In November, 1942, a gentleman named Fridolph Trieman took his imposing German shepherd and a neighbor’s equally fierce looking dog for a rump in the grass of New York’s Central Park. Bear with me here, because I’m gonna make a hell of a point, which all cops, paramedics, firefighters, and first responders need to hear. You international listeners to this podcast as well.
Hassa, the German shepherd, soon came back barking and tugging at Mr. Trieman’s trouser cuff. He followed the dog to a ditch, where he spotted the body of a young woman. Her skirt was pulled up, exposing her legs and panties and a sleeve had been ripped off her coat. Four welts around her throat hinted at a cause of death, strangulation.
Ultimately, the 24 year-old woman’s estranged husband was nailed for the brutal slaying. You can read it for yourself in the archives of the New York Daily News, just Google Louise Almodovar. That tragedy, however, is not why I have produced this podcast.
It’s because of a photo taken at the murder scene, which showed a half dozen homicide detectives shoulder to shoulder, looking at something near the corpse. And every one of them had his back to the camera or whatever else may have been behind them or coming up behind them. It could have been the entire front line of the Philadelphia Eagles, a wino with a shank or Rommel in a tank. They’d have never known what hit them. They were so involved with whatever it was they were collectively looking at.
Now let’s ‘fast forward’ to San Antonio, Texas. Here’s the headline from KSAT TV: “Shots Fired at Police, Medical Examiner During Murder Investigation” Police said shots were fired in their direction as they were working a murder investigation after a man was found fatally shot, lying in the roadway. Officers said they could hear shots “zip above their heads,” and even heard one round strike the road near them. All of the officials on scene took cover behind their vehicles, according to police…until backup could come clear the scene. They never found out who fired those shots.
Here’s my point. How many times do cops respond to scenes of violent acts that have occurred, in violent neighborhoods, populated by violent people, many of whom don’t like you. Just because you’re investigating ONE scene where a body lies or a victim is injured, do you in your right mind think it couldn’t get worse, especially if there are so many of you out there with a figurative target on your back. Just like contact and cover during a traffic stop, this is the same thing.
Watching your partner’s back or, while everyone is concentrating on Scene A, standing watch…to make sure it doesn’t morph into Scene B. Shouldn’t officers’ safety still be paramount in your thinking no matter what other ill winds may be in vogue at the moment? By the way, if, and when you pull up that old photo from the New York Daily News, with all the homicide detectives back’s turned away, notice who was the only one actually looking at the camera lens. That’ll drive it home for you. Believe me at any crime scene, outdoor or indoor, who is watching YOUR back while you were doing your thing? Hmmmm? I’m just saying.
if you’re considering online training, please seriously consider law enforcement’s only reality-based video training, In the Line of Duty. Visit us at lineofduty.com, then click on the red panel to Get a Free Trial. In the Line of Duty, still saving officers’ lives and making a difference for over a quarter century. Thanks. You are appreciated. I’m Ron Barber and that’s Stuff You Never Ever Learned at the Academy!