Blog 9 What Happens When Parents Opt Out
Over the last 60 odd years Parents in this nation and indeed all over the western world have opted out of their responsibility to guide and discipline their children. Please understand that this may be apparent to me because of the View I have had growing up and my 30 years of policing
Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in a poor section of the city the oldest of10 brothers and sisters I was pressed into service early in life. I was helping with washing clothes, doing dishes, cutting the grass, gardening, as well as changing diapers of my siblings by the time I was old enough to follow my mother’s instructions. It was like I was born Old. I was about 6 when I ran my left arm into one of those ringers on our ringer washer. If you don’t know what that was it was a motorized tub with a agitator and a set of rollers that you fed the wet closes into to squeeze the water out before they were hung out on a line to dry.
Our mother didn’t like house work and would put it off as long as she could, preferring to work outside or read books. I was always ashamed to have kids over to the house because of the mess. It never seemed to bother mother. By the time I was in my early teens I wanted out. So I acted out, ran away, refused to go home and was generally a pain in the butt to my parents. If it was not for my great grandfather caring when I was young I would never have made it.
I joined the army as soon as I was old enough 17, 1/2 I was a good solider because I wanted to be. This is where I developed the “YOU GOTTA WANNA” philosophy. “You gotta wanna means”; if you want something you have to work for it. You must do things with a passion. No half measures will do.
This made me a good solider. I made rank fast. When I got out I carried this philosophy into police work. There I was forced to choose whether I wanted to make rank or be the best cop I could. I first tried to do both but soon learned that I was better suited to being a working cop rather than a political stooge. I was active in the police guild and became the guild secretary and Vice President, and then president.
As a patrolman I tried to work one district as much as possible. I chose the R 9 district. I did this because it was the poorest section of town and was the busiest and therefore I thought the best place to learn the most. Brother was I right on that one. I did more real police work in a year than most of the guys that were avoiding that district did in ten years. I recruited a couple other go getters on another shift and together we cleaned it up going from 30 burglaries or more a month to less than ten. Car prowls and other crimes went down also.
I learned not just who was doing the crime but why they were doing them. It came down to the same reason I joined the army as a youth. I wanted out and they wanted out too. Most of them had parents that just didn’t care. The parents were living their lives and the kids, for the lack of a better description,were in the way. They all said they cared, but when it came right down to it, what they cared about was not being bothered. The kids ran the streets, skipped school, got bad grades, and smoked mom and daddy’s dope, cigarettes, and drank their booze, several even sniffed gasoline.
Effective parenting starts at 6 months and continues the rest of your life. Get that fact threw your head and be happy. Spare the rod and spoil the child the bible says. That doesn’t mean beat them. It means to train up your children in the way they should go. A rod is a walking stick, a tool of correction. It has a hook on it to grab and pull a child from that which is dangerous. If the rod is present the child will see the parent cares and be fix on the path. Otherwise it is a crapshoot. I was lucky. I had a great grandfather that cared. He put me on the path. but died when I was nine. Still, I knew he cared and I am not going to disappoint him ever!
S. Henry Knocker
A PSA for Ferguson Missouri
Attention Minority Community
Wanted Minority Recruits for Ferguson MO. Police Department.
***Warning This work is dangerous and physically and mentally demanding***
Applicants must be willing to do the following: Be of good moral fiber, physically fit, and able to pass the Law enforcement standard test for physical fitness, Pass a mental evaluation, Pass an Oral and written Examination,
(Personal mentoring is available by any of our officers that are willing to take you on. You must be bold enough to seek them out and ask for help.)
If you are selected as a rookie officer you WILL endure the following:
At least 400 Hours of intense instruction in criminal Law, civil rights, the US and State Constitutions, basic criminal investigation, basic crime scene investigation, basic traffic investigation, Self-defense tactics, felony stops, advanced first aide, CPR. Fire arms proficiency shoot no shoot training, you will be expected to meet basic standards in all these areas or you WILL be washed out.
If you are accepted you will be put on one year probation. You will be referred to as a Rookie officer the lowest form of human life.
( Veterans does this sound like something you have endured before)
Next you will be given a series of weapons, a badge, uniform, bullet proof vest ECT. You will be taken to a place of public execution and sworn in as commissioned Police Officer.
Don’t let this go to your head because even if you pass the probation period, you won’t be a fully functional officer for five years, Some never get there. They get paid for doing the minimum and getting the maximum. Don’t let that happen to you!
