Law enforcement is shooting itself in the foot over COVID-19 and the questionably lawful orders they are being asked to enforce.
Governors are releasing convicted felons from prison and sheriffs are emptying their jails, all in the name of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, some officials are going after otherwise law-abiding citizens who dare to defy their orders by venturing outside during the COVID-19 fiasco.
Yes, I am calling it a fiasco rather than a pandemic or whatever other terms the media are using to further their agenda.
Do I Take COVID-19 Seriously?
Yes, I do. I stay at home and write. I ride my horses far away from civilization. My wife and I do our CrossFit workouts at home on stall mats I put in front of our barn/shop, and we run up and down our private gravel road. (We both look forward to our gym reopening!)
The wife makes the few trips out that are needed while being careful to practice social distancing and taking other precautions.
Personally, I think that is all that anyone can ask of us. And quite frankly, I do not agree with being “ordered” to stay home. That brings out the rebellious streak in me, as it clearly has for others.
COVID-19 and the Law
Recently, a man was arrested in a Colorado park where he took his wife and young daughter to have some fun in spite of the craziness we are experiencing behind COVID-19. ARRESTED! Same for some surfers in Southern California, a party-goer in Toledo (of all things), and a pastor holding church in Tampa, Florida. Most outrageously, a Utah man, released from a halfway house early due to COVID-19 concerns, broke into a home while the female homeowner slept, held her at knifepoint and restrained her with shoelaces.
So we are freeing actual criminals while jailing law-abiding citizens, including a man of the cloth. These are Gestapo practices that need to stop.
I promise you I would not make any such arrests without other compelling reasons to do so. I would openly defy any such order, just as I would have refused to enforce unconstitutional firearms laws, should I have been ordered to do so.
As a young patrol deputy at Firestone station, I was assigned to a one-man dayshift car.
That was the brilliant idea of a lieutenant who came from another station with an agenda of his own, but that’s a whole other topic. (Previously, all Firestone cars were occupied by two deputies.)
One of his devoted followers, a sergeant with about five years on the job and ten minutes of patrol experience himself—and certainly not at Firestone—ordered me to write parking tickets on 64th Street between Central and Hooper. He said the street was overcrowded and people were parking their cars wherever they wanted, oftentimes illegally.
This area was where two types of people lived: the very poor, oftentimes hard-working immigrants of our country, and the gangsters who terrorized them. Parking tickets wouldn’t help the former nor affect the latter.
Parking Control Officers
There were two civilian parking enforcement officers assigned to Firestone station, 11-Mary and 12-Mary. Writing parking tickets was the only job they had to do.
Firestone, at that time, was an unincorporated county area, which meant the CHP was responsible for traffic enforcement. There were no traffic deputies at the station. None of us wanted to write tickets, and we seldom would. It was the ghetto where violence was the true “quality of life” issue, and we deputies spent every minute of our shifts combatting it.
I said, “Isn’t that what 11- and 12-Mary are for?”
That pissed the sergeant off. “The captain wants us writing tickets up there, and I’m ordering you to do it.”
I went 10-8 (in-service) with zero intention of doing any such thing. After all, I was a cop, not a meter maid.
During the shift, I made two felony arrests. I chased a Florencia gangster through an apartment complex on 64th between Central and Hooper and caught him with a shopping bag full of “dime bags” of marijuana.
That was a “possession for sales” arrest, a felony. It was the type of police activity that made a difference for the law-abiding citizens of that neighborhood, some of whom might sometimes park illegally.
Too Busy to Play Meter Maid
I also was hammered with report calls that day. It was so busy that I didn’t write any of my reports during the shift; rather, I wrote them after my shift had ended, and on my own time.
The next day this slimy sergeant got me on the radio and asked me to meet him at a local park. We met and he chastised me for not writing parking tickets the day before as I had been ordered to do. I told him I hadn’t had a chance, that I was busy. He retorted that my log was a typical “padded” log. I just chuckled at that.
