Old Guard and New Guard

Friday, April 7th, 2006

One theme that keeps emerging the more I write about this SWAT stuff is that longtime police officers have grown really wary of the militant, cowboy culture among younger cops. I don’t agree with everything in the following email, sent to me ealier this week in response to the Reason piece on puppycide. But the part about older cops being skeptical of the military influence creeping into the local police department is consistent with what other cops have told me:

As a lifelong supporter of Law Enforcement allow me to say: It is now in some cases sadly attracting the wrong element of wanna be tough guys. The old guys call them “the new breed” and it ain’t a compliment. Some younger ones in particular seem to relish weilding their authority, frequently use profanity, and a very, very small number border on sadistic. I don’t know how the MMPI didn’t weed them out.

Their mommy sat them in front of too many episodes of “COPS.”

My friend was the assistant Deputy District Attorney and is now a Judge in the Criminal Division. The Sherriff’s Dept asked him how to staff the SWAT team they were forming. His answer:

“Ask for volunteers, then take that list of names… and toss it in the trash. That’ll eliminate the Cowboys.”

Drugs are a scourge. It is not a “victimless crime” as some aging ponytailed old hippies allege. Heroin and Meth wrecked hundreds of thousands of lives. I watched my stepson slide into hell over his drug addiction and he never recovered. He’s now 35 living in a beat up trailer park either blasted out of his skull or drunk as a pig every day of his life. And it all started before I met his mother with weed. It IS a “gateway drug.” I’ll quote him: ” I don’t have a problem.” This is while he sittng in a freezing trailer with no lights because he spent all his money on “altering his conciousness. ”

But “Dynamic Entry” has become the preferred method of affecting arrests by many departments all too often on the wrong house due to sloppy police work or bad intel. I’ve read of cops doing this on the word of felony convicted confidential Informants with zero credibility finding out after the fact that the suspect had moved a year before. A simple call to the public utility companies or a credit bureau address update would have verified the address. Level Three body armor and an MP-5A does nothing to raise your score on the Stanford-Binet IQ scale.

I used to handle Police Canines twenty years ago. Shootng a violent Pit Bull or Mastiff may occasionally be necessary (OC spray rarely stops a Pit, bullets can fail to penetrate the cranial vault ) if the animal is protecting some MS-13 banger who uses the animal as a weapon.

Shooting someone’s harmless pet for fun is a window into a sick soul. Chasing a terrified puppy into a burning house earns you a special place in hell.

I should note here that the Reason piece wasn’t meant to be a cop-bashing piece. It was more of a comment on reaction to stories of SWAT excess, how people tend to shrug off the latest no-knock resulting in death or injury of a nonviolent pot smoker, but seem to get genuinely pissed off when they hear that the family dog took fire, too.

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