Ask a Cop

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

By David Bratzer, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

My name is Dave, and I work as a police officer in Canada. I’ve been on the job for six years. I’ve worked in patrol, a dedicated beat section and now community policing. I’m married to my lovely wife, Colleen, and together we have a little boy (and a cat).

In my spare time, I volunteer as a board member with LEAP. That’s how I wound up on a panel with Radley Balko a few years ago at the Netroots Nation convention in Pittsburg. I’ve followed The Agitator since then (although I never thought I would be guest blogging here).

If you have questions about policing, please ask away in the comments section. I’ll try to answer them throughout the week.

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49 Responses to “Ask a Cop”

  1. #1 |  Ghost | 

    My biggest question would have to be, what do you think can be done about the retribution good cops face for reporting on bad officers?

  2. #2 |  LEAP | 

    It depends on the situation and on the department. In certain circumstances, sometimes the best option is for the officer (who reported the incident) to move to another police department or to retire and then file a civil suit. I know it’s not fair. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. DB

  3. #3 |  Mike H | 

    Hi Dave. I’m fairly encouraged by the progress of decriminalization initiatives in Europe, Australia, and the U.S. What’s amazing (especially to a lot of American visitors) is that Canada is still lagging behind a lot of these places, and lately has actually begun reversing the positive liberalization trend. It’s embarrassing, and all three major federal parties have waffled shamefully on the issue.

    My specific question is in regards to warrantless thermal imaging, a practice struck down by SCOTUS, but up here, legally sanctioned. How often is it employed in spotting home-grows? Is it common for patrol units to drive around neighborhoods with this technology hoping for an easy bust?

    (I’m not sympathetic to assholes who steal hydro and wreck houses with damp and mold, btw.)

  4. #4 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Oh, hi, Mr. Bratzer,

    I’m Burgers. I lived in Canada for about 5 years. The police there were quite helpful when a drug dealer in my apt building got out of control. He had been dealing relatively peacefully for a long time, but his business eventually spiraled out of control. The police got us a week to get out of there and relocate without being attacked, so three cheers for Canadian police.

    My question doesn’t have anything to do with that. I do a blog that reports on US civil cases against police. Since I read all these cases as they come out, I have a pretty good idea what is said and done in the litigations themselves. I also know that a lot of the cases settle, often on undisclosed terms.

    Here is the part I don’t know about:

    When a policemen is found civilly liable by a court, or at least when a court puts out some strong indications that it thinks a policeman acted badly (eg, denied qualified immunity), what happens to the policeman’s career and/or how that policeman is perceived by his peers?

    Some people say that there is really no consequence for that policeman — that the employer pays all the cost of the suit and any adverse judgements or settlements (I am pretty sure that part happens), and that the policeman is good to go. On the other hand, I am willing to believe that that sharp criticism from a judge might be bad for a policeman’s career even if the demotions and such are not publicized. Maybe other policemen don’t even want to work with a policeman criticized by a judge. Or maybe not. What is the real deal on this issue?

    As an example, the policemen who TASERED that Polish immigrant to death at the Vancouver airport. They were criticized by Canadian authorities I think. But did anything bad actually happen to them or their careers in policing? Are their careers actually better now because they showed a willingness to kill that guy?

    Sincerely,

    Burgers Allday

    “Its gotta be Burgers!” ™

  5. #5 |  DoubleU | 

    David, What do you do when you find someone with a small amount of illegal drugs?

  6. #6 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Hi Dave, welcome to The Agitator. It is rare indeed for an active police officer to publicly denounce the drug war. Thank you for your courage. We need to see a lot more of this kind of courage in policing.

    I am somewhat familiar with your situation from visiting the LEAP website. Do you face threats or harassment due to your views or is the department brass leaving you alone at the moment? Police agencies are not known for treating dissenters kindly. This is one of the reasons I stopped looking into LEO jobs recently. Do you think you will be able to stay in law enforcement for awhile or do you think that yout department will eventually find a reason to terminate you?

  7. #7 |  Jeremy Weiland | 

    Thanks for your generosity in answering these questions, Mr. Bratzer

    1. What is the best way for a civilian to deal with an LEO who is irrationally aggressive? How can citizens effectively deescalate when officers seem to be trying to escalate? I realize that I have a right not to speak, etc. but sometimes when an officer is worked up this almost seems to exacerbate the situation.

    2. How do you think the culture of policing can be changed to be less aggressive and totalitarian (if you don’t think it’s either, that’s fine)? I’m thinking of the institutional structure of policing and how incentives and the identity of being a cop has changed over the past 30-40 years.

    3. Any thoughts on this? Even though it’s a little hippy-dippy, the idea of breaking up the police from an all-purpose service institution into focused groups dealing with particular social problems — arming or disarming officers based on the nature of the problem and what kind of authority and force is required seems reasonable if we identify that the culture of policing is based on institutional dynamics that no one person can reasonably be expected to affect. One thing I like about this proposal is that it would require law enforcement to organize itself as a direct response to social patterns, instead of reacting and adapting all-purpose training to shifting trends in society.

    Thanks again.

  8. #8 |  divadab | 

    Hi, Officer Bratzer,

    My question has to do with the legal situation of medicinal cannabis in British Columbia, Canada, where you work. As you probably know, your neighbors in Washington State are working out the legal status of medicinal cannabis dispensaries on a local basis since the State Governor vetoed legislation which would have set up a dispensary licensing arrangement. In Seattle, for example, there are many dispensaries operating openly, collecting sales taxes, etc. In Bellingham, by contrast, the City returned the tax payments from dispensaries they had licensed, revoked their business licenses, and attempted to close all of them. Two remain open pending legal action.

    What is the situation in British Columbia? I know of two dispensaries operating in Vancouver, but have been told they are operating illegally. Is this true? IS this a local issue like in Washington State? So, for example, are dispensaries operating legally in Victoria?

