Cover Story - We Knew Him Well - NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen

We Knew Him Well
By BBO Staff Writer


A few weeks back, I had written a re- flective piece on law enforcement line of duty death funerals. Little did I know that, as I sat there, those words would be so relevant so quickly.

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On February 12th, 2019, NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen was killed in the line of duty as he and several other NYPD police officers and detectives attempted to apprehend a robbery suspect. What followed in the days after was a living representation of what I had just written about weeks before. As a police officer since 2007, I have seen my share of police funerals, both line of duty and otherwise. While there is a familiar cadence to services surrounding a line of duty death, each one is unique; as unique as the individual who was lost. As a board member for Brothers Before Others, I have been afforded an even more special perspective.

Since he founded the group in 2014, BBO’s Founder/President, who also serves as Editor-In-Chief for the New York edition of BLUE, retired NYPD Police Officer Michael J. Burke has had one goal in mind; honor our police officers and support their families. In order to accomplish this, Michael immediately established the National Flower Fund, which has sent a floral arrangement on behalf of the group to the services of every line of duty death, regardless of where in the country they have occurred.

From a personal perspective, attending a line of duty death service, when feasible, is, or should be, a requirement. As I discussed in the article I referenced earlier, it is impossible to leave a police funeral without a profound sense of humility. Our presence, often referred to as a “sea of blue” is a crucial step in what is the beginning of a family’s healing process; both for kin AND blue.

While the ceremonies of both the viewing and the actual funeral are a show of respect for the fallen, they are so much more than that. As police officers, we often take for granted that our friends and our families love this profession as much as we do. For us, understanding the level of sacrifice made by the ones we mourn comes naturally. However, for those whose life is focused on simply supporting their loved one and running the household while they were off playing policeman, that understanding might not come so easy.

When we turn out for police funerals the way that NYPD turned out for Detective Brian Simonsen, the family left behind has no choice but to see that the loss of their loved one was not in vain. The parents, siblings, spouses and children immediately are hit with the reality that their loved one was a hero.

Being a member of Brothers Before Others has afforded me the experience of attending police line of duty death services in a unique capacity. I am not family. I am not a friend. Often times, I am not even on the same department. Yet, especially since partnering with Philadelphia Police Officer Jonathan Castro and often times hand- delivering one of the portraits that he creates, I have been able to meet and connect with the grieving family left behind. I can tell you that, of all the things I have done and seen in this life, both on and off the job, these interactions have been by far the most humbling experiences that I carry with me every day.

There is a saying (paraphrased) that, when an officer is lost in the line of duty, it’s not a department that loses someone, it’s the entire law enforcement community. Attending Brian’s services reinforced this point to me.

Again, being an essential outsider, I was there out of respect; respect for Brian, respect for his sacrifice and respect for the sacrifice that his family has made and will now make every day they live with- out him. However, being separated from the immense grief experienced by Brian’s close friends and family, I was able to more closely observe and appreciate, in real time, the amazing amount of love and respect being shown by everyone who braved the cold weather. I was able to see the strain on the faces of his coworkers. I was privy to just how much work and time went into those days, ensuring that not one need or request of Brian’s family went ignored.

One of the things that humbled me was how clear it was how much Brian was loved. As I stood in the lobby of the church, watching photo after photo of Brian with his friends and family scroll on TV screens that had been placed around the church, I couldn’t help but see exactly why they called him “Smiles.” Listening to the heartbreaking eulogies delivered by his coworkers and friends, there was no mistaking what Brian meant to the people in his life.

As police officers, I think we often take for granted that people are just going to pack the church at our funeral because of the uniform and shield we wear. However, I am here to tell you that is not the case. The turnout that you saw for Brian, the visible strain and emotion on the faces of his family, coworkers and friends, all were a testament to who this man was.

We personalize funerals. We always do. Virtually every line of duty death starts off as something that police officers do every day, sometimes multiple times during a day; motor vehicle stop, vehicle pursuit, domestic violence intervention, motor vehicle accident investigations, assisting disabled vehicles, and as was the case with Brian, calls for help/service. So, inevitably, you find yourself sitting there thinking “Damn. I do that stuff every day” and the weight of the humbling reality hits you. You’ll of- ten hear cops say, “We hardly knew you, but we knew you well.” We DO know each other well, because we experience the same stresses and realities.

This emotion was so prevalent during my time at Brian’s services that I could literally feel his presence. As I looked at the photos, heard the stories and met his law enforcement family, I was overcome with the reality that none of us really think this could be us. An incident like the one that ultimately took his life was the farthest thing from Brian’s mind as he posed for the pictures that we all saw flashing up on the screen.

I try to take something from every service; basically my way of acknowledging to the lost that they taught me something, even though we often times never met. Brian reminded me to not take one day on this job for granted; whether you have 19 years in as he did, 12 like I do, or if you’re just starting out. He reinforced the concept of conducting myself, both on and off the job, as someone who people will WANT to remember when they retire or leave this earth. Most of all, Brian made me want to be the kind of guy who, when I’m gone, will be remembered for my smile. How amazing and outwardly loving must he have been for his smile to be that impactful?

While my heart breaks for their loss, I am grateful that every member of the Simonsen family, including those he worked with, were able to experience that kind of great love. I am grateful that they had some- one in their lives so amazing, worthy of every tear they have spent and will spend.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bratton once said during a eulogy that he was delivering: The most common phrase he hears repeatedly at police funeral services is that “God always takes the good ones.” He added, “That is not a mistake. Because police officers represent the best of all of us.”

I may have been an outsider at Brian’s services, but I left without a shadow of a doubt that Brian was exactly the kind of cop Commissioner Bratton spoke about and that is a tribute to both how he lived, how he loved and, most importantly, how he was loved.

Fare Thee Well, Detective Simonsen.

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Editor's Point of view

As editor of Blue Magazine, I am very impressed by how our publication steadily grows nationally. In this issue, we have writers from states as far west as California and as far south as Florida. We are continually covering law enforcement issues on the national scene. What impresses me most is how all these law enforcement writers from different areas of our country have the same common purpose: to courageously speak out against injustices to the law enforcement community and to represent our profession with integrity and honor. Friends, we have a voice, and we must use it. Blue Magazine is your voice. Together we are making significant progress.

If you are reading this, you are probably wondering why we have chosen to put a cop turned felon on the cover. This was a decision made after many hours of editorial discussion and remembering our commitment to bravely cover critical issues affecting our law enforcement community. We get it, cops committing crimes is something nobody wants to discuss. Thankfully the bad apples in our profession only represent a small number of officers when compared to the overall majority who are decent, honest people protecting and serving with honor and integrity. However, we cannot deny that we have a few bad apples in our profession. Do a simple Internet search on this topic and see how many officers nationally have fallen into this trap—whether from greed, anger, rage or any other weaknesses that contributed to the destroying of the officer’s professional and personal life and by extension the reputation of our profession.

We are not here to sugarcoat Michael Dowd’s criminality as a cop. His conduct was reprehensible and disgraced the badge he wore on his chest, and the oath he took to uphold the law. His life and reputation are defined by the crimes he committed as a cop. However, there are lessons to be learned. Dowd spent 12 years and five months in federal prison for his crimes. His life was utterly destroyed. After many years post-prison working in the construction industry, Dowd began a speaking tour at colleges and universities to share his story with aspiring officers with one goal: that future cops will wear their badge proudly and honor their oath of office. Dowd hopes future and current officers will learn from his experience that betraying the public’s trust is a serious matter that will destroy an officer’s life and family. Dowd’s story is an essential lesson for everyone to hear. Make sure you check out this interview.

Of all the great articles in this issue, make sure you check out Chief Rich Rosell’s article “The Resurgence of the Marxist Threat in America.” Whether you agree or disagree with Chief Rosell’s position is not what’s most important. Instead, hearing how he lays out his argument and seeing how dangerous this is for law enforcement officers nationally is what’s critical that we all understand. Another excellent article is Managing Editor Joe Uliano’s “Columbine: Twenty Years Later and the Losing Battle.” Here, Uliano offers a solid argument that we must harden our schools to make them safe from potential active shooters. These are just a few of the many excellent articles in this issue. Every article is worthy of mentioning here. Therefore, dig and enjoy this magazine. There is so much information to share with you.

The summer of 2019 is quickly approaching. Are you making plans to spend quality time with your family and friends? Now is the time to start planning for a wonderful summer. In just a few short months the summer will be gone, but the memories made will last forever. Time is our most precious commodity. Enjoy!

Legal News - Forfeiture of Office

Forfeiture of Office
By Timothy Smith, Esq.

The public expects law enforcement officers to obey the laws they are charged with enforcing. Under the New Jersey Penal Code, an officer who breaks the law may face more than just the usual criminal sanctions. That officer may also be removed from the force and barred for life from holding any other public office.

The sanctions of forfeiture of office and disbarment from future public employment are set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2. That statute, by the way, also applies to all other public employees. Its sanctions are triggered by the commission of an offense (1) involving dishonesty, or (2) of the third degree or above, or, quoting the statute, (3) “involving or touching” the officer’s position as a law enforcement officer.

This article concerns the question of what offenses are those “involving or touching” a police officer’s position.

To start, the Penal Code defines an “offense” as a crime or a disorderly person’s offense or a petty disorderly person’s offense. This means that motor vehicle and municipal ordinance violations are not “offenses” under the Code. Nonetheless, because petty disorderly persons violations are “offenses,” even extremely minor wrongdoing might result in these sanctions.

Another provision of N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2 explains that “involving or touching” means that “the offense was related directly to the person’s performance in, or circumstances flowing from, the specific public office, position or employment held by the person.”

In State v. Hupka, the New Jersey Supreme Court closely examined this statutory language. Hupka was both a sheriff’s officer and a part-time police officer. He pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual contact. Hupka admitted that he touched the victim’s intimate parts without her consent for the purposes of his own sexual gratification. At the time of the incident, Hupka was neither on duty nor in uniform.

The Supreme Court ruled that Hupka’s reprehensible conduct did not require the sanctions of forfeiture of office and disbarment from public employment. The court noted the following factors. The offense occurred in a private home. The victim was someone Hupka knew personally, as opposed to a member of the public he knew through either of his law enforcement positions. As already mentioned, Hupka was neither on duty nor in uniform when the offense took place. Hupka did not display or utilize any indicia of either of his two offices at any time. Last, the offense was not related to any circumstance that flowed from his having been a sheriff’s officer or police officer.

