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Posts Tagged ‘Distrust’

DPSST Tactical Village

I arrive at the mock Rogue River Bar.  It could very well be your average motorcycle enthusiast bar, complete with pool tables, fridge and beer taps.  It’s all part of “Tactical Village” – a sprawling complex with faux buildings, roadways, cars, buses and the typical neighborhood debris you’d find in any urban environment.  This area was also referred to as Scenario Village which as the name implies is for various training scenarios to simulate real-world incidents.

Tactical supervisor Capt. Ed Thompson provided instruction as he led the group of exercises.  Today the press participants would be acting as a police officer in various situations.  We were briefed on gun safety, shooting and while the Glock’s only fired paint-pellet bullets they did have enough velocity to sting and leave substantial marks.

Demonstration by Lt. Daryl Tate (L) and Officer Jason Brown (R)

I’ve experienced confusion at motorcycle rallies when ask to respond to conflicting instructions from multiple law enforcement officials, but nothing prepared me for my first “routine” patrol stop.  The patrol car radio blasted a somewhat inaudible message about the ’96 Dodge Stratus with Idaho plates that I had pulled over for a traffic violation was involved in an arm robbery – I cautiously exited the patrol car collecting my thoughts as a rather large man (~300 pounds) exits the Dodge on the driver side – I shout out to stay in the automobile, the man doesn’t comply – I shout again for the man to stop, but he continues to walk toward me and the patrol car with one hand in a back pocket – I notice he has an angry and aggressive physical demeanor.   Now I’m using all the techniques from earlier in the day… defining the threat (Intent; Means; Opportunity) when at about 20 feet from the police car I see the man pull a gun.  My first thought was WTF? this can’t be happening.  In addition I had tunnel vision and didn’t see his partner exit the scene…I was so focused on that gun.  Having no police gun/holster experience didn’t help and my attempt to pull my firearm was delayed by safety snaps — Gunshots sounded.  The officer (me) was hit by 4 paint ball pellets.  No blood was spilled, but I was dead in less than 20 seconds!  It was about that time when one of the instructors stated “experience is the knowledge you needed 1 minute ago”… a bit flipant, but I’ve got to give ‘em that one.

Officer Jason Brown (L) Explains Scenario in Tactical Village

For several hours we responded to chaotic, dangerous or unpredictable situations in an effort to serve others. The exercises really hit home and made me re-think law enforcement’s role and the second guessing of intentions. With sincere respect to families of people shot by police, including Aaron Campbell’s, what most people killed by police have in common is that they were running from the law, threatening to harm someone or failing to obey police commands. That doesn’t mean they deserve to be shot, but it does complicate an officer’s job and forces the type of split-second decisions police make.   I believe Capt. Rau stated during training that “Nobody wins these situations, you survive them.”  We continued into the afternoon with the academy’s interactive video training program called MYLO (Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives) which used a Glock laser firearm vs. paint-pellets.   It’s a computerized model capable of running hundreds of scenario’s ranging from domestic disturbance to school shootings.  The situations are intense and life like even if displayed on a video screen.

Tactical Village

At the end of the day I was tired from the adrenaline rush and participating in a number of these scenarios (I was hit so many times I looked like a member in the Blue Man Group!).  Near the end of the day we received an overview from Michael Slauson (Sr. Assistant Attorney General, Oregon DOJ) on SB 111 (2007) and requirements for each county (36 in total) to have a deadly force plan which outlines a number of minimum requirements around police officer mental health and making information available to the public.  In all there were more than 25 people involved in delivering this training.  Unfortunately the mainstream media/press turnout was dismal.  Why?  Fox News (TV12), Albany, Corvallis (Gazettetimes.com) and a local neighborhood paper called The Skanner participated.  While the small class size made for high-quality individual training the absence and the opportunity for the mainstream press to help influence perceptions was a disappointment.

