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Matt Landfair on Police and the Minimum Requirement

This is Matt Landfair’s second article on SSD. Matt is a Veteran Police officer, firearms/tactics instructor and founder of primaryandsecondary.com. We are hoping that articles like this can spur dialogue.

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I have always been a firearms enthusiast. I was surprised I wasn’t surrounded by like-minded people when I went through the police academy. It wasn’t until I took further training beyond what is provided in law enforcement did I start seeing a bigger picture beyond just firearms. I learned how firearms, equipment, tactics, and training all work in concert. I also found this bigger picture was not an important aspect with many of my coworkers. This bigger picture is an important part of law enforcement; aspects within it can affect life or death outcomes.

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Because of the weight firearms and firearms training holds; I found myself always looking to improve. My attitude is it is best to have and not need than to need and not have. Yes, the likelihood of needing firearms skills is lesser compared to other law enforcement skills. However, lacking firearms skills when you need them could potentially cause a life devastating incident. An issue I run into consistently is conveying the importance of training to those uninterested parties. The couple extra reps or magazines shot can make a difference, and in the long run they provide tangible results – unfortunately the naysayers want results now. During my quest to spread the gospel of good training and gear I have run into several different types of personalities who block progress within a department. These types of officers are obstacles to improving overall department capabilities:
-Too experienced – They used a sub-optimal or bad option which magically worked (against all odds). Now they push bad ideas.
-Already knows what is best – no experience, no scientific backing- they somehow already know what works. Worse, all of their answers are from the internet from questionable sources. .22’s kill more people; we should use .22’s as our duty guns.
-Playing the odds – They shoot down ideas because the likelihood of further training, superior weapons, or equipment (armor) most likely won’t ever be needed.
-Not important – similar to playing the odds, but this one wants department pencils (include your favorite excuse here) made instead of buying patrol rifles or funding training.

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We already know police standards in training, equipment, qualifications are a minimum requirement. For me, this is not the standard to occupy. When is minimum a standard to strive for? If your department will not act to improve, to what extent are you willing to go to provide a better and safer environment for yourself at work? I may be better trained or equipped because it is on my dime, but what about my coworkers? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Do you want those weak links with you in a gunfight?

So how do you get that further training and equipment to strengthen that department chain? Rank is not always needed to instigate a positive change. There are budgetary constraints to everything within a police department. Realistic explanations need to be provided as to why your concepts are a necessity and weigh that lifesaving option to the non-essential items and training that are being purchased. With this in mind, what is the life of an officer at your department worth? I worked for agencies that did not provide these things and having that specialized personally owned equipment and additional training put me in a class well above that standard.

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That minimum standard not only affects weapons, gear, and training – this affects personnel. I don’t think the public is aware we are blessed by officers who do not see police work as a job but as a calling and a passion. I do not think any of my friends or coworkers do this because of the pay. When the public cries out because of a few bad cops – be aware, if those standards were higher and higher pay was offered to attract better candidates – bad apples would be more easily weeded out.

Don’t let department training and standards be your standards, go beyond that minimum – strive to lead.

This article was originally published on www.primaryandsecondary.com and reprinted with permission from Matt who retains the Copyright to his work.

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81 Responses to “Matt Landfair on Police and the Minimum Requirement”

  1. Jon, OPT says:

    Well said Matt!

    Jon, OPT

  2. Well written. I’m still concerned about the militarization of our police. I love police and what they do for everyone. I just would like to be able to tell the difference between them and a patrol about to execute a raid somewhere in rc-e.

    • Which aspect is concerning? The only visible change I have seen on patrol is some agencies authorize external vests. That improves health by shifting some of the duty belt weight onto the vest and removes some back issues.

    • Philip says:

      Maybe if folks would stop taking potshots at patrol cars, making false calls to bait responders into planned ambushes, and posting videos declaring open season on LEOs, they wouldn’t have to respond to Ma and Pa Kettle’s weekly domestic call looking like they belong on patrol in Afghanistan…

      Given the current and ever-growing (but nonetheless horribly ignorant) negative attitude of some to intentionally harm LEOs just because they wear a badge, I see no problem with departments taking measures to increase officer safety. If that includes external vests and M4s in patrol cars, so be it.

      It sure as hell beats burying another officer every other day.

    • Chris says:

      Yeah, how dare those officers have armor, and rifles that anyone can buy, and most have already. That armor is scary, even though is is just a passive piece of life saving equipment. And why do they meed rifles, I mean, it isn’t like they should have the propper tool for potential gunfights, or standoffs or anything. When police officers start carrying M240’s and Carl Gustav’s, then you can talk about the “militarization of police”. Until then, please, STFU with that, it drives us crazy. No department has tanks, they have armored personelll carriers. They don’t have belt fed machine guns, or missles, or any of that crap. If merely ising life saving technology developed in warfare, well then stop the militariztion of trauma medicine too. Or air travel. Or vehicle safety. Or sports safety. Or food.

      • SSD says:

        But remember, every agency in America has a SWAT team. And, agencies use them an awful lot. There is no common standard for selection, training or resourcing of these units.

        Does every problem become a nail when you’ve got a hammer? That is the real question at hand regarding “militarization”.

        • bluenoser says:

          That is an excellent way of summing it up.

        • Kevin says:

          Not every agency has a swat team, most of them don’t. Please do your research before spouting more ignorance. The the time we needed a swat team we had to wait over an hour for the Texas DPS SRT team to show up and even longer for them to get completely kitted up and briefed. That’s a long time to wait after the guy who just shot at you and tried to kill his family is still lurking out in the woods somewhere.

          • SSD says:

            You make my point. What would you have done before the age of SWAT?

            • I would guess less trained, equipped, and qualified personel would attempt to resolve the issue with less desirable results.

              • SSD says:

                But Matt, we have that. There are no common standards for the selection, training, equipping or use of tactical officers so we have less trained and qualified policemen conducting raids. They’ve just got more stuff to do it with. That’s the issue. There are no minimums.

            • Kevin says:

              2 (if I was lucky) other deputies would have to have been pulled from thier district, while leaving 1 guy to take calls (we had 2 other DV calls holding). Due to the new admin taking away our 1033 m16s and no other patrol rifles ,we would have had to search the woods with flashlights and pistols while wearing silver tan uniforms. The 4 or 5 man SRT team showed up with plate carriers,nvgs, and od green bdus and got the job done, no one hurt but the actor.

