s a photo of a six year old’s blood all over the shirt of a good friend of mine. The boy was shot with a smaller caliber bullet, and still died after bleeding all over the shirt of this officer who tried to save him. Imagine this blood times 17, and if you can’t be moved to help do something to fix this, then we’re all screwed.

Posted in Police Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 41 Comments

City blocks…

A few weeks ago, I was flagged down by a pretty little girl in the Gravois Park Neighborhood of South St. Louis.

It was maybe 8:30 in the morning and she was wearing a back pack as she stood on the corner of an intersection where very recently a man had been shot and killed.

“What’s up, young lady?” I asked.

“I think I missed my bus.” She said.

I laughed. “You think you did?”

“I did miss it. I know I did.”

“Do you want me to take you to school?” I offered.

“Can you drive me to my house?” She asked instead.

“Sure, kid. How old are you?”


“Oh wow,” I said. “You’re right in the middle of my two boys. One of them is six and one of them is eight.”

She looked at me puzzled as she climbed into the police Tahoe.

“You have kids?” She finally asked as she settled in and put her seatbelt on. Kids often seemed shocked that police officers have kids of their own for some reason. Like with teachers, I guess.

“Yes ma’am I do. Those two little boys and a beautiful daughter like you, but my daughter is a teenager. Yikes, right?”

Unimpressed with my attempt at humor, she pointed north and said that her house was that way.

We called her house on the way and I told her older sister that I was bringing my new friend home because she’d missed her bus.

I made my way slowly up the state street she lived on, expecting that she would say to stop very shortly after I began moving. Instead, she just looked ahead through the windshield.

“Keep going,” she said. “I’ll tell you when we’re close.”

I gave her the puzzled look now and started driving north.

“Do you know your address?” I asked. “What are the numbers?”

She said that she didn’t know the numbers because she’d just moved there recently.

We drove up one block, and then another.

I stepped over the corpse of a woman who just died in that house two days ago from a drug overdose. She was one month pregnant.

Crap, I suddenly thought. Did I just say that out loud?

My passenger was still staring straight ahead, hands clasped in her lap.

Good deal, I thought. That was an inside voice.

Another block passed and another crime scene came to mind, this time an armed robbery, a carjacked pizza delivery guy. Nobody was hurt. That was just a few months earlier.

The next block, it was a shooting victim. The man who was shot lived, in spite of being shot three times in his torso in the middle of the afternoon of a nice summer Saturday.

I wondered what my passenger was doing that day the man was shot. Maybe she was playing in a nearby park or playground. Maybe she heard the shots. Maybe her mother heard them and they all took cover in their living room.

That’s a sad reality for a lot of inner-city residents.

I sighed to myself.

Two more blocks. Two more crimes.

These were petty crimes.

Petty for the Gravois Park Neighborhood anyway.

A stolen car.

Shots fired into a vacant house.

No big deal, those two.

Another block. At the stop sign I see what I recognize to be spent shell casings at the curb. They look to have been there for a while.

City kids kick spent shell casings around like country kids kick rocks. It’s sad.

Up ahead, our path is blocked by a car with its flashers on. It’s in the middle of the road facing north, the same direction we are traveling, and there’s another car facing south. Both with their hoods up.

We stop and a woman walks to my open window.

She’s sort of dressed up, but sort of a mess, like maybe she had a long night out the night before.

Oh officer, she says. I’m so sorry.

She looks at the little girl. “Is she okay?”

“This is my daughter,” I said. “I’m taking her to school. Why wouldn’t she be okay?”

The woman, who is black, looks at me incredulously, and then looks to the little girl in the passenger seat, who is also very much black, and shakes her head.

I see my passenger smile, or maybe smirk, as she turns from me to stare out the windshield again.

She’s stifling a laugh.

The woman out my window touches my arm as it rests on the door.

“Don’t judge me, but I ran out of gas.”

“I’m not judging you, ma’am. Certainly not for that.”

I stare at her for a few moments and then look to my passenger. She’s looking at me now, clearly confused.

“I’m confused too, I tell the little girl.”

“My neighbor over there is trying to help me out,” the woman says. “I don’t know anything about cars outside of making them go.”

I look at the woman and then the little girl. She’s looking at the woman outside my window as well.

“What?” The woman finally asks.

“You ran out of gas? Are you sure that’s what happened?”

“Yes,” she said. “I ran out of gas.”

We looked at each other a bit longer, perhaps waiting for the other to say something helpful, but nothing came out of our mouths that was helpful in the least bit.

Finally, I told the woman that she seemed to have everything under control, and that I needed to get my “daughter” to school, so I would turn around and let her get her car moved with her neighbor and be on her way.

We turned around and drove past the shell casings and bullet riddled vacant house again, and made a right turn and then another right up a different state street.

We made it to the next block and turned right past what used to be a gas station.

A man killed his wife several years ago in the street here. He stabbed her to death. Another person was killed right here too, and this gas station was set on fire.

Inside thoughts.

We turned left back onto the little girl’s street and waved to the ladies with their car hoods open. The woman who talked to us briefly waved back. She had a gas can in her hand.

“Hey officer?” The little girl had a question.

“Why did they have their hoods up? The gas doesn’t go there, right?”

“You’re pretty smart,” I said. “Who knows what’s going on there. We deal with a lot of that sort of silliness.”

The girl flashed her pretty smile and then turned back to stare out the windshield.

I continued north.

“You’re pretty sharp, young lady. You should think about being a police officer. We need some smart people instead of the dummies we have now.”

She turned to look at me.

“Dummies like me,” I finished.

The girl laughed and said, without missing a beat, “No way.”

“It’s too dangerous and people don’t like the police.”

