Monthly Archives: August 2011

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel – 9/11/2011

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I can not express my gratitude enough for your assistance.

Greetings to you as we head toward September 11th. Soon we will mark the tenth anniversary of one of the darkest days in our Nation’s history. As a Nation, we watched in horror as our feelings of safety and security were shattered. We felt hopeless to help. But some did. Firefighters and Officers suited up, looked at the outcome of evil, and did what they had to do. 412 heroes gave their lives that day. In the ten years since then numerous others have died with a 9/11 related illness. A line that I have quoted before describes them well. “All these were honored in their generations, and were the glory of their times.”

Many of you reading this note were doing your job that day. While you may have been hundreds of miles away, the sting you felt was something you may never forget. You too look at evil’s outcome each day you prepare for work. In each of my emails, I always hope to let you know that there are people who not only support you, but care about you and your safety. There are people who stand up for your rights, even in the face of what can be a negative public perception at times. And sometimes I also want to give you something to think about.

Safety. YOUR safety. It is said that “forewarned is forearmed”. Advance warning provides an advantage. Sometimes, you need all the advantage you can get.

– Everyone knows about wearing seat belts. Do you always wear them?

– Wearing your protective gear (vests, fire suits, etc.) Do you wear them every time?

– A topic that was recently covered at was driving at a safe speed when responding to a call. Do we always keep that in mind?

– Training is different for agencies depending on a variety of factors. Do you take advantage of the training available? Do you view materials like the “Below 100” campaign for LEO’s or the various fire safety articles for you firefighters out there?

– Protective gloves. Do you wear them when doing first aid and when dealing with blood?

– Line of Duty deaths happen for various reason, at various times, with numerous factors. Do you review them to see if there is something you can take away from the situation? What was the cause and what could YOU do differently to see a better outcome?

Never forget that you are appreciated. Never forget that you are looked up to by countless people. Never forget that every time you put on that uniform, you are making a difference to someone.

I’ve said it before and will say it until I take my last breath, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough. Thank you for all that you do.

What can we do to ease the tension? My take on DDN’s article.

Tension between police and ____________. Fill in the blank. You can fill it in with a race. You can fill it in with a government. You can even fill it in with words like emotions, or mental/emotional wellness. Are the recent events in Dayton anything new? Not even close. Are they expected. Usually. Is it easy to take? Nope.

I noticed in the DDN article it interviewed the FOP president. And that’s likely since he’s familiar with speaking from the police perspective. So I want to put in my two cents. Not that you asked for it, but I give free of charge. So for clarity’s sake, I don’t know (or have ever met) Chief Biehl. So these are my thoughts and not the DPD or any police agency.

First I want to address some points that were brought up. Then add a few of my own. Then give YOU some things that you can do (in or out of Dayton).

1. “Hire more black officers”. The city TRIED to do just that. They lower the passing qualification scores. Then they changed it to be more interview based. You can only hire from a pool of people WANTING to be hired. Since the community has a problem trusting the police, who wants to be the police. If you want more Hispanics, Asians, African Americans, or Eskimos, then more qualified people from those groups need to step up and be available for open positions.
2. “Bring back community policing”. I don’t know Chief Biehl, and so I can’t say this for certainty. But knowing police the way I do, I’d guess he’d LOVE to do that. Have the same guys on the same beat. Have smaller areas for each officer to cover. Have the ability to send those same cops to neighborhood parties, meetings, etc. But they do what they can with what they have. Alot of departments are discouraging overtime, and comp time is not easy to schedule. So to get closer and do more with the community, you have to have more officers on the street. Then there are costs. Not just extra costs for officer salary, but things like training, more vehicles (and more maintenance on an aging fleet of vehicles), higher health care costs for the department, etc. So when the city is saying “cut…cut…cut” and the people asre saying “more…more…more” something has to give.
3. “Seek input on long standing issues” . Ok, it’s one thing to ask people what they feel. “I feel the police are mean…uncaring…corrupt…” But ask them why. “My friend said…” “I saw a video…” “My friend knows someone who…”. In court we call this HEARSAY. Now if you tell me specifics that you were pulled over in_____ and Officer _____ seemed rude to you that’s an issue we can address. But you have to be ready to hear an answer that might also point to you. Or open to the fact that he just had to tell grieving parents that they could not save the toddler at the bottom of the pool.So you can say that his bad day does not have to be directed to you but (1) You committed an infraction that drew his attention and (2) maybe you should check to see if your bad days affect anyone else.
4.” Convene a review panel” – May sound good on the outside, but realistically, you have to have people on the panel who understand policing. You have to have someone who understands why you keep shooting until the threat is no longer there.You have to have people that understand what goes on in their head and what training tells them to do to STAY ALIVE. A community activist will not likely have any understanding of that. So your “unbiased” panel can not be ignorant.

Now here are some more “food for thought”.
1. We must hold our media responsible. Nothing gets attention like a bad cop story. Let’s face it, it get’s attention. Should we hold them to a higher standard? I don’t think any officer has a problem with a higher standard. But when the DDN, WHIO, or WDTN can tout as facts the opinion of a family member or friends who have little knowledge of the situation, then that’s just poor reporting. And I as an intelligent consumer demand more.

2. Sure , we can attempt to educate children that police are a force of good. But what they are taught at home outweighs what they hear at school. So maybe follow what your parents taught (or should have taught) “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” And that includes telling your kids in the store “If you don’t behave I’ll call the police and they’ll take you to jail (heard it more than once).

So there are my thoughts. Like them or not. If you have some better ideas or concerns, let me know. Or better yet, contact your police department (During business hours on the NON-EMERGENCY line). Understanding starts with parties understanding each other (and that may require understanding from you).