- There have been four generations of law enforcement in
my family from my great grandfather Patrick who walked a beat in New York
City armed with only a billy club, to my cousin Danny who is a detective
with the Suffolk County Police. So, far from being a knee jerk critic of
law enforcement, I am probably more sensitive than most civilians about
the hazards of the profession.
- Law enforcement is hazardous not only physically, but
also psychologically. Because of the nature of the work, line officers
are often commanded to assume roles and do things that put them at odds
with the public, and even their own consciences, for example disrupting
legal demonstrations, arresting people for trivial offenses, and, sadly
in this corrupt time of ours, looking the other way when their superiors
(i.e. politicians) are violating the law.
- It is for this reason that I believe police officers
should receive more vacation time than the typical civil service job and
more thorough training. Police work, after all, is a paramilitary profession.
In the military training is constant, and rightly so. Unfortunately, in
police work training is minimal at best and serious, ongoing training is
the exception, not the rule. Given the demands of the job, it wouldn't
be excessive for the average police officer to receive at least one month
or more of training per year in addition to generous vacation time in which
to recharge their batteries.
- I am not talking, by the way, about SWAT training. Law
enforcement experts who know more about the subject than I do, tell me
there is already more than enough of that going on and some of it is quite
badly done. Certainly the performance of SWAT teams nationwide is nothing
to brag about. In addition to the cost of maintaining 30,000 SWAT teams
(yes, that is how many of them there are now), they have been involved
in many gruesome "accidents", in which poorly trained and supervised
SWAT units have invaded wrong addresses and even killed innocent people.
There was even a case recently in California in which a heavily armed 12
man SWAT team raided an empty apartment to serve a summons and managed
to kill one of its own members.
- No, the training our police need and deserve is in solid,
common sense police work: dealing with the public, handling domestic disputes,
operating their weapons and other equipment safely, conducting investigations,
restraining distraught people without injuring them, using force other
than armed force with a high level of skill. I'm talking here about well
designed, challenging, and interesting training, by the way, not mind numbing
training forced on officers merely to fill bureaucratic requirements. One
way to insure quality would be to allow the private sector to offer trainings
and give officers vouchers to pay for them as well as the time "off"
needed to need to take it. Let the officers chose their trainers and the
good, effective training will drive out the bad very quickly. And if the
best training happens to be in places like Hawaii or Florida, so be it.
Politicians and judges get these kind of perks all the time. Why not our
law enforcement people?
- I was shocked to read about New York police officers
recently shooting and killing a mentally unbalanced man who was armed only
with a hammer. Taking a hammer away from mental patient is almost as easy
as taking candy from a baby, and the more wildly he swings it, the easier
it is to do. Any police officer who needs a firearm to deal with such a
situation is in desperate need of some very basic martial arts instruction.
It's a hazard to the public and to the officers themselves not to be well
trained in such skills.
- Like it or not, police work, by its very nature, is not
a "normal" profession. It puts extreme demands on the officers
and their families. Not much can be done about this fact of life. We should
be glad that so many decent people are attracted to the work and are willing
to pay the price. One thing we can do, however, is insure that police have
access to all the training they need, that continuous, meaningful training
be a prerequisite for staying in the profession, and that the officers
and their families get generous "time outs" so they can enjoy
large blocks of time living the way "normal" people do.
- This program would cost some money, yes, but we'll have
a better, more effective police force for it. Our society needs this far
more than we need more Pentagon surplus weaponry and half baked SWAT team
dramatics. There are a lot of good people in law enforcement and it only
makes sense to give them our full support in reaching a state of excellence
at what they signed up to do: to serve and protect.
- Brass Check - http://www.brasscheck.com
- From hobans <email@example.com To Ken McCarthy <firstname.lastname@example.org
- You are correct that it is relatively easy to take an
object away from someone who is swinging it wildly, but relatively covers
a lot of area.
- Police Officers are not given effective Martial Arts
training in most districts because of the liability involved. Moving non-compliant
subjects who are passively resisting is what most of law enforcement "Defensive
Tactics" consists of.