    Thanks for standing forth in the face of prohibitionist opposition, Sir.

  9. #9 |  LEAP | 

    Mike H – Regarding thermal imaging, practises can vary widely from one department to another. I’m not up-to-date on the latest case law. Generally, my impression is that thermal imaging is not used randomly in residential areas. Rather, it is used as one step in an existing marijuana grow investigation to help police get a search warrant. I’ve never seen patrol units drive around a neighbourhood with one of these cameras. (It is much easier to look for the houses that don’t have frost on their roof in the morning.)

    DoubleU – If it is a small amount of drugs, often I will seize them with no charges.

    Helmet – thanks for the welcome. I publicly joined LEAP in 2008, and did experience some difficulties at that time. Now things are much better. Part of it was that in 2008, a few of my colleagues did not understand the difference between “supporting drug use” and “supporting drug policy reform.” Four years later, my fellow officers see that I work hard while on-duty and still enforce the law (including drug offences).

    I should clarify (even though it’s probably obvious) that these are my own opinions and not those of my department. DB

  10. #10 |  Kristian | 

    From my experience as a software developer, I have found that most true shortcuts in process, procedure and institutional judgement come in two areas:
    1) Looming deadlines (not enought time)
    2) Really boring, seemingly pointless work that have advanced to the ‘that’s the way we have always done it’ and/or have become the bete noir of one or more individuals.

    For the most part, @ TheAgitator, we get a lot of coverage of #1. What I was wondering, was in your experience what part of policing is ill served by #2? That seems to be where we can get unambiguous improvements from reform…

    (I am not so sure that #1 can ever be fully fixed. From my military service, I know training can not ever ensure that 100% of soldiers will respond correctly under fire / stress…)

  11. #11 |  Other Sean | 

    David,

    Cops in medium-to-large U.S. cities lie habitually. They lie about why they stopped people, what they said during the encounter, whether they got consent to search, where and how they found this or that piece of contraband, etc. They lie on their reports, they lie in court, they lie to their supervisors, they lie to their wives, and when they go out drinking at the end of the day, they even lie to their best friends about girls they slept with and asses they kicked.

    A few years ago, I was playing poker with a group of cops when someone in his late 30s started talking about people he’d killed “back in ‘Nam”. The incredible thing was that no one challenged him on this, as if a mutual non-confrontation pact existed between the men, so that each could tell tales of the most absurd and fanciful type with no risk of being called out for it.

    In sum, cops lie about as effortlessly and as naturally as the muscles of their digestive tract engage in peristalsis (the end product in both cases being of like odor). Even if they wished to stop lying, they probably couldn’t.

    I’ve often wondered: can it be this bad everywhere? Do Canadian cops lie like that? Do they produce false reports and perjure themselves as a matter of habit? Are they just as inured to deception as cops from The States?

  12. #12 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    Fine, I’ll ask it. Dave, what is going on with shooting dogs? Deliberate tactic? Part of training? Fear? Misconceptions about breeds? Transfer of training about aggressive humans to canines? I get that if a person comes running at you, they could grab your gun and shoot you, and that might really justify use of deadly force. Are they just in the way? Is this just unavoidable when cops have to raid a home? I’d like a cop’s perspective. The only one we ever seem to get is that their department is investigating the incident.

  13. #13 |  jb | 

    In certain circumstances, sometimes the best option is for the officer (who reported the incident) to move to another police department or to retire and then file a civil suit. I know it’s not fair. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. DB

    The question was what can be done about the problem of retribution against officers that report bad cops. It’s a systemic problem that corrupts the institution. The first part of your response addresses that very issue, bad cops drive out good cops. Your shrug of a conclusion, too bad for the good cops, doesn’t answer the question, what can be done about it.

    This should be a issue of vital concern to law enforcement. The cops know they have this problem. The public knows they have this problem. Law enforcement doesn’t seem to much care there is a problem. The public concludes there is no such thing as a good cop. The divide between law enforcement and community increases.

  14. #14 |  Anonymous | 

    DoubleU – If it is a small amount of drugs, often I will seize them with no charges.

    I guess that’s better than kidnapping and extorting money from them but you’re still stealing. Have you made any attempt to find another job? One that doesn’t require you to commit crimes.

  15. #15 |  marie | 

    Why are search warrants routinely executed as if the cops will be in danger when they enter the home? Why is it necessary–every time!–for cops to use a home invasion model for serving search warrants? The smallest bit of investigation would have shown that my family has no history of violence and no criminal history at all. A tiny bit more investigation would have shown that waiting an hour to serve the warrant would have made sure the children were not home when the cops came in.

    What happened to “protect and serve”?

  16. #16 |  Lex | 

    Other Sean, I have an anecdote for you. In the mid-80s a former friend was popped for dealing in Alberta. The trial was a real eye-opener for me. I expected my friends to lie. I hadn’t expected the cops or expert witnesses to lie. I don’t recall the details of the cops lying, but I still remember the ‘expert witness’ from AADAC who informed us all with a straight face that there was no way anyone would ever take more than one hit of acid in a week. (I personally had taken more than 10 hits that particular week.) So in my experience, yes the cops lie here like they apparently do everywhere else.

  17. #17 |  LEAP | 

    JB – History shows that civil litigation is one of the best ways to change unjust and illegal behaviour by police officers and departments.

    So the question was, “what do you think can be done about the retribution good cops face for reporting on bad officers?” And my answer remains the same: “sometimes the best option is for the officer (who reported the incident) to move to another police department or to retire and then file a civil suit.”

    We also need to look at the root causes of police corruption. This is why I’ve dedicated so much effort to ending global drug prohibition.

  18. #18 |  LEAP | 

    Jeremy Weiland – I’ll try to answer your three questions:

    1. What to do when a citizen is dealing an “irrationally aggressive” police officer? The best approach is to follow the Ten Rules for Dealing with Police. This film will also help you to avoid these encounters in the first place.