The court rejected the argument that because the commission of a sexual offense is incompatible with the duties of a law enforcement officer, the commission of such a crime, alone, requires a forfeiture of office. The court also rejected the similar argument that because Hupka had engaged in conduct incompatible with the traits of character expected of a police officer, the offense was one “involving” or “touching” his office.

Hence, and as the forfeiture statute itself indicates, an officer will not be subject to forfeiture merely because he or she is an officer and commits an offense. Rather, there must be some proof that the officer’s law enforcement position was involved in some way in the circumstances of the offense.

Even as to offenses that meet these criteria, there is some leniency built into the statute. That leniency concerns disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses. A court may waive forfeiture and disbarment based upon the commission of such offenses upon an application of the County Prosecutor or the Attorney General. That application must show good cause to grant a waiver.

Note that the inapplicability of N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2 will not prevent a police department from disciplining an officer, up to and including termination.

Timothy R. Smith, a certified criminal trial attorney (less than 1% of New Jersey lawyers have satisfied the rigorous requirements necessary to achieve such a designation), devotes much of his practice to criminal and disciplinary defense. Smith was formerly employed as a police officer, detective, police union president and member of a prosecutor’s office legal staff prior to transitioning into private legal practice. Smith has served as an adjunct professor of graduate studies at Seton Hall University. He has also served as a private consultant to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey instructing police recruits in the area of search and seizure.

Cover Story - NYPD’s Most Infamous - Cop The Road to Redemption

NYPD’s Most Infamous Cop
The Road to Redemption

By Daniel Del Valle with Erika Blue, Steve Olimpio and John Welsh

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Everyone in law enforcement knows of the NYPD’s most infamous cop Michael Dowd who in 1992 was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy to distribute narcotics and sent to federal prison for 12 years and five months. Dowd’s criminal acts while an officer has angered good cops for nearly three decades. There is no sugarcoating his past. As you see on our cover, The Daily News has called him the “dirtiest cop in N.Y.” Then and now his life and reputation are defined by the crimes he committed as a cop in the 75th precinct. However, is there a lesson to be learned? Is there any use for Dowd’s story or should he be shunned for life, cast out into the desert never to be seen again? Many cops have mixed feelings about this.

Blue Magazine boldly takes an aggressive approach to all issues involving law enforcement. Cops committing crimes is a serious matter that will destroy an officer’s life and family, so pay close attention to this interview and the consequences of Dowd’s actions. It may save your life and career.

Dowd tells how he started out well-meaningly and at some point opted to betray the public’s trust and disgrace the badge he wore once proudly on his chest — Dowd’s upfront with his past. “There are no excuses for my behavior,” he told Blue Magazine. We agree. Dowd further stated, “I am responsible for them (criminal behavior), and I take full responsibility.”

Dowd believes his life has a lot to offer. After many years, post-prison, working in the construction industry and living with the consequences of being a cop turned felon, he is on the road to redemption. “Evaluate me for who I am today,” Dowd told Blue Magazine. Dowd now works to steer young aspiring cops away from the temptations of greed. He speaks widely at different colleges and shares his story, hoping the next generation of officers will see how his bad decisions have destroyed his life, the life of those he loves and the law enforcement profession, with one goal: that future cops will wear their badge proudly and honor their oath of office.

The Blue Magazine sent out an investigative team to interview Mike Dowd and to get his story first-hand.

Danny: There are officers today who may ask why would The Blue Magazine want to interview a man such as yourself? What are your thoughts when you hear that, and what would you tell cops who ask that question?

Michael F. Dowd: First, I want to say that I am sorry that they feel that way. I think that I have something to offer whether you like what I did or didn’t like what I did. I still have something to offer cops that can prevent them from being like me.

Many cops out there feel like I am a piece of shit but you also have to understand that many guys on the job make mistakes all the time that could lead to a serious incident to occur such as drunk driving. So many do this and think nothing of it until they hit and kill someone. Do you believe that the parent, husband, wife of the person that was killed would think that cop's less of a piece of shit than I am? I say no since that action killed their loved one. They would say I rather have had a cop stealing than someone who just killed their loved one. I am not trying to minimize what I did. I know what I did was bad but there are other things that are being done all the time by people who judge me. And believe me, I've been dealing with this for many years. Would you want people to think you are a piece of shit forever? I am just looking for a little fairness like any human is entitled to after they pay for their crimes.

Danny: What was the illegal action you did in the police academy?

I was asked to fraudulently sign documents by another recruit for an injury that he sustained at home. I signed those papers so I knew I would be accepted.

Danny: Tell me more about this?

Okay. I did that because I did not want him to get kicked out of the academy because his injury did not take place there. He asked me to lie and say that he jammed his finger with the desk so he can be covered. I wrote a report that I saw this incident take place at the academy. I did it in order to go along with what felt like was the right thing to do. Also, if I did not do that report and help him, I felt my career would have been horrible since no one would have respected me and thought of me as an asshole for not helping out a brother.

Danny: When did you start the job?

January 26, 1982.

Danny: How old were you?
21.

John: At what point in your career do you believe that if you stopped and resigned that you would get away with it?

Up until the last month.

Danny: Why?

Because all they had on me were unsubstantiated allegations for years or uncorroborated testimony by people who are incarcerated and they are not going to take their word over a cop. I knew the Feds had a case open on me in 1988 so unless someone close to me went down, they had nothing on me. At that time I could have retired or walked away from the job up until the point they had Kenny Eurell on the wire. That’s when things changed.

Danny: When you were exposed, when it all came down, tell us about that feeling.

It was May 6, 1992 and it was right after Rodney King and it was all over the news. They put us on Rodney King duty going around buildings that no one was breaking in. What they were really doing, and I didn’t know this at the time, they were pulling me off the radio because they were already on me and they knew I was going to get locked up. I walked into the precinct and they tell me to report to the so and so, I think it was a captain. So I turn around and there’s the badges in my face, “Internal affairs were here for a drug test” and then they surrounded me and walked me downstairs to my locker. These guys were really on me and I couldn’t even put in my combination.

So now I’m looking at my locker and in there is my off-duty revolver, cocaine, and some more cocaine, and I’m thinking should I leave the cocaine in my locker with the cash or should I just put on my pants that has 5 grams of cocaine in them. So, I put my pants on and I couldn’t even get dressed because the guy was so close to me. And I’m like, “Dude can I get dressed?” They get me in health services to take the drug test. They open the door and it’s filled with cops. And I’m thinking I can dump it here maybe… where am I going to dump it now? At this point I’m still hopeful! I still had hopes that I was going to be able to walk away from this.

Danny: Okay, but tell us more what it was like being arrested as a cop?

I was relieved. For me I was living a double life. It was torture. So I got in the back of the patrol car and I felt like I was with my friends—I felt like these guys sort of rescued me from myself. I was thinking the jobs over, I’m done, no big deal. I'll know in a week, the results of my drug test, no big deal. i'll contest it. I’ll lose, but the bottom line is, it’s OK, I just lost the job. But that obviously was not the case.

Steve: So the next morning you wake up…

In jail…

Steve: What happens in jail, Mike, as a former cop?

It was bad. Officers treated me like shit. It was personal. But I understand. But they needed to understand I was entitled to due process.

Danny: Yeah, but you were dirty, though.

Doesn’t matter! Due process! You don’t deserve it?

Danny: You do deserve due process, but don’t forget you were the dirtiest cop out there. Do you not expect these cops to think and act that way?

The charge was that I was involved in a drug conspiracy; that’s the charge. Many people get accused of being involved in a crime. Many people do. Officers get accused all the time of taking payoffs from drug dealers that they have never taken. Do we agree with that statement here? Drug dealers were taught especially in the ‘80s to make a complaint against a cop. See, I tried to use the whole logic to my benefit.

Steve: Mike, were you a dirty cop all the time or did you do good out there? Were you able to separate the two and when you were on patrol were you still able to help people?

Yes! I was doing my job. I was one of the best cops on the street, cop wise. They loved me. Cops wanted me to back them up.

Steve: How were you able to balance that?

Drank a lot. My family was destroyed because of it. We make choices in life. Greed or no greed. Do what you have to do. Greed kills.

Danny: Do you do drugs?

No.

Danny: Do you drink alcohol?

I’m sober, 23 months now

Danny: What was prison like?

It was 24 hours a day, 7 days a week looking over my shoulder.

Steve: How long were you in jail?

I did the 14-year federal sentence, which is 12 ½ years.

Danny: Would you do something criminal for money today?

No, I wouldn’t. I feel like the cleanest guy in the room since I paid for the crimes I committed. When I dealt with the Feds I needed to come clean on everything because if you don't and they find out they can charge you with other crimes. That is why it's important you tell the Feds everything once you are working on a plea to make sure nothing haunts you later. I know who I was before is not who I am now. I paid for my crimes by serving prison time. This is why I feel like the cleanest guy in the room because all my cards are on the table.

Danny: Is there anything of the old Michael Dowd in you today?

Well I do like excitement, so I’m still a little bit of an adrenaline junkie, and I miss the street, so I would say that there is a part of me that misses the connection to the police world.

Danny: In your opinion, what do you have to offer a cop today?

Well I have the experience of being in whatever position they’re in. For example, if a guy out there has done something corrupt, just listen to my story and stop what you’re doing. Stop it. And if you think you’re going to be corrupt, just recognize where it ends. Because it does end, and it doesn’t end well. And there are so many more problems that come with being arrested and sent to prison. My family also has to live with the shame I caused them. My mother was so proud of me and once I got caught that crushed her and she has to live with all the shame because of what I did. My older son also went through a hard time because he has the same name and that hurt him since people knew the Dowd name was dirty. I am doing my best now to be a dad because before I was not.

Erika: What led you to stray?

I think in the academy what I didn’t see was the face of corruption, which is just like your own face itself. So they showed us a couple of films, internal affairs came in and spoke to us and then they walked out with the instructors saying, "Whatever IA said does not apply in the streets. Whatever goes down, you make sure you cover your ass. Always have an answer."

