Memorial Monday

A Brother Was Killed Today

I’ve been in this job for almost 10 years. I’ve been around cops since the day I was born. I grew up hearing stories from my Dad about cops he knew who had been killed in the line of duty. Men he respected. Men he admired. Real cop’s cops. The kind of men he loved working along side. In my 32 years, I’ve never known a cop who was killed in the line of duty. Maybe that’s a blessing in itself. All the men my Dad talked about died years ago. All the cops I heard about in the news died so far from here. The cops that died near me always died in the city. I always knew it could happen here. I’m not stupid. But a part of me thought we were too lucky, too blessed to have that happen.

Today, Deputy Jacob Pickett, Boone County, Indiana, was shot while in foot pursuit of a wanted suspect. He had no chance of recovery. I’ve known Jacob for years. We went to school together. We worked together briefly. Even after he left, I responded to a call and, lo and behold, he was on scene. I tried to talk him into coming back to us. I wanted him with us, in our home county, but he was too loyal to Boone and too loyal to his K9. We shook hands that night and parted ways with a promise to grab a beer sometime. We never did.

He leaves behind a wife and two children. He left behind a broken hearted department. He leaves behind a community recently rocked by tragedy.

He also left behind a legacy. A legacy of bravery and dedication. A legacy of hard work and determination. And a physical legacy in the organs he promised to donate if this ever occurred. Somewhere today, lives were forever changed for the better because Jake was a giver. Tonight, Jake’s lungs will help someone breathe a little easier and his heart will beat in someone else’s chest, continuing his legacy of service. If only his liver could go to his brothers, who will no doubt join me in a solemn moment of reflection and an evening drinking to his memory.

In a true testament to the men and women of this profession, his coworkers will don their uniforms tomorrow, before the sun comes up. They’ll pull their vest on, buckle their duty belt, and holster their weapon. They’ll patrol the same streets where it all started today. They’ll do the same job Jake did today. And god willing, they’ll come home. Why do they do it? At some point in our lives, we’ve all realized how important the job is. If we don’t do it, if guys like Jacob don’t do it, who will? We don’t want a world without Deputy Pickett’s willing to give it all for the greater good. And we better be damn thankful.

Rest Easy, Jake. Let’s grab a beer sometime.

Memorial Monday

Deputy Floyd Tommy Settles, Marion County, IN. Memorial Monday

Deputy Floyd T Settles, a 26 year old Marion County Deputy, was killed responding to a bank robbery 46 years ago this week. This one hits a little closer to home because it’s literally, closer to home. I’ve met friends and family of his over the years and even now, the heartbreak of his loss lingers.

Deputy Settles was a Marine with two combat tours to Vietnam. He came home to his hometown and joined the Marion County Jail before transitioning to road patrol after a few years. He was a member of the SCUBA dive team.

On the morning of February 24th, at approximately 1100hrs, two men entered a bank and disarmed a private security guard. They rounded up the occupants, moved them behind the counters and began restraining them. Along the way, someone tripped a silent alarm. When the call went out, Deputy Settles responded immediately.

Upon his arrival, he was seen by the bank robbers. They took up positions of concealment and waited for him to enter. Deputy Settles bravely entered the bank alone to confront the suspects. Seeing one, he was remembered as shouting, “Drop it, you’re covered!” He was answered with a barrage of gunfire. The suspects then fled in a stolen vehicle with a hostage from inside the bank.

The second officer on scene had seen Deputy Settles enter the bank. He heard the shots and ran in only to find Settles already wounded. He called for assistance. Despite first aid rendered on scene and quick transport to a local hospital Deputy Settles succumbed to his wounds.

The suspects fled, eventually releasing the hostage by having her jump from the vehicle. Both were subsequently captured, convicted, and sentenced to life. Large letter writing campaigns to the parole boards over the years have thus far ensured no early release.

Deputy Settles was laid to rest with a 2 1/2 mile procession through the city of Indianapolis on a beautiful February day. A 10 minute radio silence was observed in honor of his life and service.

Deputy Settles left behind an ex-wife, his parents, 3 siblings, and an unborn child.