    2. How to make the culture of policing less aggressive and totalitarian? It comes down to professionalism. Here an excellent essay by Christopher Stone. He sums up my feelings on this issue exactly.

    3. Is it possible to get rid of the police entirely? There will always be a need for police. That said, it would be great to see other government and non-government organizations accept some of the duties and responsibility that fall on the police. The author of the essay is correct in suggesting that in many cases, police may not be the ones best suited to respond to a particular problem. Right now police officers do respond 24/7 to a variety of social problems, mainly because no one else is willing to step in and solve them while also accepting the accountability and liability that comes with getting involved. DB

  19. #19 |  LEAP | 

    (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater – I don’t understand the whole dog shooting thing either. There are more humane options. Postal workers carry pepper spray to deal with aggressive dogs. Could you imagine the outcry if started they shooting dogs instead? DB

  20. #20 |  Guest blogging on The Agitator | David Bratzer | 

    […] week I’m guest blogging on Radley Balko’s blog, The […]

  21. #21 |  LEAP | 

    Hi divadab – There are regulations for medical marijuana in Canada. Unfortunately, they are the result of rulings from the Supreme Court of Canada and the federal government has opposed their introduction at every step.

    In British Columbia we do have a number of medical marijuana dispensaries. They are illegal because the dispensary model of distribution is not permitted by the medical marijuana regulations in Canada. Some of these dispensaries get raided by police from time to time.

    On a related note, I am supporting Sensible BC, a provincial referendum campaign in support of decriminalizing marijuana possession. DB

  22. #22 |  Lenore Skenazy | 

    Hi, Cop on The (Agitator) Beat: My question is: How come I keep hearing from so many parents who’ve been visited by the cops for letting their kids play outside? I really have heard from dozens of dismayed, scared and angry parents. What can they say to reassure the police (or CPS) that they are NOT negligent, and that they are not exposing their kids to incredible danger? And what can they do if the cop disagrees and truly believes that kids outside are nothing more than kidnappings waiting to happen? Thanks for your help. People ask me, so I’m asking you. — Lenore Skenazy, founder, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids.com)

  23. #23 |  I Let My Kids Play Outside & The Cops Wrote Up a Report | The Agitator | 

    […] tell these traumatized parents. In fact, I just asked a cop on a post below this one (aptly titled, “Ask a Cop”). So here’s the latest letter. Since when does the government get to decide whether or not […]

  24. #24 |  LEAP | 

    Good question Lenore – I’ve written a few thoughts in the comments section of your post.

  25. #25 |  MattJ | 

    BoscoeH

    My brother worked for several years as a salesman at a company that sells police gear (flashlights, knives, belts, batons, uniforms, vests, cuffs, etc) In that capacity he got to know a lot of cops, both individually (cops who came into the store to buy things their departments wouldn’t provide – upgrades, really) and in groups (whole departments where he would win bids to supply uniforms and have to take measurements for everyone & deal with any returns). In short, he has a lot of friends in law enforcement, in several states. You can’t sell well unless you can establish some trust.

    Last year, I asked him to ask the question you’ve posed (obviously, he chose carefully which of his LEO friends to ask) and he told me they all said basically the same thing: ‘When you’re getting ready for a raid like that, you psyche yourself up to be ready to shoot, and the adrenalin gets to you. You almost feel like you have to kill something.’

    I don’t know if it’s the truth, but that’s what they told him.

  26. #26 |  Thom | 

    LEAP, don’t take this personally, but I have a hard time trusting anybody who would willingly work as a police officer in the USA or Canada, and I don’t welcome your presence on a web site such as this one.

    Even apart from the drug war, it seems as though much of the routine work done by police officers and the tactics used by them to do that work runs counter to my values.

    My question for you is this: most police officers who I have met seem attracted to the job for the wrong reasons, and the nature of the work itself seems to attract some of the worst people. Do you consider yourself an outsider in your department, who is different than your colleagues? Or, outside of your specific focus on the drug war, are you just another part of the problem?

    Or, more bluntly, since police work often seems to involve arbitrarily ruining people’s lives for no good reason, or helping others who are doing so, how do you sleep at night?

  27. #27 |  Mannie | 

    #17 | LEAP | August 19th, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    JB – History shows that civil litigation is one of the best ways to change unjust and illegal behaviour by police officers and departments.

    So the question was, “what do you think can be done about the retribution good cops face for reporting on bad officers?” And my answer remains the same: “sometimes the best option is for the officer (who reported the incident) to move to another police department or to retire and then file a civil suit.”

    This is a part of why many of us believe there are no good cops, only bad cops who have not yet committed a felony.

    Sorry.

  28. #28 |  Lou | 

    First, Dave, props for putting yourself in the line of fire like this. That said, that’s all the respect you’re going to get from me for your choice of such an abusive occupation.
    Three questions.
    My first query is in regard to revenue generation. How much money would you estimate the average constable or officer in your province generates? Include please any court imposed fines as well as citations issued on the spot.
    For the second, how many lives have you personally had a hand in destroying in your enforcement of cannabis legislation specifically?
    And lastly, a two part. In your job, is the ultimate goal Justice/Public Safety, or is it your getting home safely after your shift? Does one supersede the other in your opinion?

  29. #29 |  Hand Banana | 

    Hi Dave, since you’re a Canadian cop I won’t start with my regular request that you die in a fire. Being in LEAP is a “nice thing” you are doing. I am sorry but I have to agree with Mannie. I CAN’T accept any kindness from you, nor give, by your profession you have made yourself the enemy of freedom loving people. Please find a new “profession” before your current one corrupts you. There are no good cops, just gangster and the scum that cover for them. Sadly, this includes you Dave, nothing personal.

