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Officers’ heroic actions merit recognition

Despite some who believe I should overdose on a lifetime supply of humble pie, I stand by my May 13 article wherein I claimed the coronavirus was being used by many to seize power. Merely observe those in power as they flaunt their own rules and change the threshold for restarting the economy.

Some of the same folks are also using a false narrative to defund the police and seize power by dishonestly claiming an epidemic of black men being shot by police officers.

Jonah Goldberg in his column “Democrats can’t afford to let far left hijack party,” published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sept. 2, stated, “Similarly, the statistically rare (I’m sorry, but it’s true) examples of outrageously bad behavior by some cops captured on video give many on the left permission to push a narrative of wholesale racial oppression by police.”

Kudos to Goldberg for bravely saying what the statistics prove. Shame on him for qualifying his statement with an apology beforehand.

I do not have all of the facts that I would like to have on the latest faux police outrage: the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I do know that had he driven away with three children in the victim’s car and committed a more heinous crime, the public would be outraged that the police did not take action to stop him. To the career police critics: Shooting a suspect in the back is appropriate when deadly force is warranted.

If a criminal wants to shoot a police officer, they always have the advantage of “lag time.” Lag time is the time between realizing a threat and reacting to it. It is at least three-fourths of a second. In other words, a suspect can draw a concealed firearm and shoot several rounds before an officer has time to react and return fire.

An example of this occurred in Boulder City on Sept. 30, 2005.

My commentary about this event was published in the Boulder City News on Oct. 27, 2005. Any comments today would not capture the intensity and scope of that gun battle, so I am repeating some of the descriptive sentences:

“When Officer Michael Barth stopped a vehicle driving erratically on Nevada Way, he had no warning that the passenger was a convicted felon, armed with a handgun, and was wanted by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office for attempted murder.”

“Officer Barth cautiously approached the vehicle, as he has for hundreds of such traffic violators during his career, and assumed a safe position while interviewing the driver and her passenger. Barth felt something was amiss by the passenger’s demeanor and claims of never having a driver’s license or identification card from any state. The felon provided a false name, and Officer Barth returned to his vehicle and wisely requested a backup.”

“Officer Michael Daniel and Officer Scott Pastore, both detecting a hint of concern in Barth’s radio traffic, quickly arrived in their patrol car. They approached the suspect vehicle in a tactically safe manner, with Officer Pastore approaching the passenger’s side. What followed is every police officer’s nightmare.”

“The suspect quickly exited the vehicle and placed his handgun against Officer Pastore’s neck. Officer Pastore, face to face with the gunman, deflected the gunman’s aim with his forearm and wrestled with him as the gunman, with his firearm now behind Pastore’s head, began shooting at Officers Daniel and Barth.”

“One, possibly two, of the gunman’s rounds struck Officer Daniel on his duty belt. The kinetic energy of the bullet(s) striking Officer Daniel’s belt knocked him down, but only for a second. Officer Daniel quickly recovered into a tactical shooting stance. With the gunman still firing indiscriminately, Officers Daniel and Barth, without hesitation and being dangerously exposed to the shooter just a few feet away, heroically and valiantly defended themselves, nearby pedestrians, and passing motorists by returning fire rapidly and accurately.”

“The mortally wounded suspect fell to the ground.”

One of my final comments that still rings true today was, “If this was a training scenario and the officers knew beforehand the actions of the assailant, they could not have responded any better.”

All three officers received the Medal of Valor for their heroism.

Officer Barth has since retired, but officers Daniel and Pastore continue to serve Boulder City.

Worldwide, people will remember the brave heroes of 9/11 on this 19th anniversary. Locally, Boulder City residents should remember their own heroes.

Dan Jennings is a retired Army captain and a retired BCPD lieutenant. He can be reached at bcpd267@cox.net.

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