During the time you are becoming an officer you will lose all your racial identity and become blue. You will be abused by, fellow officers, your family, the press, old friends, pastors, wives, and your own children.
Suck it up, work hard, stand tall, you will become Americas finest.
Got the guts for it; or would you like to piss your life away as some two bit hoodlum in the hood
S. Henry Knocker
The further adventures of Officer Smedley
I became Smedley the day I took a rookie out from the station on a hot call there was a car prowl in progress and several units went on the call. After completing the call my rookie needed to stop at a restroom. We pulled into a gas station he got out to do his thing, because we had not done our checks of the vehicle before leaving the police parking area, I started doing the checks, Radio fine, gas full shot gun in the rack, now here is where things got sticky. One of the checks is to see that the shot gun was not left loaded with a round in the chamber and it was on safe. We had switched from the full stock type to the pistol grip and they were mounted with the barrel down on the floor. This was done to make the weapon safer and to prevent smokers from using the barrel of the shot gun for an ash tray. Some of the jokers thought it was cute to see some guy check the shot gun and get a lap full of ash.
As luck would have it all the things that could go wrong were wrong that day. I attempted to remove the shot gun from the locked stand the lock was stuck. I pulled on it a couple times and it would not release. While pulling on it my finger got into the trigger housing and the gun discharged. The car was lifted up. Not knowing what happened I dove out of the car and took cover the gas station attendants were showered with debris. The rookie was just stepping into the bathroom he dove for cover. We thought we were under attack we were asking where that came from and advising all the workers and patrons to take cover when I noticed smoke coming from under the patrol car. I told the rookie I think someone had thrown an explosive device under the car. After everything quieted down we made a closer inspection and found the hole in the floor which leads to the shotgun going off. When I informed the rookie his first words were “knocker it happened anyway you say it did”. Fortunately the damage was limited to a hole in the floor and a couple dents in the exhaust. I took my “au shit award” with as much grace as I could muster.
For a while the station turned into a free fire zone. Everybody got into the act. The chief was talking to a gun salesman in his office when the guy shot a round through a chair in his office. The rookie was unloading his gun in the locker room and cranked one through the ceiling. Someone shot a hole through the T V stand in the briefing room. To top it all off some citizen walked in with a shot gun and shot his face off at the front counter and a lot of changes were made. We all retreated behind bullet proof walls. This was due more to the citizen shooting his face off than the rash of accidental discharges around the station. We dubbed him the guy that shot his face off because that’s what happened the shot was not fatale. It just removed his chin. All his food had to be put through a blender and he ate threw a straw.
Why people think that the police should be involved in any way in their demise is a complete mystery to me. We are there to protect and serve. There is nothing in the moto to indicate that we are the implementers of suicide. Having said this; I note that a couple times a year the average cop is faced with decisions reflecting some citizen’s desire to end it all. Most just want us to intervene and get them help.
This brings me to the incident in Ferguson Missouri. When you boil this down it looks to the entire world like “suicide by Cop”. He drew the police into his torment with the actions in the store. Then he attacks the officer. Then after being injured in the scuffle in the patrol car, He retreats long enough to give the officer the chance to recover and then charges the officer. He was a big man he had the advantage of this smaller man even wounded could have finished the job in the car. The car is a death trap in this situation for the officer.
In my opinion this may have been a suicide, well planned and designed to let him go out with some notoriety. It is sad but we have all seen this act before.
S. Henry Knocker
The adventures of Officer Smedley ES Stupido Von Woopsclinger
No Fair look at the business of policing can be undertaken without some acknowledgement that profession has its less than stellar moments.
We are not talking about the kind of incident that unfolded in Ferguson Missouri Last month. We are going to look at those moments when the brain sends out a message that if acted upon will, no doubt cause us to utter the words “Au Shit” and up our chances of winning that coveted award at the next dinner dance.
It is said that; Strange things happen in the land of the midnight sun.
When the exhaust of the prowler car is allowed to run.
When the ghosts of the vortex materialize near dawn,
and the lines of battle are drawn.
We are not talking about this manifestations of the weird conjuring’s of the night that makes our blood run cold.
