Category Archives: law enforcement

“Don’t Rape” training

Marc MacYoung has an interesting post on his blog from back in 2012:

http://macyoungsmusings.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html

…as usual, its blunt and controversial but contains a core of truth. The current climate surrounding “rape education” does seem to focus on trying to “train men” not to rape vs teaching women risk reduction behaviors. Attempts to do so commonly seem to result in accusations of “blaming victims” who have already been raped. Personally I find that reaction odd when compared to self defense training of any other sort. If one were to teach “robbery prevention” I don’t think there would be a huge uproar that you were blaming robbery victims for being victims.

Now. I’m not saying that both approaches at the same time would be necessarily bad. Or that reminding boys/men (this is usually in a college setting) about what consent is is wrong and I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to train women how to avoid risky situations.

Like this case.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local…256a1e-10d3-11e3-bdf6-e4fc677d94a1_story.html

In a nutshell…the victim states she went to a party and got intoxicated. She had consensual sex with one guy that evening and a different guy when she awoke the following morning. She found out later that she had sex/was raped (depending on unknown facts) by three midshipmen in between those contacts.

At issue is her condition at the time and if it was consensual. The common understanding (what most people assume) is that if she didn’t remember it than she must have been unconscious and these guys took advantage of an unconscious victim. However….its also possible that she was “conscious”…speaking…and giving these guys the impression this contact was indeed consensual. Alcoholic “blackouts” don’t equate to unconsciousness.

What would the legal issues be if both male and female parties were intoxicated enough to not recall the previous nights happenings? Is the male party still guilty of rape?

The males in this situation may have benefited from some sort of training about intoxication and sexual consent and the female may have benefited from training about the risks of intoxication and sexual victimization.

This is not to condone (by ANY means) those situations where men do indeed know the female is too intoxicated to consent…charge em and convict em. But if a guy is the type of person to do that I highly doubt that a class telling him that was wrong would be much more than a PC waste of time. Women need to protect themselves from people and situations like that. I don’t want any of my daughters to be at the mercy of assuming a guy has been “properly trained” not to rape. If he needs that type of explanation in the first place I wouldn’t want them associating with him. We cant “train” being a good person into a man through anything other than a good lifelong upbringing, and we don’t get it in an hour long class given by a dorm RA that’s for damn sure….the idea that a public service announcement level of “don’t rape guys” is going to accomplish anything is pie in the sky reasoning. If it’s not common sense that a passed out girl is not a target for sex then that person has more issues going on than “poor training”.

I want women to be safe. I don’t think that shutting down discussion of personal safety issues by screaming “YOU ARE BLAMING THE VICTIM” advances the issue at all. We ALL make mistakes..that’s why in the LE/MIL world we have after action reviews (AAR’s) we point out where we made mistakes and hope to learn from it so that we don’t repeat them. It’s not a matter of assigning blame.

 

than to remove all doubt: entrapment

I hear this all the time. That’s entrapment! You cant to that..that’s entrapment. I’ll have your job, that’s entrapment. I’ll be on the street tomorrow, that’s entrapment. While the last one may be true, it probably wont be because you were entrapped by the Police.

Every State has different definitions and Laws, but in general entrapment is a practice whereby a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely or unwilling to commit.

A simple example. I put an unlocked bike on a street corner and watch it waiting for someone to steal it. That’s not entrapment. If I point it out to you and say “hey I’ll give you $200 if you swipe that bike over there.” then I arrest you when you take it…that’s entrapment.

Speed Traps are not entrapment. Unless I pull a Dukes of Hazzards (dating myself there) and put up a speed limit sign that flips from 70 MPH to 30 MPH at the push of a button.

Entrapment is associated with the common idea that an undercover cop has to identity him or herself as a LEO if asked, otherwise they are entrapping you. That’s simply not the case. Entrapment does NOT mean that you were duped into getting caught committing a crime you intended/wanted to commit . Entrapment means that the police persuaded or coerced you to commit a crime you had no intention of committing before they approached you.