              After that incident I purchased my own rifle, helmet and plate carrier. Now I get to listen to ignorant people cry about my gear on the internet.

              • SSD says:

                Like I said, the public needs to properly resource and trains its LEOs. You shouldn’t have had to have purchased those things, they are the tools of your trade.

                • The concept of a department so well trained where a specific team is unneeded sure sounds like a great concept.

                • El Terryble' says:

                  When does that end? Why should the public fork over more of their hard earned tax dollars to support what is basically a tier 2 or 3 SF Direct Action Team? What is the marginal utility of expanding pay and training for law enforcement when criminality is running rampant, the legal system releases career criminals onto the streets after a negligible time in prison, and the expansion of law enforcement threatens the civil liberties under what is the obvious tyranny of Obama? It would seem to me to be a better use of resources to do away with the Federal-Local Law Enforcement nexus and return personal protection responsibility back the people. The same forces that are gunning police down in the street are the same forces in the White House, and the same forces at Black Lives Matter; the answer to this problem isn’t a Tier 1 SWAT Team on every corner, but a renewed emphasis and return of consensual government of, for, and by the People, where those in power fear those they are supposed to serve, if they violate their oaths, their duty, the law, or the civil contract of this Country between the government and the People.

                  Having worked with senior level law enforcement officers in various sub-disciplines to include patrol, SWAT, border enforcement, narcotics, vice, major crime, and homocide; I’ve found that there is a dearth of understanding related to their broader constitutional functions, the 2nd Amendment, their obligation to society, and the threat a domestic police force represents to individual liberty if it were to be used to establish a police state. There is no doubt in my mind that the people in control of the United States at this moment in time would not hesitate to use police at a State, local and Federal level.

        • CFM says:

          I do not think there is currently a problem with overuse of SWAT teams. SWAT teams are typically, and universally, employed for barricaded suspect situations and “high-risk” warrant service. What is deemed “high risk” varies from agency to agency. It would be safe to classify violent felony warrant service as “high-risk.” However, my partners and I serve violent felony warrants regularly and we are typical road patrol officers. But what is the harm if an agency deems a warrant service attempt to be “high-risk,” deploys a SWAT team, and takes the suspect into custody without incident?

          I do not think there can ever be a “standard” for SWAT team usage due to the dynamic, ever-changing nature of police work. There are endless examples of “routine” calls for service evolving into SWAT team call-outs. Until SWAT teams start getting dispatched to routine calls for service I do not think there is an overuse problem.

          It’s true that there is no common standard for selection, training or resourcing SWAT teams on a national scale. There also is no common standard for selection, training or resourcing law enforcement agencies, in general. Each agency has unique policies/general orders which are entirely up to the Chief or Sheriff of that particular agency. My agency’s vehicle pursuit policy is completely different from our neighboring agency’s vehicle pursuit policy. There is CALEA. However, CALEA states only that an agency must have a, for example, vehicle pursuit policy. CALEA does not state what that policy is; that decision is left to the Chief or Sheriff.

          Nationwide or universal policing standards are not practical due to a variety of factors: population, demographics, climate, rural vs. metropolitan, resources, etc. One could even argue that nationwide policing standards would essentially create a “national police department,” which would be more militarized, organizationally, and potentially operationally, than what we currently have.

          • SSD says:

            Exactly, there are no universal standards so when police comment on policing they don’t really know what they’re talking about either. They can mention where they are and how things work, but they are guessing when it comes to everywhere else.

            Let’s face it, the vast majority of cops are good to go, but pretending like there aren’t issues won’t ever get us anywhere.

            I don’t know any SSD readers who are happy with just doing the minimum so stop taking up for the others who do. Push them to improve. A mature professional can critique himself as well as others and accept the same. Don’t shut down every time you hear someone critiquing your profession. Some are total BS, but all aren’t.

            • I watched a police officer in a ghille suite tackle a guy from the bushes on to catch a predator.

              I don’t like police officers not in “SWAT” units wearing military style fatigues. I have noticed a trend where smaller departments with smaller amounts of what I guess would be oversight literally look like they are about to invade panama. Can I name a specific department? No. I just see it on the boob tube.

              Listen. I’m not a cop. I have no frame of refrence. It’s just what I have noticed. Pump your breaks.

              99% of police officers I have met have been great guys and gals. You guys have a tough job and I appreciate what yout guys do.

              SSD- sorry for hijacking your thread.

            • CFM says:

              “Exactly, there are no universal standards so when police comment on policing they don’t really know what they’re talking about either. They can mention where they are and how things work, but they are guessing when it comes to everywhere else.”

              So, police officers are unqualified to comment on policing?? That statement is absurd. In general, policing is the same from one jurisdiction to another. A cop from FL could transfer to an agency in TX and would not have to re-learn the profession of policing because he/she already knows how to do it. It’s the same as if a web developer leaves one company for another. No two agencies are going to have the same exact policies/general orders but, generally, they will be similar.

              “I don’t know any SSD readers who are happy with just doing the minimum so stop taking up for the others who do. Push them to improve. A mature professional can critique himself as well as others and accept the same. Don’t shut down every time you hear someone critiquing your profession. Some are total BS, but all aren’t.”

              Perhaps you misconstrued my previous post because in no way do I advocate settling for minimum standards. I am constantly training/learning/teaching/mentoring. I take my profession seriously. The purpose of my previous post was to discuss your assertion that SWAT team = militarization.

              Let’s say all SWAT teams were eliminated but training, standards, and funding were elevated. We would have a higher caliber of police officers, all of whom are trained and equipped to handle situations SWAT teams previously handled. Other than having a higher caliber of officers, in general, what has changed? You will still have police officers in full body armor with AR-15’s, arriving in an armored vehicle! Please clarify your definition of the “militarization of police” because I have no clue what your suggestion for change is.

              I take offense when you infer that I’m an immature professional/unprofessional. Especially, when you have an “I’m going to take my ball and go home” mentality when someone offers an opinion you disagree with. Don’t mistake pride in my profession for butt-hurt. I am open to critique and welcome an educated discussion. However, in this case, the person offering critique in unqualified to do so.

              • CFM says:

                And to clarify, I think Landfair’s article is fantastic.

              • SSD says:

                I reject that silly notion that only police are qualified to comment on policing and if you’re a guy that feels that way, I stand by my assertion that you too are unqualified. Policing is not the same across these United States. There’s no way you can accurately comment on a situation across the country. What happens in your justification is different than what happens elsewhere.

