Tag Archives: cop culture

UK Cops – From Small Acorns Do Great Oaks Grow

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Posted by my Brother in Blue from across the Pond – Nathan Constable

 

It’s not like me to struggle for words when it comes to writing a blog but on this occasion I really am.

This blog is primarily meant to be about UK COPS, the superb work it does and the phenomenal strength shown by the survivors.

And yet – there is a theme around this that I am finding hard to verbalise. A theme I am almost uncomfortable in raising but raise it I will in due course.

Yesterday we gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for the major event of the UK COPS schedule.

It is such a wonderful, fitting venue. There are various sections within it for the different armed services but there is also “The Beat.”

This avenue of trees, within about 50 years, is going to look incredible. It is here that each force has its own tree alongside individual trees, planted by surviving friends and family, for many named officers who have lost their lives too soon.

Even now, in its relative infancy, when you look down this space and consider its scale and its simple beauty ….. Well, it couldn’t be more suitable nor more aptly named.

This year everything, including the trees, was a little bigger.

The Police Unity Tour who had cycled from London to Staffordshire, raising £40,000 for the charity, was at least twice the size it was last year in numbers.

The Blue Knights – well, their convoy just didn’t seem to stop.

The turnout – UK COPS say it was their biggest ever and I think a couple of the organisers were surprised and delighted in equal measure.

During the service we heard from several survivors, each giving a different perspective on their tragic experience, the loss of their loved one and the gaping hole left behind.

Then there was hope in their stories as they recounted how the charity had supported them and how it continues to support them.

How they have developed a network which allows people to support one another.

They cannot replace – but they can rebuild.

Once again it was the voice of youth which carried louder and stronger than anything else.

Last year, Nathan Dent’s words reduced those gathered to tears.

This year, a remarkable young lady – Vicky Moore spoke bravely and eloquently and gave us all serious food for thought.

Vicky’s father, Bryan, was a Leicestershire officer who was killed by a drunk driver in 2002. Vicky was ten at the time and she told us of that fateful night when she learned of the news and how she had then spent the rest of her childhood without him.

My son is ten. He and the rest of my family joined me for this years service and he heard Vicky speak.

He got it. He understood – as well as any child can – what Vicky was saying. He had made the association in his head that she was his age when she had lost her father. When he started asking me questions afterwards it sank in even further for me as well.

Then it dawned on me – this theme I am struggling with and it was this…

There should be more people here.

Vicky said that she didn’t understand the hero her father was and regrets that it is now too late to tell him how proud she is of him.

Vicky then said this:

“It shouldn’t take stories like ours for other people realise the sacrifice in police work.”

This struck me hard and I dwelt on it.

The service later heard from Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer from Cleveland who said that although she had sadly lost colleagues and friends during her service “to my great shame I just assumed that the families were supported.”

CC Cheer spoke of the work of the charity and how, unfortunately necessary but essential it is.

It hit me again – there should be more people here.

I have spent the last 24 hours wondering why there weren’t more people there and I think there are a few reasons.

First and foremost is lack of awareness. Lack of awareness of the charity and its work but also lack awareness of the events which necessitate it’s existence.

We should all be grateful for the fact that the death of a serving officer, on duty in the United Kingdom, is a rare event. Rare enough for very few of us to have experienced it in our service.

But it is not so rare that there are not many people who are struggling with the aftermath of exactly that event.

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UK COPS exists solely to support these families but I am going to be blunt:

The POLICE family needs to step up to the plate.

It has become almost unfashionable to talk about “the police family.”

The police, as an entity, has taken a sustained reputational beating for the best part of two decades and has spent so much time looking outward that it is in danger of forgetting to occasionally look inward.

We should all strive to uphold and maintain the Peelian principle that the police are the public and the public are the police but we must never forget that there are some who are prepared to put on a uniform and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for doing so.

Putting on that uniform makes you stand out. It means you can’t run away from trouble – you run towards it. It is a vocation and a calling.

We should never put on that uniform without remembering what it means, what it represents, who it protects and why it is there.

But we should never put on that uniform without remembering that others have put it on and paid a heavy price for it. They are our family.

And we should never forget those they have left behind. They are our family as well.

In her oration, Chief Constable Cheer said “I ask colleagues to ensure that we actively spread the word about COPS and fully support the charity.”

Over the course of the next twelve months and every twelves months after that – we must rise to that challenge.

It is the duty of each force to promote the work of the charity and ensure it’s long term survival.

It is the duty of each force to ensure that COPS can continue it’s essential work supporting the families of those who have worn their uniform and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Those families have paid the ultimate sacrifice as well and need and deserve that support.

