Skip to comments.Death of Utah Cop Unlikely to Change Future Drug Raids (UT)
Posted on 01/12/2012 7:07:23 AM PST by marktwain
Six police officers were shot by Matthew David Stewart on January 4, one of them died. Officer Jared Francom was laid to rest today with thousands of mourners in attendance.
Police are being pretty button-lipped about some of the basic questions about the case, though there have been strange reports in the last few fays that Stewart had a "possible bomb" in his house.
"There was a device that was fashioned in a way that concerned those who found it that there were materials that could have been used as a bomb," Weber County Attorney Dee Smith told reporters.
But over at the Agitator, Radley Balko is skeptical. It's certainly possible that Stewart had something strange rigged up, but Balko notes an ATF spokesman who said to The Salt Lake City Tribune, to characterize it as a bomb or device is not accurate at this time. [Balko's italics] It seems entirely likely that this was something involving fertilizer, perhaps involved with Stewart's grow operation. A supposed photo of a bearded Stewart in a suicide-vest was "a Halloween costume," according to his father.
It's a weird, terrible story. But even if Stewart turns out to be a bomb-building nutter after all, that was notwhat this raid was about; cops saw their armed invasion of Stewart's home as another opportunity for the "Narcotics Strike Force team" to go in and do its thing.
However, this extremely unnecessary tragedy is getting a few cops to consider rethinking the terrible tactics which lead to their brother-in-arms being shot.
According to USA Today:
"It's time to change our thinking," says Pat McCarthy, who advises police agencies across the country. "Cops are exposing themselves to increasing danger many times over, and it's just not necessary."
Harvey Hedden, executive director of the International Law Enforcement Trainers and Educators Association, said the group is urging its 4,000 members to "look at everything" in an effort to avoid potentially dangerous complacency on the streets.
"Police work can be 99% boredom and 1% panic," Hedden said. "Routine can be the most dangerous of all. We need to go back to the basics."
Federal and local officials have been troubled for the past two years by the number of firearms-related fatalities. Gun-related fatalities last year were up 15% from 2010. So far in 2012, four officers have been killed by gunfire one more than at the same time in 2011....
Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson said that the incident and the officers' actions remained under investigation and that the activities of the strike force are "on hold" because about half of the unit was involved in the shooting.
McCarthy said the deadly confrontation underscores a need for police to rethink their tactics.
"The days of knocking down doors in drug cases should be over. Given what's going on now, you have to consider other options," McCarthy said.
He said law enforcement officials should focus more on attempting to lure suspects out into the open or simply "wait them out."
Libertarians, or Agitator aficionados might draw a different lesson from the shooting beyond drug raids endanger cops, but certainly going "back to basics" and not treating every drug user or even dealer as a potential Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold would be a great step in preventing this kind of waste of life.
Radley Balko in 2011 on the over-hyped "war on cops." Reason on the militarization of police.
Excepting eminent risk and endangerment to someone (i.e.: a hostage situation, an active shooter, or some one with a bomb/chemical weapon) there is NEVER a need for civilian law enforcement to conduct a dynamic entry.
I vote for using predator drones.
Yep, it has.
When the U.S. Department of Education has SWAT Teams, something is seriously wrong. SERIOUSLY WRONG!
And then there is the fiasco in Tucson with the X-Marine. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. Sheriff Dupnik (Dipstick) should be held accountable for that.
He was the first guy to the door ~ with the warrant!
He knocked. He called out. He pushed the door which was unlocked and unlatched and as he stepped in a woman behind the door grabbed his pistol and managed to shoot his trigger finger.
DC changed its rules of engagement after that ~
BAM you're dead! (or at least the dog)
so...how big was this “grow operation”?
A couple years ago, the ISP and the locals spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to stake out, fly over with thermal imaging, dig through the trash, and ultimately 50 man raid a 63 year old with a chronic bad back growing 2 little pot plants in his basement.
I’m still waiting to see where each of the bullets pulled from these cops came from.
Federal grant money has armed small town police departments and sheriffs with body armor, weapons and paramilitary training that encourages wreckless and excessive action.
There is no imminent danger from a drug dealer’s house, so there is no reason to rush into an unknown and potentially dangerous situation - unless the goal is to kill the suspect (using SWAT team toys), bystanders or risk law enforcement lives in the process.
Here’s what you do.
You call the guy on the phone and tell him there’s a problem with his car registration or something, can you please come over the to the police station to discuss it. Most guys who want to keep a low profile and avoid trouble with the police will come right in.
You survey his house and make sure it is empty while he is over at the police station. Then you then have a detective slip in the back door and quietly search the place. When the detective is finished, then he calls the police station and tells them that they can tell the guy everything is OK, he can go now.
This was a ‘knock and enter’ warrant. I no longer live in Utah, but I think the law requires he be present for the police to enter.
That said, just stop him a block from the house, hand him the warrant and walk him back to the house.
But then it would be hard to justifiy all the money spent on all the cool toys.
So it’s a BAD thing to shoot masked men with guns when they kick in your door?
But did they shoot his dog? Please tell me they SHOT HIS DOG! It’s hardly a police raid anymore unless some jackass with a badge stomps the family poodle to death.
No expense is too great if it keeps just one libertarian off our streets.
they had the guns drawn and sighted on the dogs because they were barking. His girlfriend had to beg them not to shoot. Fortunately, they didn’t.
I am so sick of these stories.
If my door ever gets kicked in I have one big honkin surprise for Mr. Jackboot, fascist, drug nazi:
a fully armored Shi-Tzu!
See how that tastes you bastards!
If I was on the jury I would vote to acquit.
There's ALWAYS imminent danger when delivering a warrant to a drug dealer.
Police have placed preserving evidence at a higher priority than preserving lives.