                It’s like a guy in the 82nd telling folks what it’s like to be on the DMZ. Sure, there are generalities, but it’s not the same.

                As for your misunderstanding regarding the “militarization of police”. I am not worried about tools. It’s how they are used and whether their use is accountable. You are actually talking about the use of force. You come across as a guy that wants to use overwhelming force in all situations. America wants its Police to use the minimum amount of force necessary. That takes a lot more skill than wielding the hammer.

                • CFM says:

                  Sorry, but if you haven’t patrolled a beat you don’t have the knowledge, training, or experience to intelligently comment on policing. Without experience an idea is just a conjecture.

                  I cannot comment on the atmosphere in Baltimore, for example, and how that atmosphere is affecting officers there. But I can relate to policing with a Baltimore officer because we have both been in fights, foot pursuits, and investigated crimes. You could fly me to Baltimore tonight and I could work a shift there and, other than geography and radio traffic, I would know what I was doing.

                  Use of force is directly tied to accountability. Use of force is the major issue. Police accountability isn’t a popular social issue right now because cops are deploying SWAT teams more often. It’s a popular social issue because of recent high profile use of (deadly) force incidents.

                  I’m not a guy who wants to use or uses overwhelming force in all situations. Every situation is different. Sometimes you need the hammer. Sometimes you need the proverbial scalpel.

                • K says:

                  Minimal amount of force necessary?

                  That’s an unrealistic expectation. Who is to know if the bad guy holding your wife hostage will submit to a pepperball or if the Taser might subdue him. Finding out that neither work is not the desired outcome, that’s why courts repeatedly rule that force be REASONABLE and Necessary.

                  • SSD says:

                    Yes, smh, minimum amount. We don’t want you to ventilate everyone you meet because you were scared.

                    • K says:

                      LE moved on from minimal force because its antiquated, unrealistic and impossible. Anybody teaching the force continuum is living in the stone age. The use of force is rapidly evolving and generally under tense circumstances. It’s not the black/white if/then world you know.

                      Minimal is an impossible standard. A tickle might stop the guy who just put you in a chokehokd or it might not and that will be all she wrote.

                      The standard is reasonable.

                      Reasonable: Reasonable means no effective alternative to the use of force appeared to exist and the amount of force used was necessary to effect the lawful purpose intended.

                    • SSD says:

                      That’s called semantics. No one likes a quibbler.

                    • Matt says:

                      “because you were scared…”

                      SSD, some of your comments are snide. This one in particular shows some serious ignorance of how close combat can go down, or how fast violence can occur in the streets at close distances. We seldom have a heads up, and rarely the advantage of shooting first or even having a gun ready. America’s cops are typically ambushed in *routine* situations and to fault their less than perfect responses as being “scared” is poor form. I could say the same for the hundreds or thousands of foreign citizens that US soldiers have injured and killed when reacting to being attacked. But it’s not the same…I get that…and that’s the point.

                      Seriously, cops “ventilating everyone they meet” is hardly what occurs, even when big fuck-ups happen. And to say so is hyperbole.

                      Your comment below about the use of the proper legal term/standard of reasonable being “semantics” is weak sauce. Especially given that elsewhere on this site you are quibbling about crisco being used as a generic term for vegetable oil. I think Pedantic is the term being used to describe your position in that debate…and it’s both funny and sad to see you being less concerned about accurate terminology in a far more important topic. But hey, whatever reinforces your own opinions, right?

                      The good news is that I have stopped using Fireclean not because it is overpriced, vaguely improved, rapeseed oil, but rather because it is too militaristic, given all the alleged Tier1 users. Can’t have that noise.

  3. James Francis says:

    I agree. I would like to see better training for our officers, but not just in the deployment of their weapon, but in key skill sets like conflict mediation/de-escalation, dealing with special needs/mentally handicapped, or hell, maybe some training on dealing with family dogs that don’t involve gunning them down. Do I want to see the NYPD hit what their aiming at without expending two magazines and hitting a civilian or two, hell yea I do, but I also want to see more departments integrate training on de-escalating confrontation that will reduce how often they have to deploy their weapon in the first place.

    I doubt the low minimum standard in some places is due to officer salary. Look at Suffolk, Nassau county and most of the NYPD. Salaries for experienced officers are ~150k. That’s hardly uncompetitive, even for NY standards. The problem instead is the police unions freak out every time the department want to implement more training, or better qualification standards.

    • Chris says:

      Maybe it is just my department, but they defenitely have way more mandatory training on descalation, mental health, and special keeds than they do on lethal force. In fact, they have no mandatory firearms training other than a semi annual qualification that is not exactly hard, or realistic.

  4. RayForest says:

    Ive known two officers up there with the 100 plus thousand salary. One still had to live in his parents basement the other was making it with a family but no where near flush with cash. Lots of folks throw that agencies pay oit there but its a misleading number.

    • Matt Levi says:

      Salaries are supposed to take cost of living into account. Some places you need to make a lot more to live there.

      • SSD says:

        I don’t think we select, train, resource or compensate our Law Enforcemenet officers well enough and consequently, as a society, we get what we pay for.

        • Matt says:

          Not much of an endorsement for the profession, SSD. I think our society gets far more than they pay for, not less, as your comment seems to imply. Name a better police system, given our Constitution, courts, population, etc. Canada is perhaps the closest or even slightly better, but they are essentially the same system as ours.

          Otherwise, yes, there is room for improvement in selection, training, resourcing, and compensating professional police forces. But also society needs to re-evaluate what they want cops to do/be. There is simply not enough time in the day to maintain the skill-sets that we are expected to maintain and still do effective work. LE today is the creation of our society…period. LE plays by the rules set, with the resources given, and by and large, we are winning the “game.”

          What startles me is the number of vets who think they know how policing should be and look based on no real knowledge of it. Opinions. I do not care what OEF or OIF experiences you had, they do not corelate to keeping the peace and enforcing the law in a nation of 380 million people with a decentralized policing strategy. They do not make you an expert in Constitutional use of force, search and seizure, traffic stops or community policing. There is no air support option when the shit hits the fan, no artillery, no drones, etc. And we do not have the luxury of being in a known hostile environment with a defined enemy. In fact, just the opposite…our neighbors and fellow citizens are our killers, not a jihadi or insurgent. Tell me about your ROE all you want, how many fingerprints you scanned (we can’t do that, BTW, without cause, and few agencies have the tech in deployed in the field), or doors you kicked, or MREs you handed to kids…it ain’t close to what cops actually do day in and day out. We exist in a political catch22 and don’t get to go home after we determine the mission is complete.