So we want to stop that from happening. Every human makes decisions… So what I know is you have to feel comfortable making the right decision. You have to feel comfortable. The environment has to say, “Hey that was a good arrest” instead of saying, “What are you doing making a drug arrest?” I remember making an arrest and saying, “Now what do I do?” The perp is more important than you. It’s a struggle, it’s a wrestling match for me because anything I say it’s going to be looked at minimizing, trying to make an excuse for my behavior and there’s no excuse for my behavior and that’s very important that it’s recognized. I did what I did. I made every choice on my own. I was never forced to do anything wrong.

Danny: During those years did you ever contemplate suicide?

I always had hope. I always hung on to the hope and I had family support. To be honest, I never actually thought of ending my life because I always looked at things as another opportunity. Hope! There was always hope for me. Somehow maybe it was in my nature. I always had hope. Like when I got arrested, I hoped that I wasn’t going to jail. When I was in prison, the last day in prison, the day before, I was looking for my early release, and that was all based on my hope.

Danny: There’s officers today who are contemplating suicide, what do you tell them?

DON’T! Call somebody, go get help. You don’t need to do it. There’s a life outside the police department and the public shame that you may endure now may turn around to be in your benefit one day. It makes you stronger. If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger, so don’t kill yourself. That same guy who’s talking about killing himself today, he’s going through some shit, but in the end, he’s going to be a human being with value. Yes, you’re saving his life, it happened to a friend of mine. Don’t let the cop kill himself or someone else for that matter. Don’t let him drive off drunk hoping to crash because he doesn’t have the nerve to kill himself. How many cops you know try to kill themselves and miss? I’ve seen them. I’ve been in rehab with them.

Danny: Speak directly to the officers reading this. What’s the main takeaway from this interview?

Cops should know when they take this job to be a police officer there’s dignity and honor that comes with it. I was too immature to recognize my purpose was to serve the public and not myself. Being a cop is more than a salary; it’s a career that you will never know the value of being a cop until you are no longer one. You go from having a million brother and sister officers to zero.

Erika: For those people who say you’re using this as a stepping stone for publicity to promote a book or a movie, what would you say to them?

That’s not why I’m here at all. I’m here to give a lesson to police officers and departments that can use some raw real-life example of what happens to a police officer who’s young and altruistic and then he gets jaded and turns against his own department.

Danny: What does the future hold for you? What are your plans?

I want to keep speaking with young officers and recruits to share my experiences with them. I give them a perspective that only someone like myself can give. I just want to give back. I want a shot at redemption. Hopefully one day I will be able to walk up to a police officer without having to feel that shame.

Want to see the full interview?

Visit our website thebluemagazine.com or

our Facebook page The Blue Magazine.

Preparedness - Columbine: Twenty Years Later and the Losing Battle

Columbine: Twenty Years Later and the Losing Battle
By Joseph R. Uliano, M.A., Ed.S.

Violence has been observed in humans since the creation of man; it’s inevitable but is it preventable? In many cases victims of violence are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught up in a random act, motivated by some sort of criminality. When examining school shootings, criminality associated with the act is not of our largest concern, what is and should be our concern is one’s behavior that led to the shooting and how we are going to prevent future attacks.

Like preventative medicine, researchers need to first sift through the history of the disease before discovering preventive measures. Today, when studying school shootings our researchers, such as criminologists, psychologists, and law enforcement experts have plenty of history to sort through. Historically, school massacres can be traced all the way back to 1764 when Lenape Indians entered a Green Castle, Pennsylvania school, killing nine children and one adult. Obviously, times have changed, and any history buff out there will know the Lenape Indian’s attack on the school was not to kill children, but to send a message to the white settlers who were killing their people and suppressing their way of life. However, call it what you will, there is still a commonality associated with the 1764 attack and the more recent attacks of today, which is the vulnerability of a defenseless population of children.

The late 1990s was a true wakeup call for those tasked with securing our schools, and during this period society really grasped just how vulnerable our children are when we send them off to school. Attacks that were pre-Columbine in the 1990s, shook the ground but they were by no means earth-shattering. Attacks such as Craighead, Arkansas (1998) five killed with ten injured and Springfield, Oregon (1998) thirteen killed and twenty-five injured. Mass shootings, but still at the time viewed only as an unthinkable tragedy involving the death of school children, in fact, probably receiving the same amount attention as a school bus full of children driving off a cliff.

However, on April 20, 1999 Columbine High School students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered their school with one thing in mind; kill as many students as possible and go down in history as the most earth-shattering massacre. Unlike the attacks in 1998, where only handguns and hunting riffles were used, the self-described misfits of Columbine “The Trench Coat Mafia” came prepared with an arsenal of weapons consisting of but not limited to a TEC-9 and a Hi-Point carbine riffle, both capable of carrying more rounds than what was used in the pre-Columbine attacks. At the end of their carnage thirteen individuals laid fatally wounded, while another twenty-one fought for their lives after being critically wounded. Both shooters would then take their own lives before making contact with law enforcement.

Lessons were learned after Columbine, such as law enforcement no longer choosing to stage and wait for additional units before entering a school. This response plan at the time seemed most appropriate because statistically most active shooter incidents are over in twelve and half minutes, so officers need to be well under that mark to save as many lives as possible. The response plan also includes the routine lockdown drill that is still being used today, and from what those in field are saying has become dangerously complacent, as students liken them to fire drills. Make no mistake about preparing for an active shooter is nothing compared to planning for a fire.

Let’s take a deep breath here and examine how we are doing post-Columbine twenty years later. Newtown, Connecticut (2012) twenty-one killed with two injured and Parkland, Florida (2018) seventeen killed and seventeen injured. Remember that twelve and half minute window? We can kiss it goodbye! The Newtown shooting was over in five minutes and the Parkland shooting was over in just four minutes, with each incident measuring more fatalities than Columbine, due the weapons of choice and higher magazine capacities. Lockdown drills? Not very effective either. Both schools sounded the alarm, however, as expected, common areas are like target practice to a crazed gunman as seen in Parkland, and in Newtown they made into their classrooms but the classroom of first graders that saw the most carnage couldn’t lock their door in time.

So, to me we are losing the battle against school shooters and there will be more. After 9-11 we hardened our soft targets, as armed police officers stood guard at our tunnels, bridges, and mass transportation hubs, yet we continuously fail to harden our schools. Some suggest placing police officers in every school, some suggest arming school teachers, and some suggest taking a more passive approach by looking for warning signs. Warning signs? Like the ones that were missed with Adam Lanza (Newtown) or the ones missed with Nikolas Cruz (Parkland). I think its evident that we are also failing to pickup on the warning signs.

I’m not here to offer a definitive solution, but what I am offering is that its time to harden our schools. We are done debating what’s best and remaining inactive. It is time to become proactive rather than reactive and if putting armed police officers in every school is necessary then they must be deployed. If we cannot staff our schools with officers, then we must explore the viability of arming trained and qualified educators to rise up and defend our most vulnerable population.

Joe Uliano has served as a police officer for over fifteen years, and is assigned as field training officer and departmental instructor. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Education at Seton Hall University, where he also earned an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Management. Prior to earning this advanced degree, he also earned a Master’s Degree in Human Resources, Training, and Development and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

Hear Me Out - A Slap in the Face: The Judith Clark Parole

A Slap in the Face: The Judith Clark Parole
By Ari L. Maas

Over the centuries, philosophers and criminal justice scholars have argued about the justifications for punishment. Although opinions will differ, generally, they all agree on the four main justifications: retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation.

On April 19, convicted felon Judith Clark was granted parole (after Gov. Cuomo commuted her sentence from 75 to life to 35 to life in 2016), after serving 38 years in prison for her involvement in the infamous 1981 Brinks robbery at the Nanuet Mall. At her trial, Clark was found guilty of felony murder - her actions the day of the robbery caused the deaths of Nyack Police Officers Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown and Brinks guard Peter Paige and wounding two other Brinks guards and a police detective.

In commuting her sentence and later granting parole, Cuomo and the parole board cited examples of Clark’s rehabilitation: her taking responsibility for her crimes (this after being uncooperative and even defiant in court - decrying those proceedings as racist and fascist), her earning of a bachelors and masters degree, her work with AIDS patients and training service animals. While these things are all commendable and show evidence of Clark’s rehabilitation, it is ignoring another goal of our penal system - retribution.

While retribution is often described in the biblical terms of “an eye for an eye,” it should not be mistaken for revenge. Retribution is not done for personal reasons or to gain pleasure out of the convicted’s suffering. It is a punishment inflicted that is proportional to the crime and prevents mob justice. Instead of family members of crime victims and the victims taking the law into their own hands, we trust the state to dole out an appropriate punishment and give them some closure.

At the time of Clark’s sentencing, the judge chose to sentence Clark to the maximum allowable time - three consecutive 25 years to life sentences for a total of 75 years to life. During sentencing, the judge said of Clark that she “hold[s] society in contempt, and [has] no respect for human life”. The judge saw no chance for future rehabilitation and noticed that she grinned mockingly during her sentencing - the same grin she wore while in police custody the night of the crime.

Predictably, the Clark case has become polarized across party lines. Those on the left call Clark a poster child for rehabilitation and prison reform and have cheered her impending release. Those on the right are calling her release a slap in the face to police officers which, according to Rockland County Executive Ed Day, is signaling to the “criminal element that it is open season on cops.” However, what both sides seem to be overlooking is the retributive prong of our penal system.

There is no doubt that in nearly four decades, people can change, as is evident by the good things Clark has done in prison. However, this does not make up for the fact that Clark’s crimes turned three wives into widows, left nine children fatherless, and left three others (including Brinks guard Joseph Trombino, who was killed on 9/11) with permanent injuries. It is Cuomo and the parole board’s right and prerogative to grant Clark parole. But to do so while making her the poster child for rehabilitation and ignoring the retributive prong of our penal system is a slap in the face to the families and victims of that day - all of whom who have spoken out are against her release.

Ari L. Maas is a police officer with 16 year of experience. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rutgers University, a J.D. from New York Law School and a Master of Public Policy degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. He is a licensed attorney in both New York and New Jersey.

Square Shooting - Putting My Loved Ones In Danger

PUTTING MY LOVED ONES IN DANGER
By Officer Deon Joseph

To elected officials in Sacramento, California: You are putting my loved ones in danger.

