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Oct 28, 2020 - 5:54:25 AM
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1044 posts since 12/2/2012

Probably too light hearted of a title for a serious topic, but here goes . . .
 

I know there are some BHO members who are/have been LEO; there is a Badges and Banjos group. But I would be surprised should any actively employed officers weigh in on this.

This is just a story. A true one. I haven't really thought of it in a long time until I saw a news story and it brought back this memory.

Forty years ago I had been a parole officer working in a prison. Even if you are allowed to go home at the end of a shift, prison can be a pretty depressing place – especially if it is a cold, cloudy day and you are struggling to make ends meet for your young family. I thought that perhaps I should try a career change. State troopers seemed to be able to move about more, had a lot more community respect than a prison employee; and to boot they looked pretty sharp in their uniforms! So I applied for a job.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol was a pretty exclusive group and so I knew I would have to be in top shape and be smart. But actually I was most concerned about a vision test because I wore glasses. I prepared by running and weight lifting.

Via my application I made the first cut and was called in for an interview at the academy. It would last the whole day because it included an eye exam, a lengthy physical performance test, and an interview with a panel of ranking, experienced troopers.

The physical performance tests were based upon what one may routinely have to do: pull a tire off the right side of a jacked up car and put it on the left; remove a tire and other heavy debris/objects from a road to a place a few yards away; a run, and then a run carrying a heavy dummy. Best performances were announced to the applicants; it was noted that I had the best time in pushing a huge four-door Plymouth Fury III sedan across the parking lot. Several of the men could not do it all. And I saw the one young woman applicant crying in frustration because she just couldn't lift those wheels into place or carry the heavy objects in the time required.

As I suspected, my eyes weren't all that good. The examiner called over a captain. I was borderline. He looked up and down at a six foot two inch semi-muscular twenty-six year old in a tight white t-shirt. “He'll do”, he said.

I could then get dressed for my interview. Suit and tie.

The panel had five or six officers of various ranks. They asked some tough questions about my irresponsible college days of drinking and partying.

But one question has lingered for forty years. I don't know if they asked everyone or just me. An old trooper asked if I could shoot someone. I said yes, if the situation called for it. He then asked, “Could you shoot a fourteen year old girl who was about to throw a lit Molotov cocktail?” That's an odd question. I said something like, “Well, I think I would try to shoot her in the arm or leg.”

“No,” he said, “You aim here,” pointing to his chest.

I don't remember many specifics about the interview, but I remember that exact exchange.

A few days later I was called to start the academy. I declined for several reasons, but none of them had anything to do with the interview.

Oct 28, 2020 - 6:49:01 AM
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DRH

USA

568 posts since 5/29/2018

I was asked the same question and answered it correctly. I later learned the difference between doing your job and living with it afterward. About half the officers I knew that killed someone in the line of duty had mental breakdowns. Half of those never wore a uniform again.

One point I picked up from your story is the vast difference in the quality and character of police departments. Ours was small and underfunded but it ran efficiently under the circumstances.  Some have deep pockets and set the bar accordingly.

A close-knit community made sure we didn't get out of line. Some years after I left an officer emptied his weapon into a well respected member of the community during a domestic disturbance. The internal investigation cleared him on qualified immunity. The community responded by firing the entire department.

But I've worked with officers from other jurisdictions that could best be described as violent thugs in uniforms. Some entire departments are run by such creeps. And some communities are OK with this.

Fitness, intellect, and character, are not high on the list of qualifications in some jurisdictions, particularly the deep south. A patrollman here makes about as much as a shift manager at McDonalds. We get what we pay for.

I've seen officers shorter than me (68") weighing at least 400 pounds. Some are selling drugs and fencing stolen property. One police chief near here is a blatant racist. Stupid, fat, drunken, hateful, belligerant, disrespectful, mean spirited - that about sums up his squad. Fish stink from the head down.

Of course many are just the opposite. I'm not painting them all with the same brush.

Its a horrible job that, because of the pay and conditions, often attracts horrible people. I still support them when appropriate, but my general respect for today's officers is long gone.

Edited by - DRH on 10/28/2020 06:50:59

Oct 28, 2020 - 6:57:44 AM
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Owen

Canada

6932 posts since 6/5/2011

Thank you, Doug.   "I still support them when appropriate..... " sums up my viewpoint pretty well.... same as any other occupation, I suppose.

[My thinking is it's too bad your observations didn't come up in the thread several weeks back where guys were trying to tell me that the present bad stuff is only "vestiges" ... and/or that I'm clueless/uninformed.]