          It saddens me that vets who constantly clamored for better armor, better gear, better vehicles, better night vision, better weapons, better ammo, better chow, better living conditions, and so on, find fault when police officers identify and seek better gear. Vets who become cops seem to be part of the driving force to these changes…ironic. I get that folks who never served might not get it, but my brothers who have served in austere conditions and felt the sting of feeble support from politicians, superiors, and the fickle public? Ouch.

          BTW, policing is highly regional, and very community-specific. American LE agencies can;t agree on uniform styles, colors, patches, badges, car types, pistols, ammo, radio systems, warning light colors, and policies. If you are dissatisfied with the LE in your community, deal with it at that level. Don’t burden the rest of us or paint us with the broadest brush. Likewise, don’t assume that because you *think* you live in Mayberry, your local police officers don’t *need* carbines, external vests, better uniforms, or armored vehicles. Yeah…until they do. No one screams about overly-militarized (ooh, how evil to be prepared) cops responding to active shooters in schools, or theaters, or nursing homes, or campuses, or shopping malls. Of course, maybe it’s “break glass in emergency” thinking.

          Before you flame…I served from ’90-’97 as an Infantryman, primarily with the 10th Mtn. Div. (LI). I participated in numerous combat, peacekeeping, force projection, disaster relief, and civilian LE support missions during that period, and if you know about that time, you know units from the 10th were the most deployed non-SF/CA assets in the 18th Airborne Corps. When we trained up for Somalia, we could only have dreamed of having knee and elbow protection, lightweight helmets and real body armor. For Haiti, at least we were allowed to local purchase the pads…after numerous injuries during practice airfield assaults at WSAAF. Even so, I do not claim to have a clue about how US Forces should perform their missions overseas, nor about what gear they should or should not have. I would not second guess them on it, either. Isn’t that better left to politicians, both in and out of uniform?

          • SSD says:

            America seems to be unhappy with its cops. If it wants better, it needs to step up and support the profession with not only higher expectations but better funding.

            • Matt says:

              In a sense I agree…however the vast majority of America is actually silent on this topic. Instead we are hearing from he most vocal and discontent, the same folks who always seem to push for change but don’t actually have a better plan. Back by politicians eager to appease and get votes, and media eager to sell advertising and propagating turmoil to do so, by playing all sides against the other. In my community, we are very supported and few folks are unhappy. America might indeed be dissatisfied…with the policing system it has created, legislated, and funded after the citizen willingly abdicated and abandoned their societal role in keeping the peace. Their is no Constitutional foundation for policing, except as the citizens delegate it to the police forces they create. This is ultimately why there is not a national police force, not should there ever be. The problem is that civics is no longer taught to and rarely applied by citizens, except when voting for entitlements and social progression. SO most citizens don;t know that policing used to be done by citizens formed into grand juries, that citizens sought warrants, that citizens bore arms. But that method got too scary or inconvenient, or unreliable, so they began paying for the service. From then it became mission creep and here we are…giving the people what they asked for but apparently don’t really want.

              I’d like to hear what these higher expectations might be…after all, US LE is already highly regulated and accountable. Where we fail is when we are tasked beyond what is reasonable or supported. And if you can’t find good cops, what does that say about the community? Human value systems are formed early in life and nearly solidified by age 8. They change very little over time and then only through significant life experiences. If the 0.25% of the population that become cops (after testing, backgrounds, assessments, training) are as badly tainted as we would be led to believe, then what does that mean for the rest? If you want better cops, raise your kids better, school them better, set a better example. It isn’t just low pay that’s the problem.

              • Mark S says:

                Matt,

                Good posts and analysis of the topic.

                I have not heard what, “militarization of police”, actually means. Is it costume? Is it tactics? Is it deployment? Is it transportation vehicles? Or is it something else?

                I think some of the pundits and experts are not happy with the enforcement of drug laws. And I suppose, search warrants pursuant to drug investigations.

                Thanks mark

                • James Francis says:

                  “Militarization of police”…

                  Such a loaded term. The funny thing is some people think it’s the gear. The rifles and body armor or the APC. It’s not. The problem is how we deploy the people wearing that kit, the discretion that is clearly now a blurry and bent line.

                • To me it’s costume. I have no idea of police TTPs besides
                  What I see on cops while eating ice cream and screamin get em. But there is an old saying where I do have some experience and that is “perception is reality.”

                  • Most police uniforms are more appearance oriented versus utility oriented. Shiny metal pinned to a uniform are for looks. Cops do everything possible in their uniforms. Efforts t modernize the uniform seem to be shot down at the cost of officers’ health. Do we want politically correct or do we want effective?

                  • By changing to a utilitarian uniform? Fighting and changing tires are not for pretty uniforms.

              • Terry B. says:

                Matt,

                Well said and you make some excellent points. Especially about the relationship of the general citizenry to the police whom they empower.

                And SSD is absolutely right also. Even if the current dissatisfaction with police is based on misconceptions or on the inappropriate actions of a few. Still the perceptions are out there and they have to be acknowledged and eventually addressed.

                I think that both of you are also in agreement that police need support…and not just funding or unblinking oversight from the public. That also means encouraging our sons and daughters and the proverbial “best and brightest” to consider service in Law Enforcement as a selfless and honorable duty.

                Police and the citizens they serve are supposed to be partners not adversaries. Both sides should respect one another. If that is not the case in any given community then both sides have an obligation to fix whatever needs fixing.

                Finally, I’d like to comment on your mention of the changing role of the citizen in policing. There are a great many positives associated with the professionalization of LE activities in this country.

                However, as you state so eloquently, that process has also all but eliminated the citizens’ active role in policing. And unfortunately the same professionalization dynamic can also be said about military service, teaching and ( I would argue most troubling of all) politics.

                More and more of our citizens are satisfied to let those vital but often underappreciated burdens of society be bore only by a few rather than shared by all. I think turning that trend around is the defining challenge for the survival of our Republic in the 21st Century.

