Securing the Border Save Lives: Former Ice Director Tom Homan
By: Daniel Del Valle, George Beck, Ph.D. & Joseph R. Uliano, Ed.D.

Blue Magazine recently sat down with former Ice Director Thomas Homan and current Fox News Contributor to ascertain his perspective on the recent violence against ICE facilities, and disdain for border patrol agents, while these law enforcement officers risk their lives to lock up criminals and keep us safe. Former Director Homan spent 34 years in law enforcement, starting out in patrol in upstate New York, before transferring to the Border Patrol, and rising through the ranks to lead the organization. Mr. Homan is the first director to rise from the ranks. In this candid and uncensored interview, Mr. Homan holds no punches.

Blue Magazine thanks former Director Mr. Homan for sitting down with us to discuss many issues effecting law enforcement and the agency he formerly lead. 

The Blue Magazine: Please tell our readers about your career in law enforcement. 

Tom Homan: Well, I was a police officer in upstate New York. My father was a police officer and also my grandfather. I knew since I was kid I always wanted to be a cop. I started out in New York for about a year and a half and then I joined the Border Patrol. For 34 years, I've worn a badge and gun, enforcing the law. I am very proud to say that I was a law enforcement officer. Anybody that ever asks what I did for a living; I tell them I was a law enforcement officer. There is no bigger honor than to serve to protect and help others.

Can you tell us about your position before you retired? 

I left the Border Patrol to advance and become a Special Agent, probably for about eight or nine years, and then I started climbing the ranks. I became the Assistant District Director, working as head of criminal investigations in San Antonio. Then I transferred to Dallas to run the investigations office there. Then DHS was created, and the legacy US Customs Service Special Agents and the INS Special Agents became folded into one agency called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I continued to promote and worked my way up to headquarters to be the Executive Associate Director for Enforcement. That position was third in command for the Agency and it had the responsibility of all interior enforcement operations within the US. 

And in January 2017, I retired. At my retirement ceremony, my family and about 400 people were in attendance. All my stuff that I collected over 34 years was already packed in my home garage. My office was empty. At the end of the retirement ceremony, I was in the hallway shaking hands. I received a phone call from John Kelly who at the time was the Secretary of Homeland Security—an American hero—and he said the he and President Trump wanted me to be the Director of ICE and delay retirement. I told him that I would need to discuss this with my family first as we were prepared after a long career to change pace. I had also signed a contract with a consulting firm which paid much more than the government. I would also have to see about the contract options. He gave me the weekend to think about it but before hanging up left me with these few words. The President of the United States is asking you, a career law enforcement officer, to serve your country a little bit longer. Think about that. Well, Monday morning I agreed and came back to serve this president and my country for a while more. So the next morning I came back. I was honored to be the first Director of ICE who came up through the ranks. Anything I would ask of my 20,000 employees; I have done myself as throughout my own career.

Was it stimulating to get that call?

No, it was shocking. Exciting but shocking. I mean John Kelly's words that the President of the United States is calling me back to duty stuck in my mind the entire weekend while I was considering the choice. My wife was initially against it because in 34 years we moved a lot. We moved six times for God and country across this nation.

When I accepted on that Monday and the White House announced it I received hundreds of calls from ICE employees, current friends and family, college buddies and many people from my hometown. It was overwhelming. The following morning I showed up to the office to be met by numerous employees that were shocked and gave me a heroes welcome. Later on that day, I met with a lot of Ethics attorneys in my office who were waiting on me to make sure I gave every gift back that my wife and I received a few days earlier. Rules are rules. 

Since my first day back I have met and talked to the President many times. I actually think this President… I've worked for six presidents and respect everyone because I don't care what party they are from, I respect the office of the Presidency, but I'm going to say it: President Trump has done more for border security and law enforcement than any other president I’d worked for. No contest. No comparison. He talked the talk during the campaign like they all do but President Trump walked the walk when he became President. He is doing everything he can to secure our border and protect America.

Assess the border for us right now. 

The border right now is extremely vulnerable. The numbers have gotten better the last two months, but part of that is because of the season. During the hottest summer months the numbers will go down. But they're also down a lot because the President has made a deal with Mexico like no other president was able to. I'm glad he did it, because now Mexico is actually enforcing their own immigration laws. The threat of tariffs worked thus far. We just have to hope that Mexico’s work is sustained. 

There is an unprecedented crisis at our border because illegal aliens are taking advantage of loopholes in the legal system that the Democratic leadership in Congress is refusing to address. This is not just a humanitarian crisis—it's a national security crisis. You can read many intelligence reports. The criminal cartels in Mexico control the northern border of Mexico. Nothing crosses that border without a thumbs-up from the cartels and paying their plaza fees. They are managing where these large groups of families go and when they send a large group of 200 families this way. They know that moving large groups in one Sector will tie up the Border Patrol for hours, so they can send bad guys and drugs through the unprotected areas of the Sector because of the chaos of these large family groups. This border is very vulnerable right now to criminals and drugs because the cartels are running the show.

If somebody in this world wants to do harm to this country, they’re not coming by plane because of all the intelligence checks done before you get an airline ticket. That's why we have no-fly-lists and all the different intelligence databases. 

If they want to harm this country, they’re coming the way 12 to 20 million others did—especially right now knowing half the border patrol is not on the line. That's what makes us vulnerable. And this president recognizes that and that's why he’s doing everything he can to secure the border without the help of Congress and without the help of the courts. 

So certain members of Congress are calling for the abolition of ICE. What are they missing? 

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It's a political play to their base. It’s the red meat to their base of people who have open borders agendas. It's easier for Congress to abolish a federal law enforcement agency than do their job? Ridiculous. If they don't like what ICE does, then change the law. They’re the legislators.

You see, if they looked at the facts that 90% of everybody arrested by ICE is a criminal—but they don't even talk about that—they’d be getting rid of an agency that 90% of people they arrest are criminals in the country illegally. They're doing the law enforcement work to look for the bad guy that are putting our communities at risk. 

Do they realize that ICE last year seized enough opioids to kill every man woman and child in this country twice? Do they not realize they’ve arrested 37,000 criminals, most with significant violent criminal histories. ICE also rescued over a thousand children from predators. They’ve rescued several hundred women from sex traffickers. They’ve arrested thousands of child predators. They're the second largest federal agency that makes up the Joint Terrorism Task Force. ICE conducts many terrorism investigations. That's who they want to remove—that's what they want to abolish?

Look… It's a sound bite for their base. That's all it is. They do not know what ICE does, because if they did, they’d be thanking them rather than vilifying them. 

What would you like to see state and local law enforcement do to assist in reducing the criminality associated with illegal immigration? 

I’d like them to do what they've been doing for decades working with us. We're the good guys. We’re enforcing the law. If someone is in the country illegally and ICE has probable cause, that another law enforcement agency has them in custody, don't conceal them; don't harbor them in your jail. You know, when I was director, I took a lot of heat during one interview. I said the Department of Justice needs to look at this issue with the sanctuary jails. I arrested people for harboring illegal aliens in their home or their place of business, but what are the jails doing? When we notify that we have probable cause based on fingerprints that this guy is in your jail, in the country illegally, and you don't allow us access to them, is that not harboring—is that not concealing? 

I want law enforcement to work with law enforcement like what the 9/11 commission decided… that law enforcers communicate with each other. We worked with law enforcement for decades. It's only the last few years that this has become such an issue because of the ACLU and the open border agenda people.

So, I would like law enforcement to uphold the oath they took to protect their communities. People need to educate themselves and talk to your county or state attorney about the Immigration Nationality Act. They will learn that there is no criminal warrant process for the administrative arrest of an illegal alien. It doesn't exist. A U.S. magistrate is not going to give any ICE agent a criminal arrest warrant to arrest somebody for an administrative violation—it's not going to happen. The only time you'll get a criminal arrest warrant is if you're going to prosecute them criminally, and we're not going to prosecute one million people for entering the country illegally. That is the system that Congress set up and it is lawful. 

The Fifth Circuit has ruled less than a year ago that the immigration detainer is constitutional and legal. Now, it's going to be fought out, I'm sure, in the Supreme Court, but until then I tell everyone to be sure when you read that detainer, read the whole detainer. If you don't want to hold for the 48 hours because you feel uncomfortable about that and maybe feel like you're taking on liability, I get it. However, the detainer also says just call us before you release them. Sheriffs say well, we want the immigrant community to trust us-that we want them to report crimes and have victims and witnesses to come forward—that's fine because unless you're arresting a victim or witness and putting them in your county jail, we don't know they exist. All we want is access to your jail. We don't care about your criminal case. We don’t want the victim or the witnesses. We want the criminal that you locked up in your jail.

You bring up sheriffs and you recently expressed your displeasure with Sheriff Gary McFadden of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina for releasing a convicted child rapist who had an ICE detainer. What violation of law did he commit and what repercussions can happen to him?

(L-R) Director Tom homan with dhs secretary john f. kelly.

(L-R) Director Tom homan with dhs secretary john f. kelly.

He knows releasing a public safety threat back into the public when you don't have to is ignorance of his responsibility in office—it’s ignorance of the oath he took as a law enforcement officer. Cops that don’t want to work with cops stopped being a cop when they made that decision. When you choose to make a solely political decision over one of public safety, you stopped being a cop. Cops believe in the enforcement of the law. They don’t prevent other cops from doing their sworn duty to enforce the law. It’s that simple. 

Look I've seen a lot of terrible things in my 34 years. I've talked to hundreds of Angel moms and Angel dads out there whose children have been killed by people that were released from sanctuary city jails. The vast majority of sheriffs in this country work with us, and the ones that don't made a conscious choice not to for political reasons. Sheriff McFadden stopped being a law enforcement officer when he became a politician and turned his back on the community at the expense of U.S. citizens and taxpayers who shouldn't have to be put in that position.

There's this perception from the media that women and children, mostly children are being detained in cages or not detained properly or with adult men, can you tell us about this? 

Politicians refuse to listen to the experts until it's too late. Now when you have a border patrol station built for 400 detainees and now you have 800 families, what do they expect is going to happen? Border Patrol stations are nor designed to house vulnerable populations like families. They are jails. So this whole detention conditions and facility issues are the fault of Congress’ inaction after numerous warnings by the President, the Secretary, and the Chief Patrol Agent. I have also been warning Congress about this growing crisis and our inability to provide the care for children in a jail setting. We begged them to close the loopholes causing this. We begged them for more money so HHS could contract more beds in appropriate designed facilities. When they were finally forced to fund the needs; the families were quickly moved within 48 hours to an HHS facility. 

Remove your position, your life experience, and your career and as a dad tell us are the children being treated fairly, are they being taken care of? 

OK, everybody wants to talk about how children are treated. They talk about the children in HHS custody, right? And they say that they don't think they are treated well. I've been to those facilities and they are very good. They were designed for children. They are run by licensed daycare specialist. 

They talked about how terrible it is to separate children. But U.S. citizens get separated every day from their children. If you're driving home tonight and get a DUI with your child in the backseat, you're going to get separated. It's unfortunate and it's sad but that doesn't mean we don't do the job. The parents are being criminally prosecuted. That's what happens. They can't go to lock up with them but all that kind of talk is about 2,500 children. No one talked about the 14,000 children in HHS custody that came to the country in the hands of a criminal organization because their parents residing here in the United States chose to hire a criminal organization to smuggle their child in the trunk of a car or the back of tractor-trailer. That's inhumane, right? But no one talks about that? I've seen many dead children in my career, and as a father it affects me to this day. The blame belongs on the parent that put their family in that position to violate our laws rather than standing in line like millions do every year. We welcome millions of immigrants to this country every year, the legal way. These parents cheated the system and in doing so put their children at great risk. The rest of the blame belongs to Congress who has refused closing the loopholes that cause these people to come. Other Democrats keep talking about abolishing ICE, giving free medical care to illegal aliens, getting rid of private detention, giving illegal aliens drivers licenses and in-state college tuition and they wonder why they keep coming?

A lot of illegal immigrants state shop  for driver's licenses. What would you say to the people who say let them have a driver’s license, let them come out of the shadows because when somebody crosses the border if they're not detained, or if they're not caught, they're pretty much a ghost. 

First of all, it’s slippery slope when you normalize the illegal behavior because this brings more illegal behavior. You now have people running for the president of the United States—I never thought my career I’d see everybody on the stage running for president raise their hand to give illegals free medical. Yeah, free medical. Yeah. Holy shit. I got that they can't afford medical insurance. But if you offer free medical insurance, you're going to have every illegal alien in the world that has a medical condition rushing into California or New York, because you normalize illegal behavior, which is going to bring more and when you bring more of that, more women will be raped and more children will die at the hands of the criminal cartels… You have to stop enticing them. Look at the governor of California. He's got veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war on the streets. They need help and the governor is ignoring them—the homeless population—while wanting to bring more illegals in and give them free medical insurance. How about taking care of our homeless veterans first?

