All posts by S. Henry Knocker

I Am A Retired Police Officer And Author Of A View from the street / River City Policing now in print. My Blog relates current events to the plight of the police as it relates to the "regulation of human conduct"

Liberal v conservative tug of war

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

Blog 2 What did you stop me for?

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 regulation of human conduct, or why the police do what they do.

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