                Great discussion all around. TLB

          • EL Terryble' says:

            “What startles me is the number of vets who think they know how policing should be and look based on no real knowledge of it. Opinions. I do not care what OEF or OIF experiences you had, they do not corelate to keeping the peace and enforcing the law in a nation of 380 million people with a decentralized policing strategy. They do not make you an expert in Constitutional use of force, search and seizure, traffic stops or community policing. There is no air support option when the shit hits the fan, no artillery, no drones, etc. And we do not have the luxury of being in a known hostile environment with a defined enemy. In fact, just the opposite…our neighbors and fellow citizens are our killers, not a jihadi or insurgent. Tell me about your ROE all you want, how many fingerprints you scanned (we can’t do that, BTW, without cause, and few agencies have the tech in deployed in the field), or doors you kicked, or MREs you handed to kids…it ain’t close to what cops actually do day in and day out. We exist in a political catch22 and don’t get to go home after we determine the mission is complete.”

            I think this comment is emblematic of why a lot of American citizen’s, from across the political spectrum, are apprehensive with the state of law enforcement in the US on the Federal, State, and local level. An infantryman serving in Iraq or Afghanistan was 1000 times more likely to be killed in 2003 to 2010 than a police officer in the United States, even in the most dangerous cities. I don’t want to take away from what the police do, but alot of it is handing out tickets for revenue generation for corrupt governmental and judicial system’s. The American People see lawlessness expanding on a daily basis: expanding with the criminal element being coddled by a corrupt judicial system, the growth of the Federal regulatory Leviathan that makes daily mundane tasks illegal and felonious, the invasion and colonization of their society by illegal aliens, illegal dictates from a renegade Supreme Court, a Federal Government that is more like the Soviet Union then the constitutional republic authorized under law; we see Eric Holder, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Lois Lerner break the law they are sworn to uphold, while facilitating enemies such as Iran and Mexican drug Cartels, and we don’t see Law Enforcement doing anything to stop it. I know a lot of fat stupid cops, that think they’re the dam stopping the tidal wave of barbarism from flooding civilization. They’re not. The People are their own best protection, as enshrined in the 2nd Amendment.

            A great man named Jeff Cooper once said, ““The police cannot protect the citizen at this stage of our development, and they cannot even protect themselves in many cases. It is up to the private citizen to protect himself and his family, and this is not only acceptable, but mandatory….The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore what he must be taught to fear is his victim. If a felon attacks you and lives, he will reasonably conclude that he can do it again. By submitting to him, you not only imperil your own life, but you jeopardize the lives of others. The first man who resisted Starkweather, after eleven murders, overcame him easily and without injury. If that man had been the first to be accosted, eleven innocent people would have been spared.”

            • Mark S says:

              “I think this comment is emblematic of why a lot of American citizen’s, from across the political spectrum, are apprehensive with the state of law enforcement in the US on the Federal, State, and local level.”

              There is no real strategic entity that is in control of law enforcement. Hence, state/local/fed as separate and distinct organizations with some overlap in mission, but not in vision or leadership. I think many outside of LE assume that there is such a thing. This could be bias from where they came from, especially military folks.

              “An infantryman serving in Iraq or Afghanistan was 1000 times more likely to be killed in 2003 to 2010 than a police officer in the United States, even in the most dangerous cities. I don’t want to take away from what the police do, but alot of it is handing out tickets for revenue generation for corrupt governmental and judicial system’s.”

              I get it. You don’t like traffic enforcement. Tell that to the neighborhood that has a few people driving recklessly and too fast for conditions, maybe had a dog or kid ran over by same. How do you fix that type of situation?

              I agree with war being more dangerous than a cops job, until it isn’t. Different jobs really.

              “The American People see lawlessness expanding on a daily basis: expanding with the criminal element being coddled by a corrupt judicial system, the growth of the Federal regulatory Leviathan that makes daily mundane tasks illegal and felonious, the invasion and colonization of their society by illegal aliens, illegal dictates from a renegade Supreme Court, a Federal Government that is more like the Soviet Union then the constitutional republic authorized under law; we see Eric Holder, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Lois Lerner break the law they are sworn to uphold, while facilitating enemies such as Iran and Mexican drug Cartels, and we don’t see Law Enforcement doing anything to stop it.”

              You are lumping a lot of things into that paragraph, corrupt Judicial branch, Executive branch. How do you think those issues break down for the local beat cop? State LE?

              The drug cartels. What do you think of enforcing drug laws? Difficult to have it both ways while staying within the Constitution.

              “I know a lot of fat stupid cops, that think they’re the dam stopping the tidal wave of barbarism from flooding civilization. They’re not. The People are their own best protection, as enshrined in the 2nd Amendment.”

              Thankfully there are no fat stupid soldiers, that thought they were the dam stopping the tidal wave of barbarism from flooding civilization during their time of service. So fit, smart cops would change your views?

              The point of the matter is we should honor all those that serve. We are really on the same team. Whoever, and wherever someone stands for good, they should be honored.

              There is a misunderstanding with regards to executive level admin people and street cops. We know and understand what the Constitution means; all of it.

              Agree on the Jeff Cooper point.

              • El Terryble' says:

                “There is no real strategic entity that is in control of law enforcement. Hence, state/local/fed as separate and distinct organizations with some overlap in mission, but not in vision or leadership. I think many outside of LE assume that there is such a thing. This could be bias from where they came from, especially military folks.”

                That’s not really true, while there may not be a strategic entity that has unity of command over law enforcement, there is coordination, collaboration, shared information, and unity of purpose and intent. In my municipality, there’s a “strategic entity” called the Joint Terrorism Task Force, with a name like that you’d think it was a military and intelligence entity, but it is Federalists

              • El Terryble' says:

                “There is no real strategic entity that is in control of law enforcement. Hence, state/local/fed as separate and distinct organizations with some overlap in mission, but not in vision or leadership. I think many outside of LE assume that there is such a thing. This could be bias from where they came from, especially military folks.”