Look, I'm all for helping the world best we can but let's not forget these congresspersons like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and all the rest of them that leave the Capitol every day and they see the same stuff I see every day—all these people on the street, many veterans of armed services living on the streets and they take a blind eye to that. They should spend more time taking care of that than attacking the men and women of law enforcement—the men and women of ICE. Instead they are enticing more illegal aliens to come here while not addressing the crisis on the border. How about taking care of the veterans? How about taking care of our veterans before you take care of people that enter this country illegally in violation of our laws. Like I said, you can't be a part of greatest country on earth and not respect our laws. What angers me is that these politicians talk a good talk, but they don't walk the walk. They certainly don't show me that and you know Chuck Schumer he voted for more border barriers numerous times, but a reversal now? You can’t tell me that's not a political move.

Instead they go after the president with their hatred toward our president. Why him? Because he's not in the club. He's a guy that came from outside of the swamp— outside the politics, and he doesn't do things the way they want to do it. I’ve spent many meetings with the President. He's not a racist. He's a guy who wants to fix this country. He's a guy who really wants to secure the border because he understands that there's no downside of a secured border. Yet, the president is attacked every day. His family is attacked every day. It's disgusting when it's elected representatives doing this.

I respect this President and what he's trying to do for this country, you know, he's trying to get people to stand up and not kneel for the national anthem. He respects law enforcement and he's trying to uphold his promises like most presidents make but they don't keep. He’s the right guy for the right job and at the right time.

The president is pushing to name ANTIFA domestic terrorists. With that being said, you recently made reference to an incident in Tacoma, Washington where the Federal Detention Center was fired on. Do you see a possible civil war in this country 5 to 20 years from now?

I don't think it's going to get that bad. As long as we keep doing what we’re doing … but you have people like AOC saying the kids are in concentration camps with no basis of truth to it. If people would take the time to educate themselves, they’d say holy cow, my tax money is going to that? That is because they would see we have the highest detention standards in the industry.

It’s a domestic terrorist act when you try to burn down a federal facility with 1400 people inside. It’s a domestic terrorist attack when you riddle an ICE office with bullets missing an officer by inches. There's no other word for it and I haven't seen one Democratic leader of the House or the Senate come out against the attacks. There's a lot of hate rhetoric over on the left. Why is nobody, especially all those running for president—those that want to abolish the agency and vilify ICE come out and say we can't do this—we have to stop attacking. Have you heard anybody say it? No, of course not. They won't and that's why I get upset because it's a political game. They know it's wrong. They know trying to burn down ICE facilities is wrong. They know that shooting up an ICE office is wrong and they know they're wrong deep in their heart. They know we have to have a system of legal and illegal immigration. We have to have a secure border, but they're putting that all aside for their political ambitions. It's all politics. That's what disgusts me and if they’d ever stood in the back of that tractor-trailer—that one day when I had 19 dead people at my feet, and smell what I smelled and saw what I saw, you know, you taste it and a 5-year-old dead little boy was held by his father. I have nightmares about it. I knelt beside that child. I just looked at him and I thought about what his last 30 minutes of life was like. How scared was he? How much did he suffer, and his father suffer? Can you imagine what his father was thinking those final minutes, that he put his child and himself in that position. The child died before the father according witnesses, so can you imagine what that father went through holding his dead son until he ultimately died, too?

No one wants to talk about that stuff. They don't want to talk about the truth. So we have to educate. I don't mean that as insulting anybody, but they don't know the backstory and that's why I’ve chosen to get out there and tell the backstory. It's just not about enforcing the laws, it’s about saving lives. I've done this for 34 years. I've seen some terrible things in my career—things I'll never forget.

And it's because we refuse to address illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime—never has been and never will be. I always tell a few stories of people I saw in my 34 years so they'd understand why I'm so emotional about this. I know you guys are police officers so you will understand. I found dead bodies all the time that were abandoned on the trail by the smuggler who once they got sick and they couldn’t make the trip, the smuggler didn't call 911. He did not look for help. He left them there to die because they weren't worth any money anymore. He wasn't getting paid for them. 

On that note tell us a little bit about the positive things border patrol officers are doing?

Border Patrol saved over 4,000 lives last year. 4,000 of these are people that when they found them were in dire straits, they saved them. Many of those people would have died without the Border Patrol rescue efforts. So they saved many, many, lives. No one talks about that. They want to talk about the three or four children that died in custody, which is terrible. Let me make that clear. It's terrible. No one wants to see that, right? But I know the men and women, the paramedics and the staff we're trained for rescues, and they did everything they could have to try and save these kids. 

But no one talks about the lives they save. Here are men and women—they're coming to work every day. They strap a gun to their hip, put the Kevlar vest on to do a job that no one else wants to do. We send them out there in harm’s way and we never say thank you. And we seem to ignore the fact that they put themselves in harm’s way for a little bit of money. None of them are getting rich while they're taking sicknesses home to their families—their kids, because we've had cases of TB, we’ve had cases of chicken pox and measles. That's not what they signed up for. They signed up to protect that border but so many are not on the border right now. So they're disillusioned, their morale is down, but they're still doing the job because they’re patriots. 

But few are defending them, right? AOC is disgusting! She's a disgusting person for doing what she's doing. But she's not the only one and I still see men and women come to work this tough job every day. I did it for many years. It's a tough job. These are mothers and fathers and sons and daughters; they have their own kids they go home to. I know officers are bringing toys into the facilities to these children so they have something to play with. The facilities weren't built for families. So, they see them sitting in a cell—500 in a space for a hundred, so they're bringing in their own kids toys—they’re bringing snacks and stuff in, also because they are parents too. They’ve all seen terrible things. And they have to live with that and no one thinks about the mental toll on these men and women and it just irritates me. 

Law enforcement officers in this country, whether you a city cop, county cop, state cop, tribal cop, or federal cop; are the finest one percent this nation has. Treat them like that. They are not asking or demanding any respect but they deserve it. That was the way it used to be when I was growing up. That’s the way it should be and we have a President that agrees. 


Photo source page 26: By U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Acting Commissioner McAleen and POTUS Tour Southwest Border, Public Domain,

Photo source page 30: Thomas Homan hosts a press briefing to update the media on progress of "Operation Raging Bull" at ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C., Nov. 15, 2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection. photo by Glenn Fawcett.



By Daniel Del Valle and John Welsh

Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton is a law enforcement professional and community leader with 30 years of experience. Sheriff Cureton leads the largest law enforcement agency (600 officers and civilians) in the state’s most populous county—nearly one million residents living in 70 municipalities. Sheriff Cureton also teaches criminal justice at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Fairleigh Dickinson University, and as a guest lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He was the longtime president of the Bergen County Branch of the NAACP.

In this feature interview, Editors Daniel Del Valle and John Welsh sat down with Sheriff Cureton to discuss many issues affecting law enforcement. Blue Magazine thanks Sheriff Cureton for his openness, directness, and professionalism. 

Daniel Del Valle: Sheriff, tell us a little bit about you.

Sheriff Anthony Cureton:  I am from Englewood, born and raised. I went to the school system there and served in the Englewood police department for 25 years—elevated to the rank of Sergeant. During that period of time, a lot of the assignments consisted of working in the administration for more than half of my career. I still live in Englewood with my wife and two kids… I was much of a social activist, taught at Ramapo College as well as Fairleigh Dickinson University. And then my life took this direction, and as I sit before you with the blessings of God, I have the opportunity to serve as the sheriff of Bergen County.

You said you’re a social activist. What do you mean by that?

I was the president of the NAACP for seven years, and prior to that active in college. Working for the city of Englewood I was already active not only in politics but other programs, between my fraternity doing more social things—a little more outreach to the community as well as my church involvement. I serve as a deacon at the church. 

What is your life at home like? 

I’m the typical husband that gets bossed around by his wife. I’m the family foundation that I credit my mother and father for, and I credit God for. I know what it takes to keep my family structure together. 

John Welsh: What do you think is the most essential skill about being a good sheriff? 

People skills. Both internally and externally. 

Do you have an open-door policy? Do you follow it? 

For the most part, yes, I do. I’m the type of sheriff that doesn’t have a problem going to my jail; I don’t have a problem walking through the courts. One of the biggest challenges right now is that with 600 plus employees, learning everyone’s name is my priority. 

Right now, blue suicide is a big crisis within law enforcement. When an officer is in a dark place, they have nowhere to turn. Obviously, turn to the PBA or Cop to Cop, but I’ve been noticing sick time has gone up because of the stress in our careers. Do you have a strict discipline when it comes to calling out sick? 

I keep my finger on the pulse. I make sure the command staff keeps their fingers on the pulse. If it’s a pattern, we look at the pattern. Obviously, if you are taking two or three days a week or four or five days in a month, there is a problem that exists. So to have that conversation, “hey is everything okay? Would you like to sit down and talk?” We’ve seen that helps with many individuals. Of course, we share a responsibility, and by having that discussion to find what the problem is, we can help officers deal with stress. We have built a relationship with clergy staff. Right now, we have a little diversity within clergy between the Jewish community, the Christian community, and the Muslim community, where we inform the officers if they are willing to talk to these individuals, we encourage it. So we offer that opportunity here. 

If you had an officer right now dealing with this crisis, how would you handle that? 

First, having a support base here is important. We want to deal with their problem. I want officers to do their job and make sure they maintain their job, and I will get whatever resources I can to help them.

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What are your most significant barriers currently facing you as a leader in your department?

I guess everything changes. We are only in the 8th month-our predecessor was in for eight years. So we have a culture we want to redefine. So it’s a challenge…Of course, being in law enforcement in my 30 years, trust is always a necessary factor. I think we are getting to a point where we are establishing a healthy level of trust, and because of this, barriers are coming down.

With that being said the fact that it was a special election, have you seen any personal or proffesional barriers being a minority. Has that affected any angle behind the scenes? Have you felt any heat or discomfort?

We are in an occupation where, especially in Bergen County, this is a unique situation. This is the first time a person of color, specifically an African American, was elected and serving in this capacity. There are some challenges where perceptions are had before you sit at the table as we are now at this discussion and learning about the individual. It’s all about learning. We have our social issues outside these doors… On a national level, we’re dealing with things in terms of racial issues. Can it trickle down to this level? Of course, it can. We are dealing with various personalities. 

Some people believe that the reason you were chosen for Sheriff is because of the color of your skin. If someone says that what would your rebuttal be? 

Well, look at the things we are facing in America now. There is always a challenge as far as relationships among each community. If you want to talk about Charlottesville, Virginia, for example, it is a racially motivated issue there. We got to have diversity, and we all have to learn how to deal with each other.

Do you believe it’s an advantage to have a sheriff that represents or is a minority at this time? 

I believe it’s a representation of a county as a whole that the community can accept the individual for who they are. We all have cultural differences. There is no requirement in law enforcement that specifically says that you have to be Caucasian. The profession is open to any and everyone. So in this particular situation, my skin color has nothing to do with it. 

Are you happy where minorities are heading? Are you content with the progress that minorities are having in this country? 

I’m content… As long as the door is open and opportunity is extended to everybody. Look at here in Bergenfield, the first Muslim chief, Chief Mustafa, was sworn in. This shows where we are going in our county. It shows that diversity is the key to make an environment here that is represented in other counties.

Do you think it is a slippery slope when we are praising someone’s faith in a position rather than their merits?

I don’t believe so. We are about community policing—we are about opening ourselves and embracing all. 

You were one of the leaders of the NAACP, and that’s socially accepted today. If White America had this type of organized leadership activism based on race, would they be considered like the KKK? Do you agree that there is some type of bias or double standard?

I guess you have to look at the foundation and what it’s built on. The NAACP is about equality. If you go back to the founding of the NAACP—and a lot of people don’t know—they started with seven founders—five were Jewish, and two were black. These founders were representative of obviously not the majority of what the organization is perceived to be African American, but the issues of the African Americans had to be dealt with, so they took that position. 

The Attorney General has a directive that many say conflicts with federal law, what are your thoughts on that?

I live with what the attorney general set forward, he’s the lead law enforcement officer. He put out a directive, and we have to follow it. So as far as any conflict with the federal policy, I’m sticking to what I been charged to do per his directive. 

President Trump, a good or bad president?

Certain things he’s doing we can say it’s okay. Some things he’s not doing the nation has spoken about as far as what they agree or disagree with. I know where I stand, some things I don’t agree with. I am not thrilled about his immigration policy; however, I have to follow the law, and I guess that’s all I can do. He is pro-law enforcement, but we have to do that within a respectful parameter, respecting everyone. 