  30. #30 |  LEAP | 

    Thom, Mannie, Hand Banana – You’re more than welcome to express your feelings. I don’t take it personally at all. Whenever a libertarian tells me that they hate all cops, or that they view all police officers as the “enemy,” I think of John Perry. He was a police officer and a libertarian hero.

    As for myself, I’m not a libertarian but I have strong vision for global justice reform. I’ve chosen to pursue this long-term goal from the “inside out” as a participant in the criminal justice system. Some people struggle with the ethics of the path I’ve chosen and that’s OK. DB

  31. #31 |  marie | 

    Dave, perhaps you missed my question at #15?

  32. #32 |  JLS | 

    David I appreciate you taking the heat by blogging here. My question is this-do cops in Canada live in the same echo chamber they do here in America? What I mean is that here in America the police are so greatly feared now that there is almost never any real criticism of them to their face but rather a constant and pretty much universal subservient ass kissing. This is incredibly unhealthy for everyone.

    Even on cop message boards, as many readers of this blog can attest, they routinely ban anyone from posting who is even remotely critical of the police. Of course when you surround yourselves with flatterers and insulate yoursourselves from legitimate criticism or discussion you run the terrible risk of becoming so puffed up, arrogant and prideful that you lose all perspective and I believe this underlying arrogance is the root of most of the problems that are reported on this blog. So the question is, are you aware of the danger of this or that this is even happening?

  33. #33 |  Hand Banana | 

    Hey Dave thanks for the John Perry Link. That is one (1) decent cop out of how many hundreds of thousands in the U.S.? One (1) decent cop doesn’t make the rest of you stink any less. It actually makes you stink more, John Perry is the what all of you should be like. Instead you are more like a troop of steroid abusing baboons. As a serious question, How many times have YOU arrested a fellow gang-member that you saw commit a crime? My guess is zero (0). And that makes you a bad apple, not John Perry. Sorry.

  34. #34 |  As if | 

    Marie, daveyboy here is not allowed to respond to those types of questions. He is still a member of the cop gang after all & cops are not allowed to say anything on record that disparages their gang or they would face disciplinary actions, official or otherwise.
    I don’t think d-boy will be answering any more questions. Further it was stupid of him to do such a thing on this kind of site in the first place. Did he really think he was going to convince anyone here that he and his fellow gang members are good guys? I know damn well when someones trying to blow smoke up my ass.
    And davey, fuck you so very much for being such a brainwashed, party line spewing, legislation enforcing, tool of the politicians. The fact you hide your actions behind the skirt of safety and security make you so much more reprehensible.
    A question to fellow agitators. What do you suppose would be the consequence for us regcits if we tried to express these opinions or ask these questions to the average badge gang member in public?

  35. #35 |  Asl | 

    I’m no criminal hear I’m Mn because of palenty . What will it take to knock sense into this state , can’t we do a initiative like other states have? Why not let the people vote for once here.

  36. #36 |  CAROL | 

    Hi, i was wondering my other half got arrested for some things. but they released him for the same night. what happened was that this police officer who is related to someone at my husbands work, told him about his incident. and my husband had to meet with managers about something that happened outside of work. now everyone is looking at him wrong. what i am trying to say is that WAS IT RIGHT THAT THE POLICE OFFICER DISCLOSED INFORMATION TO MY HUSBANDS WORK? AND THE OFFICER IS RELATED TO THE MANAGER THERE. WHAT CAN WE DO?

  37. #37 |  As if...again | 

    Was modded…The most likely offending words are replaced in caps.
    Anyway, the gist of it was…
    Marie, d-boy won’t be answering any more questions because he is still an active gang member. Gangbangers like him aren’t allowed to say anything disparaging on the record about their gang lest they face disciplinary actions, official or otherwise.
    Was stupid of him to do this on this kind of site in the first place. Did he really think he was going to convince anyone here that he and his accomplices are the good guys? It’s laughable. I know DARN well when someone’s trying to blow smoke up my BEHIND.
    And davey, EFF you so very much for being such a brainwashed, party line spewing, legislation enforcing, tool of the politicians.
    On the very slight off chance he will answer more questions, here’s mine. “What does the constable think would be the repercussions for any of us regcits if we were to to express these opinions or ask these questions to the average cop in public?”
    Now lets see if that gets posted.

  38. #38 |  Canadian themed links this morning | The Agitator | 

    […] I’m working later today) so my ability to post comments is limited. I am still following the Ask a Cop thread and I will (eventually) answer all the questions. As always, please note that my posts and […]

  39. #39 |  JLS | 

    As if “A question to fellow agitators. What do you suppose would be the consequence for us regcits if we tried to express these opinions or ask these questions to the average badge gang member in public?”

    Maybe in some parts of the country you could have an honest dialogue with police but here in Texas you wouldn’t dare express such opinons or ask such questions as have been asked in this thread to a cop because of the risk of them getting offended. They have a saying “You can beat the rap (meaning the judge may throw out your case because you didn’t do anyting illegal) but you can’t beat the ride (meaning if you annoy us we’re going to take you away and put you ina cage anyway)” When you have a culture that glories in their ability to ignore the law and hurt anyone they wish with impunity then you can’t really have any dealings with them that aren’t potentially dangerous for you.

  40. #40 |  A Critic | 

    “Four years later, my fellow officers see that I work hard while on-duty and still enforce the law (including drug offences).”

    Do you ever think about your victims and the negative consequences of YOUR actions on their lives?

  41. #41 |  marie | 

    I’m taking you at your word, Dave, that you are going to answer all the questions, so here is another:

    Have you ever been part of a home-invasion-style search warrant execution? While investigating a non-violent crime? Were there children home? Tell us how it felt, to go in with your gun drawn, knowing that the kids were home, and knowing that there was no reason to expect a violent welcome.

  42. #42 |  Other Sean | 

    Marie,

    That was not a question. That was a statement disguised by questions marks.