He said, “The captain wants us writing tickets on 64th, and that’s what we’ll do.” (The captain, oh boy, that’s a whole other Oprah.) “If he wants us out here picking up trash in the park, that’s what I’ll do.”
I smiled. “Well, that’s the difference between me and you, pal.”
The sergeant wrote me up in the black book, a collection of atta boys and ah shits that are referenced by supervisors when writing deputy annual evaluations. But I still didn’t write any parking tickets. Not the next day or the day after that or for the remainder of my sentence to dayshift. Truthfully, I’m not sure I ever wrote one.
The point is, if I were still a cop, I would not arrest a man for taking his daughter to the park, no matter if my supervisor or the governor ordered me to do so.
More cops need to start thinking for themselves in these ways. Too many political hacks have taken over the administrations or won elections and are making horrible decisions about how their officers/deputies are to operate.
Polluting the Jury Pool
As a homicide detective, I often lamented that traffic cops polluted my jury pool.
It is true that most law-abiding citizens have very little contact with the police. When they do, it’s oftentimes the result of a traffic stop and is not a pleasant experience. Not that cops shouldn’t write tickets, but to hide in bushes and write tickets for five miles-per-hour over a limit to people trying to get to work is asinine, and it does nothing but turn law-abiding citizens against law enforcement.
If the officer also talks down to the citizen while doing so, that citizen remembers it when they’re sitting on the jury that we’ve asked to put a killer in prison. All it takes is one person to hang the jury, and that one person is often the one with a score to settle against “The Man.”
Now, at a time when segments of our population are outspoken against law enforcement, it is imperative that we don’t further the divide by following questionably legal orders given by agenda-driven politicians, even when that politician is your sheriff.
Citing Easter Sunday churchgoers? Talk about alienating supporters.
Know it, follow it.
Be mindful of the spirit of the law, and remember that there’s a thing called the Constitution, and I’m not talking about that three-masted frigate (“Old Ironside”) docked in Boston Harbor.
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Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you will share it with your family and friends.
I too am concerned that our overstretched LEOs have additional violent criminals being released from prison, while being asked to “police” COVID 19 restrictions.
I would rather have local LEOs keeping homeless people from breaking into my husband’s (COVID 19) closed business.
I agree, Valerie. Thank you.
You and my husband (retired deputy sheriff) are of a like mindset. We need more people who take their oath to the constitution seriously. Great article!
Excellent! Thank you, Marianne.
All this reminds me of a Sergeant who rolled on a 415 F call where a A/H adult son was drunk at his parents house where he lived. The parents wanted us to force their son to leave the house. As my partner and I were explaining why we could not do what they wanted the Sergeant arrives and inserts himself into my call. He calls me into the next room and orders me to arrest the son for 647f drunk in public. I advised him the since he wasn’t drunk in public he was drunk in his bedroom and there wasn’t a code for that. Also told him if he wanted him arrested for 647f he would have to do it and handcuff him himself, which he promptly did and ordered me to transport the son to the station. The fun part was when the old salt watch Sergeant asked me what I had and I told him the story and that the field Sergeant would be in shortly to book the guy and he would be writing the report. The old salt told us to go 10-8 and screamed at the desk to have the field Sergeant 10-19 immediately.
Haha great story, donkey for a sergeant.
I absolutely agree with everything you said, Danny. It’s like we’re all living through a real bad science fiction movie. I’m glad you’ve got the space to work out and ride. I’ve got a speedbag in my basement and go for a walk in the park, but today I woke up to about two inches of snow on the ground. It’s melting, but damn, this is really a depressing time and the news media has lost what little credibility it had left in my opinion. Nothing to do but ride out the storm. Stay healthy.
Thank you, Mike. Will do, my friend.
Great take on this very troubling subject; such a willingness by our citizens to give up civil liberties, and such a willingness of our new centurians to execute flawed orders from on high.
Exactly. Thanks, Dan.