She’s not wrong, I thought, as we drove past a house where I had one of my very first ever resisting arrests. That was over fifteen years ago.

It seems odd, but I remember the address still.

There was nothing to it, really. The officer I was with wanted to arrest a man who had assaulted his niece, and I had chased him into a backyard and tackled him.

I pointed to the house and said, out loud.

“I wrestled a man in that back yard one time, way before you were born.”

She looked out her window towards the house. “What did he do?”

“He beat up his niece. She was only a few years older than you. I think she was ten.”

“That’s terrible,” she said.

“It was, yes. He wasn’t a nice man,” I answered.

I told her about how I had to mace that man and we landed inches from the mouth of a snarling pit bull who was chained up to a dog house. That dog was just itching to bite somebody.

I told her how other police officers responded because there was an “aid call” and we always come to help those in need.

We also laughed when I told her about how one of the police dogs who showed up bit my boss on the hand because he got too close to its mouth.

I drove forward in silence for three more blocks. Each block brought back a recollection of something bad that happened while patrolling over ten years in this girl’s neighborhood.

I wondered if the people who lived nearby knew of even half the things that happen while they’re away or asleep or inside watching television.

The little girl finally pointed me to a house she said was hers and I pulled to the curb.

She grabbed the door handle and looked at me for a minute.

“Did you win?” She finally asked.

“What? Did I win what?” I was confused.

“When you wrestled that man, did you win?” The seemingly genuine concern on her face was sweet.

“I’m here, right? The police always win versus the bad guys. You remember that, okay.”

“Okay, thank you.” She said.

After she got out and closed the door, I quickly rolled down the passenger side window and called to her, before she got to her steps.

We’d just driven well over ten city blocks in what is one of the harshest neighborhoods in all of St. Louis City, certainly outside of North St. Louis, where the violence is epic, and I wanted to know how she got to her bus stop everyday, so I asked her.

She seemed taken aback, like it was a dumb question, but she answered anyway.

“I walk to my bus stop.”

She turned to go inside, but before she opened the door, she turned back to me and, perhaps because she sensed I was appalled, said, “I don’t have to walk home in the dark after school though. I get a ride.”

With that, she went inside her house.

I drove off and thought of that little girl, and all of the other city kids I see playing at bus stops, and wonder how many blocks each of them has to walk to get to a bus stop.

How many drug houses and homicide scenes have these kids unknowingly, or maybe knowingly, traversed from their homes to their bus stops?

I thought of those kids this morning, as I looked outside at my own kids at their bus stop.

I can see it from my house.

There are no drug houses or homicide scenes or bullet riddled houses along the way.

I’m thankful that policing has offered me enough, even if I must work numerous side jobs, that I can provide this environment for my family, but I’m also thankful that it’s allowed me to see how others live, and what they have to endure to do something that seems so simple, like catching a bus to school.

Posted in Police Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

United we fall…

Unless you’re living under a rock, and if you’re reading this I assume that’s not the case, you’re familiar with the United Airlines PR disaster from yesterday.

Long story short, United did what many airlines brazenly do, overbooked a flight, and as often happens, it bit them in the ass when everybody showed up. While cramming every single seat with a body into the tight confines of an airplane cabin is no problem, four United employees suddenly “had” to catch that particular flight to be somewhere as well, alas there were no empty seats for them to use. Their time was apparently more urgent than the probably hundred or so other passengers who also needed to be somewhere, passengers who paid for the honor of flying United, and so passengers were asked to give up their seats in exchange for airline vouchers and a hotel room.

Nobody wanted a voucher to fly later, so a good old fashioned stalemate ensued.

Now this here is the point where somebody with a brain in his or her head needed to come up with a solution before things went south in a hurry.

Here were the options, as I see them:

  1. United sweetens the deal until four people finally agree that they will trade their seats for the offer to do so, because everyone has a price, or
  2. United employees understand that the plane is full of paying passengers already and tells their four special little flyers that THEY have to wait and either fly on the next plane to Louisville, or utilize some means in United’s vast array of resources to get where they need to go, and
  3. DO NOT, under any circumstance, call the police to get involved in a non-criminal incident.

United decided to use some arbitrary system that apparently chose four passengers at random to be removed from the plane. As everyone on the planet outside of United employees can imagine, the four people chosen, who had just moments prior refused to volunteer to leave, were none too pleased to be told they were not allowed to fly on the flight they paid for already.

One couple chosen begrudgingly left the plane, but contestant number three, an Asian doctor, refused to budge. He claimed that he had patients to see the next day, and insisted that he was only chosen because he was Asian.

Ah, the race card…

I’m giving United the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t chosen because he was Asian, but either way, he had every right to be pissed off, and he was.

He was not leaving that plane……now what?

Again, United found itself in a potential pissing match with one of its customers and needed to make an intelligent decision to keep from upsetting all the people watching this go down.

How important were these four employees who needed to get to Louisville?

They were clearly more important than the paying customers, because instead of sweetening the deal to gain voluntary compliance, the police were called.


Again, how difficult would it have been to get four people to volunteer to leave that plane? I’d have done it for all the Bud Light Lime I could handle at an airport bar, a hotel room to crash for the night and enough cash to buy a slinger and coffee in the morning.

Surely, somebody on that plane could have been bought out of their seat, right?

We’ll never know what that price was, because instead of further bargaining, United drew a line in the sand and brought in the law. They told the law that the intractable doctor HAD to go.

I can assure you, as a police officer for nearly two decades, that people who don’t want to go somewhere and who feel strongly that they shouldn’t have to, are the absolute worst people in the world to deal with.

At least people who break the law and don’t want to go to jail know that they’ve broken the law, and while they may fight a little bit, at the end of the day, they know they’re wrong and have to go.

