Cass Sheriff’s Deputy Elected State DARE President

Cass County Sheriff Jeff Weber announced two Cass County D.A.R.E. officers were chosen to serve on the State Board of the Missouri D.A.R.E. Officers Association.

At their annual conference this year, Corporal Christine Eddleman was sworn in as president of the Missouri D.A.R.E. Officers Association. Corporal Eddleman has been with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office since 2005 and currently serves as the D.A.R.E. Unit supervisor.

Deputy Stacy Gunn was elected to serve as the Region 7 representative for M.D.O.A. That position serves west central Missouri.

“Is a great honor to have two Cass County deputies on the State Board of the Missouri D.A.R.E. Officers Association. I am very proud of our D.A.R.E. and SRO deputies who protect and educate our children. Their leadership and dedication to their schools, community and this office is second to none,” said Sheriff Jeff Weber.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office currently provides D.A.R.E. at Archie, Cass Midway, Drexel, East Lynne, Pleasant Hill, Sherwood and Strasburg Schools. The sheriff’s office also provides school resource officers at Pleasant Hill, Raymore-Peculiar, and Sherwood School Districts.  

Missouri Crisis Intervention Team Internationally Recognized

The Missouri Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Council announced that Detective Jason Klaus, Missouri CIT Coordinator, was given the 2020 CIT International Coordinator of the Year Award and Corporal Leann Robertson, with the Rolla Police Department, was named the 2020 CIT International First Responder of the Year. 

The Missouri CIT Council and specific members have been recognized internationally for the past five years.

Det. Klaus is with the Perry County Sheriff’s Department and was chosen for his strong leadership of the Missouri CIT Council. He was recognized for helping CIT thrive and expand throughout the state, while doing an excellent job of engaging with different levels of support and promoting CIT well beyond the trainings. He encourages fellow law enforcement officers to become CIT specialists.

Cpl. Robertson is with the Rolla Police Department and is recognized as an officer who demonstrates exemplary CIT knowledge and skills. She was recognized for doing a great job of sharing her knowledge of community resources and successfully de-escalating tense situations. Robertson was also acknowledged for her relationships with her mental health community and showing true compassion to individuals and families who struggle with mental illness and substance use disorders.

The Missouri CIT program is a partnership that includes law enforcement, behavioral health providers, hospitals, the court system, individuals with lived experience and community partners who are dedicated to implementing the Missouri Model of CIT.

The goals of CIT are: Promote more effective interactions between law enforcement and individuals in crisis through a 40 hour training centered on behavioral health education and de-escalation skills; help individuals in crisis by connecting them with appropriate community resources in an effort to divert involvement with the criminal justice system; improve the safety of the officer and individuals in crisis; reduce stigma and expand CIT across the state.

For more information about Missouri CIT visit https://www.missouricit.org/.

Rolla Daily News

The Weapon Cleaning Area and Best Practices

Is your firearm cleaning area ready and prepared appropriately for you and your weapon to be effective?



If you ask any firearms instructor to list out the requirements or best practices for cleaning weapons, you’ll get a list of responses in a variety of priority. The one thing almost every firearms instructor in the world will agree on: No ammunition is permitted in your cleaning area—ever. “Accidental” discharges usually aren’t; negligent discharges are. To help avoid the unintentional chambering and discharge of any ammo, it’s simply best not to have any in the area where you clean your weapons.

Hand in hand with that control condition is the rule to always double-check that your weapon is unloaded before you start cleaning. Many dedicated cleaning spaces have a designated clearing area just outside or near the entrance. Make sure your weapon is empty before you enter your cleaning workspace. Look and feel to make sure the chamber is empty, and then do it again. No magazines inserted in semi-autos. Cylinders open on revolvers. Actions open on long guns and shotguns. Look and feel. Do it again. Yes, it can start to seem silly but the moment you take for granted that you’ve checked and all is good is when things start to go south. NEVER take an unloaded weapon for granted.

