I am going to prove to you right here and right now that what you hear on this podcast is indeed stuff you never ever learned at the Academy. Oh, really? For example, does any Academy offer a single scintilla of guidance for cops who may someday need to use every deescalation skill at their disposal to deal with a possible invasion of alien?
Recently, as I record this, we got an order for a program we produced so long ago, dinosaurs still roamed the earth. It actually took me a moment to remember what it was all about. Then, it dawned on me why it still had legs and still could make a difference a generation of cops later. Because it saved lives then, and it could absolutely, positively save lives now. Like so many dozens and dozens of programs we’ve produced for law enforcement over these many years. They can still save lives…and do.
This particular program was called very simply: ‘Jack in the Box’ and it revolved around a nighttime stop by officers in suburban Detroit of a vehicle that matched the description of one used in an armed robbery. Here’s how my partner, Don Marsh and I opened that program way back when:
“Even veteran street officers say they have never seen anything like it, but there, it was a potentially lethal Jack in the box or in this case, a totally unexpected Jill in the box. Hello and welcome to In the Line of Duty, I’m Don Marsh and I’m Ron Barber. For officers at the Livonia Police Department in suburban Detroit, there were lessons learned for a lifetime and for you too. There’s plenty to put in your hat as well. It all falls into the category of this never happens, but it did. Please watch carefully. It all started at this Livonia gas station when a frightened clerk gave a most unusual description after an armed robbery.” Continue reading Podcast: A Jack-in-the-Box that Could Kill You→
Do you remember the first time you played with fire? I mean, literally played with fire. Chances are it involved matches or your parents lighter? Because as kids, those were the likely, most accessible firestarters. And for us middle-aged or older, one or both of our parents probably smoked back in the day. There were always matches or lighters kids could pilfer or lift from dad’s pants pocket or mom’s purse. Remember that very first sensation of extreme heat on your fingertips, whoa, son of a bitch, that got your attention. And unless you were a complete imbecile as a kid, you didn’t go back for a repeat performance. Nowadays, kids can show off in other ways, like ramming their skateboard into a brick wall. Continue reading Podcast: Burned Fingers→
I’m seeing it more and more…because it’s happening more and more. Law enforcement cutting back, in some cases, way back on pretextual traffic stops. Stops for minor infractions like broken tail lights, overly tinted windows, expired tabs, ornaments hanging from rear view mirrors, obscured license plates, hanging license plates, etc., etc. During the height of the pandemic, with cops stretched as thin as Olive Oyl, many departments were almost forced to slash their pretextual stops due to personnel shortages. I said then, and I say now, look for that trend never to go away. And, it hasn’t.
Minneapolis has become the latest large agency to decide it’ll no longer pull over motorists for minor traffic violations, such as expired tabs, or having an air freshener dangling from a rear view mirror, a non-working license plate light. And so on. Police critics, says the Minneapolis Star-Tribune have long argued that, much like stop and frisk policies, pretextual stops in which officers use a minor traffic or equipment violation as legal justification for pulling over someone they wish to investigate, contribute to racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Continue reading Podcast: Pre-textual Stops/Good One’s Aren’t Bulls#*t or Racist→
A story I posted today read that, “Alabama police arrested a suspect for assaulting an officer after he allegedly pulled a gun on police and got into an altercation with officers during an early morning traffic stop”. Keep listening. The vehicle had been stopped for traffic violations and pulled into a gas station. The officer called for backup, which arrived, but a passenger was noncompliant with officer’s instructions. He broke free, started running, pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it at one of the officers. Notice I said pointed it at one of the officers. Did any of the officers under totally righteous circumstances, shoot to stop the threat? Nooo