Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Future of Police Work is a Return to the Old Days - Reactionary not Proactive Policing

I've been reading about the police shooting and subsequent rioting in Milwaukee and all I can think to myself is "Why?"

Why is any cop, in any jurisdiction being proactive these days?

It was a traffic stop and two occupants ran from the vehicle. Screw it, let them run. Hell, why are we even enforcing traffic rules at this point anyway?

The news is not on the cop's side. They never were and certainly aren't now

Here's a link to the AP's ongoing thread on the incident in Milwaulkee. I'd like to point something out that is repeated throughout the thread:
The unrest broke out hours after an officer shot a man who police say fled a traffic stop. Police say the man was armed, but it wasn't clear if he pointed a gun at or shot at the officer. The races of the man and officer haven't been released.
Are cops supposed to be shot at before stopping the threat of someone armed with a gun? Is that where we are now as a society?

He was told to drop the firearm. He didn't. He was killed. Another black man killed by a cop. A black cop.

Doesn't matter the circumstance anymore. As a cop, you're guilty until proven innocent in a court of media sensationalism that is fanning the flames of social injustice, even when there is no injustice to be found.

If I were active, I'd be telling my officers to only respond to calls received from central. The majority of these shooting incidents are because active cops are following their instincts and interacting with a criminal element. These are the encounters most likely to go sideways, and the perp suspects you know what he did (or is going to do) and the cop most likely does not. Traffic stops are the most dangerous part of the job for the reasons I just stated. The advantage always goes to the perp.

So, stop trying to prevent crime. It's dangerous and thankless, and more likely than any other part of the job to cost one your employment, your liberty or your life.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

DC Metro Police Officer charged with aiding ISIS

Put this in in both the WTF? and I'm not Surprised categories (link to story at the Washington Post):
A Metro Transit police officer has been arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State. 
Nicholas Young, 36, of Fairfax, was arrested Wednesday morning at Metropolitan Police Headquarters. Last week, according to an indictment filed in Alexandria federal court, a law enforcement source convinced Young to send him codes for mobile messaging cards that Young believed would be used by Islamic State fighters overseas to communicate. 
Authorities said there was never any credible or specific threat to the Metro system. 
According to authorities, Young has been with the Metro police since 2003. He has been monitored by the FBI since September 2010.
First thing that really catches my attention is that the FBI has been watching this cop for nearly 6 years. For those 6 years, he was apparently full duty - firearms and authority. Mind boggling.

I'm going to guess that his social media had flagged somewhere 6 years ago.

It's not just ISIS sympathizers. I know for a fact that we've had gang members and drug dealers become cops in the NYPD. And I personally knew (he worked directly for me for a time) a cop that was arrested by the feds for the sexual molestation of his martial arts students. He's dead now, cancer took him, so there is justice on a higher level.

We really need to do a better job at vetting cops.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Some Thoughts on Body Cameras for Police Officers

Let me start out by saying when I first heard of them, I was against them with all my being. The idea that every interaction with the public (and possibly even the usual banter between police officers on patrol) would be recorded was simply too much Big Brother for me.

I held that thought for a long time. Even as the NYPD was experimenting with it with a handful of cops in a half dozen patrol commands I thought no good could come of it.

I was so wrong.

It wasn't until I was knee deep in watching complaints made against police officers come in realtime did I see the value that I had missed. Overwhelmingly, complaints made against officers wearing body cameras were found to simply not be true. Maybe the complainant misremembered the incident or maybe they figured a complaint against a cop was a great way to get back at the cop that gave them a ticket or arrested them. Doesn't matter. Body cameras show what happened and let you hear what was actually said. It also keeps cops on their best behavior.

Maybe that's why the coalition that comprises Black Lives Matter wants to do away with body cameras (see demand #7 on the linked list). I would think that the truth would be an important thing to capture, but without a video and audio reference, reality isn't nearly as real as we would like to think.

It's true with cops too. We misremember things all the time, which is why we have to constantly update our activity log / memo book so that there is a written record of every job and interaction of note with the public.

When I came on the job and hit my first command, the 42 Precinct in the South Bronx, an old timer looked over my first week of activity in my memo book and told me "Kid, less is more. You write too much. You're gonna get yourself in trouble with all these details. Stop killing paper."

Body cameras make it obvious as to what went on. Good, bad, warts and all. Not just the cops' warts either. The public's too.

Body cameras. Keeping reality real.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

NYPD Lexicon - The Words Defined, For Those that Want to Know

Perp - Perpetrator, the one that committed the crime

Bus - Ambulance (probably rooted in the concept that in poor neighborhoods, most doc visits are via ambulance to an Emergency Room)

Wheel Gun - revolver

Heater - perp's gun

Skel - druggies and other "low lifes" - probably rooted in the idea that many heroin addicts are thin and skeleton like

RMP - Radio Motor Patrol - patrol vehicle - police car

Po Po - police officer as he is often referred to on the street

Tin - Police Officer's badge / shield

Shield - Police Officer's badge

Square Badge - Private security / store securing

One Way - a cop that only looks out for themself only

Summons Whore - a cop who writes lots of summonses, thinking it will get them a detail

Detail (Precinct) - a position that is off patrol in a precinct

Detail (Event) - getting detailed to an event, like a parade, New Year's Eve, a protest, etc

Hats and Bats - often noted on a detail notification - bring your nightstick and helmet

Wood Shampoo, Bronx Party Hat, Turbanized- hitting someone in the head with a nightstick

In the Bag - in uniform - "I'm not doing anti-crime tonight, I'm in the bag"

Boss - Sergeant or above. Any rank above you

Collar - Arrest

On the Job - you're a cop

The Job - the police department

Shakebox - a supervisor that has trouble making a decision

Shakey - a cop that follows the patrol guide too closely and is inflexible in how he polices

Christmas Lights - a patrol car's emergency lighting

Mope - criminal, usually on the low end of the scale

The House - the stationhouse

63 - out for meal

House Mouse - cop with an inside job, off the streets and not dealing with perps

Ground Ball - easy to do or complete

Swing - your days off - "I'm swinging out for two days"

Scratch - Signature

Step on your Dick - mess up

Bag of Shit - a situation that is just going to get worse before it gets better. A case with no leads.