We are speaking of the one off stupid. The incident on the range where an otherwise well trained officer that can’t shoot for Poop leaves his coat on the range under his target and proceeds to shoot it full of holes then when others on the line notice this they join in on the fun an all start blasting the coat to shreds. This gave rise to the term “Gomezing” your gun which is quite common. A shooter, anticipating the bang, closes his or her eyes and pushes forward on the gun which drops the barrel and causes a very low shot. I saw a lot of this, when I was training troops at Fort Lewis. We even saw this when a General Officer turned up with the affliction.
We are speaking about the officer that when dispatched to a call at a local hotel of a possible bomb in the bath room and finding a bag with a sign that states, “This is a bomb”. While his fellow officers are discussing how to proceed in the orderly evacuation of the building, takes it on himself to draw his night stick and beat the bag to pieces and thereby cause a stampede of officers and citizens into the parking lot. Then he comes out and announces that it was just a bunch of flairs. No! Smedley was not fired for that one.
Smedley Was not fired for telling his rookie trainee, “never fire a warning shot as the round will be out there somewhere and there is no control over where it may come down”. No less than 15 minutes later he fires a warning shot as we are chasing a felon up an alley. We clearly heard him say “au shit” when the shot rang out.
Smedley liked to be well armed he was a transfer from another department I told him not to wear the ankle weapon a small 22 cal. Auto with an exposed hammer. But this young Smedley new better he went to court I went on patrol. Two hours later I get a call to “help the officer” I was a block from the station. Smedley was in the parking lot. I get there and find him sitting in his car holding his foot up in great pain. I ask what happened? He says “ I was getting in the car and hit the leg weapon on the door jam and it went off. He shot a hole in the bottom of the holster and then into his ankle.
Years earlier another of his relatives had one of those small caliber weapons in his pocket and was interviewing a suspect when we were executing a warrant at a drug house. The suspect was standing in front of this Smedley with several officers flanking him. The questions were coming hot and heavy. Somebody said talk and thing could go better for you. The suspect was reluctant to talk. Smedley was fingering the gun in his pocket and becoming somewhat frustrated with the guy. There was a boom and the suspect doubled over from being hit in the privets with debris from a ricochet that bounced up from the floor. Smedley felt something cold slide down his leg and into his shoe. Smedley kept his cool. It was later determined to be change from his pocket. The suspect gave so much information after that that he became Smedley’s favorite source of information
S. Henry Knocker
How not to be noticed by the average police officer on patrol.
Before I give you the top 10 ways to get yourself noticed by a patrol officer; I would like to clue you in about one major misconception, the public has about what a patrol vehicle is doing when it is on the road. What it is not, is a fellow motorist transporting himself to some job, or a doughnut checker going from one doughnut house to another, but I believe that is what most of the public thinks.
These vehicles are not using the road for the same purpose the rest of us are. They go fast. They go slow. They make those U turns where you can’t go. They go up the wrong way streets and park funny.
In order to put this into perspective it would helpful to think of these vehicles as you would the white blood cells in the immune system of the human body. They cruse around looking for impurities in the body of the host they are there to protect.
Hence the moto “to protect and serve”.
The greatest weapon a police officer has, in this endeavor to erase the impurities in the system, is his or her ability to observe. In this instance observe means, to see, hear, feel, smell, and know by ESP the impurities. A patrol officer that does not hone these skills and pay attention to them is doing a disservice to the public. Too many officers pay no attention to these skills and subscribe to the do the minimum and get the maximum philosophy. I write about this syndrome in my book A View from the Street / River City Policing, coming out this winter.
OK! Now that I think your head is right, we can discuss the ten ways to avoid getting noticed by the police. #1 don’t give them any help, by getting pissed off at a fellow traveler, who may have got distracted or failed to notice that the king of the universe (You) were around; and cut you off, disrespected you or to some degree caused you some discomfort. If you flip him or her off, retaliate or shoot at them, they will call on their cell phone, everyone has one, and you will get the attention of not just the local car but about every car anywhere near you. There will be several dispatchers and office clerks with computers. Depending on the circumstances there is no limit to the poop that may rain down on you, up to and including a fleet of B1 bombers pissing all over you. Well maybe they won’t go that far. But I wouldn’t count on it. Remember that satchel charge that took down that building in a large city back east a couple decades ago.
That’s the big one. The rest are minor in comparison and the order is debatable; speeding more than about 7 MPH over the limit, one over in a school zone, noise from those big speakers, playing in the snow, burning rubber, driving with both feet out the window, Playing with your phone, putting on makeup, and reading a book with your kid on your lap, or any combination of the above.
