As a rookie cop we used to call old time cops dinosaurs. I resemble that remark, now. Bexar County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) lost one of their K-9’s last night. It didn’t have to happen. In my view, it shouldn’t have happened. I guess it is a reflection of what police work has become.
Don’t make the hard decision unless forced into it. To be cold hearted about it, BCSO lost a $20,000 dog to save the cost of a couple of .223 bullets ($1.50 a piece). In the end the SO is out a dog and the cost of the ammo.
A suspect who led police on a fifty mile chase abandoned his vehicle, ramming a patrol car in the process. He then held himself hostage, ala “Blazing Saddles,” as he walked down a street. Did I mention that he fired upon officers during the chase. He continued to fire at officers as he began his walk.
In my world, from the moment he fired the first round that guy was a dead man. He could put the gun down and surrender or get put down. The stakes are to high to take an intermediate course. Sending Chucky was just such a course. It didn’t work, a good dog died, the suspect got shot and he may not survive.
This isn’t just old man bravado. I went up against a hijacker who was armed with a .30-.30. rifle. I had a 2 1/2 inch Smith & Wesson model 66. We were on a grassy median. There was no place to hide. As he brought the rifle up to aim at me, I fired. In the best traditions of John Wayne I shot the rifle out of his hand. I also hit him in the heart. He was dead before he hit the ground. I ran up and kicked the rifle away from his outstretched hand and rolled him over to handcuff him.
By this time, other officers had converged. I yanked a pair of handcuffs off of one of the officers and handcuffed the hijacker. The owner of the hand cuffs, armed with a shotgun, chose that moment to tell me. “I had a shot but didn’t take it. I didn’t want to get in trouble.”
That was the moment that I lost any sense of tolerance for timid, lazy, slightly bent, and stupid officers. I regarded the time servers, and the petty bureaucrats hiding behind their desks, while claiming to do police work, as frauds. We might all be part of the same “family” but I now realized it was a dysfunctional one.
I put myself in that position. I made the decision to shoot and I have no regrets. At that moment the hijacker needed to die. I am glad it was him and not me. My generation of cops were risk takers. They have been supplanted by the bureaucrats.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no cause to doubt the courage of the responding officers. The deployment of Chucky was tactically questionable. The only context where such an act makes sense, is the fear that the use of morally and legally justified deadly force would not be supported by the Sheriff’s Office administration and the twittering hoards. This fear is unfair to the Sheriff and potentially deadly to the officers. As an old partner used to say, “Keep the main thing, the main thing.”
I don’t have much respect for the modern day Texas Rangers but I can’t argue with the sentiments expressed by Texas Ranger Captain William McDonald. I would point out the saying is about an individual, no consensus needed or wanted.
Texas Ranger Captain William McDonald (1855-1918)
“No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right and keeps on a-comin‘“
Chucky died a hero. He relied on his fellow officers to make the right decision. I’m sorry his fellow officers let him down.