  43. #43 |  Compact Disc | 

    >What is the best way for a civilian to deal with an LEO who is irrationally aggressive?

    There are a number of courses and a wide variety of education/training material available, on- and offline, for free and otherwise, that deal with this subject whether the irrational person is an LEO or not. From cranky tourists at gas stations, to drunken strip bar patrons, to mental health clients, to shoplifters – everyone is different and yet the same. I suggest you establish a background (professional or amateur, doesn’t matter) in secure and forensic mental health and security as a wider industry. Almost everyone has something “wrong” with them; and of course different people (including LEOs) respond better or worse to different approaches, different combinations of proxemics/kinesics and tone, volume and cadence of conversation.

    >I am not so sure that #1 can ever be fully fixed. From my military service, I know training can not ever ensure that 100% of soldiers will respond correctly under fire / stress…)

    You are probably not wrong, however many things can be done to mitigate this issue. A good starting point is Grossman’s “On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and Peace”, which is a treatise on the effects of conflict on mind and body. It’s the same whether the conflict is verbal or physical, although physical conflict tends to magnify the effect. From there, Grossman has a good list of books (by others as well as himself) here: http://www.killology.com/books.htm and more can be found here: http://www.warriorsciencegroup.com/

    (Good conduct is as much about minimising further violence as it is about stemming what’s already happening.)

    >What is going on with shooting dogs? Deliberate tactic? Part of training? Fear? Misconceptions about breeds? Transfer of training about aggressive humans to canines?

    The issue with a dog is that there is no way to know whether it is going to bite you until (and unless) it bites you. I would consider most medium- and large-size dogs -capable- of inflicting grievous bodily harm or death, but again there is no way (any more than there is with a person) to discern intent. If a man points a gun at you, shooting him is justified. If a dog points its mouth at you and lunges, I would argue shooting it is also justified, on the basis that a person is vulnerable to a dog – femoral artery, brachial artery, neck, Achilles tendon, tendons in the knees, bites to the face, and so forth. The onus is on dog owners to keep dogs to hand/heel and under control. Although dogs are living creatures and not property in the sense that screwdrivers, couches, or cutlery are property, they are still property. If your property endangers a person, that person has a right to protect themselves.

    To answer your question more directly using the options you outline, I would say it is a combination of deliberate tactic selection, fear, and transfer of training. Breed misconception I do not imagine is an issue since a German shepard is just as capable of inflicting a life-altering or -threatening wound as is a pit bull.

    You say you would like a cop’s perspective. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a cop, but I have worked closely with cops and with dogs. I have not accompanied either on “raids”, but I would imagine that during such an event a dog’s instinct would be similar to a human’s – submit, run, posture, or fight. The first two are not an issue, but dogs can be incredibly loud and that is a more-than-effective tactical distraction, to say nothing of creating uncertanity as to whether or not the animal is going to charge. There is no easy way to buttstroke a dog, and dogs are not liable to surrender to people – animals of whatever species tend to only surrender/submit to other specimens of that species. In this case the animal is not simply “just in the way”, but unfortunately placed and acting in an unfortunate fashion.

    >I guess that’s better than kidnapping and extorting money from them but you’re still stealing. Have you made any attempt to find another job? One that doesn’t require you to commit crimes.

    Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure. Seizure of contraband – something illegal to possess – is not unreasonable. I understand that you feel otherwise, however a majority of Canadians do not agree to far enough of an extent that they choose to protest otherwise en masse. You are free to travel elsewhere on Earth, live the way you choose, and leave the rest of us to live the way we choose, until such time as marijuana is legalised (which I support, by the way, but I’m tired of this whinging).

    >Why are search warrants routinely executed as if the cops will be in danger when they enter the home? Why is it necessary–every time!–for cops to use a home invasion model for serving search warrants? The smallest bit of investigation would have shown that my family has no history of violence and no criminal history at all. A tiny bit more investigation would have shown that waiting an hour to serve the warrant would have made sure the children were not home when the cops came in.

    I agree. Like I said above, I’m not a cop. That said, I have planned and run interesting pieces of work before. In every case where there was no exigent threat to someone, I made every attempt at minimising not only use of force but unit presence and public awareness of our work – plain clothes rather than uniforms, minimal initial contact with reinforcements across the street, polite and quiet tones rather than authoritative, totalitarian barked orders, and so on. This method is often applicable, though not always. I would hope that if police felt it necessary to run a piece of work against my residence that their first thought would not be “Oh, boy, another raid” but “How can we ensure this goes smoothly and doesn’t become a screwup?”

    >Is it possible to get rid of the police entirely? There will always be a need for police.

    As far as we can see and until and unless people change.

    >What can they say to reassure the police (or CPS) that they are NOT negligent

    In the case of police, I would recommend recording contacts in writing (time/date/place and all details), and on tape if possible, to form a basis for possible stalking / harassment charges. Write to the media, the department chief, the department public affairs officer, and anyone else you can think of explaining that molesting a family for this reason is not okay.

    CPS, as far as I am aware, has more expansive powers than police in this regard and so may be tougher to handle. That said, presumably there are organisations or individuals who exist to provide oversight for CPS. Find out who they are and get ahold of them.

    >Last year, I asked him to ask the question you’ve posed (obviously, he chose carefully which of his LEO friends to ask) and he told me they all said basically the same thing: ‘When you’re getting ready for a raid like that, you psyche yourself up to be ready to shoot, and the adrenalin gets to you. You almost feel like you have to kill something.’ I don’t know if it’s the truth, but that’s what they told him.

