What happened on April 20, 1999? Law enforcement may not recall the date, but we know the outcome. It’s when our patient world of Contain, Control & De-escalate shifted to a pursuing response of Active Shooters. Overnight, SWAT took a back seat to the Patrol Officer, as rapid response required immediate deployment to neutralize the threat.
The nation was so shocked following the Columbine High School massacre that no one seemed to mind the tactical and equipment shift to better arm first responding beat cops for confronting weapon wielding madmen.
What a difference the world of policing has experienced from Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook.
Not only has the political climate tugged the rug from under our collective battered police boots, but the cultural tenor begs we lay down our arms. Or at least keep them holstered until a video review can be debated over social media.
Global terror has landed square in the lap of the good old red, white and blue. Our fighting military forces, God bless them are the best on this planet, but this is not their battle.
Had every Navy SEAL been stationed just 110 miles south at Coronado, there’s still no way they could’ve activated to respond to the Inland Regional Center. The United States military’s function is not to provide domestic, civil law enforcement services.
It’s the beat officer writing the citation a few blocks away and the motor cop working the car crash at the intersection that will drop everything to respond.
In San Bernardino, as in Columbine, local law enforcement were the first responders during the period of crisis. Even our brothers and sisters in the federal alphabet soup of law enforcement are post-incident response at best.
A 2013 FBI report stated there was 1 active shooter incident every 3 weeks. Who responded? The same local cops still taking criticisms from video voyeurs running in the opposite direct of the danger.
Big Blue, you’ve got a choice to make. On top of everything else heaped on your backs, have you got the legs to carry the hometown battles to terrorists?
We’ll be asked in a few months what happened on December 02, 2015. Most will scratch their heads. But we’ll know. It’s the day the game changed.
Join me at Chief Scott Silverii, PhD
This week honors Emergency Dispatchers – the life lines who answer frantic 9-1-1 calls, dispatches officers to the scene and records the funny or painful details of each call for service. Often unsung, Emergency Communications Operators are the true heroes – Hug a Police Dispatcher – Do it today
FIT@50 \ week 5
Talking with a newly promoted commander I encouraged him to consider how he wanted to be remembered. “Think about building your legacy today,” I said, “not on your deathbed.”
He leapt to his feet and shared a movie scene he felt applied. Warring kings agreed to have their respective champions fight in their place. King A calls a giant, menacing soldier. King B calls a guy—who’d decided to sleep in that morning.
An apprentice was dispatched to retrieve him. The frightened boy told of King A’s mighty champion and confessed he’d be afraid to fight the giant.
King B’s warrior looked at the naïve and said, “That’s why no one will ever remember your name.”
Achilles entered the arena to slay King A’s giant. While today we associate the name with a tendon, in fact Achilles is remembered as the greatest warrior of Homer’s Iliad.
Looking at this picture from earlier in the month, I see warriors in various stages of battle. All have faced giants and insurmountable opponents regardless the years served. Each will be remembered for taking a stand on the side of human justice. And that’s an honorable legacy.
FIT@50 \ week 4:
1 hour –
I was feeling a bit omniscient this week as my 25th year in law enforcement roared around. Sharing a few old stories with the guys helped me reflect on how incredibly different my life had turned out.
Our historical journey migrated to a generational generalization. You know the one about, “kids now a days…” Seems the moment 8 hours of accrued leave is earned, some employees miraculously become ill for precisely 8 hours.
Just then a commander interrupted. He shared the story of an officer who asked permission for 1 hour off to attend a doctor’s appointment. This senior officer’s eyes turned glassy, red and he dropped his face.
“This guy’s fighting for his life, and he asks permission to take 1 hour for the doctor.” I understood his emotion. Officer Paul Thibodeaux who suffers with Cystic Fibrosis has blessed us all. He needs a double lung transplant to survive.
His passion to live his dream of being a police officer is so incredibly intense, that he humbly asks permission for 1 hour away from that commitment to serve. Being fit at any age includes seeing the “amazing” in others – This young man inspires me.
1 Hour – Just imagine if we all shared that commitment.
It’s My Anniversary:
This has been a banner year for me. Within weeks of celebrating my 50th birthday, I’m now blessed with my 25th Anniversary.
This is the date I answered the call, and the lifelong desire to serve became reality. It’s the day I became part of another, much bigger family that didn’t always share with my first one. It was the year I first gained new brothers and sisters, and became part of something mystical called the Blue.
My Anniversary also means more than seniority or experience. The significance of loss through line of duty deaths emblazons the significance of being blessed with surviving yet another year on the Job. The experiences (amazing and horrific) over 25 years are almost unimaginable, but the sacrifices are noble when offered with a sincere heart.
Would I do it again? Yes—it’s an honor to serve you.