However, it is also the duty of each force to support the work of COPS and indeed the PD Trust and Police Memorial Day by reminding serving officers of those who have gone before them.

The military gets this right – I am not yet convinced that the Police are in the same league.

It is right and proper that a senior ACPO officer from each force attends the COPS service and pays respects on behalf of their force. This should never change.

But wouldn’t it be fitting if each force could send a small contingent of regular officers, special constables, PCSO’s and – absolutely – Cadets to attend the service.

Wouldn’t it be fitting if the Police Federation could gather it’s Rep’s on mass – in uniform – to support the cause.

Would it not be helpful for each force to publicise the event on whatever internal communications systems it has and invite officers to attend and represent that force.

If each force sent a carrier with 7 people in it that would be over 300 officers for a start.

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could actually encourage our officers to attend and support the event.

We can mobilise officers to deal with anything the world can throw at us.

It should not be beyond us to mobilise for this.

Social media is a powerful tool but it is not enough. This needs active drive from the very top.

We need to promote the charity, it’s work and it’s events. It should be something we just DO.

We should do it and we should not feel guilty about it.

These were our colleagues – they left behind their families. Those families are our family. The police family.

The UK COPS service is a wonderful event which is going from strength to strength.

With some solid support from all quarters and if CC Cheer’s request is acted upon by her peers then the event, like the trees which line “The Beat” at the Arboretum, will grow and mature into something truly magnificent.

Pictures courtesy of NPAS Ripley and “Bullshire Police”

A second, shorter blog on the Guard of Honour and #100Cops will follow in a few days

 

UK Cops – From Small Acorns Do Great Oaks Grow

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Police K-9 Interview | Part 2

 

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Many thanks to Lieutenant Eddie Rodrigue, III for taking his time to answer questions about K-9 Handlers and their partners. Join Chief Scott Silverii for more from Eddie Rodrigue.

Thanks again Eddie. Lets start with an introduction?

I’m currently a Lieutenant for the Thibodaux Police Department. I supervise the K-9 Unit and Problem Oriented Policing Unit. I’m also assigned to the Lafourche Parish Interagency Crises Management Unit (SWAT). I’m currently a National Certifying Official for the National Narcotics Detection Dog Association in the areas of Patrol, Narcotics, Cadaver, and Explosives.

I’m married with three sons. I have been teaching them how to care and work with dogs.

 

Becoming a K-9 handler is hard enough, how did you make the next step to become a nationally certified K9 Trainer?

I was able to attend my first National K-9 seminar at the young age of approximately fifteen years old, with my father.   I then made myself a sponge and tried to absorb all the training techniques of the older trainers. All of the trainers were eager to teach me because they saw how eager I was to learn.

In 1998 I was recognized along with Chuck Brazile, by the NNDDA as a K-9 decoy. In 2001 I applied to become a Patrol Dog Certifying Official with the NNDDA. I traveled to Huston, Texas. and began my oral board, once the board had viewed my written packet. When I walked into the room for my oral board I was asked numerous questions from approximately six to ten of some of the most respected K-9 trainers in the industry.

Most of the board had twenty plus years of training each at that time. I was pretty nervous but must not have shown, because they approved me to start certifying Patrol Dogs for the NNDDA. I applied for narcotics certifying official in 2002. I went through the same process and was approved. In 2006 in Narcogdoches Teaxs. at the NNDDA national seminar the NNDDA board approved to allow me to begin to certify explosive and cadaver dogs.

 

So much personal time and dedication involved, what do you like most about training?

I love to start with dogs that have no training and watch them grow. I’m most intrigued by the dog’s olfactory system, their nose. The dogs amaze me on how they are able to detect a trained odor.

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Now this is a tough question, what’s more difficult to train – the K9 or the Handler?

I find the K-9’s are a lot easier to train but on that note I have had some dogs that took a while longer. I have also had some rookie handlers that walk in and simply amazed me, with the way they worked their dog.

 

How long does it take to train a Team?

I find this a difficult question to answer. I compare most dogs to people they all learn at different stages. You have to keep trying new things with some dogs until you find what obtains the behavior you want.

If we are talking about a green K-9 team as I was when I started we went through a twelve week K-9 Academy before attempting our certifications. These days’ dogs are coming with some prior training, so you may be able to shorten that time depending on the dog and handler. It is a great pleaser when the dog and handler learn at the same pace.

 

Sounds like a lifetime of experiences. What’s your most memorable moment as a K9 Handler?