- Also mental subjects are often extremely difficult to
handle even if proper leverage and force is applied. There is one subject
that comes to mind that nearly killed 4 officers here in WA state. His
weapon? Nothing. He with no martial arts training and no other weapons
battered two police cruisers, literally totaling one of them, and the 4
officers. 3 of whom were hospitalized. He died of heart failure after
collapsing after his hours long berserk frenzy. Another case you may have
heard of was the two professional wrestlers who nearly killed and did permanently
disable two veteran police officers again with their bare hands.
- Even with proper training a hammer can and will kill
you. There are a number of non-lethal restraint methods available however
the brass are afraid of liability again and lawyers and civil libertarians
find them to be cruel and intrusive.
- If you believe you can take away a club, hammer, gun
or knife from a subject, without either of you getting injured in the real
world, write about it in Hollywood and make a movie. Even experienced
and careful martial artists when facing an armed subject are often injured
or killed, that's why Samurai carried swords instead of walking around
like Kwai Chang Caine. Incidentally even the Shaolin usually carried a
staff when venturing out.
- How do I know this, because I am a martial artist with
over 30 years of experience and a police officer. I have had to disarm
subjects armed with clubs and knives on several occasions and I am lucky
enough to be alive. With anything less than several years of training
you will not find anyone who can take a weapon away from a subject without
injuring either of you. What looks good in a Dojo or Do Jang doesn't always
work. I have sustained cuts, abrasions and serious bruising in the line
of duty however. And if an officer becomes a casualty, who has he helped?
- From: Ken McCarthy <email@example.com
- Re: Martial Arts training and Police Officers
- Here I am advocating more vacation time and more paid
training time for police and I get a letter like yours.
- I was talking about a hammer wielded by a skinny lunatic.
Not a club, or a knife, or a car, or two professional wrestlers.
- There is no reason to shoot a deranged man threatening
you (not attacking you) with a hammer. If I did, I'd go to jail. These
morons do it and the mayor goes on the 7 PM news defending them. The question
is why these guys can't do their job without killing people. Please don't
muddle the issue by throwing it all sorts of irrelevant issues.
- And yes, I have taken a knife away from someone because
I ascertained the guy was an idiot. And no I don't advise anyone else doing
it and if attacked with a knife, I wouldn't blame a cop for using his sidearm.
- Let me lay it out for you. I see so called police officers
drunk on duty or so hung over and ravaged by alcohol abuse they're not
worth a damn. I see others so out of shape they can barely climb a flight
of stairs. Then there are the young ones who by their demeanor and bulk
appear to all the world to be steroid abusers. Yet there are no drug tests
- I've seen police officers beat unarmed people who are
offering no resistance. I've seen police alter accident reports (fatalities)
to help out politically connected people. I recently assisted a 22 year
old girl who was punched out by an officer for no reason except his bad
mood. Protected by the lying public affairs office, this scumbag carried
on a televised smear campaign against her. Until the witnesses showed up.
Seven of them, including the vice president of a software company and a
grandmother. His penalty? A $1500 judgement,n not a fine, which the city
paid for him. Civil liberties advocates my ass. That's a fantasy. One
of out 10,000 people ever sees justice when they are abused by police
officers in this country. The families of entirely innocent people murdered
in cold blood have to spend years in the courts to see any kind of compensation
and most give up.
- I've also seen police officers shoot pepper spray directly
in the face of handcuffed people who showed no resistance. And don't get
me started on the cowardly thugs who went berserk in Seattle during the
WTO meeting (Read my report: http://www.brasscheck.com/seattle)
- There was a time in this country's history when law officers
would not participate in strike breaking or beating up peaceful demonstrators.
Now without resistance, every urban force in this country is available
to harass and brutalize strikers, not to mention peaceful demonstrators.
It's a disgrace.
- Please don't carry on about all the risks police officers
face. Cab drivers are more likely to be killed in the line of duty and
sanitation workers more likely to sustain a disabling injury. No one cries
for them or hangs the flag at half mast when they die. "Cuts, abrasions
and serious bruising" You have got to be pulling my leg. What the
hell do you think you signed on for, ballroom dancing!
