Category Archives: police support

Please disseminate to all law enforcement: Police Week 2020

First, I again want to say thank you to all the Chiefs, Sheriffs, Officers, Administrators, and fellow Chaplains who have made it possible for me to distribute this message.

May 10-16, 2020 marks the period that we call “Police Week”.  In 1962, President Kennedy designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, when we set aside a time of “Recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”.

Well, 2020 has started out to be a challenging year (to say the least).  While all of our lives were certainly impacted in some way, numerous others have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Although we are at 55 deaths as of April 27 (and of those 13 are directly COVID related) , that number will most likely rise once people get back to normal processing.  (ODMP shows 13, PoliceOne has 37, so it’s a matter of verification, etc).

This was unexpected, and in a lot of ways, we may not be able to ever fully calculate the cost that this has inflicted upon us.  But most of you were out there serving and keeping things safe for the rest of us, even with great risk to you. For that, I (along with countless others) are exceptionally grateful.

Normally I would talk a little about ceremonies that we may be going to and ways we will get together and remember. But this year, we are not able to do that, at least yet. Even though most Police Week events are canceled, the process of remembering is still happening. This year, 307 names are being engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC, making over 24,000 names on the wall. This doesn’t include may others who are honored on state and local walls that may not be a part of these numbers.

So how do we honor those who have given their lives if we can not do our memorials and gatherings?

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that one quote I reuse often is from the poet Cicero, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” So while we likely can not gather, these people live on because their legacy never dies. We see to that. So here are a couple of ideas that may help us during this time.

  1. Reschedule these events.

    This one is probably the most obvious one. The local county-wide memorial committee that I am part of will be having an event later in the year. So maybe instead of May, we have it in October. To me (my opinion), the “when” is not as important at the fact that we do it, and do it with all the focus that our LEO’s deserve.

    2. Honor your department’s heroes.

    This one is probably also going to happen, but maybe in different ways than before. Maybe during Police Week we set aside a day to remember each officer that has been lost in our department. Maybe we have a Special Deputy David George Treadway Day where we all get an email and read about our officer. Maybe someone pays respect at their respective grave site, or reaches out to the family that day. My local police have a monument for Police Officer Leo Casto at the entrance of the department. So maybe instead of using the officer entrance, we walk past those, pause, and render a salute.

    3.  Look for personal connections.
    Are there officers from your family that have died while serving? Have a time or remembering with your family in whatever way you can. One of the ways that I personally will be remembering is that 7 officers that are special to me. I have sent this email since 2008, and during that time, 7 officers that had received these emails have been added to that wall. While I may not have known them, they will be remembered by me this year.

Also, If your community doesn’t have a memorial service, consider starting one. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. If you would like some assistance in this area, let me know. I know some people that can help. Don’t let your community’s loss be forgotten.

Thanks for spending a few minutes with me. This message is being read by departments of all shapes, sizes, types and locations. For all my law enforcement family reading this, I’m praying for an especially peaceful and safe week for you: safe citizen encounters, safe traffic stops, safe building searches, and safe DV calls. I pray for a time of healing for the departments reading this who have had a loss in the last year, or with a loss that continues to hurt.  But most of all (like I say most every year), I hope now more than ever, there is an outpouring of appreciation from the communities that you serve.

Thank you to each person who has taken the time to read this. You are why I do what I do. Thank you for who you are, and all you do. Don’t forget that people DO care. If I can help in any way, don’t hesitate to contact me.

I’ve said it before and will say it for the remainder of my days. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

 

Dr. Mike A. Crain I, D.Min.
Chaplain
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Blog: https://chaplainthoughts.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DoctorMichael

 

Thoughts on the Dr Phil interview with the mother of Michael Brown

I used to like Dr Phil. I mean, catchy southern expressions, and a “say it like it is”  discussion, what’s not to like? But after the recent interview with the Mother of Michael Brown, I’m not sure I can support him any longer. Brother Kenneth Hagin used to say “Be as smart as an old cow, eat the hay and spit out the sticks”, so I can tolerate some things from people that I disagree with.But his seeming anti-police (and in this case anti-Darren Wilson) thoughts can not be tolerated.

