My Blog List

Saturday, September 20, 2014

To Serve And Protect? My Ass.

I've written a number of times about how I believe incidents like the "crazy survivalist" who shot the two cops up in Pennsylvania will be a growing trend.

I think the last time I wrote about it was when the two cops in Las Vegas got gunned down while eating lunch.

The time before that might have been when Christopher Dorner - a former LA cop and former US Navy Reserve officer - blasted the hell out of a bunch of LA cops, and others.

Regardless, and sadly, I've been right.  And until the police change their actions and attitude, it will continue.

Before I get into some of the egregious acts the police have been committing, let me lay some groundwork.  I recently came upon a nearly two-centuries old set of principles for good policework.  In fact, many police agencies today, here in America, actually have these 9 principles as a part of their public mission statement or similar document.

They were written by Sir Robert Peel, the "Founder of Modern Policing" -
The Peelian Principles (bold text mine  .ed): 
Peelian Principle 1 - “The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.” 
Peelian Principle 2 - “The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.
Peelian Principle 3 - “Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.”
Peelian Principle 4 - “The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.” 
Peelian Principle 5 - “Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to the public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.” 
Peelian Principle 6 - “Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.” 
Peelian Principle 7 - “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” 
Peelian Principle 8 - “Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
Peelian Principle 9 - “The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
Breathtaking.  Simple.  Succinct.  And the general tradition of policing in America prior to 25 or so years ago.

Prior to that, when the police crossed the line, they were punished.  Were there exceptions?  Of course.  But they were just that - exceptions.

Now, it seems police misconduct, and more importantly, a sea-change in the attitude of police towards the rest of society, has this situation worsening.  The very heart of the Peelian Principles of police conduct have been swept out the door.

Now, people are pushing back.

I think the biggest driver of this change in police attitudes began with the introduction of SWAT teams.  When SWAT teams were originally proposed to the public, we were sold on the idea that they had a very clearly defined set of rules as to when they would be used:
  • Hostage and barricade situations
  • Terrorist acts
  • Active shooters
That was it.  Situations where a private citizen or sworn officer would be unable to control the situation using normal means, such as persuasion, non-lethal devices or even sidearms.

The shit had hit the fan, big time.

Now, SWAT teams are deployed to enforce business license compliance.  I  kid you not -
Law enforcement officers who conducted a warrantless SWAT-style raid on an Orlando barber shop, ostensibly to help inspectors conduct a routine occupational licensing exam [...]
If you click the link above, you'll see that a court has ruled that this use of SWAT was unconstitutional, and the agency involved will not be allowed to claim Qualified Immunity for their actions.

This is a very good thing.  Hang the bastards out to dry.

And equally irrelevant.  How could anyone involved - from the commander in charge, to the cop first through the door - think this was Constitutional?

That's the problem.  No one was thinking.  They were just blindly following orders.

THAT is scary as all hell.  The last thing we need are police agencies full of mindless order-takers.

What I believe has happened is when these police agencies built their SWAT teams, the "elite members" got restless.  They train, and train, and train, and want to put that training to use in the real world.

I know that when I buy a new gun or gear, I want to go out and use it.  I go to the range, and in the past, I would compete in IDPA events to test my skills.

But that was it.  I never felt the need to gear-up and do a take-down of the UPS guy when he delivered a package to my home.

The SWAT guys convinced their bosses that a little bit of, "mission creep" was a good way to get some real-life experience without alarming the public.

It probably started with deploying SWAT to raid some really bad and dangerous drug lord.  Kick the fuckin' door in, and show the drug-dealin', baby-killin' bastard who's boss!

The public liked it - no one likes drug lords - so the creep continued.  Drug warehouses.  Child molesters.  Even street-level drug dealers.

None of which, it should be noted, are qualified under the original charter for SWAT.

Here's another example.  How would you have reacted if some ninja dude entered your home at oh-dark-thirty?  Ask any cop how THEY would have reacted.
Attempting to serve a search warrant by entering a house through a window got Killeen, Texas, Police Detective Charles Dinwiddie shot in the face and killed last May.  It was yet another SWAT raid organized for a purpose other than the reason they were invented. The police had a search warrant looking for narcotics at the home of Marvin Louis Guy, 49. They decided to serve this warrant at 5:30 in the morning and without knocking on his door. He opened fire on them, killing Dinwiddie and injuring three others.
Here's an idea:  Why don't you wait down the street with a couple of officers in unmarked car.  When Mr. Guy exits the home, pull him over, THEN search his house.  If he starts shooting, or rushes back in and locks himself in the house, THEN call out SWAT.

Not as fun, right?

