Skip to comments.Dorner Manhunt Reveals Police Contempt for Public Safety
Posted on 02/22/2013 3:37:46 PM PST by neverdem
Police typically say that their top mission is to protect public safety. Thats the lingo. But the recently concluded manhunt for former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner, accused of murdering four people after releasing a manifesto decrying his 2008 firing from the force, suggests that concern about the publics actual safety sometimes is fairly low on the list of police priorities.
Last weekend, police opened fire on a 71-year-old newspaper carrier and her 47-year-old daughter who had the misfortune of driving a pick-up truck police thought might be Dorners. The Los Angeles police detectives who opened fire on them, putting two bullets in the older womans back, didnt do much double checking. The carriers' truck was a different make and color from Dorners.
As the womens attorney told the Los Angeles Times: The problem with the situation is it looked like the police had the goal of administering street justice and in so doing, didn't take the time to notice that these two older, small Latina women don't look like a large black man. This could be written off as a sad fluke, except that 25 minutes later different officers opened fire on a different truckonce again getting key details wrong. Cant officers at least check the license plate, and issue a warning, before opening fire?
Nobody trains police officers to look for one of their own, said Maria Haberfeld, a police-training professor at John Jay College in New York, according to the Web site News One. I wouldnt want to be in their shoes and I dont think anybody else would. We all understand the situation. But saying that we wouldnt want to be in their shoes is no excuse for such dangerous behavior. The police wouldnt excuse a member of the public for misusing a firearm, regardless of how stressed out that person felt.
News One also published the photograph of a gray Ford truck in the Los Angeles area with a hand-made Dont Shoot, Not Dorner, Thank You poster on the back window. T-shirts and bumper stickers have popped up to similar effect. Those are funny in a dark way, but police ought to recognize how poorly this reflects on them and their strategies. Its sad when people are more worried about the police than they are about a murderer on the loose.
Simply put, the police culture in our country has changed, argued former San Jose Police Chief Joe McNamara, a Hoover Institution scholar, in a Wall Street Journal article in 2006. An emphasis on officer safety and paramilitary training pervades todays policing, in contrast to the older culture, which held that cops didnt shoot until they were about to be shot or stabbed.
Murders are sadly routine in the Los Angeles area. The massive police presence was the result of the killer targeting their own, thus leading to the reasonable conclusion that police pulled out the stops not because the public was in danger but because they were in danger. I dont blame police for their efforts, but I also understand why residents in, say, South Los Angeles, wondered why killings in their community dont rate the same attention.
With crime rates at 40-year lows, this is an opportune time for a debate about such police-priority issues free from excess emotionalism.
Media reports have focused on the rantings within Dorners manifesto. But a lot of it is about bureaucratic indifferenceabout police officials who, in his mind, didn't care about the communities they are sworn to protect. Nothing justifies such violence and I'm sickened by people who are celebrating Dorner, but even the LAPD is re-opening the case of Dorners firing. Perhaps the department will try to glean some broader lessons from this tragedy.
Currently, a case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is evaluating the lengths to which police are required to go to protect innocent bystanders. The case involves Sacramento police who were trailing a suspect who had run from his car and then hid in a tree in a familys backyard. A police helicopter spotted him. So an officer released a police dog into the yard even though people were having a gathering in the backyard.
Police dogs are trained to bite and hold suspects, but they cant distinguish between law-abiding citizens relaxing with friends and police suspects. So Bandit attacked the first person it saw. Instead of instituting reform and settling with the family, Sacramento PD has been arguing that officer safety would be endangered by requiring a reasonable warning before releasing a vicious dog on private property.
Its frightening to think that police can use deadly force without taking even the most modest steps to protect innocent bystanders. Its even more frightening to hear people defend this approach. Yes, officer safety is important. But so is the publics safety. It's time to grapple with the proper balance.
If anything, it shows the influence of Feminism in the police department. All the rules have been changed to accommodate hysterical female cops - and hysteria is catchy.