Now remember when you see one of these sleek vehicles cruse by you 10 or 15 over the limit, they don’t use the roads the way you do. They are stalking their pray.
Be thankful you read this blog and it wasn’t YOU!
S. Henry Knocker
Understanding -V- A Reason Not to Do It
The Liberal mind set is on understanding, rather than the Conservatives mantra of simply stating the expectation and expecting compliance.
These two views of the world don’t have to be at odds. The police should be rightly seen as the line drawers. They should be ones that give us all a reason not to transgress. The courts and the social services agencies should be in the business of meeting out justice and rehabilitation. The two should rarely be at odds. , but they are frequently.
Why is it then the case, that they are at odds?
I am going to try to explain it as I have come to see the problem. It is not just Liberalism that is the problem. We are the problem. We seed power to the courts to dispense Justice. We restrict the judgeships to lawyers. Lawyers are servants of the law. Lawyers for the most part look at the law as an absolute. Justice plays only an accidental role in the mind of a lawyer. In this system a rich man can rob a poor man by manipulation, and use lawyers to make the law his hammer. There is no justice here. It is my view that Judges should not be lawyers and lawyers should never be judges. The two carrier paths should be different. A judge should be concerned with the law but never a slave to it. When applying the law a judge should ask; is this Justice? They should not be thinking “If I am not re-elected and I go back to the law what president should I set here?” (Yes I think this go’s on!)
The argument against this is the law is so complicated that judges need to be lawyers. B.S. They make it complicated for a reason and it has little to do with Justice. If you have two good lawyers telling the judge what they think the law says, and the Judge can read, why do you need a third lawyer? Any second year cop could do the job. That would be a conflict of interest you say? And I say: A prosecutor or defense attorney becoming a judge isn’t a conflict of interest, give me a break.
The police should be able to look at a law and make black and white judgments as to whether to make arrests. This one is over 18. That one is under 18. A complaint is made and they arrest. The at risk youth don’t have to think (let’s see I’m 20 she is 16 1/2 can I bang her?) nope he just says I’m 20 she is 16 &1/2 Jail bait better wait.
Another change that needs to be made is that the people of the state need to be put back in charge of the law. When a judge seeks to overturn a law made by the people, he or she should be required to re-wright the law as he or she would want it, and submit it to the legislature. The legislature looks at it and sends it back to the people to change. The people need their say and approval!
Sorry, Your Honor, It’s just what I think.
I can tell you why I think this will never happen. The people in power like their power. They have families and the families think they can do what they please. They tend to screw up and get mixed up with police. The power players don’t want their screw ups held accountable
There is dam little justice!
S. Henry Knocker
Liberal v conservative tug of war
There has been a tug of war of sorts between the liberal and conservative views in policing for most of the 30 years I was a police officer. It started in Ernst in the late 70’s
The liberal view goes like this; youth is sacred. We must not discourage our youth with stigmas of criminality. We must try to understand their unique and individual proclivities in order to get them by their naturally rebellious impulses, with the least trauma to their individual psyches as we as a nation may inflict.
The conservative view is a bit less wordy and gets to the point. We must give our youth a REASON not to do things that harm others in society!
Conservatives say, liberals are sticking their heads in the sand by not holding youth accountable for their actions.
Liberals say, conservatives are mean and insensitive!
Here is what I say in the early 80s I dealt with a group of at risk youth who were robbing elderly citizens and assaulting them in the process. When the victims complained they were harassed and threatened in order to get them to drop charges. The perpetrators were high school aged youth and attended class at one of the local high schools.
It came to pass that they assaulted and robbed a 74 year old women from the poor section of town. They took her entire months social security, and hit her over the head for her trouble. I learned who they were from responsible members of the youth community who did not believe that this was an appropriate thing to do to a poor grandmother in the United States of America. I agreed with their assessment of the situation
As a side note: The reward for feeling this way for these kids was to be called snitches, Hollywood movies refer to them in terms like “ Dirty Informers” “ Stool Pigeons” “ Rats” and the like. Some times when I hear these things the Spirit of SLAP comes over me. It’s hard to restrain myself.
To get back to the story I jumped through all the hoops and got the court to issue an arrest warrant.
