Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Why no one wants to be a Law Enforcement Officer anymore.

In the wake of the tragedy that happened in Houston,TX on 29 January 2019, I am reminded that way back in 2005 we had issues finding qualified applicants for the Sheriff's Department I worked for as Training Officer. We had issues of all types and problems with applicants being able to pass the physical agility test minimums as prescribed by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and Law Enforcement Training Board. I would work with my recruits at the local airport  to keep them into shape to pass the initial assessment day at ILEA. I remember on at least 2 occasions bringing them home with dreaded "Dear Sheriff or Chief Letter" that stated that they did not meet the basic fitness criteria and at the department's discretion, they could attempt the test again, but to please have them in passable physical shape next time. I am happy to report those recruits took it seriously and worked to pass the next time and become police officers.

I spent my 34th Birthday at ILEA and was determined to meet and or exceed all of the twenty somethings in my class. My ILEA class was 00-145 (Year 2000-145th Session). I made sure that prior to attending myself and my other comrade from my department would do just that. It was a lot of work, but at the end of the day, I was 3rd in my class and an Honor Graduate. The top three were separated by 0.3 points. It was hard work but it was worth every second of it. Here is a class video from an ILEA class in 2006 to show you why I think that Indiana's academy is one of the best in the nation take the 24 minutes and watch it. My instructors, such as Lt. Randy Davis, Lt. Bruce Baker, Lt. Nick Schivarelli, and Lt. David Younce and I still keep in touch. They taught me valuable skills and lessons as did some of the other instructors: Lt. Andy Anderson, Lt.Norm Camerer, former BPD Maj. Steve Arthur, and others.


I ended my career in 2007, due to losing our 21 year old daughter and following a wrongful order given to me by the Sheriff. It was completely my fault and I paid the price of a childhood dream for it. I fell on my sword because I did wrong. I was not my usual, questioning self, rather more of a drone just wanting to get into the office and do whatever task was at hand. PTSD was present and I should have realized on the occasions I had to work on the road and got very agitated with my brothers-in-arms and citizenry. I should have stepped away, taken a leave of absence, or done something to concentrate on my daughter and family as opposed to being a drone for a Sheriff who had gone astray due to his grief at losing his wife.

But enough about that. I have kept in close contact with a lot of officers here locally and watched a depressing transformation in law enforcement in my small rural county. Officers are scared to do their jobs. They are afraid of lawsuits or reprimand. They cannot drive like they were taught in EVO at the academy. They cannot draw a weapon without having to write a report and face disciplinary charges. It is very sad indeed to see well-trained Police Officers not be able to do their jobs. The attrition rate at all of our departments in this county are atrocious. I have watched veteran officers who are vital to training new officers and pass along their skills to rookie officers retire just to get away from the bureaucracy of departments. This only leads to police officers who cannot police effectively.

I have said for years now that we will have a time when no one will want to become a cop and take on the job. We are now at that point thanks to incidents like Ferguson, MO in 2014 and other incidents.  In 2001,both police officers and firefighters alike were treated like heroes after 9-11 by the public and government. It is now a completely diametrically opposed situation. Police are treated like the bad guys and are getting killed at an alarming rate. They are being fired, or worse, charged with crimes for doing their jobs.

Now, back to Houston. Joe Gamaldi, the Union representative for HPD, made a heartfelt comment on TV after the shooting of the five officers in Houston. His words hit me to the core. He basically stated that the cops are the Good Guys, they care for their communities, they have families they want to go home to, they have a basic desire to do good and fight crime and keep everyone safe , yet now they have targets painted on their backs. His words were heard and of course, completely misconstrued by the news media (and I do agree with President Trump: Fake News has been brainwashing you for years, as well as your own government. Abolish ICE? Now there's a dumb move). Mr. Gamaldi put the facts out on Fox News this afternoon about Police shootings in the United Sates last year, and they made complete sense to me. Last year law enforcement agencies in the United States answered 50 million documented calls for service. With an additional approximated 200 million undocumented calls for service. Officers shot 995 people. Of those 995 people 47 were unarmed, but posed a deadly threat and of those 47 people less than 50% were persons of color. For approximately 250 million calls for service, those are pretty damned good statistics and doesn't seem to scream racism at me at all. The 144 officers that were killed in the line of duty, as well as, those that took their own lives does bother me.

And then we have Joe Mathews, a California-based journalist, who thinks that California should just change their Constitution and eliminate Sheriffs altogether. His theory is that the concept of a Sheriff is dated and since they are elected they are innately corrupt from the get go. He further states they cannot be removed from office once elected-WRONG! He also states that his is why we celebrate Robin Hood and the (his words, not mine) Evil and Corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham. Okay Mr. Mathews, time for a Fairy-tale Break and come back to reality. I would also like to just let you in on a little secret, change one thing on your Constitution and watch all of your rights crumble as the domino effect happens. I have several close conservative friends in California that will tell you that the state is a mess and often compare her to the the guy or girl that was so hot that everyone wanted to date him/her, but feel lucky they didn't marry her because she hasn't aged so well. 