                That’s not really true, while there may not be a strategic entity that has unity of command over law enforcement, there is coordination, collaboration, shared information, and unity of purpose and intent. In my municipality, there’s a “strategic entity” called the Joint Terrorism Task Force, with a name like that you’d think it was a military and intelligence entity, but it is Federal, State, and local law enforcement collaborating and sharing resources on national security matters. Also, local law enforcement is heavily regulated, funded, and overseen by Federal Agencies, such as DHS and DOJ, and the Federal Courts and judiciary. The DOJ actually runs and controls several local police departments, to include Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland. It is comparable to the interrelation between services in DoD, or separate units in the Army.
                I think one issue with Law Enforcement today, is their desire to be like a military unit, and not enforce the laws or their mandate given to them by the people. You see this a lot with big departments who try and act like they’re Tier 1 SEAL or MARSOC Direct Action Teams. I don’t know if this is a top down driven policy by people in the Federal Government, who like Obama said, want to create a unitary domestic Federal Security Force as well funded as the military so as to restrict American’s civil liberties, or if it is due to a lot of police envying combat veterans, though many didn’t have the guts to join or the ability to succeed in a frontline combat unit, that may be why the best police officer’s are many times former veterans. I work with a few myself.

              • El Terryble' says:

                “I get it. You don’t like traffic enforcement. Tell that to the neighborhood that has a few people driving recklessly and too fast for conditions, maybe had a dog or kid ran over by same. How do you fix that type of situation?”

                No, I don’t think you do “get it”. Your comment was referring to how hard policing was as an occupation compared to that of the military. But, 95% of what police in local jurisdictions do is traffic enforcement and patrolling, which doesn’t require a specialized skill set, all that much of intelligence or education. Now, detectives and inspectors may be different, but my contention with law enforcement isn’t about it not being a noble or worthwhile occupation, but that it is failing in its purpose to enforce the laws from the White House on down to the illegal alien invasion to protecting American’s constitutional rights from domestic terror groups, like Black Lives Matter, and from a burgeoning genocidal dictatorship in the Obama regime.
                A fundamental difference between the military and the police, is that in the United States members of the military are Constitutional Officers sworn to protect the Constitution from “all enemies foreign and domestic”, hence the military’s status as an extrajudicial branch of government with its own legal system, the UCMJ. Law Enforcement is tasked with enforcing the laws, the supreme law being the Constitution of the United States, which is under attack on a daily basis by the Federal Government, the judiciary, and agency’s like DOJ and DHS, which seek to co-opt local police to serve as enforcer’s of their illegality.
                This is why individual, law abiding citizen’s should have the ability to own or operate any weapon or piece of equipment that Law Enforcment would have, to serve as a militia against tyranny such as we are experiencing now in the United States of America. Police don’t need MRAPS, automatic weapons, and shouldn’t have access to information such as that collected by the NSA, that is in violation of the 4th Amendment right against unlawful searches and seizures. The police aren’t regulated militia’s under the 2nd Amendment- the People are, the People that you serve.

                • Mark S says:

                  You are wrong on most points of your reply. Throwing up every wrong of all branches government and placing it at the feet of law enforcement is not rational. And shows you are ill informed, or lack the experience to speak with authority.

                  “I get it. You don’t like traffic enforcement. Tell that to the neighborhood that has a few people driving recklessly and too fast for conditions, maybe had a dog or kid ran over by same. How do you fix that type of situation?”

                  “No, I don’t think you do “get it”. Your comment was referring to how hard policing was as an occupation compared to that of the military. But, 95% of what police in local jurisdictions do is traffic enforcement and patrolling, which doesn’t require a specialized skill set, all that much of intelligence or education. Now, detectives and inspectors may be different, but my contention with law enforcement isn’t about it not being a noble or worthwhile occupation, but that it is failing in its purpose to enforce the laws from the White House on down to the illegal alien invasion to protecting American’s constitutional rights from domestic terror groups, like Black Lives Matter, and from a burgeoning genocidal dictatorship in the Obama regime.”

                  I asked you a simple question in reply to your traffic enforcement snide comment. You have not answered it. The rest of your comments are a rant that I don’t have an answer to as they are not within the realm of the rational mind. You fail to understand that the President was elected and is in charge of the Federal Executive Branch of government. He is in charge of the federal LE function, not state, not local. Not in charge of anything other that the Federal side of things.

                  “A fundamental difference between the military and the police, is that in the United States members of the military are Constitutional Officers sworn to protect the Constitution from “all enemies foreign and domestic”, hence the military’s status as an extrajudicial branch of government with its own legal system, the UCMJ. Law Enforcement is tasked with enforcing the laws, the supreme law being the Constitution of the United States, which is under attack on a daily basis by the Federal Government, the judiciary, and agency’s like DOJ and DHS, which seek to co-opt local police to serve as enforcer’s of their illegality.”

                  Cops swear an oath to defend and protect as well. Posse Comitatus ring a bell? LE and Military are different jobs.

                  “This is why individual, law abiding citizen’s should have the ability to own or operate any weapon or piece of equipment that Law Enforcment would have, to serve as a militia against tyranny such as we are experiencing now in the United States of America. Police don’t need MRAPS, automatic weapons, and shouldn’t have access to information such as that collected by the NSA, that is in violation of the 4th Amendment right against unlawful searches and seizures. The police aren’t regulated militia’s under the 2nd Amendment- the People are, the People that you serve.”

                  Kinda right about the Second Amendment. If you are saying the People should have weapons for a Militia, then I agree. Two different ideas, LE equipment and 2nd Amendment. So should LE carry a night stick alone then? Because not every American as a firearm? I’ve never heard of LE using any National Intelligence Asset or anything from the NSA. You are using a type of a straw man argument.

                  You and I really see things from the same side, even though you may not like that fact. You are also assuming too many things about the how state/local LE is controlled or influenced by the Federal side of things. There is very little the Feds do to influence how things happen at a local level.

                  JTTF as an example. Any local or state agency can participate or not. By participation does not give any Federal power over any locally elected or appointed official, or any LE component. Even by accepting Federal grant monies does not do do this.

                  After reading your posts, I don’t think you will change your mind, even with correct information. Lumping, “Government”, together and making assumptions, fits various world views better.

                  I have had many conversations with people about the current state of affairs. The vast majority of people are very pro law enforcement. I’ve had more approach and say thank you recently, than at any time in the last 20 years. And I work in one of the rougher areas, and that’s very encouraging.

                  I love the people I serve, and do my best to keep our area as safe as possible. Regardless of what the critics, uninformed, or evil people do or say.

