February 7, 2021
Good morning friends. Here we are, already a week into February. Time is flying! Last Tuesday, February 2nd was Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. This brings a prediction of six more weeks of winter. I send my sympathy to those residing in wintery locations. I’m a southern California native, where our seasons consist of spring and summer. Fall and winter make occasional appearances. If there’s a disruption in the weather, it’s major news. I’ve witnessed my share of SoCal craziness. Earthquakes, fires, mudslides, protests, celebrity nonsense, serial killers, gangs, drugs, riots and violence; are a few of our events. Much of the madness is beyond our control. We are responsible for our own actions and expressions. We share this responsibility with all humans; to maintain a civil society and not let it slip into anarchy. Adults (especially parents) need to educate our children and younger generations with intelligence, integrity and history. We all should be aware of what humanity and goodness really stand for; and that evil is lurking nearby too.
Children often dream of what they will become in adult life. When I was a kid I wanted to be a fireman. My backup plan was a cowboy or astronaut. The fire department aspirations were based on the premise that it looked like fun. Riding in big shiny red trucks with the lights flashing and siren blaring, just enhanced the thrill. The cool looking fire station was a garage full of toys. I recall going to open houses, climbing on the trucks and trying on equipment. It was always a blast! Who doesn’t like firefighters? Part of my dream came true after I graduated from college. I was hired by the Department of Agriculture, US Forest Service, as firefighter on a Hot Shot crew. My four-year stint concluded working an engine crew on Angeles Crest Highway. Years later I achieved a backup plan goal, assigned to the LAPD Mounted Unit. Police work on horseback was a challenging endeavor and saddled with excitement. The closest I came to becoming an astronaut was while assigned to SWAT and toured Cape Canaveral, at the Kennedy Space Center.
Life and paths change over the course of time. It’s interesting how the universe works its magic. In 1980 I applied to the Los Angeles Police Department. Four months later I found myself entering the LAPD academy. My journey and passion for law enforcement began the first day of police training. I had no idea my career would span nearly 34 years. It took me down a variety of roads with twists and turns. Some paths I had no idea existed or often no intention of traveling. It was a grueling love hate relationship that slowly wore me down. When I reflect on my many years of service, assignments worked, people I worked with, friendships, experiences, traumas and successes; I cherish each and every moment. Each day brought new interactions, learning, experience and different individuals to assist. The goals I set and decisions I made enhanced or altered my career in a number of ways. I had the opportunity to work with many amazing individuals. Several of my bosses were great mentors. They assisted me in developing my abilities and skills. Their support and guidance pushed me to reach my potential in law enforcement. I spent 16 years as an officer and 18 years as a supervisor (9 years as a sergeant and 9 years as a lieutenant). The vast majority of my career was spent working field assignments (as opposed to sitting in an office). As a lieutenant, in charge of personnel working the streets, it was my priority to be available to them. I knew from my past experience what it meant knowing your supervisor was out there with you. The support, mentoring and direction offered by a good leader is invaluable.
Law enforcement, and the policing of any society, is not a simple or easy task. The inherent dangers are ever present. It can be rewarding and exhilarating work. It can also bring pain, sorrow and heartache. The stress you feel strains your entire being. Countless incidents of trauma can debilitate you mentally and physically. The pain and suffering of victims seemed nonstop at times. Responding to trauma filled incidents became a normal occurrence. I did all I could to assist people that were filled with hate, despair, anger, hurt and every other emotion you can imagine. Witnessing abused women and children, death by suicide or murder, innocent victims brutalized, twisted wreckage of car accidents or people robbed of their possessions (taken by soulless thieves) was routine. Maybe some people forgot, or maybe never really cared, what law enforcement represents. For me, it stands for the good of our society and nation. Large cities, or vast metropolitan settings, are filled with diversity, both good and bad. Densely populated areas bring a variety of social, economic and crime related issues. A career in law enforcement includes a life of dedication and giving. It’s a calling rather than a job. It often was difficult me to leave at the station what occurred during my shift. I’d go home feeling exhausted from the mental and physical fatigue. Trauma and tormented individuals remain with you forever. Some days were uneventful, while the majority were filled chaos, madness, sadness or anxiety. Your mind and body remain on “high alert” for potential danger or criminal activity. I’m always aware of my surroundings, situations and people around me. Knowing you’re a target, from attacks or from individuals seeking to discredit you, and what you represent, is forever present.