Edited by - Owen on 10/28/2020 07:00:55

Oct 28, 2020 - 8:33:19 AM
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DRH

USA

568 posts since 5/29/2018

Owen;

I missed that thread or might have avoided it - can't remember.

The present bad stuff isn't vestigal or rogue. They have always been there and probably always will be there. Some of the problems have become worse due to weapons escalation on both sides. In deference to Bill and Sherry, I won't expand on that statement.

The biggest change is probably the widespread availability of the digital camera. Unnecessary use of force (euphemism for murder) has always been there. It has always been covered up. People are simply more aware of it. The awareness is polarizing the problem rather than fixing it. Either the perp/corpse is a victim or he deserved it. The constitutional question doesn't come up.

Our department was too small and poor for first class training but the boss did a good job with what he had. I recall that all of my book training was centered around constitutional values and statute memorization. I can still recite the five justifications for using deadly force as if it were the pledge of allegiance. It's not that way in many jurisdictions.

Edited by - DRH on 10/28/2020 08:35:04

Oct 28, 2020 - 3:18:41 PM

mander

USA

4459 posts since 10/7/2007

That's an interesting question.
When I was a kid... eight, nine? maybe, don't recall. My brother and his friend called me to come outside. When I did, I saw a green glass 7 UP bottle there by the door. Me, not getting what was going on, picked it up and tried to carry it to them. They screamed and ran away. I put the bottle down where I found it and went back inside. A minute later, the bottle shattered. They had tried to make a Molotov cocktail and thought it would be funny to blow it up in front of me. Don't recall what it was actually made of. My parents yelled at them and that was about it. Just another "brotherly prank" in a long line of "brotherly pranks."

How different my life might have been if there had been an officer around. I guess it would depend on when and who they saw holding the bottle.

Oct 28, 2020 - 4:18:35 PM
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10935 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by DRH

I was asked the same question and answered it correctly. I later learned the difference between doing your job and living with it afterward. About half the officers I knew that killed someone in the line of duty had mental breakdowns. Half of those never wore a uniform again.

One point I picked up from your story is the vast difference in the quality and character of police departments. Ours was small and underfunded but it ran efficiently under the circumstances.  Some have deep pockets and set the bar accordingly.

A close-knit community made sure we didn't get out of line. Some years after I left an officer emptied his weapon into a well respected member of the community during a domestic disturbance. The internal investigation cleared him on qualified immunity. The community responded by firing the entire department.

But I've worked with officers from other jurisdictions that could best be described as violent thugs in uniforms. Some entire departments are run by such creeps. And some communities are OK with this.

Fitness, intellect, and character, are not high on the list of qualifications in some jurisdictions, particularly the deep south. A patrollman here makes about as much as a shift manager at McDonalds. We get what we pay for.

I've seen officers shorter than me (68") weighing at least 400 pounds. Some are selling drugs and fencing stolen property. One police chief near here is a blatant racist. Stupid, fat, drunken, hateful, belligerant, disrespectful, mean spirited - that about sums up his squad. Fish stink from the head down.

Of course many are just the opposite. I'm not painting them all with the same brush.

Its a horrible job that, because of the pay and conditions, often attracts horrible people. I still support them when appropriate, but my general respect for today's officers is long gone.


Doug ..... part of growing up in the south, is being aware of all the stuff you mentioned.  It was just the way it was and there is certainly still some of it around.  When you were going through small towns you were aware that there were going to ne speed traps (or worse) and you made sure that you "walked on egg shells".  You knew when you got pulled over, you probably were not going to win any arguments.  I won one, in Ablemarle, NC where I was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt (my car had SC tags).  After getting the 3rd degree (where I had been, where I was going, etc.), I finally convinced him that I did have my seatbelt on (which I certainly did).  And you are right, the quality of the police force was almost directly proportional to the town's budget.