In 2000 there was an attempted bank robbery in Thibodaux. The suspects had fled in a vehicle to a high crime area in Thibodaux. Patrol Officer’s had surrounded two trailers. I was a young K-9 handler and SWAT Officer at the time.

The CMU (SWAT) was tasked with clearing both residences. Before we started I remember my dad telling me “Remember what I showed you. You are trained for this”. At the time I worked a Belgian Malinois named Arco, who was an outstanding dog. We began to clear the first trailer, which we were told no one had entered.

Arco and I entered with the team behind us, as we began clearing I could hear my dad’s voice in my head. I also had these big googles, which fogged up and I could not see much at all. Once I removed the googles I could see Arco working suspect odor in the master bedroom. Arco had located and engaged the suspect, which was hiding under the bed.

The team then took the suspect into custody without further incident. This incident showed me very early on never assume anything is clear, until you’re sure.

Kid and dogLots of people ask this question I know. Is it tough to draw the line between work partner and family friend?

I think of all my dogs as family and a true brother officer. However, I would much rather explain to my boys why their friend did not return home before explaining to a child why their parent did not return home.

A few years back I had to make the decision to put my retired K-9 Cee to sleep. I raised him as a puppy from the day he was born and we had an unbelievable bond. Cee retired at ten years old. By the time he turned eleven he had numerous health issues and I had to make the decision no K-9 handler wants to make.

I felt that day I lost my best friend and cried like a small child. I still think about him and could only wish when we meet again he understands the decision I had to make. I still often wonder did I make the right decision that day.

I currently work a son from Cee’s brother, Cisco. His name is Vic. My friend Lance Simeanoux and I raised him. K-9 Vic often reminds me of Cee.

 

What do you love the most about being a K9 handler / Trainer?

I love the loyalty of a K-9. Once you have a bond with them they will not let you down.

 

Police K-9 Interview | Part 2

BOLO for Part 3

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Police K-9 Interview | Part 1

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Many thanks to Lieutenant Eddie Rodrigue, III for taking his time to answer questions about K-9 Handlers and their partners. Join Chief Scott Silverii for more from Eddie Rodrigue.

Thanks again Eddie. Lets start with an introduction?

I’m currently a Lieutenant for the Thibodaux Police Department. I supervise the K-9 Unit and Problem Oriented Policing Unit. I’m also assigned to the Lafourche Parish Interagency Crises Management Unit (SWAT). I’m currently a National Certifying Official for the National Narcotics Detection Dog Association in the areas of Patrol, Narcotics, Cadaver, and Explosives.

I’m married with three sons. I have been teaching them how to care and work with dogs.

 

You sure have your hands full, and I know family life is most important to you. How long have you been in policing?

I am on my sixteenth year in Law Enforcement.

 

That’s a long time and long enough to find your passion in the profession. How long have you been involved in training dogs?

I had a unique opportunity growing up. My farther is a K-9 Trainer and Nationally recognized also and supervised the Lafourche Parish Sheriff Office K-9 Unit before he retired. He began to teach me how to train dogs at a very early age. I was able to work my first narcotics dog at the age of twelve, so at this time I have approximately twenty-three years of training and handling experience.

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You’ve grown up in the job – when did you did begin your professional career as a K9 handler?

I was given a unique opportunity by Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre and hired to work Police K-9’s. The day I started my career in Law Enforcement I began a twelve week K-9 Academy. I have had a K-9 attached to me since then for a total of sixteen years.

 

What ignited your passion for the K-9 assignments?

These are some of reasons why I had a childhood infatuation with K-9. At the age of ten years old I was with my dad one night. He got a call out about a biker that had gotten into an accident. The call was to search for the biker’s leg. People had been searching most of the day and had not been able to recover the leg. Jason was our cadaver dog. I went on the call to Fouchon with my dad. My dad started the search at night, in a thunder storm. Not long after the search was in progress, there was a lighting strike. With the light I could see Jason coming out of the marsh with a leg in his mouth.

Then when I was twelve my dad started training me how to train police service dogs. We started with a narcotics dog, Topper. For the next few years I learned, all other aspects of working and training with my dad’s guidance and Topper’s help.

When I was sixteen, someone broke into a house in Larose and stole the family’s Christmas presents, on Christmas day. I went on this track with my dad. We were able to recover all of the presents and return them to the family, for the children.

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I could not put into words the gratifications I felt when I say the smiles on those children’s faces, when we returned the presents. From that moment on I always wanted to be a K-9 Officer and was truly amazed with what a properly trained K-9 could accomplish.