Now let's return to Indiana again. Indianapolis Metro PD just got a $16000.00/year pay raise for their officers. Why? That's an easy question to answer Martha, I am glad you asked. Officer retention, but it isn't working.
1.) The Mayor of Indianapolis promised 1500 officers and more officers out of the cars interacting with the citizenry (community policing), however more people retired than were hired in 2018 and the same is holding true in 2019 with 65 requested retirements. Once again age and experience gone and valuable lessons cannot be handed down through field training.
2.) The retirees have cited that they no longer want to be working in an under-staffed and under-appreciated environment. Even with the large pay raise, the fear of lawsuits, criminal action, and internal disciplinary action has driven them away. The News Media's reporting of all of these actions have also driven away people that otherwise would apply for positions because they don't want any part of this either. I don't know too many kids who say, "I want to be a police officer/fireman when I grow up!", anymore.
3.) Even with a higher salary incentive the fear of public and internal/administrative reprisal does not make the job appealing anymore and it obviously isn't retaining officers.

This is happening not only in Indianapolis and other large police departments, it is happening all over the U.S. thanks to restrictive policies, News Media "jumping the gun" (no pun intended), calling any tragic action some sort of "ism" or brutality and police administrators and mayors running their own employees into the meat grinder. The list is a lot longer of other "self-proclaimed experts or religious leaders" that love to appear "on scene" to stir the pot, but that is a whole other novella.

Can the problem be fixed? 

Optimistically, I would love to say yes, but I think we are way too far into the brutalization of police mode instead. (Remember when it used to be Police Brutality?) A police officer used to be a respected person and I still like to think here in our community they are.

How do we fix it?

1.) Realize police officers are doing their sworn job. Protecting life and property, investigating and acting on crimes committed. While you are realizing that also remember they have loved ones too. Remember that they will see things that you never will (hopefully) that they will not be able to "unsee". Some officers will learn to cope and some officers will not and will possibly take their own lives
2.) Administrators/Government- Stand by your officers. Believe them until otherwise proven wrong. This is the great thing about the car and body cams..They have proven more police officers right than wrong. There have been too many officers immediately thrown under the bus immediately by Sheriffs/Chiefs/Councils, before and investigation is even complete
3.) A police officer should never ever feel constrained to draw his gun if he feels threatened.
4.) We call them emergency vehicles, they have lights, sirens, and are made to go fast. pull to the right and let them get to the call they are on and possibly save a life. They are trained drivers and should be allowed to perform that skill. 
5.) News Media- Stop jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst.. Maybe wait until you get the story from the Public Information Officer before you report a sensational story using an ism or the words brutality or wrongful. Get the facts before reporting the wrong story and causing panic or ruining someone's life and /or career.
6.) And I am big on this, TRAINING! All of the psycho-motor skills learned by an officer are perishable skills and training should be frequent and up to date.
7.) Say hello to police officers, strike up a conversation. You might make a new friend or unfortunately you may be the last good memory he has because he didn't make it home to the wife and kids.
8.) REPEAT OF #1- Let them do the job they trained for! They are the experts. Unless you have walked that "Thin Blue Line" you are just an armchair quarterback, the news media is going to report sensationalism, and all suspects are innocent until proven guilty. If you really want to see a lot of innocent people at once, visit a prison, everyone is innocent there. 
9.) Just throwing this in here because of a couple of viral videos. If you see a police officer on the ground struggling with someone and asking for help- JUST DO IT! Go help the guy. If you aren't physically able to fight , get your cell phone out and call 911. don't pull it out and record......CALL FOR BACKUP!

The lesson here is simple- Police Officers go through rigorous amounts of training (at least 600 hours at the Academy plus yearly in-service), let them do their job! Have I said that enough? I am so sick and  tired of posting Officer Down Memorials on my Facebook page it is ridiculous. The numbers just keep going up.

 It would be nice to hear a small child say," I want to be a cop when I grow up!" again.

Rant Over Thanks For Reading ,

Thursday, July 28, 2016

2006 Mustang V6 Project

2006 Mustang Project

After the untimely demise of my pet 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis, I ended up buying a 2006 Ford Mustang. I originally wanted a 2004 40th anniversary Mustang convertible, but after two long distance trips in opposite directions, I learned that these cars have a severe rust problem. Most likely the copious amounts of salt used here in Indiana and Kentucky.

In searching through all sorts of classified ads I found a cute little 2006 Mustang on Craigslist in Greensburg, Indiana. I spoke with the owners and they were very honest about the condition of the car. They told me all about the fact that the previous owner had allowed their kids to spill stuff on the cloth seats, scratches in the paint and the need for brakes and tires. Mechanically they said that the car ran good and was properly maintained. Their reason for selling was the fact that after they combine their families   they have 4 children and really needed to lose the sports car and get a more family sized vehicle so they can take trips without driving two vehicles. All-in-all it sounded like it was worth looking at. Enlisting the help of my good friend, Stan Wright, his trusty Jeep, and my son, Kyle, we headed off  for the third time in two weeks to find a car.

