Tag Archives: United States of America

The adventures of Officer Smedley ES Stupido Von Woopsclinger

Blog 6
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

Blog 5 How not to be noticed by the average police officer on patrol.

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

Blog 4
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

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