Police Oversight Committee
In this past Sunday's Sun-News there was an opinion posted by Peter Goodman regarding the need for a Civilian Police Oversight Committee in Las Cruces. I don't subscribe to the Sun-News because of its lack of journalistic integrity (see a previous blog) and its liberal slant, but the headline regarding the directed verdict in the Chris Smelser case caught my eye and I decided to buy the paper.
Goodman is a liberal progressive and the few weekly columns that I've read over the years reflect viewpoints one would expect from that faction, but with regards to police oversight committees I'm open to ideas that have merit. I saw nothing in Goodman's column to sway me in the direction of believing a CPOC is a swell idea. In fact, most of his suggestions were absurd.
Goodman started his off column by writing that he believes we need a CPOC, and then wrote this:
Our police kill too many of us for a town our size...
The Washington Post compiled data showing that Las Cruces had the highest per capita rate of police killings in the nation between January 2015 and April 2020. Assuming that is true (because I'm not going to research officer-involved shootings of every single police department in the country to verify it) I have to ask myself why there is such a level of violence perpetrated against police officers in this community. The "blame" for police shootings cannot and should not be placed squarely on the shoulders of LCPD officers.
First and foremost, if bad guy shoots a cop, shoots at a cop, points a gun at a cop, or pulls a gun on a cop, the time for talking is over. The threat associated with death and great bodily harm from a projectile that travels approximately one thousand feet per second carries too great of a concern for there to be any hesitation on the part of the officer in the use of deadly force. Subtract those LCPD shootings from the WaPo statistics and what are we left with? LCPD shootings of persons armed with bladed (knife, sword, machete, etc.) or blunt force instruments (baseball bat, pool cue, shovel, two-by-four, brick, rock, bottle, chain, etc. That is not the complete list of weapons used against LCPD officers in my 22 years of experience, but it gives the reader an idea).
A person attacking a police officer at close quarters with a weapon that can kill or cause great bodily harm is going to be shot. The wonderfully overrated Taser has a greater than 50% failure rate. Whether that failure rate is operator error or just a substandard product is arguable, but the bottom line is this: if the health and well-being of an officer is on the line because of an attack involving a deadly instrument, the attacker becomes fair game. To say LCPD shoots way too many people for a town this size is to ignore root causes for the level of violence perpetrated against officers in the first place.
But what is Goodman's suggestion? Here is how he thinks deadly force should be applied:
Police may use a weapon only in response to the actual use of a weapon. Any use of a weapon by any officer(s) will be proportionate to that use. (The Army rule — do not fire unless fired upon — would apply.)
That is so ridiculous I can't even begin to believe than an adult wrote it. Goodman says that a former Sun-News columnist named Michael Hays, a veteran (I assumes he means a military veteran) made the suggestion. So what does having been in the military have to do with police work? Nothing. What does a journalist know about police work? Nothing. I can tell you that I know men who served in the branches of the military (as I did) and nobody is trained to be shot at before opening fire on an opponent with firearm in hand. And cops don't, either, although if they have a position of cover they will yell at the suspect to drop the weapon. As for the rest of that statement regarding use of a weapon by an officer being proportionate, does Goodman mean that if a suspect pulls a knife, the cops are supposed to pull one, too, and fight with a knife to make it fair and square?
Here is another gem from the Goodman suggestion box:
Police may not pursue anyone because of non-vehicular misdemeanors or non-violent felonies.
In other words, if a guy beats his wife, a misdemeanor domestic violence, and runs from the cops we should just let him go. Guy steals a motor vehicle, a non-violent felony, and runs from the cops, let him go. Guy burglarizes your house, a non-violent felony, and runs from the cops they don't pursue. Guy exposes himself to children on a playground, a misdemeanor, and runs when the cops come, let him go. Guy peeping in windows to watch women undressing or naked in the shower, let him go. These wonderful solutions on how to better police our community brought to you by the liberals at the Sun-News.
Police may not use any weapon — taser, pistol, rifle, spray — or body-damaging or life-endangering technique to stop or subdue anyone because of misdemeanors or non-violent felonies.
So, in the scenarios listed in the previous paragraph, if a suspect does not run and the officer attempts to arrest him and he fights the officer, LCPD is forbidden from using a baton, pepper spray or Taser? Are cops supposed to just duke it out, or are they forbidden from using their hands, too? And what about the K9? Too violent for liberal approval? Dog bite = bad, bad guy = good. Another successful equation from the liberal textbook.
But wait, Goodman isn't done. Here's another chestnut from the wisdom tree:
All tickets must include certification to the truth of the charge(s), under penalty of perjury, and altering charges would amount to tampering with evidence.
What does this statement even mean? It sounds to me like somebody got a ticket once that they strongly disagreed with and are now implying that cops are liars. Every citation written with signature applied validates and certifies the truth of the charges. Can cops make mistakes? Yes. Do people often disagree when cops cite them based on violations observed by the officer? Of course, it is human nature, but that doesn't make the cop a liar because you disagree with the ticket. And altering charges becomes a felony crime of tampering with evidence? So that time I wrote the ticket to the guy for no taillights, and he came to the police department a few days later and showed me he had replaced the fuse and fixed the problem so I subsequently dismissed the ticket, that made me guilty of tampering with evidence??
The other "suggestion" made in Goodman's article was that the police chief should have quarterly sessions, with city council and the city manager in attendance, to address concerns or criticism presented orally by members of the public. Baloney. All that means is that the whiny asses of the world will now have an open forum for their petty grievances.
Elected councilors are in place for a reason, to represent their constituents. If a citizen feels wronged, they can contact their elected rep. Or a lawyer. They can even go to a Monday council meeting and wait for the opportunity to speak. The chief, or his representative, is at all those meetings. And on that subject, every LCPD chief I've ever known had an open door policy for the public. Most complaints can be rectified over the telephone, but a chief is not above meeting a member of the public in person to help explain the actions of his officers. All you have to do is ask.
About the only point in the article that I will agree with is that the chief's office could have and should have handled the Amelia Baca shooting in a better fashion. In fact, the handling of it was part of a complaint from the LCPD POA regarding the chief. The rest of Goodman's whining diatribe is nothing but a bunch of elitist bullshit. Once again, the liberal media ordains themselves by letting us know they are not only better than us, but know what is best for us.
By the way, Mr. Goodman, battery on a police officer is a felony, not a misdemeanor.
I'll close with this: the liberal Sun-News earlier this month ran an article about a drag queen and what a positive role model the guy was for the community. I did not read the article. You can Google it if you don't believe me. I don't know the guy and I have nothing against him, and do not look down my nose at him regarding his personal quirks or fetishes. When I was growing up we had expressions like "Different strokes for different folks" or "Whatever floats your boat" or "If it feels good, do it" and so forth. In other words, we were raised to be tolerant and have a sense of humor about certain things in life. I'm not judging the drag queen. But, please, Las Cruces Sun-News, do not try to shove your liberal agenda down my throat by posting some bullshit that men who dress up as women are a positive role model for the youth of this community. They are not.
And that, for me, sums up the media in general at this point in the history of our country.
Semper Fi. Stay safe out there.