When we arrived in Greensburg, we found that the Mustang did have a few scratches on it, most of which appear to be buffable. It came with 2 sets of wheels, the factory mags and a set of 17" custom mags. The interior, although a complete stained up mess, was all intact and functional. We decided that a test drive was in order. Despite having over 200K on the clock the Mustang rode like a dream, was tight, had no body noises and ran like a Swiss watch. My trusty co-pilot, Kyle and I decided that price negotiations should begin.  We looked over the car and made some notes about what immediate actions were needed to make her road-worthy and I offered the owner $2800.00. He accepted my offer, some cash & paperwork traded hands, and we were off in the little Mustang with Stan and his Compass flying in formation with us.

The "New" Mustang on her maiden voyage.

Classic 60's styling with modern technology!

Stan & Kyle appear to be happy about the Mustang!

As Kyle and I drove home, I was nothing but impressed by the way the car handled and drove.  I had driven a 2005 GT back in 05 when Stan and I built one up as a DARE car for the Sheriff's Department, but I did not really drive it much more than 15 or 20 miles. Like all of the other police cars we built it was just another car to run through the mill and go to its new officer. I was very familiar with taking the car apart though.

I decided on the way home that it really did need a couple of things to bling it up.
  • Louvers- Both side and rear window
  • GPS- Hmm...I know where a fairly new Garmin is that is collecting dust!
  • Back up Camera- Once you get used to one it becomes almost a necessity.  Plus with the louvers, it might be even more helpful.
The important things that had to happen first though are:
  • Tires- I am going to use the aftermarket 17" wheels and store the factory 16" wheels.
  • Brakes- Front and rear.....Nuff said
  • Air Filter-  K&N coming up!
  • Oil Change- Purolator BOSS Oil filter and synthetic 5W30.
  • Fuel Filter
  • Battery- Why not do a Yellow Top Optima?

So we got the car home and a quick trip to the auto parts store gets us all the brake parts and tune up parts we need! The brakes were very easy to change on this car.  I replaced calipers, rotors, and pads. Oil change was easy. Fuel filter...not so much! They buried it on driver's side under a panel held on with bolts and plastic fasteners. An interesting delay took place in the process because Kyle decided to have appendicitis in the middle of it all!  I had a really nice picture of him while he was coming out of anesthesia, but using discretion, decided against posting it..You're welcome Kyle.  By the way, an appendectomy costs right around $59K....Thanks Obamacare!

After I got back on track I took the car to Tieman Tire in Mitchell and purchased a set of Mastercraft tires. I like Tieman because they always have great prices and are very fast and efficient at installation.  I would bet these guys could beat a NASCAR pit crew! Oh and NO hidden charges!  I hate places that advertise too good to be true prices and then you find out that they also charged you $5.00 per wheel to take the lug nuts off, $10.00 per tire warranty, etc.

Here's the car at home with her new shoes.

The more I look at this car, the more I like its styling!

So I have ordered my louvers, a rearview mirror that has a back up cam and forward-facing cam, and seat covers. While out doing the yard sale thing with Debby, I found a couple of gems. One is an almost new carpet steam cleaner with upholstery attachments- 5 Bucks!  This will be very handy since the carpets and seats are in desperate need of deep cleaning. The second find a Sirius XM radio unit with dock and all...UNOPENED...3 Bucks!  Now I can listen to The Highway and Radio Classics!

The Mustang carpet cleaned admirably but the seats, although cleaner than they were, still are in need of covers.

Stand by for more details on these and more projects to come as we play with the new toy! It's not the Mustang I had hoped to own but who has $1.9 million dollars laying around!
TF-51 "Crazy Horse" my dream Mustang!  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Random Gun Thoughts!

Why Grandpa carries a gun


Why Carry a Gun?

My old grandpa said to me 'Son, there comes a time in every man's life when he stops bustin' knuckles
and starts bustin' caps and
usually it's when he becomes too old to take a-- whoopin.'

I don't carry a gun to kill people.

I carry a gun to keep from being killed.

I don't carry a gun to scare people.

I carry a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place.

I don't carry a gun because I'm paranoid.

I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world.

I don't carry a gun because I'm evil.

I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world.

I don't carry a gun because I hate the government.

I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.

I don't carry a gun because I'm angry.

I carry a gun so that I don't have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.

I don't carry a gun because I want to shoot someone.

I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.

I don't carry a gun because I'm a cowboy.

I carry a gun because, when I die and go to heaven, I want to be a cowboy.

I don't carry a gun to make me feel like a man.

I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.

I don't carry a gun because I feel inadequate.

I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate.

I don't carry a gun because I love it.

I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.

Police protection is an oxymoron.
Free citizens must protect themselves. Police do not protect you from crime
they usually just investigate the crime after it happens and then call someone in to clean up the mess.

Personally, I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old to take a-- whoopin' unknown (but obviously brilliant)



In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents,
unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians,
unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others
who were unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents,
unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians,
unable to defend themselves,were rounded up and exterminated.

---- ------------- -------------

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians,
unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people,
unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.


You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

Take note my fellow Americans, before it's too late!

The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.

With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.

During WW II the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

If you value your freedom, please spread this antigun-control message to all of your friends.

The purpose of fighting is to win.

There is no possible victory in defense.

The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either.

The final weapon is the brain.

All else is supplemental.






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