    To an extent, and of course depending on the individual, this can be true. There can exist an immense pressure that when and if the situation arises you will not be able to pull the trigger, and that you or, worse, someone else will get hurt because of your failure. It is not of course an excuse for shooting dogs, although there can be legitimate reasons to shoot them. Also, your friend’s friends’ choice of words – “You almost feel like you have to kill something” – is a poor one, unhelpful for the issue and hugely imprecise. Of course, many departments do not select who goes on “raids” based on maturity and dedication to duty and training but rather on who is available and other poor selection factors. There is a world of difference between LAPD SWAT, especially in its early days, and another department’s unit that may be -called- SWAT but is made up of personnel with inferior training, mindset, motivation, dedication, ethics, and morality.

    >I have a hard time trusting anybody who would willingly work as a police officer in the USA or Canada

    You sound like my jaded ex-girlfriend: “Men are all the same”. Cops are all the same, too, I guess? You have had many, many bad experiences, with many bad cops, and so have your friends and family, and this has led you to conclude that is not worth the risk of trusting a cop ever again, unless you absolutely have to?

    I give you the same advice I gave her: start treating people as individuals again, rather than as an amorphous mass. Conduct careful reconnaisance to distinguish between actual thinking human beings and mindless drones, and then to distinguish, of the ones who think, which are the good guys and which are the bad guys. It takes considerably more effort than simply saying “All men/cops are bad because I got hurt in the past”, and it is considerably more rewarding.

    >Since police work often seems to involve arbitrarily ruining people’s lives for no good reason, or helping others who are doing so, how do you sleep at night?

    I was recently involved in an arrest during which the arrestee complained that his life was ruined. First, in many cases, the arrestee’s actions are what led to them getting arrested, so I didn’t ruin their life, they did. In events where this was not the case (which I have not had the bad luck to be involved with yet, thankfully), it is someone who is not me who decides whether or not charges are pressed, and if it goes to trial it is more people who are not me who find the arrestee guilty or innocent (judge, jury) so, again, it is not me who ruins their lives but someone else. All I do is get the ball rolling for the entire process.

    Also, I note that you use the phrase “seems to involve arbitrarily ruining people’s lives for no good reason”. There you pretty much answer your own question: “seems”.

    As for how I sleep at night: with one eye open. Sweet dreams.

    >that’s all the respect you’re going to get from me for your choice of such an abusive occupation.

    An occuptation cannot be abusive. The intangible concept of a nurse is not what resuscitates someone in cardiac arrest, it is the person themselves holding the office of nurse. Some police are abusive, even many. So are some teachers, nurses, and soldiers. Fewer firefighters, I imagine, but I have no way to confirm that. Politicians, accountants, lawyers, personal trainers, gas station attendants, grocery store managers, civil engineers, mechanics, airline pilots, ship captains – some of all of them are abusive. It might be better for you to acknowledge that some people, regardless of what they choose to do for a living, are abusive. There are even some unemployed people who are abusive. Is an abusive criminal better than an abusive police officer in your eyes because they are the antithesis of a cop?

    If you object to the use-of-force bit of the job and similar aspects I can see your point and agree with you, but you should vote with your wallet. Police are controlled by the government, who are controlled by the people. They can only afford to purchase training, candidate psychological profiling, and mental fitness with the budget you, the taxpayer, afford them – and if directed by you, the voter (indirectly via the people you elect) to prioritise such purchases over grenade launchers and armoured personnel carriers which, though useful, are overpurchases and overused. And it is not just you who is the problem, but your fellow taxpayer-voters as well – which sort of leads back to you being the problem since you are failing to educate them and impress upon them the importance of the issue. Few or none of them have cared historically and few or none will until and unless their home is raided, their property illegally seized, or they or their relatives or friends wrongfully shot or otherwise injured/killed. Get a grip on, and get over, yourself. Police, security guards, military personnel, and politicians are hugely outnumbered in the United States and Canada by regular citizens. This state of affairs is only perpetuated by your ineffectiveness. Shit or get off the pot.

    >How many lives have you personally had a hand in destroying in your enforcement of cannabis legislation specifically?

    That’s impossible to say since it’s impossible to know whether a life is destroyed as a direct or indirect result of such enforcement. Also, you need to define “destroyed” – do you mean how many people have been killed? How many have gone to jail for a life sentence? 25 years? 5 years? 6 months? 30 days? How many divorces have resulted? Come on, man (or woman) (or other/neither, since this is the 21st century), you can do better than melodramatic turns of phrase. War may be an art, but policing, peacekeeping, peacemaking, peace enforcement, and peace support are all sciences.

    >in your job, is the ultimate goal Justice/Public Safety, or is it your getting home safely after your shift? Does one supersede the other in your opinion?

    Justice is as nebulous a word as “destroyed” but in any event public safety is clearly the winner. If not getting home safely after my shift means someone else is safer, there is no choice to be made.

    >since you’re a Canadian cop I won’t start with my regular request that you die in a fire.

    Wow.

    >I CAN’T accept any kindness from you, nor give, by your profession you have made yourself the enemy of freedom loving people. Please find a new “profession” before your current one corrupts you. There are no good cops, just gangster and the scum that cover for them. Sadly, this includes you Dave, nothing personal.

    Again, you sound like my jaded ex-girlfriend. And also a lot of men that I have met who feel like she felt but the opposite because they were men, i.e. that -woman- are all the same because -woman- have screwed -them- over. Please come back with more questions when you have matured somewhat. Sadly I am not holding my breath as the woman in question is in her 40s.

    >they routinely ban anyone from posting who is even remotely critical of the police

    Most such boards are private property and they can ban whoever they like. If you have a problem with it, start your own board. If the KKK were doing their thing on the up-and-up would you go to the KKK message boards and try to tell them how it ought to be? Would that be effective? Would it work? You know what’s up, use the brains insert-deity-of-choice-here gave a goose!

    >Of course when you surround yourselves with flatterers and insulate yoursourselves from legitimate criticism or discussion you run the terrible risk of becoming so puffed up, arrogant and prideful that you lose all perspective and I believe this underlying arrogance is the root of most of the problems that are reported on this blog.

