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by Peter Moskos

November 9, 2013

Father calls cops who shoot son

The chase was well called out by the pursuing officer, I have to say. The shooting, in my humble opinion, justified. It's too bad police had to down two police cars because of this idiot.

Should the police have chased? No. They rarely should. And particularly not when you know the identity of the suspect and where he lives! (And it's odd to me as a former police officer that the the pursuing officer is never ordered to call the chase off. Instead the suggestion of calling off the chase is offered a few times. I know -- right or wrong -- that I would not have followed that "suggestion." Why? Because as a cop I want to catch the crook. And as a guy, car chases are fun.) What do you want to bet that police in Ames, Iowa will make a more restrictive pursuit policy very soon?

But the moral? I think it's rather simple: don't call police to teach your child a lesson. Seriously. That's not what police are for. Why, because your child might be a fool and end up getting shot. (Also, it wastes police time). [Update: to paraphrase a comment below: "You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes."]

From Salon: “He took off with my truck. I call the police, and they kill him,” James Comstock told The Des Moines Register. “It was over a damn pack of cigarettes. I wouldn’t buy him none.”

You wouldn't buy your son a pack of cigarettes and he got pissed off and so you called the police to report a stolen vehicle?!

The second link here gives you the full audio.


Anonymous said...

A veteran cop once told me this about the people we deal with. It pretty much sums up policing: "When you play stupid games, you get stupid prizes."

DB said...

I'll take this in a whole different direction. I like to trace things back, and as Peter wrote...the chase was never called off, but suggested. So, here's my big point that I wonder if Peter might ever further engage in. In my experience, supervision (foremost) and leadership (secondly) are severely lacking in Police. Supervisors are poorly prepared to be supervisors, receive little supervisory training upon taking the position, and are often not held accountable once obtaining the position. Leadership, although not mandatory, is also lacking. The structure in many police departments needs to change. Clear expectations from the top need to be disseminated. Buy in and follow through should be expected by everyone from the COP down to the street cop. 99% of police are heroes, but that 1% destroys it all with bad conduct, bad decisions, and just plain stupidity. Supervision is often to blame in one fashion or the other. The point? If you take this all the way back to the supervisor calling off this chase...well, although justified in how it went down - this guy doesn't need to be dead.....?

PCM said...