Skip to comments.Air Force apologizes to family after armed traffic stop (Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio)
Posted on 04/11/2014 4:17:30 AM PDT by Timber Rattler
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Which makes you wonder why Timber Rattler decided to limit the information you had available at the time.
You make a valid point. However, it shouldn't have taken 90 minutes to figure this all out.
Another case of another incompetent federal agency.
The Air Force MPs are probably less efficient than the civilian police about this sort of thing. Anybody who has dealt with the military about anything will not be at all surprised by this. 90 minutes is as to a blink of an eye when it comes to administrative tasks performed by the military.
When we drove onto the base last year to visit this Air Force Museum, and as we passed a big sign that informed us that we were entering Wright Patterson AFB, I said aloud that we were now on a military base and we would be following all of the rules. So if the sign says “keep off the grass”, we were going to keep off the grass. When you’re inside the fence, it’s not like you are in the real world.
What is so "high risk" about a van driven by a 65 year Grandma, her daughter, and two grade school kids at the museum? Don't these cops have two eyes?
Couldn't the bullies just stop her and say something like, "Ma'am, could you please turn the car off, hand me the keys, and give me your license and registration? We need to check out the status of your vehicle."
Stupid, hair-triggered jerks. They've all been watching too many episodes of COPS!.
Grandma is lucky they didn't drag her out of the van and have six or seven burly thugs jump on her screaming, "STOP RESISTING!" while fighting to see who could get her arms behind her first and the cuffs on. Maybe they could even taser her one or twice.
Stupid, stupid, hair-triggered, SWAT-wannabee jerks...
If I were the Base Commander, these jerks would be suspended from their jobs and their supervisor severely disciplined. This was a complete over-reaction to a non-threatening situation.
“Should we check our vehicle’s status first? ;)”
Just your action trying to check your vehicle will trigger the LEO to visit and question you.
Hell, if you just ask about cash transaction limits at a bank they report your inquiry to the feds.
The Military is what it is.
The alternative is to eliminate public access to the base, eliminate the museum, and let the Smithsonian handle this sort of thing.
But, keep in mind, the Smithsonian thought is was a good idea to hack the Enola Gay in half so they could add 10,000 square feet of explanatory BS about how the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was a war crime.
Little Soviet midgets most likely.
So now you are criticizing these MPs for things they didn't do?
OK, you're on to me...I'm heading up a global conspiracy to make the U.S. government and its overcharged security apparatus look bad.
You can go back to your haiku now...
Agreed. Here’s how I parse the non-sense:
The word “originally” gives away that “subsequently” the plate number on the ladies’ vehicle miraculously did NOT come back as stolen.
AF Mistake One: Databases do not change themselves, so this implies the guards either misread the plate or mis-entered it “originally”.
AF Mistake Two: Rather than recheck competently first, they put innocent ladies and children at high risk, and reaped a ton of bad publicity.
AF Mistake Three: Rather than admit their own fault, the AF used fairly talented spin doctors concoct dodgy language to shift blame to the database.
AF Mistake Four: Gave the game away by using the word “originally”.
AF Mistake Five: Their dodgy language implies that they are checking plates while people are LEAVING, instead of when entering the AFB. Hopefully this is a by-product of their overall lie, not that they actually let dangerous terrorists and car thieves prowl the base unvetted, but do care when they leave. Like most guests, these ladies and children likely spent hours at this really great air museum, affording plenty of time to re-check evidence, and safely apprehend any car thieves after they park their vehicles. I suspect that they DID check the plate going in, but got no hit because someone put in the correct number. If so, their use of “originally” was not only stupid, but false.
The head of security should be fired, along with everyone involved in the post-incident lying. But they might be promoted instead, since facile lying is the gold standard of government.
Isn’t the stolen vehicle database, federal? That was the direction of my comment.
Since the guards saw me every day and knew that I didn't have a weapon (the metal detector would have gone crazy if you even had on a belt), they let me back out onto the unsecure side and said "what did you do?
Database error, couple of hours waiting for it to get straightened out. Had to wait until the next day to get back in, took a pretty good hazing when i got there.
But the guards were very professional and did not overreact in the least.
..The police response, given that information, was appropriate.
No, it wasn’t.
This was a family with kids.
The *appropriate* response is to stop the car maintain distance and call out the driver to step out showing hands.
