Category Archives: Dayton

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).

My thoughts on the war declared against Police Officers

As I write this, there have been 14 officers slain in the line of duty, 9 from gunfire (plus 1 accidental). Once Officer David Moore is “official”, it becomes 15/10. In the last 24 hours, 11 police officers have been shot at (that we know of, likely numerous others). Deputies, officers, campus police, federal agents. What they all hold in common is “the thin blue line”.

Their job is ” not just protecting and serving. It’s preserving that buffer that exists in the space between what you think the world is, and what the world really is.” (I quoted that here) I’ve heard that death “is just part of their job” when it was remarked about another officer who GAVE their lives (they did not lose it, they intentionally gave it to protect their citizens). No one says that to tellers, convenient store clerks, or soldiers when they die. So why with officers? Is it because we do not care? Is it because we are so angry with the speeding ticket that we don’t feel we deserved that we can callously ignore the death of an officer? I really want to think I live in a better world. But it’s gradually proving me faulty to hope in humanity’s decency.

I’ve needed cops before. When I had a car stolen in 1996 in Moraine, they came out. When I panicked and could not remember my alarm code fast enough in Dayton in 2000, they came out then too. When my grandmother’s house was broken into all those years ago, the KSP came out. And the list goes on. I hope I never need them again. But they are there when life goes bad. And they are there for us all. They are the ones who have to inform you that a loved one was in an accident…and didn’t make it. They are the ones who have to investigate why someone hit a tree at 70 MPH and try to find the missing body parts. They are the ones who have to go to the crime scene and figure out that the drive did not see the pedestrian because they were going too fast because they were 5 minutes late. They are the ones who start CPR until the paramedics arrive (and I have SEEN that happen). They are the ones who have to calmly explain your ticket and explain that 52 in a 35 is speeding no matter how good the excuse, maybe after just getting shot at. They try to cram lunch/dinner and typing up endless reports and redundant paperwork into a 30 minute lunch (which they can NOT take if it is busy). They are the ones who are suffering with PTSD (its estimated that 15-20%) and feel it every time the computer sends them on a call. And they are the ones who have the horror they’ve seen haunt them in their dreams.

I don’t say this to make you feel sorry for them. As Officer Mark Bruns told me once, “Don’t feel sorry for us. We chose this life”. I tell you this to make you FEEL.

I’m setting my profile picture to the thin blue line. Not because I am a cop. I do it to honor the dead, as well as the living.

Also, for those of you who are Christians and believe in the power of prayer, here are some prayer points I posted last spring.