The last “universal” rule for weapons cleaning and maintenance is to always clean it after you shoot it. That said, what about weapons you don’t shoot? If you’re going to carry it for duty or self-defense, it should be cleaned monthly. There are plenty of folks who don’t follow the monthly guideline but still clean their weapons at least quarterly. If you have a weapon you don’t shoot at least quarterly and you’re planning to carry it (or do carry it) for duty or defense, you really need to re-examine your practices.

Prepping the space

If you have a dedicated space available, it makes sense to prepare it beforehand. If you know this will be the space, workbench, table, or desk used, you can increase your efficiency by making sure of a few things prior to getting that dirty weapon at hand for cleaning.

Take the appropriate steps to protect your health as it relates to chemical exposure while cleaning the weapon(s).

Ventilation is an often-overlooked concern, usually because weapons are cleaned outside or in fairly large areas such as a garage or workspace. However, if your cleaning area is in a smaller area, you need to be cognizant of the vapors, microparticles, and others that will either exist or be created by your efforts in cleaning your weapon. Having a good quality filtered air circulation system or a high volume fan venting to the outside is recommended.ID 163621874 © Alexandr Tsalko | Dreamstime.com

Have at hand and wear proper eye protection.

As you scrub, wipe or otherwise handle your weapon pieces to clean them, the fine spray of solvent, lubricant, carbon dust, etc. all get flung into the air in very unpredictable directions. You don’t want to get any of that in your eyes, so just like you wear protective eyewear on the range to shoot, wear protective eyewear to clean.

Have the proper tools for disassembly of your various weapons available and, to some extent, protect them from other use.

Quite a few gun owners have learned the lesson of using a tool that wasn’t the right one but was forced into use. They buggered up their weapon in some way, harming either function or finish. There are also plenty of gun owners who have properly equipped their workspace with necessary tools only to have those tools “borrowed” by people for other uses. Sometimes those tools just never find their way back and then, during the process of disassembly and cleaning, the wrong tool has to be substituted. Secure the right tools. Organize them. Dedicate them.

The same applies to your tools used for cleaning. From bore brushes to wipes and rods, make sure you have the correct ones for your handguns and long guns in the appropriate calibers. Know the difference between a chamber brush (for cleaning the cylinder chambers on a revolver) and a barrel brush (for cleaning barrels) and don’t confuse them. Have brass or nylon and use them appropriately. Old toothbrushes can be handy, not to mention dental picks. Your local dental office usually throws away the broken ones, but will often hold and gift them to you if you ask. Have the proper variety of wipe sizes available.

Have at hand and properly organize your solvents and lubricants.

There is a wide variety available and you need to know any risks that exist if you use them on your firearms beforehand. For instance, some solvents aren’t safe for use on polymer frames. Some products are sold to “do it all” like clean, lubricate, and protect. Others are sold as metal conditioners. While they can be used for cleaning, it’s not their purpose and they don’t necessarily perform that function efficiently. Know what you’re using and use it appropriately. Be aware of any conflicts or dangers that exist in the chemicals you have at hand. Be sure to keep them separated and used safely.

Cleaning up afterward

Remember that, as you’ve cleaned your weapons, you’ve contaminated your hands, your clothes and all of the consumables—wipes, cotton swabs, etc. Many places consider them hazardous materials (the dirty consumables). If you haven’t been properly disposing of them ​​as you work, clean off your workspace and make sure you’ve thrown them away in a disposable bag. Any rags you’ve dirtied and plan to reuse need to be washed separately in hot water with a good grease-cutting detergent. The clothes you were wearing should be handled and washed the same way you would after you wore them to the range. Before you do anything else, after you’ve cleaned up, you need to thoroughly wash your hands at least halfway up your forearms unless you were wearing long sleeves during the weapon cleaning process.

Whether you are one of those gun owners who hates cleaning their weapons after a day spent shooting or you love to care for your weapons, how you go about it matters. Proper preparation, proper tools, proper safety, and proper procedure can make it a smooth and safe process.  

By Lt. Frank Borelli (ret) | Officer.com

Benefiting From Crisis Lessons Learned

COMMENTARY | Elected and appointed officials must anticipate a broad range of possible catastrophes and put effective plans in place now to meet challenges like Covid-19 and future disasters.

