Self-Confidence is a Mirage

The self-help industry is booming. So is the “get slim without lifting a finger” industry, aaaaand the “get rich quick” industry. There’s a common denominator here, a reason why these industries are persistent and lucrative. They all play on our innate desire for a better, easier life, and they all ignore fundamental laws of nature. They don’t work, therefore there is always a massive market of people still looking for that magical pill, the silver bullet, the secret ingredient, the desert oasis. 

The fake fitness industry doesn’t actually make anybody fit because there’s no shortcut to true physical health. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are non-negotiable, yet we convince ourselves this time it’s going to work. Nope, it’s not. In two months you’ll just be short a few hundred dollars and still fat. 

The get rich quick schemes don’t work because hard work, dedication, and perseverance are required to become wealthy, barring some stroke of extreme luck or fortune. A little talent doesn’t hurt either. If it seems too good to be true, it is. 

The self-help prescriptions don’t work because self-confidence, as most people understand it, is a mirage; a lie we can only believe in until life proves our confidence was misplaced. We aren’t capable of handling every challenge that comes our way, of always being right, of knowing all the answers. Think all the happy thoughts you want but don’t kid yourself; life is hard and it gets the best of us all the time. 

Truth be told, there’s no reason to be confident in yourself. No matter how smart you are, how talented, how driven, life can kick your ass before you can say “it’s not fair!” No, it’s not fair, life isn’t fair, and you can’t do anything about it.

Why place your confidence in someone (you) who has no control over his/her own life, let alone employment status, relationship status, financial status, and every other status?  Eventually, inevitably, life will remind you- like finally getting to the desert oasis that doesn’t really exist- that you have no reason to be confident in yourself. 


Truth Matters

So what can I be confident in if not myself? I’m glad you asked! First, you can be confident that life will bring you struggle, pain, failure. Life will present challenging and sometimes impossible problems. Embrace the struggle! As mark Manson points out in his book, THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK, “The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience, and paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”  

The self-help industry would like you to believe you can overcome your problems with positive thinking and self-centered, ego fluffing tricks. Then things fall apart and you start making excuses because you’ve defined who you are (your ego) and life is calling your bluff. Well I’m unique, and so are my problems, so what do you know Mr. self-appointed podcaster advice giving guy? I know that your problems aren’t unique and if you think they are, your perspective is too small. Don’t be a narcissist.


Get Some Perspective

My point here is that finding true confidence requires us to look outside ourselves, to gain a proper perspective of our place in this crazy existence. First off, you’re going to die, silly mortal! Considering your own mortality is uncomfortable but important. Whether it happens today, tomorrow, or you live to 105, you will come to an end. The stoic master Seneca discusses this in his letters to Lucilius when he explains the uncertainty of our next breath. He points out that any person you meet has the power of life and death over you. If someone decided to kill you in your sleep (better not upset the misses before bed), what can you do to stop them? Expand upon this by considering the fact that our bodies, while extremely resilient, are also very fragile. People die without warning and without any contributing external event every day. In light of your certain mortality, are your daily fears really justified? You will find, upon honest examination, that most of them are not. 

Rather than trying to convince yourself of your capabilities, focus on the irrationality of your fears. If you’re going to die anyway, why not take a risk, try something new, and face the challenge?  What’s the worst that could happen? You could fail, sure. But what if you don’t? The counterfactuals to the actions we don’t take in life would haunt us all if we knew what could have been. How many soul mates have missed each other because someone was afraid to make a move? How many promotions have been missed because someone was afraid to ask for more money? How many great businesses never came to be simply because someone was afraid to fail? 


Risk is an Illusion

The truth is, risk is an illusion, just like self-confidence. Most of the time we think we’re taking a risk, we’re over-inflating the consequences of failure, ignoring the benefits of failure, and deflating the benefits of success. This is how we justify our inaction. It is easier to sit alone with a negative idea about yourself (ie. “She doesn’t like me”, “I might get fired”, “I don’t know how to run a business”) than it is to go out and put that idea to the test. If there’s any reason to be confident in yourself, it’s because you’ve experienced the refiner’s fire; you’ve been knocked down and found the courage to get back up; you’ve been tested. Take the test.

I started this article to answer a listener’s question about how to bolster her self-confidence as a police recruit. She, as I have throughout my life, struggles with self-confidence. If you do too, then guess what; you’re one step ahead of the rest who are chasing the mirage; believing the lie. Recognize the triviality of life’s worries and embrace the struggle. Life is struggle. If you wait for it to be easy and painless, you’ll spend it walking circles in the desert, looking for an oasis that doesn’t exist. 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

Forgetting Tomorrow

I find, as I know many others do, that I’m most touched, inspired and encouraged by the teachings contained in the Bible when times are tough. Lately it seems every time I “open” (on my iPhone) and read those ancient words, I find exactly what I need for that day. 

Undoubtedly the greatest piece of advice I received as a young police officer was to “only worry about what you can control.” Today, I am reminded of that sage advice by Matthew 6:31-34. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”


Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how we’re going to make ends meet. Police Academy is growing and may someday be financially sustainable, but someday isn’t a wise financial plan for my family’s future. My initial instinct is to go make it happen: find job; get job; pay bills. But as I consider the options before me, nothing seems to be the right path. So I wait, albeit with eyes and ears open, for a door to open.

“Your heavenly Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

Become A Cop In 15 Steps

So, you want to be a cop eh? Well get in line... a really long line. And while you're standing in that line, you might want to read this. Follow these 15 steps and you're either going to be a police officer or you're going to find out it's not the career for you, which brings us to step one...

***A podcast episode is available on this topic here!


1. Why do you want to be a police officer? 

Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Before you do anything, you must know your "one thing;" the thing that drives you, provides fire for your passion and gets you out of bed in the morning. Most people don't know what this is. There are plenty of careers that don't require someone to have a true passion for what they do; law enforcement is not one of those jobs. It will crush you and spit you back out if you think fighting crime and evil is your "passion." Question #1 is: What's your "one thing?"

Question #2: Is law enforcement the best career path to fulfill your passion? Have you thought about being a firefighter? Those guys get paid to sleep... just saying. But seriously, you must consider whether police work really fits your purpose. Many will find it does not. 

If you're being honest with yourself, and you answered YES to question #2, continue reading.

2. Clean Up Your Act

Making a mistake once is human, making the same mistake over and over is stupid and shows you're not responsible enough to become a cop. If you can't take care of your own life, no department worth its salt is going to look twice at your application. Your track record should be clean for a minimum of two years (preferably 4 or more) when applying for a job. 

Oh, and that criminal record doesn't matter. The list of times you actually got caught is not what will get you the boot. The polygraph and extensive interview process will have you admitting to everything you've ever done wrong in your life. Your only chance at success is owning your mistakes by being honest and putting your past mistakes, well... in the past. 

3. Pick a Path That Sets You Apart

The three most common paths to police work are military experience, college education, and/or working in the security industry. I would recommend the military or college routes first, then security work, which of course can be done along with college. Whatever route works best for you, don't be the "gray man," someone who just gets along and doesn't get noticed. Work hard, stand out and make a name for yourself. Not only will that be reflected by your references later on, it will develop the work ethic you need to be a cop. 

If you go to college, don't just get a basic Criminal Justice degree and nothing else. If you want to stand out, I highly recommend majoring in something else with a double major (or at least a minor) in CJ. You will learn how to be a cop at the academy and through field training. Modern departments need you to have skills they can't teach you, like:

- Psychology

- Sociology

- Forensics

- Emergency Management

- Leadership

- Police Management

- Technology Skills

- Public Relations Expertise

4. Work Harder Than Your Competition

There is no excuse when it comes to work ethic. It is a choice and you should choose to have it, period. A bachelor's degree should take 4 years maximum; and yes, you can work and be a full-time student. Take, for example, Mike; a listener of the Police Academy Podcast. He recently wrote in to say thanks for putting on a good show and included a bit of his story. 

Mike knows the value of hard work and how to set himself apart from the crowd. During his last semester of full-time classes (15 credits), he worked at an area jail. Full-time, 12-hour night shifts and full-time classes during the day; now that's work ethic! At the time of his writing, Mike is in field training to become a police officer. He was hired straight out of college. His hard work paid off. 

There are other smart ways to work hard. Some academies allow unemployed civilians to pay their own way. Yes, it's going to cost you, but a department is much more likely to hire someone they don't have to send to the academy, someone who is ready to hit the street right away. Consider it a college course and sign up if your local jurisdictions allow it. 

5. Be A Good Applicant

Applying to become a police officer involves a lot of paperwork. If you can't get this right, why would a department hire you for a profession known for its excessive amount of paperwork? They won't! Here are a few tips to help your application make the cut:

1. Prepare all required personal documents ahead of time (birth certificates, DMV abstracts, etc)

2. Make copies BEFORE you fill out any form. If you make a mistake, start over!

3. Turn your paperwork in as early as possible, not on the due date.

4. Use references that know you personally rather than people with good looking titles who can't vouch for you. They should be able to give examples of your character, integrity, compassion, etc. 

6. Test At Your Best

Are you ready for the obstacle course, for a 1.5-mile run, or whatever else you might have to do as part of the selection process? Do you even know what the test is like for the department you're applying for? Google it, call them, whatever you have to do; but find out what the test is like and start preparing.

Now is not the time to start lifting heavy. Get your cardio in order with aggressive sprint work and some moderate distance runs (2-3 miles is plenty). Then, when they tell you the physical is PASS/FAIL, ignore them. First of all, it doesn't matter. Good cops do their best work, regardless of the reward. Secondly, you never know if someone at your prospective department might see your physical times. Leave it all on the course!