Take a moment this Monday to remember the bravery and sacrifice of Marion County Deputy Floyd Tommy Settles. A man who when he knew people were in danger chose to make entry into a dangerous situation to save lives. May his memory be a blessing.

http://www.odmp.org/officer/12042-deputy-floyd-thomas-settles

http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DPS/IMPD/About/Memoriam/Pages/FloydSettles.aspx

Uncategorized

Supporting our Veteran’s Families

I’ve spoken before in another post about the respect and admiration I have for our veterans. They do a job most of us haven’t, in places we’ll probably never see, for people they will never meet. My fiance is from a military family and she knows the pain of holiday’s away from her deployed Dad. Today, I was given the opportunity to support a local event supporting the families of those deployed. There is a huge Christmas party and presents and Blue Star families are invited to come partake. They may not have their loved ones but they have each other and the event is a way for them to know they’re not alone. Probably the coolest part of the event is when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive in a 1960’s Bell UH-1 Iroqois “Huey” helicopter. Flown by Vietnam era pilots, the whomp whomp whomp of the rotors can be heard before the chopper can even be seen. Santa does a fly by waving from the open door. (I can’t imagine how cold he gets.)

After touchdown, several squad cars from several local agencies come around the chopper with our lights and siren blaring. We had some technical difficulties but we got it done. We couldn’t stay for the party because we had pending runs, but I hope the families had fun. So thank you to those who serve. Thank you to those deployed this time of years. Mostly, thank you to all the families left behind for all of the sacrifices you make.

Several years ago, a friend of mine who is in the army came up to me and thanked me for my service. It felt backwards. I thanked HIM for HIS job which was worlds more dangerous than mine. He explained as hard as it is leaving his wife and girls behind, he takes some comfort in knowing there are men and women back home willing to protect his family in his absence. It was very humbling. It definitely helped me view my duties from a different perspective.

Stay tuned for the next amazing opportunity this job provides!

Uncategorized

Police Courtesy: On Duty

Back again with Oscar Olander’s chapter on Police Courtesy.

Olander suggests there are specific main virtues for police that are all interwoven with each other. He includes “courtesy, good manners, confidence and ability.” Shorting yourself on any one undercuts the support for the others. Our behavior, because we are in such a public role, is monitored more closely than the average citizen. Therefore, we should all strive to enhance the image of the law man. Every action reflects not only on you, but on the very image that people hold for law enforcement in general. “Remember always that there area men wearing your same uniform who have walked into death to maintain the honor and good name of the service they represent.”

Show your strength in how you operate under stressful conditions. Your calm is paramount when those around you are losing their composure and become distracted and excited. Calmness breeds confidence. Olander warns against “officiousness.” I like to think of myself as being well read, but I had to look this word up. Dictionary.com gave me this definition:

Officiousness: objectionably aggressive in offering one’s unrequested and unwanted services, help, or advice; meddlesome:

How many times in our careers do we find ourselves intervening in situations that might work themselves out without our intervention but we still step in and try to help. I’m not sure it’s a bad thing to want to help, and to offer to help, but it’s worth it to consider if some of our customers even WANT our help.

“Officiousness,” Olander warns, gains us only ill will. He suggests officers cultivate an ability to meet people with tact and consideration, and to maintain poise. He goes on to affirm that the “gospel of police courtesy is built on respect.” Giving respect invites respect. Make sincere efforts to understand other points of view to better your ability to make good judgments.

Don’t speak definitively on things you are unsure of, and “When in doubt, keep still.” (While this might be recommended in speech, it might be terrible tactical advice. If you’re ever in doubt in a gun fight, move, get off the “X”.)

Don’t talk about religion, politics, or other’s personalities. (Nobody cares.)

“Learn to take constructive criticism without justifying yourself. It is a good way to learn what people think is wrong with you.” If you read my review on The Trident, by Jason Redman, you’ll know how much weight I put on that advice. Lack of interest in conversation is a breach of courtesy. Focus when you’re being spoken to.

Respond to requests for information with “a cheerful willingness and with a desire to be helpful.”

If you have to call or talk to someone while they’re busy, respect their time and be brief.

We come into contact with all sorts of people, with all sorts of weird behaviors. Olander recommends ignoring a lot of these behaviors, unless they amount to insults. (However; he doesn’t recommend, yet, what we do when insulted.