I was pulled over in Carlisle, SC where the speed limit goes from 55 to 35 in a very short span and as soon as you pass the 35 sign an officer (the only one in the city) is sitting right at the top of the grade with his radar gun.  He got me at like 48 mph and wrote me a ticket for $35 and gave me a court date.  I decided to fight it, so I checked with the state and this city officer was not certified to operate radar (although I was not even sure of they had to be).  On the court date (the court was an old abandoned service station) my wife and I drove down and met Officer Williams at the service station.  He said he had to drive over to pick up Ms. Janie, the mayor who would be my judge.  When they arrived back the proceedings began, so my first question was "Officer Williams, are you certified in the state of South Carolina to operate radar"?  His answer, "no, but some highway patrolmen have shown me how to use it".  Right after he said that Ms. Janie said, "how about $30" ...... a plea bargain that I readily accepted, as I knew it wasn't going to get any better ..... plus the city probably needed the money!  Both Officer Williams and Ms. Janie (a retired school teacher) were both black as the entire community is predominantly minority, but the fact that I was white did not have any bearing on my being stopped.  They are equal opportunity speed trappers!  Since that time I have made many more trips through Carlisle (slowly) and recently someone painted two vertical stripes on "Speed Limit sign through the "S" ..... making it appear as a dollar sign ($).

Oct 28, 2020 - 4:23:41 PM

56047 posts since 12/14/2005

Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were able to shoot the gun out of the Bad Guy's had, without the hand exploding into a bloody mess from the impact of a .45 caliber slug.
Considering the small size of the target presented by a revolver, MINUS the portions covered by the thumb and fingers, that pistol-pointing prowess approaches the definition of "miraculous".

Your believance may vary.

Oct 28, 2020 - 5:42:49 PM

2321 posts since 7/20/2004

The old trooper was correct, as you'd learn in any defensive weapons class. I guess I've been lucky. In 74 years, I've never met a bad cop. I was never a sworn officer, but I worked as overnight dispatcher for the State Highway Patrol in college, and after my Navy hitch I part-time dispatched for the local sheriff's office. I've known lots of different types of personalities, a few were gruff, and a couple a bit odd, but none of them bad. The toughest trooper I knew was an ex-Marine who was assigned to our part of the state while I was working for the county. Back when the national speed limit was cranked back to 55, I met Jim as I was heading south out of town and waved at him. The next weekend, when I was working the radios, he stopped in the office and barked at me; "Hadley, the next time I meet you at 65, a big wave isn't gonna' do it." "Is that the way it is, Jim?" I asked. "That's the way it is!". "OK", I said, "That's fine, but just remember the next cold, rainy Saturday night when you're working a 10-50 and you want a county car to assist, Benton County may not be able to hear you." "Is that the way it is?", Jim replied sheepishly. "That's the way it is", I laughed. We were best friends after that, as he knew I had his number, both figuratively and literally. He died in a motorcycle crash not long after he retired. I miss him.

Oct 29, 2020 - 2:45:51 AM
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2306 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Wyozark

But one question has lingered for forty years. I don't know if they asked everyone or just me. An old trooper asked if I could shoot someone. I said yes, if the situation called for it. He then asked, “Could you shoot a fourteen year old girl who was about to throw a lit Molotov cocktail?” That's an odd question. I said something like, “Well, I think I would try to shoot her in the arm or leg.”

“No,” he said, “You aim here,” pointing to his chest.

I don't remember many specifics about the interview, but I remember that exact exchange.

A few days later I was called to start the academy. I declined for several reasons, but none of them had anything to do with the interview.


That is a very sobering question to be asked Michael.  The first time I ever (legally may I add) pointed a loaded weapon at someone was a world away from the person sized paper targets that I'd been shooting at up to that point - that took all of the glamour out of the war films and westerns/shoot em ups I'd seen up to that point in my life.

Oct 29, 2020 - 6:11:41 AM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

14624 posts since 6/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were able to shoot the gun out of the Bad Guy's had, without the hand exploding into a bloody mess from the impact of a .45 caliber slug.
Considering the small size of the target presented by a revolver, MINUS the portions covered by the thumb and fingers, that pistol-pointing prowess approaches the definition of "miraculous".

Your believance may vary.


And they did it shooting from the hip very quickly, no aiming sights needed.

There was a video on the news some 20 odd years ago or so ago where a guy was sitting on his porch holding off the police with a revolver in his hand.  During the negotiations one of the snipers noticed that periodically the guy would drop the gun between his legs.  The sniper asked for permission to shoot the gun out of the guys hands and it was granted so the next time he lowered the gun, BANG, the gun wen flying and the guy was rushed, nobody was injured. 

Oct 29, 2020 - 6:16:38 AM

2306 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by DC5
 

There was a video on the news some 20 odd years ago or so ago where a guy was sitting on his porch holding off the police with a revolver in his hand.  During the negotiations one of the snipers noticed that periodically the guy would drop the gun between his legs.  The sniper asked for permission to shoot the gun out of the guys hands and it was granted so the next time he lowered the gun, BANG, the gun wen flying and the guy was rushed, nobody was injured. 