As a law officer, I must let you know who my loved ones are before moving forward. They are the 700,000 men and women across this nation whom I serve with from all walks of life, and the people we are sworn to protect across this nation.

As we speak, an incredibly irresponsible (and in my opinion unlawful) bill is being pushed forward to change language as it relates to officers protecting themselves and the public from imminent and immediate threats of serious bodily injury and death.

In my strongest of opinion, this bill is driven by pure hatred for law enforcement officers and political pandering. Clearly the elected officials who support this bill, under the guise of “saving lives,” have eerily become influenced by fringe groups who desperately want to see more officers killed by suspects and jailed for even justified shootings to satisfy their bias toward law enforcement.

Do we not have rational leaders in Sacramento anymore? No more critical thinkers? Though clearly intellectual, it appears they have become increasingly intellectually lazy, as many refuse to understand the realities of police shootings, which are not slow-motion breakdowns in hindsight, but split-second decisions in tense moments, involving human beings, with fears, made of mortal flesh and blood.

What hope do we have when our elected officials become headline thinkers?

Not only is this move incredibly dangerous, but unlawfully removes the objectionable reasonable standard for officers in the heat of imminent danger to more of a subjective view of people in the controlled environment of hindsight.

In essence, a police officer’s freedom after having to defend him/herself or the public will literally be placed in the hands of Monday morning quarterbacks with either no real world experience, or a deep-seated hatred for police officers under the disguise of having a moral high ground.

As tragic and shocking as a few of the more controversial police shootings have been, we cannot put officers and community members at risk by hyper-focusing on the few of shootings that shock us all.

Why do I call them the few? Well, for those who will disingenuously draw from this that I am minimizing police shootings or somehow have a juvenile thought that I am advocating for police to be allowed to arbitrarily “murder with impunity because I have a badge,” please allow me to introduce myself to you.

I am a 23-year veteran of law enforcement. I have worked in three of the most crime-ridden areas of Los Angeles County. In one of those places, in the early 2000s, 3,800 parolees, 3,000 people on probation, 500 sex offenders and hundreds of gang members roamed in a 50-block radius. I spent 21 years there at its worst and never shot anyone. I’ll admit I came close on four occasions, but by the grace of God, and a suspect’s split-second decision to stop their dangerous actions, I was able to holster my firearm and not do something I dreaded since joining the force nearly a quarter of a century ago.

In that same division, most of the hundreds of officers employed there over those years can claim the same, and the ones who did had no choice based on what they were faced with.

In another division I worked for nearly two years, where murders from gun violence of black and brown people were at a staggering high, if there was a “Man with a Gun” call, you could be assured that when you arrived there, the suspect would either be there waiting for you, or somewhere in the vicinity lying in wait for you. Yet still, in those two years, I can count the number of police-involved shootings on one hand.

An average law enforcement officer anywhere in this nation and even in the most dangerous communities will go their whole careers without shooting anyone.

I am thankful to God that so far, I am not one, yet knowing the reality of the dangers of my profession, and the unpredictability of human beings, I still would like to maintain the right to give myself, my partner or a community member in imminent danger a fighting chance to survive it based on that reality. Not emotionalism, over reaching outrage and delusional idealism.

The verbiage in this new law runs counter to a Supreme Court ruling that recognized the humanity of police and suspects during uses of force, as well as intent and surrounding circumstances that trigger fight or flight instincts in any human being, especially cops who have to push past the urge of flight to stop imminent threats to the public.

If police unions do not challenge this disturbing circumventing of case law, then shame on them.

Years ago, I would never have expected something like this to come to fruition. But based on the current climate against law enforcement, nothing surprises me. I fully expect it to push through as politicians continue to pander to extreme leaning groups to stay in power.

I should rightfully expect a challenge to it when it happens. Lives depend on it.

No police officer I ever knew wakes up in the morning with criminal intent to take anyone’s life. What cop today would want that scrutiny? Especially if the person we encounter is a person of color?

This move is irresponsible; I get the intentions of the people behind it, but for our civic leaders to fall for it is frightening.

This decision will cause officers to second-guess themselves in instances where their decisive action or the lack thereof could mean they or a citizen in danger won’t go home.

Nonetheless, we as officers will always willingly put our lives on the line, but we should never have to choose to risk giving it away to satisfy public perception.

As I said, my fellow officers and the people they serve are my loved ones. I want them all to have every chance to get home.

I recognize mistakes can happen, and in even extremely rare cases, malice, but that is no excuse to put the honorable in harm’s way. It is just wrong.

There are other ways to reduce tragedy without causing the potential for more.

For more of my thoughts on policing, check out the blog section of my website at www.deonjoseph.org

Deon Joseph is a 23 year veteran of law enforcement in Southern California - 21 of those years working in the homeless community to create an environment conducive to change for those in recovery, as a Lead Officer. He’s been recognized for his work locally and nationally, and news stories and documentaries surrounding his work in crime fighting and community relations, featured him. www.deonjoseph.org

Lessons Learned - So What’s A Good Cop?

So What’s A Good Cop?
By Joel E. Gordon
“Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.” – Lawrence J. Peter The mastermind behind “The Peter Principle” concept of management.

We can all give clear examples of what defines a “dirty” or even just a “bad” cop, but what does being a good cop mean? In most professions, the goals that need to be met for competence are clear. A good doctor has healthy patients. A good lawyer wins cases. A good plumber keeps the water flowing and leaks from occurring. A good cook or chef… Well you get the idea.

In today’s environment with such divergent political viewpoints, a good cop is mostly defined by the view of the beholder. Self-identified progressives, liberals and conservatives will surely possess different views. Jurisdictional differences in ideology and policy also greatly impact the definition of what makes a good cop. Presumably, public safety and crime reduction should be universal goals.

One fact is certain, although many are quick to critique law enforcement duties and activities not everyone can or should do this job!

From Real Police to Security Monitors
In Illinois vs. Wardlow 528 U.S. 119 (2000) the Supreme Court held in a 5 to 4 decision that the police had reasonable suspicion to justify a stop because nervous, evasive behavior, like fleeing a high crime area upon noticing police officers, is a pertinent factor in determining reasonable suspicion to justify a stop.

But apparently this is no longer allowable in cities like Baltimore. Baltimore’s Consent Decree specifically states that police will not be able to stop someone just because the person is in a high-crime area, or just because the person is trying to avoid contact with an officer.

Will Consent Decree doctrines lead to the death of reasonable suspicion as we know it?

Consent Decree mandates include revised basic training for making stops and searches. It also commands officers to use de-escalation techniques and send specially trained units to distress calls involving people with mental illness.

The agreement discourages the arrests of citizens for “quality-of-life offenses” such as loitering, littering or minor traffic violations. It also requires a supervisor to sign off on requests to take someone into custody for a minor infraction. So while dealing with a suspect, will officers need to obtain a sergeant’s approval to arrest a violator for failure to obey a lawful order or even for resisting arrest? This seems like a formula to invite an escalation to assaults on police. When I think of city government combined with Department of Justice Consent Decree intervention, one word comes to mind: DELUSIONAL.

In a repudiation of broken windows policing policy, which historically has led to mass arrests, the pendulum is being swung in an opposite direction. If the goal is to identify lawbreakers and uphold reasonable societal norms of cleanliness and safety, then this new direction will continue to prove counterproductive to those goals.

Perhaps decades of concern over process and political correctness, along with adherence to the Peter Principle, have served to blur the lines to a definition of what is a good cop. Remember “The Peter Principle”? “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. In time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties. Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.”

To me, a good cop will always be the peace keeper who gets to know the community to be served and who takes an ownership interest in the community’s success. One who insists on autonomy within reasonable guidelines, in the effort to keep criminal activity to a minimum in a primary area of responsibility. All while staying true to their oath of office in upholding the constitution and without fear or favor, standing ground against tyranny and unlawful activity from any directive or source.

As has been said many times over, “An officer is someone who wrote a blank check made payable to the community that they serve for an amount up to and including their life.” While there is truly no way to repay such fearless and competent dedication to a job of such epic proportions, we take every opportunity to say thank you to all of the countless good cops that we see out there on the job each and every day and night.

Joel E. Gordon is a former Baltimore City Police Officer and was Chief of Police for the city of Kingwood, West Virginia. He has served as vice-chair of a regional narcotics task force and is a candidate for Preston County West Virginia Sheriff. An award winning journalist, he is author of the book Still Seeking Justice: One Officer’s Story and founded the Facebook group Police Authors Seeking Justice. stillseekingjustice.com

Inside Perspective - Pursuits and the Clifton Police Department

Pursuits and the Clifton Police Department
By Lt. Patrick J. Ciser (Ret.)

(Disclaimer: This article is the sole opinion of the writer, and does not imply that these are the views, opinions, or policies of the Clifton NJ Police Department or any of its personnel.)

Pursuits: What an adrenaline rush! For this reason, an officer must be well-trained and have an even temperament. The pursuing officer and the supervisor approving the pursuit have to take so many things into account and constantly reevaluate the situation as it unfolds. What is the violator/perpetrator wanted for? What is the risk to the motoring public and pedestrian traffic, as well as time of day and traffic conditions? The condition of the vehicle and how much experience the officer has in high-speed chases must also be considered. (“A man’s gotta know his limitations,” Clint Eastwood - The Enforcer)

Supervisors and administrators have become “gun shy” over the years involving pursuits. Years ago, the New Jersey Attorney General developed guidelines to be considered when making the decision to pursue a suspect vehicle or not. Higher echelons in law enforcement across the state interpreted these guidelines differently. Some thought that if they followed the guidelines, they would be shielded from liability. Others, however, read them in a different light, believing that the state was trying to discourage pursuits. If we don’t back down to a man with a gun, why would we back down to a pursuit, as they are both inherently dangerous for the police and the public.