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Do you feel it’s essential to have a strong relationship with the Union? And how much of an asset is it to have them on your side, especially for your upcoming election?

What are your most significant barriers currently facing you as a leader in your department? 

I guess everything changes. We are only in the 8th month—our predecessor was in for eight years. So we have a culture we want to redefine. So it’s a challenge. …Of course, being in law enforcement in my 30 years, trust is always a necessary factor. I think we are getting to a point where we are establishing a healthy level of trust, and because of this, barriers are coming down. 

With that being said the fact that it was a special election, an asset is it to have them on your side, especially for your upcoming election?

Again, you have to have that relationship and be part of that relationship with the  union. We all have to work collectively to give the community what they need; to me, that’s the ultimate goal.

We have a significant opioid problem in Bergen County. Tell us about that?

It’s a unique problem that affects everyone. I had a meeting yesterday with someone from the Jewish community and not long ago from the Muslim community. We can see on the surface what it’s doing. But the devastation the families suffer, I don’t think it’s really showing until after the person has expired, unfortunately. The Jewish community they’ve explained to me that their children out there are doing drugs, but the children are not talking to them. Then there are some folks in their families that are in denial. The Muslim community is just the same, but I guess when we look at the grand scheme of it, we all face that. We all want to hide behind the elephant in the room. So is it a serious problem? It’s beyond serious as with anything else opioid addiction doesn’t discriminate when it comes to the end result. 

Commissioner O’Neill fired Officer Pantaleo, agree or disagree?

I need to know all the pieces of the puzzle. I gather he has some rational. I’m sure the next question will be did he make this decision under community pressure. I think some part he probably did, but did he make the right decision for the organization is the question at this point.

When it’s all said and done, and you no longer have this position, and you’re just an average person whose phone doesn’t ring constantly, what do you want to be remembered for? 

What I did for the community, or that one person I may have touched or that one law enforcement officer who said they can do this job and enjoyed doing this job. …When I retired I walked around, and I said you know what I had enough, I reached a level of my life where I was content moving on, so for me the job’s been great so if I had to walk away tomorrow in my conscious, in my heart, I know I did the best I could do and I did my best not to hurt anyone on the way there.



Sometimes There Just Aren’t Enough Rocks…
By BBO Staff Writer

There’s a scene from the Tom Hanks movie, “Forrest Gump”, where Forrest watches Jenny throw rocks at an abandoned house that represents a painful memory from her past. In a moment of seemingly simple minded analysis, Forrest realizes that no amount of thrown rocks will ever undo the hurt that has been done.

Recently, Brothers Before Others hosted a memorial dedication in honor of 5 year old Delaney Gaddis and her grandmother, Deborah Limmer, who were both killed in July of 2018 by a 22 year old intoxicated driver as they took a morning walk on the sidewalk. At the request of Delaney’s mother, Jennifer, those who attended the dedication hand painted rocks to be placed at the memorial. As I stood and looked at the hundreds of heart-felt beautifully painted rocks, in that moment, I couldn’t help but feel exactly like Forrest. Sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.

As any police officer can testify to, crimes or calls for service that involve children are among the most stressful calls we are asked to answer. Similarly, the losses of Delaney and Deborah have impacted our charity, from the top down.

When Brothers Before Others traveled to Baltimore late last year and met with Brian and Jennifer Gaddis in order to deliver the portrait of Delaney done by Philadelphia Police Officer/Forensic Sketch Artist/BBO Partner Jonny Castro, the plan for a memorial was set in motion.For Brian and Jen, there was only one obvious location for the memorial: Spring Lake Park in Timonium, Maryland. The park holds a special place i

n their hearts, as well as the hearts of members from both of their families, resulting from the countless memories that have been tied to that location.

  With the help of Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr., the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens , and funded by countless sponsor and member donations, BBO was able to have a one-of-a-kind plaque and bench placed in the park, mere feet from rocks that Delaney herself often climbed on.

The quote on the plaque reads, “In an ocean full of fish…be a mermaid”, and was specifically chosen by Brian and Jen. The plaque also contains a few photos taken from those supplied from Brian and Jen as well.

Attended by Brian, Jen, members of both of their families, County Executive Olszewski, Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt, the Baltimore County Police Color Guard, the Bergen County Pipes and Drums, over 20 members of BBO including Daniel Del Valle of The Blue Magazine and approximately 200 members of the local community and Delaney’s classmates, the memorial was full of emotion and remembrance.

During the ceremony, there was a special presentation on behalf of BBO Partner, Blue Line Bears. Megan O’Grady, the teenage daughter of Cape Coral (FL) Police Sergeant Patrick O’Grady, has been hand-making teddy bears using the uniform shirts of fallen police officers since she was 14 years old. To date, she has made approximately 560 bears which have been distributed to 220 families.

When she heard about the tragic loss, Megan created bears using articles of clothing belonging to Delaney and Deborah. Megan made a bear for both Brian and Jen in honor of Delaney and then a larger bear for Jennifer in honor of her mother, Deborah.Following the dedication, all of those who attended each placed individual rocks and/or flowers around the plaque.

Led by a marked Baltimore County Police unit, the Color Guard and the Bergen County Pipes and Drums, the attendees then set off on a short memorial walk from the park to the crash site, where a second wreath and painted rocks were also placed.


The nature of the work we do as a charity has exposed us to countless families in the midst of a storm. The people we have connected with have been some of the most amazingly humble and strong individuals you could ever meet. Brian and Jennifer Gaddis, along with their families, are no exception to this. What they have been asked to endure, as parents, is among the most unnatural things you could face. There is no road map when it comes to healing. However, Brian and Jen are walking proof that it can be done; and done with grace and determination.

This memorial was a tangible example of what Michael Burke had hoped to create when he founded Brothers Before Others in 2014. In regards to the dedication, Mike stated, “Our Baltimore County family has suffered an unimaginable loss. We try not to think about it because we don’t want it to be true. The Gaddis family does not have that luxury. However, what they have collectively shown us is that, in darkness, you CAN find light. That light was never more present than this past weekend. Our members and our charity will never be more than a phone call away for anything that either Brian or Jen could need.”


There are many people who believe that, when you see a dragonfly, an angel has come to visit you. The belief is that the extra set of wings allows the angels to ride on their backs. Spiritual or not, it’s hard to turn a blind eye to some of the signs that are right in front of you most days. As we set up for the memorial this past weekend, and during the service itself, we were visited by the same dragonfly that seemed to never really leave the area. In fact, it made its’ way into numerous photographs, at one point landing on the wreath placed next to the plaque. What does that mean? I’ll leave that for you to decide for yourself. For me? Well, let’s just say that I firmly believe that Delaney and Deborah see their loved ones…still…and are more proud of them now as they were a year ago.

Forever rest in paradise, angels.


George Beck, Ph.D.

Welcome to another excellent issue of Blue Magazine. It seems like only yesterday 2019 began, and in a flash, we are already moving toward 2020.  Law enforcement has made a lot of progress in the past year. Unfortunately, the tired and outright lies against our profession are still peddled for ratings, votes, and personal gain. This war on cops has taught us that officers, citizens and communities suffer as a result. When will it end?

This past summer, we watched miscreants incited by the irresponsible rhetoric douse cops with water and milk, and stomp on their patrol cars—proof that words matter and those scapegoating law enforcement for personal gain must stop—or perhaps they do not care. What a shame to see people who claim to champion human rights and humanity disinterested when officers are violated. Are officers not human? Are they not mothers and fathers, sons and daughters? Are their lives expendable?  The anti-police animus in some areas of our country is stunning. Every day we see more unsafe policies to fix the police and none to fix the criminal, who has dangerously morphed into a sort of victim. History will prove pandering to criminals was the wrong approach. But at what cost?

The mainstream corporate media has been insatiably triggered on President Donald Trump since 2015. Any news that is not involving Trump, or cannot be twisted to include him somehow, is seldom part of the news cycles. This reality creates a void where many stories worthy of news coverage like the many recent laws and policies attacking law enforcement are silenced. Thankfully, publications like ours harness the power of social media to fill in this void. 

Our cover story features former ICE Director Tom Homan. We sat down with Mr. Homan to ascertain his perspective on the recent violence against ICE facilities, the disdain for border patrol agents and much more. The hate toward a law enforcement agency whose officers risk their lives to lock up criminals and keep us safe is perplexing. We should be thanking them for doing a dangerous job. Our interview with Mr. Homan was over an hour and is being produced as a video. We will have that to you shortly. Thank you, Mr. Homan! Your honesty, directness and love for our country and the officers who serve is inspiring. 

Congratulations to our Managing Editor Joe Uliano, who recently completed his doctorate at Seton Hall University. Less than 2% of the population reaches this academic achievement. Dr. Uliano, a 20-year law enforcement veteran, earned his doctorate while working full-time on patrol and serving as managing editor of this publication! Dr. Uliano’s passion for our profession is unmatched. His dissertation “Arming America’s K-12 Teachers, the Second Amendment, and the Gun-Free School Zones Act” is nominated for “Dissertation of the Year” with the Educational Law Association—a national organization covering legal issues affecting education and the rights of those involved in K-12 schools, universities, and colleges. We at Blue Magazine are proud of Dr. Uliano’s accomplishments! Keep up the great work. Your intellect, drive and passion for our profession are unmatched.

Blue Magazine has an exciting fall prepared. On November 21, 2019, we are teaming up with Brother Before Others (BBO) for a law enforcement event like no other. Tickets will sell out quickly, so the time to purchase tickets is now. We hope to see all of you there. For more information see the flyer here on this page.


By: Timothy Smith, Esq.

We are all aware of the dangers of steroids.  Police officers who abuse steroids are subject to disciplinary measures, including termination.  The Attorney General’s Office has publicly declared its concern over this issue.

As that office has stated, the misuse of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone (HGH) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) by law enforcement officers can lead to serious on-the-job consequences.  For example, lawsuits have been filed asserting that officers abused the civil rights of individuals through excessive force or police brutality. Those violations were potentially attributable to so-called “steroid rage,” that is, an inability to control one’s temper and an impairment of one’s judgment as side effects of steroid usage. 

In addition, while anabolic steroids can be legally prescribed, they are listed by New Jersey statutes as Schedule III Controlled Dangerous Substances.  Anabolic steroids are defined as any drug or hormonal substance chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone, other than estrogens, progestins, corticosteroids and dehydroepiandrosterone.

Given that broad definition of anabolic steroids, it is obvious that officers should be extremely wary of purchasing any advertised substance that claims to boost one’s testosterone levels.

Of course, violations of New Jersey regulations regarding the proper prescription, administration and dispensing of a Schedule III Controlled Dangerous Substance can result in prosecution.  

You should be aware that New Jersey regulations specifically preclude the use of steroids or HGH for the purpose of increasing muscle mass, strength or weight.  Those same regulations also preclude the use of those substances for body building, muscle enhancement, or increasing muscle bulk or strength by a person in good health for the intended purpose of improving performance in any form of exercise, sport or game.  With regard to HCG, it is primarily legally prescribed as a treatment for female infertility.  Its presence in men, therefore, is ordinarily indicative of steroid abuse.  

In general, it can be said that testosterone treatments are medically limited to patients (1) with a testosterone level of less than 300 nanograms/deciliter (“300 ng/dl”) as confirmed by a blood test (2) treatment for the delayed onset of puberty: and (3) for females suffering from metastatic inoperable breast cancer.  Of importance, any officer considering any such treatments must be guided by the opinion of his or her doctor, not this article.  

Any officer undergoing any such doctor-prescribed treatment would be wise to consult his department’s rules and regulations, as well as his union representative.  It is highly likely that the officer has a duty to inform the department of that treatment.  This is particularly true as the Attorney General’s Office has made the recommendation to all police departments that they institute such a self-reporting requirement.  

It would be expected that following any such report, the department would direct the officer to produce a legally obtained prescription, along with a letter from the prescribing physician stating that:  (1) the CDS/steroid is being administered for a medically recognized ailment/condition that was diagnosed following appropriate diagnostic procedures; and (2) the officer is not rendered unfit for duty due to the administration of the CDS/steroid.  It is also expected that should the officer’s treating physician fail or refuse to provide such documentation, the department would then order that the officer undergo an examination by an independent physician or expert.

All of the above drives home the point that the use of any such substances must only be done through a valid medical prescription obtained from a licensed physician.  That prescription must be issued as a result of a truthful medical consultation with that doctor.  The treatment that is prescribed must be done in accordance with New Jersey regulations that narrowly limit the acceptable medical uses of such substances and must not interfere with the officer’s fitness for duty.