You should prepare for the written test too. Find out if you can get a sample or practice test ahead of time so you can see what is going to be on it. Then practice any skills you're weak in or have forgotten over time. The written test scores played a huge role in getting to the interview for me and many other officers who have gone before you. Don't skimp here, no matter how painful it may be. 


7. Be Uniquely You

I know it's tempting to try fit in and be like them, but unless you already are, don't make this mistake. You will stand out and be remembered for being you, not who you think they want you to be. Good departments know they need a variety of people with diverse experiences and personalities to make things work. You should know your strengths and be willing to share them. More importantly, know your weaknesses. Oh, and being "too much of a perfectionist" doesn't count! Nice try. Honesty here proves you can own your faults and you have the integrity to admit them publicly. This is a GOOD thing. 

8. On Time Is Late

In the law enforcement world, 10 minutes early is on time; anything less and you're late. Don't get there too early, though, or you'll be a nervous wreck before the interview even starts. Plan for traffic issues and be on site 15-20 minutes early. 

9. Investigate 

Maybe you don't look great on paper; you don't have the distinguished military record or a prestigious college degree. That's ok; because if you've made it this far, now is your chance prove you're the right one for the job. Hard work here will pay off in a very big way because most of the other candidates won't put in the time. 

Start by investigating the department. Know what they're about, who's in charge and why you want to work for them. Few things are more impressive than a candidate who can cite a department's motto or mission statement by memory. Look at the history of the community they serve. What is unique about it? Why do you want to serve and protect them? There may be questions pertaining directly these topics, so study up. 

10. Know What To Expect

Many questions are going to be thrown at you: None of them should surprise you. Google "Police Interview Questions" and have answers to as many of them as you can find, especially the scenario ones. I'm not going to list them here as others have done this already, but know this; you will almost certainly have to answer a question about using deadly force. These are often scenario based questions where the only option available is to pull the trigger and shoot the suspect. Don't flinch. You must convey your willingness to end a human life if necessary. It is part of the job.

11. Convey Confidence

Cops must have what we call "command presence." Can you walk into a room and take control of a group of rowdy partiers if necessary? You don't have to take command of the interview room necessarily, but rather convey to your observers that this capability lies within you. Here's how:

1. Keep a strong, upright posture

2. Shake everyone's hand firmly but vertically (not over the top or underneath) BEFORE you sit down

3. Make good eye contact, but don't make it awkward

4. Speak with a calm, clear and loud enough voice so everyone can easily hear you

5. TAKE YOUR TIME!!  Think about your answers before you open your mouth, then answer with confidence. 

Remember, those interviewing you today were once in your shoes. They may have been more nervous than you and even bombed a few interviews themselves. Just do your best and don't worry about the rest. 

12. Dress To Impress

The better you look, the easier it will be to remain confident, so don't worry about overdressing. Getting an interview IS a big deal and you should dress like it. If they aren't as dressed up that's ok. Your interviewer isn't trying to prove anything to you and they won't be bothered by your upstaging them.

I recommend a suit but you don't have to break the bank. These are cops after all. It's not like they've got $2000 suits in the closet at home. If you're really strapped for cash, thrift shop it, borrow it or rent it. Whatever you have to do, dress to impress. 

Tip #7 was to be yourself, but there's a catch. When it comes to your hippie hair cut and that mangy beard, don't. Clean that crap up! Have a well-groomed haircut, trimmed beard (or clean shaven), cut fingernails, a shower and some good deodorant. Anything less probably won't pass the "sniff" test. 

13. Tell The Truth

You're talking to cops and most likely they've been around for a while, which means they're acquired powerful built in lie detectors. Prove your integrity is worth more than your image and be refreshingly honest about everything they ask. This will make your character stand out and keep you from getting canned when the polygraph reveals all your dirty little secrets. 

14. Own It Or Lose It

"Don't worry about the things you can't control." - Chuck Clark, Retired Captain Bellevue PD

That was the most useful piece of advice for me as a young recruit and officer. I firmly believe in taking extreme ownership of anything within your control, and absolutely no ownership of everything outside of it. Don't waste time worrying about the infinite number of things life throws at you over which you have no say. Get this one thing right and you'll be two steps ahead of everyone else without even trying. 

15. Keep Your Head Up

"The only people who don't make mistakes are those who never do anything in the first place." - Harold G. Neihart, Retired NSP Trooper and Valor Award Recipient

I bombed my first interview. You can listen to that story here. But the second interview was the job I wanted anyway, and that's the one I nailed. Don't give up! Failure is the fast track to getting better; it's a good thing. Don't be ashamed, embarrassed or discouraged if you don't get the first few jobs you apply for. Ask the department for feedback so you can correct your own deficiencies and improve your approach each time. Good things don't come easily, so don't give up easily!

Let us Know how it goes

Still standing in line? Keep working hard and follow these tips and soon you'll be in the door. Once you get there, we'd love to hear your stories of success. Please leave a voicemail or use the links at the bottom of the page to tell us your story. This blog will be updated over time to reflect any changes in hiring strategies so it continues to serve as a mentor to those who find it. Please share it with anyone interested in becoming an officer. And, as always...

Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

Written by Terence Herrick - Former Police Officer, Producer of Police Academy Podcast

Work Smart AND Hard

The following was written for my personal journal but, for the sake of transparency, I chose to share it here. Enjoy ;)

2016 was a long year for the whole family. The concept of jumping off the financial cliff with a bag full of savings is much easier said than done. Living every month knowing we are losings thousands of dollars because my full-time job makes absolutely zero dollars is tough. It may be even more difficult for Kate than for me, as she doesn't have the same vision I do. Despite this, she does a great job not complaining about me working all the time and supporting what I do. 

2016 ended bittersweet for me. I'm glad to be on the edge, where anything can happen. At the very same moment, I crave security and an identity in my vocation. I think not being able to say I'm still a cop has been one of the hardest things since I left. I knew it would be. I'm self-conscious about what that means to other people, what assumptions they make when I say the words, "former officer." I shouldn't be, but I am. 

I miss the job too, that's for sure. I miss some of my old coworkers and wish I was still there, by their side, helping them and keeping them safe. One thing this world will always be short on is good cops. It was hard to leave a department that treated me so well, knowing the officer who replaced me might not take care of those officers I left behind. It's something I cannot control nor should I worry about but these are the things I carry with me now. I just hope and pray that this current path that I'm on will do more good than the one I left behind. 

The bitterness of 2016 comes from the identity struggle I just mentioned. I wish I was still a cop, but I know going back would just be climbing back into the box I originally broke out of. I would regret going back so I shouldn't regret leaving and I try my best not to.

Looking back though, there is a sweetness to the last year. I did accomplish something, although not exactly what I had hoped I would in terms of sheer listeners. Every quarter, podcast downloads doubled. That is a good trend I hope to continue. The YouTube channel went from rookie to decent and is almost at 500 subscribers. The one short video I did turned out great, despite having no help in production. There is a core group of serious fans that truly love the show, anticipating it's release every Thursday morning. I'm so grateful to those fans, many of whom have written much-needed reminders to me that I am making a difference. By every metric except income, the last year has been a success. So why did it feel like a failure? 

Goal setting. I set my sights way too high last year. Don't get me wrong, I love ambitious goals, but not setting realistic ones can do much more harm than good. To be honest I had no idea what realistic goals looked like but now I do. This is why I'm here, writing this little journal post in a new goal tracking software. I must not lose sight of the big picture, of the progress that's being made every month. I am a task focused person. Just give me a job and I'll get it done. If I'm not careful, though, I lose sight of the grand plan, simply working myself to death, often in the wrong direction. Some say, "work smart, not hard." I say, "work smart and hard." I'm going to work smarter in 2017. 

The future of Police Academy and of the Herrick family is unknown but confidently optimistic this cold January day. I know this path has not been in vain and the future will prove me right. By nature I seek the refiner's fire: I found it in 2016 and I am grateful for it. I hope 2017 will be a year of challenge and of harvest, but if the fire continues to burn, I'll be right there in the middle of it. 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

Were Police Targeted in 2016? - The Inconvenient Truth

The question everyone is asking and no one seems to be answering is: Are officers being killed because of the current racially-charged narrative about the police? Claims of a race war, officers under siege, and a war on cops are abundant, but no one seems to be looking at the statistics that matter.

Crime rates and officer fatalities have been on a steady decrease in the long term. 2016 was a step in the wrong direction.

Crime rates and officer fatalities have been on a steady decrease in the long term. 2016 was a step in the wrong direction.

135 officers died in the line of duty in 2016, the highest we've seen since 2011. Total officer deaths are irrelevant, however, when talking about the effect of racially fueled hatred for America's police. Every year officers are shot, run over, beaten, stabbed or die in incidents that are a tragic but normal part of police work. These risks come with the job and fluctuate greatly from year to year. The one statistic that most clearly identifies the danger of the current media narrative is the number of police officers killed in unprovoked, ambush attacks. 

For the sake of intellectual honesty, even this statistic, which is alarming for 2016, clearly has limits. Attributing a motive is not always easy, and the motive is what counts here. Why did the suspect attack and kill the officer(s)? For example, Officer Justin Martin and Sgt. Anthony Beminio were gunned down in Des Moines, Iowa on November 2nd. The shooter's motive is still unclear. It may have been related to the racial tension in America right now, but to what degree we cannot be certain. 

Sometimes the motive is clear, however. Baton Rouge shooter Gavin Long (AKA Cosmo) made his intentions and motivations plain for everyone to see: Kill as many cops as possible in retaliation for police "murder" victims like Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The Dallas shooter, Micah Johnson, also motivated by the Sterling and Castile incidents, killed five officers and wounded nine others. In these two incidents, eight officers were killed by assailants directly motivated by false narratives from the media, SJWs, and even President Obama himself. One can assume, based on the killers' own statements, that those eight officers would still be alive today were it not for the current narrative in America's media cesspool. 