People who are sick, mentally especially, and who have to go to the hospital for their own safety, are a good example of folks who don’t feel as though they should be forced to go against their will, and will fight you HARD to keep from being removed against their will.

This doctor no doubt believed that he was within his rights to not be removed from this plane, even when told by a police officer that he had to go. That never works out well.

I can’t speak as to the law as it relates to airlines, and it’s possible that the doctor was in violation of some law by not leaving, but either way, there was no hurry that required grabbing this man and dragging him off of a plane.

There was another way to handle this.

There had to be.

Instead, the good doctor remained stubborn and was dragged literally, off of the plane.

It was third world country looking bullshit, and was 100% avoidable.

To his credit, the doctor wasn’t fighting, he was simply being passive aggressive/non-compliant – pouty even. His recourse was to leave and take it up with a grievance or complaint, but the reality is that his complaints would have fallen on deaf ears.

I am completely of the mind that this doctor’s time was no more valuable than a teacher’s who needed to get to a classroom the next day, or a grandma, who wanted to see her out of town grandchildren the next day. His occupation is irrelevant to me.

Passengers, such as this woman below on the right, were understandably appalled.


Do you know what though?

Nobody on that plane was appalled enough to say, “Wait, wait, officers. Here, just let this man have my seat. I’ll give my seat up to end this madness.”


Everybody either sat there in silence thanking God it wasn’t their name drawn randomly, or videoed this ordeal on their phones completely oblivious to any thought of doing something to make this matter right.

After the madness, the four United employees took seats that we can only assume they felt entitled to, and had an uncomfortable flight amid incredulous passengers.

This whole clusterfuck was United’s fault, but we’ve let this become our norm.

Massive corporations know that they will make their money due to the quantity of available customers, so they have very little incentive to get to know their customers’ needs and cater to them.

There are a limited number of airlines, so United doesn’t care that you don’t like them today. There are enough people out there who will still fly United.

You see this same treatment by the giant cable/internet companies. Customer service is a perfunctory act where you complain and gripe and the rep on the other end of the line, “Steve” from New Delhi makes a jerking off motion while telling you that $189 a month is the best he can do for you.

It’s ridiculous, but we’ve allowed it to happen.

We’ve also allowed our police officers to be the go to for everything in society that needs fixing, whether it’s criminal or not.

That also must stop.

We “joke” with the recruits that they can expect to play many roles once they hit the streets. They’ll be asked to do the job of a police officer, teacher, doctor, social worker, therapist, psychologist, animal catcher, fire fighter, mechanic and on and on.

We joke about it, but at the end of the day, it’s not funny.

We’re paid, and more importantly, trained, to be police officers. We catch law violators and participate in programs that hopefully prevent future violations.

The problem on that plane is that had the officers simply said, “Look, you guys have a civil matter here. Call us back when a crime has been committed. Bye,” they’d have been in trouble just as they’ll find themselves in trouble now for using what looks like unnecessary force.

They were put in a no-win situation.

Police officers can’t be arbitrators for all of society’s problems.

We can’t be the strong arm of corporations or people with power to get recalcitrant people to obey a contract or some societal expectation that isn’t a criminal law violation.

That’s how we as police officers become associated with what’s wrong in society and we lose the public’s trust.


Posted in Police, The not meant to be funny stuff, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments

Dear Trent & Tyson (Daddy is a Hero),

Originally posted on The Pleasant Farm:
? Dear Trent & Tyson (Daddy is a Hero), Whoa.? To say the last two days have been a whirlwind would be a ginormous understatement.? I don’t know how much you can understand at…

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Post ferguson lessons still not learned…

I was cleaning out my drafts folder a little bit when I came across this post. I was asked by CNN to write a post for them a couple of years ago, I think during the Fersuson rioting, and either I never sent it to them or, more likely, I did and they didn’t use it. Either way, it’s pretty clear that my hope here for things to get better not only between the police and citizens, but among all citizens, is not only not happening , but are unbelievably, getting worse.


I’ve not intentionally sat down to watch more than five or ten minutes of news coverage about Ferguson since Michael Brown was shot.

He was laid to rest on Monday, and I didn’t watch that either.

What little I have seen has come from social media or other readable sources. I just can’t bear to watch people with agendas, people who will never accept that their opinion isn’t 100% correct, feuding with other people who have agendas and will never accept that their opposing opinion isn’t also 100% correct.

If you’re reading this, then it was published, which means I guess I have an agenda as well, but I promise I’m at least open to hearing every side of an issue. My agenda, as it were, is for peace. It’s for simple things like being able to drive a patrol car down a city street and exchange a wave or a pleasant smile, instead of angry glares, with people I’ve sworn to serve and protect.

How do we do that? How do we get to that point?

Let’s start by learning something from the events in Ferguson. We’re all eager to get over the ugliness of the past three weeks, but shame on us, if we don’t take away some lessons from the mess. Ferguson is about much more than Michael Brown and Darren Wilson. It’s a culmination of things that have been simmering for a long time. What finally boiled over in violence in Ferguson isn’t about a single incident or even a few incidents, it’s about decades of things not getting better for the poorest in America, while things continue to improve for the wealthiest.

It’s about how many black people, especially parents, feel they or their children are perceived and treated by the police. Their beliefs can’t be marginalized or ignored as unrooted in reality hysteria. Too many people have similar stories for that to be the case, people of color from all walks of life. 

It’s about whether or not the militarization of police in this country is necessary, or even real. It’s about the hundreds of thousands of honorable police officers in the United States who do a difficult job with honor and integrity and pride, those who never make the news for the hundreds of thousands of calls they handle each year that end without an ugly incident. It’s about people losing friends on social media or at work because they can’t agree to disagree when the issue has any tint of race involved. It’s about blacks and whites and Democrats and Republicans and Liberals and Conservatives and us and them.