    I would say it’s one root rather than THE root.

    >So the question is, are you aware of the danger of this or that this is even happening?

    Many cops are, yes.

    >One (1) decent cop doesn’t make the rest of you stink any less.

    You are right.

    >It actually makes you stink more

    You are wrong.

    >John Perry is the what all of you should be like.

    You are partly right.

    >Instead you are more like a troop of steroid abusing baboons.

    You are partly right.

    >As a serious question, How many times have YOU arrested a fellow gang-member that you saw commit a crime?

    Although you did not address this to me personally, I will answer it anyway. I have not seen any fellow gang-members commit a crime, however (as one example) I was staffing a protest once upon a time and a fellow gang-member took vehement exception to having his picture taken by a member of the protest gang. Said protest gang-member had earlier asked us for our names and my colleague had responded in a hostile manner. (I had shaken hands and introduced myself.) After the photographs were taken my colleague lunged forward and began shouting angrily. Naturally, no one likes being angrily shouted at and the protest gang-member began to shout back. I placed myself between fellow gang-member and protest gang-member, cracked my widest grin, and informed them both that they would be in the doghouse with me if I had to fill out paperwork because of their shenanigans. More levelheaded members of both gangs stepped forward, grabbed the shouters, and pulled them back to each side’s line. You see, neither my gang nor “your gang” are perfect, but there are those on both “sides” (though in reality we are all on the same side) with cooler heads, who seek a better path than fighting.

    >My guess is zero (0). And that makes you a bad apple, not John Perry. Sorry.

    Why are you apologizing? If your guess is right and he is a bad apple, then you have nothing to apologize for.

    >Marie, daveyboy here is not allowed to respond to those types of questions.

    Shows all you know.

    >cops are not allowed to say anything on record that disparages their gang or they would face disciplinary actions, official or otherwise.

    Ditto.

    >I don’t think d-boy will be answering any more questions.

    You write like someone who has had many bad experiences and is very angry and emotional about them and has not yet found a constructive way to deal with them. I am sorry that bad people did bad things to you.

    >Did he really think he was going to convince anyone here that he and his fellow gang members are good guys?

    Probably not. From observation my guess is that that is not his goal, though. I think instead his goal is to inform people, whether they are “convinced” or not.

    >And davey, #$&% you so very much for being such a brainwashed, party line spewing, legislation enforcing, tool of the politicians.

    I see no evidence of brainwashing or very little party line spewing. As far as enforcement of legislation goes, that’s what police are for. Try harder. There is a primer on insulting people here: http://readfreeonline.net/OnlineBooks/There_Will_be_Dragons/There_Will_be_Dragons_43.html Go to that page, hit CTRL+F and do a search for the string “He thought for a moment then cleared his throat.” (without quotation marks).

    >The fact you hide your actions behind the skirt of safety and security make you so much more reprehensible.
    >so much more reprehensible.

    As compared to what? Criminals that just go out in men’s clothing (i.e. without the skirt of safety and security – skirt, get it? See that?)? Also, which actions? When’s the last time you personally found him personally committing some grievous breach of the law?

    >What do you suppose would be the consequence for us regcits if we tried to express these opinions or ask these questions to the average badge gang member in public?

    It would depend on how you asked, and the gang member themselves. Also, “regcit” sounds like a made-up portmanteau from the old tabletop role-playing game “Paranoia”, troped here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/TabletopGame/Paranoia

    You and others like you amuse em.

    >I’m no criminal hear I’m Mn because of palenty . What will it take to knock sense into this state , can’t we do a initiative like other states have? Why not let the people vote for once here.

    …what?

    >Hi, i was wondering my other half got arrested for some things. but they released him for the same night. what happened was that this police officer who is related to someone at my husbands work, told him about his incident. and my husband had to meet with managers about something that happened outside of work. now everyone is looking at him wrong. what i am trying to say is that WAS IT RIGHT THAT THE POLICE OFFICER DISCLOSED INFORMATION TO MY HUSBANDS WORK? AND THE OFFICER IS RELATED TO THE MANAGER THERE. WHAT CAN WE DO?

    The officer in question should be fired and never allowed to work in this industry or related industries again. If your husband was released without charge, I would try to obtain evidence of the statements that were made (from the cop to the employee, and from the employee to management and other employees) and go to whoever is in charge of employment standards in your state/province, as well as for the department.

    >Was modded…The most likely offending words are replaced in caps.

    That’s what happens when you don’t read the rules before posting. Even people from 4chan know that.

    >here in Texas

    Sounds like Texans need to do some growing and take back their streets.

    >When you have a culture that glories in their ability to ignore the law

    Sounds like you need to change the culture.

    >Do you ever think about your victims and the negative consequences of YOUR actions on their lives?

    I don’t know about him, but I sure do. While my experience is far more limited than his, in every case I’m glad they got caught doing what they were doing (they all got caught doing something wrong). If you’re hungry, there are places where you can eat (at least here). If you’re homeless, there are places where you can sleep (ditto). There is literally no reason where I live to commit any major crime (theft, B&E, assault, arson, murder, rape, robbery, etc).