                  • El Terryble' says:

                    Your comment show’s that you are not very well educated, not very well informed, have a limited understanding of current issues involving policing in a political and societal context, and have a limited understanding to the American governmental, judicial, and security paradigm in the larger context.
                    “I get it. You don’t like traffic enforcement. Tell that to the neighborhood that has a few people driving recklessly and too fast for conditions, maybe had a dog or kid ran over by same. How do you fix that type of situation?”Actually, I was referring to your previous comment about how “What startles me is the number of vets who think they know how policing should be and look based on no real knowledge of it. Opinions. I do not care what OEF or OIF experiences you had, they do not corelate to keeping the peace and enforcing the law in a nation of 380 million people with a decentralized policing strategy. They do not make you an expert in Constitutional use of force, search and seizure, traffic stops or community policing.” Actually,it does veterans an expert regarding LE when viewed through your ignorant statements. LE isn’t doing a very good job of “keeping the peace” or even enforcing the law, as my previous comments showed.

                    “I get it. You don’t like traffic enforcement. Tell that to the neighborhood that has a few people driving recklessly and too fast for conditions, maybe had a dog or kid ran over by same. How do you fix that type of situation?” My comment had to do with traffic enforcement only, only in showing that most of what police do is traffic enforcement for revenue generation purposes, not public safety.

                    I don’t mean to pick on you, Matt, I just think you’re a little too self-important, and do not fathom the dire situation this Country is in, that American’s are concerned about the establishment of a police state, and if the law was enforced we wouldn’t have this problem. The thing is that the law is being selectively enforced to the point that there almost is no law. But you don’t understand that, as your comments show. Like with the comment on dogs being ran-over. Where I’m from we have a problem of police going to the wrong house in full battle regalia, shooting the family dog, and arresting an innocent person. It happens too much.

                    You want to talk about posse comitattus, let me remind you about Waco, Texas where the ATF (a federal law enforcement agency that we do not need, and which should be eradicated, it’s funding cut, and its duties handed over to state agency’s) and the FBI spent ten’s of millions of dollar’s, tanks, helicopters, and military equipment to basically burn alive 30 innocent women and children, because one crazy guy sold a sawed off shotgun to an ATF agent. The Federal takeover of local police is fact and an ongoing process, and judging by actions and comments by Obama and Eric Holder, not conducive to a free people or society. If the U.S. Military had done anything like the FBI or ATF did in Waco in Iraq or Afghanistan, they’d all have been court martialed and would still be in the Federal brig. But, with corrupt agents and corrupt government acting in unison, no one was held to account.

  5. Ben says:

    Cheese anyone?

  6. Patrick says:

    Outstanding article. Thanks, Matt. I’m sending over to my Chief.

    As to some of the comments regarding SWAT selections etc. A national standard will not work. What works in NY may not work in Texas and what works in rural TX may not work in LA.

    What needs to happen is that administrators should be required to understand to having standards, training, selection etc for their tactical teams. It should be required by the licensing agencies for concurrent training on SWAT issues, leadership and liability. Once an administrator understands the needs for standards, maybe some of these issues will go away.

    This is something very personal for me. I paid a high price trying to get administrators to understand this very issue. It didn’t work.

    National Tactical Officers Association and others like it at the state level such as Texas Tactical Police Officers Association for years have what what is called Best Suggested Practices. Talk about a go to guide for standards, training and SOP’s for tactical teams! Its right there laid out in black and white. Heck, it can be used a step by step process.

    But so many never have heard of this. So many still try to cut out this exacting high standards by calling themselves a raid team (or whatever). They do high risk warrants, drug warrants but yet never train. On anything. Or the training is chaotic and sputters and stops. I’ve seen this go horribly bad. Calling themselves SRT and all they ever did was drug warrants and never trained but when the first time for a BP went down, It was absolutely horrific. No officers died but damn sure could have; an inch more to the left or right. The team commander at the time HATED SWAT but what were were they exactly doing and pretending to be???

    Sorry to be so long winded but this hits a nerve. This comes down to administrators taking a leadership role on this issue, having mandated education, evaluating the cost and risks and making decisions accordingly.

  7. Nate says:

    American Law Enforcement needs significant reform.

    But then so does every other organization one looks at deeply enough, and the “reforms” needed don’t line up very well (if at all) with the President’s commission or the DOJ reports, or what the activist group of the week wants.

    Cops are, generally, poorly selected, trained, led, retained and equipped. There are notable exceptions out there, but we fail at this in large part. When you have an agency that fails at more than one of these critical organizational tasks (or all, looking at you NYPD…), you will get notable and controversial incidents. That doesn’t mean that the cops involved were necessarily bad people, out to do bad work, but they were set up for failure from the start. Some of them shouldn’t be there in the first place, they don’t have adequate skills to deal with situation that they could be reasonably expected to respond to, and they lacked field leadership to slow things down or come up with decent plans on the fly to mitigate risks.

    I have noted that in places where Patrol officers are better trained and led (and equipped, although that is less important in many aspects than we want to admit, as much as I like fancy gear), that SWAT responses trend downward, because the first responders can handle a lot of things that SWAT guys do. Major use of force incidents trend downwards, too, because good training, sound tactics and good field leadership keep officers out of many situations where they HAVE to shoot bad guys.

    That is the conversation we should be having. And if an agency can do those critical tasks with their line personnel, then I am not too concerned about how they are doing it for SWAT, because it is significantly more likely they will get that one right, too.

  8. Dave says:

    Ha! A Utah Avalanche Center sticker on your rifle case. That has to be a first.

    Pray for snow!

  9. SC says:

    The real issue isn’t the equipment, it’s the over use of tactical teams within some jurisdictions. Fairfax VA PD used its SWAT team to raid a misdemeanor level 10 man suburban poker game in someones basement. The public sees that as the misuse of a tactical team and the over militarization of their local police.

    If Fairfax chooses to raid basement poker games they could have certainly done it with a few marked cars and a couple of Detectives to execute the warrant.

    • SC says:

      PS The same Fairfax PD SWAT team also accidentally killed an unarmed optometrist they were arresting in 2006 for betting on football games. Again, the guy could have been arrested by a patrol officer or Detective and that would have saved a life and Fairfax taxpayers a $2M settlement.

  10. Stefan S. says:

    That kit locker picture is a glaring issue of the civilian populations concerns about the growing Police State. Just saying. Don’t flame me cause I’ve been there and done that with 24 years served and 3 wars.

  11. Canine says:

    Perception. It is what drives some of this.

    For each police or “SWAT” horror story the MSM and social media presents, there are thousands that go and come without incident. The “militarization of the police” hype is not much different.