Pulling guns on women and children? Appropriate?
Mayhaps you want to rethink that statement.
Spent my time in the U.S.A.F working in classified facilities for all but a year of that. I worked inside the fence that was inside the fence, with the use of deadly force authorized.
We never ran into this type of issue. Of course, that was 20 years ago, and not right after a shooting on Fort Hood, and not after 11 years of continued warfare fighting terrorism.
It bothers me that they were looking at all the cars in the lot. Observers are going to report such activity in this era of high security. Stupid thing to do.
Of course, the family had a perfectly innocent reason for their behavior, because they were looking at all of the out of state license plates. I will confess that I did the same thing when I was driving out of this museum lot last year, because there really were people from all over the country. I also had a patrol vehicle behind me by the time I left, come to think of it. I guess my license plate came back clean!
The situation was cleared up when the police checked the VIN number, after the family had been detained. The use of the word "originally" would differentiate the License Plate Check, which indicated a stolen vehicle, and the VIN Number check, which indicated that the vehicle was not stolen.
For a reported stolen vehicle on a military base?
I suspect the fact that they were women and children accounts for the remarkable level of restraint.
I believe they found out in about 10 minutes that they had made a mistake. The rest of the time was spent on how they were all going to cover their asses.
***I spent 10 years in the Air Force. The base police did not instill confidence.***
Back when I was in, 1966-1969, the wore an AP patch for AIR POLICE. Everyone referred to them as APES.
Their name was later changed to SP (Security Police).
Needless to say, they deserved the moniker APES.
Thank God it sounds like the police went home safe and sound.
Nothing else matters.
“It bothers me that they were looking at all the cars in the lot. Observers are going to report such activity in this era of high security. Stupid thing to do.”
Cops look at the license plates all the time.
Amazing how much freedom we’ve lost.
At least in the sense that there's no extra charge for the civics lesson.
It’s allegorical. To the left, if you want to purge voting rolls to ensure only eligible people vote, you’re called a racist.
It was just an oblique reference, not intending to be applied to this specific story. Just another suggestion that we all suffer when a government agency does its typical crap job.
Heck if they were in LA they woulda been shot at about 79 times.
Here is the correct approach by those doing a necessary job in a society of free peoples :signalling the vehicle to stop ,and a cautious approach with HOLSTERED weapons until close enough to see the occupants were an older woman and children,at which time a slight relaxation in posture would have been appropriate,followed by a REQUEST for license and registration,and a question as to the reason for "cruising the parking lot". the assumption that everyone is a criminal and dangerous until proven otherwise is a complete reversal of traditional America,and that viewpoint neds to be eradicated from police training and policy. There is entirely too much willingness and desire to point guns at people by cowards in uniform. Yes,I said COWARDS, and I mean it!This nation is beset by cowards in uniform who shoot out of unreasoning fear that every and any movement is “reaching for a weapon”. These cowards routinely shoot dogs that are no threat,and unarmed people.Then their bosses defend those acts.
It's been over twenty years since I wore a badge,did traffic stops,responded to accidents, and prowler calls,etc.;and my gun stayed in the holster unless there was a real threat.If there seemed to be potential them my hand was on the holstered gun.Pulling a weapon unless actually threatened creates more danger for everyone and is usually punished if a mere "civilian" dares such a thing. (Another artificial distinction promoted by statists;police ARE civilians.)
But I did have a comrade in uniform who thought it prudent to always pull his gun on routine traffic stops;and the department later had another who pointed his gun at a mother who drove slowly to a safer spot before pulling over.
My instructor long ago told us never point a gun at anything you didn't want to shoot.the chances for “accidental” shots fired by startled ,nervous holders is very high.
There is no good reason for the actions of these Air Farce officers,anymore than the vast majority of guns pointed at people by government agents.
And that was no apology issued by the Air Farce but a CYA press release instead.An true apology would have been delivered in person by the chief and officers involved.The sovereign immunity doctrine protects too many incompetents and powertrippers.
You are too kind!
“My instructor long ago told us never point a gun at anything you didn’t want to shoot”
Weapons training 101.
Actually, they would have had to approach the vehicle and question why they were driving a stolen vehicle. Remember, at the time of the stop, the information in the hands of the police indicated that the vehicle was stolen. It was only a subsequent check of the VIN Number that revealed that the vehicle was not stolen.