- And this has got to be some kind of a joke:
- "There are a number of non-lethal restraint methods
available however the brass are afraid of liability again and lawyers and
civil libertarians find them to be cruel and intrusive."
- I have seen young women who were not violent put in restraints
that would have gotten me thrown out (or probably beaten up) in any dojo
in this country if I had tried them on a fellow student. Take a look at
at a few examples: http://www.brasscheck.com/cm
- And *years* to learn how to disarm someone with a hammer?
How about a couple of hours. Well trained attendants in mental institutions
have to do this kind of thing all the time and they do it for the most
part without injuring or brutalizing people. And, they get bruised too,
but I've never heard one of them moan about it. Maybe it's because they
don't have politically connected unions that cover their asses no matter
what evil or incompetent thing they do.
- I'm calling for more training and training as a lifelong
requirement to try to save the profession from becoming despised by the
average citizen who is losing patience with the excuses and the arrogance.
- How the hell can anyone seriously be arguing against
- Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 19:20:30 -0500
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- From: Brasscheck <email@example.com
- Subject: hammers and other hazards
- I'm beginning to believe based on the mail I've gotten
on this that the state of the art in unarmed fighting skills in this country
is very, very low. I always thought I was a pretty lame fighter compared
to some of my friends, but nothing could have prepared me for these responses.
- hello ken, i was reading an article u had placed on the
sightings website and saw one thing there i greatly disagree with, i, of
course am not being critical of you or attempting to upset you, rather
an adult disagreement, the part about the officer shooting the mentally
disturbed person armed with a hammer, if you honestly feel this was no
danger to the officer i will feel sorry for you if you are ever confronted
with the same situation, that hammer will kill you as quickly as a gun,
the fact that he was swinging it wildly makes it even more dangerous,
- That's just not true. When he's waving a hammer, the
guy only has one dangerous arm. There's a whole side of his body he can't
cover effectively. You step to that side and clock him. There's nothing
mystical about it. Yes, if you stand there and get beat on with a hammer
you're in BIG trouble. That's why God gave us legs to step off the line
- A hammer is a pathetic weapon. It's very short, the business
end has no cutting or penetrating edge, you have to wind up to use it,
it over-focuses you on one side. Of course, if someone is a trained killer,
OK, you've got a problem. This guy wasn't.
- i took ninjitsu from a local trainer and learned that
martial arts training in the dojo has nothing to do with what happens on
the street, my trainer was named joe crumly, he is now the district attorney
in the area, he is an 8th dan from the grandmaster in japan, he is also
a firearms instructor, he taught us if confronted our first option is to
- What the heck kind of police officer would this be? And
no you can't use whatever force you want. You have to use reasonable force.
Shooting a nut with hammer is overkill. He hadn't hit anybody. He was just
- if not possible to run then use whatever means neccessary
to disable this armed man, a police officers job is not to get himself
crippled for life or killed by an armed man, i myself am a well trained
- Well for goodness sakes, then you know better than anyone
else that a one armed fighter is hamburger. Imagine a guy who keeps one
arm by his side and waves the other one up and down. That's what a nut
waving a hammer is. As a trained boxer, you can't do something with that?
- and was told by more than one officer that in a confromtation
with myself, given i assaulted them, myself unarmed, they would be justified
in shooting me
- at that time due to the threat to their health, i just
want to beg you if you are ever confronted with a man wielding a hammer
please do not attempt to disarm him empty handed, some things look good
in the dojo but do not work in the street, thanks for your time, v
- If confronted by a man with a hammer and I had to do
something about it, I'd step to the side without the hammer and do any
number of things to him. It's not brain surgery. This is one of the easier
things to deal with. Try it out. You're a boxer. You've studied with a
8th dan ninjitsu whatever that is. Work on it with a partner and a plastic
bottle. This is simply not as hard has you are making it out to be. If
you think it's a big deal, give me $100 and I'll show you how it works.
You can use a real hammer. It will be easier for me because you'll be unbalanced.
Don't blame me if it only takes 10 minutes to learn what to do. .
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
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