Look, are we still sticking by the “he was a good kid” story? Haven’t we seen the videos of not only the store robbery moments before, but other videos that testify that his character wasn’t quite as wholesome as some would have us believe?  Come on, both investigations cleared Wilson. The actual facts, scientific evidence, lines up with his story, not the “hands up, don’t shoot” lie that was told time after time. it’s been said “If you tell a lie long enough people start to believe it”, and the “Hands up” is just that kind of lie.  so I am asked to make a choice between an officer with a good record whose story is backed by facts, or the story told by a criminal about a FELON (which is what Brown became after his assaults) which has no basis in fact. I think I know which story I would choose.

Then he asks”Has anyone apologized?” I seem to recall Darren Wilson saying he was sorry it happened in his interview. But even if that is not the case, why should I expect a man to say “I’m sorry that I chose to defend my own life against a much larger man that was attacking me?”

The apologies need to come FROM the Brown family and those who surrounded them that kept the lies going. To Darren Wilson for having to defend his life from a criminal attack.To the city of Ferguson of which they said “Burn this @#$%@ down” and to the shop owners in Ferguson who lost their livelihood because the crowd was incited by the lie that Brown was just a good kid and Wilson was the monster. And an apology to every cop who has hesitated in the moment when they have to choose to defend themselves from a criminal attack because they are afraid of being the next Darren Wilson. And to every one of us who were called racists, bigots, or backwater hillbillies who dared to show their support for Darren Wilson.

Sorry Dr Phil, this one was over the top.

The 4th Amendment & Deadly Force

There is a good article over on lawofficer.com about use of “deadly force”. Here’s a snipped from Smith v. Freland:

“Under Graham, we must avoid substituting our personal notions of proper police procedure for the instantaneous decision of the officer at the scene. We must never allow the theoretical, sanitized world of our imagination to replace the dangerous and complex world that policemen face every day. What constitutes ‘reasonable’ action may seem quite different to someone facing a possible assailant than to someone analyzing the question at leisure.”

—excerpted from Smith v. Freland, 954 F2d 343, 347 (6th Cir. 1992)

So to my LEO friends out there, it’s a good read. If you are not familiar with lawofficer.com, it has numerous training articles out there.

Do not construe this column as legal advice. Each police officer should consult with an attorney in their jurisdiction for legal advice on any specific issue.

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).

If the vision for your life is not intimidating to you, it is insulting to God.

“If the vision for your life is not intimidating to you, it is insulting to God.” – Steven Furtick

Pastor Dennis Durig challenged my thinking with this quote this morning. It also gives me some comfort when I think about the scope of my vision. How may times do we KNOW what God has given us, and look at it and think “There’s NO way I can do this. It’s just too big.” Maybe it’s supposed to be. If you could do it all by yourself, would you need God? Will it be hard? Likely. Will it stretch you? Certainly. Will is stretch your faith? Hopefully.

Everyday that I look around me, His plan for me becomes clearer. I feel their pain. I hear their voices. I sense their frustration. And if you know me at all, you know who I’m talking about. I want to make my mark. I want them to know that I care, not because I need it, but because they do. Like Pastor Pat said, “We’ve got to go out there and make a mark on our promised land. If you don’t make your mark on it, it will make it’s mark on you.” I really feel that God pointed to firefighters and cops and said to me , “That’s why you’re here.” It’s a daunting task with over 800 police and 1000 fire departments across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. And I want to provide encouragement and appreciation to as many as I can.

Exciting days are ahead. Challenging? Probably. Testing? Maybe. Rewarding? No doubt!

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:(Philippians 1:6)

Greatness is only awakened when greatness is required. – Pastor Pat.