“Be strictly punctual.” I’ll admit punctuality has been a problem for me throughout my career. I was raised by late parents. I’m not sure we ever left on time. I keep a box of my Dad’s old things and one of them was the minutes from a police meeting from 15 years ago. Noted was his late arrival. Recently, I listened to an episode of the Jocko Podcast with Jocko Willink, a Navy SEAL. He talked about the disrespect that comes with tardiness. When I’m late, he says, I’m showing disrespect to everyone who had to wait for me. I’m telling them their time isn’t as important as mine. It’s something I’m striving to fix.

Olander argues you should preface a request for identification with the reason why you are requesting. Some might argue that this has changed over the years. I’ve been trained to obtain the ID prior to explaining the reason for the stop so you don’t wind up arguing over the reason before you have what you need. On a case by case basis, maybe the introduction and explanation first is more diffusing than requiring ID first.

“Never engage in long sidewalk or curbstone conversations.” There you have it folks; when you get cornered in the gas station by the guy asking incessantly if “you know if they ever caught those guys doing that stuff over yonder,” you can say Part 1, Chapter 5 of Elements of Police Science, Section B prohibits me from engaging in this.

Olander warns against leaning or having a loafing attitude while speaking with people.

He cautions against leaning through car windows, or resting a foot on a running board, during a traffic stop. Despite the terrible tactical position this puts you in, it was viewed as a mild form of trespass.

He recommends furthering your knowledge on topics you know will eventually be brought to your attention. It’s difficult to anticipate every question, but being well read and well versed in a variety of things will never be a hindrance to you.

Mind the chain of command. Failing to do so is “a manifestation of disrespect or ignorance.”

Olander phrases this next point carefully. “Policemen are obligating themselves when accepting extended accommodations or costly gifts.” I’ve heard some agencies argue that any discounts, free food, free coffee, or gifts from the public should be forbidden and that accepting any of those is paramount to corruption and bribery. Any officer who has worked the road has probably experienced an offer of coffee or food while in a restaurant. You’ve had your meal anonymously purchased. In smaller Mom and Pop shops, the proprietors are often so grateful we’ve come in they want to offer us a discount. Trying to decline is almost offensive to them. Olander used those words “extended” and “costly” for a reason. I think it’s important to determine just what the motivation behind the gift is and what the benefit is. Is a free coffee enough for you to change your enforcement behavior? Is a free coffee worth your career? Also, ask yourself why the offer is being extended. Is the clerk asking for favors when you get your coffee? The very second you detect an expectation coming with the coffee, you should decide if it’s a clerk or establishment you want to continue patronizing.

Olander calls a pleasant facial expression an asset. Smile, don’t grin. Don’t boast about or inflate your accomplishments.

Hold your fellow officers in the same esteem you hold for yourself. (I might go one step further and argue you should hold your brothers in higher esteem than you hold yourself. These men will fight and die beside you and they deserve that recognition from you. )

Maintain unshakable loyalty to your agency.

Whenever in uniform, whether on or off duty, the public presumes you to be on duty. (The same could be said about driving a take home car.)

“What the future holds for you depends on what you hold for the future. Avail yourself of every opportunity to learn more about your chosen profession.” One of the things I have been most grateful for over the years has been the ability for me to continue my training over the years. When training has been trimmed back a little, I have sought out books, training videos, and speakers who could help me improve on my own.

Don’t interrupt. (Unless you have to)

“It is possible to be pleasant and courteous without any semblance of familiarity.”

The next section is “Conduct at the Desk.” There are some key points for the desk officer that than can apply to the road officer and I’ll summarize and address a lot of those.