It’s about you and it’s about me.

It’s about our kids.

It’s about all of us.

We as Americans need to learn from this horrible incident and make positive changes to help us not only to heal, but to move forward as a nation of civilized human beings.

What can we learn? Let’s start with these discussion points.

1. The police are here to stay. Law enforcement isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Like us or not, we serve an important role in society. Go to any neighborhood meeting in any large city in America, and safety is somewhere on the agenda.

Law abiding citizens have a right to know what the police are doing and to have a say in how we go about doing it. The police, in turn, have a right to expect support from the law abiding citizens in their community, and to be equipped with tools sufficient enough to go about doing a very dangerous job so that we can go home safely at the end of every shift.

The police have big guns because the bad guys have big guns. Take care of the latter issue and we’ll listen to your complaints about what we have in our arsenal. I have access to a 9 mm Beretta pistol, and either a shotgun or 9 mm carbine rifle, depending on which car I’m in on any given day. The rifle is rarely ever taken from the car by most officers. The high octane equipment everyone is up in arms about (pun intended) is used by specialized units and for special circumstances only. They are an unfortunate necessity in a terribly violent world.

2. Race is an issue. When I see a person standing on a street corner, of course I notice whether or not they’re black or white, just as I notice whether or not they are a man or a woman. Police officers are trained to notice these sorts of things and make decisions based on these observations. Where I patrol, over 90%, maybe more, of the population is black. In the district where I patrol, we do have many black officers, but it’s not 90%. The racial make up of the police officers in any given district isn’t a perfect representation of the area they serve. Just as I notice the color of the person I’m dealing with, citizens are equally aware and interested in the race of the officer who they’re encountering as well.

If citizens, both black and white, aren’t trusting police officers based solely on their skin color, then the problem is not one of police versus society that we as a police department can fix, it’s a problem of whites and blacks in general, and how we’re not doing a good enough job of getting to understand one another.

I like to think I’m an okay police officer, and I can be a lot of things as an officer. I can be fair, calm, empathetic, polite, concerned, brave, strong, whatever you as a citizen need, but I can’t be black.

I just can’t. I can’t be black or gay or a woman or Muslim or any of the myriad things that some people want in a police officer standing in front of them at any given time. We aren’t Burger King, so you can’t have it your way, unfortunately. You get the officer we send, there are generally no substitutions.

If certain citizens in black communities want all black officers, regardless of talent, then I can’t be that officer for you. I work for a department that does have a large number of minority officers, so we’re blessed in that respect. I understand the desire for the department in Ferguson to more closely mirror the demographics of the entire community. Officers from the communities they serve are bound to be better in tune with the people they protect, but there’s something wrong with a person who would take a rude officer who shared their skin color over a truly eager to help officer with a different complexion than theirs. That works both ways, as many white citizens I’ve encountered over the years have expressed disgust at having black officers show up to their calls in the past.

3. The police aren’t the root of the problem. Police officers have become and unfair symbol of all that is wrong in society. It’s easy to blame the police for a lot of the ills in society, because we’re the ones on the streets dealing with the people first hand. A lot of the laws passed by city, state and federal leaders are, quite frankly, stupid, for lack of a better word. Even so, it’s the police officers who have to go out and enforce those laws whether we agree with them or not, because the folks we elect are supposedly passing laws based on the good of the people. The police are also not to blame for teenage pregnancy, rampant drug abuse, divorce, high unemployment rates, kids dropping out of school, terrible public school systems educating those who don’t dropout, or most of the other issues that cause the poor to stay poor while allowing the rich to get richer. 

It’s not my opinion when I say that black men are responsible for most of the crime in my patrol area. That’s just fact. It’s also a fact that most of the victims, the people who are calling us for help, are also black. Why are these men committing crimes? What can we do to fix that? I am not a fan of putting drug addicts in prison where they’ll never get the help they need to fix themselves. I’m also not a fan of the robbing, killing and everything else that comes along with the drug problem in this country. Those crimes must be punished. How do we balance this? This is a conversation the police should be a part of, but we can’t be expected to fix crime when society isn’t offering alternatives for these young people to turn to instead. Rec centers where kids can play basketball and hangout aren’t the answer. Education, learning a trade, fair practices in hiring, housing etc. are the answer. 

4. The police can do a better job to earn trust and respect. I’m not a police homer. I will be the first one to acknowledge when we’ve dropped the ball on something. Police officers are notoriously pessimistic and resistant to change. We see the writing on the wall about having to wear body cameras at some point in our careers. It’s going to happen and we will adjust. Video evidence doesn’t have to be a negative concept. It can often help to exonerate officers who are wrongly accused and even moreso, they can help illustrate just how crazy people can really behave, even in front of a police officer. There are stories that police officers have that are simply unbelievable, and are hard to believe, but for seeing with one’s own eyes. 

If you’re an officer, or really any person out in public nowadays, you should behave under the assumption that somebody is filming you, because they probably are. 

5. We are here to help you. I’ve yet to meet a police officer who has said they’ve taken the job because they hate people and want to make as many people miserable as possible. Are these type of people out there? I’m guessing yes, but overall, most officers are good men and women. We don’t live as officers 24 hours a day. When I take off my badge and gun, I coach my kids’ soccer and baseball teams, I hang out with my neighbors and family, I have to cut the grass and get my oil changed and help with homework, and do all of the daily chores that you and your loved ones do. 

Part of the public relations problem we suffer as police officers is that officers aren’t always able to meet people at their best. We so often deal with people who are either committing crimes or are angry, hurting victims of crimes or accidents, that we forget that there are millions of people in this country who live their lives everyday without giving the police a second thought unless something happens. 

