If you have not already, please read this short story in the Tacoma paper. Absolutely unreal, and quite timely given recent debate here at the Philosophical Cop. I have always wondered what separates the suspect that “runs” and wants to escape capture (which at least as a mammal, I can understand), and the “attacking” suspect on the other.
Here are four cops who are not interacting with the suspect in any way. They simply wanted a cup of joe. It is a different kind of animal that hunts and assassinates. That behavior cannot be reconciled with my moral insides.
The other thing this makes me recall is the many conversations I have had with loved ones about such attacks. Generally someone asks me, “what if some guy just decides to kill you tonight in a cold-hearted ambush.” The answer, I am afraid, is that if someone like the Tacoma killer decides tonight is my night, then I have little hope of surviving. Period.
Rest in peace.
I received an email from a detective in Evanston, Illinois. As far as I can tell he has no direct ties to Oakland PD. He pointed out to me that the tragedy there left 10 children without fathers. That is an amazing and horrible number. He asked me to spread the word on a fund raising effort he is coordinating for the fallen officers’ families out there. I jealously protect you all from the endless solicitations, etc. that I receive, however this one was quite moving.
If you are so inclined, head over to this link and help him with his project. One hundred percent of the profits go directly to the families. Thanks!
My couple of weeks covering the deaths of officers in the U.S. has taught me a few things. One of the most important has been that most people don’t pay much attention to these tragic losses. But then I had a thought — maybe they don’t know about them?
The good folks at www.odmp.org have helped solve that problem. And I am officially calling all of you out. If you have a web site or a blog, or participate in one on a regular basis, why don’t you head over and download one of the free tools at the odmp page.
They have an RSS feed, or will supply a small banner or button on your site that flashes the names of officers killed recently. Or maybe just place a link on your site. I don’t care if you site is a shopping center, a myspace page, or a sports car dealership. These cops protect us all. Let’s put their names out there when they make the ultimate sacrifice. I think it is the least we can do.
As the end to this rather macabre experiment is upon me, I have some final thoughts. First let me say that two law enforcement officers were lost this week, each with only one year of service behind them. And both Agent Dittman and Officer Fazette leave behind a child and a wife. They, too have made the ultimate sacrifice, and I thank them as I think about them tonight.
Also of note in this tragic story is that both officers were killed in traffic accidents. Driving is far and away the most dangerous thing cops do. It isn’t even close to getting shot, stabbed, or beat in a fight. It is our cars that kill us.
I set out to really “pay attention” for a fixed period of time to the officers killed on duty in the U.S. I am glad I did, and offer a few observations:
1. I became weirdly “anxious” to log on each night and see if another officer had died. I feared they had, and also felt increasing calm as each night without a death passed. Yet each time I learned of a new line of duty death, I seemed to experience the other recent ones all over again.
2. As if I wasn’t bad enough already, my rage at how little people care about these officers has increased tenfold. It is pathetic that a “Google” search for many of them left no real mention, save that of a local paper or obituary item. I feel the same for our armed forces members who die on duty.
Try a “Google” search on the name of a suspect that the police shoot. That will return hundreds of hits every time. It is this balance that is long overdue to be reset in the good guys’ favor.
3. Hundreds of people read about these officers at www.odmp.org or here at the Philosophical Cop. That is a start. Thanks for sharing their stories with me.
I was starting to feel a bit “creepy” since I decided to document officers killed on duty. Generally there is about one every other day. Since this morose project began, we went almost a week.
Yesterday, Agent Patrick Flickenger was killed on duty when he had a severe traffic collision. Agent Flickenger patrolled a Native American reservation; these officers work in some harsh conditions, and work awfully hard with low numbers, and long hours. For details, see the ODMP site.
His death also reminds all of us that the most dangerous thing cops do — and it isn’t even close — is drive our vehicles.
Rest in peace, Agent Flickenger
I don’t plan on detailing every officer killed in the line of duty here. Several non-profit websites like this one that take care of that dreadful task.
This story out of White Plains, New York does bear mention. There are far too many like it, and perhaps we can all learn from this awful tale. The story usually goes the same. An off-duty cop pulls his gun to do something worthwhile, like stop a crime in progress. Problem is, the on-duty cops are already on the way. When they arrive, they mistake the off-duty cop for a crook, and shoot a person they believe is a “man with a gun” suspect.
The lessons here are two (and neither is intended to criticize officer Ridley, who was acting in the highest regard):
First, all officers must decide what is, and what is not, worth getting into when off duty. We have no backup, no uniform, no partner, and no radio available. We also might be in a jurisdiction where the police don’t know our face.
Second, if you do get involved, put your gun down immediately when the cops get there! Many agencies across the nation have suffered this tragedy – hopefully we can prevent another catastrophe with some education and training.
Rest in peace, officer Ridley. Your service will be remebered.
An excerpt from a recent piece at Officer.com:
This may not sound politically correct, but we have to create and spread the mindset that our street cops are modern day warriors. As such, they will sometimes need to be tough, demanding, over-bearing and over-powering. They need to immediately dominate a situation and gain control. They have to be allowed to err on the side of a little too much force, rather than too little. The bad guys are used to a more laid back cop mindset now. They know that the cop fears the press and community more than they fear him. The creeps know that society will let them commit the same crimes over and over again, without having to pay much of a price (or none at all) for their behavior. In the process, if they hurt or kill a cop, it changes nothing. Cop killers are rarely put to death. Indeed, some become celebrities – writing books, and having movies made about them that glamorize their wicked ways. And what of the cop that was maimed or killed? After two or three days of obligatory coverage, the cops and their families fade into the background to fend for themselves, never to be heard from again.
Amen. I have spent nights worrying about the fact that our officers have become risk-averse Continue Reading