After all the scenarios I wasn’t so sure who would want to be a police officer?  Why would anyone be willing to serve, given the beatings the bureau gets from a rush-to-judgment public and the second-guessing of officers. Instead of officer retraining, maybe we should talk about citizen retraining, so critics will at least wait until they have all the facts of a case before calling in the high-profile, paid-to-incite activists.

Part 1 is HERE.

Tactical Village photo courtesy of Gazettetimes.com, other photos taken by author on scene.

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DPSST Admin Building

Earlier this week I attended a day-long training session at the Oregon Public Safety Academy (DPSST) about Deadly Force used in making an arrest.

It took some persistence, but I was able to convince the Department of Public Safety that independent bloggers DO have a community voice and should be included along with “mainstream” media. To that end I was afforded the opportunity to fully participate in the Salem event and want to provide a major shout-out to Cmdr. Cameron Campbell and PIO and OSP Trooper Lt. Gregg Hastings!

So why was I there and what’s the 411?

You may recall last month’s fatal shooting of Aaron M. Campbell by a Portland police officer which sparked intense scrutiny on the use of deadly force.  The 25-year-old African-American was shot and killed by a white police officer after he emerged from a Northeast Portland apartment where officers had been called to perform a welfare check on a suicidal, armed man.  The shooting prompted national attention, including public protests and marches by members of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, and a high profile drive-by visit to Portland by none other than the infamous Rev. Jesse Jackson.  I’m not going to cover all the details and anyone who wants to have an opinion about this police shooting really needs to read the nearly 500 pages of grand jury transcripts.  Or if you prefer The Oregonian can provide summary information HERE.

DPSST Admin Building (Back)

The law enforcement agencies were quick to realize that when a police officer shoots an unarmed person because the officer fears for her/his life – this is a huge contributor to the tension and distrust that the public might feel on the streets – so it prompted the Oregon Police Trainers to offer the media some unique training to learn about the realities in use-of-force incidents.  Basically in 8 hours we received what police officers receive during the 16 week training program.

Not surprisingly, a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp survey found that 56% of Americans think the government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to their rights and freedoms.  And with that, in some communities, there is a deep-seated distrust of police and a fear that interaction with them has the potential to turn violent.

Yes, I’m white and feel that police are here to protect me and work for me.  I can’t represent or fully appreciate through a racial lens what African-American people feel.  I can say that as a motorcycle enthusiast I’ve experienced law enforcement arrogance that allows an armed professional to be held less responsible than a typical citizen to control motorcyclists or rally crowds and make them stay “in their place.”  That mentality comes from people who believe that their time is more valuable than ours. It comes from an arrogance that says that our actions are supposed to make their lives easier, not the other way around.

Then I spent two hours in a class room with Lorraine Anglemier (Deputy DA and Judge) getting a comprehensive overview on the use of force and Oregon statues and my views started to evolve.  The conversation went well beyond typical discussions of force continuums or matrixes.  The focus was on how the use of force must be understood in a comprehensive manner to ensure proper force decision making.  She covered statutory authority and limits, State and federal case law, prevention and tactical consideration.  We were reminded of the Bill of Rights and the 4th Amendment along with the Oregon equivalent (Article 1, Section 9).  Then came State v. Bates, 304 OR519 (1987) followed by Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989) and how excessive force is analyzed (deadly or not) under the 4th Amendment’s “objective reasonableness” standard.  Then we dissected the “Graham Factors” and whether the totality of circumstances justifies a particular sort of action.  Yeah, it was heady stuff and as a person who has trouble with a motorcycle rental agreement this had my head severely spinning.

After another 30 minute presentation by Capt. Raymond Rau on the physical effects of being in a high-stress situation and the traumatic effects of being involved in a shooting I made my way down to the “Tactical Village” … I’m fitted with face protection, a bullet proof vest, holster, a Glock firearm and extra clips/bullets (paint balls) to undertake my urban training scenario’s … I kept replaying what Ms. Angelmier stated… the standard “reasonableness at the moment” applies not with 20/20 hindsight in my head.

This is a multi-post article… Part 2 HERE on Tactical Village.

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