In addition, a court case involving Jersey City police officers has determined that police departments may engage in reasonable-suspicion testing of police officers for steroids even though steroids are not specifically listed in the Attorney General’s Drug Testing Policy.  The court reasonably concluded that the state’s compelling interest in assuring that police officers are medically fit for duty justified testing officers for steroids based upon a reasonable individualized suspicion of abuse. 

Under the Attorney General’s Drug Testing Policy, any officer who refuses to submit to a reasonable-suspicion or random-selection drug test will be immediately suspended from the force and disciplinary proceedings aimed at terminating the officer will be instituted.  Upon a finding that the officer did in fact refuse to submit a sample, he or she will be terminated, the officer’s name will be placed in the Central Drug Registry, and he or she will be permanently barred from future law enforcement employment in New Jersey.  The same results will follow for any officer when that officer does submit to testing and the test results are positive for illegal drug use.  Lastly, an officer who tests positive or refuses to submit to a test, who retires or resigns in lieu of disciplinary action, shall also be permanently barred from future law enforcement employment in New Jersey and his or her name will appear on the Central Drug Registry.

All police officers should be aware of the dangers involved in the abuse of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone (HGH) and HCG.  Such substances, unless legally prescribed for particular, narrowly defined, medical purposes, are harmful to one’s health, can endanger the safety of the user and others, and can lead to dismissal from the force.  


On the ten year anniversary of my fatal OIS
By: Kirk Lawless

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book: PTSD/Putting The Serpent Down: One cop’s battle with PTSD, his fight against a corrupt system, and his mission to save police lives

This story has been a work in progress, 10 years in fact. That’s a long time to reflect on a life-changing event. Today is July 19, 2019, and at approximately 23:15 hours it will be exactly 10 years since I shot and killed a gunman, up close and personal, before he could kill me and another officer.

Having PTSD is not what I would consider a “glorious wound,” like getting shot or stabbed. You can’t pull up your shirt and show the scars, but your scars are there down deep in your soul. Nobody wants to see it, and those who bear that type of scar tend to keep it hidden, just because. To me it has become my “secret wound.”

The catalyst that would ultimately end my 28-year police career happened on the driveway of 2821 Cranberry Court with a 19-year-old gunman from the “Murderville” neighborhood of North St. Louis. We fought in the dark, and that is where he died.

The best way to describe my PTSD is to have you imagine waking up supine, in a deep hole, staring up at the sky. Sometimes it’s night with stars overhead, and others it’s daylight with trees rustling, sounds peaceful?

Then it begins, the nightmare, the crunching of shovels, splaying the dirt above me and out of sight. I realize I’m in my grave, six feet down, and I don’t want to be there. I smell the loam I lie upon. I feel the coolness of the earth. I can see the creeping grass hanging over the edges of my grave; I see it all in Technicolor, I hear everything in stereo.

When I say the nightly fight begins, I mean it is every night, and it lasts all night. It’s a life-of-death fight, and I’m all too familiar with it. I am literally trying to climb out of my own grave. I didn’t dig it, somebody else did, and they want me stay in it. The dirt clings to me mixing with my sweat. I am suffocating. I spit out great mouthfuls, I pull it out as fast as it rushes in, all the while clawing at the earthen walls that keep giving way. The harder I dig and claw, the faster it pours in. My fingernails are bloody and torn because I want so badly to get out and I’m thinking, praying that God will send someone to help me. I cry out, but there’s no sound. I am on my own. Still, the ground gives way as my hands are reduced to bloody shreds, as I hear voices above and out of my sight. Mostly they are laughing or taunting, I know the voices. I am all too familiar with them.

I hear the spades as they start raining dirt onto me and still I keep fighting to get out. I never quit. I’m not just terrified. I am anxious and mad. Let the monsters come! I will get out!

Flashes of my family appear in a rapid slideshow and I continue to claw harder with a ferocity that leaves the bones of my fingers exposed, and I grab hold of fleeting clumps of grass and roots until I am halfway out of my grave, lying on my stomach, screaming, cursing and spitting out dirt, crying out for help while something unseen, from inside the grave tries to pull me back in. I scream “No! I refuse! I’m not dead!”

This is usually when I am waking up, slick with sweat, my heart racing. Sometimes I vomit. I have seen things so horrific in my nightly visitations I sometimes wake up in my own piss. The pillows on the bed touted as “twist free” are clearly not living up to their expectations.

Every night a new nightmare, equally horrific, bloody and violent comes calling. I’ve never shared this with anyone until now, not my wife, my family or my friends. I’m sure some will be heartbroken because I haven’t shared it. For 10 years I have chosen not to, because really, what can anybody do to help me? Nothing. Will it ever go away, will it ever stop? It hasn’t even eased up.

I don’t want anybody to be sad for me, nor do I want pity. It physically hurts to write this. If you don’t understand this, good for you! If you do understand it, then you and I, we are living proof of the reality of PTSD.

If you are haunted by shit like this, you are not crazy. I am not crazy. You and I are merely a by-product of a broken system. 

After 10 years, I’ve just accepted it as part of the package. It has kept me motivated to help other cops in a similar situation. I’m turning the hate into positivity. I can’t change the past, but for the most part I’m in control of my future. I’ve been through the fire. I’ve been crawling out of my own grave for 10 years, and you can do it too! Don’t “opt out.” Stay alive! 

If you find yourself in your own grave with folks shoveling dirt onto you, look for that one hand, and that my brothers and sisters will be my hand. I’ll pull you out. It’s what I do. Please reach out! (314) 302-0511 (you can call me as well, leave a message if I don’t answer). Feel free to friend me on Facebook, or Twitter.


Media Censorship and Law Enforcement Suppression
By Joseph R. Uliano, Ed.D. with Chief Thomas Russo (Ret.) 

As managing editor of Blue Magazine, I am constantly vigilant of law enforcement censorship among media outlets that refuse to afford active and retired law enforcement professionals their First Amendment right to go public with their expertise. I attribute this deliberate act to the old saying, “The Truth Hurts,” because in many cases hearing our side of the story; the truth, from the boots on the ground would discredit and devalue the fabrication that appeals to the unenlightened spectators who watch from afar, passing unqualified judgment on the qualified.

While in my vigilant state, I was fortunate to come across a post on Facebook from Chief Thomas Russo (Ret.) from the Montclair Police Department, located in New Jersey. I paid particular attention to this post because Chief Russo has been a law enforcement professional who I have admired since the early 1990s when I was exploring a career in law enforcement. While reading the chief’s post, I first felt disheartened thinking how could a media outlet not want to hear from a seasoned, respected and proven law enforcement professional? But then I quickly reminded myself that our factually based opinions hurt their ill-intended agenda to only placate a one-sided debate. 

Here is what Chief Russo had to say:

“A local newspaper has rejected five letters I submitted to their editor, all pro law enforcement. Earlier this year, I submitted a series of letters voicing my opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana. All my letters provided facts, professional opinions, and cases that I had investigated during my tenure involving marijuana, which lead to fatalities. The local paper printed the first three but rejected the last two not giving me an explanation leading me to the conclusion I was striking a nerve and they did not want to be associated with my opposition on legalizing recreational marijuana. In New Jersey, our politicians are having a hard time passing this bill and making it law. I'd like to think my voice helped in the recent failed vote. 

However, at the end of July, I submitted a letter to the editor entitled "PURE POLITICAL INSANITY," which dealt with Eric Garner and N.Y.P.D. Officer Pantaleo’s infamous “choke hold” case that has lingered through the judicial process for the past several years. I gave my professional opinion citing the autopsy report and the fact that Officer Pantaleo was not charged with any federal civil rights violations nor was he indicted by a grand jury. I received a phone call from the local newspaper indicating they would not print my letter as my facts were wrong and that I had accused New York City Mayor DeBlasio as sending a strong message to the members of the N.Y.P.D. that "COPS WERE EXPENDABLE!" 

In describing the medical examiner’s report, I indicated the autopsy attributed the cause of death as compression to the neck and chest with contributing factors as bronchial asthma, hypertensive cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Let’s not forget that Eric Garner was a large man at 6'2" and weighing 400 pounds. I was told if I eliminate these two paragraphs, they would print my letter. I refused and rescinded my letter. I then followed up with a second letter entitled "Local Newspaper Refuses to Print the Truth.” In this letter, I briefly described my vita, including my credentials: Graduate F.B.I Academy, Quantico Virginia, Graduate U.S. Secret Service Academy, Washington D.C., selected as one of three chiefs from New Jersey by then-President Clinton to assist him and the U.S. Justice Department in establishing his crime bill and as a result was invited to the Rose Garden of the White House to witness the signing of this bill. I also indicted that I served two terms as President of the Essex County Chiefs Association, and that upon retiring, I was a partner in Russo DeLitta Law Enforcement Consultants, where we prepared what is known as “expert opinion reports” working with the New Jersey Joint Insurance Fund (JIF), who represented municipalities, police departments, and police officers who were being sued for alleged wrong doings while performing their duties . As a result, I was declared an “EXPERT WITNESS” to testify in court proceedings.

The local newspaper once again refused to print my pro law enforcement background and expert opinion. I realize that any media outlet reserves the right to not publish letters for any reason. However, one must wonder if one's letter is not within the beliefs of their agenda they will be rejected, so as not to alienate some of their subscribers . This time in rejecting my letter they did not even give me the courtesy of a phone call. Being in law enforcement for years that I have been, I know firsthand what one reads in the newspaper does not always cover the totality of circumstance. I have no ill malice toward this local newspaper, but wish they were more respectful of the men and women who have chosen law enforcement as a career, as they are willing to sacrifice more than most. By not printing my letters, I have become more motivated to get my voice out there more often, because I refuse to be silenced on matters that affect my beloved profession.”

In closing, I respectfully thank Chief Russo for sharing his post with our readers and hope that his heartfelt honesty will elicit a greater voice from our active and retired law enforcement officers who are hesitant in voicing their opinion. Make no mistake about it, our voices need to be heard. 



American City in Crisis … West Baltimore: Ground Zero 
By: Joel E. Gordon

When I asked to be assigned to a high-crime area upon my graduation from the Baltimore City police academy in 1981 and was assigned to West Baltimore, I never could have imagined that nearly 40 years later the deplorable conditions on the city’s west side would be a topic garnering national attention.

The decline of living conditions in Baltimore far predates my arrival there and even predates my birth in 1959. A recent commentary by a fellow law enforcement officer speaks to the area:

“One of my last cases as a detective from a neighboring jurisdiction brought me to Baltimore City regularly for a few weeks. Was an eye opener when the Baltimore police told us not to stop at certain intersections due to gunfire and had to clear out areas around the doors we needed to knock on as it was not safe for armed detectives to just walk up. How they worked there in those conditions I’ll never know. The city rivals sub-Saharan third world cities in terms of crime, violence and poverty.”

So when President Donald Trump said that the area is a "disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess" was he simply restating observations that many others have made? 

Late one night early in my career, I personally recall a time when I received a call for the alarm sounding at what had been one of my favorite go-to carryout sandwich shops on my beat. After encountering huge rats scurrying to the building’s rear and observing their activity, I thought better of my choice of eateries from that point forward. (No wonder my primary dispatcher would quip “It’s your stomach” when revealing my location while picking up my “lunch”!)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) condemned Trump for criticizing the well-documented crime, poverty, drug abuse and political corruption that plagues Baltimore. However, while touring a West Baltimore neighborhood in December 2015, "Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you're in a wealthy nation. You would think that you were in a Third World country," Sanders said, according to the Baltimore Sun newspaper. "What we're talking about is a community in which half of the people don't have jobs," he later told reporters during his trip. "We're talking about a community in which there are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable."

Also in 2015, President Barack Obama was quoted as saying “It’s too easy to ignore those problems or to treat them just as a law-and-order issue as opposed to a broader social issue.” Then, Obama lashed out at those who had been torching buildings and looting businesses in Baltimore calling them “criminals and thugs” who were destroying their own communities.

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who stepped down amid FBI raids and ongoing investigations into her own business dealings, upon touring these neighborhoods as mayor was caught on an open-mic saying: "What the hell? We should just take all this shit down. ... Whoa, you can smell the rats. ... Whew, Jesus. ... Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals."

The first prerequisite to fixing a problem is recognizing you have one. Baltimore is again on pace for 300+ homicides this year with hundreds of shootings, stabbings, thousands of robberies, burglaries, etc... It IS rat-infested. The former mayor is in trouble as were two mayors before. The police department is a mess, with the current mayor and city council rubber-stamping old rehashed crime-fighting plans put forth as being new by Baltimore’s latest police commissioner. The civilian Deputy Commissioner brought in to implement the Federal Consent Decree was himself, along with his wife, robbed at gunpoint in a city park. Another police department civilian employee was assaulted and robbed not far from police headquarters. Is there any end in sight? 