But assumptions are not what Police Academy is about. This is a quest for truth; and the simple (i.e. statistical) truth is 21 officers were killed in ambushes in 2016, a 163% increase over 2015. This is the highest number of officers killed in ambushes in 20 years. In total, there were 8 incidents where multiple officers were killed by gunfire, which is the highest we've seen in 84 years (tied with 1971, 1932 being the last time there were more than 8). Although not every one of these ambushes was motivated directly by a belief that the police are racists and targeting young black men, some of them clearly were, which answers the question posed in the first paragraph. Yes, officers are being targeted because of the racially charged narrative of 2016. 

As with any one statistic, this spike in police ambushes doesn't tell the whole story. But we should all be concerned when the discussion about police in America is based on sensation and emotion rather than actual knowledge, facts, and evidence. Even if ambushes had been down in 2016, the rhetoric directed at America's police officers was frightening to say the least. Here's hoping 2017 will be a year of truth, of healing, of progress and peace. 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing




New Study: Implicit Racial Bias Is Real - Wait, why do we need a study?

We’ve all seen the headlines: Researchers Say Eating Too Many Twinkies Can Harm Your Health!  Um… yeah, no kidding. How about this one: New Study Suggests a Link Between Drugs and Crime!  Really, you don’t say. I believe the headline for this article is just as ridiculous. To explain why requires me to be dangerously un-PC; right up my alley. There will no doubt be some who label me a bigot and racist: So be it. If you're one of those people, at least read the whole article before you send the hate; there is a silver lining at the end. 

*Note this blog is available on the podcast as well if you'd rather listen than read.

Implicit bias, racial or otherwise, is a real and immutable fact of life...

Implicit racial bias occurs when we subconsciously make decisions about each other based, to whatever degree, on the color of each others’ skin. And guess what; we all do it! How this claim is controversial is beyond me. Every single one of us sees each other differently because WE"RE DIFFERENT! Many of us choose, consciously, to treat each other fairly, equitably; but this doesn’t mean we aren’t subconsciously reacting to each other based on outward appearances, including skin color. 

I don’t pretend to understand the complexity of biology or especially the inner workings (or any workings) of the human brain, but we are animals at our core. We cannot and will never completely escape the natural, hard wired instincts we all have. To believe we are above such things is arrogant and stupid IMHO ("In My Humble Opinion" for all you old farts). 

As a former police officer, people often ask me what they can do to keep themselves and their families safe, to sniff out danger before it materializes. How do I get out of that gas station before the robber pulls a gun?! The simplest and most useful answer I can give is, “trust your gut.” 

Obviously I’m not suggesting our gastrointestinal tracts can think; they can’t. What I’m telling them to do is trust their instincts. We don’t consciously process every bit of information coming into our brains because of sensory gating. Our brain, thankfully, allows us to effectively ignore much of the “noise” around us so we can focus on what we think is important in that moment. This doesn't mean, however, that other stimuli are completely ignored. In fact, one reason people often get a really bad feeling just before something bad happens is that their brain is receiving stimuli that suggest there is a looming threat, even if they're not consciously aware of it. 

Try to visualize this example as you read it:  

You’re at your local gas station filling up a 64 oz mug of Coke (or whatever floats your boat). You're not really mentally present as you ponder your crappy day at work, why you hate your boss, and how much you need a vacation. It’s a big mug, so your spacing off for a while, but your peripheral vision is picking up on something. You don’t notice it consciously, but to your right, near the Twinkie section, the guy in the grey jacket is telegraphing that he’s about to rob the joint.

He’s pacing slightly, his hands are hidden near his waist, and he’s clearly not looking for Twinkies (he must have read that research article ;). Something about his posture, maybe it’s just the sharpness of his eyes as they dart around the store, says he’s hunting. This information is getting trapped in the “sensory gate” because you’re not focused on it, but your subconscious begins sending you the something doesn’t feel right signal. You feel butterflies in your stomach... weird. 

You ignore your gut and stare into the fizz, still dreaming of a distant tropical getaway, when you realize everyone around you is hitting the floor. The robber, luckily for you, is just there for cigarettes and cash and leaves everyone's lives, although shaken, largely intact.  After the suspect's getaway and police arrive, your adrenaline subsides and your brain starts to think clearly again. Only then do you realize you saw it coming. You knew something wasn't right because of your implicit bias (survival instincts) against men in jackets aggressively pacing around convenience stores not looking to buy anything.

STOP! What does the suspect look like in your mind? Is he white, black, hispanic, covered in tattoos, sporting a mullet, dreads, or maybe he's bald or wearing a hat or ski mask? What does this tell you about your assumptions and biases? Maybe it tells you nothing, maybe it tells you everything. 

Don’t feel bad about whatever your discover, acknowledge it

We shouldn’t ignore our instincts because we’re afraid of being prejudiced or racist. We should acknowledge them, determine if the “bad feeling” is warranted (based on facts/evidence), and act appropriately. We should be checking our bias, making sure we’re not making assumptions about people that aren’t fair.

It is a balancing act to be sure; not too much "stereotype", not too much "gut" denial.  A lack of balance here is very bad: on one hand you're blindly ignoring valid survival instincts at your own peril; on the other, you're blindly accepting false prejudices based on those instincts. Neither of those paths is fair to your fellow man and woman. 

I’m not excusing unjust treatment of any societal group by the police; that would be immoral and disgusting. I’m only pointing out the fact that we will never get rid of “implicit bias” because it is something we all have and always will. If this is true, then the only way to truly change the way the police interact with any given group is to change the characteristics of the group. For example, police officers shoot and kill black men at higher rates than they do white men, per capita. But if we ever want those rates to be equal, these societal groups, including their cultures (yes, I said it, this has to do with culture), must also be equal. 

When you hear about a shooting on the news, what do you assume the perpetrator will look like? Young black men in America are responsible for a hugely disproportionate percentage (relative to their population size) of violent crimes and gun violence. So is it wrong for your imaginary suspect to be black? No, it’s not; it simply reflects the reality of gun violence in America. What we are completely missing in this debate is that issues like America's gang problem, black on black crime, and black violent crime rates play an important role in our implicit biases. We are focusing on whether or not a bias exists, as if it's existence proves something is wrong. Well it does exists, and something is wrong, but the problem is not the bias, rather the reality it is based upon. 

Statistics are not the whole story

The statistics alone are enough to make any rational person more likely to believe a young black man might be armed than one of another race. Add to that the backdrop of a crime-ridden inner-city neighborhood full of gangs, shootings, drugs and violence and this becomes even more likely. But for cops, this is not a statistical (and therefore theoretical) discussion, especially for officers working in large cities with serious gang problems. Police officers are the ones collecting the data points that provide the statisticians something to analyze. They're responding to the constant shooting deaths and dealing with the ingrained distrust, disrespect and hatred for the police. They are the ones pulling guns off young black boys (because gangs like to use minors as their shooters) too young to legally drive a car. Cops don’t need a statistician to tell them who is more likely to have a gun and use it against them in the inner city. They've seen, survived, prevented and responded to gun violence at the hands of more young black men than men of any other race, not because they want it to be that way, but because it is that way. The "biases" were are seeing in statistics reflect this reality. 

Research indicates cops are more likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed whites (there is some research that points the other way as well). If this is true, it may be a natural consequence of real problems in our black (especially inner city) communities. Other studies show that black officers are more likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than white officers, which indicates this trend is not about racism, but implicit biases, including one's skin color. If “systematic racism” was driving the data, white officers would be in the lead on this statistic, but they’re not.

I can already feel the hate mail, the “racist white motherf#$@!@“ comments, etc. Please, read the entire article first. I’m not saying police officers are always right; they’re not. Cops, more so than anyone else, must be diligent in checking their bias regularly to prevent true racism and hatred from taking over. What I’m saying is we all have implicit biases and we'll never get rid of them. It is part of the human experience and not unique to any one profession or any one segment of society. More importantly, it is the result of real and valid differences between those segments of our society. 

we are not all equal, and that sucks

Don't get me wrong, I believe every life is priceless and equally valuable. I just wish we all grew up in nice neighborhoods, with good schools, with involved mothers AND fathers, without drug addictions, mental health issues, poverty and the threat of violence. Obviously, that's not the world we live in. Until it is, police officers, like their civilian counterparts, will continue to treat each segment of our society differently, based upon their actual and perceived differences. In communities struggling with violent crime, rampant gun violence, and hatred of the police, officers will continue to use deadly force more often. In communities that support and respect police officers, the opposite will be true. 

This is not a message without hope!

In fact, it's quite the opposite. If changing police treatment of our society requires society to change, then it's not up to someone else to affect that change, it's up to you. The only way to change the subconscious reactions police officers have when interacting with people like you is to change the experiences those reactions are based on. You can't force another human being to ignore their survival instincts, but you can change what those instincts tell them. If your community is hateful and uncooperative toward the police, be outspoken about your support and appreciation for them. This is a bottom up approach, and only requires you and I to take responsibility for our own actions, which is all we ever had control over in the first place. When enough people in your group prove they have changed, so will the treatment of your group by everyone else, including the police. 

To summarize: 

1. Implicit bias exists: we are all different

2. We cannot control our innate, subconscious responses/feelings toward other people

3. Biases are based on real and perceived characteristics of other people and groups

4. If 1-3 are true, the bias is not the problem, it is the negative characteristics of the group that must change

5. It is up to you and I to change the status quo of our own groups

Point #5 deserves a few closing comments because this concept doesn't just apply to black Americans; it applies to all of us. We are all being subjected to the biases of others. It's not wrong and you can't be mad about it because you're guilty of the same (if you're human). All we can do is change the bias, one person at a time.

