El Paso Police Officer Jonathan Molina.

El Paso Police Officer Jonathan Molina.

The murder of El Paso police officer Jonathan Molina the other day reportedly by three teenagers finds me revisiting the matter of off-duty intervention. The skeletal synopses that I could find online of the event leaves much to conjecture; I don't even know if the vehicle being vandalized was his personal vehicle, or the police department's. Nor do I know whether Officer Molina was armed at the time of the event.

But I would hope that the next officer who finds himself dealing with three street punks will be armed, and I mean truly "armed" with more than just a gun or a TASER. By that I mean that I hope he or she is armed with a special kind of survival mindset. What kind of mindset? How's this as an example:

Years before he became president, Andrew Jackson found a gentleman's commentary regarding his wife sufficiently offensive so as to challenge the man to a duel. On the fateful day, the man fired first and struck the future president in the chest whereupon Jackson took aim and pulled the trigger of his own firearm. When the weapon did not discharge, he calmly re-cocked the piece and squeezed the trigger a second time. This time the gun fired and his opponent was struck and killed.

Afterward, noting the presence of the bullet that had taken residency in his chest and would stay with him the rest of his days, Jackson told a friend that even if the man had succeeded in shooting him in the head, he would still have killed his opponent.

I can relate to that kind of hatred and determination. As can many of you. And any lowlife—teenager, or not—that would stand to keep us from returning to our loved ones, who would deprive those loved ones the pleasure of our company before our times, is worthy of that kind of hard-boiled contempt. The kind that says I will come back from my damned grave to take you out.

In the meantime, it might be better to just refrain from confronting idiots, morons, and other assorted lowlifes while off-duty. If you can help it.

Burying the Lead

Anybody who doubts news media bias should consider this item from the Huffington Post on the death of actor Johnny Lewis. Nowhere in this story is there any hint of the fact that this actor tore apart a cat with his bare hands and beat an 80-year-old woman to death in the moments before his death from a fall itself incurred during a fight with two men that he attacked after the woman. Talk about burying the lead. Re-imagining the headline had it been a police officer: "Cat-dismembering Cop Kills 80 Year-old, Then Dies" Or something to that effect. Am I off here?

Dealing with a Fake Terrorist

If this is at all representative of the kind of demographic that they have to deal with, Phoenix cops should enjoy the ancillary benefit of ensured job security. Of course, I feel for the first cop who ends up killing some dummy in such a circumstance:

Fake Bigfoot Killed by Cars

Montana coppers caught an even bigger break: Their hoaxer got himself killed before law enforcement could respond. Talk about self-dispatch...

Great New Product

Pelican Products is an advertiser with us. That's my disclaimer. But I also really like their products. They just came out with a waterproof wallet that I love. This is a must have if you're the kind of guy who'll do pool rescues or work near bodies of water.

Sharing Officer Safety Ideas

The PoliceMag.com/Police Magazine audience includes officers from big city PDs and rural sheriff's offices. While the obligations of their jobs are often similar, the means by which they effect their duties are often quite different and not always by choice. As a result, these officers have learned new ways of doing things differently. But then, each have unique pressures brought to bear upon them.

It has been my experience that most cops are willing to share their experiences and insight for the benefit of their brethren, but don't always have the medium in which to do it. We certainly avail them one.

To that end, I get all manner of queries. For one reason or another, some end up being published. Some do not. Of the latter, it is sometimes because they're on peripherals related to the profession; they aren't necessarily unimportant, but they are decidedly outside our "center mass." Other times, the author has difficulty mining the ore of an idea—there is something of value to be had, but it hasn't been adequately expressed.

But we know that many of you have potentially life-saving information to share and can do it in a logical and coherent manner. If you have such material that you believe would be pertinent to a blog post on officer safety ideas that would help other officers, please forward them to me [email protected]. I'm going to create a blog of the best ones, maybe even more than one blog. And unless you ask me not to, I'll give you credit.

I'm looking forward to reading your e-mails. Thanks in advance.


Dean Scoville
Dean Scoville

Associate Editor

Former associate editor of Police Magazine and a retired patrol supervisor and investigator with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Sgt. Dean Scoville has received multiple awards for government service.

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Former associate editor of Police Magazine and a retired patrol supervisor and investigator with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Sgt. Dean Scoville has received multiple awards for government service.

View Bio