If you intended to buy the drugs or exchange sex for money when you walked in you are not being entrapped. You just didn’t intend to get caught. And you have no Constitutional right to not get caught. What the police did was provide you with the “opportunity” to buy (or sell) sex or drugs, they did not to force you or convince you to do so.

than to speak and to remove all doubt: Miranda Warnings

You didn’t read me my rights!=I’m clueless about criminal procedure and really think that this means my arrest is invalid and you have to let me go.

If I had a dime for every time I heard it…..you need custody AND interrogation to require Miranda. That means Miranda only matters if I have arrested or detained you against your will AND I start asking you questions that I plan to use against you in court.

If you are free to go and/or I didn’t ask you a question, Miranda isn’t needed.

Anything you say to an officer before you’re taken into custody—and read your Miranda rights—can be used in a court of law, which includes interviews where a person is free to leave the premises, and things said at the scene of a crime.

Even if I interrogated you without Miranda, all that really means is that the stuff you said can’t be used as evidence. It doesn’t “make your arrest invalid”. If the words you said are essential to my case it can kill any chance of a conviction, but it’s not a “magic unarrester”. So..don’t embarrass yourself in Court by telling the Judge that he has to let you go and dismiss all charges because the Police Officer didn’t read your your rights.

The state of affairs

Well. After a little hiatus I’ve decided to start writing again. We will see how long it lasts. One of the last drafts I typed was over two years ago and you can read it below. Sadly, much of what I was trying to express in 2016 is still in play in early 2019.
 
Alright. This may be long and I don’t know if anyone is going to bother reading it but here it goes.
 
This week marks the 16th anniversary of the day I was sworn in as a police officer. I managed to work one year before the world changed in 2001 and almost 14 years before the shooting in Ferguson started the social/political/media narrative my profession currently finds itself in.
 
In that time I’ve seen many things, experienced many things, done many things, and have at least a small amount of insight into the LE side of the current “conversation”, if you can call it that. Unfortunately the media, the public (influenced by media) and the politicians seem to be the dominant voices.
 
First off, let me say unequivocally that there are “bad cops” out there and sometimes there are just inept cops…or what I call “delivering the mail” cops. There are poorly trained cops and there are cops that don’t take their training seriously. Anyone who has ever been in the military has seen the spectrum of “soldiers” that serve…anyone who has ever worked with any large group of people knows that no profession is immune from the “screw-ups”.
 
BUT. This whole “they”-thing and “THE Police” and all the other universal adjectives in play are a load of crap. A different conversation with words like “those people” or “your people” or “those types” associated with race or sexual preference would immediately be jumped on as racist, sexist, or some other “ist” and rightfully so. But everyone (seemingly) seems very willing to say “The Police” have some sort of universal responsibility for the actions of individuals, or even entire departments other than their own. It’s the bizarre “logic” that leads people to “understand” how a guy in Dallas winds up shooting PEOPLE for actions neither they nor their employer had any responsibility for.
 
It seems like folks believe “WE” are some sort of uniform, nationalized force…and that when one officer #$%&@’s up that somehow means we all do, or would do, the same thing. Police service is very local in terms of quality. Large Metro PD’s are nothing like my Mid-Size agency which is nothing like a small 8 man PD.
 
But. One thing people in LE do have in common is that we all have to deal with people in fairly similar situations. While how we may handle it may differ, taking an armed person into custody is what it is. Walking up to a car occupied by a guy you think may be an armed robbery suspect feels the same to a cop in Anchorage as it does to one in Miami.
 
Why do I say this? Hopefully to help people understand why most cops wont knee-jerk declare some of these recent shootings as “bad”. Many of us know that what we see on the television or the phone/computer screen (or in the Ferguson case simply a false narrative pumped out incessantly by the media)  is not the entire story. We (cops) can often times see how a shooting that appears unjustified to the uninitiated could POSSIBLY be justified.

Do you think you are special or something?

COPS (TV series)
COPS (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is going to be sort of “free thought” and probably a bit disjointed so please bear with me as I try to put this together…

In the local news here a story was recently posted about an off duty LEO getting arrested by another agency for DWI. The social media comments then soon followed:

“Bet he gets off of it.”

“Good. They should be treated like everybody else.”

“They should be held to a higher standard.”

And so on….

Let me start out by saying that I think anybody who breaks the law should be prepared to face the consequences, regardless of your job or position in society. That’s the only way this system works. And I DO believe that we LEO’s have to hold ourselves to a higher standard simply because we are representatives of that system. Agreed. 110%.

However, there seems to be a Catch 22 in play here. Cops should be “treated just like anybody else” but they should also be treated differently (held to a higher standard) because they are cops. How does that work?

If you think every doctor, lawyer, nurse, etc who was ever arrested for DWI gets their names and profession paraded through the news you are sorely mistaken. Should we do so?

Never mind the issue of HOW this story made the news in the first place. Either the arresting agency contacted the media, the arrested officers department released it, the press heard something on a scanner or some disgruntled ex called the press. The stuff you see in the media is but a small fraction of the total number of arrests. Unless the PD or some other party has a particular interest in calling the media in, 99% of people locked up never have their story hit a major local outlet.

Of course there is the possibility that the off-duty was an ass and the arresting agency thought “screw him”. Or the arrested guys PD has been looking for a reason to can him and though the press could help “move him along”…who knows?

Treated like everybody else? That may kind of depend on the local PD or the individual cops involved. I have let many “non-cops” go with warnings. I’ve let people get rides home (all totally legal folks…if there was an accident or someone hurt they faced the music 100%). I’ve allowed that joint to get ground up and tossed in the gutter vs arrest (again…100% by the law). Should we treat cops with the same discretion? That’s a sticky question. Where do you draw the line? A cop with a joint is different from your college student daughter. But how do you balance “treat him/her like anyone else” with “hit him all the harder because he’s a cop”?

Do you just blindly let people off based on their LEO status? Do you let every auto-worker go simply because he works at the local factory? If you don’t, how is that fair? On the flip side, should I NEVER let your wife off with a warning for a brake light out or a one day expired registration? Should I never let a cop off with a warning for the same thing?

“Bet he gets off”…What? Like the 99% of other first time arrests who get sentenced to probation, or get a DWI reduced to an impaired and a fine? That would be getting treated “like everybody else”.

My thought’s (in general…there will always be exceptions)?  If we are going to treat cops “like anybody else” lets be consistent. If I’m not calling in the press on a surgeon locked up for DWI then I shouldn’t do it to a cop either. Certainly, someone from his/her PD should be notified so that they can deal with the repercussions of “being held to a higher standard”, but beyond that I don’t think airing non-felony arrests simply because it looks “transparent” is fair. For routine vehicle and traffic stops? If I can give a pass to your kid I shouldn’t be given grief for giving a pass to a cop. For routine stuff of course. If you find yourself giving passes for stuff you would NEVER give a pass to a non-LEO for that’s a sign of a problem.

In the end I guess I’m looking for a little clarification on expectations beyond the personal grudges people have against cops. Lets set aside all the baggage, name calling and “I remember when I was stopped” stories and discuss the facts and figures involved here.

Thoughts????

 

the armed citizen

This is something I just wrote in response to a comment about the Paris Terror attack. Someone had commented on how he has firearms training and believes that he could have gone toe to toe with the attackers and had a good chance of prevailing. I replied with:

IMO It’s not really entirely matter of “ability” as much as it is simple availability.

Unless the Jihadi’s are assaulting your home or are on your street, or you happen to be able to take your AR and plate carrier to work with you, the odds of being there with the right tools are really not that good. In our society, the people driving around with the weapons/tools and the communications to co-ordinate response are the Police. Even with all of that and the specific duty to be cruising around to respond to trouble the odds of being able to counter-assault an attack like this are slim.

Certainly our citizenship being armed and prepared to defend their lives “in extremis” is vital. But IMO the odds are better that they would be able to exfil a terror attack than stop one.

Most armed citizens are going to be walking the streets with handguns. The odds of stopping two guys with AK’s with a handgun are NOT going to be good.

We need to work together. You may be able to contain a house fire with your extinguisher/garden hose, but you still call in the Firemen because they have the Engines/Pumpers. This is the same sort of thing.