From hurricanes to pandemics, all disasters share a common set of characteristics. They are sudden, unexpected, carry severe life-threatening consequences and won’t abate until there is a satisfactory resolution of the underlying situation.

The key to successfully navigating crisis is recognizing the six distinct phases of emotional reaction that come before, during and after a disaster. They start with the pre-disaster phase, when people are gripped with fear about what is to come; next is impact, as everybody juggles different emotions and begins to comprehend the damage toll; and then heroic, when people can act to address the immediate challenges they face. Subsequently, there is the honeymoon phase, when people feel optimistic about how things will work out, which is then followed by disillusionment as individuals confront the totality of the tasks ahead of them. Finally, there is reconstruction, where people come to grips with what they lost and accept the need and timetable for rebuilding.

Viewed through this prism, the re-emergence of Covid-19 and the resulting seesaw between openings and closings is understandable as optimism morphs into disillusionment. For government, that means calibrating its ongoing engagement accordingly.

As the city manager of Panama City, Florida, where Hurricane Michael made landfall in October 2018 as the first Category 5 storm to strike the U.S. since 1992 and the strongest storm to ever hit the Florida Panhandle—our community knows the evolution of people’s reactions well. To that end, the successful four-part template that guided our recovery can, with some necessary customization, can help communities across the country manage the impact of, and recovery from, the Covid-19 pandemic. The key elements of that template are:

Outline Specific Lines of Effort: There is no question that disasters are complex operating environments. Therefore, the first step is to develop a strategy aligned to each specific function of the recovery effort that is overseen and staffed by the professionals best suited to those tasks and articulate defined goals and success metrics. In response to Hurricane Michael, we identified safety and security, economy, key and vital infrastructure and quality of life as the key lines of effort. This format could serve as an effective coronavirus response framework. For example, communities could focus their coronavirus strategy around health and medical care/personnel, economic continuity, equipment supply chain, community changes, and education. Without this division of responsibilities, the enormity of the crisis leads to confusion of roles and an inability to achieve sustainable progress.

Communicate: There is no such thing as over​-​communicating in a disaster. Officials should communicate as often as possible to the widest possible breadth to both internal and external stakeholders through the crisis and its aftermath. Within government that means setting expectations for city employees, like first responders, involved in the response so that they can rise to the occasion. Externally, regular communication to the affected community will foster trust and help reduce anxiety and displace rumor and speculation. Harnessing every communications tool available and driving a reliable cadence of information will earn the trust of citizens that their leaders are acting decisively on their behalf.

Document Work and Accomplishments: The need to prove that work was accomplished through a workflow is crucial. Given the sums of direct and reimbursed federal assistance at stake, and the urgency of the situation, audit trails and transparency play a key role in demonstrating that the assistance was used properly. Moreover, this careful tracking makes it possible for communities to tangibly demonstrate the value the assistance provided.

Prepare Proactively: Simply put, the time to prepare is before the crisis arrives. Start with conducting a candid vulnerability assessment and then map each major threat to a specific plan of action. Once those are in place, holding tabletop drills that further identify areas of improvement will make the difference between a successful response and one that falls flat. Working through these exercises will help teams make necessary changes that will preserve life and infrastructure. This process also presents opportunities for government leaders to recognize the specific types of relief it can provide like waiving taxes and fees before the crisis occurs.

In Panama City, we are working to ​​become the premier city in the Florida Panhandle. We are doing that by developing a strong bond with our resilient and resolute community and marshaling all of our available government resources to set overall objectives. Never is this more important than in crisis recovery. No challenge is too large or complex, to keep us from fulfilling our duties, not even one as omnipresent as the Covid-19 pandemic.

​By ​Mark McQueen ​| Route 50

Mark McQueen ​is the ​c​ity ​manager of Panama City, FL., and a ​m​ajor ​g​eneral (retired), United States Army.