If they had drawn a weapon on somebody for just cruising the parking lot, that might be an over-reaction. But I have driven around that very parking lot, for the very same reason, looking at out-of-state plates, and I only got followed by a patrol vehicle until I exited the base.
When the patrol vehicle showed up in my rearview, it dawned on me that my driving around looking at license plates might look a little suspicious, so I waved at the guards and departed, being very careful to stop at all the signs and follow all the speed limits. I guess my license plate came up clean, or it would have been me handcuffed on the side of the road. I would have been OK with that.
The rest of your post is just more ranting at these officers for doing something they didn't do. Yes, cops sometimes shoot dogs. Yes, cops sometimes rough people up. That did not happen here.
WE are the ones with the guns. WE can do what we want when we want. WE are tge federal government. Don’t forget it kids. Enjoy your visit.
I think your response is the best one.
I too question the entire mind set of the responding personnel, their supervisors, and the base commander.
First, it sounds as if vehicles “cruising” the parking lot looking at license plates is a common occurrence. I wonder if the SP quality control people and/or base exercise teams test the responding officers reactions to just such a situation? When I was an AF base exercise team chief in the mid 1980’s not all of my SP response scenarios required an high intensity response. With base wide exercise once every quarter you can cover a lot of scenarios and different responses.
Second, what is the probability of a terrorist attack on Wright-Patt? Not every place in the CONUS is under the same level of terrorist threat. Proof? Why did September 11, 2001 happen where it did and not elsewhere? But, the bureaucratic mind set is one size must fit all regardless of how stupid or painful. That mind set creates incidents like this all too easily. BTW that mind set isn’t limited to the DOD.
Finally, despite the PAO’s response nothing has changed, nor will it. The best way to prevent this, or something worse, from happening again is some very vigorous PT for everyone from the responding SPs to the base commander - 20 laps around the fence in full chem protective gear comes to mind. Why do I want the base commander to join this fun run? His command authority extends well beyond his desk top and office; but, like most commanders he spends all too little time outside his office seeing what is really going on. The image is there but, as this non-fatal (by the grace of God) incident proves, the reality ain’t!
What is the probability of a terrorist attack on the Marine Barracks at Beruit Airport?
What is the probability of a terrorist attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City?
What is the probability of a terrorist attack on a German disco frequented by GIs?
What is the probability of a terrorist attack on Fort Hood?
What is the probability of a terrorist attack on the Washington Navy Yard?
What is the probability of another terrorist attack on Fort Hood?
Here's a fun experiment you can try at home. Report your own car stolen, wait a couple of days, and then blow through a stop sign in front of one of your local cops. I bet the response you get will make the response of these MPs look positively restrained.
I suspect the fact that they were women and children accounts for the remarkable level of restraint.
So otherwise they would have just shot them on sight?
What would they have done ‘unrestrained’?
A plain reading of the article would indicate to me that the police requested that they exit the vehicle and cuffed the adults as they stood on the side of the road, while they investigated the suspected stolen vehicle.
For a suspected stolen vehicle on a military base, I would consider that restrained.
If it had been a single young male driving the vehicle, I would not be surprised to see the driver forcefully pulled from the vehicle and cuffed behind the back as he lies face down in the ditch.
And that includes pointing guns at children?
See that there's a granny and kids . . . say "O Sh!t! . . .", keep an eye on 'em while you check the registration . . . then say "Sorry folks, a computer glitch." and give them a personal tour of the museum.
I couldn't agree more.
There is no indication that anybody pointed a gun at a child in this case. If it had happened, I suspect it would have been in the article.
And if there were in the article, surely Timber Rattler would’ve quoted that portion
“Hill said the officers pulled guns on the family...”
That generic statement is what you are going to hang your hat on? That means the same thing as they pointed a gun at a child?
Listen to yourself...
I only read the excerpt above. I'm not trying to prove anything. It is stated that they pulled their guns. Rather than point them at the ground, I think it is likely they pointed them at the occupants of the car. The children are part of the family and were in the car... Voilà.
The MPs went home safe at the end of the shift. That’s the important thing.
Not sure I want to now, Jimmah.
No, thank you. Having loaded guns pointed at me and being handcuffed is not my cup of tea.