  44. #44 |  Disregard Badgelicker Disc | 

    First and foremost, the thread is Ask A “Cop”, not ask some random badgelicker. “In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a cop” Pretty much sums that up.
    Second, he doesnt really answer the good questions. Just chose the ones he could spin.
    Thirdly, he uses a lot of spurious arguments & tries to cast aspersions upon the querier instead of addressing the questions issue. He knew damn well what the issue of the question was but he repeatedly chose instead to subtly insult the asker or tried to deflect the issue outright.
    Fourth, he really seems to be saying “The Law has been broken, someone MUST be punished!” regardless the law may simply be unjust or protectionist.
    Fifth, the funniest, he actually said that the people control the government. That alone show he has a penchant for “party line spewing”. The people he had a hand in arresting may likely have been protesting for the return of control to the people instead of lobby groups like the police unions.
    I could go on and on but I’ll let someone else try. Anybody have any issues with the way disc here took it upon himself to answer these?
    *waiting for Constable Dave, an actual cop, to ‘eventually’ answer these questions*

  45. #45 |  JLS | 

    “>they routinely ban anyone from posting who is even remotely critical of the police

    Most such boards are private property and they can ban whoever they like. If you have a problem with it, start your own board. If the KKK were doing their thing on the up-and-up would you go to the KKK message boards and try to tell them how it ought to be? Would that be effective? Would it work? You know what’s up, use the brains insert-deity-of-choice-here gave a goose!”

    You missed my point. I don’t have a problem with private boards banning whoever they want. I used that as an example of something destructive to cops themselves-this insulating themselves from legitimate criticism and dialogue.

    “>here in Texas

    Sounds like Texans need to do some growing and take back their streets.”

    How?

    “>When you have a culture that glories in their ability to ignore the law

    Sounds like you need to change the culture.”

    Oh I didn’t realize it was that simple. Just change the culture. Wow I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

  46. #46 |  marie | 

    There is literally no reason where I live to commit any major crime (theft, B&E, assault, arson, murder, rape, robbery, etc).

    There is also literally no reason why some things need to be considered major crimes and yet they are.

  47. #47 |  Combat Disc | 

    >First and foremost, the thread is Ask A “Cop”, not ask some random badgelicker.

    You sound angry. I have never licked a badge; I have been arrested, cuffed, thrown around, jacked up, and interrogated. Never been actually charged with anything though.

    >Second, he doesnt really answer the good questions. Just chose the ones he could spin.

    Actually, I tried to answer the ones that OP had not yet gotten around to… and of course the ones for which I have an agenda, ’cause everyone has an agenda ;-) Feel free to re-highlight questions you have specific leanings towards if you like. Of course, I don’t know why I expect you to do that, given that you’re not interested in what I have to say. After all, I’m not a cop. Frankly I don’t know why you even replied to me spurious arguments
    >aspersions
    >subtly insult the asker
    >tried to deflect the issue outright

    Again, feel free to highlight either the original question(s) or what I said. I’m not perfect, but if you’d like me to elaborate on soemthing I’m more than willing to give it a shot.

    >“The Law has been broken, someone MUST be punished!”

    In some cases even when a law is broken no one winds up punished. There can be extenuating/exigent circumstances. I don’t feel that’s wrong.

    >the law may simply be unjust or protectionist.

    You are not wrong. Sending a teenager (or an adult) to jail for a year for possessing X number of grams of marijuana, for example. Unless the marijuana catches fire and results in a street of houses burning down (negligence), I don’t see an issue with it, as long as I don’t have to smell it (i.e. it’s consumed in the privacy of one’s own home).

    >the actually said that the people control the government

    They do, and the fact that you think that’s funny (or that me mentioning it is funny), to me seems to demonstrate a lack of respect for the people, the system, or both. Close your eyes for a second (but not yet – finish reading this sentence first) and imagine a world where folks like you, me, OP, and maybe some other folks ITT are the kinds of folks in the legislature settin’ up the laws. Do you or do you not prefer that vision to reality? Or any alternative? The nice thing thing about reality is that it’s malleable. If I’m too cold, I can put on a sweater. Some things are that simple.

    >Oh I didn’t realize it was that simple. Just change the culture. Wow I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

    I didn’t say it was simple. A drug addict can come off the drug; a violent man who beats his wife can discover Buddhism and live a live of peace and goodwill towards all everafter; etc. But if it takes X amount of time and energy to change oneself or to help one person change themselves, how much time and energy do you imagine it will take to change our society and culture? Many things worth doing are hard, and complicated (as opposed to simple)… that does not make them any less worth doing. “The important things are always simple, the simple things are always hard.” “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” “Anything worth doing is worth a lifetime of service.” Your mileage may vary depending on what the “thing worth doing” is (cooking spaghetti is worth doing but most people don’t spend a lifetime in search of the perfect spag bol recipe), but the adage holds.

    >That alone show he has a penchant for “party line spewing”.

    I’m sorry, what? The only “party” that came up with government by/of/for the people were, you know, the folks down south who figured democracy for a semi-decent idea. At the time that their country was coming into being, Dems and Pubs didn’t yet exist. (1775/1776 vs 1792 and 1854.) So I don’t know what you’re trying to say… maybe some of the subtle insulting I’m supposed to be guilty of, hmm? Sorry!

    >The people he had a hand in arresting may likely have been protesting for the return of control to the people instead of lobby groups like the police unions.

    I have never arrested or detained any protester for any reason.

    >There is also literally no reason why some things need to be considered major crimes and yet they are.

    That’s true too.

  48. #48 |  Combat Disc | 

    Also, semi-offtopic, but thoughts/opinions on the following?

    “It drives me nuts when cop public relations people give ‘safety tips’ that no cop, in private, would ever tell you to do. Carry a personal alarm, etc.”
    –anonymous

    “If you think you are about to be raped, make yourself vomit by putting a finger down your throat. This will make you less appealing to your potential rapist.”
    –Illinois anti-concealed-carry politicians (paraphrased)

    I am in favour of an armed citizenry. I have noticed that when the Republicans do their rallying thing in the States – armed to the teeth – the cops rarely even both to show up because they know they’re outnumbered, outgunned, and outmatched.

  49. #49 |  I Let My 4 Kids Play Outside, On a Sunny Saturday. The Cops Wrote Up a Report | Pensamentos Nómadas | 

    […] these traumatized parents. In fact, I just asked a cop on a post below this one (aptly titled, “Ask a Cop”). So here’s the latest letter. Since when does the government get to decide whether or not our […]

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