WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
As mentioned in my last post while discussing police-community relations, how citizens step up and hold themselves accountable for their own actions, is just as important as how law enforcement responds to its own misdeeds. Further analysis is necessary when dealing with this topic. What is disturbing is the recent increase, not only of people failing to follow directions and commands of law enforcement officers, but the outright aggressiveness and total disregard they display during their encounter with law enforcement.
Many of these encounters started out as a call for service and not as a self-initiated encounter by the officer. Several of these incidents have resulted in the subject of the call, not only disregarding the officer’s lawful commands, but attempting to disarm the officer to use his own weapon against him. Some treat these incidents as if the officer arbitrarily engaged the citizen without cause. They act as if the officer did not have a valid reason to defend himself or to take appropriate action in response to being physically attacked. This is absolutely mind boggling. Where are the morals, values, and common sense of society, and most importantly of our leaders, who comment publicly about these incidents?
The person in question has usually committed a crime before the officer arrives, disobeyed a lawful order by an officer upon his or her arrival, attempted to disarm or use some other force against the officer, or even fled requiring the officer to give chase. These factors are usually all over looked. Concerns seem to be focused on what the officer did in a split second when he or she is being attacked, why they gave chase after retaining control of their weapon, or what was the end result of the confrontation.
Initial public comments call in to question and assume the officer did something wrong, but the final results of the investigations, even when there are grand jury reviews and a coroner’s report, usually conclude in a finding to the contrary. This displeases many who can’t accept the facts of what actually occurred. Many people are outraged and want to hear the officer was wrong, since they have been told from the beginning to believe he or she was wrong. Much of this comes from our leaders, activists, and politicians when they are interviewed in the media.
Yes, there is a lot wrong with this picture.
My next post will discuss the response of law enforcement to several recent civil disturbances since the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.
As a retired Lieutenant and 32-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Bill Weiss worked various patrol, custody, administrative, and special assignments. He has been an Incident Commander for several major tactical incidents. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California, with a Master’s degree in Public Administration.