One West Baltimore resident known as Michelle completely agrees with what Trump said. "What he [Trump] said was definitely true," she outspokenly said. Michelle then gave credit to Kimberly Klacik for previously posting videos of what Baltimore really looks like with trash and rodents.

My own personal observations and interactions during my time serving the citizens of West Baltimore lead me to believe that a majority of the many good law-abiding people living in these largely neglected areas are in agreement with Michelle about our president. Local residents welcome any truly constructive dialogue that could have any chance for being an impetus for positive change. Race is not an issue here.

Once all of the tweets and comments are over and the politicians and pundits have moved on to other issues, in the end will anything change? If history is our guide, the residents of the downtrodden areas of West Baltimore and America will sadly be disappointed once again.


By: Officer Deon Joseph

Two weeks in from vacation and my work was definitely cut out for me. I came back with a lot of energy. It only took two weeks for it to weigh on me a bit. 

Today was my day off. I had to drop my “boo” off at work because her car was down. I realized I left an important document I needed to study at work, so I drove a few short blocks to the station. 

I took in the sight of all the blight being allowed just east of the bustling towers. I saw a gang member I kicked out of the area slinging cocaine behind a drug program, because per a very uniformed judge, banning drug dealers away from drug programs is “not constitutional.” 

I watched him go from tent to tent making deals and laughing. I shook my head and drove off. I hit 5th Street, and see more of his associates loitering in the area. Further east I could see more tents than when I left for vacation. 

In my head, I was ready for another vacation. I parked in front of the station and exited my car. A skid row bud of mine saw me in the lobby and stopped to hug me. She wanted to talk to me, but I needed to rush to the restroom. I got my document, and then walked back into the lobby en route to my car. 

My friend was still in the lobby waiting for me. She hugged me again and said “I turned 40 today.” I hugged her again and told her happy birthday. 

She then said, “I have some good news... I’m finally off the streets. I live with a friend in her apartment until I can get clean and go back home to my parents.” 

I congratulated her and pressed on to my car. She followed me. As I started down the steps, she called to me. “Uncle Joseph. There is something I want to tell you.” I was dreading what she was going to say. Most of the time she ends up telling me of being sexually violated or physically abused or that she suffered another miscarriage from being kicked in the stomach. As down as I was, my heart just couldn’t take it at that moment. Because I knew I’d want to suit up and try to fix it.

She then said to me “Uncle. You have known me since I was 19. You have been the only good I have known all of these years. I just remembered that I never took the time to thank you for keeping me safe and looking out for me. I know I’m a trip. I know you want me to get my stuff together. But we feel safe when you are around. We all can’t say it out loud... You know why. But you are my family Uncle. If my parents never take me back, I know I still have you.”

I gave her another hug and drove home fighting back tears. I won. Again, I hate crying. I feel weird afterward.

The fruits of my labor may not be impressive to some. But they are important to those who matter. 

My work is nowhere near done and may never be done. But it is never in vain.


Assessing Risk and creating a safety plan for outdoor events: Sports, concerts, graduations, rallies, summer camps and other public events. 
By: Lt. Joseph Pangaro, CPM 

The need for security at any large-scale public event such as a high school football game, a musical concert, a graduation or political rally must be a first consideration for any organizer. We live in a time when violence and chaos can and do strike without warning, placing people in danger of injury or death.

The organizer of any event must ensure they have done everything they can to create a safe and secure environment by conducting a thorough risk analysis and creating an emergency operations plan that considers as many potential threats as possible and prepares an appropriate response for each.

One of the obvious concerns for large scale gatherings of any kind is the “soft target” nature of the people attending these activities. In the event of a violence-based emergency such as an active shooter, a terror incident, a bomb or IED attack or other potentially deadly event, the organizer must consider how to facilitate emergency responder activities and secure or move the crowd to safety; with protecting life as the priority.

A major security concern for any large event is communication, especially when there may not be sufficient infrastructure to support it. This concern must be addressed as a priority, because in an emergency proper communication between those on the ground at the event and the first responders will be crucial in saving lives.  

This type of assessment is applicable to schools, colleges, summer camps, sports camps or anywhere people gather in large groups. 

Before the response to violence is considered, an organizer must first prepare their team to create the vision of security they want to have in place on the day of the event. This includes but is not limited to:

1. Defining the event and the stakeholders: What type of event is it, a high school football game, a musical concert, a political rally, a graduation or other type of gathering? Who will be involved from guests, to vendors, dignitaries, law enforcement, medical teams, other facility employees and the media?  

2. Define several perimeters of activity at the event location: 

A. The larger area surrounding the event location.

B. Guest arrival portals such as vehicular and pedestrian traffic onto the event property, parking, ingress pathways, barricades and transportation to the security screening area.

C. The inner perimeter where the event will actually take place.

3. Determine resources needed to manage logistics, security, maintenance, food service, crowd control, entry screening, bag searches (if any) and medical resource staging areas. 

4. Create the event team to include: the event organizer’s staff, law enforcement, private security providers, event management, fire and medical responders, food service and any event technicians.

5. Identify potential threats or safety/security concerns including but not limited to: active shooters, acts of terror, protesters, weather, rival visitors, intoxicated persons, power outages or any potential danger to the gathering.

6. Create response protocols and match resources to each potential threat/concern. Conduct a team-based tabletop drill of each potential threat and response by each group of resources. 

7. Create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) detailing all of the information gathered, include established response protocols, list all resource contact information and map the locations of key resource staging areas.

8. Establish communication and notification protocols to include radios, landline phones and any interoperability equipment that will be used. 

9. Establish the leadership chain of command and ensure that all involved parties understand that chain of command.  

10. Designate crowd escape locations based on threat location and ensure they are well-marked and cleared of all debris and vegetation. Identify any and all secure spaces and maximum capacity of each. Identify any and all cover and concealment locations at the facility. Establish how announcements to the crowd will be made and include potential PA failure, power outage or other disruption of amplification or communication systems. Designate power generator locations. 

11. Designate on-site and off-site Medical Triage locations with enough staffing at each. These should include personnel, supplies and vehicles at each location.

12. Establish Emergency Responder staging area(s) to include helicopter landing site(s).

13. Establish field security posts and ensure coordination and communications capability between various agencies to include sworn and private security entities. Ensure there are adequate briefings to all security staff before and during the day of the event.

14. Coordinate with all other location employees to ensure they understand the security plans and protocols.

15. Establish an on-site and remote command center to coordinate activities throughout the event, planning for continuing operations in an emergency.

16. Utilize a checklist to ensure all concerns and plans are covered.

17. Establish a debriefing date to understand any lessons learned. 

Conclusion:By planning ahead, including all stakeholders in the process, anticipating the threats and developing realistic responses to these threats, then conducting either a real-life drill or a tabletop exercise, the organizers of any large scale event can be confident they have taken every precaution to protect the life and property of everyone involved in the event. 


Modern Society and Toxic Masculinity
By: Lt. Patrick J. Ciser (Ret.)

I imagine you’d have to be over 40 to see it, so younger readers might not be able to conceptualize my decades-old observations. I’ve witnessed the John Waynes, Marlon Brandos and Clint Eastwoods growing up. I’ve also witnessed the mental and physical toughness of the greatest generation, including my father, a WWII veteran who as a carpenter often broke his back 7 days a week to provide for his wife and 6 kids. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “when men were men.” During WWII, the worst thing that could happen to a young man was being rejected to serve in the armed forces. A heart murmur or even “flat feet” could get you rejected and cause personal shame while you watched your friends go off to war. 

Fast forward one generation, when young men were being drafted for Vietnam. Thousands of aristocrats and those politically connected were able to avoid the draft with waivers, while thousands more coming from both the proletariat class of our society, and those attending Universities that could not get waivers, fled to Canada. Most felt no shame as they burned their draft cards. We never belonged in Vietnam, but that’s another story. 

Today, studies show that 7 out of 10 military-aged males are not fit to serve, citing obesity as the main cause. What would happen today if we had to fight a war on the scale of WWII? Who would fight to defend our liberty and freedom? Not only does a certain segment of America no longer laud these brave warriors who serve abroad, and here on the home front (police officers), they in many cases look down upon us. 

“Toxic Masculinity” is the new catch phrase being floated about to demean our heroes of yesteryear. The phrase has been used for years by psychologists, but has taken on new meaning, a very negative meaning, as of late. “Toxic” used to simply point out the history of misogyny, and homophobia, that came with the territory of being overly masculine. But where would we be as a nation today if most of our brave men since our inception were total “wimps” and unable to perform, testosterone and all, when called upon? How does a man properly protect his family without “masculinity” and some ingrained toughness? How would we have built skyscrapers and magnificent bridges across the country if men didn’t have the balls to do it? Who would be the fighter pilots, the Navy SEALs, the Rangers, the Marines and our SWAT members across the country? There can be no crying in these areas of service. I submit to you that emotional men cannot break down in combat as it would be devastating! 

As George Orwell said, “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

So why are men, generally speaking of course, getting weaker? Why do we keep reducing the qualifications to enter the military and our police academies? Less pull-ups, push-ups etc. No more boxing or striking of any type? Some states are banning dodgeball in high schools! Why in a country where teaching your son, and even our daughters, how to hunt is now taboo in many areas of the country and frowned upon. My brother lives in North Dakota and his son brings his shotgun to high school for outdoor competitions. Progressives and vegetarians are now pushing an agenda to outlaw eating beef. Beef, along with its high zinc content, assists many strength athletes and others to excel. If YOU don’t want to eat beef, then DON’T! But don’t push your views on me.

Metrosexuals today get manicures, pedicures and even get their eyebrows waxed. Others apply make-up, a growing business I understand, to go out on the town. And trust me, I don’t give a rat’s ass that they do, I’m only concerned about declining masculinity and who’s going to protect America if these trends continue. Understand that I’m not talking about homosexuality, as there are many gays in the military, law enforcement, and on the gridiron, who are extremely tough in battle. 

Today, people can be talked into believing what was once a bizarre idea. Years ago, if you said that there were more than two genders, we’d suggest a good shrink. The number of genders seem to be growing higher each year, however, as liberals continue to “pussify” America, and frown on all things masculine. Let’s get this straight! There are two genders; one produces the egg, while the other produces the sperm. DONE! You can make a rooster look like a peacock, but in the end, he’s still a cock! 


“The First Rule of Leadership” and the other Four First Rules of Leadership!
By: Dr. Joseph A. Devine

 It has been written, “There is nothing magical about leadership” and yet the very essence of leadership remains elusive to many.  The definitions of leadership and management are used interchangeably and generally incorrectly.  Justice Potter Stewart in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964) wrote of defining pornography that he may “never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it…”

The same can be said of leadership!  Definitions are seemingly veiled in the fog of cultural, historic, ethnic and professional relativism.  And yet, although we may not be able to articulate a concise definition of leadership, we know it when we “see it.”

As true leadership is “influence,”it is more likely to be felt than seen.  Its effects may be dynamic, intense, transformational, radical, revolutional, transactional, evolutionary or subtle, but leadership will always lead to change.   Bias for change is inherent in the DNA of all true leaders.  Challenging the status quo, disrupting comfort zones, fostering or forcing transformation of individuals, groups and systems is the very essence of leadership. 

Many volumes have been published about leadership and the “flavor of the month” leadership styles.  Most of these provoke thought while some simply repackage old and worn-out theories. Having waded through the fog of researching and teaching leadership theories since 1993, I have synthesized several pragmatic leadership principles.  These principles may serve as the primary content of your “leadership toolbox,”quite distinct from your “management toolbox.”  It is my belief that leadership can be taught and that leadership traits are not exclusively a matter of birth.   I also contend that although “managers lead and leaders manage” they are entirely distinct disciplines and behaviors.

                                             The First Five First Rules of Leadership!

 The First-First Rule


 And yes, this means you!Listen to your inner voice, to your mentors and above all to your followers.  Leadership experts generally preach that leaders need to communicate their vision, their mission and their passion.  Although true, it is only half the equation at best.  Your followers will likely have operational (real world) information that you will need to hear.  They may need clarification or more importantly may simply need you to listen. Be ready and open to hear things that may challenge your assumptions, your perceptions, your skills and yes even your ego. Taking time to listen may enhance your humility and thus your approachability. And when you do speak, do so with an economy of words. Learn and practice the principle known as “Napoleon’s Corporal.” (Look it up!) Communicate with simplicity and precision so that virtually any follower will understand.  Then ask them what they think … And at the very least your periodic silence may reduce the probability of you saying something profoundly stupid!


