This Chief Gets It

images-2One of my readers, criminal justice professor and author, Gary Cordner alerted me to a the following new blog by Chief of Police Andy Mills of Eureka, California. Chief Mills gets it.

This is what I have been urging police leaders to do. Stand up. Deploy the shootings. State who you are and that this is not the kind of police you and your department does!

“When al Qaida flew two planes into the twin towers many people clamored for the Muslim community to go public and chastise AQ and publically state that terrorism is wrong and the Muslim community support the Constitution of the United States. Working with LAPD the FIQH Council of North America published a Fatwa stating their loyalty to and support for the United States, its people and Constitution. These religious leaders did so at the risk of personal peril…

“This week in South Carolina a police officer shot and killed an African American man by shooting him in the back as he ran away. I admittedly know nothing about the case other that what I have seen on TV and in the news. It’s disturbing. Let’s call it like it is…I saw nothing in that video that would justify that shooting. Nothing. Warning the video is graphic.

“So, how does the South Carolina incident affect EPD and you? It makes it tougher to police. People nationwide begin to doubt the police and our actions, especially when we are afraid to speak out against improper police actions and use of force.” (My emphasis)

“EPD, let’s be different…

  • The preservation of human life is the paramount consideration in every action we take. EPD will go the extra mile to reduce the chances of us having to use lethal force. The organizational philosophy is to slow things down and use time, talk and tactics to resolve potentially lethal encounters. It is not always possible but it must be our objective.
  • Increase the use of less lethal options. EPD has ordered beanbag shotguns and ammo for forward deployment. We are also updating Tasers for all field officers. Of course our K-9’s are great tools.
  • Welcome community involvement for increased accountability. People may video tape us, broadcast our actions live or give input in the form of a Chief’s Advisory Panel. We should welcome the involvement as it makes us stronger, better and more accountable.
  • Hold each other and the profession accountable. We know when something is wrong and we must be bold enough to state it forcefully. There can be no blue wall of silence. If you see it you own it!
  • Ensure your safety. You must go home to your families at the end of each shift. I know that you bleed, break and get injured. Too often we lose good cops to violence. I have had friends and academy classmates murdered in the line of duty. To win you must know the law, policy and tactics as an expert. Not in a paranoid way, but in a realistic manner that is pre-rehearsed and well thought out.

“Let EPD lead the way to a civil community through calculated action done for the right reasons. Let’s call it ‘Use of Force Integrity.'”

  • Has your police department stood up and reassured your community that they  are committed to the preservation of life — everyone’s life? It’s a matter of affirming human dignity. It’s what professional police officers do.

Read more on their BLOG.

Here’s MORE on Chief Mills: An interview with him after being appointed chief.