Everyone is acting like a frighten woman.
All this cop-hating is leading to anarchy!
Somewhere in the greater L.A. area, there is a truck OR 2 that ain’t shot up enough to suit the LAPD...
"As a former Master Sergeant of the USAF Pararescue, I don't believe that I should be afraid that a civilian can shoot me dead in the street. The only thing that separates a civilian from a criminal is a criminal act, by then it's too late."
This sort of LEO attitude is a bit disturbing. The only thing that separates a civilian from a criminal is a criminal act? And by then it's too late? Well golly gee whillikers, I guess the civilians had better be shot before they can commit a criminal act, because then it's too late.
If police officers are so incompetent they can’t distinguish between a suspect’s vehicle and that of an innocent by-stander, they don’t deserve to be on the job, period. Misusing your weapon isn’t an excuse just because you wear a badge. You should be held to a higher standard precisely because you wear the uniform.
You say that like it is a bad thing.
Good Article. The current police culture in this country is evil and needs to change. The fact that they do not consider themselves “civilians” says a lot.
There were 6 officers involved in blazing away at the two little old ladies delivering newspapers.
I’ll lay $5 that 4 of them will be promoted within the next two years.
I had a short conversation with an LAPD detective about the shooting in Torrance. What he told me:
The police were there on stakeout outside the house of someone on Dorner’s hit list.
It was 4:30 AM and dark. Thus spotting the make and color was difficult if not impossible (something this article stresses as exceptional.)
The pickup was moving with its lights off.
The driver did not respond to orders from the stakeout (perhaps having radio on).
Instead of a compliance, an arm came out the window (to toss newspaper we now know.)
The media has not mentioned nor this piece at “Reason.”
This is the first time I’ve written on this topic and haven’t scanned any of the other responses on other threads. So I don’t know what has been discussed.
I simply feel it’s right that an LAPD detective’s unofficial, off the record recounting to me is worth lurkers finding near the top of this thread.
Cops do a lot of Ohio State type events yet they aren’t even soldiers, and Ohio State was made a permanent part of historical horrors.
Too many cops are just too panicky and fearful to be packing guns.
I appreciate the hard work of the “thin blue line” in keeping the rest of us safe. I’ve dealt with cops who’ve gone out of their way to look after me and cops who gave me a break even though they weren’t obligated to give it to me.
But there are also cops who think their badge gives them an entitlement to act like every one out there is a threat to them. They lose sight of the fact most people are not criminals and its not the public’s job to protect them, its their job to protect people going about their lawful business in society.
That is what separates the decent cops from those who think every one is out to get them. Most police officers appreciate the support of the public. For the “thin blue line,” the line in front of them must always be as clear and honorable as the public they’re charged to serve.
That is certainly true in my case. When I lived in Fairfax County, and Alex’, VA, all the pigs were scum-sucking, sub-human filth, not fit to lick the sweat from the back of my, well, you know. Since moving to western Loudoun County, the police officers are nothing short of wonderful. The difference is breathtaking.
Not every department. SJPD are still peace officers, LAPD are law enforcement.
Strangely enough San Jose has a low murder rate, while LA...?
I appreciate the insight.
If they did burn other people in the house, we would never know. The fallout would be unimaginable.
Shooting at random people in cars and blindly burning down homes are not the actions of legitimate police. These are the actions of a jackboot secret police that is willing to gamble with the lives of citizens to save their own a**es. Even though they (allegedly) got lucky in this case and didn't kill anyone while getting their man, there's absolutely no justification for such recklessness.
City police cannot operate like combat troops at war, they can’t decide to have free fire zones determined individually and in our neighborhoods and just take out suspicious vehicles and then go examine them to see if one of the bodies is the bad guy they were looking for.
Two different vehicles came under fire using this technique, and neither of them had anything to do with anything.
So I wonder how many know the names of the 4 people Dorner murdered?
They don’t sound much different than Obama who probably doesn’t even know the name ‘Chris Kyle’.