We all know evil exists (or we should). If you have doubts, please educate yourself on individuals that commit heinous and atrocious acts or crimes; like mass murders, serial killers, child predators or brutal dictators. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and nationalities. Evil individuals have been on this earth since the inception of mankind. Millions of innocent people have been brutalized, traumatized and butchered by evil and sadistic humans. When laws were first enacted to protect societies, individuals were sought to serve as a buffer between the good and bad. Law enforcement officers became the protectors of society. Officers have rules, policies, procedures and laws (civil, state and federal) to follow and obey in the facilitating of their duties. Criminals, or those who disregard our society; don’t obey laws, disregard moral conduct and will use any force to take what they want. Individuals with no affinity to police, pose a dangerous threat to all. Encounters with them can have deadly consequences. There is no nice or pretty way for officers to restrain or stop the aggressive or combative actions of these individuals. Criminals aren’t nice people. Some humans do not have the ability, will power, mental fortitude or desire to control their illicit urges. Using force isn’t delicate, politically correct or pretty. Officers are guided by policy and law when force is necessary. Lawlessness is bound by no code of conduct.
We live in a country, where laws exist, so all people can reside in peace and freedom. The defund the police movement grew as a political argument. Politicians used it as a tool to spread fear and garner votes. Extremists utilized it to discredit law enforcement and push their own agenda. These individuals want you to believe we (Police Officers) are bad, racist or brutes. Limiting police authority, freeing incarcerated criminals, closing prisons or opening our borders won’t solve any issues. This only perpetuates more fear, division and unrest. Following the incident at the Capital, democratic leaders used this to lock down Washington DC. They set up fences, barricades and deployed thousands of military troops and police officers for protection. Who are they afraid of, or was this just a cleaver disguise to create more fear and control?
Today, law enforcement is under attack, both physically and politically. The tactics to create fear, division, hate, while vilifying law enforcement are real. Leaders call to defund law enforcement; then ensure their own security and protection with these same officers. We should all be aware of the rising crime across our nation. Murder rates, especially in large cities, gang violence, drugs, crimes against children and criminal behavior in general, is on the increase. The threats against officers and dangers they face, horrific and appalling, grows daily. Police officers and law enforcement individuals are dedicated to serving and protecting the community. We are willing to do a job no one else wants to do or see. We know the risks are real, but we want to maintain safe communities for all people. When an officer encounters a dangerous or combative individual, split second decisions made under duress can be crucial to survival. These encounters are scrutinized, picked apart and questioned to the smallest degree. If an individual is injured or killed during a confrontation, officers are often condemned before all the facts of the incident are known. People base their decisions on news or social media accounts, that often do not know the facts associated with the case. Some news sources or media outlets alter, sensationalize, twist, fabricate or manipulate statements or facts to gain an edge on their competitors. For some, news reporting is a business. Who can break a news story first or provide more information than their revivals, wins. There are people who do not care about facts or truth. They only care to push information that supports and serves an agenda that serves their purpose. There are hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers throughout our nation that provide outstanding, professional, fair and unparalleled service. When you examine any career, nationality, race or gender, you find a few unsuitable individuals. That small percentage can tarnish the entire group.
I was blessed to work with one of the best police departments in this country (and the world). The LAPD constantly sought new techniques and technology to resolve critical encounters with criminals or impaired individuals. Our tactics, policies and training were constantly evaluated, reviewed and altered to ensure we were on the cutting edge of policing. Before you render decisions on police actions, take the time so seek the facts, evidence and the truth. The battle being waged against law enforcement is a sad commentary on our society. We are becoming a world influenced by progressives and extremist beliefs. It’s a fantasy world where good is now bad and bad is good. I want to live in a world of law and order. Our nation offers peace and freedom, but that will only last as long as we retain the good. As long evil exists, or individuals prey upon others, the need for law enforcement and the military is required.
When evil is outside your door or you need help, who will you call? I doubt it will be your congressional representative or state senator. They have plenty of law enforcement security to keep them safe. I guarantee you’ll want someone who offers immediate and unquestioned protection at any hour of the day. We’re the police. We’re here to help you.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation. Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!