Uncategorized

Introduction to Scientific Crime Detection, Perkins

Man, this is a dry chapter for anyone who isn’t really into this stuff. Even the dog fell asleep before I could finish it. I will hit on a few interesting points, but most of it is stuff you probably learned in a college law enforcement course.
Perkins addresses how criminals throughout history have usually stuck to one type of crime. Pickpockets keep pick-pocketing. Forgers keep forging. Burglars keep burgling. As an early means of identifying criminals, police of the past would initially reference their know criminals file to start their search. They were called “modus operandi” files. Alias files were eventually developed. John Dillinger, for example, went by John Hall at times. Eventually, fingerprint technology reached a point where individuals were identified solely by their loops, whorls, and ridges. Perkins explains that in 1940, the FBI already had 14,000,000 fingerprint files. Not 14,000,000 fingers. 14 MILLION SETS. He notes that back then every time the FBI received a new set of prints, a special light would flash. At certain points of the day, the flash would occur so frequently, the flashing light provided enough consistent light one could read a book by its glow alone. Back to Dillinger, when he was arrested, his dead body was fingerprinted. At the center of all of his prints was a small blank space. He had attempted to burn the prints off with acid. Enough remained of each finger to make a positive identification.
Despite being written 75 years ago, I was impressed to see how much of the old ways are still important. The firearm and bullet examination, polygraph, powder burns, handwriting and typewriter analysis, and burglary tool examination methods are all still used in some variation or other today.
Perkins details the kidnapping and murder of a young Bobby Franks in the early part of this century. Two men, Loed and Leopold had planned the perfect crime to get ransom money. Going so far as to pre typing their ransom notes and then disassembling and destroying the typewriter so as not to be tracked, they also stalked their target and stole a car. But on the day of their crime, their target had an appointment they hadn’t planned for. They kidnapped Franks instead. With no intention of ever getting caught because of a witness statement, they killed and dumped Bobby at their earliest convenience. Almost getting caught because one of the young men left his glasses near the dead body, they were eventually caught because they had to rewrite an envelope because the original ransom note was addressed to the first boys father. Thinking he was clever, Loeb tried to disguise his handwriting when asked to provide a sample. He changed how he wrote a “c” and a “y” in the word “city” hoping to throw off the detectives. He was caught when the distinctive way he wrote the “it” stood out. Loeb and Leopold eventually confessed to the brutal killing.
I warned you it was dry. And I spared you the most boring parts. Perkins ends with this: “While the scientific crime detection laboratory is an invaluable aid, the peace officer himself is still the backbone of law enforcement.” Hear that fellas? The backbone!

What are some old school methods you still use today? Keeping in mind this was written prior to DNA, what do you think will be the next major development in crime scene analysis? Come back next time for Part III: Criminal Investigation.