White people can show they care about minorities by paying attention to how they're treated and standing up for them when injustices are seen. Cops can prove they aren't racist by putting in the extra effort, taking the time to get to know their community members on a personal level, and helping whenever and wherever they can. Maybe it means stopping at a young man's house to see how he did on a math test, hopping out of the car to play some pickup basketball, or taking a few more seconds to explain why someone's family member is under arrest. Every little bit helps. 

We all know the negative stereotypes that go along with the groups we fit into so I won't belabor the point by listing off any more. The point is, whoever you are, if you don't like the implicit biases being applied to you and those like you, change yourself; the bias will follow. 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

The BIG 30

I just turned 30 this last week. Where has the time gone? I once felt so ahead of the game, starting my professional career straight out of college. Now I feel behind the ball, wishing I was further along on this path I’ve chosen. What has changed? 

Well, for starters, I have. My understanding of the world and consequently the way I see it has evolved much over the last 10 years. I went from a college kid with lofty goals of saving people and making a different to a police officer arresting the same people, for the same things, over and over and over again. 

Then I decided it was time for a change, a new challenge, and new adventure. It certainly has been an adventure, although I could have used more excitement and much less stress. The last few years have been full of risks with few rewards obvious rewards. Leaving a good paying career with great benefits for the unstable construction finance industry; leaving that well-paying yet unsatisfying career for a noble and ambitious cause (Police Academy); working hard to learn a new skill set and produce content with no financial return and discouraging growth rates. Why would I follow this seemingly foolish path? 

I am no longer ok with living a “safe” life, like everything depends on me retiring comfortably and being financially secure. The cost of such a strategy is far too high for me. Living a life at half tilt, turning down opportunities to do things that matter, always wondering what would have or could have been. No thank you!

Pursuing a dream and following your passion doesn’t come without costs though. Just six months into Police Academy’s existence, I’m tired. I’ve doubted this path so many times I can’t begin to count. I know I began this for a reason, but there comes a point where it’s time to pay the piper and get out, to be smart and quit something that isn’t meant to be. Failure is not something to be feared, it's something to learn from. I'm ok with cutting my losses and moving on. 

I’m not saying it’s that time for me, not yet. I do still believe in the mission of Police Academy. I knew this would take time, that “the dip” would be long and difficult to traverse. I just hope I’m working smart and hard, not just hard. I hate sweating over things that just need a different angle or a quick sharpening of the axe. 

So I guess that is where I’m at (realizing it as I write). I need to step back, look at where this thing started, where it’s going and what I need to do now. The content is out there and I think it’s something people are looking for, yet few (relatively speaking) have found. That is the challenge and one, quite frankly, I don’t feel prepared for. A new challenge, a new adventure, a new decade. Let's do this! 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing




America is Sick

This is likely no surprise to you but The United States of America is very ill. I was shocked, although not surprised, to hear about the terrorist attack in Dallas last night. I know the president and media will tip toe around the label but that's what this was; a politically motivated, violent attack. A few people who fully believed #Blacklivesmatter 's lies chose to act out upon it and 5 cops are dead. 

I will be working hard to bring truth to this mess through the podcast and YouTube channel. Please remember that there are more good, reasonable people out there than otherwise; remember that not everything you hear is true or real. Seek truth, not validation. Seek justice, not revenge. 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

Preventing Vehicle Break Ins - Two Simple Rules

*There is a podcast on this subject should you prefer to listen rather than read. You can listen to it HERE

The reason I write this is two fold. First, if you adhere to the following advice, you will dramatically decrease your chances of falling victim to a vehicle break in. Second, if you do become a victim, you will know what to expect and how to make your life (and that of the officer's) much simpler. To be clear: this IS NOT a complaint about unwitting civilians wasting police officers' time. It IS a guide to help people prevent crime and know how to report it. 

Preventing yourself from becoming a victim is obviously the best option. Here are two rules that will almost never fail to keep your car and your stuff safe. 

Rule #1 - Doors Locked || Nothing Visible

Doors Locked -- Why do cars have locks on their doors? It's not to keep them from getting stolen, at least not anymore. Nowadays, they are much more difficult to "hot wire." Sure, with the right technological wizardry, one can highjack even a high dollar car, but most regular criminals don't have the knowledge or brainpower to figure it out. The locks on our doors are only there to protect the valuable items we often leave in our vehicles. So, when you park your car, lock your doors. It sounds so simple, yet hundreds if not thousands of police officers respond to vehicle break ins every morning where the victim just didn't lock their stinking doors. 

Nothing Visible -- Anything that even implies there might be valuable items in your car should be hidden. Obviously leaving laptops, phones, GPS units and other electronic items out in the open is asking to get your window broken; but leaving a jacket on the floorboard is just as dangerous. Is that coat covering up a sweet Macbook? Let's find out. CRASH!!! There goes your window only for the thief to figure out, nope, just a coat... oh well. Backpacks, shoe boxes, charge cables; anything that could hold, cover up or be used with a valuable item should not be visible. 

Rule #2 - Doors Unlocked || Nothing Valuable

Some of you will never be able to leave your doors unlocked. Maybe you've always got something valuable in the car, or maybe you drive a BMW and you don't want some shmuck messing up the upholstery just for the heck of it. If that's you, stick to rule #1. For those of you who drive a beater and don't have expensive stuff lying around, it might be best to just leave the doors unlocked. This way, even the dumbest of criminals will likely just open the door, see there's no loot, and move on. 

Prepare for the Worst

These two simple rules will almost never fail you; but as they say, plan for the worst, hope for the best. If you do become a victim, the following tips will help you recover your stuff, get a refund from insurance, and file a police report. But be careful, the officer taking your report might give you a big, spontaneous kiss just for being so prepared and efficient. 

Record Serial Numbers -- Anything electronic will typically have a serial number. Guns have serial numbers. They are there for a reason. WRITE THEM DOWN! If you don't, the police will not be able get your stuff back or make an arrest and you will only have yourself to blame. 

Create a List -- Before you call the police, write down everything that was stolen, its value (you need to find receipts or other proof), and the serial number. I know it sounds like a pain, but this is what the police will ask for when they show up. If you do it ahead of time, it means the officer will be back on the street to fight crime in 10 minutes instead of an hour and a half. And don't forget, you might get an impromptu kiss just for being awesome! 

Identify the Owner -- The victim of the crime is the owner of the stuff stolen from the car. If the vehicle was damaged, the victim of that crime is the owner of the car. Often times this means there are two victims (Example: John's car window was broken and Amy's iPad was stolen). Again, before the police are called, have the personal information ready for anyone who has become a victim in the crime. You will need the vehicle's registration information, victim drivers license(s) and phone numbers at the very least. Have this ready and in hand when the police show up. 

Lock Up Your Guns -- If you travel with a gun, take it out of your vehicle or make sure the bad guys can't. You don't want to find out someday that your gun, with the ammo you put in it, killed an innocent person or police officer. There are all kinds of vehicle safes that can be mounted in your car to keep things locked up and they are much cheaper than someone's life. 

Back Up Your Stuff -- Sometimes there's just no way around leaving really important stuff in your car. Laptops are expensive, but the information on your hard drive may be irreplaceable. Make sure you have your important information backed up in a place where it won't end up getting stolen along with the computer. If you're backed up to a flash drive, fine. Just don't store it in the car with your computer. When you find your window broken out, they will likely both be gone along with all of your work, pictures, receipts and... well, you get the picture. 

Be Realistic

The police can't prevent you from becoming a victim. Asking for extra patrol is like asking a fire truck to drive past your house at night in case it catches on fire. It's not going to help. There aren't nearly enough officers on patrol to keep you from becoming a victim and catch the bad guys in the act. Your best bet is to follow rules #1 and 2. These will keep you safe 98% of the time. For the remaining 2%, if you've prepared by recording serial numbers and saving receipts, you'll have no trouble getting your stuff back or getting a refund from insurance.

If you haven't done your part, let's be realistic: your stuff is gone, the police aren't going to arrest anyone and your insurance may not cover all of the damages. That is the unfortunate but very real truth of the matter; a truth most people aren't aware of. Share this with someone you love before it's too late for them. 

And as always...

Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

A Father's Dilemma

Last night I had an epiphany. I realized for the first time how I could come to completely turn my back on God. This is no confession, let me be clear. I’m not writing this because I feel guilty about it. I merely realized that there are things in life that could crush my faith and this is an honest journal on the experience. God won’t judge me for it, I promise. 

My sister Katie died when I was 15 years old. The pain was real but drove me toward God, not away. The opposite was true for my father, who wanted nothing to do with God before Katie’s death and much less after. The one time I brought it up sparked a conversation I’ll never forget. He told me he didn’t believe in God. If God was real and loved us, how could He let Katie die? How could his little girl be gone forever? What kind of loving God would allow that to happen? At 16 year old, I didn't have the answer.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m in the same boat again, except this time it was my dad who was dying. After suffering from a sudden stroke, he had two options; fight for an existence of dependence on others and zero quality of life or pull the plug and end it. He chose the latter. He never was very good at relying on others to get things done and his impatience may have killed him anyways. 

My father’s death only strengthened my already well founded faith. I lead him through the sinners prayer while he lay in the hospital and he confirmed several times that he had accepted Jesus as his savior. He claimed he wasn’t afraid to die (he was stubborn too) and I was no longer afraid that he would. In fact, his salvation made the entire process strangely peaceful for me. 

Fast forward to last night. My three year old son has been fighting an illness for five days now, his temperature consistently above 103 degrees. We finally gave in and took him to the doctor yesterday only to find out, as usual, that it’s a viral infection and there’s nothing we can do but wait it out. Overlapping Tylenol and Advil around the clock, we struggled to try to keep his temps below 104 degrees. 

