Today's news about Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz apparent suicide has me sick to my stomach. So many of us in law enforcement can see that something is just not right. A Former Chicago police Officer Joseph Battaglia was arrested a few weeks after Gliniewicz's death, for threatening investigators to call the death a suicide. That in it self sounds like foul play was involved and now they are trying to hide something. Gliniewicz was shot twice, first in the vest and then the fatal shot in the upper chest, doesn't sound like a suicide to me. And now after 2 months they make the accusations that Gliniewicz was embezzling money from the explorer program. Gliniewicz was supposed to retire but was asked to stay on to help with another investigation of possible corruption. A lot of things are not adding up with this investigation and I think that the Federal Bureau of Investigation needs to take the this case over and start over and complete an independent investigation.
Often at time we think that we are safe and secure at our homes but we may be selling ourselves short and making ourselves possible victims. Many law enforcement agencies allow officers to take home their patrol car as a way of providing faster response time and crime deterrent. This is an issue that I personally have conflict with as I drove home my patrol car and so does my wife, Kasey. At night we are constantly on high alert for any noises outside because we know that having two patrol cars in front of the house has put a target on us and our home. With the murder of Memphis Police Officer Terence Olridge on October 11, 2015, I fell the need to express my concerns to you all about being vigilant in your Officer Safety, even when you are at home. The sad thing is that Officer Olridge is not the first officer to be murdered at his home. On August 8, 2013, Maricopa County, Az Detention Officer Jose Vargas was killed outside of his home in uniform.
When I teach at the Police Academy, I also impress upon my students the need for good Officer Safety and tell them that they need to return home with the same amount of holes as they left home with. Most students get a chuckle out of the comment but in all actuality, that is a true statement. Some will tell you need to grow eyes in the back of your head or sleep with your eyes open. Fact is you need to be ready for anything at anytime. As the Sheepdogs we do need to rest and get ready for our next shift but we must remember that the Wolves are sneaky and determined to get to the Sheep. The fastest way for the Wolf to get the Sheep is to get rid of the Sheepdog and that is what we are seeing now in our country. I always carry off duty but if I am not paying attention to my surroundings, how can I be ready for the Wolf coming to attack me? Wolves are always on the hunt and must always be ready to defend the Sheep and ourselves. All to often do we let our guard down and become complacent and it is those things that get us hurt.
Please remember that Your Life Matters! We need all of our Heroes to be on guard and watch their 6!
I want to publicly express my appreciation to Florida Governor Rick Scott for today's proclamation designating January 5-9th 2015 as Florida First Responders Appreciation Week. Here is what Gov. Scott issued today:
Governor Rick Scott issued the following proclamation recognizing January 5-9 as Florida First Responder Appreciation Week:
It is pleasing to see a leader like Governor Scott show his appreciation for the men and women in uniform that do so much for us. Thank you Governor, well done!!
This week I got to be a part of and witness the firefighting brotherhood in action. For over a year the Washington Township Fire Department in Washington Township, New Jersey have had a very special member to their department, Honorary Firefighter Aiden Riebel, and his presence has been noticed all across the world. A few months ago, we were asked to help spread the word about Aiden and his fight against Lukemia. Well we answered that call and then some by creating his very own Facebook page, T-shirts and stickers. Our PIO, Jeannie Lemaster took on this mission and did the impossible. Jeannie's commitment to helping others was well demonstrated even from over a 1,000 miles away it was as if she was right there. I saw first hand how the entire Washington Township Fire Department loved Aiden and had truly lost a brother. Eric Fitzpatrick and Scott Sheldrick were with Aiden and his family regularly over the last year and had come to be a part of their family. So much had been done to give Aiden the best times of his life, becoming a Firefighter was one of them. I was overly impressed with how Chief John Hoffman managed the entire funeral and I could see just how much Aiden meant to him. Chief Hoffman demonstrated remarkable composure and resolve in light of losing one of his own firefighters and he certainly made sure that full honors were bestowed upon Aiden at his final send off. I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of chiefs and sheriffs over the last 20 months and know that none of them are really prepared to plan a funeral and that it is one of the hardest things they have had to do in their career. I will say that in all of the funerals that I have had to attend, I thought that Aiden's funeral was one of the best and one of a kind. As the service commenced, I tried my best to hold back my tears and be strong but sometimes there is not enough strength. I could only imagine what Aiden's family was going through and I knew that it wasn't going to end anytime soon. Today I spent time working on Aiden's memorial video and at times nearly lost all composure because his story is so touching. If you have children, you can't help but imagine the "what if?" possibility of your own child dying and knowing that there is nothing that you can do to stop it. And to realize that a little town in New Jersey was the home to one of the most popular firefighters in the world all because of a few people like Eric, Scott and Jeannie going the extra mile to make a dream come true. To Aunt Kate, Uncle Scott and Aiden's Mom and brother Max, I know that the next few months will be difficult but know that Aiden is now on shift in Heaven and is right there with you every step of the way. A special thank you to Paul Hood and Jeannie Lemaster for their hard work and dedication to Honoring our Heroes Better, thank you for all that you do for our Heroes.