I've seen that Dave, the incident controller obviously had very good faith in his sniper, and the sniper also must have had great confidence in his own abilities.  

Oct 29, 2020 - 6:32 AM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

14624 posts since 6/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Wet Spaniel
quote:
Originally posted by DC5
 

There was a video on the news some 20 odd years ago or so ago where a guy was sitting on his porch holding off the police with a revolver in his hand.  During the negotiations one of the snipers noticed that periodically the guy would drop the gun between his legs.  The sniper asked for permission to shoot the gun out of the guys hands and it was granted so the next time he lowered the gun, BANG, the gun wen flying and the guy was rushed, nobody was injured. 


I've seen that Dave, the incident controller obviously had very good faith in his sniper, and the sniper also must have had great confidence in his own abilities.  


Here's the video, I was wrong about him sitting on the porch, he was in the road threatening suicide.  20 odd years of memory tricks changed how I perceived it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVnwkDbeARw

Oct 29, 2020 - 7:39:41 AM
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phb

Germany

2205 posts since 11/8/2010

I'm not sure something like this would be possible with our police force (they are not very likely to meet suicidal people with a gun), but I'm sure no TV commentator here would have said "take this, you gun-toting hippie" about a suicidal person.

Edited by - phb on 10/29/2020 07:43:20

Oct 29, 2020 - 8:12:44 AM
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2306 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by phb

I'm not sure something like this would be possible with our police force (they are not very likely to meet suicidal people with a gun), but I'm sure no TV commentator here would have said "take this, you gun-toting hippie" about a suicidal person.


Phillipp I think the commentary is from a tongue in cheek satirical tv/internet channel rather than the actual news channel. When I saw the original footage it certainly didn't have those comments 

Oct 29, 2020 - 8:56:59 AM
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Players Union Member

DC5

USA

14624 posts since 6/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by phb

I'm not sure something like this would be possible with our police force (they are not very likely to meet suicidal people with a gun), but I'm sure no TV commentator here would have said "take this, you gun-toting hippie" about a suicidal person.


Reason the person had the gun is not relevant to the story, and if you turn down the sound you don't hear the comments that were not made by the news media, but the person who posted the video.  Point is that the police sharpshooter had such skill as to be able to disarm the person from a distance with no one getting hurt.  The perpetrator could have as well been a criminal holding hostages or some other armed threat.  Pertaining to the discussion of how Roy Rogers could shoot a pistol out of a bad guys hand with a handgun shot from the hip, something quite preposterous, this was a real world situation where the police did shoot a gun out of someone's hand.  Police anywhere in the world can run into people with guns, even in the countries or cities with the strictest gun control. 

Oct 29, 2020 - 9:28:36 AM

10379 posts since 2/22/2007

That was a rare situation where the target was sitting and stationary, the gun was located where there was little risk of danger to any bystander, and the shooter had a scoped rifle and was in a steady braced position and surely an expert marksman. None of those factors would have been in play in any of our recent police shootings.
Shooting guns out of hands is still the stuff of Hollywood and this is example is likely unique.

Oct 29, 2020 - 11:01:21 AM

433 posts since 1/28/2011

The only reason that shot was attempted was because there was a stone wall over a foot thick behind the subject. Even then there was significant risk to the general public because of the chance of a ricochet. Many departments would have never authorized that shot.

Oct 29, 2020 - 11:08:24 AM
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10379 posts since 2/22/2007

And if the shooter had blown the target's hand off the dept. would have gotten sued.

Oct 29, 2020 - 11:20:09 AM
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2306 posts since 4/22/2018

I’d buy that sniper a pint if I ever met him/her. Irrespective of the legalities/practicalities- it’s one hell of a shot.

Oct 29, 2020 - 1:24:10 PM

56047 posts since 12/14/2005

It is also POSSIBLE that the fellow in the chair, being suicidal, was HOPING that the police would kill him.
"Suicide By Cop" is not a rare phenomenon.

I recall one specific, near where I used to live, where the fellow was threatening people with a knife, and when the police showed up, he charged at the, literally bringing a knife to a gunfight.

I do hope the fellow in the chair got some serious mental help.

