When I think of the variety of people in my city and the potential scenarios that a law enforcement officer may face, I am not at all surprised when I see them with belts filled to the brim with equipment to counter the myriad of scenarios they may face in their duties. In my younger years, working on the East side for the small town of Wichita Falls, I worked as a commissioned security officer, “rent-a-cop” if you wanna be a jerk about it, and I had my own belt. My belt was severely limited in the items I could carry on my person while engaged in my duties.
I had the same type of belt used by local law enforcement and on it was my 9mm, some personal protective equipment (some latex gloves and a face mask), handcuffs, secondary flashlight, you know in case my swinging Maglite wasn’t enough, and a pouch for my cell phone. Granted, this was 2001, so it was a nice brick of a phone that I probably could have taken a perp down with if my aim was true and the wind was right.
I remember working Saturday nights at a local hotel near Sheppard Air Force Base and the East side, those familiar with the town know the reputation that area has for having cheap hotels for the local Airmen and others in town to bunk for the night and maybe make a bad decision or two after consuming too much alcohol or other recreational substances. This was a part of town where people were drunk or high or both and they didn’t really care much for seeing anyone in uniform trying to stop them from doing whatever it is they were wanting to do.
Now remember I was just a security guard, I was a laughable rent-a-cop who had no more authority to arrest or kick someone off property than the law gives a property owner or any other Texas citizen. Just a guy who took some classes and got a job patrolling cheap motels, hotels, and guarding the employees at local fast food places from the drunks at closing time.
Remember the things I had on my belt? A gun, huge flashlight and some handcuffs. There were sometimes I wished I had pepper spray, a baton, or God help me, even a stun gun (not a Taser mind you, just a regular Michelle Pfeiffer smooching Christopher Walken with a kiss of death stun gun). If you get that reference your childhood was awesome. But enough of that, let us get back to my story.
I saw these items on the belts of police officers when they came to take a report or haul off someone that was blatantly drunk and needed to be escorted to the drunk tank or off the premises. I saw these items every time I had an interaction with the local PD. I see these items every time I see a police officer out and about on patrol. Why did I not have these items? I tell you exactly why, because in Texas in order for a security officer to carry these items he has to pay for a course for every item I listed, except for maybe the stun gun. Still the Taser, baton, and pepper spray all require security personnel to be certified in the state of Texas to carry these items.
You might ask so what? Why are you rambling about police belts and your days as a rent a cop? If you have stuck with me this long thank you and I am glad you asked! The reason I bring this up is this:
POLICE OFFICERS, NOT ONLY HAVE ACCESS TO THESE ITEMS BUT THEY RECEIVE TRAINING FOR THEM AS WELL!THEY ARENT YOUNG PEOPLE GETTING THE MINIMUM CERTIFICATIONS THEY CAN AFFORD TO TRY TO FEEL SAFE IN A CRAPPY PART OF TOWN WHILE THEY WORK FOR $8/HR DEALING WITH DRUNKS, DRUG DEALERS AND PEOPLE THAT ARE HIGH!!
I was a 170 pound five foot seven 19-year-old alone patrolling a not so nice part of town late at night. I had a very limited amount of items because I could not afford the training and certifications that the local PD had. I was alone in my rent-a-cop capacity with no backup and only a cheap second-hand bulletproof vest. Yeah, think how safe you feel with a hand me down bulletproof vest when you’re following someone down a walkway with no lights, and very few items at my disposal, I somehow managed to subdue people without shooting them. I was able to talk people into complying in dark walkways by simply resting my hand near my weapon; I am dead serious, not even drawing the darn thing just holding my hand over the holster!
I’m sure the mean look of my Maglite didn’t hurt my cause either, but the police who have all these items, who often times have backup riding with them or at least have multiple tools at their disposal that they can use to incapacitate and subdue a suspect, resort to shooting first and writing reports later.
I mean if you tell me that a person has a gun and is firing at you I am behind you 100% in saying that the gun is probably the better response than the baton. But when a 17 year old girl walks into your department and you have two buddies with you, a gun really doesn’t strike me as the first tool that should be drawn from the myriad of choices you have riding on your belt. But that is exactly what happened in Longview, Texas on Thursday night.
According to police spokeswoman Kristie Brian, at about 6:30 p.m. on Thursday January 22, 2015, a 17 year old girl, identified as Kristiana Coignard, walked into the Longview police lobby and used the red after hours phone to contact dispatch letting them know she needed to speak to an officer. At this time it is not known what she needed officers for or exactly what her conversation was with dispatch but all calls are recorded that are routed to dispatch so hopefully that information will help to fill in some of the gaps soon, three officers then came into the lobby where the 17 year old is said to have brandished a knife and made “threatening movement” towards the three officers.
What was the response from these three adults facing a 17-year-old with a knife? Did they pepper spray her? Did they Taser her in order to incapacitate her? Did they draw batons to combat the melee weapon being wielded by the small framed girl?
No, instead they resorted to lethal force and they shot at her a minimum of four times, that is how many times the police scanner reported this young woman was shot; it is not yet known how many rounds were fired.
Let me say that again, three grown adults with training on multiple ways to disarm or combat a suspect and a plethora of tools available to do it, not excluding the potential help each one had of knowing 2 other officers were with them, decided the best course of action was to shoot this young lady and bypass all the other potentially non-lethal tools at their disposal.
She was transported to Good Shepherd Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace James Mathis.
I have a few nieces that are between the ages of 16-19 and I have to tell you, at 240 pounds, mostly fat I assure you, I know for a fact that I would not be in fear for my life if I was confronted by them or one of their friends and I had all the training of these officers. I am just a fat, slow 30-year old man with limited training in combat and suspect apprehension that I learned from a $500 course I took 12 years ago. And yet these officers that are trained by our police departments, who do this for a living, who have way more training than I do, they feared for their lives enough to shoot and kill a potentially troubled young girl.
Maybe the girl was having issues, maybe she did go there with intentions to harm a police officer, at this time we do not know and very little information has been released. But even if that was the case, if as a law enforcement officer you can’t subdue a 17-year old girl on your home turf with friends at your side, why are you a police officer? More importantly this brings into question the quality of people that our police departments hire. We often hear that it is a tough job and that police officers do not get enough credit for what they sacrifice on a daily basis, but what did these officers sacrifice? What did they do that says to me that they deserve to be praised for their dedication to making their community better and helping the City of Longview’s citizenry?
If you can find something please share it with me, until then all I see is a dead young girl and 3 scared adults who were given guns and a badge.
By Emmanuel Goldstein – DontComply.com
A first generation American raised in the states of Colorado and Texas. Emmanuel now lives with his wife in Nebraska. Middle child in a household of eight children, Emmanuel's patriotism for the American dream of freedom and equality stems from the same place as many immigrant families. His love of the free market was fueled by the small businesses his father owned and made all his children a part of as well as his studies at Northwood University where he received a Bachelors in business administration with an emphasis on small business management.
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