                    The Second-First Rule


 This does not mean that you get to choose and groom your successor

It means that all leaders have a sacred generational responsibility to prepare their followers to ascend through the ranks in an ethical, efficient and effective manner. A fundamental purpose of leadership is to grow “smart, thoughtful and reflective leaders”for the future. Follower behaviors evolve into leader behaviors through the processes of modeling, training, educating, delegating, empowering and trust. Each of these processes must be aligned in policy and practice. Trust is predicate to all dimensions of organizational leadership and is especially so with new personnel and new promotions.  Evolving leaders will thrive in an organization that is not averse to reasonable risk. This is directly relevant to the development of decision-making skills among new leaders.  Avoidance of a risk-averse culture is foundational to the development of an organizational culture that encourages new ideas, tactics, strategies and direction.  Provide all supervisors with “toolboxes” stocked with relevant tools prior to assigning them increased authority or responsibility.  Prepare them for the inevitable “critical shift”!  Mentor and support them as they make their way. And gradually prepare yourself to transition out… Those you hire or promote near the end of your career will define your leadership.  Ensure that they are well-chosen, socialized, trained, and educated, for they will be a significant part of your professional legacy. And always, always reinforce success! It’s not all within your power, but do your best to leave the place better than you found it. Don’t let F Troop be your legacy!  

     The Third-First Rule


(AKA Ass Kissers)

 Sycophants are not your friends!  They are organizational, blood-sucking, disease-carrying ticks!  Like parasitic insects that will attach to you upon your ascension through the ranks, they will pat you on the back; agree with all you do and will generally make you look like a lame-ass clown.  Comprising your inner circle with sycophants is a symptom of a leader’s presumptive weakness.  Likewise, surrounding yourself with well-intended personnel who are just like you is at best a missed opportunity.  Although natural to trust those you can best relate to as a leader, you will likely do better by diversifying your inner circle.  The 16thPresident of the United States, Abraham Lincoln had the courage to surround himself with both allies and rivals. Doris Kearns Goodwin titled her book “A Team of Rivals”after Lincoln’s unique presidential cabinet.  The concept of a “team” comprised of “rivals” is seemingly oxymoronic.  And yet it worked well through some of the most challenging years in United States history. Lincoln staffed his cabinet with men who would challenge and debate his ideas, policies and strategies.  This is demonstrative of Lincoln’s confidence, character and emotional intelligence.  Yes there are risks in this strategy as the debate must conclude, decisions must be executed and the ultimate responsibility remains with the leader. The Harvard Business Review writes that “Again and again, Lincoln shared responsibility for others’ mistakes, and so people became very loyal to him.”In conclusion, consider surrounding yourself with a mix of those who are like you and those who are different, who think differently, who have reasonably contrary perspectives, experiences, knowledge that you may not and the courage to tell you what you need to hear.  And lastly: don’t be an ass kisser-it’s not leader like!

   The Fourth-First Rule


(Says it all)

 And yes, this includes you!  Don’t hire any, don’t retain any, don’t promote any, don’t tolerate any and don’t be one!  Sounds simple, right?  Look around … not so simple!  Getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats on the bus all while getting the wrong people off the bus can be a daunting challenge. This is especially so within agencies administered by “Civil Service.” It is likely that you inherited a bus that has been poorly maintained, inadequately staffed, damaged by corruption, nepotism and politics … but there will be many dedicated, passionate professionals on that bus waiting for a true leader to transcend the status quo. This is the very essence of a “Leadership Challenge”!  Stand up, embrace it, challenge the status quo and prevail!  Many will hide from such a challenge, but true leaders will have the courage to lead as “The credit belongs to the man in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…”(Theodore Roosevelt: Citizenship in a Republic”, April 1910.) As a leader you are in the fulcrum of all forces within the arena. It will get ugly-if you need a hug go home…leadership is a contact sport!

(*Title and concept borrowed from: The No Asshole Rule –Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’tby Robert I. Sutton, PhD.  Business Plus 2010)

The Fifth–First Rule


(AKA: Know When To Go!)

 And yes, this means you!  If you begin to think and feel like a dinosaur and look like a fossil, it’s probably time to go.  You and only you will know when that time has come, but others will be sure to nudge you. Leave on your terms and when the time is right for your organization.  Nothing good comes from overstaying, not for you and not for your followers.  Put your ego aside and make an objective, altruistic decision. Leadership is stewardship, not ownership. Know when to let go! If you prepared yourself for this transition as you prepared your successor you will be ready!  (See: The Second-First Rule!)

The time to get out of the way will come naturally … do so with grace and dignity.  Go on your terms or you will inevitably go on the terms dictated by others.  As stewards, it is a leader’s responsibility to leave “the place” better than they found it. So, don’t turn it into Jurassic Park!  Go home…and Shut the F’…Up!


By: Officer Deon Joseph

When police shootings occur, (depending on the race of the officer and the person they encountered) often times those stories can get spun completely out of control. For months, I end up having to do several things that keep me from protecting the community I serve.

One of those things is to handle protest and get shouted at for something I was not involved in, that occurred in another part of the city, county or even crazier, in another part of the country. I can handle that. That doesn’t bother me. I work in the protest capital of the nation.

Another incredibly annoying thing I have done on and off duty is answer loaded questions from friends, foes and strangers as to why police officers “murder” people. Or here is a rich one. “Why we have a license to just kill people for no reason.” Or “How is it possible for cops to kill unarmed people?”

Fun fact, folks: There are people in prison for killing other human beings with their bare hands. It’s possible. Yes, unarmed people have tried to murder police.

The questions are usually asked in a way to guarantee a certain answer, or get under my skin so my anger can drive me to a desired answer. But I was born at night. Not last night. I always have an answer that they usually cannot refute without going into a temper tantrum or pre-prepared rant provided to them by some college professor or running off to a different subject to avoid the “L” as my sons say. Yet, to keep answering the same tedious questions over and over again is really getting old, but I do it anyway because if I don’t a social justice warrior will answer for me and they would more than likely be lying.

So in this article I’m taking it upon myself to share with you the importance of why our detractors have such a huge advantage over us in getting the truth to the public when shootings occur. I need you all to see why America as it relates to cops has become a kangaroo court.

When police shootings happen, the investigations can take anywhere from several months to a year depending on how complex it is. During this time, we are gathering witness and officer statements, waiting for autopsy reports, checking hours of body camera and closed circuit footage, waiting on forensics and a whole host of things to ensure that we have all the facts before we release conclusions.

Officers who work for the same department often get accused of being silent on a perceived injustice. I’m sure most wish to God they could talk about it to stop the slander machine or misinformation. Unfortunately, with most if not all departments not one employee working for the involved department is allowed to talk about the shooting until the case is resolved, whether they were involved or not and whether they feel it was a justified shooting or not. For officers not involved; their silence is not because they have something to hide, fear retaliation or because of some ominous/mysterious blue code of silence that for the most part is Hollywood BS.

The truth is this: We are in a litigious society; every officer on a department is a representative of their department no matter where they go. Hence the reason I still get asked today about the Rodney King beating, even though I wasn’t a police officer in ‘91. I was fuming about it like everyone else back then. Though we have no direct connection to that shooting, we are connected by uniform. Which means anything they say can be used as a sound bite that could harm the integrity of the investigation, which is not fair to the officer involved in the shooting or the person who was shot. The media and ambulance-chasing lawyers do not care if that officer was at his home watching a football game when the shooting occurred. All that matters is that he wears the same uniform and he or she gave them sound byte they needed to keep drama going for self-serving reasons.

In between time, our detractors who are masters of manipulation clearly understand that we cannot talk about it. They know this very well. And use this as an opportunity to try this case in the court of public opinion for months. Here are the groups and how they work folks.


We can’t fault them. They are doing their jobs. And that job is to get people the highest payday possible so their own payday can be higher. Seeing so many settlements even when the officer was justified lets me know I am probably in the wrong profession. Their goal in our silence is to try the case in the court of public opinion. Bring grieving mothers and grandmothers center stage to pull at the heartstrings of the public. To find pictures of the person who was shot playing T-ball minus the gang tattoos on his face. They want to racialize the issue as quickly as possible using identity politics to rally people who identify with the victim’s family. The goal is to create a jury pool long before jury selection. They use trigger words like “injustice”, “racism”, “murder” repeatedly to paint the actions of the officers as so heinous, that no one would believe the truth even when it is finally revealed for hopes of a settlement and a new pair of Jimmy Choos or a yacht they have been dreaming of.


Their job: Take it to social media. Take it to the streets to push their agenda. Their methods: lie, twist the truth, put captions on social media posts to guide the simple-minded to a thought. They exploit the person who was shot, who when they were alive they could care less about especially if they are not the right color to further their agenda. A life to them is only as valuable as the race or profession of the person who kills them. As they take their “outrage” to the public, they carefully craft their arguments for two groups of people. For the more intellectual folks, make their arguments so complexed using so many $10,000 words that even educated people begin to fall for. For those who lack a certain level of education or knowledge of the law, the strategy is to come up with catchy phrases that are easily digestible, designed to fire up folks who just don’t have the patience to just wait for the truth to come out.

In fact, their versions of the incident are purposely abbreviated to leave out details that may make sense. They engage in a tactic I like to call “jumping.” It is where they jump from A to Z claiming they recited the alphabet but left out the other 24 letters. For example:

When Mike Brown was shot, they repeated this mantra… “Mike Brown was murdered for being black and jaywalking.” Sure if you repeat it enough, everyone will believe it. But the truth is he was warned for jaywalking … twice. In response, he decided to assault a police officer and struggle over his gun which led to him being killed. But who cares about facts when there is a revolution going on?

But their favorite are people who are disenfranchised, who are intelligent, but are so frustrated and fed up with their condition that they can only see things from an emotional level. They are already primed and ready to engage in conflict based on said frustration. “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” was one of the most recent and famous ones to incite them. It was simple and took the thinking out of it for many people. And as we found out at the end of that investigation, the cliché did not match what actually occurred. By the time the truth came out, a city was burning and a nation was divided. At the click of a button numerous social justice warriors who believe in the “end justifies the means” approach, can guide a mass amount of people to a thought with carefully edited montages, or edited portions of a police shooting they want people to see to get them all fired up. They recognize better than anyone that we live in what I like to call a “microwave society.” I call it that because we are in an age where people want their information fast. It doesn’t matter if the nutrients are burned out. It doesn’t matter that it could give you cancer. They just want it. A conventional oven (methodical FACT gathering) won’t give it to you fast enough, so most will always go with and stay with the microwave (the fast, juicy version) no matter how bad it ends up being for them in the long term.

Unfortunately far too many people are being influenced by these groups, which are now made up of college professors, high school teachers, politicians and civil rights activists who are constantly seeking to grab 15 more minutes of fame. They show up, set the world on fire and then walk away waiting patiently for the next officer to have a human moment, as the communities they spun up are left to pick up the pieces. They literally cannot wait for another exploitable person to die at the hands of an officer who made a decision no officer wants to make in the heat of a dangerous moment.


I’m not saying all media is bad. I have met with many responsible and fair journalists over the years. I will not paint them all with a broad brush. It would not be fair. Yet I can say I have never seen it this bad. Objectively and balance has been almost completely sacrificed for ratings and sponsors.

I remember years ago when the police were involved in a shooting they would only share the limited facts that they had. Now we are seeing many reporters colorizing and racializing each shooting when it involves a white cop and a black male before reporting the facts. It is done to grab eyeballs. What’s even worse, some reporters are now social justice warriors masquerading as news anchors. And they use the incident to push an agenda they or their bosses support. They bring in social justice advocates to continue to paint with that broad brush that helps create the necessary tension to stretch the story for as long as possible, all the while knowing that the involved law enforcement agency can’t release all information for the reasons I stated. They continue to use tortured language to cast suspicion on every aspect of the shooting and the ensuing investigation. They thrive off speculation and innuendo to push the narrative as far as possible. They could be real heroes in keeping the peace by rejecting subjective reporting. But that won’t happen any time soon for some. Ratings equals $$$.


Once I gave a man in the political world a ride along. During the ride along, we had a frank discussion about the lack of support some politicians give to law enforcement during police shootings where the officers were clearly in the right. He looked at me and said “Joseph, most politicians know the vast majority of you all do a phenomenal job. We know in most cases those officers have to make a tough call they did not want to make. But some feel they have to allow you all to look like the bad guy to get the things their constituents want.” I respected the hell out of him for his honesty. But I was completely disheartened by what he said.

We have huge problems with our politicians refusing to stand by officers who were clearly defending themselves within the law. They are too afraid of the optics. Others who try to stay in office and pander to certain communities will completely throw police officers under the bus as we just saw in recent cases, and then back over the officer. They also sacrifice the truth for self-serving reasons.

Instead of leading, they put their fingers in the air to see which way the political winds are blowing, and are gone with the wind of lies, fear mongering and hysteria.