We need to get in touch with those folks again. 

These are the people who run small businesses or who are outside watering their lawns on the weekends. How do we get officers to be able to interact with these people again? My department, just as an example, emphasizes getting to calls as quickly as possible over sending the best officer to a particular call. The best officer to send, is the officer who patrols the area where the 911 call is coming from, but if that officer is not available, then we send a nearby officer, even though that call can safely be held until the area officer returns and is available. 

If officers are tasked with patrolling a certain area and taking ownership of what goes on there, then crime outcomes will matter to that officer more than they do otherwise. Officers getting to know the people who live and work in his or her area are officers who will care for these people and do what they can to help them. Departments can do a better job of this. We used to call it beat integrity, and that we’ve lost that concept is a shame.

The problems faced by society are myriad, not just police and crime related. Solutions to issues of race, community, crime, employment, etc. can only be addressed by cooperation among all members of society. When the dust has settled here in Missouri, and the pundits and news vans and blow-hards have left, my hope is that what’s left is different. That what’s left is hope for a better future and a commitment from all of us to do what it takes to make that happen.

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Probably not even kraft singles…and shame.

Imagine a thirteen year old girl standing in a crowded lunch line at her middle school; she’s holding a tray of hot food in her hands. She is not an unpopular kid, but isn’t what passes for “popular” in the middle school hierarchy either. She’s a perfectly content to get by unnoticed straight A student.

In between glances at her French Dip sandwich and the open spot at the table across the cafeteria that she hopes stays open so she doesn’t have to sit alone or worse, find a seat with kids she doesn’t know very well, she’s thinking about how good her tater tots with ketchup are going to taste. She’s pleased because her sandwich has lots of pickles on it just as she likes and looks bigger than many of the other kids’ sandwiches. She got a lucky draw this time.

While shuffling closer and closer to the cash register, a boy much larger than she is suddenly takes the tray of food from her hands and tells her that there are no more French Dip sandwiches left, so he’s taking hers since it looks the biggest.

Momentarily stunned out of her sandwich and tater tot induced trance, the girl sees that her lunch has been taken by Cliff Jenks, every coach’s favorite athlete, but known as a bully to the kids who couldn’t care less about middle school athletics.

Cliff walks off triumphantly, while the young girl is left in line dejected, hurt that she was the center of attention in a crowded middle school lunch line, and now also faintly aware that her stomach is growling at her, seemingly aware that the French Dip sandwich it had craved just seconds before was now a pipe dream, never to be on this day.

The girl watches, incredulously, as Cliff is walking away towards the seating area when he suddenly says, “Gross, this sandwich has pickles on it!” He turns far enough around to make eye contact with the girl before smirking at her and tossing the rest of the sandwich into a nearby trash can. He took one bite and was done.

Several kids laugh out loud, while many others look away from the girl, uncomfortable with what they just saw but unable to find the right words to make everything “normal” in the lunch line again. Awkwardness among middle-schoolers is palpable.

The girl leaves the lunch serving area empty handed, thankful that the spot near her friends is still open at least. One of her friends has just enough change for the girl to get a bag of chips, and for that she is grateful. She eats her chips for lunch, all the while thinking about how good that hot sandwich would have tasted, and acutely aware, at least in her mind she believes it to be so, that every set of eyes in the cafeteria is watching her eat her chips.

She suddenly can’t wait to be in Spanish class.

Some of you, hopefully, have at least some sympathy for this young lady, right?

Now imagine the same girl in the same scenario, but replace Cliff the bully with the school’s lunch lady.

The girl who was so looking forward to her sandwich approaches the checkout and is suddenly told, “Your account is $2.20 overdrawn. You can’t have a hot school lunch today.”

The lunch lady then grabs the tray full of food from the girl, right in front of all her classmates, and tells her that she is welcome to have a cold American cheese sandwich instead. A cold cheese sandwich and a milk. The girl looks around and is uncomfortable because now she’s holding up the line, and all eyes are on her. Her body doesn’t handle dairy very well, so she declines the generous offer and joins her friends at the far away table, without any food and hungrier now than when she walked into the line.

She’s embarrassed to be today’s “cheese sandwich” kid.

Creating “cheese sandwich kids” is the “unwritten” policy of the middle school where my daughter goes to school. Public schools are subject to open record requests, so there’s a reason this policy is “unwritten” and can’t be found on the school’s website or handbook.

Because it’s asinine and the staff has to know it shames some kids.

All the kids know what’s going on and when they see another child being given a cheese sandwich and milk by the cafeteria staff.

You can almost hear the whispers from the line…

Do you think her family is poor?

I heard her dad lost his job.

I bet his parents are getting divorced.

I heard they live in a trailer park.

For God’s sake, people, why are we allowing our kids to be embarrassed in front of their peers by adults we trust to care for them all day?

This very same thing happens ALL THE TIME.

Is this a big deal in the great scheme of things?

No, probably not.

It’s not easy to manage funds and make sure all the kids and parents are happy, but whatever the proper way to make sure a school district doesn’t lose money, and that all kids are nourished, should not include embarrassing a child in front of their peers. Not by adults, and not at this age, where kids are so fragile mentally, especially about social aspects of their lives.

When my wife first brought this incident up to me, I really didn’t think anything of it, because it was absolutely our fault that money wasn’t in the account. My kids are well fed at home, so I don’t expect the school to feed them for free when they’re at school.

But when Ace described the way it happened, it was clear that the whole ordeal shook her up at least a little bit, and that got me wound up. The account was literally $2.20 overdrawn. If it can be $2.20 overdrawn, then it can surely be twice that or ten or even one hundred times overdrawn before a child has food taken from her hands and tossed into a trash can right in front of her face.