When I was on the job, the City of Clifton had approximately 30 cars stolen out of its jurisdiction each month. Newark, New Jersey’s largest city to our south, had an alarming number stolen each month by comparison. We used to call Newark “the stolen car capital of the world.” As a result, I’d say that 2/3 of the cars we were chasing either came out of Newark or were fleeing to Newark. Newark has always had a high crime rate, and I don’t think that their “No-Chase” policy helped much. Cocky car thieves in Newark used to do “donuts” in an intersection, just to get the cops to chase them; a lot of fun I guess for these incorrigibles on a boring night. The Clifton chief at the time, Frank LoGioco, surmised that if we break off all chases, our monthly number would most likely double, and most of us knew that he was right and applauded his stand on the matter. I arrested suspects in stolen cars out of Paterson who told me they were advised to drive around Clifton by their friends, and they wished they would have followed their advice. Now we all know that you can chase a vehicle for first-or second-degree crimes, and also for certain enumerated third-degree crimes. One such case is when the stolen car is being driven in a way that’s a danger to the motoring public and/or pedestrians. While I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not a good idea to chase cars for minor motor vehicle infractions, I’ve unfortunately seen some departments break off chases for robberies; which is of course, a second-degree crime in New Jersey. One Essex County town, I understand, told their officers to stay off Route 21 as they didn’t want to get “jammed up” and embroiled in a Clifton chase. It used to be upsetting years ago when a single, one-man Clifton radio car was in pursuit of a vehicle, and often couldn’t get help from a neighboring town when passing through. Cops from other jurisdictions shouldn’t leave another cop “out to dry” because they’re afraid to do their job! Or should I say, because their boss won’t let them do their job. But what if there’s a crash and the shooting starts? How would they feel at that cop’s funeral?

I continued to give kudos to Chief LoGioco when years ago, he made a statement to the Herald News; “We’ll chase you to Cape May if we have to,” (That’s the furthest town south, in the state of New Jersey before Delaware). A leader like that sets the tone for the department, builds morale, and gave Clifton the proud reputation of having “No Fear” when apprehending criminals. In 1992 alone, I was involved in 36 high-speed chases. Other cops like Sam Skidmore, Tommy Burrows (RIP) and Billy Stark, to name a few, also had high numbers back in the day. One thing that I learned early on was that people run for a reason. How many times do we find evidence of a crime inside the vehicle, or find out that there are several arrest warrants out for the driver? Over the years, I have found drugs, guns, assault victims and a body in the trunk one time.

You see, Clifton saw the Attorney General Guidelines as “permission” to chase felony vehicles, which is exactly what it does. This pretty much absolves the officers from any liability while performing their lawful duties, so long as they adhere to the guidelines. If they didn’t, who the hell would want to be a cop? State law reads that absent “Willful Misconduct,” an officer cannot be held liable as long as they adhere to the A.G. Guidelines and act in good faith. Federal law’s threshold is “Shocks the conscience.”

Years ago, I was working Clifton’s east-side traveling north on Hazel St. near Rt. 46 at the time of the call. Paterson was in pursuit of a vehicle that was wanted for street robberies using a handgun. A description of the car, its occupants (four black males), and license plate were broadcast by the pursuing unit. The suspect vehicle entered the Garden State Parkway South, off Hazel Street in Clifton, with two Paterson units pursuing. I, along with two other Clifton units, joined in on the pursuit. Remember, there were four occupants, and we didn’t know how many were armed. A State Police unit also appeared in my rear-view mirror as we crossed into Essex County. To my surprise, both Paterson units turned off their overheads and exited the Parkway in Bloomfield. Now, let me say this. I’ve witnessed Paterson police perform their duties in stellar fashion over the years, and I do not believe that this reflects on their department as a whole, as they’ve always had a lot of tough cops over the years. One supervisor, for reasons unknown, broke off those officers who must have been livid at the time. Can you imagine if we didn’t chase cars for second-degree crimes? Might as well turn in your badge and give up right there!

The chase, taking place in the late afternoon, was only hitting speeds of about 70 mph due to traffic. Suddenly, the pursued vehicle started to slow down to 60, and then about 50 mph. The back door on the left side swung open as the occupants threw one of the passengers from the vehicle. Clifton Officer Chris Vassoler and I were able to drive slowly around the person lying on the highway and continued pursuing the suspect vehicle, while Clifton Officer Bill Gibson, and the State Police unit came to a stop to protect the man from getting hit. Thinking he was pretty beaten up from hitting the macadam, Gibson and the trooper were surprised to see him now run like a rabbit toward the houses next to the Parkway. Gibson, being a former track star, was able to chase him down and tackle him. “One under,” Gibson reported to headquarters. I surmised at the time that they threw the guy out who suggested giving up, in order to cause a traffic accident and slow us down. Well, it worked, as they were now a distance between me and Vassoler, and took a quick exit in the area of East Orange. We also took the exit, but lost sight of the perps. Vassoler, checking a nearby project, found the vehicle abandoned and a gun under the front seat. THESE are the type of vehicles/suspects we should be chasing! Additionally, today, how many cars are valued at over $75k, which makes stealing one a second-degree crime! When you no longer combat crime, it only exacerbates the problem.

As public safety officers, we need to weigh the dichotomy of needing to apprehend felons and the desire to keep the public safe. I’m sure it would be difficult to have a consensus as to where to draw the line in relation to pursuits. Do we pursue violators for speeding, reckless driving, suspected drunken driving, disorderly persons offenses, or felonies only? Just like we have, rightfully so, use of force including deadly force policies/guidelines, we should not look negatively at the AG guidelines for pursuits. Simply follow the policy and you’re good to go. The problem that we face with feckless leadership in our departments is when bosses are afraid to let us do our jobs. It’s a sad state of affairs when both politicians and supervisors needlessly turn our hawks into doves.

Pat Ciser is a retired lieutenant from the Clifton Police Department, and a 7th Degree Black Belt. He was a member of 5 U.S. Karate Teams, winning gold medals in South America and Europe. He is the Author of BUDO and the BADGE; Exploits of a Jersey Cop (BN.com/Amazon), and is a guest writer for Official Karate Magazine.

Featured Article- The Resurgence of The Marxist Threat in America

The Resurgence of The Marxist Threat in America
By Chief Rich Rosell

Introduction
American law enforcement officers are constantly seeking to identify the next terrorist threat so they may prepare adequately to defend our nation and its citizens. The Jihadist threat is clearly here to stay, but are there groups in America that share the terrorist’s hatred of our way of life? Yes, and they are gaining strength and credibility with each mainstream media broadcast. Underestimate them at your peril. Beware the new wave of Marxism in American politics.

While it is true that right wing terrorist groups account for many more terror-related deaths than their left wing counterparts, perhaps as much as tenfold, let us not forget that Marxism has been said to be responsible for upward of 100 million deaths worldwide.1 And unlike the right wing threat, it is very clear that left wing violence appears to have strong support among the new extreme left politicians.

Only Mostly Dead

The violent American leftist movement seemed to have fizzled since the 1980s, largely due to the pressure brought upon them by law enforcement. Groups such as the Weather Underground (WU), the Black Liberation Army (BLA), the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), the May 19th Coalition and the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) took their battle against the American way of life to the streets with bombs, guns and terror, spanning over two decades. Their favorite targets were law enforcement officers and governmental buildings and functions. Oh, and let’s not forget the hapless collateral damage of civilians. Along the way, in the name of redistribution of wealth, they knocked off armored cars and banks to finance their cause. Apparently, wages earned through legitimate employment aren’t quite enough for an urban guerrilla to support a cause and keep food on the table for little anarchists. The most violent members of these groups ended up dead or in jail for the rest of their lives. Death and jail tend to have sobering effects on those comrades not quite as willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause, and so, their rebellion was over. But they did not simply disappear, nor did their cause. Could the remnants of the leftist cause from 30 years ago be the kindling for the recent upsurge in leftist violence? (No, Donald Trump does not cause violence. Violent people, using him as a scapegoat, cause violence).

In 2008, we saw the name of a repulsive violent left wing guerilla in the national headlines after a lengthy absence from the spotlight: Bill Ayers, former member of the Weather Underground, and unrepentant Marxist guerilla. Why were we blessed with his presence? He was an avid supporter of fellow Illinoisan, President Barrack Obama. Was it a coincidence that Mr. Ayers crawled out from under his rock, back into the spotlight, just as the nation elected the closest thing to a socialist POTUS we’ve had since FDR? For those of us still serving in law enforcement, this made our “Spider Sense” light up like the 4th of July.

In 2010, the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), a violent Marxist group thought to have been long extinct, resurfaced in Baltimore, more than 2,500 miles from when they were last spotted in Los Angeles in the 1980s. The BGF had ties to all of the American Marxist organizations back in the day, although they were not always happy with the direction of the movement. (It was a BGF member who killed Black Panther Party co-founder Huey Newton). In 2015, during the civil unrest that caused the City of Baltimore to burn while their mayor watched, the BGF was suspected of having been responsible for much of the violence, and was even rumored to have sought an alliance with the Bloods. (To refresh your memories, this is the same mayor who visited Cuba to share “Best Practices”).

Resurgence with Credibility

We are witnessing the unveiling of a socialist movement in American politics that has been brewing for decades. While (apparently) non-violent in nature, the leaders of this leftist political movement have unleashed their agenda with a fury over the past few years. Don’t be fooled, for they have a violent and willing armed wing at their beckoned call. Legitimate leftist politicians and celebrities are whipping like-minded Marxists in the streets into frenzy with promises of the Utopia their parents dreamed of, but never saw to fruition, hoping their shrill cries will convince them to take arms, and it is working. The brazenness of these new Marxists is alarming. In late March 2019, a conference featuring eight presidential candidates started off with a quote from Joanne Chesimard (Assata Shakur), a BLA radical, and convicted murderer of a New Jersey State Trooper.2 This is the same Joanne Chesimard to whom Colin Kaepernick is rumored to have donated $25,000 in 2018. In case you forgot him already, he is the poster child for the Black Lives Matter movement, yet another Marxist vehicle.3 In early April 2019, leftist darling Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, commuted the sentence of Judith Clark, member of the Weather Underground and getaway driver of the car during the Brinks armored car murders that left two Nyack police officers and a civilian guard dead. Oh, how the willing media spun this travesty of justice, putting a picture of Clark at the top of the headline alongside her cute emotional support dog which the New York Department of Corrections provided to her, at taxpayer expense, during her incarceration. Perhaps we are to believe that if she can love a puppy, then all should be forgiven. The zeal and vigor with which these new age Marxist politicians yearn for the end of our democracy is troubling, especially when there are those out there who appear willing to use violence to achieve their goal.