All of these groups go on a tear for months. Sometimes their work pays off when an officer who was righteously defending himself ends up having to stand trial, but gets acquitted because the facts show there was no criminal intent which is the main reason why they do not get convicted. Not because of their race. But in most cases, when the facts bear out, all the hype, the flawed reporting, the malicious rumors and lies, lose out to the facts, which sparks more staged outrage from all three groups that end up having disastrous consequences for police officers and the communities they serve. (See Dallas and the south side of Chicago).

Now please do not think that I believe we are infallible as police officers. I have reported misconduct as an officer. I also do not believe every police shooting that has captured the attention of this nation was justified.

The Walter Scott shooting was a clear case of murder in my opinion. The Oscar Grant shooting should not have happened. That officer had zero business with his firearm out. Eric Garner should still be alive. The Laquan McDonald case was clearly unjustified as well as a couple of others that I completely agree should not have happened.

Cases like those are pretty cut and dried. You do not have to be an expert to know those shootings should never have happened and are just as shocking to many of us as law enforcement officers as they are to you.

For the others, we all, cops and civilians alike, must stop allowing the aforementioned groups to manipulate you for self-serving reasons. We all must wait for all facts to come out before we rush to judgement against officers who were placed in a situation no police officer wants to ever be in. I have met with hundreds of officers. Not one has ever told me that they want to kill someone. Stop allowing these groups to drive a wedge between you and your police agency, because in the end, we all need each other.

When all facts have been gathered, if you still feel it was wrong, protest away, peacefully. I along with my fellow officers will even protect your right to do so. That is your right. All I ask is you stop reacting, and start thinking.

Five years since PO Darren Wilson did his job and an entire community was punished for it

Five years since PO Darren Wilson did his job and an entire community was punished for it
By Kirk Lawless

 It’s been five years since Michael Brown made the bad choices that led to his death. 
The media across the country weighed in on the shooting and so many were quick to condemn a police officer for doing his job. They ran with the “Hands up don’t shoot” mantra, which was proved to be a lie, but the damage was set in motion. And just as Nero played his fiddle while Rome burned, Ferguson too was to become a conflagration that only Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would find comfortable.

There were others to blame for the “unrest,” later referred to as “The Ferguson Effect” (soft words really, used as justification for anarchy, rioting, looting, mayhem, and violence, lots of violence). Blood would be spilled in the name of “Justice” for a criminal who was killed by a police officer.

The media fanned the flames locally,  nationally and internationally. Then President Barack Obama weighed in on it before the facts were in. Attorney General Eric Holder weighed in on it before the facts were in also and elected to inject himself into the situation, coming to Ferguson, bringing a team of agents to ensure that “justice” was meted out.

The president didn’t get personally involved in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, killed on 15 December 2010, by a criminal wielding an illegal weapon. That weapon, an AK-47 style rifle, was traced to Operation Fast and Furious under the supposed watching eye of AG Eric Holder. Holder, arguably, had direct knowledge of the operation that allowed illegal weapons to leave the United States only to be purchased by folks across the border and ultimately be used against American law enforcement officers.

In my opinion, when Holder came to Ferguson, he had the blood of Agent Brian Terry on his hands and it was still wet. He should have stayed in Washington and investigated and prosecuted himself.

Al Sharpton smelled money, cameras and microphones and decided to come as well, but savvy community folks ran him out of town almost as soon as he arrived.

Michael Brown was no Emmett Till. This was not 1955. This happened in 2014 and it was as close to Emmett Till as anybody was going to get. Unfortunately the narrative was not even close but it was close enough to get the party started and it got started quickly.

The notion was the police were the enemy; more precisely the “white” police were the enemy, the enemy of black folks. Non-white cops were just as bad, if not worse, labeled as race traitors and Uncle Toms. The narrative was that white cops were just “willy-nilly” shooting and killing unarmed black kids.

The media poured in and set up their circus tents. Professional agitators were bused in to do their dirt and they were good at it. Several blocks on two borders of Ferguson were made to look like the Gaza Strip sans RPGs.

While all of this was taking place, the Ferguson cops and cops from outlying agencies donned riot gear and descended on the area in an attempt to keep the peace. The agitators looked at it as though the cops were coming in to beat the asses of everyone on the streets. Not the case. Believe it or not, the police were there in force to ensure the folks’ right to protest was unhindered. You can protest all you want. It’s your right to protest. But as everyone saw, the right to protest turned into mayhem and provided an opportunity to loot and burn, and assault the police officers (and anyone else who presented themselves to be a worthy target).

The media referred to it as “acting out,” citing the frustration of a portion of the protesters who could only show their frustration for the “injustice” by stealing hair products, tennis shoes, cash registers and car rims. Soon, they had stolen what they could from local convenience stores, including the one where Michael Brown started making his bad choices. When there was nothing left to steal, the buildings were set on fire.

So, “Black Lives Matter.” I understand that. I believe that. As a long-time police officer from that area, I believe that all lives are precious and matter. Hell, I signed up to make sure I could protect those lives, no matter what race they were.

I question the BLM folks who chanted their motto incessantly while setting fire to a convenience store where a young black man was working and who barely escaped being burned to death after his store was torched and he was trapped in a back room.

Just this past week, more than a dozen young black children were murdered, shot to death for no reason. Pretty sure their lives mattered. They mattered to me. They mattered to the cops who tried to save them and the cops who had to tell the parents that their babies were dead. So “Black Lives Matter” what do you do now? These children were gunned downed in their own neighborhoods and they weren’t marked for execution by the police. The cops weren’t pulling the triggers. Where are the protests for these murders?

How about “Hands up, don’t shoot” because I’m a little kid riding my bike down the street and having fun before school starts, or “Hands up, don’t shoot” because I am in my bed doing my homework. “Hands up, don’t shoot,” because I’m a little old grandma sitting on my front porch on a summer evening, not bothering anybody. “Hands up, don’t shoot,” because we’re senior citizens on our way to church and don’t kill us because you want to steal our car. You can have the car, but you’re going to kill us anyway? “Hands up, don’t shoot,” because you have the gun and are the predator, and I’m the prey, and we have the same skin color, and why exactly are you doing this to me, or anyone for that matter?

So, with Ferguson in flames in 2014, the BLM folks, The “New Black Panther Party” and a host of community “activists” marched arm-in-arm with a Missouri Highway Patrol captain, as what, a sign of solidarity? Just because you put the word “New” in front of a hate group, it doesn’t make them less of a hate group.

Had Chief Tom Jackson marched arm- in-arm with a group of Klansmen or neo-Nazis, the flames we saw during the “unrest” would have looked like a Girl Scout campfire compared to the inferno such an act would have ignited.

And while the peaceful protesters exercised their right to protest under the watchful eyes of the police, the agitators and criminals took pot shots at the police from behind a wall of peaceful protesters, and lots of women and children.

An officer from another agency sent to provide support was shot in the face by a coward who fired on the police line while using women and children as his shield. That’s what is known as a coward. This young officer nearly died and eventually lost his job as a result of his injuries so, “Hands up, don’t shoot” because I’m out here to protect the peaceful protesters, because it’s their right to protest.

Another officer from SLMPD with whom I attended the police academy got hit in the head by a 16-ounce bottle of frozen water thrown by another coward from a third-floor window, leaving him blind in one eye and having to rehab for several months while convalescing from a TBI and learning how to walk and talk again so, “Hands up, don’t hit me in the head with a one-pound projectile, damn near killing me.”

While fending off a group of “protesters” and severely outnumbered at a local gas station, one of my former partners was injured when one of the cowards threw an explosive device at him. Had it not been so primitive, he could have lost his leg or been killed, so “Hands up, don’t throw bombs at me while I’m protecting someone’s property from theft and vandalism.”

Meanwhile on this five-year anniversary, the St Louis Post-Dispatch ran the front-page headline “A Time To Remember,” the top story was devoted to Michael Brown. Five years later and the media still portrays him as a victim, the person ultimately responsible for his own death. 

On her official Twitter page, Elizabeth Warren posted, “5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systematic racism and police violence head on.” 

(Apparently she, like many others, choose to ignore factual data and would like to violate the rule of law by attempting to refile a case, already adjudicated)

Later the same week, while on the road traveling through Memphis, Tennessee, on a nameless street corner, I saw one of Louis Farrakhan’s boys hawking copies of the Nation of Islam newspaper “Final Call.” The headline was “White Terror.” I tried to flag him over to get a copy, but I guess he didn’t hear me, or maybe he assumed I was part of the “White Terror?”
Is it just me, or are folks spoiling for a race war based on a lie, and the first targets will be the cops on the front line? 


Help Is Closer Than You Think
By Chris Amos

As I sit down to type this article, nine members of the NYPD have committed suicide, seven of which have occurred in the last three months. Just a few weeks ago, NYPD officers were doused with water and one struck by a plastic bucket that had been thrown at him. An ICE office in Florida was the site of protesters threatening agents, contractors and their families. The next day an ICE office in San Antonio was targeted by gunfire. The following day, Philadelphia police officers were praised by some and taunted by others in a crowd while confronting an active shooter who had shot six of their colleagues. All six “miraculously” survived according to Philadelphia’s Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. And we wonder why it is so difficult to find qualified applicants.

Departments across the country are in various stages of addressing the mental toll being taken on police officers and for good reason. A handful of states are addressing PTSD as a recognizable disability, warranting early retirement by those first responders diagnosed with it. Departments, both big and small, are turning to peer counselors and critical incident stress management teams. I am the Director of one such team in a Sheriff’s Office in Virginia. These are all long overdue and much-needed steps being taken across the country. Departments and agencies are recognizing that having your name, address, and the school your children attend shouted out by some knucklehead over a bullhorn can take its toll on an officer mentally and emotionally, it also takes a toll on an officer’s soul!

Friend, can I share with you, some for perhaps the very first time, 3 biblical truths concerning you and the work you do as a law enforcement officer. Truths that if embraced can provide a healing balm for the soul.

1. Your work is important to God. In fact, your work is a calling by God. The Apostle Paul says as much in the book of Romans, chapter 13, verses 1-5. 

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will [a]bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Long before you were the Thin Blue Line, you were the God-ordained hedge of protection between peace and total chaos, light and darkness, righteousness and evil.

2. Though true Christians are not as vocal and in your face as so many protestors, cop-haters, and special interest groups please know that you are being lifted up in prayer by men, women, teens and even children you do not know and will never meet, at least on this side of eternity.

 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” 1 Timothy 2:1-2.


Thirty years ago as a young 24-year-old cop, suffering from a 14-year addiction, I sat at the end of my bed, my city-issued revolver pressed against the side of my head. Having lost the hope, desire, and will to live I assumed, wrongly, that my wife and newborn son would be better off with me out of the picture. I watched my reflection in a mirror as I slowly began to squeeze the trigger. Within a fraction of an inch, literally, from death I heard a voice as audible as that of your partner or spouse say, “There is hope.” I put the gun down. Three months later I found the source, the author and very essence of hope, Jesus Christ. My life was completely transformed! 
If you are in a dark place, I shout with every fiber of my body, “There is hope!” Reach out to God. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you, if He is truly there. Crack open a Bible and read the Gospel of John. If Jesus is who I say He is He will make Himself known to you. And for your sake and that of your family, friends, and coworkers, please, please, please, put the gun down! Help, my friend, is closer than you think.  




“They’re racist!” “They abuse their power!” “They are killing black people and black kids at alarming rates!” “They unfairly lock up minorities and put them in jail!” “They pull over black people for no reason!” If you have listened to any left-wing media or have listened to anyone from the left discuss this topic, you have most likely been met with these absurd claims; however in the university setting it is no different. In fact, it is much worse. This does not mean all professors hate or bad-mouth cops in the classroom. This is based on personal experiences as a third-year college student. UC Davis English professor Joshua Clover: “People think that cops need to be reformed. They need to be killed.”

What do professors really say?

            This pertains to a lot of sociology-oriented courses or any course relating to social issues and/or race. Professors will bring up instances the media has covered on the news without context: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, the Starbucks Scandal… and put all the blame on the cops. Professors love, just like the media, to cover racial incidents without waiting and listening to all the facts. Professors will use emotion to justify their stance and will attack you on your morality and character as a student and as a person for not agreeing with their “professional opinion.” But that is the problem; it is just their opinion with no facts to back up their claims. They will try to make you as uncomfortable as possible and they will make the class despise you and convince them that you are wrong because you are being immoral, disrespectful, (to even challenge/debate their opinions) corrupt, and just looking to start a fight. The professor will make the other students in the class look at you differently and devalue your opinion. 

The problem

            Brainwashing students to believe that law enforcement cannot be trusted and that they are always racist and abusive with their power is like raising a whole generation set up for failure; cops will not be seen as a source of safety and trust and they will always be working in this environment of hatred which not only puts them in more danger by those who target and kill cops because of what the news says, but they will be less likely to work their jobs as efficiently as if they were treated with support and respect. 