At around 0200 he woke us all up crying. The meds had worn off while he slept. His whole body was on fire and no doubt in pain. As I kicked myself for not setting an alarm to keep him medicated, I mixed the painkillers with some grape juice. Unfortunately, after five days of this routine, he didn’t trust the mixture and could immediately taste the medicine. He threw up. His pillow, his blanket, his bed sheets; everything needed to be washed.

Exhausted, my wife and I tried to get him to take the meds in other ways. As he continued to writhe in pain and scream at the thought of tasting the medication one more time, I wondered why; why is he being allowed to go through this? There is only One who can help him right now but He isn't doing it; why? 

My wife was eventually able to get him to take the meds and I put him back to bed. As I laid there next to him, I couldn’t help but notice the elephant in the room. If I feel this way now, what would happen if one of my kids died? I knew the answer right away. I would take it up with The Big Guy. I would respond in much the same way my father did. If you exist, how could you let this happen!? I felt strange because for all those years I didn't understand why my dad blamed God for my sister's death. But at that very moment, as I thought about my own son dying, it instantly became clear. 

I don’t know where I would end up; where that road would take me. I want to believe I would find an answer through the pain and hold onto my faith in a loving God, but I can’t be sure. I have long recognized that we live in a world where evil reigns and bad things can happen to good people. I can still believe in Him after an event like 9/11 or while groups like ISIS torture and kill innocent people. But when it come to my own kids, all bets are off. The idea that God, who loves me more than I love my kids, would allow me to see them suffer and/or die is one that I can't wrap my head around. I have no idea what would happen.

It’s nothing I’ll lose sleep over though. I will live today with intention and gratefulness, doing my best with what time I have and the people I love. As the turtle from Kung Fu Panda puts it, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift... that's why it is called the present." Always listen to the turtle. 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

13 Things Everyone Should Know About Ferguson

*The below article can be listened to at this link or by finding Police Academy Podcast in your podcast player. 

President Obama said “the feeling that law enforcement isn’t always applied fairly; those sentiments don’t just come out of nowhere,” and he’s right. Those opinions do come from somewhere, just like any opinion anyone has ever held. The tricky thing about opinions is that many, if not most, are based on emotional reasoning rather than facts and logic.

The narrative about Michael Brown’s death is a perfect example. Many still believe Michael Brown was unjustly gunned down by a racist white cop who belongs in prison. No wonder those same people claim to be afraid to walk the streets for fear of being shot by the police; I would too if cops were out in numbers killing people at random. But their fears and opinions about the police aren’t based on the truth or facts. Many people today use the false narrative of Ferguson to inform their opinions about the police. Their perception is coming from somewhere, but this doesn’t mean it’s based on reality.

Below are 13 aspects of Michael Brown’s death most people don’t know. It’s time we start basing our perspectives on the truth, not whichever narrative fits our political agendas best. 


#1: Michael Brown was not acting rational

The incident began when Michael Brown and his friend robbed a convenience store (Ferguson Market and Liquor) just blocks away from where the shooting took place. The video from the robbery has been controversial to say the least, but it doesn’t need to be. This video is simply evidence that Brown wasn’t acting like a rational human being, which is extremely relevant considering what happened next. 

Upon its release, the video sparked protests from friends, family and supporters of Brown. It was seen as a smear campaign against his character, a way to make him look like a thug. People who knew Brown defended his character by talking about how he was a nice kid and didn’t usually cause any trouble. 

There will always be people who look at one incident in a person’s life and define that person by it. Yes, some will choose to label Brown as a thug after watching the video. There are other signs (like his rap lyrics) pointing to the fact that Brown was beginning to dabble in a culture of drugs, sex and violence. None of this means he wasn’t a good person, or at least friendly to the people he knew in his community. He was an 18 year old boy, who had just graduated from possibly one of the worst High Schools in America, trying to become a man, whatever he thought that meant. 

Rather than being upset about this video’s release, the people who knew Micheal Brown should rest in the fact that it evidences, by their own accounts, that he wasn’t acting like himself that day. We all have bad days for all kinds of different reasons. I’m not going to speculate as to what caused his irrational behavior (even the psychological experts can only guess at that) but I can explain how I know he wasn’t thinking rationally. Even if he had been known as a hardcore criminal (which he wasn’t), his actions that balmy Saturday morning fall far outside the norm. 

Lets start by looking at his behavior at the Ferguson Market and Liquor. Brown enters the store, followed by his friend, and casually walks up to the counter. He then begins reaching behind the counter, grabbing boxes of cigarillos. Rather than getting what he came for and getting out the door, he takes an extraordinarily long time. As someone who has investigated countless thefts and robberies, his behavior here is very strange.

Brown hands the first box he grabs to his friend, Dorian Johnson, who is standing behind him. Dorian seems confused, looking down at the box he’s holding in his hand as if he’s not sure what Brown is up to. Then Brown grabs another box but the cigarillos spill out onto the floor. As Brown takes his time picking the mess, Dorian sets the first box back on the counter and the cashier grabs both boxes.

After collecting the loose cigarillos from the floor, Brown heads for the door; but not before the store owner tries to stop him. Instead of leaving, which he could have easily done, Brown shoves the store owner into a display case by his neck. This is a 6’4”, 289 pound, 18 year old man (at least physically) versus a 5’6”, 150 pound 57 year old geriatric; not exactly a fair fight. 

What’s important to note here again is that Brown doesn’t seem to care about getting away with the rising number of crimes he is in the process of committing. Even after he shoves the old man out of the way, he turns around and steps back into the store to further intimidate him, saying something to the effect of “what you gonna do?” Even Dorian Johnson told investigators this behavior caught him off guard because it was out of character for Brown. 

After leaving the store, they headed back to the Canfield Green Apartment complex. The normal behavior for someone who just robbed a convenience store would be to quickly leave the area while staying as low key as possible. Brown does just the opposite. He walks, yes walks, from the location of the robbery to where Officer Wilson encounters him on Canfield Drive (The estimated time for someone to walk between the two locations is nine minutes, exactly the amount of time between the initial theft call and Officer Wilson’s contact with Brown and his friend).

Here Dorian noted more strange behavior. As they left the Ferguson Market, he heard the clerk say the police were being called and expected Ferguson Police to be on their way. Brown’s choice to walk down the middle of the street with the cigarillos visible in his hand defied all logic. Even as a marked police cruiser came into their view and drove right past them, Brown chose to keep the incriminating evidence in plain view, as if he was looking for a confrontation with the police. This indicates a lack of concern for the consequences of his actions and a major deviation from normal human behavior. 

Dorian wasn’t the only one who noticed things weren't right with Brown. Witness 138 said it would surprise him if Brown attacked a police officer, but was also surprised to see the video from the Ferguson Market, saying it was out of character for Michael Brown. He also noted that Brown was acting out of character in the days leading up to his death. Witness 120 was with Brown the night before. He said they talked a lot about God and the problems they’d been going through and thought it seemed like Brown was “going through a phase.” Witness 130 talked to Brown twice the morning of the shooting. To him, Brown seemed paranoid and aggressive. In his words, Brown “was not in his right mind.” 

None of this is a slam on Micheal Brown’s character; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. By all accounts, his behaviors that day weren’t like him at all. Everything about his actions leading up to his death point to the fact that something wasn’t right: his lack of haste in the robbery and getaway, his aggressive behavior toward the store clerk, and his obvious lack of concern for getting caught all support this.


#2: Michael Brown MIGHT Have Been High

According to the toxicology report, Brown had between 11 and 12 nanograms per milliliter of Delta-9-THC in his blood. He had already smoked marijuana and was planning to smoke more (that’s why they were getting the cigarillos). 

To provide some perspective, the legal limit of THC in a driver’s’ blood in both Colorado and Washington State is five nanograms; so he was twice the legal limit at the time the blood was drawn. How this level of THC was affecting Brown that day is impossible to know. Just like alcohol (or any other drug really), the affects depend on the person’s individual tolerance, size, brain chemistry, etc. The blood tests also don’t indicate if a the THC was active in his system.

Could this still explain part of his erratic behavior? Yes. The THC in his system could have been affecting his mental processes. Even if it was, people who are high usually don’t exhibit this type of reckless disregard for their own safety and the safety of others. While the THC in his system may have been an accomplice, there was something else going on. 


#3: Officer Wilson Was Looking For Lunch, Not A Fight

When the theft call came out on the radio, Officer Wilson was on a rescue call. This is important because when an officer is already handling a radio call, often times they aren’t fully listening to other calls that come out. With their attention divided, officers often miss parts of or entire radio broadcasts, which is exactly what happened. Wilson didn’t hear the correct suspect descriptions and he wasn’t even on the theft call. He did know a theft had occurred and what had been stolen, but he wasn’t exactly on the lookout for the suspects. In fact, he was on his way to lunch with his fiancé.   

As a former police officer, I can tell you he most likely wasn’t looking for trouble. He had is “blinders” on, which means he was trying to get to lunch by purposely avoiding criminal activity. When he cleared from the rescue call, he checked with the officers on the robbery call to see if they needed his assistance.  They replied that the suspects has disappeared. What they were really saying is, “no, go to lunch,” and that’s where Wilson was headed when he saw Brown and Dorian walking down the middle of the street. 

When he first made contact, Wilson claims he politely told them to walk on the sidewalk and continued driving west on Canfield Drive, despite Brown responding with something to the tune of, “fuck what you have to say.” Only when he noticed the cigarillos in Brown’s hand did Officer Wilson realize they were the suspects in the theft call. That’s when he radioed, “Put me on Canfield with two and send me another car.” He then backed up and and angled his cruiser to block Brown and his friend from continuing down the middle of the road.  