Southern District OKs Lengthy Sentence for ‘Board Bills’ Defendant

The Court of Appeals Southern District ruled June 30 that a judge didn’t abuse his discretion in sentencing a high-profile but low-income defendant to more than two years in jail on a variety of charges.

George Richey had argued on appeal that St. Clair County Associate Circuit Judge Jerry J. Rellihan entered the hefty sentence in retaliation for Richey’s role in a landmark 2019 ruling that forbade local courts from imposing jail “board bills” as court costs.

In State v. Richey, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, while counties can charge criminal defendants for the costs of their incarceration, circuit courts have no statutory authority to impose board bills as courts costs. Instead, counties must use a separate process to recover the money. As a result, defendants can’t be brought back into court monthly to review their payments for that debt, nor can the court put them back in jail for failure to pay it.

Six months before the March 2019 ruling, Richey had been arrested on separate charges of drunkenly threatening his neighbors. The following June, Rellihan acquitted Richey of the most serious of the three misdemeanors he faced and sentenced him to 180 days and 15 days on the remaining two charges.

Rellihan also revoked Richey’s probation for three unrelated convictions and ordered him to serve all of his sentences consecutively, totaling 755 days in jail.

Jedd C. Schneider, a public defender representing Richey, argued on appeal that Richey’s stiff sentence was imposed “because he dared to challenge being jailed for debt.” Schneider estimated that Richey would accrue $26,425 in jail board debt during this sentence, an amount he will be “unlikely to ever repay . . . during his lifetime.”

“Did the trial court learn nothing from the Supreme Court’s Richey opinion?” Schneider wrote in a brief. “The answer is seemingly no.”

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office, which defended the case on appeal, argued that Richey’s two new sentences were within the allowable range of punishment and that setting all of the sentences consecutively was at the judge’s discretion.

“The record amply supports the sentences given, including Defendant’s aggressive incorrigibility, lack of rehabilitation, and indifference to the law,” Gregory L. Barnes, an assistant attorney general, argued in a brief. “There is no evidence that the court took his previous appeal into account in determining to run the sentences consecutively.”

According to transcripts quoted in the briefs, Rellihan’s only comment on Richey’s sentencing was: “So he’s had many, many, many opportunities to become an active and good member of this community and he’s chosen not to.” Writing for the Southern District, Judge Daniel E. Scott, wrote that the trial judge “did not directly, or even indirectly, link Richey’s sentencing” to any right Richey had exercised or to the Supreme Court case.

The record, Scott added “forecloses Richey’s retaliation claim, and with it, all of Richey’s consecutive-sentencing challenges.” Chief Judge Jeffrey W. Bates and Judge Mary W. Sheffield concurred.

In an interview, Schneider said he doesn’t plan to seek further appeal in the case. However, he is separately representing Richey in an ongoing declaratory action seeking credit for Richey’s earlier improper incarceration for failure to pay the board bill. As part of the Richey ruling, the Supreme Court had thrown out a $2,275 bill Richey received after spending 65 days in jail for failure to comply with an order to pay an earlier board bill.

In addition, St. Louis-based ArchCity Defenders in February had filed a civil rights lawsuit on Richey’s behalf, alleging that St. Clair County’s practices amounted to a “modern-day debtors’ scheme” to raise revenue. The suit, which had been removed to federal court, was voluntarily dismissed on May 6. Corrigan L. Lewis, the ArchCity attorney who filed the case, couldn’t be reached for comment.

That suit also has alleged that the consecutive sentences were retaliatory. At the time of dismissal, Rellihan, one of the defendants in the suit, had argued that judicial immunity protected his actions. He also pointed to the then-pending appeal in the Southern District, arguing that it gave Richey an adequate remedy at law for “any rulings or allegedly unlawful actions taken in his criminal case.”

The appeal is State v. Richey, SD36153. The declaratory action is Richey v. St. Clair County et al., 20SR-CC00008.

 
By Scott Lauck | Missouri Lawyers Media molawyersmedia.com

Governor Announces Special Session to Address Violent Crime

Today, Governor Mike Parson announced a special session beginning Monday, July 27, which will focus on addressing violent crime in Missouri.

