WANNA BE A COP?

Here’s a story about a really bad cop.

     Imagine. You’re a career police officer (white) in a medium-sized city with five years on the job. Wife pregnant in 2014. You support your loved ones as well as the extended family in uniform. You back up other cops when their lives may be in jeopardy. You have testified in hundreds of criminal and traffic cases. A few times in your career, you have faced the barrels of pistols and shotguns, or other weapons.

     You give to the community not only with special activities at on holidays, but as role models for all citizens because you served your community well. You have been awarded special acknowledgements for gallant bravery doing your job. You have risked your life every day on the job.

     You would be ready at any time to save human lives, entering a house on fire, bringing kids to safety or pulling a crash victim from a burning car.

     Yes, some encounters became physical, not by your choice, but by the choice of lawbreakers. You might still have nightmares over killing a black teen who was trying to kill you. But it was, truly, an act of self-defense. No matter. That 18 year-old “boy” had just committed a strong-arm robbery and weighed over 300 pounds, and showed intent to kill you.

     As though on cue, the community ignited into a riotous uproar, declaring you to be a murderer, that the killing of that teen was an act of racism, pure and simple… because you were white and the kid was black. That was the only issue that mattered. Anything you ever did before in your dedicated years of service is null and void, like they never happened.

     Some news media people saturated the scene with cameras and reporters, making sure to get on-scene comments from citizens, many of whom are inspired by hatred. For some stupid reason, “protesters” decided to torch stores, cars and residences showing “unity” among fellow blacks. Cops were declared the “enemy.”

     It doesn’t end there.

     You were an officer who had an exemplary record, yet was declared guilty by segments of the news media and the angry mobsters, long before any court proceedings began. It stirred hatred. The city boiled over with violence. It didn’t matter that the behemoth “boy” had just robbed a grocery store, along with a smaller friend. You were caught off guard as the “boy” suddenly punched you officer in the face through the car window. Then the “boy” reached through and grabbed your gun, which discharged two times. A tussle ensued, the officer kept the gun.

     You were now obligated to arrest the criminal. It’s your job. As the boy started to walk off, you rightfully informed he was under arrest for a litany of felony crimes, including resisting arrest. “Stop! you hollered, gun in hand. The “boy” turned around, lunged forward and began charging you in a menacing manner. There was no choice. There was no time. You knew your life was in jeopardy. You fired several shots. The boy lay dead.

     Never mind that a half-dozen civilian witnesses, all black, later testified at a Grand Jury, that the officer was, indeed, innocent of any wrong doing. Two television media outlets went after ratings as journalists and entertainers from CNN and MSNBC, and The View, condemned the officer, mimicking the “boy’s” outstretched arms, shouting “hands up, don’t shoot.”  It was a lie. The “boy” never said that. It was made up, for effect. You were labeled a “killer” and a “racist” to satisfy them.

     Your name is Darren Wilson. You had been a Ferguson cop with a stellar record for five years. You grew up in multi-ethnic neighborhoods and particularly enjoyed working with blacks, according to a 2015 article in the New Yorker.

     The simmering remains. Just one year ago, the family of the deceased Michael Brown, hired lawyers to file suit against the city. After all, why not?

     Where is Darren Wilson today?  According to a recent interview, he’s living in a low-income neighborhood, incognito. Other than cheap labor, he can’t get a job. He owns a small house, but his name is not on the deed for self protection. When his baby daughter was born, he would not agree to release names in the family. They live in fear of retribution, for doing his job. His future is driven by protecting his wife and child, and to survive.

     Darren Wilson did nothing wrong. He did what was required of him as a police officer. He also saved his own life. Whatever goodness Wilson did in his life, has all been erased. His chances for prosperity and happiness are gone.   

     That’s what you call, a victim.

     Every encounter that leaves a black man dead at the hands of a cop in today’s world is a target on the firing line. The circumstances do not matter. Retribution matters. Police hatred matters. Chaos matters.

     Anyone out there wanna be a police officer today?

 

“A BOY WHO MATTERED” – (non-fiction) tells the story of a 58 year-old drug addict who died a lonely death after a lonely life. He was my son. Available at amazon.com or, signed copies available from the author, yours truly, free shipping. Just order from me at MLF283@aol.com and send check for $15 to P.O. Box 411841, Melbourne, Fl 32941.

COPS AND SYSTEMIC RACISM? AN UNTRUTH.

Before going any further, I hope my readers will absorb some of the scenes depicted in the following video.  It’s not about Hillary Clinton, but the chronic accusations against police who, every day, every year, occupy the front lines serving and protecting people. Insurgents would have us all believe that systemic racism is a product of a hate-filled white America and that police officers are the most serious violators. In truth, Hillary is just another politician who pandered to a large voting block, which is what politicians do…whether true or not. It’s the election that matters, not reality.