This in one point in the story where it is unclear how things went down. Johnson claims officer Wilson said, “get the fuck on the sidewalk,” and he responded by politely stating that they were, “not but one minute from their our destination.” There are no other witnesses or evidence to directly support either version of events. What we do know is that Johnson is lying throughout much of his testimony, while Wilson’s testimony has been supported in every area where witnesses or evidence could have discredited it. So the only credible witness who can testify to what happened here is Officer Wilson. 

Many think Wilson’s claim that he politely asked them to move to the sidewalk is not believable. But there is nothing to indicate otherwise and, if he was headed for lunch, this is exactly how an officer would act. He also admits that, when he was trying to open his cruiser door, he did say, “get the fuck back” to Brown. He isn’t denying using foul language, just that it was used after the assault already began. As Wilson tried to exit his cruiser, he testified that Brown said, “What the fuck are you gonna do?” This is supported by the fact that Brown said almost exactly the same thing to the Ferguson Market and Liquor store owner just minutes before.

Why is this important? Ferguson is often cited as an example of why black fathers are afraid to let their sons walk down the street for fear of what the police might do to them, as if Officer Wilson decided to shoot Brown because of his skin color. On the contrary, this was not an officer initiated contact. Officer Wilson had reason to detain Brown and Johnson for obstructing traffic (officer initiated) but he didn’t; his blinders were working correctly. He only stopped and confronted the two because he realized they were likely the suspects from the theft call. Not doing so, no matter how much he was looking forward to lunch, would have violated the very oath he took when he became a police officer. Officer Wilson’s decision to take enforcement action was correct and justified with the information he knew at the time. 


#4: Brown Was The Aggressor

Police Officers don’t deal with suspects through the window of their cruiser as a rule. When Wilson parked his Tahoe in front of Brown, he tried to open the driver door twice but Brown prevented him from doing so. Again, Wilson and Johnson’s testimonies differ here, but they both agree that Brown prevent Wilson from exiting his cruiser. 

Brown then began assaulting Wilson through the driver’s side window, punching the officer in the face repeatedly. Wilson tried to block the punches with his left forearm with only partial success. This was confirmed by multiple witnesses, the presence of Brown’s DNA inside the SUV and on Wilson’s clothes, and the injuries to Officer Wilson’s face and jaw bone. Even Dorian admitted Brown was getting “the best of the officer” despite his claim that Brown never entered the police vehicle.   


5. Officer Wilson’s Gun Jammed… Twice!

As the assault went on, Wilson went through his use of force options. Using his mace inside of a vehicle would incapacitate him, leaving him vulnerable to further attack. His baton was inaccessible and would be impossible to use in the confines of his vehicle. His flashlight was out of reach and likely would have been ineffective inside the vehicle as well. The only option left was his gun, a .40 caliber Sig P229. 

Wilson drew his weapon and told Brown to stop or he was going to shoot him. Brown replied, “You are too much of a pussy to shoot,” grabbed Wilson’s gun, and pointed it at Wilson’s left hip. Wilson could feel Browns fingers working to get into the trigger guard. Fearing he was about to be shot by his own gun, Wilson struggled to point the gun away from his hip toward the driver’s door, at which point he pulled the trigger. Click. He pulled it again. Click. The gun wouldn’t fire. 

This was the first malfunction, if you want to call it that. In fact, there wasn’t anything wrong with Wilson’s gun. As with any semiautomatic pistol, when the slide is out of battery, the gun won’t fire (see this video for an illustration). With Brown pushing the gun toward Wilson while Wilson was trying to turn it away, it is very likely the gun was out of battery momentarily. 

Officer Wilson pulled the trigger a third time and the gun went off, firing a round through Brown’s right thumb and into the driver’s door. The shot startled Brown, backing him up off the vehicle. Wilson stated Brown became enraged and “looked like a demon” in response. Brown then leaned back into the vehicle to assault Wilson again. At this point, Wilson tried to fire another round to no avail. Malfunction number two. 

Police officers are trained to do what is called a “tap and rack” any time someone else touches their gun, and this is exactly why. When the first shot was fired, the gun was not allowed to cycle properly, most likely because Brown has still holding onto it. Three autopsy reports agreed that Brown’s right hand was within inches of the gun when it was fired. One of those reports indicated that his hand may have been touching the gun when it went off. As he tried to deflect Brown’s second attack, Wilson cleared the jam and fired another round, this time missing Brown. 


#6: Officer Wilson Was Alone

After the second shot was fired, Brown took off eastbound down Canfield Drive. Several witnesses stated that Wilson paused after the second shot before exiting his cruiser. Why? Because he was trying to radio for help. I say “trying” because, little did he know at the time, his portable radio had been bumped during the scuffle and was no longer on the correct channel: no one knew what kind of trouble he was in. 

This may seem like a moot point, but it does matter. Whether he consciously noticed it or not, he didn’t hear any response when he called out “shots fired” on the radio. The second those words are uttered, a flurry of energetic radio activity typically follows. Even if his mind only made note of this subconsciously, any officer knows the radio silence raises the stakes. 


#7: Why did Officer Wilson Pursue Brown?

Police officers are not required, nor should they be, to retreat in the face of certain danger. Their job is to protect the public and enforce the law. Letting a suspect escape because they are bigger, stronger, or just fanatically intent on not going quietly isn’t an option. By this point, Wilson also knew something was terribly wrong with Brown. Letting him go (someone who just robbed a convenience store and assaulted an officer) would put the public in danger. 

The other important thing to note here is that Brown was running away when Wilson exited his cruiser. Wilson testified that his intention was to keep Brown in sight until backup arrived. He couldn’t predict the suspect he had just shot would suddenly turn around and charge him. Even if he could, it is not his duty (or within his capacity) to protect a suspect from creating a lethal force encounter. Brown could have obeyed his commands at any time during the altercation; but he didn’t.  


#8: Hands Up Don’t Shoot Never Happened

Brown did turn around, though, forcing the circumstances which lead to his own death. Witness’ descriptions of Brown’s actions here vary slightly and this is likely where the “hands up don’t shoot” mantra originated. He may have raised his hands out to his sides briefly, just like he did in the robbery video as he intimidated the store owner, only to ball his hands up into fists and charge at Officer Wilson. 

Again, what happens here is another sign that Brown isn’t thinking straight. Wilson stated that Brown appeared “psychotic,” “hostile,” and “crazy.” Brown grunted as he made a slight hop movement with his feet and began charging at Wilson, who’s gun was still appropriately drawn. As Brown began running toward Wilson, his right hand reached down near his waistband, indicating to Officer Wilson he may be reaching for a gun. This is supported by the concentration of bullet holes on Brown’s right and Wilson’s claim that he had tunnel vision (tunnel vision is common in lethal force situations) on Brown’s right hand. Wilson began to backpedal while ordering Brown to stop and get on the ground. 

Brown ignored the commands and continued his charge. Wilson fired six consecutive shots. Brown paused briefly and Wilson repeated the commands for Brown to get on the ground. Instead, Brown charged again. Wilson fired one more shot with the same result: Brown paused, Wilson told him to get on the ground, and Brown charged again. 

As Wilson continued to backpedal, he fired three more shots, the last of which killed Brown immediately, sending his body crumpling to the ground. The autopsy report indicates this round was fired as Brown was either bent at the waist or falling forward. The abrasions to the right side of Brown’s face also indicate that he was moving forward quickly when he died, not on his knees with his hands in the air, which is supported by every credible witness who saw the final moments of the encounter. 


#9: Officer Wilson Was Justified

There are two separate times when deadly force was used and, therefore, must be justified for it to have been legal. The first is when the two shots were fired from the cruiser. The second is out on the street when the remaining ten rounds were fired. In both instances, the physical evidence, autopsy reports, and numerous credible witnesses firmly establish that Officer Wilson was justified in his use of deadly force. From the perspective of a police officer, I can tell you that most officers would have done the very same thing under the conditions. 

The first time Officer Wilson used deadly force he was being struck in the face, while in a position of vulnerability, by an undoubtedly stronger and larger person. Only Wilson can say what those punches felt like and it is his perception, at the moment lethal force was used, that must guide any discussion as to its reasonableness. In other words, it doesn’t matter if we can armchair quarterback the incident and come up with other possible solutions. What matters is whether it is reasonable for an officer, under these circumstances, to fear for his/her life and resort to the use of deadly force.

What many people don’t realize is that police officers are trained to treat every call like an “armed party” call because there is always a gun on scene: the officer’s gun. Officers know if they’re rendered unconscious, the suspect will have access to their firearm. Wilson testified to his fear that one more good strike to his head could have knocked him out, leaving him susceptible to further harm. He is not required to wait for that last punch.  The use of deadly force while he was sitting in his cruiser was justified. 

When Brown turned and ran down the street, the first deadly force incident ended because Wilson’s life was no longer being threatened. The second time deadly force was used is a completely different scenario and must be analyzed independently. This time, both Wilson and Brown are in the street. Wilson is pursuing Brown on foot when Brown suddenly stops, turns, and charges Wilson. At this point, Wilson knows the following: 

    Brown just assaulted him and grabbed his gun;

    Brown knows Wilson is willing to shoot him but is still coming toward him;

    Brown is larger and stronger than Wilson;

    Brown’s behavior poses a real danger to himself and society.

With this in mind, Wilson started to backpedal, which is significant. Police officers are trained to never backpedal away from a threat. It is a natural fear response to a sudden and unexpected danger and frequently lands officers on their backs in a very vulnerable position. This doesn’t mean Wilson lacked proper training, it means his innate fear response had taken over: he was afraid. 

Even if you take away Wilson’s perception that Brown might be armed, the history of their encounter coupled with Brown’s size and obvious intent to harm the officer create a situation where Wilson is justified in using lethal force. It wouldn’t have mattered if Wilson knew Brown wasn’t armed; the physical threat posed by Brown was more than enough justification for the level of force used by Officer Wilson. Some of the credible witnesses even realized this for themselves, making statements like, “[I] would have fucking shot that boy, too,” and “[I] would have fired sooner.” Even from their vantage point of relative safety, they were able to perceive that deadly force was reasonable. In fact, even a civilian in Officer Wilson’s position would have been justified in using deadly force against Brown.


#10: Size Does Matter

They’re both about 6 foot 4 inches tall, but Brown is 289 pounds to Wilson’s 210 pounds. Some have argued that the relative size of a suspect compared to the officer doesn’t matter. This is completely inaccurate. The size of the parties involved in a lethal force situation has everything to do with whether or not deadly force is justified. If you replace Michael Brown with an unarmed, 5 foot 2 inch, 90 pound woman, Wilson absolutely would not have been justified in using deadly force. The suspect’s size speaks directly to the officer’s ability to physical control him/her safely. 

This doesn’t mean that big guys can be shot on site by the police; that’s ridiculous. It does mean, however, that someone who tries to physically overpower a police officer is taking a huge risk. Officers aren’t allowed to lose a one-on-one fight because, as history has proven, they are often killed by their own gun once incapacitated. Fighting a cop isn’t like a bar fight, where one person eventually gets the upper hand and the other concedes victory to fight another day. As soon as an officer beings to fear he/she might lose that fight, lethal force becomes a legal option. Agree or disagree, this is not just my opinion; it’s reality. This is how it works and the sooner people accept this, the better.


#11: Ferguson’s Lie was Intentional

With the number of witness accounts, including Officer Wilson’s, that are supported by the physical and forensic evidence, there it little doubt as to what happened in Ferguson. Unfortunately, the community’s support for a false narrative about what happened, one that painted a white police officer as the criminal and the black suspect as the victim, permeated the media’s coverage and the government’s response to this incident. 

Many of the false witnesses admitted they lied, assumed or made up their story based on the narrative being encouraged by the Canfield Drive neighborhood. Others had obvious and understandable biases, having lost family members or being mothers themselves, which influenced them to lie about what happened. 

The opposite is true for many of the credible witnesses, who were hesitant to come forward with their testimonies. They were often threatened for telling the truth about what they saw. They were pressured to lie, to support the false narrative of “hands up, don’t shoot,” and called racial slurs like “white motherfucker” when they declined. Many of them refused to testify in formal hearings for fear of community reprisals.

Listen to Facts of Ferguson 4.0 for more on these false witnesses.


#12: Ferguson’s Real Problem

In it’s 105 page report, the Department of Justice explains that the City of Ferguson, from town hall, to the courthouse, to the police department, had created an environment of distrust and resentment between the police and members of the community. They’d been doing the opposite of community policing, using police officers and the courts as a revenue collection system rather than a public service. The report also indicates that black members of the city had been disproportionately affected by this focus on “revenue policing” due, in part, to what the DOJ calls “racial bias.”  

This is certainly no excuse for the community’s response to the Michael Brown shooting. Burning down innocent people’s livelihoods and intentionally supporting a false, racially charged narrative was wrong. But if the City of Ferguson’s practices created an environment in which this virus could thrive like it did, finding a cure starts by talking about these very issues. What is the role of the police? How can they protect every citizen equally while maintaining a good relationship with the entire community? How can we all avoid infection the next time an incident like Ferguson sets the world on fire? 


#13: The Ferguson Effect is Real

The sad irony is, due partly to the atmosphere created by the City of Ferguson, this virus is now an epidemic. I have seen firsthand the degradation of regular, law abiding people’s faith and trust in the police based on an overwhelmingly negative perception created by the media. Hopefully, as more people learn the truth, some of that trust can be restored. But trust is needed on both sides of this discussion; it is a two way street as we all know. Unfortunately, because of the response to Michael Brown’s death, officers around the country don’t trust the system either, which has created the Ferguson Effect. 

I never wanted to rise above sergeant within my own police department. As a patrol officer or patrol sergeant, your focus is on the real police work. Go any higher in the ranks and you become more of a politician than a police officer. This isn’t a shot at those in command positions, but rather a commendation for standing in the gap between the public and the officers on the street. No matter what you do, someone thinks your officers are too aggressive or militaristic, while others want you to get tougher on crime. This is nothing new. 

As an officer, I never worried very much about having to take someone’s life and stand before a grand jury. I trusted my training, my instincts and my principals. If I shot someone, it would be justified (ruling out human error or course). Just like my approach with Police Academy, I trusted that the truth would always be my redemption. I trusted the system would work, that my department and community would defend my actions. Deep down I knew things wouldn’t be so clean and tidy, but at least it helped me sleep at night. 

Since Ferguson, every police officer in this country has (or at least should have) considered whether the rightness of his or her actions would be enough at the end of the day. They’ve had to ask themselves, no matter how justified, will I have my job, my home, and my freedom when the truth is made clear. Before Ferguson, many officers, even a realist like me, could at least ourselves we would. Now it is obvious to all of us that the truth just isn’t enough.

Darren Wilson’s actions on August 9th, 2014 were as justified as they come. Since that day, every officer in the country has seen what has happened to his life. He’s been accused of being a racist murderer, lost his career, and now lives a secluded life. He is no longer a free man, despite the fact that the grand jury and DOJ vindicated his actions. If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone in uniform. 

There has long been talk about whether officers and departments have changed their ways in the wake of Ferguson. Are police officers backing off, choosing to ignore obvious crimes to avoid the possibility of becoming the next Darren Wilson? Are departments creating policies to reduce risk rather than protect the public? Is the Ferguson Effect real? A recent investigative study conducted by Blake Consulting and Training indicates that it is very real and surprisingly pervasive. 

In this study, which surveyed almost 500 police officers, we see that both officers and departments are shying away from proactive policing. 49% of officers said they’ve cut traffic stops by five to ten a month and 47% said the same for pedestrian checks, but why?

A huge majority of officers, 94%, think the media is "somewhat or completely biased toward a negative representation of law enforcement.” Hmm, I wonder why… But their departments have their backs, right? Depending on which department they work for, I’s say the response is somewhere between I hope so to hell no!  50% felt unsupported by their department’s response to current trends and 74% said new training was no benefit at all.

No department spokesperson will admit to the public that their officers are doing this. As I said before, there are plenty of people who would raise hell if they knew their community’s officers were putting the blinders on and avoiding enforcement action; but they are. NYPD, LAPD, Baltimore, Atlanta, Detroit, you name the city, I can personally guarantee there are hundreds of officers doing this. But you don’t have to take it from me. This is an excerpt from an LA police officer who writes under the name Jack Dunphy


“As we drive slowly along 83rd Street, we see gathered near the entrance to an alleyway just east of Avalon a few members of the local street gang, one of whom is perhaps responsible for killing Jermaine Murray.
What do we do?  We drive on, for we are not police officers in an ideal world.  We are police officers in Los Angeles in the year 2016, and we know there is little to be gained and much to be lost if we get out of our car and engage these young men.
And if one of them runs?  Well then we might have to chase him, and if we catch him we might have to hit him, an incident that will be captured on cell phone video and posted on YouTube and, if the footage is sufficiently inflammatory, broadcast on local television news.  And if one of these young men is armed and we have to shoot him, and if video of the shooting does not clearly demonstrate that we were fired upon first, we will see our chain of command abandon us and pronounce our tactics unsound, this despite the fact that few of our superiors have actually stood in our shoes.  And we might see that video become a national news story, one that will prompt the police commissioners, the mayor, the governor, and even the president of the United States himself to offer their unschooled opinions on the deficiencies of our actions.
So, as we are not fools, we drive on.  And if one of those young men should later fall at the hand of a gang rival, or if one of them should venture over to Main Street and shoot some other member of Jermaine’s gang, well then, we’ll go code-3 to the crime scene and ring the area with yellow tape and stand around while the homicide detectives sort things out.  And we’ll go home and tell our family and friends how sad it all is, but what can we do?”


I know some of you reading this right now don’t like what you’re hearing. If a police officer isn’t going to do his or her job, find a new one; right? Part of me agrees, I have to admit. I despise the excuses, often thrown up by the more veteran (and jaded) officers, for their laziness and apathy toward the job. This is different. The current environment is such that, even if an officer does everything right, they could end up just like Darren Wilson, or worse. These officers aren’t shying away from the risks of the job, they are making a calculated decision to protect themselves and their families from a culture that doesn’t understand what they do, a society who will crucify them based on little to no real information at all. It’s called the Ferguson Effect for a reason, and it is very real. 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing



Both DOJ reports can be found at the following links:

Shooting Report

FPD Report

Hold My Hand Officer

Yesterday's post is a great preamble for this one. By default, police officers have a very different perspective when it comes to assessing the seriousness of a situation. When a cop shows up and doesn't seem as concerned about your crisis as you are, it's because he/she knows it's not really that big of a deal. They just left the hospital, where a two week old baby is now dead because her dad accidentally suffocated her overnight. They just got done breaking the news to those parents; your little precious angel is gone and it's your fault. 

The fact that your FULLY INSURED minivan was just hit in a Wal Mart parking lot is nothing to get worked up about. No, I'm not going to review hours of surveillance video to catch the other driver. Call your insurance company. Have a nice day. No, it's not good community policing, but cops aren't paid to be your babysitter. They've got more important things to do. This sounds harsh, I know; but sometimes the truth hurts. It's better that you know the truth though, so next time you or someone else wants to complain about an officer's lack of empathy, just remember, he/she just got done empathizing with someone in a REAL CRISIS. 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

Problem Solved... Maybe

With a little help from my office buddy (thanks Josh!), the podcast feed seems to be back up and running. Time will soon tell the whole story as I've already posted Facts of Ferguson 2.0. If it doesn't show up in iTunes sometime today, I may have more fixing to do. We shall see. 