Shoo Fly - Duty Captain on the evening or midnight shift who makes the rounds of all the precincts in his or her patrol boro - "Shoe Fly heading to the Four One"

Green Paper - Command Discipline. An official reprimand.

Kangaroo Court - The Department's Trial Room

On the Level - trustworthy, team player

Hairbag - A lazy, unkept cop

Looking - looking to make an arrest - "Guys, I'm looking today, so if you find something you don't want, I'll take it"

Flying - working your tour on patrol in another command

One P P, Puzzle Palace - NYPD Police Headquarters

One Under - perpetrator is under arrest

Sector - subdivision of a precinct, defines the area an RMP or Sector Car should patrol

Land Pirates - FDNY

Floater - DOA in water

Making a Collar - making an arrest

Collars for Dollars - making an arrest near the end of tour, thus incurring overtime

RDO - Regular Day Off

Tool - cop that's an asshole

28 / UF-28 - Request for unscheduled Day Off

Rat - someone that calls Internal Affairs / POs and Detectives assigned to Internal Affairs

Rat Squad - Internal Affairs

Draftee - most supervisors in IAB / Internal Affairs

Dinosaur - a cop with over 20 years on the job

Day Tours or 8 by 4 - day time shift, generally 0705 x 1540

Evening Tours or 4 by 12 - evening shift, generally 1530 x 2355

Midnight Tours or 12 by 8 - overnight shift, 2345 x 0720

So, The Plan Last Saturday was to Revisit my Old Stomping Grounds in Hunt's Point

Yep, that was the plan. Go to some of the more memorable locations in my old South Bronx commands and take some picture, from the outside, of the more memorable locations.

Didn't happen.

This past weekend was too damn hot.

Instead, I virtually explored it via Google Maps and Street Views. I found myself constant drawn to the same location. Actually, it's four locations, but it's treated as one. Four attached buildings. Two common courtyards. One large, connected roof.

621, 623, 625 and 627 Manida Street. Confines of the 41 Precinct, deep in Hunt's Point. We used to refer to it as The Well.

I have a couple of stories to tell from that location and would appreciate some feedback as which to tell first. The choices are:

1- 34 Under, Central! (34 arrests made in about 45 minutes - all walking into 625/627 to buy crack)

2 - Don't Choot! Don't Choot! I takin' a Chit! (the closest I ever came to shooting someone)

3 - Officer, You are Under Arrest! (4 Y/O "Fat Boy" arrests Officer Tenkar)

4 - That Ain't no Cop! That's the Retard from Around the Corner (my first time doing observations on a narco set)

5 - This Bike has No Breaks! (Riding a crackhead's bike back to the station house - and not being told until I'm already going downhill that it had no breaks)

Let me know here, G+ or on Facebook - I'll have the post in question ready by the weekend.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Excellent Analysis of the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Police Involved Shootings

Since I've retired I've been checking out some police related podcasts as I'm considering doing one myself at some point. You would have thought I would have dug into the world of police podcasts while I was actually commuting to the job.

One of the best I've found so far is the Police Academy Podcast. It does an amazing breakdown and analysis of the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile police involved shootings.

You can listen to the audio or watch the videos below. I ask you do one or the other. They were an eye opener for me.

Add the Police Academy Podcast to you podcast app.

Alton Sterling:

Philando Castile

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Eight-ball on the Corner Mailbox

It was a late winter night in early 98 when we heard the gunshots "POP! POP! POP!" followed by at least a half dozen more. We were traveling west on Westchester Ave, just past the intersection of Southern Blvd and the gunshots were from behind us.

We turned on the Christmas Tree lights and did a sharp u-turn at which point the job came over the radio: "Confines of the 41 Precinct, shots fired Bryant and Westchester. Unit to respond?"

"One Tracer Five Three Oh Five. Show us responding. Two blocks out. Will advise when 84."

And just like that we were on the scene. There was only one person there, a black male, early 20s, about 5' 9" and almost as large around. He was leaning face front on a mailbox, almost draped on it.

"Yo, my man, you ok? You see anything?" His jacket was black with an eight-ball on the back.

"Officer!" he exclaimed, turing his head without moving his body. Upon getting close to him I could smell the iron in the air. His jacket was wet from blood seeping out of an unknown number of bullet wounds.

Shit! "One Tracer. Get me a bus to my location forthwith! Male shot, multiple wounds."

"Guy, you're going to be okay. I've got an ambulance coming, just stay with me."

"Tell me the truth officer. How bad is it? I got's to know."

What do you say to a man with multiple bullets in his back? The only reason he was still alive was that the fat on his back kept the damage from being lethal.

"You were shot multiple times. Just be cool. EMS is almost here." You could hear the sirens from the ambulance, they were close.

"No man! My eight-ball jacket! How bad is it? Will it wash out?"

I stood there, stunned for a second. Here's a man with multiple bullets in his back and he's concerned about whether or not the blood will wash out from his jacket.

"Don't let them cut my jacket officer! Please, promise me you won't let them."

I asked the EMTs to let him take his jacket off before they loaded him up for the hospital. As he held up his jacket, I could plainly see five bullet holes. Blood was going to be the least of his jacket issues.