This is less than two minutes, but you’ll get the point.  Watch…

 

 

Dealing with violence is part of a cops job. Every day, especially in big cities, police are on guard, not only from physical harm, but by haters in general. Of course, there will always be incidents of conflict when police officers are doing their duty which translates to unwanted confrontations and, sometimes, lifelong consequences. Once in a great while, the situation gets out of control and people get hurt, from both sides of the tracks.

From all accounts, there is little doubt that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin committed a heinous crime, killing 46 year-old George Floyd unnecessarily. People on all sides of the political spectrum are rightfully outraged, but I have a major problem when anyone legitimizes out-of-control rioters and insurgents who engage in civil disorder by destroying property, buildings, cars and homes. They are not protesters, as the media calls them. They are criminals as well. Who is there to protest the protesters?

Racism forever clouds the news and the facts when the racial make-up of a disputable incident occurs. Having lived the police life for 30 years in a hot-bed like Miami, I am confident in saying that racial motives for killing situations is extremely rare.  When a case erupts like George Floyd’s, (which does not look good) I would surmise there’s probably far more to that story that has yet been revealed.  Violent protesters are generally rooted from various anti-American organizations hell-bent on destroying or conquering our nation from within, as many have promised, including radical Islam, hard-core socialists and the far left, communists. If anyone really thinks these insurgencies are spontaneous, I’ve got some palm trees to sell in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Though cops respond to hazardous situations every day, (Every Day!) relatively few result in death. 800,000 police officers from some 18,000 law enforcement agencies serve people of all ethnic and racial make-ups. If only one-tenth of one percent of cop-related deaths were determined to be criminal, we must also consider the millions of dangerous calls they respond to yearly. FBI sources tell us that police make over 10 million arrests per year. 

     The 9-1-1 system handles 500,000 (average) calls a day. It’s not surprising that a wayward cop may emerge now and then. But that’s no excuse for violently seizing and ruining the lives of innocent citizens and public servants.

     Consider these stats:

  • In a 28-year study by the Department of Justice, blacks accounted for 52.5 percent of all homicides. Whites: 45.3 percent. The offending rate for blacks has been nearly eight times that of whites. That’s not a racist conclusion, it’s a fact.
  • Per the Department of Justice, over a ten-year period, blacks accounted for 57 percent of gun murders. Blacks make-up 13 percent of America. Are the FBI statisticians racist?
  • According to the Bureau of Justice, blacks comprise nearly 37 percent of the nation’s prison population, while 12.5 percent of the general population.
  • Author/journalist, Heather McDonald’s recent article in the Washington Post concludes, the police fatally shot 9 unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019. Those unarmed black victims, makeup 0.1 percent of all African Americans killed in 2019. Systemic?  I think not.

     Some reporters never fail to remind us about past police behavior, as if to suggest “white” cops belong to some nationwide cabal to kill black people. That’s absurd. It’s simply not true. Perhaps in 1950, but not in 2020. We must be cautious and vigilant against wrongfully attaching racial connotations to any action, whether by police or civilians.

There is no evidence to conclude that Trayvon Martin’s death in 2014 was truly an episode of racism. Same with Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and many others. We, the citizens, must stop the automatic attachment of racial connotations to every mixed race killing. And the media must do their share of reporting the truth, rather than stirring hatred through biased reporting.

     I was a cop in Miami-Dade for thirty years, and I can tell you, unequivocally, that ALL lives matter. It is an insult to whites, Asians, Latinos to constantly allude to black lives mattering, when in fact, all of us matter.

*     *     *

My 15 published books are available at amazon.com.  Signed copies can be purchased via my web site:  www.marshallfrank.com

 

POLICE SUICIDE AND DEPRESSION

With cops’ suicide on the rise, we must recognize they suffer from depression too | Opinion

During my stint as a Miami-Dade cop from 1960 to 1990, I personally knew 10 officers who committed suicide.

The reasons varied from cop to cop, i.e., emotional issues at home, runaway debt, alcohol abuse, fears and pressures of the job, and more. But the one common thread, regardless of race, creed, culture, or wealth, is usually related to depression.

Yes. Cops have feelings too.

The last thing they want is for top brass to know they are suffering every day inside the mind and heart. They play a role as if nothing is wrong when, in fact, too many are a walking time bomb ready to explode. Such fears are kept secret.

An article in FLORIDA TODAY on Feb. 12 cited reliable sources about the alarming increase of suicides among police officers, with 734 taking their own lives between 2016 to 2019, according to Blue H.E.L.P.

Police officers who suffer mental problems should be identified so that they can be treated by professionals. Right? Not so fast. That can also end their coveted careers. They well know that. Cops who let their emotional imbalances be known, fear being transferred to undesirable assignments, or if recommended by professionals, outright termination. Bye-bye career. Bye-bye pension.

Yes, top brass is concerned about helping the officers, but they also worry about their responsibility to the public and their own image if and when they fail to take action.

Some officers are unable to cope with the stress, thereby creating more problems. Officers know that any signs of mental imbalance could result in new unwanted assignments, or even dismissal, if such secrets were disclosed.

One homicide supervisor fought fear, fights and trepidation every day on duty. He also tried handling an array of children (three adopted), a demanding spouse, runaway debts, daily domestic conflicts, too much alcohol each evening, a mentally ill son/addict by a previous marriage, not to mention a work load which totaled over 100 investigations a year. Among his cases were the infamous McDuffie case that led to the Miami riots of 1980 and the Mariel Boatlift right after.

He thought more about the kids, the stigma they would face and the need for professional help, however secret. A counseling psychologist named Doris entered his life and triggered a year of productive therapy.

Close call.

In today’s America, particularly in large communities, police officers face deadly hatred as routine. Folks in urban areas have learned how to taunt cops in hopes of inciting bad outcomes making them all look bad. In recent years, on-duty cops have been assaulted with barrels of water over their heads as nearby cell phones formed videos. They turned another cheek and kept walking, humiliated. At some street disturbances, officers have stood at attention while subjected to hooligans embarking on foul-mouthed screaming episodes directly into their eardrums. They had orders to look away and take it.

In North Florida, two deputies quietly eating their meal at a local restaurant in Gilchrist County were shot to death in 2018 by a cop-hating maniac for no other reason than being a cop. Brooklyn, New York, 2014, same outcome as two cops were shot to death while quietly sitting in their police car. Many other senseless cop shootings have resulted in officers surviving, but it certainly makes that theater of operations a dangerous place to be.

In 2019, 134 officers died in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. In 2018, that number was 167 and in 2017, it was 176.

It’s no wonder that police suicides are on the upswing. Like most other career servants, these officers also have wants, goals and needs, and families with problems. Only, they carry a badge.

By the way, that homicide supervisor who sat in the driveway, gun in hand, was me. 

Marshall Frank is a retired police captain from Miami-Dade County, author and frequent contributor. Visit marshallfrank.com.

police officers suffer from depression too (Florida Today)

STATISTICS, ENFORCEMENT AND THE RACIAL DIVIDE

Black Live Matter is a group that carries a lot of clout in the political-racial landscape in America. That’s obvious. What’s not obvious are the statistical facts about alleged racism in law enforcement and justice which shows that all people of all ethnic and racial bases can, and often are, holding prejudices. Of course, Black Lives do Matter, but that’s not to the exclusion of white, browns, Latinos, Asians, females, males, midgets and giants. We ALL matter.
     Too often we hear about terrible disparities in crime statistics and the justice systems in general, particularly as it pertains to race. Based on sheer numbers, it appears that these systems, comprising police, courts and prisons, are prejudiced against black people, invoking accusations of systemic racism at its worst. For the most part, it’s simply not true. Key word: “systemic.”
     Yes, statistics are grossly disproportionate. But there’s a reason. FBI and the Bureau of Justice reveal that over a period of 28 years, 1980 to 2008, over 52 percent of murders were committed by blacks, while 45 percent were by whites. Yet blacks comprise only 12.7 of the population, and black males only 6.3 percent. Thus, citing the sheer numbers of whites versus blacks in criminal research, lopsided population ratios has nothing to do with a racist system. It means a very small segment of the population is responsible for a disproportionate number of violent crimes. That’s just a fact.
     Statistics are not a valid gauge from which to judge fairness. If we were held to a ratio goal, based on demographics, females should occupy prison cells by 51 percent and males only 49 percent. But records tell us that only 10.5 percent of homicide convictions are female. Even more ridiculous is suggesting that males are unfairly targeted for sex crime arrests compared to females. Never mind, that 98.9 percent of all arrests for rape are males.
     Unfair? Should cops be arresting people according to population ratios pertaining to race and gender? Should half of those arrested for perpetrating rape, be women?
     Of course, that’s absurd. But so is claiming that the prison populations should comprise numbers in line with racial demographics.
    Some folks constantly invoke the bane of racism, which does more harm than good. That may be warranted in isolated cases, but not all. I recently engaged in a short debate with a local African-American attorney, compliments of Florida Today’s civility discussion program, in which the topic was the “Black Lives Matter” movement which suggests that too many cops are predisposed to systemic bias against blacks. The debate never addressed the origins of that movement which, in truth, had nothing to do with racial discrimination.
     “Black Lives Matter” spiraled from the 2014 shooting death of 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, after he had just robbed a local store. When Officer Darren Wilson spotted two suspects walking on the roadway, he stopped and ordered them to get off the street. Big boy Brown charged the police car and sucker-punched the cop through the window, then attempted to wrest the officer’s pistol away. Imagine how surprised that cop was.
     Brown had committed serious felonies. As he turned away, the officer rightfully ordered the felon to stop, at gunpoint. Instead, Brown again charged the officer in a menacing manner. This mammoth “boy” stood over six feet and weighed over 300 pounds. Wilson fired. Brown died.
     Some media journalists used explosive terms emphasizing how the “child” was “unarmed,” which ignited the community into outrage. The shooting was ultimately deemed justified when a grand jury heard testimony from several eye witnesses, all black. Eric Holder, Attorney General, did not file federal charges because there were none validated.
     The town of Ferguson suffered riots causing damages to homes and businesses by the millions. The department was criticized for not having enough black officers, in contrast to demographics. Never mind, that most local young adult blacks could not qualify because of police records, or had no interest in being associated with law enforcement. It was tough to get young black males to apply.
     I understand that dilemma, having faced similar situations following the Miami riots of 1980.
     The Ferguson incident remains the poster case which elevated “Black Lives Matter” to prominence though based on a falsehood. Officer Wilson didn’t shoot Michael Brown because he was black. The “boy” had already assaulted and attempted to disarm the cop. And, the “boy” was huge.
     There’s always more to the story. Sure, there may be exceptions, but to blame crime’s lopsided statistics on actions taken by on-the-line officers as “systemic” racism is just not true. Not in today’s climate.
     Truth be told, ALL lives matter.
 
