Nomination For a Hero Badge

When I started in law enforcement, back in the last century, it was a transitional time. The old school way of doing things was being replaced by a new mentality. The dinosaurs who trained me were of the eight and skate school of thought. That is do the minimum that needs to be done and don’t make waves. My generation were the cowboys. We were risk takers out to right wrongs no matter what.

Problems arose when there were no risks immediately obvious. Some created situations to fulfil that need for risk. Sometimes the acts weren’t obvious and disturbed no public outrage. I am reminded of the two Jim’s (coffee shop) waitresses who proclaimed that they had given blow jobs to more San Antonio police officers than the entire SAPD association wives axillary. Nobody challenged that assertion.

There was a darker side to the cowboy mentality. Like the time four Houston cops gave Joe Campos Torres swimming lessons in Buffalo Bayou. It was late at night and Torres had his hands cuffed behind his back. He didn’t survive.

Back then police officers were the least supervised workers in America. Once they left the station there was no telling what they would get up to and police chiefs despaired. Those days are gone. The cowboys are dead, retired or on parole. They have been replaced by a police chief’s dream. The bureaucrat. Be careful what you wish for.

Huntington Beach cops shot and killed a knife wielding suspect after he attempted to run away from them on his “stumps’. He lost both legs after a previous unsuccessful confrontation with cops in Texas. Those Huntington Beach cops must be good shots. I don’t believe that I could have hit the suspect. Not because I’m a bad shot but because I would have been laughing too hard to obtain a good sight picture. Was this a good shooting?

Under bureaucratic rules it checks all the boxes. Suspect committed a felony, check. The felony involved serious bodily injury, check. The suspect is armed with a knife, check. He has indicated a willingness to use the knife, check. The suspect is non-compliant with to police commands, check. The suspect is attempting to escape, check. On a good day, the suspect might be capable of stabbing one of the officers, yeah that’s it, we feared for our lives, check. Was the shooting justified, according to the check list it was.

Huntington Park cops shoot dead double amputee Anthony Lowe Jr as he tries to run | Daily Mail Online

By my lights it was a justified shooting that should never have happened. Had I been in that situation, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to shoot this idiot. I certainly would have called in a small circle of friends for backup. Not so that they could shoot him but to share in the festivities. Perhaps it is part of the cowboy mentality. The rodeo clown is anything but a clown as he jumps into the arena to distract the bull away from the fallen bull rider.

You see part of the cowboy cop mentality is the conviction that there must be something else I can try. Extra points for an outrageous solution that leads to admission to the “legend in his own time” hall of fame. But, by taking such action, these days, my cowboy cops would violate all sorts of policy prohibitions. Taunting a legless guy armed with a knife attempting to run a marathon is not treating him with respect that is his due. Pointing out his disability would be a violation of some such shit. Applying a solution not contemplated by the ‘risk management’ team (who are not cops) subjects the city to liability.

Like us old cowboys used to say, “Chief, you grew, you chew it!” I suspect that many of the shootings that outrage the public are legally and bureaucratically justified. Modern cops ignore the checklist and body cam, do so at their own risk. A successful result, isn’t, unless all the boxes have been checked along the way. By the same token a less than successful result is acceptable when it can be demonstrated that the process was slavishly followed.

John Belushi, Blues Brothers