    From a decade and a half or better in police special operations, and being involved in training cops coast to coast I can tell you the following in good faith. Most of it is hype, part of it is dumbassery. 10 man agencies forming their own “special” team is as dumb an idea as I have seen in a long time. But, so is waiting six hours for the state police team to get to a location because they are so far away. The creation of regional teams is the obvious answer, but the “too many chiefs and not enough Indians” mentality usually kills the regional teams from being effective. Not every town needs their own SWAT team. But, they need prompt and effective SWAT coverage. SWAT coverage that includes officers that are properly selected, properly trained in tactics, marksmanship, and that are physically fit. That is what should make them “special”.

    Media hype, and political hype added in, have made the whole “militarization of the police” a cottage industry for some people. Writing books, selling articles to publications, speaking engagements and the like. Until the MSM regains some semblance of integrity, don’t expect it to get any better on that front. I don’t take any of these speakers, writers, or bloggers any more serious than I do any other self created special interest group. Follow the money usually is on track to most of these folks.

    As to national standards? I do NOT want them. Nothing the federal government touches is for the better. If the states decide on a standard, for the people in THEIR state, I’m good with it. And a lot of states have done such a thing.

    Lastly, what did agencies do before SWAT and why do we need them now? I can tell you from 20 some odd years on the job, what we did before SWAT would not fly today. The civil and criminal ball game has changed. Not to mention public perception. A couple of patrol officers kicking a door down, shooting a suspect, when the tools that a SWAT team could have brought to bear to end the situation without bloodshed are now expected. A properly trained and equipped SWAT team can do it better and safer (for the officers and suspects) than patrol can.

    Matt’s article is spot on.

    Be well and be safe out there.

  12. WillG says:

    As usual, well done, Matt!!

  13. Matt says:

    I love the idea that “militarizing” local LE is somehow unacceptable but Federalizing it would bring tremendous improvement. How’s that Obamacare working out for you? Or the IRS? Or…

    LOL…Libertarians screaming for more government as the saving grace for solving the mostly perception-based problems in American law enforcement. There’s irony right there, the idea that local control of LE is part of the problem, when it’s actually the reason things work at all. We clearly need more national standards, regulations, laws, and control. Because I *really* need someone in California, New York, Massachusetts, or DC mandating the LE services in my community. And Ferguson was classic…Cops too militarized, so have them stand back and bring in the National Guard! Militarized police officers are scary, but the actual military is not?

    Seriously. Feds giving grant money and surplus .mil equipment is bad. Feds administering the policies and standardization of LE is good? We can’t even get all the States to agree on the driver’s license compact, CCW reciprocity, water rights, speed limits, or even marriage, but they are going to agree to standardized police procedures? And that will make it all better…so long as we ditch cargo pockets and boots and external vest carriers and the occasional camo anything. Hell, lets issue out lever action rifles and return to wheel guns while we’re at it. Radios? Those evil things that the .mil uses? Gotta go, too.

    Bottom line, and knowing I’m biased, is I want the best, most prepared response when my ass or the asses of my family or community is on the line. I want my cops to be nice and approachable, too. These aren;t mutually exclusive if the community remains interested, involved, informed, and active. In the real world, not the cyber one.

    BTW, I swore an oath, too. My role is to oppose all who would bring harm to my community, while policing in accordance with the Constitution and all its subordinate laws. If a camo helmet or body armor somehow negates that duty, I fail to see how.

  14. K says:

    I’m a cop. We do need reform. We’re playing a deadly game of politics. A game in which Holder’s DOJ forced Dayton Ohio to lower the qualification scores on their entry level tests because not enough blacks were passing. Or how about federally mandated lowering of physical standards so that more woman can pass ala Harrisburg PA.

    Everybody gets a trophy and with that you get officers that couldn’t find the discipline or motivation to pass a physical test of which they knew the standards for beforehand and others who chose to forego an education or are just too stupid.

    Now with your lesser qualified candidates you have shrinking budgets and less training time and opportunity and we know where that leads.

    Honestly, I’m just as scared of some of these new “guardians” that are being hired who are oblivious to the dangers of the world. DT is but sixty minutes of their time of which 59 minutes is spent on their smartphone because their answer to anything is, “I would just taser him.” They’re nice to little old ladies and really sold the soccer mom on her ticket but when it’s time to rock’n’roll they’re lack of contingencies for not being able to draw the Taser under stress, the probes missing, misfiring or not penetrating thick clothing means they get their ass whooped, a bad guy gets away or they have to go full UOF retard.

    Re:Militarization. I haven’t seen an overuse of SWAT in my state or region and am generally baffled when people fall for the ACLU”s rhetoric that this is a national occurrence. I police an area with ~250k-ish nighttime population. Our team has been used twice this year and six times last year. We use a threat matrix to determine if something is even worth consulting a SWAT commander for, which helps keep a standard between ever changing leadership. We generally surround and callout most things anymore (Haven’t served a no-knock in the decade I’ve been on the team) and put little consideration into preserving dope as evidence; flush it we don’t give a fuck.

    I’d be a fool to try and pretend there weren’t teams that are over used, went dynamic on everything and still regularly used no-knock warrants. These teams are generally on islands where training and tactics go stale…bad leadership or small/no budgets being the leading cause. I whole heartedly agree these teams need to be addressed.

  15. El Terryble says:

    How can the public count on the police to protect them from criminality, when the police can’t even protect their own? Where’s the police union’s protecting Darren Wilson’s right to defend himself against hostile aggression by common street thugs? Why was he pushed out of a job for utilizing the lawful use of deadly force? Where’s Law Enforcement policing its own in situations like Operation Fast and Furious, where thousands of assault rifles were shipped across international border’s, unmonitored, into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, and which resulted in the death of border agent Brian Terry? Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress for lying under oath about this. Why does he still have a license to practice law?

  16. El Terryble' says:

    Well, at least the National Sheriffs Association is speaking up against Obama fomenting racial unrest, while at the same time heading us toward a communist police state.

    http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/09/18/national-sheriffs-association-president-blasts-obamas-silence-cop-murders/

  17. El Terryble' says:

    According to the Gallup Poll, the LE community would be doing itself a favor if it heeded my warnings about the public’s perception of the imposition of a police state, lawlessness, and governmental tyranny. We are not at the point in time where local police departments are going to have to decide “whose side they’re on” – the People’s or the Dictatorship’s; but that day may not be far off.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/185720/half-continue-say-gov-immediate-threat.aspx