The New Violent Face of Marxism in America

Law enforcement didn’t have to conduct much of an investigation to determine who is taking over the violent wing of the Marist movement. It needed only to look as far as the post-inaugural violence in Washington D.C. and the ANTIFA (Anti-Fascists) group.

ANTIFA is the name given to a group of fanatical leftists whose mission is to overthrow not only President Trump, but the American government, and replace it with a Marxist regime. Their slogan says it all: “No Trump, No Wall, No USA at All”. They have shown a propensity toward violence since their infancy, and are difficult to infiltrate due to the fact that the group ANTIFA is comprised (loosely when dormant) of individuals from other groups, expertly organized for battle at the right time.

ANTIFA has become today’s violent leftist terrorism concern. The group’s manifesto openly rejects free speech and defends assassinations.4 So radical is the group, that at a 2018 rally in Portland, they pummeled a fellow liberal for daring to carry an American flag to a rally.

ANTIFA is not without its supporters in politics and Hollywood. Last year, the deputy director of the Democratic National Committee, and US congressman from Minnesota, Keith Ellison, tweeted out a picture of the “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook”, a book he declared would “strike fear in the heart of” Donald Trump.5 (Minnesota, of course, being the home of Jacob Frey, mayor of Minneapolis, who recently banned “warrior style” training for officers in his police department.)6 Celebrities Judd Apatow, Sarah Silverman and Debra Messing used social media platforms in early 2017, appearing to support the threat of violence at a UC Berkeley rally featuring Trump supporter, Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos.7

In a 2017 documentary film titled “America Under Siege, ANTIFA,” the film’s writer Trevor Loudon makes the claim that “Antifa today is like a franchise,” adding that “in many instances” it also has close ties to the Democratic Party. In this film, Loudon also claims the anarchist who won’t go away, Bill Ayers, is a supporter of the anarchy group Refuse Fascism, a group which Loudon claims is a branch of ANTIFA.

To get a feel for the violent and unrepentant nature of members of ANTIFA, one need only spend 10 or 20 minutes on Google searching videos, listening to the cavalier manner in which they refer to committing acts of violence on citizens of this country.

What Does This All Mean?

American politics has taken the leap from the center, to be fair, in both directions. President Trump is an unapologetic Nationalist. However, his Nationalist tendencies do not have violent supporters standing in the shadows, waiting to pounce on anyone who dares disagree with him. He has never condoned any violent act. It seems as though the response from the Democratic resistance was to leap in the opposite direction, embracing Marxism. Unfortunately for the left, with Marxism comes violence. American law enforcement faces a complex challenge in the very near future. Two worst-case scenarios immediately come into mind; 1) what happens if ANTIFA trades in their training wheels and hoodies for the bombs and guns used by their predecessors the WU, and 2) what if the remnants of WU, BLA, and BGF, et al decide to join together with them, forming some type of weird, yet very violent leftist Transformer? Will their supporters in leftist politics finally stand firm against this threat to our Republic, or will they rejoice in their creation?

Until such time, warriors, keep training for the worst (even those in the Minneapolis PD). Our republic needs you now more than ever.

1Courtois, Stephane, et al. (1999). The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Cambridge. Harvard University Press.
2Re, Greg. 2019. Fox News Online. Conference featuring 2020 Dems begins with fiery chant quoting fugitive cop-killer Assata Shakur. Retrieved April 2, 2019 from https://www.foxnews.com/politics/2020-dems-conference-begins-with-fiery-chant-quoting-fugitive-cop-killer-assata-shakur
3Powers, Thurston. 2016, The Federalist Online. How Black Lives Matter Is Bringing Back Traditional Marxism. Retrieved April 4, 2019 from https://thefederalist.com/2016/09/28/black-lives-matter-bringing-back-traditional-marxism/
4Yost, Zachary. 2018. ANTIFA’s Handbook: A Primer on Violent Liberalism. The American Conservative. Retrieved April 10, 2019 from https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/antifas-handbook-a-sinister-primer-on-violent-illiberalism/comment-page-1/
5Ibid.
6Mannix, Andy. 2019. Minneapolis to ban ‘warrior’ training for police, mayor says. Police Online. Retrieved April 20, 2019 from https://www.policeone.com/police-training/articles/483600006-Minneapolis-to-ban warrior-training-for-police-mayor-says/
7Staff Writer. 2017. CBS News.com. Retrieved April 321, 2019 from https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2017/02/02/celebs-voice-apparent-support-for-uc-berkeley-riot-over-breitbart-speaker/

Chief Rosell is currently the Police Chief and Public Safety Director for the Town of Indian River Shores, Florida, the former Director of Public Safety for the Town of Dover, NJ and Township of Springfield, NJ, and a 27-year veteran of the New Jersey State Police, retiring at the rank of Captain. He has a very diverse skill set with vast operational, training, policymaking, homeland security, leadership, management and administrative experience.

Blue Suicide Awareness Event

Blue Suicide Awareness Event

A large group of officers from all over the tri-state area packed the Sedona Taphouse in Cliffside Park, NJ on April 04, 2019 to discuss the sensitive issue of Blue suicide, and what steps to take to address it. Blue Magazine proudly partnered with Moment of Silence Inc. to bring officers a high-quality program aimed at saving lives. Numerous career professionals working to end Blue suicide addressed the crowd and offered various tips and observations to facilitate a much-needed discussion. The room was filled with positive energy and passion.

Blue Magazine’s Publisher Daniel Del Valle said, “I want everyone—officers, mental health and other professionals and citizens of our country to work together with endless passion and commitment to solving Blue suicide. For many years Blue suicide has sabotaged our law enforcement profession. We can do better. We must do better.”

Blue Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief George Beck said, “Emceeing this worthy event was one of the highlights of my work at Blue Magazine. To see that many people come together--those who were affected by Blue suicide and wanted to work toward saving officers--even if just one officer—is truly humbling. There are so many good-hearted officers who do things for the right reasons. I am glad to be working with them. Together we are making progress.”

Blue Magazine is committed to helping the law enforcement profession thrive and prosper. Far too many officers have taken their own lives and it’s time we all work to together to solve this problem. Stay tuned for future events that are currently in the planning stages. We all have a responsibility to address Blue suicide. Will you join us? Follow us on social media and visit www.thebluemagazine.com for additional information and future events. Stay safe.

Blue Events - Police playing basketball with local kids: Residents were happy to see officers on their streets for something good.

Police playing basketball with local kids: Residents were happy to see officers on their streets for something good.
By Jeffrey Stewart

The Garfield Police Community Affairs Division joined forces with the founder of the Basketball Cop Foundation. You may remember Officer Bobby White. He was the Gainesville, Florida officer called to a neighborhood because of a noise complaint. But instead of busting the kids - he jumped in. The dash cam video went viral, receiving millions of views. Officer White used his fame to start the Basketballcop Foundation. Through donations, the foundation provides basketballs and goals to cities that need positive police influence - setting up neighborhood events like this to bring the community together.

After noticing Garfield juvenile resident Jared Morris playing basketball on a basket without a backboard, Sgt. Jeff Stewart reached out to Officer White via Instagram and sent a picture of the broken set asking if there was anything he could do. Within minutes he replied, asking for the address of police HQ to send the new Spalding regulation hoop set.

The guys and girls from the Police Department put the hoop set together wheeled it down the street and surprised Jared Morris and his friends with a 5 on 5 pickup game with the new set up. All are thankful for Officer White and the Basketballcop Foundation for his #Hoopsnotcrime initiative.

Sgt. Jeff Stewart is a 20-year veteran of the Garfield NJ Police Department, currently assigned to the Community Affairs Division. Jeff has had a career-long passion to bridge the gap between cops and the community. Jeff is currently the Vice President of the NJ State Community Affairs Officers Association, which has given him the opportunity to teach both in-service and criminal justice students the importance of positive community engagement and diversity within law enforcement as a whole. Jeff has collaborated with some of the top law enforcement leaders across the globe within the community affairs space. Jeff maintains an open mind and is always willing to learn and collaborate with others, both law enforcement and civilian, to make the world a little better for all of us.

Contact Email- jstewart@garfieldpolice.org. Instagram DM@officerstewart

Remembrance - Article & Artwork by Jonny Castro

Article & Artwork by Jonny Castro
Deputy Justin DeRosier

On April 14th, 2019, Deputy Justin DeRosier pulled up to a disabled motor home that was partially blocking a roadway in Kalama, Washington. What should have been a routine vehicle investigation, ended up with a suspect inside the RV opening fire on the Deputy. Justin managed to notify his dispatch that he was being shot at and provided the suspect’s description. Responding units found Deputy DeRosier critically wounded and defending himself with his patrol rifle. The officers immediately began lifesaving efforts once Justin lost consciousness but he passed away at the hospital a short time later. After an intense manhunt, the armed suspect was located the following day and killed. Deputy DeRosier was a six-year veteran of law enforcement and had served the citizens of Cowlitz County for the past three years. He’s the first and only officer to be killed in the line of duty in the department’s 165 year history. Justin leaves behind a wife and a five-month old daughter. He was 29 years old.

Entertainment - Just a Dude from Jersey: An Interview with Comedian Jim Florentine

Just a Dude from Jersey: An Interview with Comedian Jim Florentine
By Dan Lorenzo

Thanks to Steppin’ Out magazine, Jim Florentine reached out to me many years ago after reading my column. Jim has accomplished amazing things since then. He has appeared on The Howard Stern Show, Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, Monday Night Football and That Metal Show to name a few. Fame hasn’t changed Jim at all. He’s still, “Just a dude from Jersey with a bunch of dirty jokes who knows a little bit about heavy metal and can make crank calls. “I just got lucky in my career”. Jim’s book Everybody Is Awful (Except You) is a must read as is his comedy special I Got the House, which is partially about his wife cheating on him and the results of the divorce that followed.

When you first found out your wife was cheating, did you ever think something so positive will come out of it?

(laughs) No, you don’t think that. You know when you go through some shit in your life that there’s always going to be light at the end of the tunnel, but when it first happens you can’t see that.

How hard was it for you to go onstage after that to try and be funny?