On August 9th, 2014, an 18 year old criminal was shot by a police officer while charging toward the officer and after the criminal attempted to take the officer's gun while beating the officer in the head. Fortunately the officer survived and came home at the end of his shift. To date, 42 officers have been shot in the line of duty in 2014. In 2013 we lost 30 officers to gunfire. During these years, I have never seen the President of the United States send any members of his administration to any of their funerals. In fact since 2009 when President Obama took office, 294 officers have been shot and killed by criminals with guns. That's 294 families that lost a loved one that was working to protect others that they have never met, and risking their lives on a daily basis. These brave law enforcement officers dedicated their lives to protecting the United States Constitution, protecting the lives of people in their community and demonstrated what true integrity is.
With the murder of 294 law enforcement officers, I have never seen President Obama mention his sadness for their families, condemn the actions of the criminals that killed these Heroes or demand that the Department of Justice use its full power to bring and see justice done for these 294 families. When the criminal in Ferguson, Missouri was killed on August 9th, 2014, President Obama called for the Department of Justice to investigate Officer Darren Wilson's actions during the shooting. He also embraced the demonstrations that took place following the shooting that left millions of dollars of property damage and countless victims of robberies and carjackings. On November 24, 2014 the Grand Jury decided that the use of force that Officer Darren Wilson used against that 18 year old criminal was reasonable and within the law based on the evidence. The Grand Jury is a component of the Justice System that has been in place for decades. Many people in Ferguson, MO stated "No Justice, No Peace!". After the evidence showed that the criminal was trying to take the officer's gun and that he was being stopped because he had just robbed a convenient store, the people decided that there would be no peace despite Justice being served by the Grand Jury.
"No Justice, No Peace!"
Law enforcement officers do a job that many don't want to hear about, and risk their lives everyday not knowing if they will come home at the end of their shift. Yet the violent protest are not because 294 brave Heroes died, but rather because criminal activity is being condoned by many of the leaders of our country. So many parents are teaching their kids to be disrespectful towards authority and encourage this behavior. The fact is that without laws and rules, we will become a society of injustice. The people are right, "No Justice, No Peace" and if the leaders of our country do not bring the people that are destroying their own communities to justice, there can be no peace. Its time we had leaders and parents that respect this country and its laws and those that enforce them, not the criminals that are trying to destroy it. Its time we remember the ultimate sacrifice of these 294 Heroes and their families.
Over the last year we have been using social media to bring awareness and support for our law enforcement and correction Heroes. Facebook is our main social media venue that we use to create online memorials and events and on an almost daily basis we are banning people from posting hate messages on our pages and on our events on Facebook. Sometimes there are so many hateful posters that we spend hours trying to clean up the pages. In researching where these hateful people were coming from, we came across several Facebook pages that are filled with hate and many call and proudly post pictures of officers being assaulted and even killed. We called upon our followers to go and report the pages to Facebook to have them removed as the pages violate the Community Standards policy. Here is Facebook's Community Standards copied directly from their page:
"Safety is Facebook's top priority. We remove content and may escalate to law enforcement when we perceive a genuine risk of physical harm, or a direct threat to public safety. You may not credibly threaten others, or organize acts of real-world violence. Organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity are not allowed to maintain a presence on our site. We also prohibit promoting, planning or celebrating any of your actions if they have, or could, result in financial harm to others, including theft and vandalism."
"Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition."
"Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences and raise awareness about issues important to them. Sometimes, those experiences and issues involve graphic content that is of public interest or concern, such as human rights abuses or acts of terrorism. In many instances, when people share this type of content, it is to condemn it. However, graphic images shared for sadistic effect or to celebrate or glorify violence have no place on our site.
When people share any content, we expect that they will share in a responsible manner. That includes choosing carefully the audience for the content. For graphic videos, people should warn their audience about the nature of the content in the video so that their audience can make an informed choice about whether to watch it."
Ever get this message?
Facebook Help Team
After reading these policies and receiving these responses from Facebook that state the pages we reported are not in violation of the Community Standards policy we became confused. The only rational conclusion we can conclude is that Facebook supports Cop Killings, violent attacks on humanity and contributes to domestic terrorism propaganda. We have created a petition to send a message to the CEO's of the social media companies to keep these cop killing people off of social media. Sign the petition here: Keep Anti-Law Enforcement Groups off of Social Media.
The really frustrating fact is that these cop killing promoting sites have more fans and followers than some of the most popular public safety sites on the internet. Together lets show how many of us represent the Thin Blue Line.
In recent weeks we have seen officers shot in several different states. Some officers have survived up to this point while the others have given the ultimate sacrifice. In 2012, the FBI statistics revealed that in a 1 year period a law enforcement officer was killed in the line of duty on average of every 53 hours. Our Facebook page 53 Hours reflects the daunting reality we face each day. There have been times that we have gone weeks without a single officer being killed in the line of duty and now it seems we cannot go a day. One of our page followers made the remark that if this continues we will have to re-name our page to 23 Hours. To be honest, I wish we never had to have a page that tells the stories of how these Heroes gave the ultimate sacrifice. I wish there was never another officer killed in the line of duty and I wish there was no need for our foundation. But as long as there are those of us that fight the evil and sacrifice our lives for others we will be here. We recently added another tool to our arsenal to help our Heroes and their families with fundraising, you can now setup crowdfunding campaigns at www.Funding4Heroes.com. Please continue to pray for our law enforcement officers, corrections officers, firefighters, emt's, paramedics and all members of our military.