Governor Parson was joined at the press conference by Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel Eric Olson, Lewis County Sheriff David Parrish, who currently serves as president of the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association, and several law enforcement officers.

“As Governor and a former law enforcement officer for more than 22 years, protecting our citizens and upholding the laws of our state are of utmost importance to my administration,” Governor Parson said. “We know we have a serious problem with violent crime here in Missouri that must be addressed. Violent crime has been a problem in our state long before COVID-19, and we have seen it escalate even more in recent weeks, specifically in our big cities.”

Missouri has seen rapid increases in crime rates this year, primarily in the state’s urban areas. Kansas City recently reached 101 homicides for 2020 – a 35 percent increase from 2019. In St. Louis, there have been 130 homicides so far this year compared to 99 at the same time last year.

From May to June alone, data from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows significant increases in reports of violent crime. In St. Louis County, aggravated assaults with a firearm are up 19 percent year-to-date.

“These are just the grim numbers, but the effects of violent crime across our state are best measured in lives – lives lost, futures cut short, and families hurting,” Governor Parson said. “All of this is unacceptable. We are better than that in Missouri, and we must hold violent criminals accountable for their actions.”

“I want to be clear that violent crime isn’t just a St. Louis or Kansas City problem,” Governor Parson continued. “It is a Missouri problem, and we cannot wait until next session to address it. It must be addressed now, which is why we are having this special session.”

The special session will focus on amending state statutes related to violent crime. Specifically, six different provisions will be considered:

Police and Public Safety Employee Residency Requirements for St. Louis – The proposal to be considered would eliminate the residency requirement for St. Louis law enforcement so long as the officer lives within an hour of the city. This proposal would also prohibit requiring any public safety employee for the city of St. Louis to be a resident of the City.

Juvenile Certification – This proposal requires the court to determine if a juvenile should be certified for trial as an adult for the offense of unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action.  

Witness Statement Admissibility – This proposal would allow certain statements to be admissible in court that would otherwise not be allowed under current statute.  

Witness Protection Fund – This proposal creates the Pretrial Witness Protection Fund.

Endangering the Welfare of a Child – This proposal modifies the offense of endangering the welfare of a child for a person who encourages a child to engage in any weapons offense.

Unlawful Transfer of Weapons – This proposal would increase penalty for a person who knowingly sells or delivers any firearm to a child less than 18 years without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian.

“If we are to change violent criminal acts across our state, we must work together,” Governor Parson said. “We must do our jobs. We must support our law enforcement officers, and we must start prioritizing the prevention of violent crime.”

To view the special session proclamation, click here. To view Governor Parson’s remarks from the press conference, click here.

In a statement posted on Facebook later in the day by the governor, he said, If our criminal justice system is going to work, ALL parts of it must be in sync. Law enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing.

If any of these aren’t working right or aren’t doing their job, the whole system fails. The only way we can truly make a difference, fight violent crime, and make our communities safer is by working together.

If you talk to any county or city police department, there are hundreds of unfilled law enforcement positions simply because less and less people want to work in this arena.

People need to understand the sacrifices that law enforcement officers make every day, especially with everything that’s going on in our state right now.

If there was ever a time to stand up for law enforcement, now is the time. They are the front-line response for Missourians. We must support them and give them the respect they deserve, because we cannot fix this problem without them.

If we are to change violent criminal acts across our state, we must work together, we must do our jobs, and WE MUST support our law enforcement officers.

Qualified Immunity: Myths vs Facts

A public official performing a discretionary function enjoys qualified immunity in a civil action for damages, provided his or her conduct does not violate clearly established federal statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known. Because there have been several misunderstandings or misstatements about what “qualified immunity” means, the National Sheriffs’ Association provided the following information:

MYTH

  • Qualified immunity makes officers immune to state or federal criminal charges for a wrongful act.

FACT

  • Qualified immunity does not make officers immune to state or federal criminal charges for a wrongful act.
  • Qualified immunity only protects officers from liability for acts that have never been determined to violate constitutional rights.
  • To retroactively punish a peace officer for conduct that he or she had no way of knowing at the time that such conduct would later be found to violate the Constitution would be wrong. 