At 09:00 on a Monday morning after picking up the warrant. I entered the class room of the ringleader. I identified myself to the teacher and walked over to the subject of the warrant. I jerked him out of his seat and cuffed him up in front of the class. I said this is what happens when you rob and beat up a grandmother and intimidate a witness in River City. I took him out of the class in tears. There were no more robberies and assaults of elderly citizens from that group on my watch. The tears of the youth continued in the court room. What happened there I address in my book coming out this winter, A View from the street / River city Policing.
S Henry Knocker
What did you stop me for?
This is the most asked question that a police officer gets. The answers are as varied as the personalities of the men and women on the force. The acceptable reasons are, you did something to draw the attention of a police officer that was extra-legal, unsafe, or “suspicious”, in the educated opinion of the officer. It is this “suspicious” part that engenders the greatest problems for police.
In my book A View from the street/ River City Policing, coming out this winter: I discuss this at length.
On the department I was on we had an individual that thought all blond “Chicks” were suspicious. I say that because every time the shift started with in minutes of leaving the station he would make a traffic stop. When the backup officer would drive by he would have a blond “chick” stopped. He was a good looking guy and the Chicks didn’t seem to mind much because they never complained. I don’t think he gave them a ticket often, because his ticket count was not out of the ordinary.
Just for information ordinary for a non-traffic patrol officer is about 15 tickets a month. More than that and he is considered traffic orientated. Younger officers seem to be more afflicted with this malady, but they soon tire of all the court and begin making stops warnings rather than ruin a citizens day. They save the court time for repeat offenders. About 10% of drivers get 90% of the citations, and that is as it should be in this ex officers opinion.
After a while when you are a police officer, you begin to develop what we called our” Spidey sense”. That’s when the hair raises on the back of your neck and you get the feeling that something just is not right. You can get this feeling walking up on a car and never figure out why. I think you get it when you smell fear coming from the vehicle. I have learned this by asking drivers that I stopped whether I had done something to make them nervous. The answer I got from one driver was revealing to me. He said “ I saw you when you approached my car. You are so big, all that stuff on your belt, that hat, your are frightening to me. I removed my hat and he immediately became calmer. We had a nice long chat and afterwards I removed all the unnecessary tools from my belt and started approaching folks without my hat. WOW the complaints I was getting went from several a year to zero and the chief got letters complementing me for putting people at ease. I still kept my awareness level high but I tried not to project that to a citizen.
Now ask yourself the next time you are stopped; am I having a reaction to this person because I am frightened by his or her demeanor? If so please tell him or her and refer them to this Blog.
Due your duty and let’s get these young officers trained up right
S. Henry Knocker
The Knocker Blog
The regulation of human conduct
That’s what the police are all about regulating conduct. On this blog I would like to place before the reader the differing views within this great republic, we call the United States of America. I would like to do this with an eye towards the humorous and perplexing. Below I have listed the various categories I believe these views fall in to. I have left out libertarian and fascist because they each are complex and can be found within the spectrum of liberalism and conservatism. Of cores anarchist are in a class by themselves.
The liberal View
The ultra-liberal view
The conservative View
Then ultra-conservative view
I invite the reader to into a discussion and debate as to why police do what they do. I will endeavor to be as honest as I know how to be I will take current events and war stories from actual events and attempt to explain why we do what we do. If I gore your OX let me know. Please let’s keep the dialog respectful.
Here is an expert from my book. A view from the street / River City Policing Due out this winter
“Shortly after I joined the Police in “River City” I was riding with one of the old Veteran officers. We were talking and the conversation was somehow turned to the topic of who were the worst drivers. He postulated that Asians were worst old people were second and women were third.
That’s when I bit. I asked the question. What do you do when you see an old Asian woman driving in front of you? His answer came quickly. TURN LEFT!
Don’t let your personal feelings about people; affect your judgment about anything, in this job. I had been set up, but the lesson was clear. I have never forgotten the lesson.”
This was a teaching moment It was designed to feel me out, and see where my head was, in regards to my personal belief systems. This was in 1969. Think about that. There were race riots all over this country. Police were routinely depicted in the media as “jack booted storm troopers”.
Recruiting a police officer from the public is a little like Forrest Gump said, its like a box of chocolates you never know what your going to get. You might get sweet caramel and chocolates or you might get sweet chocolates and nuts. You won’t know what you got till you put it to the test.
Now Ill put you to the test. Was this an effective way to test my chocolates?
S. Henry Knocker