Well written Danny. Well trained station deputies by well trained training officers were always frowned upon by those supervisors worried about their next promotion. Their suck ass, “the captain said”, attitude was how they wanted to supervise.
There was always those individuals who trained at an easier station but when asked, they always claimed the busier station.
Then came coveted testing which forced stations to make training officers from outside the station which brought in another layer of “the captain said” individuals.
It was a great job, miss it everyday, but I am also enjoying my well deserved retirement.
Stay safe, healthy, and enjoy yours.
Thanks, Tommy. Yes, that coveted testing by design destroyed specialized units that previously were able to select the best cops with the most appropriate experience for the sought after positions. Now you’ve got people going to Homicide who can take a test but have never written a search warrant or chased a gangster through the projects. How are they going to take on hardcore killers with such lackluster skills and experience? They aren’t, but the executives couldn’t care less. Also, now they have training officers who know nothing about the new RD they are sent to train in. How stupid is that? Yes, it is good to be gone and we got in and out at the right times, my friend. Be well, buddy.
Sounds about right. However, I don’t expect things to change for the better any time soon. We have to realize that the objectives of law enforcement managers currently have very little to do with the objectives that were usually held, and promoted, in the past. In other words, the new managers are having their feet held to the political fire in ways, and to degrees, that changes the whole game. As far as LE agency objectives are concerned, it is no longer about reducing crime and protecting the good citizens. That is a secondary, or even tertiary, mission nowadays.
Well said, Sonny. Thank you.
Well said and thank you for saying it.
Perfectly stated. Atta boy pard!!!
Thanks Danny for another reminder that we all can’t operate like it is a black and white world. The politicians would like to have us believe it when it is their idea, but we know they don’t walk that walk. The on the scene view is very different when compared to the one looked at from behind the desk.
That’s right, Gary. And that was always the pride of LASD (as opposed to some of our friends in blue), the handling unit made the decision, not any sergeants or senior officers.
Spot on. I’m personally embarrassed, as I read about LE officers issuing tickets for worshipping, etc. We all had similar episodes with ridiculous orders but these are way beyond the pale.
Stay well y’all.
Exactly! Thanks, Jim.
I agree with you on all points except church attendance, in a group, where cross-infection and DEATH might occur. Especially as we have been warned of asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.
And perhaps not the death of any church-goer, but perhaps the elderly parent of a church-goer. Gatherings are prohibited for scientific reasons TO SAVE LIVES.
I don’t think attending church was the best idea–I didn’t and wouldn’t have–but the idea of issuing citations to all who did really bothers me. It is a serious attack on our freedoms.
Your blogs are always enjoyable and give me insight and inspiration. Thanks for your service as a peacekeeper, and thanks for your continued contribution with your writing, both in your blogs and in your novels.
God bless and keep you and yours!
Thank you, Sean, for the very kind words! (:
You are so right about the upside down aspect of this pandemic. The surfer being arrested yet Castaic lake is open for whatever and it’s a county park. Thanks for calling it out
Thank you, John.
Thank you for standing up to that sleazy sergeant! A parking ticket may be seen as trivial today, but back in the 1980s, those tickets easily turned into arrest warrants when not paid.
Sadly, California is bent on destroying the Consritution. Especially the CA DOJ are doing anti-Constitutional searches in the name of “red-flag laws”. Anyone can end up on a “red-flag” list for the most trivial of reasons, (e.g. neighbor dispute turning vindictive), and people lose their Constitutional rights while a hearing is held in 14 days (or longer due to the Quarantine). Sheriff Villanueva was even ousted by the county Supervisors over the indecisiveness over closing gun stores. The county has lost its leadership over the years. Political Agendas do lead to more innocent families hating Law Enforcement unnecessarily. The Penal code needs a few deletions to make sensible laws again.
May you and your family be well and safe from this pandemic. Hopefully it becomes better as people begin to vote for sensible politicians in the future.
Thank you, Raul. Always great to hear from you. (:
Great article, Danny! Common sense—-what a concept!! So proud of you!