When I was about sixteen I shared by bed room with a K-9 Officer Jay {Packey} Dempsey from Selma, Al., which had come to train with my Dad. Shortly after Packey went home he was involved in a nationally known incident, where his K-9 Princes saved his life.

Packey had responded to a complaint in a high crime area and got into an altercation with a suspect. During the altercation the suspect was able to take Packey’s pistol. The suspect then stood over Packey and pointed the pistol at him. Packey then begged for his life and was able to utilize his bail out. Packy’s K-9 Princes then exited the unit and engaged the suspect.

The suspect struck K-9 Princes in the head causing her to have a fractured skull. K-9 Princes never stopped the fight and was able to allow Packey to retrieve his back up weapon. Packey then neutralized the situation. After watching this video I knew there is something truly amazing once you bond with a K-9.

Police K-9 Interview | Part 1

BOLO for Part 2

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Our HOT CAR Message went viral | Just don’t do it

The Thibodaux Police Department challenges each officer to create innovative social media messaging that relates to our citizens and demonstrates our willingness to extend ourselves to serve the city.

This selfless demonstration by Public Information Officer Detective David Melancon illustrates our vision of service. Way to Geaux

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Breaking the Blue Line | Launch a revolution

Thibodaux PD takes new approach to law enforcement, sees positive results

Report by NBC33: Samantha Morgan

THIBODAUX, LA (NBC33)  — Law enforcement is all too often placed in the role of being reactionary. However, the Thibodaux Police Department has implemented a new proactive method that’s gaining positive results for the department as well as the community.

“We’re working smarter, not harder,” David Melancon, Thibodaux Police Department, explained. “We take a data-led approach, and through this approach we’re seeing great results.”

Two years ago, Chief Scott Silverii took over the Thibodaux Police Department. Utilizing the DDACTS (Data Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic Safety) is one of the many policy changes he has made.

“The traditional way of law enforcement is very reactive. You ride around and wait for a call. We operate off of an intelligence paradigm,” Chief Silverii explained. “We place officers in the right place at the right time. We’ve become very proactive in the way we approach law enforcement.”

Officers are given real-time data and statistics to determine where their efforts are most needed. Although the city has a low level of violent criminal offences, crimes of opportunity and those considered to cause social harm are the primary focus.

“Those are crimes that prevent a person from having comfort in our person or property,” Melancon explained. “We deal with a lot of property crimes, domestic cases, fighting, thefts, and so on.”

Among those crimes considered to cause social harm are DWI offenses.

Mardi Gras Season

Mardi Gras Season

“We consider that to be one of the most serious in-progress crimes,” Melancon said. “When you have people who are behind the wheel driving drunk, they have the potential of killing an entire family – all because that person drove under the influence. If you really want to reduce social harm and want people to feel safe, DWI enforcement is the place to start.

The DDACTS system has dramatically improved the statistics in the area for alcohol related traffic offenses.

This year the Thibodaux Police Department has made over 200 DWI arrests, and there has not been a single alcohol-related crash in the city.

In 2010, the year before the new system was implemented, the department only made 22 arrests for the entire year. That same year there were 16 alcohol-related crashes with injury.

“This isn’t an accident,” Chief Silverii said. “This isn’t a coincidence. This is very orchestrated.”

Along with a reduction of traffic crashes, the Thibodaux Police Department has seen a reduction in other offences such as property crimes and crimes against persons.

“It’s not about harassing the public, it’s about being proactive,” Chief Silverii explained. “Every time those blue lights come on, it has an awesome deterrent effect. Whether you’re stopping a drunk driver, or making a traffic stop, seeing those lights might deter a person from committing a criminal act in the area.”

Being active in the community extends beyond the physical, however. Chief Silverii is also pushing the use of social media to increase transparency with the public.

“I think the public is tired of just listening,” he said. “By reciprocating communications, it ingrains us into the community we serve.”

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Example of Kernal Density Map

He is also working to develop a mobile app that members of the community can use to report crime.

“Traditionally, only 41 percent of crimes are reported,” Chief Silverii noted. “The old way of just calling 911 has gone to the wayside. I’m pushing to offer an app. The younger generation is more accustom to texting, and we want to remove any barrier that would prevent them from reporting crime.”

Chief Silverii has more plans that will help move Thibodaux toward its goal of being the safest community in the nation. For now, the changes that have already been made are making a great impact.

“We’ve seen a reduction in social crimes. Officer productivity has increased. “It’s a cultural revolution. It’s breaking the thin blue line and going about a new way of business.”

Join us: Breaking the Blue Line | Launch a revolution

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