9/14: Unidentified New Orleans Police officer shot during an incident in the 5th district. Unknown condition. Subject sought.
9/13: Two Monroe County Georgia deputies shot while responding to suicide attempt. Deputy Michael Norris critical with a wound to the head. Deputy Jeff Watson stabilized with wounds to the abdomen.
9/12: Pennsylvania State Police Corporal Bryan Dickson fatally wounded when ambushed during a shift change at the police barracks. Another trooper wounded and transported by air. Subject sought.
9/12: Border Patrol Agent Tyler Robledo killed in an on-duty vehicle crash.
9/8: Charleston County SC Deputy Joseph Matuskovic shot and killed responding to a disturbance. Another deputy also shot and injured.
9/7: Topeka Kansas Police Corporal Jason E. Harwood shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop,
9/7: Patrolman II Nickolaus E. Schultz of the Merrillville Police Department, IN succuembed to gunshot wounds suffered two days earlier when responding to an evicted tenant situation. The subject was wearing body armor.
9/3: Police Officer Daryl Pierson, Rochester Police Department shot and killed during a foot pursuit.
8/22: San Bernardino Police Officer Gabe Garcia shot in the head during a gun battle with a heavily armed subject. He is still fighting for his life.
On September 11, 2011, I was putting on my Army uniform and watching television, when I saw the first plane strike the World Trade Center. My first thought was this is a movie that I have never seen; it wasn't until I turned up the volume that I realized this was real and happening now. I hadn't planned starting my Tuesday morning like this. I will never forget where I was that morning of September 11, 2001. After twelve years, I still remember the heartfelt sorrow I felt for so many people on that tragic day. It doesn't matter who you are or where you were, 9/11 affected each of us and, in some way, brought us together as a nation. I saw American flags flying everywhere. People appeared more sympathetic towards one another and the willingness to help each other poured out. Thousands of people gave their lives in the most horrific terrorist attacks ever to happen. We must never forget the police officer, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, and our military for the sacrifices they gave. Still today, many of the Heroes that survived that day are now battling cancer or other illness from Ground Zero.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and everyone at Heroes Memorial Foundation, Inc. I hope that this Patriot Day is a day to celebrate the life of these Heroes that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
A Hero Remembered......Never dies!
President & CEO
Heroes Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Recently we have seen an increase in officer involved shootings across the nation. There are people that are attacking our officers with firearms and knives and even trying to take away the officer's own weapon. So many people seem to think that deadly force should not be met with deadly force and the media seems to be confused as to what armed and unarmed really mean. I saw a local news report about the Powell shooting in St. Louis where a man with a knife in hand yells at two officers "Shoot me!" and then charges after them, the media said that "Cops shoot unarmed man wielding a knife". These two officers responded to the deadly force of the man with a knife with deadly force. Those of us that have been in law enforcement know that a subject with an edged weapon within 21 feet is a deadly threat. There is no option to use less lethal force on a person that is trying to kill you except to respond to their resistance with the same level of response. We are trained to shoot to kill because shooting someone is deadly force and we must respond to the level of resistance we are presented. What many people don't understand is the daily dangers law enforcement officers face every day or the training that we undergo to become cops. Some try to downgrade the force used because of the offenders crime but what they fail to realize is that the suspect presented a deadly threat to the officer. We cannot afford to risk our lives everyday if we cannot use the tools necessary to protect ourselves and the public. Place yourself in the our shoes, if you were being charged at with a knife what would you do? Go hands on? (Risk being stabbed) Taser the subject and risk him falling on his own knife? (This would result in a in-custody death or injury and lawsuit that would cost millions in tax payer money) Shoot the subject in a non-lethal area such as the leg? (Again the risk of the subject falling on their own knife and lawsuit). If you really want to make decisions about officer involved shooting, you should go through some of our training. Citizen Academy is a great way for agencies to educate the local community. As law enforcement officers we have the ability to take another person's life but is not something we ultimately desire to do. In all actuality we became cops to help people, to save people and protect them from evil. Taking another person's life is not an easy thing to do for anyone and it is certainly not what we as cops come to work to do but we are prepared to do it if necessary. In this country we have laws and those laws have to be followed and there are some of us that must enforce those laws. We have also seen people that defy the lawful orders of law enforcement which is another reason why there are so many uses of force. When an officer tells you that your under arrest, here is a clue, follow their orders and comply. Whether you think the arrest is valid or not, remember you are innocent until proven guilty. I will admit that not all cops are good and those that are not are always weeded out but the majority of us are and put our lives on the line everyday for you, to help you, to keep you safe and protect you from evil. So the next time you see an officer of the law, thank them for protecting you and your family.