 

MYTH

  • Qualified immunity prevents individuals from recovering damages from law enforcement officers who knowingly violate an individual’s constitutional rights.

FACT

  • Qualified immunity only prevents lawsuits in federal court where the constitutional validity of a particular action was not known at the time.  Claimants are free to sue in state court under state law for the same incident, both for negligence as well as intentional torts.

 

MYTH

  • Qualified immunity protects law enforcement agencies from unconstitutional policies and practices.

FACT

  • Qualified Immunity does not protect law enforcement agencies from unconstitutional practices.
  • Eliminating qualified immunity will only benefit trial lawyers in obtaining substantial fee awards for lawsuits that would have been dismissed under qualified immunity.

 

MYTH

  • Eliminating qualified immunity financially affects the officer and will deter him from unconstitutional actions.

FACT

  • Eliminating qualified immunity does not financially affect the officer because most judgments are paid by the agency’s insurance company whose premiums are paid with public funds.

 

MORE FACTS

  • Eliminating qualified immunity will keep officers from making crucial, split-second, life or death decisions to stop a lethal threat.  Innocent victims and officers will be hurt or killed as a result. Mullenix v. Luna, 136 S. Ct. 305 (2015).
  • Qualified immunity not only protects officers from liability for unknowingly violating constitutional rights, it protects all government actors from liability to allow them to function in uncertain situations where immediate action is needed for the public good. Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223 (2009).
  • The qualified immunity rule seeks a proper balance between two competing interests. On one hand, damages suits may offer the only realistic avenue for vindication of constitutional guarantees. On the other hand, permitting damages suits against government officials, not just peace officers, can entail substantial social costs, including the risk that fear of personal monetary liability and harassing litigation will unduly inhibit officials in the discharge of their duties. As one means to accommodate these two objectives, judicial precedent holds that government officials are entitled to qualified immunity with respect to discretionary functions performed in their official capacities. The doctrine of qualified immunity gives officials, peace officers or otherwise, breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions. Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S. Ct. 1843 (2017).
  • As to peace officers, qualified immunity applies to jail operations including medical decisions, failure to protect, suicides in jails, and many other situations not involving use of force.  Taylor v. Barkes, 135 S. Ct. 2042 (2015); Berry v. Sherman, 365 F.3d 631(8th Cir. 2004).
  • It is not necessary that the very action in question has previously been held unlawful. That is, an officer might lose qualified immunity even if there is no reported case directly on point. But in the light of pre-existing law, the unlawfulness of the officer’s conduct must be apparent. Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S. Ct. 1843 (2017).
  • Qualified immunity protects all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law. To determine whether a given officer falls into either of those two categories, a court must ask whether it would have been clear to a reasonable officer that the alleged conduct was unlawful in the situation he confronted. If so, then the defendant officer must have been either incompetent or else a knowing violator of the law, and thus not entitled to qualified immunity. If a reasonable officer might not have known for certain that the conduct was unlawful, then the officer is immune from liability. Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S. Ct. 1843 (2017).
  • Eliminating qualified immunity for cases where the peace officer didn’t know they were violating constitutional rights will open the flood gates for additional litigation and have a substantial negative impact on the budgets of communities that will have to pay for increasing judgments and attorneys’ fees.

 

BJS Releases Reports on Police-Protection Expenditures, Crime Levels in the US

Studies by the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics show:

· In 2018, the combined state and federal imprisonment rate (431 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents) was the lowest since 1996.

· The total imprisonment rate fell 15% from 2008 to 2018.

· From 2008 to 2018, the imprisonment rate dropped 28% among black residents, 21% among Hispanic residents, and 13% among white residents.

· In 2018, the imprisonment rate of black residents was the lowest since 1989.