Oct 29, 2020 - 2:15:29 PM
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RonR

USA

1718 posts since 11/29/2012

Gosh in real life here the cops shot and killed a deranged man with a knife on Monday night. In retaliation, peaceful protestors blew up 10 ATM machines and destroyed dozens of businesses. The news keeps showing the same clip of the cops running away from the peaceful protestors like a bunch of scared school girls. The National Guard is due here soon. I hope they have Clint Eastwood with them.

Oct 29, 2020 - 4:12:36 PM

3706 posts since 12/6/2009

quote:
Originally posted by DC5
quote:
Originally posted by Wet Spaniel
quote:
Originally posted by DC5
 

There was a video on the news some 20 odd years ago or so ago where a guy was sitting on his porch holding off the police with a revolver in his hand.  During the negotiations one of the snipers noticed that periodically the guy would drop the gun between his legs.  The sniper asked for permission to shoot the gun out of the guys hands and it was granted so the next time he lowered the gun, BANG, the gun wen flying and the guy was rushed, nobody was injured. 


I've seen that Dave, the incident controller obviously had very good faith in his sniper, and the sniper also must have had great confidence in his own abilities.  


Here's the video, I was wrong about him sitting on the porch, he was in the road threatening suicide.  20 odd years of memory tricks changed how I perceived it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVnwkDbeARw


that's the one I remembered seeing....for a trained sniper that was a given,,,,I like the ones where a sniper drops someone with a 3/4 mile distance.....behind a wall no less with those special bullets.

Oct 30, 2020 - 9:04:16 AM
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RV6

USA

1377 posts since 2/3/2012

I've had several law enforcement friends over the years and used to shoot with them at our steel plate matches.   One thing I learned from them is that, if there is a person with a knife 21 feet from them and the officer has his gun holstered and the knife wielder takes a run at them, the officer is going to be in trouble.   Shooting the knife or gun out of a perps hands really isn't an option. 

Here's a video of a guy who could outshoot Roy, I'd betsmiley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzHG-ibZaKM

Oct 30, 2020 - 9:22 AM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

14624 posts since 6/30/2015

Sammy Davis Junior was an amazing gun handler, and an amazing shot.

youtube.com/watch?v=L6aNzFYHyz8

Here is is practicing quick draws with Joe Bowman

youtube.com/watch?v=yM7KBw2jxRs

He was probably the best all around showman who ever lived. Singer, actor, dancer, quick draw, comedian. Yet when he headlined in Las Vegas he had to sleep out of town as no hotel would put him up.

Oct 30, 2020 - 11:32:06 AM
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433 posts since 1/28/2011

quote:
Originally posted by RV6

I've had several law enforcement friends over the years and used to shoot with them at our steel plate matches.   One thing I learned from them is that, if there is a person with a knife 21 feet from them and the officer has his gun holstered and the knife wielder takes a run at them, the officer is going to be in trouble.   Shooting the knife or gun out of a perps hands really isn't an option. 

Here's a video of a guy who could outshoot Roy, I'd betsmiley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzHG-ibZaKM

 


That is the 21 foot rule, standard police training for many years, based on the results of many real life incidents. And all that rule tells you is that a man can run 21 feet in less time than it takes an officer to draw his gun.  That is why when dealing with an armed subject the officer is trained to always have his gun out.  Standard training is that even in a situation where a tazer or bean bag gun or other less lethal weapon is considered against an armed subject, there should always be a back up officer with his gun ready.  The failure rate on less lethal weapons is very high.  Also the officer must take into consideration that the stopping power of a handgun is very low.  The small bullet and low velocity of a standard police handgun round is not powerful enough to immediately stop someone.  There are instances where a subject shot through the heart was still able to run over one hundred feet before collapsing. That is why officers usually fire multiple rounds to stop someone.  I see the family in the Philadelphia event is saying the person shot was not a bad guy.  He was just having a mental emergency.  Why should that matter? A person with a weapon, coming towards a police officer, refusing commands to drop the weapon, is the same threat, regardless of why he is doing what he is doing.  Police officers are trained to take whatever action is necessary to protect thier own safety, and why is that not appropriate.

Oct 30, 2020 - 12:18:16 PM

Owen

Canada

6932 posts since 6/5/2011

...from a Cornell Law School website: "A protective force officer is authorized to use deadly force only when one or more of the following circumstances exists: (1) Self-Defense. When deadly force reasonably appears to be necessary to protect a protective force officer who reasonably believes himself or herself to be in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm. ..... "

3000 miles from the Philadelphia shooting, the words that stand out for me are "only" and "imminent." I realize others put 'way more emphasis on "believes."

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