Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Tag: police use of force


A little good news from the beat

Sometimes scanning the news can be a real drag. Trauma, death and scandal seem to be the only competitors for the front page, leaving us to continually wonder why the big news is usually bad news.

It is a disturbing question that may say less about the media and more about us, the media consumers.

That fact is especially true if your daily bread is criminal justice. Incidents involving the police or the actions of specific officers are the type of news stories that usually land a spot on the front page and fester there for days.

So when three

Read more »


At UC Davis there’s plenty of blame to go around

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. But a thousand words would be woefully insufficient to contain the outrage against the campus cops depicted here in the now infamous UC Davis pepper spraying incident.

Last Friday afternoon UC Davis students staged a protest an Occupy Wall Street protest, specifically targeting the sharp increase in tuition. During their sit-in police in riot gear responded to their protests. In response, the students linked arms and refused to move. One of the officers in the viral Youtube video (585,727 views and growing) produced a riot-sized canister of

Read more »


Remembering a night of violent potential

In the current spasm of civil unrest, where angry groups trade words and projectiles with ranks of police, I am reminded of a single moment in time.

Itn the mid-90’s I was a Tacoma Police Patrol Officer assigned to the One Sector. In addition to downtown and Northeast Tacoma, this area also included the Hilltop neighborhood, which was still in the grips of gang violence and narcotics crimes. Gunfire was common and the police response often included extra officers. It was also a time when many residents harbored a strong resentment towards my former department.

Though I can’t recall the specific

Read more »


Fighting fair vs. fighting to win

Since I began writing this column a few months ago I have received an inordinate number of comments on the topic of force.

The discussion on the use of force by police, or as it is called in cop circles, “Response to Resistance”, should be an ongoing dialogue. Police agencies and the public should be able to openly discuss the issue from a common level of understanding. However, since most of the comments could be summed up by asking, “Why do police officers always need to use so much force?” it could be assumed that law enforcement should be trying harder to find common ground on this topic.

A San Francisco officer wounded during a riot (Michelle Malkin archives)

The picture at left depicts a San Francisco police officer moments after being assaulted during a riot. While this may be a shocking picture to some, it is included here as an example of why police approach every contact with their guard up.

Statistics on assaults against officers have long suggested that there is a much greater risk of injury in failing to meet and overcome the threat from an unknown subject(s). This is especially true with explosive incidents, such as suicidal subjects, domestic disputes and large protests because these can switch from peaceful to violent in the blink of an eye.

As I was told more than twenty years ago, there is no such thing as a routine call.

In practice this means that if a subject commits an arrestable offense then the outcome is a foregone conclusion. It only awaits the decision by the arrestee whether or not to comply. If a subject follows verbal commands then the expected outcome is a simple and nonviolent arrest. Resistance is the game-changer.

Read more »


When to use deadly force? Good question

In my last column I threw out the hat asking for reader suggestions for future topics. I was not disappointed. This is the first column in a series that hopes to answer just a few of those relevant questions.

One such reader, Whatever 1214 (where do you all get these names, anyway?) asked for an explanation on “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” scenarios taught in the police academy and why is there no specific training to shoot weapons out of the hands of attackers. I have been answering a variation on these questions on a routine basis for over twenty years. Keeping in mind that I am not an instructor in “Use of Force” or “Response to Resistance” as it is now called, I’ll take a crack at answering.

Read more »