 

The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics today released statistical tables on government expenditures on police protection from its Justice Expenditure and Employment Extracts series, and selected findings on violent and property crimes based on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

The title of the reports are:

State and Local Government Expenditures on Police Protection in the U.S., 2000-2017 (NCJ 254856) by BJS Statisticians Emily Buehler and Kevin Scott” and

Selected Findings from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (NCJ 254862) by BJS Statistician Erica Smith

The reports can be found by visiting www.bjs.gov

The Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice is the principal federal agency responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating reliable statistics on crime and criminal justice in the United States. Jeffrey H. Anderson is the director.        

Agency Tests Live 911 Technology to Shorten Response Time

A California police department is testing out a new system that officials say could help officers while on patrol.

According to KFSN, the Clovis Police Department is just the third agency in the country to start using ‘Live 911,’ a technology that allows officers to listen to 911 calls as they come into dispatch. ​​CPD officials say it enables officers to respond to calls more quickly by cutting out the middleman.

“Instead of waiting for dispatch to type in the details to send it to the radio operator and to come out over the radio, which sometimes can take up to two minutes, officers are able to hear the information right away,” Clovis Police Lt. Jim Munro told KFSN. “It has been a game-changer to be honest with you.”

In addition to saving precious minutes, officials say Live 911 gives officers more context about a call than they would have gotten with the old system.

“To actually hear the tone of the voice of the person calling and the officers understand this is really an emergency,” Munro said. “And to hear the little details that may not make it through to us in a timely manner.”

Officer Meredith Alexander told KFSN that the real-time awareness helps her better prepare for an incoming call. When she hears the reporting party’s address she can already start heading to the scene.

“[Dispatchers are] asking what’s going on and description is really helpful for the officers in the field to hear that and get a good grasp of what’s going on,” she said.

By Suzie Ziegler | Police 1

How to Reduce Stress During Times of Crisis

​Who is taking care of the cops when they are enduring hatred, betrayal and intense scrutiny? (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)​

 

With law enforcement blamed for society’s ills and the future of policing uncertain, officers face new traumas and total exhaustion.

An NYPD veteran said that the emotional toll on cops today is worse than after 9/11. Officers are taxed to the max, under constant media attack and experiencing hatred like never before.

After working 12-hour shifts with no days off, cops go home to teach school lessons to their kids, but only after they have decontaminated themselves and their equipment to protect loved ones from an enemy they cannot see. Spouses have been laid off and officers worry about making the mortgage. Cops have seen death from the pandemic firsthand and have lost colleagues, friends and family members to the virus.

Don’t forget the two-officer families who wrestle with long shifts, household chores and daycare issues. Don’t forget the line of duty deaths that cannot be memorialized properly.

On top of dealing with a pandemic and economic shutdown, add in the protests where bottles filled with concrete are thrown at cops, they are called pigs and murderers and are shoved and spit on. Businesses that supported officers have banned them from entering and denied the use of bathroom facilities. Officers’ wives, parents and children experience attacks of hatred from friends and strangers.

As all cops are unmercifully blamed for the actions and inactions of a few, officers struggle to explain to their young kids why people hate the police.

All cops are serving a sentence for a crime they didn’t commit.

COPS WORRY THAT BY DOING THEIR JOB THEY CAN LOSE THEIR JOB

Officers don’t worry about dying in the line of duty. If that happens, their families will be taken care of financially. Officers worry that despite performing their assigned duties by the book, they can still be sued, indicted, or fired. They fear not being able to put food on the table or a roof over their kids’ heads. Not to mention the humiliation and financial ruin of imprisonment. In this political climate, showing up for work can get you in trouble.

Officers worry about having to use force and being thrown under the bus by their agency and elected officials or fired before an investigation has commenced.

And then there is the talk of abolishing qualified immunity.

WHY DO WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THE COPS?

Policing during a pandemic is traumatic enough. With law enforcement blamed for society’s ills and the future of policing uncertain, officers face new traumas and total exhaustion. Throw out the term post-traumatic stress disorder because what cops are currently enduring is way beyond any stress known to mankind or a medical disorder.

