I understand the fury, frustration and anger cops feel and generally agree with it. So what’s next?
We can whine, bitch, moan, or crawl under a rock… and do nothing. Retire, fade away. I’ve had it, I’m out of here or we can come out fighting, gouging, kicking and ripping the eyes out of a six foot six inch drunk on fentanyl who isn’t going down unless he rips your gun from your holster and blows the top of your F’ing head off.
Are young cops taught any more that if it comes down to their own life or death that, yes, gouging out a rat bastards eyeballs is on the table.
Does any academy instructor ever go there anymore? If you’re getting the shit kicked out of you and the dirtbag’s testicles are within reach, are recruits ever instructed to grab them and yank them right out of their sack?
Or, are cops so petrified of everyone having a cell camera, including the birdies in the trees, chipmunks and squirrels that they’re willing to compromise their very existences.
In his amazing book, POLICE CRAFT, Sergeant Adam Plantinga of the San Francisco P. D. writes:
” If you’re committed to a fight, and as a cop you are committed to them all, you may want to (learn to) resist the urge to run away… and instead move in and tie the suspect up like a boxer.”
This guy needs the right amount of distance to land blows, and if you take away the distance, you take away the blows. And while you’re up close and personal, you run through your response options. Maybe it’s a baton day. Maybe it’s a gun day, but is this slug throwing haymakers or swinging a wrench? You’re going to make sure it isn’t his day. The bottom line is you have to be able to flip a switch and go from civility to savagery. You must out violence a violent suspect to take him into custody. No half measures. A man is strangling you. You can’t reach your side arm. You were half a tick away from passing out, but there’s the suspect’s nose, right in front of you. So BITE IT.
BUT, THEY DIDN’T TEACH ME THAT AT THE ACADEMY. No, but they didn’t teach you to be murdered in a filthy apartment by a berserk drug addict, either. So bite his nose, bite the whole thing off, if need be. And when that’s done, look for something else to bite off because you need to understand. This is on him, not you. He threw this party. All you did was show up.
Now, here’s a little something else Sergeant Plantinga wrote:
” During the summer of 2013 when I was working Street Crimes, my partner and I were taking someone into custody every day, and not all of them were wholly agreeable to the arrest process. I punched so many violent felons in the face that summer that I was placed in the early intervention system, which is designed to track problem officers, but, more often than not, simply revealed proactive cops who made quality arrests and weren’t big on retreating.
Now, I could justify every blow, but to onlookers, all those face strikes may have looked like police heavy-handedness. They may have viewed me the same way my wife does when I’m doing something questionable, like eating a greasy meat platter without utensils while hunched over the sink. At which point I tell her, I do not expect you to understand or approve of what is happening here.”
Let me ask you this. How is it that there are fresh and bloody news clips, literally every day of sewer rats beating the hell out of tourists in front of a posh DC hotel… or parents pounding hell out of a 13 year old umpire at a peewee league game… or a 93 year old woman being beaten down in an elevator…roving gangs of little 13 and 14 year old bastards punching out every innocent in their rage fuel paths… a guy stopped to compare notes after a minor fender bender and gets beaten to death by a punk ass who should have been breathing stale air in a prison cell.
And, yet, not one single cruiser cam, body cam or cell phone clip has emerged I can point to in years, in which a righteously pissed off cop has gone toe to toe in a really honest-to-God duke out with a shitbird?
Could today’s average cop coming off the assembly line go even a single round with a boxing kangaroo? Now that all the rough and tumble cops from the World War II, Korea and Vietnam eras are long retired, how many of today’s officers have, truly, ever been belted across the chops? How many officers could throw a respectable punch without looking like Harry Potter in a snit?
Does any academy ever go there anymore? An eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth, a nose for a nose? A nut for a nut?
How many cops these days have a heavy bag in their garage and actually use it for something other than collecting mulch or old oily rags? What do you think?
Are cops so ‘camera-shy’ that they’d willingly shelve one of their most effective tools… a fast, follow-through punch to the nose?
Or is Sergeant Plantinga right?
If you’re in a fight for your life, will you bite off, gouge out, rip, tear or shred anything soft, available and hopefully as excruciatingly painful is possible.
In her famous book “What Cops Know” author Connie Fletcher quotes a veteran Chicago officer:
” In dealing with people on the street today, if you instill in their minds you are crazier than they are, nobody will ever mess with you. Nobody fools with crazy people. Nobody wants to mess with somebody who’s nutty, unstable, whatever. That’s the same all over. I know a copper who cultivated a twitch just for the street.”
“Only wo kinds of people stare at other people: nuts and police. If you want to be safe on the street, make eye contact, stare at them directly. They’re gonna think you’re a nut or a copper. They won’t mess with you.”
And, in his book “Cops”, author Mark Baker quotes an officer who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a violent domestic. “This guy’s going to show you and the bitch. The worst thing that can happen to him is that he’s going to get beaten up, and that’ll be her fault.”
“Now, as the cop on scene, you go through stages. The first one, you just finished having coffee and talking about the crab grass and stuff. No you’re in the apartment and there’s tremendous tension. People get killed in this kind of tension all the time. But, you’re still thinking about the crab grass and where you gonna have dinner. So you grab the guy by the arms and say ‘Come on, let’s get out of here’.
At which time, “the guy smacks you upside the head and you’re in the middle of a big fight. In fact, you may be getting your ass kicked. So, you learn Stage two: The next time I go in there and I look at the guy and I see that this guy is gonna have to go, I’m gonna take him out quick. I’m gonna show him it’s a no-win situation and that he’s gonna get his ass kicked. The cops who are afraid continue with the ass kicking for their entire careers. The guys who aren’t afraid move on to stage three and just exert themselves, establish their authority, and the fighting ends.”
And, leave the sales of the Girl Scout cookies to the Girl Scouts.
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And that’s Stuff You Never Ever Learned at the Academy. I’m Ron Barber. What are your thoughts and feedback? As long as there’s minimal profanity, I’ll get back to you. E mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat soon.