Oh, by the way, the police found NO DRUGS.  Still, Texas prosecutors want to execute him.  FOR DEFENDING HIS HOME AGAINST UNKNOWN INVADERS!

No hostages or barricade.
No terrorist activities.
No active shooter.
No-knock warrant.
No drugs.

Yeah, let's fry that guy in the electric chair.

As noted earlier, the litmus test for what qualifies for calling out the door-kickers has now dropped to expired business licenses.  They need a tank, armored personnel carriers and FULLY automatic weapons.  What gives?

During this evolution in how police interact with us, a new buzz phrase emerged:  Officer Safety.

You can justify damned near anything if you say you're doing it to maintain Officer Safety.

The public disagrees.  We care about OUR safety.  We're paying you to put yourself at risk.  If you don't like that deal, then quit.

We're getting pissed off, and some of us are shooting back.

Perhaps even worse for the agencies, the public revulsion with police actions has moved to mockery.  When your actions result in widespread mockery, you need to re-examine how you do business.


But it isn't just the violence.  It is the widespread, utter disregard for the law.  Top of the list is this whole, "asset forfeiture" abomination.

A Sir Peel reminder -
Peelian Principle 8 - “Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
The condensed story is, travel with cash, get pulled over, you will likely lose the cash.

Rare?  Odd occurrence?  Once in a blue moon?

Naw.  It's so prevalent, and everyone knows it's happening all over America, that journalists in foreign countries are warning their citizens about entering the US with lots of cash -

American shakedown: Police won't charge you, but they'll grab your money
U.S. police are operating a co-ordinated scheme to seize as much of the public’s cash as they can 
There’s a shakedown going on in the U.S., and the perps are in uniform. 
Across America, law enforcement officers — from federal agents to state troopers right down to sheriffs in one-street backwaters — are operating a vast, co-ordinated scheme to grab as much of the public’s cash as they can; “hand over fist,” to use the words of one police trainer. 
It usually starts on the road somewhere. An officer pulls you over for some minor infraction — changing lanes without proper signalling, following the car ahead too closely, straddling lanes. The offence is irrelevant.
Then the police officer wants to chat, asking questions about where you’re going, or where you came from, and why. He’ll peer into your car, then perhaps ask permission to search it, citing the need for vigilance against terrorist weaponry or drugs.
What he’s really looking for, though, is money.
Because of the War On Drugs, (uh, or was it the War On Terror?), any agency can seize your cash, as "ill-gotten profits" or similar such nonsense.  No proof is needed.  They just snatch it up.

You can file a claim, go to court - after hiring a lawyer and spending countless hours proving it's your money - and you might actually win.

Or, you can just sign this little waiver, we'll take your cash, and be done with this whole messy affair.

Net-net, it will usually make more sense to just sign the waiver.  You'll get to keep more cash in your pocket.
The Washington Post this week reported that in the past 13 years, there have been 61,998 cash seizures on roadways and elsewhere without use of search warrants.
The total haul: $2.5 billion, divided pretty much equally between the U.S. government and state and local authorities (hence the Kafkaesque “equitable sharing” euphemism).
Half of the seizures, according to the Post, were below $8,800. Only a sixth of those who had money taken from them pursued its return.
Hell, I'd like to participate in a system where I had a 5-in-6 chance of winning, and zero chance of any loss, or being held accountable for my illegal actions.

So the agencies keep on taking.

And the trust further erodes.

And the anger builds.

And the violent acts of reprisal happen with increased frequency.

As opposed to changing their ways, the police instead, "Kick it up a notch".  More guns, more tanks, more disdain for the public.

Hell, they're just protecting their turf and their paychecks.

Back to the guy in Pennsylvania -
Bivens said residents should remain “alert and vigilant,” report suspicious activity, lock doors and keep house exteriors well lit. But he said he is “convinced Frein is engaged in a personal battle with law enforcement, particularly the Pennsylvania State Police, and will likely stay focused on that fight.”
Bivens - a Lt. Colonel with the State Police (that's a military designation, isn't it - not a traditional police rank?) - has it right.  This Frein guy has it bad for the Pennsylvania State Police.  To this point, he's making them look like rabid chimps on an ice rink.

Still, they'll likely catch him, and as the good Colonel notes -
“In the event you are listening to this broadcast on a portable radio while cowering in some cold, damp hiding place, I want you to know one thing. Eric, we are coming for you. It is only a matter of time until we bring you to justice.”
My guess is that the Colonel's definition of "justice" means Mr. Frein ends up well-ventilated by military-grade, fully-automatic weapons.

The exact type of attitude and actions that got them in this mess in the first place.

Share this post! Click the Twitter, Facebook or Google+ icon below, and let your friends know!
Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

No comments: