“Protect and Serve” was a motto devised by the LAPD in the 50’s, it was never really intended to be used as THE definition for the role of police in society.
While I would like to protect everyone and everything from harm that’s simply not possible and while I do provide a public “service” I’m no individual persons “servant” I am a Public Servant.
When it comes down to definitions, criminology texts state that the Police are around for (1) preventing crime, (2) investigating crimes and apprehending criminals, (3) maintaining order, and (4) providing other miscellaneous services. Which cover things like making your kids go to school because you don’t know how to, getting Raccoon’s out of attics and taking vehicle collision reports.
My “no individuals servant” thing is directed at the “I pay your salary so do what I want” types. I serve the entirety of my jurisdiction. I’m not YOUR servant…so to speak.
The job is more complex than what a slogan can encompass.
I would even add that I’m not solely a “public servant” for the taxpayers of my jurisdiction…
I owe a visitor from another State passing through my Town the same level of service as I do the people who “pay my salary”.
Specifically I am talking about the fairly common Myth that if you ask an undercover cop if he/she is a cop that he/she HAS to tell you.
I don’t know where this myth originated but I see it all the time, almost ALWAYS in prostitution investigations. I wonder if it’s just “talismanic thinking”?
In reality the Police can lie about all sorts of things. “We have your fingerprints.” “Your partner just gave you up.” etc. that’s all good police work. Where a good cop NEVER lies is in court, on his/her reports and paperwork or before a judge (ex. when getting a warrant).
I think this idea (that Cops cant lie about being cops) goes hand in hand with misunderstanding what Entrapment is. Ill talk about THAT another time.
I have been considering all of the changes I have seen in training and philosophy regarding law enforcement response to active shooter situations and Boston Bomber/Mumbai style terror attacks over the course of my career. I recall that the Post Analysis of the Boston Bombing response was critical about Command and Control and the fire discipline of the officers involved in some of the shootouts. In a nutshell, there was an implication that LE responded in more of a disorganized “swarm” than they did a nice…orderly… “OP”.
Well, from an LEO response end of things, I’m tending to see a successful American LE response to “shitters” like Boston or Mumbai being more of a “swarming” than an organized “operation”.
I once sat through a debrief of the Navy Yard Shooting (the real one) and the critique was that tons of cops from everywhere swarmed the area (like in Boston) with little coordination or communication. Nobody responded to staging areas, nobody awaited orders, most responders “self-deployed”.
I say…that’s why a days long Mumbai event won’t likely happen here. Sure cops may wind up shooting in all directions, but to some extent that’s going to be the reality of an effective response. Cops are going to respond from everywhere, with guns, and things are going to resolve in relatively short order. Certainly, it’s not going to look like a cut-scene from Call of Duty, and there will most likely be some stray rounds and friendly fire incidents. Smooth and organized rapid deployments are things of TV…not reality.
I make an analogy to the para-drops on D-day. Cops will likely self-organize into small units and go hunting. That’s what ultimately happened at the Navy Yard. It took some time and wasn’t pretty, but a small mixed unit finally hunted the shooter down and killed him.
Sitting around waiting for it all “to go as planned” ain’t gonna happen.
And that isn’t a “failure” IMO.
What I think law enforcement planners and trainers should start doing is “planning for imperfection”. Instead of insisting on more and more exercises and tabletops expecting cops to respond to staging areas to await deployment in “real world”, they need to start considering what is most likely going to happen in reality and develop tactics and strategies accordingly.