|Baytown Citizens Police Academy Graduates Fall 2015|
I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet the last two and a half months as I attended almost ten weeks of the Baytown Citizen’s Police Academy. One reason for this is my friend Natalie Whatley covered it a few years back. Another reason is I wanted to experience the entire class before I wrote about it.
I am by nature a bit rebellious and a loner when it comes to joining or endorsing anything. I am a classic skeptic and make no apologies about what I have observed. Back a number of years ago when I headed up Baytown Concerned Citizens, I was criticized for writing in my column that we needed to continuously watch our police department and hold them accountable. My opinion hasn’t changed in that regard.
The police department is ran in a very military manner and I am not only a Veteran, but also a student of military history. Much of what I learned in this citizen’s police academy, I already knew because I read a lot and have studied martial arts and awareness for many years. I don’t get my information from watching the Lethal Weapon series or CSI in its many spin-offs. I have friends in the police department and as I’ve stated before, obey the law.
We were instructed by the people who do the dirty work and although I think the job would jade most people; these men and women were very professional and appeared to enjoy what they do. I’ve often believed that if I was a cop and rubbed shoulders with the seediest element of society, it would turn me to the dark side. I’m sure in some cases it does, but I observed none of that.
A lot of information was taught and as I’ve stated, I found it to be elementary, but did learn a lot of details anyway. Each week an expert in their particular discipline would go into great detail about what it is they do to fight crime and each week I was impressed with the high level of training each officer portrayed.
The class is facilitated by Stewart Beasley and taught in a relaxed manner that the average citizen can easily understand. We learned about the Swat Team, forensics, gangs, use of force, traffic stops, investigations, live fire, and bombs. We also learned that the City of Baytown is one of the most sought after places for law enforcement officers to train. Our facility on any given day has people from all over the country learning how to do it the legal way.
I am not one to be easily drawn into something just because I have been exposed to it. I am already on the Board of the Texas Geocaching association and Keep Baytown Beautiful, so I refrained from becoming active in the Citizen’s on patrol or the Alumni Association, but easily could have endorsed both as worthy endeavors.
Here is my summary on the entire experience. We are being sold a bill of goods to discredit the police department through constant negative news stories. I don’t understand who is behind it, but to put it in words Harry Truman would use, it is bull crap if the Baytown Police are an example. Lawyers and anti-police advocacy groups have made it where almost everything the police department can do to stop crime works against the officer. The professional criminal holds not only the advantage, but practically all the protection they need to get out of nearly everything.
We watched a demonstration where one officer had his gun drawn and pointed and the bad guy had to raise his gun to shoot. Every single time they fired at the same instant. Almost any approach an officer takes can be turned against him, regardless of how cautious they are. In a high percentage of cases, the officer only draws their sidearm when there is an obvious threat.
The Internet, Facebook, and Youtube show small clips of video which at first appear to be police brutality, when the reality in most cases is just the opposite. The cop is like a referee with his nose in the action and sees things we can’t, but everyone is second guessing them these days ready to scream excessive force.
The bottom line is I think I would make a good police officer, but under these circumstances would I want to be one? Heck no! Everything is working against them on all external levels. It doesn’t matter how much they train, the current aggressive mentality of discrediting the police rips apart the fabric of this honorable vocation.
I have lived in Baytown over 40 years and have yet to be jerked out of my automobile and kicked, tased, beaten, or cursed at by an out of control cop. I think the reason for that is I haven’t given them reason to do any of those things. Another reason may also be that as a rule, they simply don’t treat people they arrest or pull over in such a manner.
I also understand that if the cops chase you to Cut and Shoot and back and you throw yourself out of your car and run, they are most likely going to hurt you when they finally catch you. It serves you right in my book. If you act up with cops, why would you be surprised when they get right back in your face?