The facts 

            Most professors will use these incidents to claim that the police are terrible, racist human beings who abuse power. No one is denying that racism does not exist within law enforcement, or any profession for that matter. This is clear in certain incidents, like the Walter Scott shooting where the shooting and the officer’s actions were clearly not justified. However, to claim and constantly push this agenda of “every racial incident between a cop and minority is racist,” is not only an unfair generalization, but a dangerous tactic used by the left-wing media for views that further divide the necessary relationship citizens need with law enforcement to ensure a safe, peaceful and more trusting society. 

What can you do as a student? 

You can start off by stating the facts and backing up your opinions on cases with them. Just make sure you cite your findings and provide proof. Professors and even your classmates may approach you with hate and confusion. They may label you as someone who is immoral, hateful, racist, prejudiced or whatever they can come up with to attack your morality. However, this is no reason to give up on logic and to give up on standing for officers and law enforcement who deserve praise in what they do, especially if they are mislabeled and some ignorant person is bad-mouthing them. 

What happens frequently is that professors will point to their credentials and say, “well I have a PhD in sociology from [any university], so I know what I am talking about.” This is a logical fallacy called “Argument from Authority” in which “ a claimed authority’s support is used as evidence for an argument’s conclusion.” Professors can flaunt their degrees all they want, but it does not mean they are always right about an incident and you are always wrong as a student. Facts are facts and reality is reality regardless of what degree you have after your name, especially when it comes to forensics reports, autopsies, or videos that prove the innocence of a cop. If you are met with unfair grading and/or treatment in the classroom, universities have grade appeals in which you appeal for a grade change to the dean based on unfair treatment. When you give examples and instances of unfair treatment, then the dean or whoever is in charge has the authority to change your grade for the better. 

Remember, you have as much a right to an opinion as any one of your classmates and even professors, especially when your opinion is backed by irrefutable proof!


We have all seen that scary disclaimer on the bottom of email signatures… WIRE FRAUD IS ON THE RISE. PROTECT YOUR FUNDS. This is the unfortunate reality of a very real and widespread scam that is snagging more and more victims. So this brings up the question “What can I do to keep my money safe when purchasing a home?” During a closing, you cannot bring a check and nobody wants to be put in the position of being a victim of wire fraud. 

Safety Tip #1

Always make sure you are working with a reputable title company. This is where having a top-notch agent comes into play. An experienced agent will have a great working relationship with several title companies and can likely also get referrals from some veteran brokers in their office if need be. Lenders suggest visiting the title company in person, as a buyer you can offer to take your earnest money deposit yourself. At that time you can pick up a hard copy of your wire instructions to keep on file and refer to. Before you order the wire for your closing, you can also call the title company and have them recite the routing/account numbers to you with the copy of the instructions you picked up in front of you. Nothing should have changed.

Safety Tip #2

It is likely that you are purchasing outside of your local area, so another option is to ask your reputable title company to overnight you the wire instructions. Make sure you use a company that will let you track and require a signature upon receipt. When you receive the wire instructions, call to confirm what you have received and after that you should be safe to wire at closing! 

Safety Tip #3

You can never be too careful! Always follow your gut, check, double check and even triple check until you feel safe. Phones are not likely going to be used in a wire fraud scam, so pick up and dial your title company, get instructions directly from the source and discuss your concerns with them. You can always go to your bank in person to order the wire transfer rather than sending an email. Secure overnight delivery services like FedEx, UPS or DHL can also deliver instructions. The bottom line is criminals are out there, and they are looking to take advantage of a vulnerable situation, so privacy and accuracy is always best when having to wire transfer for the closing of a home purchase.  




It was to be Trooper Moises Sanchez's final surgery from being shot in the line of duty back in April. Trooper Sanchez was shot in the head and shoulder after responding to a traffic accident where the driver fled the scene. After a foot pursuit, the Trooper attempted to take the fleeing driver into custody when he was gunned down. For nearly five months after the shooting, his condition seemed to be improving. Sadly, Moises suffered severe complications following the last of many surgeries related to his gunshot wounds and he has passed away. Trooper Moises Sanchez had proudly served the Texas Department of Public Safety since 2015. Prior to his time as a State Trooper, he served his country in the United States Marine Corps until military retirement. He leaves behind a wife and three children. Moises had just celebrated his 49th birthday.

Cover Story - Blue Magazine Advisor and Contributing Writer Win the Fight for Justice

Blue Magazine Advisor and Contributing Writer Win the Fight for Justice

Imagine if former New York City Police Commissioner and Blue Magazine Advisor Bernard Kerik had not flown to San Diego to assist the Gallagher family for the seven grueling weeks leading up to the trial. Imagine if Commissioner Kerik had not recommended assembling the legal dream team consisting of powerhouse attorneys Timothy Parlatore and Marc Mukasey. Imagine if we as Americans had allowed a slanted and malicious prosecution to jail Chief Eddie Gallagher, 39, for the rest of his life. Had Commissioner Kerik not intervened, that's where we were headed.

Gallagher, a trained medic, sniper and explosives expert had spent 19 years of his life fighting terrorists on their soil so we could be safe here at home.  He had eight overseas deployments, including service in both the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. Gallagher was recognized for valor several times, including two Bronze Stars. He's also a loving husband and father of three children. He's a hero whose many sacrifices have successfully battled the war on terror.

For Commissioner Kerik, the fight for justice for Gallagher was personal. "I've followed the Gallagher case for months before I got involved," Kerik said. "It was horrible the injustice, the maltreatment, the disrespect to Gallagher's wife, his parents, and his children. After all Eddie had done for our country to see him maltreated was where I drew the line."

Many people had forgotten why Gallagher and others like him were overseas fighting terrorists. When Gallagher was arrested on Sept. 11, 2018, at gunpoint, which included holding his family at gunpoint, the media had appeared disinterested. Disgraceful. However, not all people have short memories. Many of us will never forget that horrific day on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked our country and killed nearly 3,000 Americans.

"As the person responsible for overseeing the rescue, recovery, investigation of the World Trade Center. Somebody who lost twenty-three of my own officers on September 11, 2001, I remember when Pres. George Bush came to Ground Zero on Sept. 14th, and he told me the people who did this—the people who attacked the Towers—the people who attacked America— they were going be held accountable for what happened," Kerik said. "And you know what we did? We sent people like Chief Gallagher into the Middle East to kill the terrorists. We sent them to the Middle East to take out the people who attacked our city."

That's why Kerik got involved.

"When I heard this story, I thought it was outrageous. We can't go after the men and women who do the job that has to be done. Monday morning quarterbacking, what they should've, would've done. No. Let them do their job," Kerik said. "Eddie Gallagher did his job. He's a hero in the eyes of every American that's following this case, and I couldn't be happier than I am with Tim Parlatore and Marc Mukasey for a job well done."

We too at Blue Magazine are proud of the job Parlatore—a Blue Magazine contributing writer, and Marc Mukasey did in the name of justice. Parlatore and Mukasey are tremendously busy attorneys who dropped everything and flew out to California to fight for justice. They remember the attack on 9/11—they know the honorable work our men and women in the military do every day to keep us safe. Railroading our heroes for crimes they did not commit is about as insulting as it gets. This is not how we treat our veterans. This is not how we, as Americans, thank them for their sacrifices and dedication.

Even President Trump—an ardent supporter of our military and law enforcement community—stepped in and helped Gallagher after reports of his harsh treatment while in confinement became public. On March 30, Pres. Trump ordered Gallagher transferred to "less restrictive confinement," marking the second time in history a U.S. president had intervened in a prisons conditions matter. Pres. Nixon did it in 1971 when he ordered Lt. William Calley moved from a military brig to house arrest.

On July 2, 2019 the jury acquitted Gallagher on six charges and found him guilty on the seventh charge of "wrongful pos[ing] for an unofficial picture with a human casualty. Since the maximum sentence for that charge was four months, and Gallagher had already served more time in jail than the sentence, he was released.

Trump tweeted, "Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family. You have been through much together. Glad I could help!"

The Gallagher trial has exposed Americans to the inner workings of the malicious military prosecutions of our heroes. It has taught us we must continue to honor heroes like Gallagher, not turn our backs on them, jail them for life for whatever political expediency or other unjust reasons. We see this all the time in the law enforcement community where good officers are collateral damage of pandering politicians or spineless law enforcement leaders who don't have the mettle to stand up and fight for justice.

On that horrific day of Sept. 11, 2001, the terrorists attacked and killed so many of us, and have thus far been destroyed by heroes like Gallagher, who've never forgotten what's at stake. All of us at Blue Magazine commend Chief Gallagher and appreciate the work Kerik, Parlatore and Mukasey did in the name of justice. It's refreshing to know there are still great men out there who never forget 9/11 and remember the cost in blood and lives. Job well done.

George Beck is a police sergeant, award-winning journalist, and managing editor of Blue Magazine. He holds a Ph.D. in History & Culture from Drew University. He is the author of The Killer Among Us and several other books.

Why ‘Black Lives’ & ‘Blue Lives’ should matter to all of us

Why ‘Black Lives’ & ‘Blue Lives’ should matter to all of us
By Robert Foreman

The volatile mixture of race and incidents of police brutality has long been a subject of contention in America. Many people have their own entrenched views on the matter and will not be swayed either way. Most African-Americans see the issue of police brutality as an ongoing threat to our community. On the other hand, there are many in law enforcement who believe that there is an ongoing bias against members of their profession who are just doing their jobs. The growing tensions have resulted in the birth of two movements; “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter.” Each of these movements has inspired both support and controversy among the public and lawmakers.

The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement was born following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed Martin, who was 17, during an altercation. Other high-profile incidents involving unarmed African-Americans who were killed during encounters with police officers continued to galvanize the movement. Some view Black Lives Matter as shining a light on issues of police misconduct. Others have branded Black Lives Matter as racist and have countered with “all lives matter.”

I’ve lost count of how many times I have had to debate with people regarding Black Lives Matter. What I try to explain to them is that if one black person kills another black person under circumstances that aren’t self-defense, then that black person who did the killing is likely going to jail for murder or manslaughter. On the other hand, if a rogue officer, or non-black citizen like Zimmerman, kills a black person under circumstances that aren’t self-defense, then they likely aren’t going to go to jail for murder or manslaughter. So, Black Lives Matter isn’t claiming that black lives matter more than any other racial group. It’s stating that black lives should matter just as much as everyone else’s under the eyes of the justice system.

The Blue Lives Matter movement was born in 2014 following the deaths of Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu. Both on-duty NYPD officers were shot and killed by Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley. The shootings were Brinkley’s revenge for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, who were both killed during encounters with the police. Blue Lives Matter grew out of the frustration that some in law enforcement saw as a bias toward law enforcement and was a response to Black Lives Matter. The advocates of Blue Lives Matter firmly believe that the killing of a law enforcement officer should fall under the hate crime statutes once a prosecution and conviction have occurred. Only one state, Louisiana, has made it a hate crime to target law enforcement personnel, EMTs and firefighters. The Louisiana law has been met with controversy by those who believe that someone’s job occupation should not get the same hate crime protections as race and gender.

I have friends who are both current and former law enforcement and I’ve always found them to be dedicated to the oath they swore to “protect and serve.” They would express their frustration to me about being branded a racist when they had a legitimate reason to stop or detain someone of color. However, some of them understood that there were incidents where some of their brethren did cross a line, yet they understandably did not want to be lumped in with the actions of others.

Ironically, both African-Americans and law enforcement personnel find themselves in similar predicaments. Each is unfairly judged by the actions of a few. Law-abiding African-Americans complain that they find themselves being treated as criminals by some members of law enforcement simply because of other African-Americans who do commit criminal acts. Many law enforcement personnel complain that they are being branded as racists by the African-American community, and the media, simply because of the actions of some of their brothers and sisters in blue who have acted in an unprofessional manner in high-profile incidents.

In the end, people should be judged by their own actions and not by the actions of those who have the same skin color or wear the same uniform. No race or profession should be unfairly painted with a broad brush as being either all good or all bad. Unfortunately, we live in a society where many people find it easier play the blame game instead of trying to have open and honest discussions about the issues at hand. Both the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements have given some people a real opportunity to discuss the issues, while other people have used both movements as a way to create more division and animosity to suit their agenda.

Regardless of how people choose to view Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, one thing is crystal clear. All lives do matter, whether they are black, white, brown, yellow or make their living in law enforcement. There should be no debate over which life matters more. Now, that’s no politically correct bumper sticker or social media hashtag. It’s just a statement of fact. Because once we start trying to decide which life has more value based on race or profession, we begin to lose sight of our common humanity. Once we go down that road the only destination is our own destruction, and in that outcome everybody loses.