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Columns : Editorial

Good, Bad, and Awful News: A Month on the Job

Police work can be joyful, tragic, beautiful, and extremely ugly, as evidenced by the highlights and lowlights of last month.

July 17, 2014  |  by - Also by this author

Each week, the staff here at POLICE posts a couple dozen or more news items on PoliceMag.com. This material covers what our editorial staff believes to be the most pressing and most interesting news in American and Canadian law enforcement. Here's a snapshot of what we covered, good, bad, and awful, in June.

June 2: Oops—A Florida man must have thought he was being cute when he activated red and blue lights in his car to signal for a sedan to pull over. The sedan was an unmarked vehicle driven by a St. Johns County Sheriff's detective. You can guess the rest.

June 4: Canada Grieves—Three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were gunned down in the New Brunswick town of Moncton. A 24-year-old man who posted numerous anti-government items on his Facebook page has been charged with the murders.

June 5: Rip Current—Curry County (Ore.) Sheriff's Dep. Terry Brown dove into the frigid waters off of a south Oregon beach to save a 14-year-old who had been sucked out to sea by a rip current. Brown saved the teen and himself, but it was touch-and-go, as he had to fight the current for 45 minutes.

June 6: A Frontal Assault—A man attacked the Forsyth County, Ga., courthouse. He carried firearms, spike strips, smoke grenades, and tear gas. His apparent plan was to seize the courthouse and hold hostages in what Sheriff Duane Piper called a "frontal assault." But his plan went awry when he shot a deputy in the leg. Other deputies responded, and the man was shot and killed. This could have been much worse.

June 8: Vegas Loses Two of Its Best—Las Vegas Metro officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo were eating lunch when they were ambushed by husband-and-wife cowards and killed. The couple then went into a Walmart, where the wife killed a good civilian. Fortunately, there will be no trial, as the husband was killed by Metro SWAT and the wife turned her gun on herself.

June 13: The Munchies—A Cocoa, Fla., woman was under arrest for DUI and marijuana possession and riding in the back of a squad when police say she slipped her handcuffs, grabbed a bag of the evidence, and ate it.

June 16: A Bad Six Months—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported that officer deaths were up 38% in the first six months of the year. Wear your vest. Use your seat belt. This is one trend we don't want to continue.

June 18: WTF?—A Baltimore officer was accused of slitting the throat of a lost dog when that dog was reportedly restrained by rope poles and not a threat to anyone at that moment. The dog's owner is apoplectic, dog lovers want blood, and the officer has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty. Maybe there's an explanation for this act, but it eludes me.

June 19: No Back-Up—The chief of a one-man Texas department was shot and killed when responding solo to a call about a man with a gun. The town served by the chief, Little River Academy is home to fewer than 2,000.

June 19: Dog Lover—A Cleveland man pleaded not guilty to charges of animal cruelty. Officers who responded to the incident say they found the man in the street whipping a young pit bull with a belt and smacking him in the face with a brick. The dog was nursed back to health and adopted by one of the officers. If the man is found guilty, I hope he is sentenced to serve as a chew toy.

June 22: Cutting It Close—Officer Ramon Morales of the Richmond (Texas) Police Department was called to a report of a woman on the railroad track. Arriving on scene, he found a crying woman sitting on the track. And a train barreling down. Morales dragged the obviously suicidal woman off the tracks less than 10 seconds before the train would have hit her. Somebody buy that man a beer.

June 26: Not a Routine T-Stop—Clayton, Calif., officers pulled over a 19-year-old man for driving on an expired registration and found a pipe bomb in his pants pocket.

June 26: Border Air War—A Mexican military helicopter flew 100 yards (Does anyone else doubt this distance?) into U.S. airspace and opened fire on Border Patrol agents. No one was hit, and it flew back over the border. But the incident raises many questions: What if there had been casualties? What would have happened if the agents returned fire? Is it SOP for Mexican choppers to just strafe any suspected drug traffickers on their side of the border? If so, why aren't we seeing a reduction in cross-border drug traffic? Did the crew of that bird really intend to fire on our guys?

June 28: Thanks, Gentlemen—A Franklin, Ohio, patrol officer wrestling in the street with a burglary suspect got some unexpected help when two passersby pitched in to help him out. The three men managed to subdue the suspect, and he was taken into custody. The officer suffered minor injuries and got a hug from a female bystander. Nice to know there are still righteous folks out there.


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