A little disclaimer: I drop the F-bomb a few times in the second Ferguson episode. I didn't get a warning in at the beginning of the show so it might surprise some of you. Don't worry, I'm not turning into a salty sailor. There are a few quotes in important parts of the incident where language is used and, despite my typically prudish speech patterns, I felt they needed to be included in full color. 

One last housekeeping item I'll put in here for you devoted followers. Please let me know if you notice any sound quality issues. I can't test the sound of these episodes in every car, computer speaker system, set of headphones, etc. so please let me know if you have any issues there. Is it too quiet, too much bass, is the music too loud? Let me know and I will try to make adjustments accordingly. I can't make it sound perfect on every speaker setup but if there are glaring issues, they should be fixed. 

Thanks everybody! 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

Podcast is Dead!

I may or may not have broken the podcast already... If you have problems with it or find that you are no longer subscribed, I'm working on it and hope to have it fixed soon. As grandpa Harold says, "The only people who don't make mistakes are the ones not doing anything." 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

Podcast is Live!

The podcast is finally live and available for anyone in the world to listen to. I realize not everyone knows how the podcast thing works so I've taken the time to write down a few instructions to help people find the show.

If you want to help get the podcast off the ground, RATE & REVIEW, SUBSCRIBE AND SHARE. Rating, reviewing and subscribing will help the show rank higher on iTunes, which means more people will find it. Sharing it, whether in person or via social media, directly grows the audience organically. Thank you for your support and feedback! 

Using an Apple Device (iPhone, iPad, iPod)

1. You already have the podcast app. It looks like this:

2. Go into the podcast app and click the search button located in the very bottom right hand corner of the screen. 

3. Type "Police Academy Podcast" in the search bar. For some reason you have to type the exact name or you won't find it. Just typing "Police Academy" won't work as of right now. 

4. You should see the Police Academy Podcast logo in the search results. Click it. 

5. SUBSCRIBE: Near the top right there is a button that says "subscribe." If you want to have the episodes download to your device automatically so you can listen to them anywhere (even without service), click this. Don't worry about storage space; they automatically delete from your device after you listen to them. 

6. RATE AND REVIEW: Just under the SUBSCRIBE button there is a bar with three options: DETAILS, REVIEWS AND RELATED. Click the REVIEWS button. Now you can click on "Write a Review", give the show five stars (if you really love me ;) and write a review. 

7. Once you have found the show and listened or subscribed, it will show up in the "My Podcasts" section at the bottom of the app (second from the left at the very bottom). In the future, you can go straight to this section to listen to new episodes. 

Using iTunes on a Computer

1. If you have iTunes, go to the Podcasts section. This should be near the top left corner.

2. Once you're in the Podcasts section, select iTunes Store from the bar at the top center of the window. 

3. Type "Police Academy Podcast" into the search window, which is at the top right corner of the page. 

4. When you find it in the search results, click on the name in the third column from the left (Podcast), which will bring up the podcast in a larger window. 

5. From here you can rate, review and subscribe to the show. 

Using the Website

If this all seems too cumbersome or you don't have iTunes, you can always go straight to the source. Go to to listen to any episode you choose. 

That's all folks, the party has begun! 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

iTunes has the Ball

Monday was better than last Friday, let's just start with that. I was able to get up and get straight to work on the intro episode before life could crush my goals for the day. Finally, after all these months of work and suspense, there is no turning back, no giving in, no surrender. The podcast has been sent to iTunes, where they will take a look and decide if it's worthy of stardom.

In reality, it's more like throwing it into a haystack. There are hundreds of thousands of different podcasts out there. Some are great, some aren't; but the overwhelming volume of shows ensures mine will get lost in the ocean unless it really does something special. The content has to be great, the audience has to grow, word has to spread. 

My intro episode isn't my best work even this early in the game. It is simply good enough. Unfortunately, this will have to do. I will learn and get better as I go, but launching now with good enough is better than launching... never. I trust that the message, the open perspective about a society which is very obscure to the average American, will generate interest and grow the listener base.

I also know there are so many who are already waiting for it to go live. The early adopters are key in getting a podcast off the ground. If you're reading this, you certainly qualify as one, so here's how you can help support the podcast's launch:

1. Subscribe to it (it's free)

2. Rate and review it on iTunes

3. Share episodes on Facebook, Twitter and tell people about it in person

4. Donate. There is a button at the bottom of the website which allows anyone to donate directly to Police Academy.  I don't expect (or want) any family or friends to do this. 

Again, thank you all so much for your love and support! I will advise when the podcast is available to the public. Until then...


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

Podcast Update

Friday was a mess and recording the intro episode became impossible. I have to admit, it was a rough day. I'm hoping to send it to iTunes today so the podcast should still be live this week. I'll send out a notification when it becomes available to the public.


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing

The Media Doesn't Care About Credibility

The news coverage of Michael Brown's death is a painful illustration of the media's inability (or unwillingness) to appropriately cover police related issues. Any bystander who claims to have seen what happened can get their 15 minutes of fame. The more graphic, controversial, or unbelievable the testimony, the better. 

Deja Vu

A story is currently unfolding in San Francisco in which a homeless man was shot by the police. As usual, witness accounts have varied widely. The police department says it has several witnesses who say the homeless man was a threat to the officers involved. The media has several witnesses who say he wasn't a threat at all. What people don't realize is that the police have documented all of the above witnesses. The difference is the police are much better equipped to tell which ones are credible and which ones are not. 

The Media Isn't Looking for Credibility

At this point, it's too early to know what happened. News sources like The Guardian, who's article I just read, rush to get the story out. It's their job, I get it; but the stories are written in a way that suggests their witnesses, who say the man was basically shot dead without cause, are credible. We don't know if they are or not but, if Ferguson tells us anything, building a narrative on information provided by "witnesses" without knowing if their testimonies can be trusted is dangerous. There are several business owners in Ferguson who strongly agree.

A women The Guardian describes as a "key witness" was quoted as follows:

 "I don't see how a man, even with a knife in his hands - which I didn't see - how he could pose a threat to three officers with fully loaded weapons. That is really what shocked me." Article Link

This woman's uneducated (understandably so) opinion about what constitutes a deadly force threat doesn't have anything to do with whether the threat was real that day. By her own admission, she doesn't think someone with a knife is a threat to "three" police officers, as if more cops makes the knife less likely to kill one of them.

Aside from her self-professed bias, it is clear her story has some big holes in it. Human beings tend to fill in gaps in their memory, many times without even realizing it. This woman was walking on the other side of the street when the shooting occurred. She didn't know what was about to happen and likely wasn't totally focused on what was going on. The article says she didn't even realize she had seen the beginning of the incident until she watched surveillance footage of it. On top of that, when the officers begin "shooting", which is more likely when they began firing less-than-lethal" rounds, she ran away and hid behind a car. In other words, she didn't even see what happened to cause the police to switch from non-lethal force to lethal force. 

So let's get this straight: the "key witness" in this story didn't even know she saw the initial encounter, didn't see what happened leading up to lethal force being used, and thinks the lethality of a knife can be determined by the number of officers present. In other words, this witness has some serious credibility issues.

This isn't The Guardian's problem, it is society's problem. Every time we go to these media outlets for their sensationalized stories about police incidents, we support their behavior. Unfortunately, most people who read a story like this don't know how absurd it is. They don't know how flakey witnesses are, how often people lie, fill in the gaps or treat opinions like facts. "They shot him for no reason" is an opinion, not a factual account of what someone witnessed, but we often confuse the two. 

How can we fix it?

I don't have the entire answer to this problem. The media will probably never stop spinning stories just to boost ratings nor will people stop reading their dramatized accounts. I do know that Police Academy is part of the solution. It provides a place where people can come for real answers based on real knowledge and real experience in law enforcement. There are no special interests here; just an ex-cop trying to open people's eyes to the truth. The more people who know about this platform, the better off we will be. Our world desperately needs the truth: It's right here. 


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing


One Person

I received the following text from a friend yesterday:

"Terence, I think it's great what you are doing with your podcast. It's very practical information for us ignorant civilians who have NO IDEA about police work. I don't share much on FB due to lack of time and little interest, but I shared your recent blog post. "Friends" have liked it and even re-posted it. You're going to go far with this. It's exciting. Keep at it and watch what God will do."

People who know me probably assume I don't need to be encouraged. I don't like the lime light and do just fine fighting the battle on my own. Even I sometimes think I can get along without an occasional pat on the back; nothing could be further from the truth. All outward appearances aside, the mental battle is real. Especially now, when I'm getting ready to launch something into the world that has my signature all over it, I could use an encouraging word, a reminder that someone actually thinks I'm doing the right thing... other than me. 

To be honest, I needed it right about then. I even had to fight back tears (no, you can't have my man card) as I finished reading it. I have no expectation of a huge following at this point, as the main event (the podcast) hasn't even started. The blog is more of an exercise for my brain than anything else. Even so, puting myself out there for the entire world to see with what, in social media numbers, equates to almost zero interest has been difficult. 

One person deciding to share the post quadrupled the number of people who read it. More importantly, her encouragement reminded me: keep your head up; someone is listening; someone needs to know the truth; someone cares about what you have to say. I said in the very beginning that if I only reach one person, it is worth the effort. I was right. It only takes one person to change the world, even if it's by changing only one other person, who in turn changes the world... or another person.  


Do Good || Be Strong || Fear Nothing