Trauma takes a toll on the human physically and emotionally. The brain and memory encode traumatic events differently than normal events. Traumatic events get trapped within the body – the vagus nerve and individual organs. Physical symptoms of surviving trauma can mimic the pandemic virus: fatigue, stomach upset, muscle aches, shaking and chills, shortness of breath, headaches and congestion can be contributed to both. Officers may experience additional health issues like high blood pressure, ulcers, heart attacks and suicide ideations.

Unresolved trauma and stuffing or denying emotions can manifest as anger. Officers cannot afford, during this siege on law enforcement, to succumb to rage roaring out at the wrong moment while on duty.

WHO IS TAKING CARE OF THE COPS?

Who is taking care of the cops when they are enduring hatred, betrayal and intense scrutiny? When they are criticized and denounced for doing their jobs?

Under these dire circumstances, overcoming the stigmas officers face in asking for help and providing emotional support resources to officers will be a monumental task. But departments have a long history of failing to offer adequate emotional support to officers. Officers need more than wellness programs that do little to address their concerns. They want to know that their department’s administration will stand up for them if they use justified, reasonable and necessary force.

Officers are instructed to refrain from answering noncriminal calls and not to escalate situations (as if officers are the cause of such escalations). Officers face having their jobs reformed by people who have never policed and who have no idea what the job entails. That doesn’t constitute emotional support.

Agencies and the public need to wake up to the fact that unless emotional support is offered to officers, who continue to work under these stressful conditions, there will be mass retirements and resignations and recruitment will be impossible.

COPS HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF COPS

Reach out to a peer support team and talk about how you feel. Peer team members are trained to listen, validate and acknowledge your feelings, allowing you to fall apart and be honest with your feelings without fear of the impact on your career. Peer support team members, in most states, are covered by the same confidentiality protections as a doctor, lawyer, or clergy.

Talk to a peer team member and express your feelings in an environment of trust and support. Neutralize your emotions so they won’t come back to haunt you on duty or video. Don’t take what you are experiencing on the job home and take it out on those who love and support you.

If your agency does not have a peer team, seek out a team in your area or another city. A peer team will not turn you away.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND THE OFFICER NEXT TO YOU

You have to take care of yourself and your colleagues.

Eat properly. Rest when you can. Drink water to avoid dehydration during the summer heat. Don’t self-medicate with booze or junk food. Breathe deeply often to calm your mind and your emotions and reset your nervous system.

Talk to your spouse and family. Keep the lines of communication open and honest.

Care about those you work with. Be alert for signs they are burnt out or struggling. Provide support and assistance. Help other officers maintain composure and keep calm out on the streets.

Don’t take the hatred towards law enforcement personally. Officers are being used as political pawns in a vile election year.

MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT AND RESPECT POLICE OFFICERS

A sergeant met two of his officers for dinner at an open restaurant. An older African American couple came to their table after putting on their masks. The man placed his hands on the shoulders of the two officers and said, “I paid for your meals.”

The sergeant said, “Appreciate your act of kindness, but you don’t need to do that.”

The gentleman said, “Yes, officers, I do.” He patted their shoulders, then he and his wife left.

What helps the most, officers say, is when citizens come up and express their support and encouragement.

As psychologist Erich Fromm said, “Love is the only sane, satisfactory answer to the problems of human existence.”

Time to support our officers who perform their jobs professionally and ethically every day under conditions never before seen or experienced in law enforcement.

​​By Barbara A. Schwartz | Police 1
 
About the author

Barbara A. Schwartz is certified as a first responder peer supporter by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) and the Law Enforcement Alliance for Peer Support (LEAPS). She maintains specializations in grief, injured officer support, suicide prevention, and traumatic stress injuries.

As a Police Explorer scout and reserve officer, Schwartz served in patrol and investigations. Her articles and book reviews have appeared in American Police Beat, The Thin Blue Line, Command, The Tactical Edge, Crisis Negotiator Journal, Badge & Gun, The Harris County Star, The Blues, The Shield, The Police News, PoliceOne.com and Calibre Press Newsline.

She maintains memberships in the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA).

Schwartz has dedicated her life to supporting the brave officers of law enforcement.