It was tough because I always like working on new material, and I had just had filmed a new comedy special so I was working on a whole new set before it got released and then that shit went down and I had all these road gigs. I was out of my mind. I couldn’t think of anything. I had complete writer’s block. I wasn’t focused on new material so I had to go through my old stand-up from the past five or six years and just pick out the “greatest hits” so I could get through those gigs until I had a breakthrough and I started writing again.

Stand-up comedians travel a lot. I imagine a lot of times it’s just you out on the road- do you ever get lonely or are you too busy to get lonely?

Yeah, I mean you do because sometimes you’re just holed up in a hotel room for three or four days and sometimes you don’t have a car. It can get lonely, but it’s all about the show that night.

I picture you as a guy who can never relax.

No, I can do that definitely. I think you need one day a week to just do nothing. I don’t feel guilty about not working. As a comic you do for a long time, you think, “Man, if I’m not onstage five or six nights a week people are passing me by”, but you have to get over that mentality. As long as you’re funny, you’re funny. You have to have some kind of life.

Your book is hysterical. Did it offend any of your friends or family? I’m assuming you have family or friends who do some of the annoying things you described on Facebook.

I didn’t hear that from them. They all seemed to enjoy it. They all know how I am. They know what annoys me. I’m sure other people who read it thought, “What is this? Why is he so negative?” That’s what a comic does! We pick out shit that bothers people that most people can relate to.

If you hurt somebody does that bother you? Do you feel guilty?

I feel bad, but I won’t feel guilty and dwell on it. Anything can set somebody off. You don’t know. I could be talking about my divorce and somebody in the audience could be going through a really nasty divorce at that time. I’ve got that. A guy has said, “Oh man you reminded me of that. I just wanted a few laughs and you’re bringing up divorce.” I’ll tell him, “Well how would I know you’re going through a divorce? I can’t take a survey from the crowd every night.

I just listened to your podcast. You sound so angry, but I think of you as a happy person. You have a great life, right?

Absolutely, but look… people send me stuff that they know will annoy me so I can muster up the rage when I see something stupid on Facebook or Instagram. People taking pictures of their food and people writing, “Mmmm” underneath.

What was the best moment of your career?

I would say going on Howard Stern with him having me come in and sit in. That basically launched my career. He liked my prank calls. I got everything pretty much from doing that show.

I Got the House is on Amazon Prime, iTunes and other popular outlets.

Home Advice - Consider a 2nd Home Investment for College-Bound Kids

Consider a 2nd Home Investment for College-Bound Kids
By Fasil Khan

Do you have a kid who’s planning to attend school away from home? Instead of throwing away money toward rent or on-campus living, consider purchasing a second home. The benefits of this type of investment can be far greater than you may realize.

Depending on where your college-bound kid goes to school, it may be cheaper to buy than rent. Overall living expenses can quickly add up at college or university. Instead of spending several thousand dollars per semester for campus living, buying a home for your student could end up costing less.

While tax deductions for home owners and property investments have changed, there are still some benefits you can take advantage of with a second home. Property tax deductions will apply to some degree. Depending on specific circumstances, you may also be able to deduct mortgage interest costs. The same possibility applies to equity loan interest payments. When you invest in a second home, be sure to meet with a tax specialist to ensure you get the most in applicable deductions.

Keep in mind; investing in additional properties makes purchasing more real estate in the future easier. One thing I share with my clients who are looking to invest is that owning more than one property is a solid way to generate more income and additional savings that can be used to continue building your real estate portfolio. Buying a home for your college-bound student could be the ideal way to get started in this phase of real estate investing.

As a second home investment, a house for your college student can also provide other practical benefits. More privacy, better parking and access to their own laundry appliances are just a few. If you find a home located near campus, your student can take advantage of the ease of access to classes and school resources. Another potential benefit is to have a place ready for you when it comes to family visits.

While your student is in school, additional savings can be achieved with a larger house where roommates can help cover the monthly costs. Not only will the mortgage payment be less, so too will utilities in terms of direct, out-of-pocket expenses. If you decide to sell after their college career is done, the equity built in this type of investment can help toward your next real estate purchase, such as a retirement home. It’s like having a built-in savings account.

Other options once schooling has been completed include selling the home to your child as a starter home investment or moving into the home yourself. If your college graduate moves away, you can turn the second home into a rental. Properties near higher education institutions are highly sought after, making this an excellent income opportunity for years to come.

If you have a passion for realty, and for helping people, becoming a licensed real estate agent may be the next adventure for you to explore. Is your interest piqued? Call or email me to learn more about what it takes to be a successful agent.

Please support me, Fasil Khan as I participate in the Police Unity Tour for Detective Tamby Yagan from Paterson Police Department. http://my.policeunitytour.com/Khan

Fasil Khan is a Paterson Police Officer and Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Village Square. He enjoys helping his fellow law enforcement officers with the purchase of investment properties, as well as general selling, purchasing needs. Have questions? Connect directly by calling 201-739-7397 or email: fkhan@khanrealestateteam.com.

Inside View - Addressing Leadership Dysfunction

Addressing Leadership Dysfunction
By Christoper Scilingo

Leaders of poorly managed law enforcement organizations don’t typically like to admit their departments are poorly managed. They often act like everything is OK or prefer the head-in-the-sand mentality when the subject is brought up. But the reality is that not every organization is run successfully, many are failing, and many could turn around for the better, but they have to get past the constant excuses and negativity.

My favorite excuse is past practice—we’ve always done it that way. I call it an excuse because that is exactly what it is. It is an excuse used to suffocate concepts of looking for new ways, better ways, or more efficient ways to improve business. Remember, we are in the service business. This discouraging management culture that does not support looking for new ways to become more effective as a law enforcement organization hurts officers plus the communities they serve. Then again, a poorly managed law enforcement organization is probably not thinking about providing top tier services at all. They are probably thinking about ways to maintain the bare minimum mediocre services while suffering from limited organizational continuity.

What I mean by that is, it seems that management within a poorly managed law enforcement organization is more concerned with regulating every move that officers make, rather than empowering them to do their jobs successfully. This is not a new discovery; look up on the Internet about troubled and dysfunctional law enforcement departments. Why can’t police officers police themselves? Odds are it is because they are members of a poorly managed department or organization. I have said it before and I will say it again that it starts at the top. If problems within a department are identified but no attempt is made to correct them or measures put in place to prevent the problems from arising in the future, then you have a failure of management.

For the most part, law enforcement is a public sector business, but that does not mean that we can’t take a few tips from the private sector. That’s the sector that strives to be successful and efficient and often removes employees who aren’t contributing to their success. I am not saying that law enforcement organizations should fire cops who don’t write enough tickets or don’t arrest enough criminals. But we should learn from private sector businesses that are constantly searching for new ways to operate better to provide a higher quality product or service.

Improvement is the key term here; why don’t poorly managed law enforcement organizations want to improve? What makes them want to continue using bad past practices and encourage the corrosive mindset of doing things the way they have always been done. This isn’t policing in the 1970s, not the 1990s; we are policing in the 21st century where information is moving at tremendous speed. Poorly managed law enforcement organizations that are stuck in the past are policing behind the curve and will never get ahead.

There are so many factors involving a failing police department. Are the wrong people being promoted or moved into management positions? Is there an outside influence that, once at the top, encourages management to run an ineffective organization? Does the phrase “forget where you came from” actually occur? These are questions I ask myself sometimes when I become aware of poorly managed law enforcement organizations. I say to myself, “What are those folks doing wrong over there that can’t be fixed with a little bit of trust and communication.”

Dysfunction at the top, bottom and in between of a law enforcement organization must be treated like cancer. It must be aggressively approached with care, and all options must be considered. It must be isolated and rooted out. Lastly, it must be monitored to prevent recurrence and lessons must be learned to prevent it from spreading throughout the organization in the first place.

Chris Scilingo is a police officer in NJ since 2011. He’s a Marine veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is near completing his bachelor’s degree at Fairleigh Dickson University; where he also plans to pursue a master’s degree. Chris aspires to teach higher education after transitioning from law enforcement.

Tribute - Our Angel From Above

Our Angel From Above
By Joel E. Gordon

There were many benefits to being a sworn member of the 8th largest police department in the United States with the many specialized support service units that are available, not the least of which is the Baltimore City Police air support unit known as Foxtrot.

I learned the value of having air support early in my career. By my third night working a post by myself on the 4x12 shift I found myself in foot pursuit of a suspect in an assault who was armed with a gun. I pursued the suspect for over three long blocks in dark trash laden and rat infested alleys. I was so intent on catching this “bad guy” that I really forgot about my radio, gun or anything else. All of my energy was spent on the chase with tunnel vision towards an apprehension. Fortunately, the police helicopter, Foxtrot, had my six and was overhead calling out my location by radio while spotlighting the chase. I was really lucky too because the suspect threw his gun while running from me (later safely recovered) and didn’t choose to shoot at me (probably only due to the helicopter as witness). I caught up to the suspect, got him up against the side of a brick building, searching, cuffing and arresting him. My first big arrest!

Many times, after roll call at the western police district stationhouse, we were reminded of Foxtrot’s presence from above. While exchanging shifts by taking over the car assignment and radio from the previous shift officer it was common for a familiar helicopter sound to be heard approaching from the distance. Then, just above our vehicles which were lined up in front of our police station on North Mount Street, Foxtrot would appear swooping down in an acrobatic fashion as a reminder that they were up and flying to assist wherever they could.

The pilot when this would occur was always Flight Officer Barry W. Wood. A veteran combat veteran pilot from the battlefields over Vietnam, he hadn’t joined the Baltimore Police Department to cruise Baltimore city streets. He joined to fly over them.

He served in Vietnam for three years and it is told once safely landed a Huey packed with soldiers after another helicopter flew too close and clipped off his landing gear. He was honorably discharged from the Army on April 1, 1971, and joined the city police force 26 days later becoming one of the first Baltimore Police helicopter pilots.

Wood spent more than 42,000 hours flying over Baltimore in a quarter-century of chasing stolen cars and helping officers find elusive suspects. He once piloted one of the choppers from Los Angeles, where the aircraft were made, to Baltimore, a seven-day trip.

On November 4, 1998 tragedy struck when he was responding to a call to assist fellow officers. The Schweizer Helicopter 300c engine suddenly and unexpectedly exploded. Barry maneuvered the helicopter to avoid endangering the citizens and the police in the area. He turned the helicopter so he took the impact of the crash and saved the life of his observer and partner losing his own life in the process.

