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Fact: The FBI and other law enforcement agencies passed warnings to the U.S. Capitol Police and others about the possibility of violence from an approaching herd of people—coming from all points on the compass rose—to the nation's Capital to attend a rally headlined by the outgoing president of the United States.

Fact: Many of the people who went sideways and stormed the steps of the Capitol Building had telegraphed their intentions in social media posts.

Fact: A small—but not unsubstantial—number of those gathered at the rally turned violent. They became a mob.

Fact: The police response was woefully inadequate. In fact—It was atrocious. This fact is worse than those stated above.

I love and support the police. I'm a "super-fan" of law enforcement officers and police leaders.

But I won't abide failure.

I'm a former resident of Washington, DC. I'm a former federal employee who once walked (and at times) had to kind of trot down the hallways of that beautiful building with big bundles of paper to deliver to members of the House and Senate. I had a decent job (a Top Secret clearance and all that), but it was more about serving the nation—the people—than having an ability to run those underground tunnels without really needing the paint on the floor or the signs on the walls.

I cannot say how many times I ate lunch in solitude on those west steps of the Capitol. I ate with some pretty famous politicians. I won't name names.

I turned on my TV last Wednesday, dialed in my Fox News Channel, saw the mayhem unfolding in DC, and literally vomited on my living room carpet.

The fact that a crowd could breach that building made me sick. My immediate thought was, "Where the [bleep] are the cops?

"Where are the [bleeping] cops!?" I wanted to tear my hair out, but because I shave my skull every morning that wasn't going to happen.

"Where are the [bleeping] cops?"

Going Forward

Okay, so what's next?

Philosopher George Santayana wrote, "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."

We just saw history—maybe one of the worst days in the history of this great country.

In college at the University of Maryland (just a few miles from DC) I was an American History major. Because I was a glutton for punishment I also Majored in American Political Systems.

Part of that study was to understand how to keep Democracy sacred.

It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to say this, but it must be said: Law enforcement in Washington DC failed on Wednesday. FAILED.

Whether or not that was willful indifference or willing participation will only be gleaned by investigators.

Reading Reports

If you have a pulse and an Internet connection, you've been reading the reports.

Steven D'Antuono—who leads the FBI's Washington field office—told news outlets, "There was no indication that there was anything planned other than First Amendment-protected activity."

That is either a patent lie or just total incompetence. Either way, it turns my stomach.

Really good law enforcement leaders—the best command staff, from Chiefs to Captains to Lieutenants to Sergeants on the street—will gain respect from the men and women they lead by being decent and honest and openly admitting a mistake.

The police response—or, better said, the lack thereof—will be discussed at venues like IACP and ILEETA and other places for some time.

Final Words

My mom and my dad had differing stories on how I got named Douglas. Mom said it was because of a youthful crush. Dad said it was because of Douglas MacArthur.

Here's the moral of that story: Two differing things can simultaneously be true.

There's a parable my dad told me many years ago.

There are two mountaineers seeking the zenith on two different nearby mountains—one on the east and one on the west. They reach the precipice of the peaks around the same time. The adventurer on the west side calls to the man on the east. "Brother! Look at that valley below us and how the shadows of those trees fall from left to right!" The man on the eastern peak bellows back, "No, those shadows go from right to left."

It's all a matter of perspective.

Any great leader—from MacArthur to my dad to the greatest police commanders in the land—would tell us we need to do a little better than what happened in DC last week.

See both sides. Find the middle.

Author

Doug Wyllie
Doug Wyllie

Web Editor

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

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Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

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