That’s silly and certainly not fiscally responsible in the least bit.

I’ve asked for an explanation from the school, and have had to even bring in the school district’s superintendent at this point, because I’ve yet to be satisfied that anybody truly cares about this issue.

The district has responded in typical bureaucratic fashion with vague promises to make sure this doesn’t happen again, but has said nothing as to how they are going make that so.

The principal finally talked to my daughter but never asked her what happened or how it made her feel. She told Ace that she looked pretty and that she should tell an adult, if this ever happens again. She also promised that she would buy her lunch, if she’s around and there’s no money in our account.


I appreciate that a woman who makes well over $120,000 a year is offering to buy my daughter’s $3.00  lunch next time we forget to fill her lunch account, but this completely misses the point of my disgust.

I’m upset because adults embarrassed my daughter in front of her peers about finances, a part of our family that she has zero control over. I’m upset because if it happened to Ace, then it happens to other kids too, some of whom are no doubt much more fragile emotionally than my own tough daughter, and she did get upset.

Whether or not there’s money in the account is nobody’s business outside of the parties involved in the transaction, i.e. in our case, the school district and Mr. and Mrs. Donofalltrades.

Nobody else, especially the kids should be brought into the matter, and no child should ever be shamed for the stupidity of their parents.

Ever. Especially at school, where they need to feel safe.

Have you had or heard of similar situations like ours? Am I overreacting?

Do please comment.





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The little picture…

It’s often a good thing for people to be able to see or understand the “big picture,” when it comes to certain things.

There’s a saying for when a person is so focused on the minutia of something, that they forget or simply lose focus on the big picture, the end product that they desire.

It’s said that these folks can’t see the forest for the trees.

In being so focused on the minor details, the trees, they miss out on the greater sum of what those trees are a part of, the end result, or the forest.

If you went to a baseball game and just focused on the third baseman, without looking at anything else but him, you’d potentially miss out on a really good game.

Every now and then though, you would catch something that others would likely miss, something that the third baseman is doing or did that you wouldn’t notice, if you were paying attention to the pitcher throwing a pitch, or the flight of the ball after it leaves the bat.

There are times when looking away from the big picture might be helpful. It might even change your view on what you think about that big picture.

Sometimes, the little pictures offer much more than the big picture ever could.

I believe that some of why this blog is somewhat entertaining to some people, is because I’ve offered people a glimpse at the little picture that can’t be had from reading a newspaper account of a bigger picture incident.

When I wrote about a person who was shot in North City, and then months later, about another person who was shot, the posts got a lot of looks.

They got a lot of shares.

They weren’t popular because the big picture was outlandish, no. The big picture in these stories were that two people were shot on public streets in St. Louis City. One died and another survived.

Neither incident is unique. They are not unique worldwide and sadly, they are not unique locally.

People are shot every week in St. Louis, if not every day.

People die weekly here as a result of the violence we accept as normal in this sometimes depraved society of ours.

No, these posts weren’t popular because they were outlandish stories about something we seldom read about, rather, I believe that they were popular because they both showed readers the little picture.

The little pictures I showed you revealed that one victim was a mother. Her three young babies were in the car, mere feet away from her when she was suddenly shot as she pumped gas into her car.

The little picture showed the kindness of strangers, a man who tended to this woman, a stranger to him, as she lay dying on the parking lot. The kindness of the people in the store, who wanted to give things to the kids to keep them distracted, to keep them calm. It showed there was tension at first when I walked into that store, tension that only eased when I said I wanted to get something for the kids.

This shooting was a couple of weeks after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. Friction between the police and people in this area was palpable, to say the least.

Still, helping kids in a crisis is something we could all agree on, if only for a moment.

The little picture.

The victim in the second shooting was a little boy. A boy not unlike any other six year old boy.

A boy not unlike my own then six year old boy.

The news can tell you this. Media accounts told the boy’s age and that he was shot while he was riding in his family’s van. The family was at the park, enjoying a pleasant spring day. That’s all part of the big picture, the homicide.

The news can share some of the little picture, but, through no fault of their own, they can’t give you as much as people who were there.

Part of the little picture included my feelings as these events unfolded.

I’m aware that such an inside seat to a police officer’s mind is unusual.

I’m beyond the point in my life where I care what strangers think about me, so I’m comfortable speaking my mind or sharing my emotions.

It’s the emotion that’s often missing from the big picture. There is no feeling in generalizing.

The big picture doesn’t have to be gun violence.

The big picture might be immigration policy.

It might be a headline such as “Most Muslims Banned from the U.S.”

Many people can live with “Most Muslims Banned from the U.S.”

Many people couldn’t live with particular Muslims being banned from the U.S. though, if they knew the stories behind the people.

The little picture might include a Muslim soldier who served with our Army and can’t safely live in his native country now, or a five year old who lost his family to a bomb, through no fault of his own, or a father, who was so desperate to make a better life for his family, that he risked all of their lives spending days on a raft, adrift in an ocean, leaving behind his own home country because it’s simply unsafe.

Death is a very real outcome for many of these people.

Leaving their homeland is a no-brainer.

Their “little picture” stories need to be read. Their voices need to be heard, by somebody.

Big picture policies affect real people, just like bullets do.

Focusing on the big picture, something like national security, is fine, but the little pictures are important too.

The little pictures need to be taken into account before drastic changes are made.

Sometimes the littlest of pictures are in fact, the most important considerations of all.








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A police academy graduation speech…

Well, the thirty week journey for recruit class 2016-02 is over.

They woke up this morning as police officers, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.

St. Louis is twenty-six really good people stronger on the police force today and I was proud to be their class supervisor.