Barry is memorialized at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. in its Wall of Honor as an Air and Space Leader located at Foil: 33 Panel: 2 Column: 1 Line: 7

Additionally, the Baltimore Police Department dedicated a new Eurocopter EC-120 in his remembrance… Dedicated to Flight Officer Barry Wood, passed away on November 4, 1998 protecting the City Of Baltimore and doing what he loved to do, Flying.

Flight Officer Barry Winston Wood was a true hero and a great man. The memory of Barry will never be forgotten.

Perhaps it is expressed best in this tribute located on the Baltimore City Police History website:

A Man Who Loved To Fly

If your thoughts go to him 
and they go sad

Just remember this,

He has no barriers anymore,

For now the clouds aren’t closed doors.

He has no limits

It does not matter how high he flies.

The Good Lord has set him free.

And remember this, if it is a shooting star you see,

Think of him and you will know

That his heart and soul will never die,

For he now lives in the sky,

What a wondrous thing for a man who loved to fly.

To the men and women of the Baltimore City Police Department he truly was and remains our angel from above.

Joel E. Gordon is a former Baltimore City Police Officer and was Chief of Police for the city of Kingwood, West Virginia. He has served as vice-chair of a regional narcotics task force and is a candidate for Preston County West Virginia Sheriff. An award winning journalist, he is author of the book Still Seeking Justice: One Officer’s Story and founded the Facebook group Police Authors Seeking Justice. stillseekingjustice.com

Contemplation - Letter to the Man I Killed

Letter to the Man I Killed
By Kirk Lawless

Some people know this about me; others do not. I have killed a man. This is not a confession; it is just fact. I have nothing to hide about it. I am not ashamed of the fact. I have no regrets about doing it. I was doing my job. At the time of your death, I was a police officer. And, you tried your best to kill me. I am the police officer that killed you.

I hope you were not long in your suffering, but as I am aware, during the short time I spent with you, listening to your cries of agony and for mercy, the curses you spat at me, I endured, as you bled to death. I endured.

I hope you had a chance to reconcile with our creator before you went, and that angels bore you away to a better place. I would have prayed with you had there been time, but there was not, so I could only pray for you. And, occasionally I still do.

People who choose a path like the one you chose probably don’t weigh into the equation, the most dreadful consequences of their actions. I weighed it into my own equation every day as a police officer.

I have experience with death. In fact, death and I are quite intimate with each other. You have your death. I died a physical death once, albeit briefly, but I was brought back. I wondered for what, a specific event? Your death?

I never really feared a physical death. When I came back, that lack of fear was reaffirmed. I suppose that made me infinitely more dangerous as an adversary, more so than someone merely chest thumping with a “nothing to lose” attitude, at the risk of sounding cliché.

I took your life; I get that. But still, you took something from me and you changed me… forever. I have been a hunter for most of my life, including a hunter of armed men. What Hemingway said about the hunting of armed men and liking it, is true. You never really care for anything else thereafter. I hunt animals still, but often do not pull the trigger. Perhaps in time, this will change.

Killing a man is nothing to take lightly. It changes you. It changes what people think about you. You aren’t the same person anymore. And still, I love life. I revel in the beauty of it, both the simplicities and intricacies of it. I appreciate life. This solitary act does not define me; it doesn’t even scratch the surface.

People, who do not “know,” talk about it as though it was no big deal, but I will tell you it is a “huge” deal. “Get over it,” “Put it behind you,” “Try to not think about it,” which are all great thoughts. Were it that easy, who wouldn’t? It does not work that way.

Perhaps people would begin to understand the gravity of it, were they to see a police officer choking on the barrel of their own gun, trying to turn “it” off. Or writing about it, with the muzzle of a gun pressed against their temple. Some succumb to the haunting despair.

I will not.

To the contrary, I consider “It” a visit from an old enemy. I sometimes welcome the nightmares, the gore, and the violence, to let “It” know, “It” will never best me. The outcome is the same at its base.

I live.

Whatever attacks me does not. They fail; I survive. When I awaken from my sleep (If you can call it that) dripping slick with sweat, heart pounding, I am still alive!

I get to relive “our” event every day since it happened, not because I want to; I have no choice, it just comes calling whenever it feels like it, no warning; it just intrudes, multiple times a day. What triggers it? Everything and nothing at all.

I’m always expecting the unexpected, always aware. I have a heightened tactical plan to kill everyone I meet. Only a police officer or soldier would understand that. It is not paranoia. I am “situationally aware,” even in my dreams. Realistically, there is always a target on my back, but that’s what I signed up for when I pinned on the badge. This is just part of what it is like to be a police officer.

Walt Whitman said, “If you done it, it ain’t bragging.” But, if you haven’t done it, the things I have done; your opinion, armchair quarterbacking, and constant shuffling of the “What if?” deck, really doesn’t mean shit to me.

Still, my adversary, I admire your tenacity. It was a fair fight for the most part, well you cheated a little, but still, it was a fight to the death, your death. But I don’t hate you, truth be told, I just feel sorry for you.

Oddly, I have not shed one tear for you, and I have cried many times during my career. My lamentation over the loss of my favorite bird dog was loud, tearful, and long lasting. Maybe because he was a true friend, and you, you were just what you were, my enemy, and that changes everything.

You made fatal mistakes, young and invincible, tough guy full of bravado whether false or real. You had choices; you made poor ones. I was already committed when I climbed out of my patrol car and stood on the asphalt. Perhaps you just hesitated, or maybe, were just too slow? The latter is obvious fact. Everything else is merely speculation.

I would like to thank you for some things, like looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life, and for cutting my career thirteen years short. Thanks for helping me see that my department was totally incapable of handling the shooting investigation and subsequent homicide investigation.

It perfectly illustrated the creed “A false friend is more dangerous than a known enemy.”

It was a real eye opener, after many years on the job to realize that incompetent supervisors and politicians have no hesitation to hang a target on the back of a good police officer for doing his job and doing it well.

I wonder how many other officers have had their Civil Rights violated by their own departments during post-shooting investigation fiascos? Police officers have rights too. Please keep that in mind.

While my career was cut short, I am thankful I would never again (at that agency) have to endure shoddy procedures and listen about my “other options” in a justified deadly-force scenario, from cowards and idiots. Nor will I have to worry about being returned to the front lines as soon as possible without a chance to decompress, nor worry that a modicum of protection would be afforded my family, who has suffered greatly at their hands.

I remember visiting the scene of the shooting on the first anniversary of your death, not knowing what I would find there. What I found there was absolutely nothing to mark the occasion. There was however, a small token of remembrance there when I left. That struck me as very sad; the only one who bothered to pay their respects was the one who put you in the ground.

Were I able, I would sit down and share a drink with you and a fine meal, I would do so before I broke bread with some of my so called “brothers” or the “politicians” from my town, who are so quick to feed us to the wolves. I mean that with the very fiber of my soul.

You were a worthy adversary.

I thank you for bringing a “real” gun to a “real” gunfight. I thank you for turning your attention to me and leaving the younger officer alone. I thank you for the baggage that keeps me in a perpetual state of being physically and mentally worn out.

Perhaps I’ll see you on the other side, if you reconciled, and the angels came to take you away to Heaven that early summer morning. If so, maybe we can have that drink and share a meal?

If not, you made another bad choice, infinitely worse than the first, and I will never see you again.

With Sincerity,

The police officer who killed you.

At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.

Kirk Lawless is a 28 year, decorated, veteran police officer from the St Louis area. He’s a former SWAT operator, narcotics agent, homicide investigator, detective and Medal of Valor recipient. Off the job due to an up close and personal gunfight, he now concentrates on writing. He’s a patriotic warrior, artist, poet, actor, musician, and man of peace.

Operation Rebound - Back the Blue

Back the Blue
By Michael D. Boll

A few years ago at a charity race, I had the pleasure of meeting United States Marine Corps Iraqi War veteran Tim Shea. Tim is an amazing man who donates countless hours every day to help the families of fallen officers and prevent Blue suicide. Tim is one of the most passionate men that I ever met, and he has dedicated his life to help our blue families during some hard times. Soon Tim will be doing an event with our team, and we couldn’t be any more excited to be a part of his extraordinary “Back the Blue” charity. Here’s his story in his own words.

Back the Blue Running was created by combining two things that are very vital to the way I live. This nonprofit is my catalyst for allowing me to be able to show my support for our law enforcement families while using a unique approach. Running long distances has recently become a big passion of mine over the past few years. The idea of running distances in the Ultra (anything over a 26.2 marathon) category has been an eye-opening experience each time I attempt those distances. My hope is that using my platform or running while wearing thin blue line gear or carrying a thin blue line American flag will allow passing officers to take notice and see that they are still supported. I do not only do this for our officers, but I also do it for their families. Sometimes those are the members of our community who need to see the support more than the rest of us. I carry the memory of not only my brother (LODD 7-18-2004) but of all our blue members that we have lost protecting us. Some we may have lost to gunfights, some to traffic collisions, and more than ever we have lost too many to suicide.

Being a veteran of Operation Iraqi freedom, and someone who carries an active PTSD diagnoses, I can somewhat assimilate what out Law Enforcement members are going through. I understand the toll that mental illness, exhaustion and thinking no one understands you takes on the body, and how it can make the whole world feel against you.

Each year, starting in 2018, I will be dedicating all funds raised for charities that support the same causes I believe in. In 2018 I performed a solo 34.8 mile run in Delaware in my brother Chris’ memory to raise awareness to the families who lose an officer, as well as funds to be given to Concerns of Police survivors, Delaware chapter, with nearly $1,500 being donated to their programs. In 2019 I am concentrating my efforts on the law enforcement suicide epidemic, with all funds raised going to the “Blue H.E.L.P” organization, whose mission is:

“To reduce mental health stigma through education, advocate for benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress, acknowledge the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers we lost to suicide, assist officers in their search for healing, and to bring awareness to suicide and mental health issues.”

Donations can be made at www.backthebluerunning.com/donations

Michael D. Boll is a retired police sergeant in NJ. He previously served as a United States Marine, and is a Gulf War veteran. He is the founder of Operation Rebound Racing Team, a nonprofit organization that helps wounded veterans and first responders enjoy a better quality of life.