My father died when I was 17. He was a veteran. He never spoke of the war. He had a picture in his workroom with a group of soldiers I believe he was in charge of. On occasion he would point to a guy in the photo and tell a story. Very poignant to him, me hell I just listened. I understand he earned 1st Sargent status in months as opposed to years. When he died I was young and at the age of I know everything. We didn’t talk much.
POLICE HYPER-VIGILANCE & HYPERBOLE
I’ve seen lots of new faces on national TV networks due to recent unrest after police incidents. Fox has put some interesting characters on the air. Mark Furman has provided his opinion for many years and ‘baby’ cops probably don’t even know who he is. Bernard Kerik was the NYPD Commissioner until he was convicted for accepting ‘favors’ and sent to prison. He has written a book about his life (his mother was a prostitute) and has been given a second chance, but he will always be the ‘felon’ who was once NYPD’s Commissioner.
One of those ‘faces’ was former LVMPD Lt. Randy Sutton who appeared on Fox & Friends at the end of April. He is the ‘spokesperson’ for an organization called the American Council on Police Safety and has a website (http://www.
Worries about ‘blood running in the streets’ should NOT only focus on violence against the police. There needs to be some balance. If there is a ‘war on cops,’ that is unacceptable; but if the citizens in OUR communities believe (and have evidence) that policing is taking lives when deadly force could be avoided, that is just staggering. Our protectors can’t be viewed as a threat and then demand only sympathy and support from the public — lest we MAY NOT BE THERE TO PROTECT YOU!
As I watched videos and got ‘caught up’ on the message Sutton was sending, I thought about the damage that hyperbole could do to police professionalism. Hyper means to get ‘overexcited’ or ‘overstimulated’ or ‘keyed up’ or to get ‘seriously or obsessively concerned’ or ‘fanatical’ or ‘rabid.’ Vigilant means, “keenly watchful to detect danger; wary, ever awake and alert, sleeplessly watchful.’ Hyperbole means rhetoric, obvious and intentional exaggeration, an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.” As tragic as the recent spike in deaths of officers has been and as troubling as the misplaced rioting and disorder has been, and as frustrating as it has been to see a decline in respect for authority and our police…spouting off and hyperbole will not contribute to lasting change. Police officers can control one thing. They can (individually) be hyper-vigilant and professional at all times, but lasting change and improved trust will only come when the ‘ship’ is steered in a different direction. That means real change in policing — starting with selection and training.
COLLINS, MATTINGLY & SUTTON
I’m noticing a huge decline in news coverage about the battle between the PPA and their Chair/Former Chairman (Chris Collins). From high profile ‘complaints’ and ‘press conferences’ to nothing. What is brewing now?
Two former members of the LVMPD entered guilty pleas related to the HOA scandal. Lt. Morris Mattingly is reportedly getting prison time (just over a year), but Frank Sutton is getting probation. Lt. Ben Kim was also involved and the case stretches way back and connects to other police officers. I don’t know all of the details, but the cost seems to have involved a phenomenal amount of time and effort (and multiple deaths) and the benefit seems to be minimal. Everyone should be expected to follow the law but I’ve never seen much about this case that showed what the benefit would be considering the risk of involvement. Poor decisions have led to damaged reputations and a cynical public. Maybe the ‘feds’ will move on to find out if there is corruption at the highest levels of police department (whether it be ‘Homeland Security’ money or the ‘Metro Vice Enterprise’ or some of the concerns regularly expressed by Gordon Martines). I remember the hyperbole that I heard about the HOA investigation from one of my former lieutenants (who was supposedly ‘in the know’). The results seem to be deflating.
I watched as the decision in the Brelo case was read by the judge. Brelo had a ‘bench trial,’ which means that he agreed to allow one person (the judge) to determine his guilt or innocence. This tactic avoids a full jury and is often a good move because juries can be so unpredictable and naive.
The judge carefully detailed the facts of the case, reviewed some of the evidence, and applied the law. The outcome was that Brelo was acquitted of state criminal charges. Much of this has to do with the law on police use of deadly force. I’ve previously commented on the law in Nevada. A starting point for police reform is to consider the laws in place and revise them — if necessary. Protests and riots and violence and self-promoting politicians won’t change laws and they are at the root of the problem.
The Cleveland case was a total ‘cluster’ and it demonstrated that when EMOTION increases, REASON declines. Many CPD personnel have been disciplined (which is rare), but this verdict did nothing to correct severe problems in performance and supervision. What has Metro learned? What will other police departments learn? Please show the public that you recognize good from bad policing and do something to fix the problems.
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