Magpul “Action Sport”

Magpul PTS Dynamic Action Sport from john lawrence on Vimeo.

A nicely put together video that shows the training options/benefits available with Airsoft equipment.

While I’m not sold on the competition aspect due to “training scar” concerns, the target systems and equipment can provide many man-hours of training in a shoot house environment without the expense of live ammunition or the safety concerns.

two man drills, good stuff or misunderstood?

I have seen, practiced and even operationally utilized some two man movement techniques similar to these but they sometimes left me thinking about the wisdom of them.

I can see the utility in “nuts to butts drills” when used doing building clearing and other situations where you need to maneuver in tight quarters and keep a 360 deg security. Similarly I can see their advantages as immediate reaction drills where you make contact while in a stack or while approaching a scene/suspect with a partner close by.

However, once the bullets start flying I can’t see an advantage in standing close together and slugging it out. One, you present a big target and two, you fail to present the opponent with the attention dividing distraction two people can present. I would think that it would be better to split up and find cover that would allow you to mutually support each other with fire.

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Tanks on American Streets

One of the “Police Militarization” tropes circulating around is the “OMG! LOOK! Cops are using TANKS on American streets!”. Some of the more militarily knowledgeable people may couch it as “Police are using weapons of war/military equipment/etc…” but the implications are the same.

What I think… is many folks are ignorant about what these vehicles are and what they are used for. Either that, or they are willfully ignoring what these trucks truly are.

First of all, lets be clear that American Law Enforcement has been using “military style weapons” and armored vehicles for YEARS.

NYPDriotbike_700

armored_car

coptank

bikegun

copgun

Just like back in the Prohibition days, when the “Mob” was running the streets with Tommy Guns, your Police Officers are expected to deal with situations like this:

All an Armored Truck does is protect people from bullets.

That being said. There seems to be a lot of confusion between MRAPS and other Armored Vehicles.

1391774718000-hamburg-swat

An MRAP is a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. Used by the military, its really just a large truck with armor plating. It’s not a “Tank”, it isn’t built with any integral weapons. Weapons can be mounted on it, but weapons can be mounted on a pick-up truck too.

When the military decides it doesn’t need them any longer it has been offering them to LE vs scrapping them or putting them in a field somewhere to rust.

Another vehicle commonly used by American LE is the “Bearcat”, made by Lenco Armored Vehicles. The Bearcat is specifically made for LE and is purchased by an Agency outright or with the assistance of grant funds.

Nash_Bearcat

They are not the same vehicles, but I see Bearcats called “military vehicles” or MRAP’s all the time. IMO, the current “issue” with armored vehicles appears to be more about MRAPS being former “military Vehicles” than it is about what they are in essence, a vehicle that allows police to drive up to or through an area they know or suspect will have a high probability of weapons fire.

The appeal of the MRAP to LE is that, unlike having to come up with the 200+K for a BEARCAT, the government provides an armored vehicle, free of charge, to the municipality receiving it.

brinks

Armored cars routinely travel our roads to protect cash. Police armored vehicles protect people. My personal opinion is that the MRAP issue is more about how the vehicle “looks”…combined with peoples political leanings…I think that if we drove around in a Brinks Truck nobody would complain.

I even recently read some articles stating that “being a cop is dangerous…you are expected to accept risk to your life”…the implication being “we don’t think you should have armored vehicles so just accept the risk of getting shot”.

Just this year some officers near me had their squad cars shot up by rifle fire responding to a domestic. One was injured by glass. The SWAT Team that responded to the resulting armed barricade was also shot up. But because they were in a BEARCAT they were able to operate in the area and apprehend the guy.

So they should just accept the risk of having been shot there because some folks think having an armored vehicle is “militarization”? To be blunt…go @#$% yourself if that’s your opinion.

Yes, as a Cop, yes… I accept risking my life to protect others. I don’t accept risking my life over your politics or your tin hat fears that we are going to use these trucks to take your weapons and round you up for some FEMA camp.

If the real issue is that your local cops are using their equipment when it’s not necessary, you should be dealing with the decision makers at you local PD. Don’t put people at risk over hyped up fears about equipment.