FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Randy Sutton

Randy Sutton

Randy Sutton is a 33-year law enforcement veteran, a trainer, and the national spokesman for The American Council on Public Safety. He served 10 years with the Princeton (N.J.) Police Department and 23 years with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, retiring at the rank of lieutenant. He is an author who has published multiple books on law enforcement.

Security Policy and the Cloud

Ask The Expert

Mark Rivera

FBI-CJIS Security Policy Compliance Officer

Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

June 2016 (2)
May 2016 (3)
April 2016 (2)
March 2016 (1)
February 2016 (3)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (1)
November 2015 (5)
October 2015 (1)
September 2015 (3)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (3)
May 2015 (2)
April 2015 (3)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (1)
January 2015 (1)
December 2014 (9)
October 2014 (2)
September 2014 (2)
August 2014 (2)
July 2014 (1)
June 2014 (2)
May 2014 (2)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (2)
February 2014 (3)
January 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (3)
September 2013 (5)
August 2013 (3)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (5)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (3)
December 2012 (5)
November 2012 (2)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (6)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (5)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (3)
September 2011 (3)
August 2011 (2)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (3)
March 2011 (5)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (3)
December 2010 (2)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (3)
March 2010 (3)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (3)
December 2009 (4)
November 2009 (4)
October 2009 (2)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (4)
July 2009 (5)
June 2009 (3)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (3)
January 2009 (2)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (3)
October 2008 (3)
September 2008 (3)
August 2008 (2)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (5)
March 2008 (4)
February 2008 (5)
January 2008 (3)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (5)
October 2007 (4)
September 2007 (4)
August 2007 (5)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (4)
May 2007 (5)

The Dorner Rampage is Over…Now Comes the Repercussions

It's now time to look into why Christopher Dorner was hired as a cop and how to handle the next officer with the same issues.

February 26, 2013  |  by - Also by this author

Photo: POLICE file
Photo: POLICE file

The sad, sordid chapter that is the Christopher Dorner murder spree is over.

The clean-ups, the debriefings, the critiques, the shoulda-woulda-coulda's continue to be works in progress, and I do not envy those so obligated.

But as one of the millions who followed the saga, it is difficult for me not to reflect on it in hopes of finding something of profit—some silver lining to the deaths of Monica Quan, Keith Lawrence, Officer Michael Crain of the Riverside (Calif.) Police Department, and Det. Jeremiah MacKay of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

And so I will lead off with one of the more recent revelations: That Dorner's possible culpability for the shootings was first brought to the LAPD's attention by a former mentor of the man. This speculation led to some online backtracking…backtracking that found Dorner's infamous manifesto…backtracking that allowed LAPD not only to get Dorner fixed on their radar but to warn prospective targets of the madman's agenda. I am of the mindset that these actions saved lives.

And so it was that I found myself shaking my head at the contemporaneous revelation that my former agency, which is not the LAPD, had adopted some draconian policy as it related to its employees' use of Facebook and other social networks: Nothing is to be included in such sites that establishes their nexus to the department. Amazing. A law enforcement agency will entrust an individual with a firearm and all manner of latitude as it relates to his welfare and that of others and yet be scared shitless as to what thoughts they might articulate on a Website and thereby vicariously stigmatize them.

The anal-retentive posture of such administrative mindsets astounds me. For one, I would think that they would recognize that such media affords their men and women an outlet with which to vent their frustrations and celebrate their victories. It also gives them a place to bond with their peers and the public they serve. For another, it can serve as a red flag, allowing others insight as to an employee's mindset and agendas. At its most extreme, it endows forensic psychologists invaluable information as to what to expect from that person. In Dorner's case, his online rants gave investigators a damn game plan template. That's the kind of thing Bill Belichick would cheat for.

Of course, such wingnuts as Dorner shouldn't be hired in the first place. And if what has been communicated to me via more than one source is true, there were various fail-safes along the way at which he could have been terminated long before his identity became so entwined with the department that he was determined to see as much of it and himself go out in some götterdämmerung finale. Stories of his non-conformity and racial sensitivity predate his hitting the street. Of course, the hiring of less desirable candidates always becomes problematic when it comes to firing them, both procedurally and emotionally.

And let's touch on that big bugaboo that everyone is so damn scared to address: Hypersensitivity on race. We all know people who have a huge chip on their shoulder and will find racism in every little comment or nuance with Rorschach-like ease. To some degree it's expected. A Yale study determined that we come into this world as baby bigots and have the ability to choose our morality as we evolve into adulthood. But the fact remains from an early age we tend to gravitate to our own.

These natural sympathies account for Jamie Foxx postulating that blacks are more talented than whites and John Rocker's xenophobic rants against everyone and everything. Now, harkening back to the whole social network thing, wouldn't it be nice if such perhaps faculty-impaired folks within our profession were identified early on and their fears diagnosed as founded or BS and in any case addressed? Remember, LE agencies, just because you've silenced a man doesn't mean that you've converted him…and perceived justice denied becomes justice subverted.

Of course, this is all down the road stuff. Things that, while on the radar, will doubtlessly require a battery of sociologists, psychologists, and psychic mediums to rectify. I long for the day when the Asian Peace Officers Association, the Black Peace Officers Association, the Hispanic Police Officers Association, all die non-violent deaths and race is no longer at the forefront of our consciousness. In the meantime, I fear for the day when the next dude who sees himself as the spiritual amalgam of Tom Joad and Nat Turner decides to arm up and go on the road.

Speaking of down the road, is there any position more thankless than that of an incident commander? All the responsibility and none of the glory. And one can only imagine how many different agendas and egos the I.C. on this caper was dealing with. So I am hardly jumping on his or her case when I say that I hope that in the future command posts are not established within eyeline of locations whose floor plans have not been walked and their every knock and cranny checked, which was the case for the Big Bear hideout of Christopher Dorner.

Oh, and one other thing: Do we have to tell the news media when we are scaling back operations? And when? And to what degree?

Yeah, I know that they are practically embedded with us these days and can obviously make their own conclusions on things. But I, for one, would feel better knowing that I was not the one possibly responsible for availing the subject of my search information that he might successfully exploit in developing his own tactical plans.

There are so many other facets to this affair that are deserving of commentary, none more so than the heroism of those deputies that descended upon the cabin having found his footprints in the snow. And if I could somehow shoehorn Jeremiah MacKay's name a million times over his shooter's, I would.

Alas, I am not the guy who looks at the glass and wonders if it's half full or half empty: I want to know who's been screwing with it. And so I find myself fixated more on MacKay's shooter and recalling what the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said of another, "I should very much like to give you a lesson in practical morality with the help of a few bullets." And Dorner's self-aggrandizing manifesto with its litany of transgressions allegedly perpetrated against its author recalls Emerson's "the louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."

More than anything else, it was William Hazlitt who noted that "violent antipathies are always suspicious, and betray a secret affinity," and Dorner behaved as a spurned lover, exacting revenge in the only way that he knew how, in the manner that he knew would be most impactful. We would do well to learn from this tragic example.

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Zip Code:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine