Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Let's just stop this and maybe be the good guys again.

Good guys take responsibility for their own actions. When they hurt someone by accident, they still own up to it.

Good guys weigh the danger of what they're doing against the good that can come from it.

Good guys try not to hurt kids.

So when we throw a flash-bang stun grenade into a baby's crib and critically injure the child, and claim that we've done nothing wrong because OMG drugs!, well, we're not being the Good Guys anymore.

I'm done with people's grandparents dying in a hail of bullets as they respond with a gun in hand to the intruders in their house, who happen to be cops serving a search and arrest warrant on their grandkid.

I'm done with no-knock warrants. 

If there's not a hostage involved, we do it by the numbers, serving a felony warrant. We knock on the door, LOUDLY, and announce, LOUDLY AND CLEARLY, that we are the police. We explain that they have an extremely short time to open the door, or we will open it for them. We make clear that we are the police, serving a lawful order. We then make entry, announcing our identity and intent very clearly (Not just hollered incoherently.). We then go about making the scene safe, and serve the warrant.

Will some evidence be lost? Yes. You bet there will be. And that's a damned shame.

But it's not as big a shame as what has become to be far too commonplace, in the case of the No-Knock Warrant.


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21 Comments:

At Friday, June 06, 2014 7:15:00 PM, Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

Thank you for being a Peace Officer instead of an "operator".

 
At Saturday, June 07, 2014 9:57:00 AM, Blogger Old NFO said...

+1 on WSF... The sad part is you're becoming part of the minority...

 
At Saturday, June 07, 2014 11:08:00 AM, Blogger aepilot_jim said...

You are my Giant Hero. Very well said.

 
At Saturday, June 07, 2014 1:57:00 PM, Blogger Tam said...

Amen.

 
At Saturday, June 07, 2014 2:22:00 PM, Blogger rremington said...

I so wish there was a Like button for this post. Thank you Matt.

 
At Saturday, June 07, 2014 6:22:00 PM, Blogger Comrade Misfit said...

+1 on WSF and ONFO.

Maybe you can write, some day, on why so many cops nowadays look like Marines. I don't remember that being so when I was young.

 
At Sunday, June 08, 2014 6:36:00 AM, Blogger Carteach said...

We have reached a point in this where common sense and common human decency have become an outstanding position.

Thank you for taking that position.

 
At Sunday, June 08, 2014 12:02:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Comrade Misfit, you've written to this question before.
The answer is probably just that you recall the '70s, when hair regs were relaxed.

Police cut their hair short because it's uniform. I use clippers on my hair because I'm cheap. Every three weeks, I sit on the front porch and buzz my head, and save the $14 that I'd otherwise be spending at the barber shop.

As for the rest of the look-- the Marines teach their guys to be squared away. It's not uncommon for police in any country to require that their officers be squared away. (shrug) Check out old 1950s and early '60s shows, and you'll see that then, too.

 
At Sunday, June 08, 2014 1:34:00 PM, OpenID ysabetwordsmith said...

I am so happy to see a serving officer saying things like this. THANK YOU. As an activist I spend a lot of time complaining about the bad cops. I made a point of creating a couple of good-cop characters for my writing ... and you kind of remind me of one of them. So I'm really glad that it's not just in fiction, people on the line are really taking this stance.

 
At Sunday, June 08, 2014 10:04:00 PM, Anonymous Dan said...

When YOU start arresting, charging and testifying against
the officers YOU see committing crimes and abusing and assaulting citizens THEN and ONLY THEN can you claim the moniker "good cop".

There are no good cops because if there were they would eliminate the bad cops by arresting them. That NEVER happens. Therefore there are NO GOOD COPS.

 
At Sunday, June 08, 2014 10:19:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I've done it, Dan.

But I didn't do it to appease you, and I won't prove myself to you.

But you're wrong. There are lots of good cops, and lots who bring bad cops to justice. My father is one. But I know plenty of others.

 
At Tuesday, June 10, 2014 1:11:00 PM, Blogger Armed Texan said...

Hear, hear. I believe that there is a silent majority of LEOs who agree with you, but remain silent because they believe they are in the minority.

 
At Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:37:00 PM, Blogger Daniel in Brookline said...

Amen, and amen. I very much hope this goes viral, and is picked up by as many of your colleagues as possible.

Please do continue fighting the good fight. You will not be alone.

 
At Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:38:00 PM, Blogger Daniel in Brookline said...

Amen, and amen. I very much hope this goes viral, and is picked up by as many of your colleagues as possible.

Please do continue fighting the good fight. You will not be alone.