One of the tasks as the class supervisor is to say a few words on behalf of the Academy to the class and their guests.

There was a full house last night, and I knew there would be. Good people come from other good people, and they all showed up to support their friends and loved ones, so I was admittedly a little bit nervous.

At the end of the day, I’m a cop, not a politician or professor, so public speaking isn’t exactly my thing.

Still, I think it went okay and below is the speech I gave.

I’m sharing this because exactly one person has requested to see it, and that’s good enough for me.

Thank you for reading.


Thank you, Mr. Gray, and thank you Mayor Slay, Chief Dotson, all the special guests on stage and especially all of the officers, command rank and otherwise, who are here tonight, showing support for our newest officers, the graduates of recruit class 2016-02.

When I woke up this morning at 5:30 AM, I thought to myself, I bet those recruits are the happiest 26 people in the world right now.

I really did think that.

But then, two minutes later, at 5:32 AM, my 2 little guys stormed down the stairs together and started running laps around the kitchen in their Underoos, with their arms in the air, yelling and screaming “snow day snow day!” and I knew that I was wrong.

You guys were not the happiest 26 people in the world this morning…

Still, I know you guys had to wake up very happy to have reached this point, and I am truly happy for you.

We all are, everyone here tonight…

I’ve spent 30 weeks with you guys, which I know, for most of you, was 29 and a half weeks more than you wanted, but you endured, and you made it.

Hot dog, right?

You guys did it and I’m proud of each one of you.

On June 13th of last year, 39 young men and women walked through the front door of the police academy hoping to be where you are right now.

They all hoped to be police officers.

For those paying attention, yes, we lost some people along the way. 13 of the people who walked through that Police Academy door with these officers almost 7 months ago, are not here to become police officers tonight.

They aren’t here for various reasons, but at the end of the day, we lost them because the academy is not easy.

And the academy is not easy because the job that it prepares people to do, this calling really, it isn’t easy either, and it isn’t for everyone.

Being a police officer is a lot of things. It can be exhilarating at times, and man, if you do this job right, it will bring you rewards that you can’t get doing any other job.

Those rewards won’t be found in your bank account though, no, don’t count on that, but you’ll know when you’ve been rewarded, because you’ll feel it, right here (touch heart).

Right here.

You may feel it after a stranger in a restaurant buys you lunch anonymously,

You may feel it because an old woman stops you in the parking lot of a truck stop and asks you if you will pray with her, and you do and you are moved when she holds your hand in hers and prays for your safety and your courage and that you will be fair and use good judgement.

It could be from the smile of a small child you see as he’s pointing right at you and telling his mom, excitedly, “look mommy,” a police officer or maybe you’ll feel rewarded after a simple thank you from a victim or even a suspect, who appreciates that you’ve done nothing more for them than treated him or her with some respect.

Your reward could stem from any number of seemingly small gestures that you will experience or witness, that always seem to come right when you need them the most. These little things and the people who do them, will drive you and they make this job so worth it.

The job can also be fun. It really is. If you get out there and you’re not having fun, then you’re doing this job wrong. If this is your calling, then it’s addicting almost. You’ll meet so many people and make so many friends both on the department and in the community, that you’ll lose track, but even so, in spite of the fun you will have, and the satisfaction and the rewards that you will get from doing it, this job is still dangerous.

The job is a lot of things, but easy isn’t one of them.

It isn’t easy for a lot of reasons, and you’ll learn those reasons for yourself along the way.

This job, your job now, is taxing. It can wear on you, if you let it. It’ll tax your mind and your heart and sometimes… it taxes your soul.

It’s taxing on your families and close friends too. Accept that these people here tonight will worry about you, that’s what family members do.

Let them.

Accept it and appreciate it.

I’m 43 years old and my phone still rings whenever an officer, St. Louis City or otherwise, is injured or killed within 100 miles of this city.
It’s always mom and then the wife, or the wife and then mom. I’m grateful for both of them, even when the calls are at the worst possible times.

You’ll get those calls and sometimes you can’t answer right away. When you have a chance, let them know you’re safe. They’ll keep worrying otherwise. They deserve that much.

Hey, It takes a special person to do what you’re about to do.

A special person who is maybe just a little bit deranged. Maybe we’re all just a little bit off in the head, but our hearts are in the right place.

You’ve heard this already, but it can’t be overstated so that you will remember…. You will run across people when they are having bad moments, but bad moments don’t make all of them bad people.

We are appreciated by most of the people in the community. We really are and I hope you recognize that.

There are people in every one of the City’s neighborhoods who want you out there.

They need you out there.

Your efforts at work will make a difference, no matter how small, every single shift. You do your job correctly and you will matter to someone. I promise you that.

So when you get out on those streets come tomorrow, or Monday, or whenever, just do what you’ve done for 30 weeks. Work hard, do the right thing, and ask for help, if you’re not sure what to do. Most other officers will bend over backwards to help you. Call me, if you need to. Do these things and each one of you will succeed.  You will make us all proud.

Among a few other awesome things, the class got me a mug, pictured below, that reads, “2016-02” which is their class title, and “meh” underneath it. I’m laughing right now just reading it. While I may have thought, “meh” at the beginning of their time in the Academy, I assure you all that I am truly proud of what the Academy is putting out on the streets today.img_0610

Posted in Police, Police Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Blur those party lines for a bit…

The whole election process has been fascinating to me.

Here’s a little secret that I have….

I don’t vote.

I guess it’s not a secret, since all my friends and family and now you know it.
I have never voted in my life, and although I’m ostracized by family and friends for my apathy towards the whole process, I don’t feel like I need to apologize for it.