img_1502

Uncategorized

The Beginning of Law Enforcement, Rollin Perkins

Perkins begins by talking about how one day motion pictures with sound effects would become an important part of documenting history. Little did he know just how important video would be to law enforcement in the future. With no video of the beginnings of law enforcement, we have to rely on our minds and imagination to visualize the early days of our profession. He details the “hue and cry” as where it all began. If someone were to discover they were a victim of a theft, they couldn’t phone the police, because of two main problems: they didn’t have phones, and the police didn’t exist. Instead, the victim would alert the village by blowing a horn and shouting “Out! Out!” His neighbors would come from their homes, already armed, to come to his aid even without knowing the circumstances. In the example, a cow has been stolen. A young witness advises he saw a man taking the cow from the village. With this information, the newly formed mob begins a march in the direction the suspect was last seen. They shout. They blow horns. They clang their weapons. Upon reaching a new village, those villagers also come out, armed, ready to assist. The suspects direction is surmised and the now larger group marches on.
—-The authors image presents a few key points. This willingness of neighbors to assist, even before they know the issue is something we have lost over time. People can witness crimes and turn a blind eye. The murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 New York is a prime example. Stabbed and killed outside of her apartment, 35+ people reportedly saw or heard the attack and failed to call the police. It became known as the “bystander effect” or the “Genovese attack.” Although those facts have been disputed over the years, and perhaps people DID report it, many of us in law enforcement have seen time and again people refusing to get involved. This lack of community responsibility has placed more of a burden on the police profession. Another issue raised is the physical fitness of the mob. Once they leave the second village, those less physically fit turn around, leaving the new crew and the more fit of the original crew to continue. I’m not the most physically fit cop around. That being said, a basic level of fitness and a willingness to continue the mission are important not only in the pursuit of justice, but also of utmost importance in not creating more work for our co-workers.
Back to the book:
Perkins addresses the capture of the suspected thief. Spotted in the distance, walking the missing cow, the suspect hears the cries and shouts of the “hue and cry” mob. As they begin to rush him, he flees. The fittest and fastest catch him. There is no “laws delay” in these days. Justice is swift. Appeals are non-existent. For too long, the suspects were presumed to be willing to say anything, to lie because they were obviously protecting their own interests. Refused the right to defend themselves, they had to sit and listen as anyone who had anything to contribute was allowed to build the case against them. In the end, our suspect is hung from the tree. Compared to the all too modern Lynch mobs, the hue and cry was criticized for its focus on justice and inattention to possible innocence. It was ineffective in solving crimes and when they were solved, the question of guilt remained. Was our suspect the actual thief? Was he unwittingly drawn into by the original suspect selling or dumping his ill-gotten goods? Without a process of effective trial, the hue and cry eventually fell from favor.
Centuries later, the “Grand Jury” came to be in the Assize of Clarendon in 1166. An “appeal” in this time was different than we view it today. It was an accusation of a felony. An appeal could be viewed today as charging. Although entitled to a trial, the accused was often only offered trial by combat. Although discarded for centuries, it was not formally abolished until 1819!
—–The Assize of Clarendon. Established by Henry II in the midst of the crusades it attempted to solve many problems. No records were officially maintained as to who owned which properties and disputes were increasing as squatters began to claim supposedly already claimed land. Two warring factions in the kingdom created many property disputes as each faction claimed and dispersed with property they each felt they had a right too. Of extreme importance was the King’s efforts to create a court with authority over the church. The church had been holding court outside of the kingdoms reach. Biased in their rulings, judgements often ran contrary to the kingdoms interests. All of this built the framework for trial systems in common law.
Back to the book:
Perkins described people caught “in seisin of his crime.” Caught red handed, people in the past were denied trials. Ancient tribes, when faced with a tribesman committing evil deeds, were faced with the fear that their god or gods would associate the tribe with the evildoer. To disassociate, they stripped the evil tribesman naked, forced them into exile, and destroyed his home and belongings. Removing all connections, they hoped to avoid any punishment from the gods.
—These outcasts were referred to as “wolf.” They were demonized and could be killed by anyone without repercussion. I found it interesting that even centuries or millennia ago, they referred to their societies worst members as “wolves.” Dave Grossman’s sheep/sheepdog/wolf analogy may be rooted more in history than analogy than I previously thought.
Back to the book:
Perkins describes a process of “exacting.” Rather than the arduous process of arrest, a suspect was accused and indicted in 4 successive county courts. He was expected to appear at one of the courts to face the accusation and defend himself. If at the 5th hearing, the accused failed to show, he was stripped of property and lands, and if later captured, his guilt was presumed and his trip to the gallows was expedited. The main drawback was that one might be facing indictment and miss all 5 court dates without ever hearing of his indictment. If sentenced in absence, and never found, he was essentially “dead” in the courts eyes and could never own property again.
Prior to many of these advancements in law enforcement, sheriffs, bailiffs, and constables were tasked with leading the hue and cry mobs. They evolved with the times into more of what we recognize today. Arrest and detention has become an official responsibility. Not until 1829 did Sir Robert Peel form his “Bobbies.” The London Police had been formed.
Moving to America
Massachusetts 1699 saw the formation of a “watch” to keep the area safe from 9pm until sunrise. The “ward” was responsible for the daytime hours. Able bodied men, 16 years and older, rotated the responsibility without compensation. Eventually paid men took the duties. Not until 1884 did New York authorize the consolidation of watch and ward to form the first modern police force.

Is there a time in history you wish you could be a cop? Are you thankful for the advancements we’ve made? Should the hue and cry come back? Like, comment, share, message. I’d love a discussion.

8f9fc6ae-1e6a-459a-ae0c-52f287feba7e-1846-00000093d7b571c9_file

Uncategorized

East Orange, NJ Police button

img_1448

East Orange, New Jersey Police
With 65,000 people in less than 4 square miles, East Orange is the home town of several big names: Lauryn Hill, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah, and several members of Naughty by Nature. This button was made by Waterbury Co’s Inc, Connecticut.