 
At Wednesday, June 11, 2014 5:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

spread those thoughts to other officers please sir these no knock warrants happen to the wrong house all the time and you officers are protected by the law, you people need to be damn sure whos door you bust in before you hurt innocent peolpe and kill someones beloved dog and tramatize a family ,or hurt children etc..no justice no peace

 
At Wednesday, June 11, 2014 7:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt,
Of course, you don't have to prove anything to Dan or to anyone else.
I'll go ahead and assume that you have turned in and helped prosecute several bad cops.
This assumption leads one to worry about your safety and income, I'm sorry to say. The admonitions I've heard about good cops like you from LEO's on PoliceOne and in-person lead me to believe you will either be run out of the force or find backup to be rather slow.

The problem isn't that Dan or I need to hear about your good deeds. The public just NEVER hears about a cop turning in his colleagues and being praised for it. The problem is that the perception of the LEO culture is that the blue line is held regardless of the costs to the public.

If half of the news stories about dirty cops exposed by video cameras were replaced by good cops turning in bad cops, the public would trust the police again.

 
At Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:38:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Anonymous 5:08 said:
"these no knock warrants happen to the wrong house all the time"

No, they don't. Actually, when an investigator writes a warrant, standard practice is to show that due diligence was done to carefully describe the house specifically, and often to include a picture. Standard practice is to have the investigator point out the house to the team serving the warrant. Standard practice is for the judge to demand such things before signing the warrant. When they're going to the wrong house, those things did not get done.

Does it happen? Sadly, yes it does. Any time that it happens is too often. Does it happen often? No. But every single incidence of its occurrence results in a news story about it. Remember: that televisor showing you the news is not a window looking out on the real world. It is a very selective device channeling in the unusual (and thus newsworthy) events.

 
At Wednesday, June 11, 2014 12:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt G,
Please allow me to paraphrase your analysis: "Wrong-door raids don't happen that often and when they do they're born out of poor police work and always reported in the news."
That's obviously a valid observation about the statistics at play, the cause of these tragedies and the news media's selection bias.

From my vantage point, there are two problems here. I'm interested to see your feedback because I honestly want to know what a good cop thinks about them:
1) We all know that mistakes happen, but especially considering these raids are taking place to combat low-level drug crimes and not true emergencies. How many deadly tragedies should we accept?
2) The people who make mistakes in planning these bad raids are never held to account for them. "Procedures were followed ..." is a common excuse and all the cops (top to bottom) go back to their posts. Mayor of Berwyn Heights Maryland Cheye Calvo's raid resulted in no reform at all, only a promise to report total SWAT raids and that took years of hard negotiating after the most egregious circumstances imaginable.
There is no incentive for police to get these raids right. I fully expect these wrong-door raids to continue and I am ashamed of the men I pay for police service.

 
At Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:26:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

To answer as best as I can:
1. "How many deadly tragedies should we accept?" I've already come out against no-knock warrants. What else do you want?

2. "The people who make mistakes in planning these bad raids are never held to account for them." You need to watch your all-encompassing terms like "never," Anonymous. The fact is, cops often ARE held to account for such errors. They are reprimanded, given suspensions, and even fired. In addition to this, the officers and the departments that perform such raids in error are fairly routinely sued. Most of these suits end up in settlements for the plaintiff.

But I come back to this point: I believe that the vast majority of such terrible incidents could be alleviated by doing away with no-knock warrants, except when hostages are involved.

 
At Friday, June 13, 2014 6:00:00 AM, Anonymous Wally said...

How many deadly tragedies should we accept?" I've already come out against no-knock warrants. What else do you want?

What we want and what is achievable may be different things. We want police to do their jobs responsibly and with respect toward the people they are doing their jobs for. As Robert Peel said, police should be part of the community. Unfortunately, too many police, both agencies and individuals, have become separate from the communities they serve.

Police work is, to a degree, incestuous and isolationist. Cops frequently associate primarily with cops, on and off the job, and that can easily reinforce attitudes that are not conducive to integration with the community they serve. When one has to frequently deal with society's bottom dwellers it's difficult to maintain a balanced perspective; it's the crazy, corrupt and criminal that consume your time, not the attendees at a quilting bee.

I don't doubt you're one of the Good Cops, but until you are running your agency I'll wager no-knock warrants will continue to be executed in your jurisdiction. Perhaps at a lower frequency, but because there are some in any agency who believe that's the way to do it, it will happen.

I'm glad to see people like you in police work, and I hope your number grows. A lot. In the meantime, we'll still regard all of you with suspicion and distrust, because the Good Guys and Bad Guys in your business all wear the same outfits and drive the same color cars.

 
At Friday, February 06, 2015 9:13:00 AM, Blogger Charles Pergiel said...

'by accident'. There are accidents, and then there are accidents. There are times when you make a mechanical fumble, drop something, forget to do something, trip. You didn't mean to do it, but sometimes the world conspires to screw you over and stuff happens.
Then there are the accidents that are errors in judgement. When these cause serious damage they can be difficult to accept so people will try to shift the blame off of themselves. These are ones where the perpetrator (operator?) needs to realize what he/she has done, and that may never happen, which would be bad.

 

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