My Facebook feed is almost perfectly symmetrical with Democrats on one side, and Republicans on the other. I mean it’s nearly an exact 50/50 split.

I knew who was voting for Hillary because that’s all my Democrat friends talked about for months. While my right leaning friends were quiet, the left gloated about how wonderful it will be to vote for a woman president, in spite of her flaws. They ignored her improprieties, even though most were committed in her role as a politician, and pointed out all of Trump’s faults, of which there are many.

My Democrat friends railed on Trump and called his supporters morons, ignoramuses, buffoons and of course, “Deplorables.” These are the people who are supposed to be more socially accepting of others, mind you.
The Deplorables showed up to the polls to take their country back, whatever that means.
Deplorables alone though weren’t going to win the day for Trump. Just like President Obama needed support from many white voters, which he got, Trump needed support from people who don’t live in trailer parks and fly Confederate flags. He needed support from otherwise good people, and he got it.
The fact is that the other half, my other friends, are certainly not “deplorables” or ignoramuses or bigots. 

To many Democrats, a vote for Trump was a vote for bigotry and misogyny and all the other isms that get tossed around.

The truth is that these Trump voting friends of mine are farmers and war veterans and police officers and firefighters and other people who have done more than their fair share to make this country great.

Donald Trump is a buffoon, yes. Listening to him talk will be painful for the next four years, yes. But to assume he was voted in exclusively by backwoods KKK members is misguided. Who do you think pushed Obama into office? If you ask the backwoods KKK members, they will tell you that it was inner city criminals who did so, and that’s just not true either. Many middle of the road people voted for both men.

People have ideals that they hold dear, and don’t have much say in who will represent those ideals in Washington. They have to pick what they can.
There are people who want the best person for the job in office, so they vote based on things other than simply whether or not there’s a (D) or (R) next to the candidate’s name. The working class people of America decide who wins.

President Obama did about as good a job as he could have done for eight years. Many Christian whites thought he was the anti-Christ, and that he was going to ruin their lives. In spite of this, he accomplished much of what he set out to do, in the face of much stone-walling.
He most certainly did nothing of the sort with respect to ruining anybody’s lives. I would love to have a beer with Obama one day. He strikes me as an entertaining person to be around.

But, he was a politician, and people are simply tired of politicians. To believe that four more years of Hillary would be anything but four more years of the status quo was not an unreasonable belief.

Many people who support law and order and have strong feelings about what Republicans hold dear voted for a Republican because it was important to them, in spite of the candidate.

People of all races and economic statuses have grown tired of violence and rioting and supporting criminals over law enforcement. Intelligent people didn’t have to like their choice to understand that the next couple of Supreme Court justices could drastically change immigration, law enforcement, abortion and other areas of society that many people are passionate about.
I was as shocked as anybody to see Trump win, but now that he has, we’re stuck with it for four years. He hasn’t made a single bad decision as President yet, so give the man a chance. Maybe he’ll surround himself with good people and let them get done what needs to get done to move this country in a better direction.

Or, maybe he’ll set us back five decades socially too, I don’t know. 

To the “winners,” I pray you don’t gloat and become all high and mighty because your candidate won. On the “losing” side, there is legitimate concern among people you know and may care about as to their rights. 
Gay men and women are legitimately nervous…no, scared shitless, that their ability to marry and raise kids could be curtailed or outright outlawed. They may not be able to make simple purchases because of their sexual orientation.
Women who may become pregnant are legitimately worried that they may be forced to carry an unwanted child to term.
Technically illegal immigrants who have been in this country for years, even decades, are scared that they will be deported to a land they are unfamiliar with, even though they are working and making a living here in the United States. Many have kids who were born here and are people who appreciate this country more than “real” U.S. citizens.
Trump purports to support law enforcement. Obviously, that is something I can get behind.

I am law enforcement, and I look forward to seeing what he intends to do to help my profession.

At the same time, I support the Constitution and I am a compassionate human being.

I’m as tired as many people of the violence and rioting and war on police that is happening in our country. We need to do better to address these issues, but we cannot ignore what progress has been made in the past few years since Ferguson.
The concerns of minorities are real, and so are the concerns of law enforcement. There has to be an understanding that criminal conduct won’t be tolerated, with the caveat being that everyone will be dealt with equally, with no regard for a suspect’s race or gender or wealth.
Good luck with all that.
I’m told that since I didn’t vote, I don’t get to complain, which is fine. I have kids and a miniscule bank account and numerous chores around the house to get done, so I don’t need politics to find something to complain about.
I don’t want to complain, and I don’t want to read the complaints of other people.
I have unfriended zero people as a result of this election, and I don’t plan to start now. My  hope is that both sides can see past their differences and understand that you are the same in a lot of respects too.
When both sides aren’t posting political  opinions, they are posting other clues about who they are. On both sides, I notice that my friends, Democrats and Republicans alike, are parents and sons and daughters and employees and are genuinely good people. You both post pictures of your kids playing sports and going to the zoo and doing fun things. Both sides worry about money and wonder why gas prices fluctuate so much. You both root for your respective professional sports teams and bash the rivals. You all have cats and dogs and so many other similarities that it’s really asinine to focus on your differences all the time.
Don’t let politics ruin friendships. Friends who do that are as bad as parents who abandon their kids because they are gay. Hate and racism and sexism aren’t politics though. If this election for you was about making America “white” again, then shame on you, because that’s sick. Truly great will include all races. Contrarily, don’t confuse a person’s pro-Trump stance as being anti black or gay or women. While Trump himself may be all these things, there are many issues that people support, and always have. That he was their only choice in standing up for those beliefs isn’t their fault.
Let’s focus on our similarities for a change, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we can indeed make America great for EVERYBODY again.
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