 

HOW TO REFORM LAW ENFORCEMENT – OP-ED – M. FRANK

(This article appears in news OpEd, Florida Today, this date.)
 

After serving 30 years in Miami-Dade County law enforcement — plus managing a major national security company for four more — I’ve seen my share of problems concerning life, death, crime, security and justice. There is so much to overhaul and streamline, it would exceed the limits for newsprint so I’ll narrow my views to a sampling of ideas.

If I had the magic wand, I would…

  • Do away with electing sheriffs in counties by appointing chiefs/directors much like what’s done in municipalities. It has worked effectively in Miami-Dade County since 1966. Such a system diminishes politics and does away with good-old-boys, or its perception.
  • Renovate the system of small city/town departments by merging local governments for efficiency. This would be more effective with the focus on services, training, and coordinating criminal matters. The four municipalities along 15 miles of Highway A1A is patrolled by four small departments under four police chiefs and its mini-bureaucracies. That could be reduced to one.
  • Reduce jail and prison populations by invoking the European model, which hands out far shorter or lesser sentences while converting savings into funds for training and education.
  • Help prisoners re-adapt to society after being caged for decades. A huge number of prisoners who return to society have no support system or opportunities to survive, particularly with criminal records. This often results in choice recidivism, i.e. convicts who commit crimes in order to return “home.”
  • Decriminalize prostitution and establish laws that protect the consumers. This would legitimize, sanitize and control such unenforceable “crimes” that have been in the service business for centuries, regardless of laws.
  • Reestablish a method by which we could identify people suffering from serious psychotic issues, even insanity, and rebuild our sanitarium systems as welcoming medical centers to treat the mentally ill — before they commit a crime, not after. This would include reserving space for prison inmates who are suffering from severe mental disorders.
  • Abolish the death penalty, which is not a deterrent. It is an outrageous cost to taxpayers while the risks of killing an innocent are far too great even if only one in a thousand. The system is too flawed, as we’ve seen locally in Brevard County alone with too many innocent men being wrongfully convicted (that we know of). The state should not be in the business of killing
  • Invoke a compromise in the abortion dilemma.  Keep abortions legal for women in the first trimester, or fourth month, but prohibit late terms except to save the life of the mother. This should keep everyone happy without re-igniting the abortion black market, which was a nightmare for cops and courts. I know. I was there.
  • Appoint a civilian committee made up of legal, social and law enforcement personnel, to redesign drug laws that would put more emphasis on control, treatment and mental health, rather than banishing users into prison cells for mega-years. That would also impact the supply side by decriminalizing many laws, thus paralyzing the black market that destroys lives indiscriminately while filling prisons.
  • Do away with minimum-mandatory sentences. Statutes generally come with a certain number of years to serve if found guilty in court regardless of mitigating circumstances. Prosecutors use these laws to an advantage, often threatening defendants with long sentences while securing a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence. Meanwhile, judges are stripped from exercising judicial discretion.
  • Restart policies for community policing throughout America, establishing productive, eye-to-eye relationships between citizens and businesses. Just check where such programs have been enacted with success and follow that lead.
  • Within strict procedural and social limits, states should allow for “stop-and-frisk” policies. It’s a policy that was enormously effective under two New York City mayors, saving hundreds of lives.

There is more, but that’s a start. Anyone listening?

How to reform law enforcement, from a retired cop