People are often overheard saying, “Why are so many officers on a traffic stop?” or “Why are so many officers on a particular scene?” or “Why did the officer have to use such force? Couldn’t they shoot the person in the leg?”
Even though a query is made, the self-fulfilling answer is generated and usually accepted by the explorer for this answer.
Now for the reality. The FBI Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report states that more than 53,000 officers were assaulted in 2011, the last year statistics were available. That translates to almost 10.25 officers assaulted per 100.
So, out of the 53,000 officers assaulted, more than a third were assaulted on disturbance calls. Another third were assaulted during traffic stops, arrests or transporting prisoners. The final third were assaulted by all other law enforcement functions. I hope that answers some of the pundit’s dilemma to the first questions.
Now, I’d like to offer some insight into a very delicate reality of our profession: the use of force. Our policy and procedure directs officers to use an appropriate level of force, through a Use of Force Continuum. In summary, the level of force used must be objectively reasonable in the lawful objective to bring an incident or event under control.
From our mere presence to the tools on our belt, we have force options. Officers spend countless hours training and preparing for many possible threats to the public and self. An officer is presented with a situation that requires an appropriate response. The officer is obligated to guarantee public safety and his or her own safety.
Officers are presented with unimaginable situations. One should probably never Monday-morning quarterback.
I thank all of my brothers and sisters in blue, or tan, for all their hard work in keeping us safe.
Let’s get rolling! “Control, 269 I’ll be 10-8.”
Aug. 24. Welcome to Boulder City. Please drive lawfully. An officer conducts a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 93 and Ville Drive. Just because it’s late doesn’t mean you can speed, or have a suspended driver’s license, or have warrants. This driver was an overachiever. Not only did the driver meet all three of these, the offender had three warrants out of three different Clark County jurisdictions. Did they already serve dinner at jail or is it breakfast?
Aug. 25. Can you say school zone! I hope you didn’t get an invitation of financial responsibility to Boulder City Municipal Court. We were out in force. Living in Boulder City is not a reason to speed. The last thing we need is one of our children to get hurt while getting to or from school. Keep in mind it’s 15 mph in the school zone. There are no exceptions.
Aug. 26. Officers are dispatched to the area of Capri Drive regarding a family disturbance. Officers learn the reporting person’s son threw a rock, breaking out the window. Apparently, a white crystal substance (aka methamphetamine) was ingested, causing the son to have a severe momentary lapse of reason. A couple of days in the big house is the correct prescription for behavior modification.
Aug. 27. Undercover officers are at a recycling center nearby, awaiting a certain suspect. Yes. There he is. Fishing can be so much fun. The subject is arrested for stealing more than $150,000 worth of copper wire from one of our local solar plants. The means to this end didn’t fare so well for the suspect now.
Aug. 29. A subject is driving the wrong way in front of City Hall. It is late, but the officer walking out of the police department sees the wrong-way driver, gets in the patrol car, and pulls the wrong-way driver over. The Arizona driver says he is “losssst.” That was the slur in the speech. A hop, skip and a jump later the officer will have one in-custody for DUI.
Aug. 30. Officers were looking for a special someone. Knock knock. Not home. A few knock knocks later, who do we find? The Boulder City warrant for nonpayment could have been resolved prior to getting to this point. Did you know Tuesday’s court date was vacated? See you on Thursday. If they would have called the court, explaining the reason for not being able to pay the fine prior to the required date, there may have been a chance the court could have rescheduled — not now.
Let’s bring it in. Poor decision making is possibly one of the basics for our profession. I love the job; I just wish people would contemplate their consequences prior to acting.
See ya next week! “Control, we’ll be 10-7.”
Officer Jeffrey Grasso is a 11-year veteran of the Boulder City Police Department. He previously served as a police officer in South Florida for four years.