I started wondering about whether our police ever care to see things through the eyes of the general public. Remember the phrase, “Walk a mile in my shoes”? Were the police paying attention to how they were being viewed PRIOR to the troubles in the past year or so? Do the police ever try to accept that large sections of the public might have a different point of view on highly publicized and controversial incidents?
Do the police bear some responsibility for failure to educate the public and from being too insulated and narcissistic?
Have our police become self-centered and do they have an undue fascination with themselves or their careers?
Do our police ever shed any tears (or express much concern to the grieving family members) after taking lives of suspects? Did anyone ever express condolences (or offer an apology) to the families of Trevon Cole, Stanley Gibson, Eric Scott, or others?
It is okay for a police leader to say, “We are sorry this happened.” It is okay for a police leader to admit a ‘mistake of fact’ shooting occurred. It is okay for a police leader to publicly and privately state, “We will fix some things.” So if you have not heard this in Las Vegas, maybe this means there is a lack of police leadership — or maybe it means that the LVMPD is perfect!
I believe millions of people DO respect police families just as they respect military families. They can, however, get disgusted with some conduct of officers and soldiers. It gets even worse when the police have screwed up and then become abrasive when anyone scrutinizes the situation. For example, Undersheriff McMahill proudly bragged, “That’s remarkable restraint by my police, and they’re doing one hell of a job at it.” McMahill said that after describing how officers did NOT shoot the man who opened fire at them at a stoplight (and then dropped his gun). Well, that is what we (the public) expect, isn’t it? Just what deadly threat was imminent after he dropped his gun?
McMahill didn’t comment on any preplanning or brag about ‘restraint’ when officers shot and killed Abel Correa (who was hiding in a closet less than two weeks ago). Assistant Sheriff Fasulo didn’t brag about restraint after two officers fired 59 rounds at a man who had shot at an officer with a pellet gun. Thirteen shots struck the suspect and killed him…where did the rest go? How many were fired after he was already down? One officer fired 31 times!
I still hear the screams in the background of the body camera video that McMahill played for the public to try to ‘justify’ the shooting of Abel Correa. This is the ‘snapshot’ of what is of ‘real’ concern to the general public. I’m afraid some police are not ‘getting it.’ “Joe Public” looks at the news (or Facebook or YouTube) and considers the information that is presented. ‘Joe’ then asks, “Was that necessary?”
‘Joe’ doesn’t even know how police are trained or all of the resources at their disposal, but he knows when something does not pass the smell test. When our police show up two hours after a vandalism call (with a known mentally-challenged suspect) and then end up killing him during the search of his residence, this should be questioned. McMahill blames the mental health system.
Police and their supporters often respond, “he should have complied with orders,” or even more abrasively, “he should not have been disabled—don’t act retarded.” It is extremely rare that the police ever accept any responsibility for the outcome of these deadly force incidents! Facts are facts and it is time for the police to develop an awareness (and an acceptance) of the PUBLIC PERCEPTION of a large section of the public that they police.
POLICE BEING AMBUSHED?
There is currently non-stop propaganda about a ‘war on police’ and a severe overplaying of incidents and false narratives on BOTH sides. In days gone by, we did not see a police department (LVMPD ‘s Undersheriff Kevin McMahill) on the national news describing an ‘ambush’ of two officers when a 17-year-old idiot decides to shoot at them at an intersection in broad daylight. We also didn’t call an attack on officers an ambush when shots were fired during a burglary in progress. To me, an ambush involves prior planning and setting-up circumstances to the detriment of the target (similar to what Metro’s administration does when they don’t like an employee).
An ambush is an act or instance of lying concealed so as to attack by surprise, an act or instance of attacking unexpectedly from a concealed position, those who attack suddenly and unexpectedly from a concealed position. Cops have been shot at and shot investigating prowler/burglary crimes (and sometimes even while sitting in their cars) throughout history. Did the suspects in the recent shootings in Las Vegas even watch the news? I doubt that any of them could even locate Fox or CNN or MSNBC on the TV. To jump to conclusions that anti-police rhetoric is causing violence against the police is bogus!
An academy (2-83) classmate of mine has filed a federal lawsuit against the LVMPD. Retired Sergeant Chuck Jones has alleged that Metro and others have conspired to defame him and blackball him leading to the loss of his retirement job and other opportunities. There is also a federal lawsuit filed by Officer Wil Guevarra and all information is publicly available. Just wondering why the RJ (Jeff German) or others are not covering these (and other) lawsuits against the ‘half-billion’ dollar elephant that is in the room.
BATMAN RETURNS TO METRO
Captain Dave O’Leary (affectionately known as ‘Batman’ for work he has done with youth) returned to work this week. I saw information on Facebook and hope he is allowed to do his job and end his policing career on his terms. He had been forced into retirement but got a favorable decision from the Employee Management Relations Board (EMRB) which harshly criticized Metro. Did their decision result in O’Leary getting several hundred thousand dollars in reimbursement? Doesn’t the public have a right to know?
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Norm Jahn served with the LVMPD for over 21 years and achieved the rank of lieutenant. He also served as a police chief in Wisconsin for over three years. Jahn has been a university professor and also taught in the criminal justice program at the College of Southern Nevada for over a decade. Jahn received a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from UNLV. He has researched police performance and the management and leadership of police departments.
His weekly column focuses on current policing issues, especially those involving the LVMPD. Norm provides ‘insight with an edge’ to inform the public and improve policing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org