William J. Bratton, currently the NYPD Commissioner and the former chief in Boston and Los Angeles, frequently tells the story that it was his idea to start American Police Beat when him and Cynthia Brown both worked together over 30 years ago at the Boston Police Department.
A man was hanging from the east side of an Interstate 581 overpass, dangling a dozen feet above morning rush-hour traffic on Orange Avenue. Possible suicidal subject.
Officer Devin Moore was sitting in her patrol car at Washington Park catching up on paperwork.
Moore pulled her cruiser around to Orange, on the west side of the bridge, to stop traffic. Officer Vincent Haddox, who had called for more officers, sent out a new directive: We need someone on the bridge. Now.
Moore, a 22-year-old who graduated from the police academy in December, scurried up the grassy knoll in the highway’s cloverleaf. She sprinted across three lanes of traffic and jumped over the median. “I didn’t really have a plan,” she admitted later.
As Moore ran across the next three lanes of traffic, she saw only the back of the man’s head and his arms locked on the concrete barrier. He was stuck, unable to pull himself up.
Then Moore looked to her right and saw a policeman approaching — but not a patrol officer. It was Chief Tim Jones.
Jones looked to the man’s left and she understood to walk carefully to that side. Without exchanging words, the two locked their arms beneath the man’s. Moore, the second-youngest patrol officer, and the chief, who joined the department in 1981, clung on to him until other officers arrived and helped pull him up.
Earlier this month, Moore, Jones and the other officers involved in the rescue — Haddox, Officer David Lyle and Sgt. Gayle Combs — were recognized by the Roanoke City Council for their efforts in the May 9 rescue.
A few minutes before Moore ran up the hill, Jones had been sitting at a red light near Hotel Roanoke and heard the call.
“I said, ‘Man I’m right here at it,’ ” he recalled later. Jones drove up the ramp onto I-581 and put on his hazards. Another motorist, Jones said, helped slow down traffic as the chief stepped out of his vehicle and went to the edge of the overpass.
“I was just fortunate enough to be part of that team. And it was a team response,” Jones said at the council meeting. “Kind of the interesting dynamic is Officer Moore is one of our youngest officers. I’m one of our oldest.” Moore, standing next to him, smiled.
“That training continues from one decade to the next,” Jones said.
“The image that the chief portrayed of those interlocking arms will stay with me for a while,” Vice Mayor Joe Cobb said. “And the intergenerational locking of arms and the ability to bring someone out of a very vulnerable situation, placing yourselves in a vulnerable situation, and raising them up is powerful.
“It’s a powerful image for our city.”
Councilwoman Anita Price praised Moore.
“You know it’s not very often that we recognize our female, our lady officers,” Price said. (Women made up one-sixth of the department’s sworn officers in 2018.)
“So let me just say on behalf of all our females here how extremely proud we are to be able to recognize one of our own.”
Moore said later that the commendation and press attention was “a little overwhelming, because I feel like I didn’t do anything too special.” She emphasized the teamwork aspect of the rescue. She mentioned that calls for people in apparent mental health crises are common, if not as publicly visible as the May rescue.
“Honestly, we get a lot of calls like this but people don’t really know about it.”
Moore grew up in Pearisburg in Giles County and studied sociology and criminology at Virginia Tech. She didn’t know what she would do after graduation. At a job fair, she talked with a lieutenant at the Roanoke Police Department who told her about an internship. She was required to intern 120 hours and ended up doing 210.
“I had never considered police work before or law enforcement at all, but I really enjoyed seeing everything they did,” she said during an interview in December, a day before the department’s academy graduation.
After the bridge rescue, Moore headed to the courthouse for appointments, her adrenaline still rushing. She acknowledged it was “kind of unsettling” not knowing what later happened with the man on the bridge. (A police spokeswoman said the department doesn’t have information about his condition and wouldn’t be releasing his name.)
“It’s just part of the job,” Moore said, “just to do what you can then, and go onto the next call and help the next person.”
Soldier, police officer, firefighter and medic. They all have one thing in common: They all know crisis. These are the men and women who have been through combat, have experienced loss and have had the unfortunate burden of processing extraordinary events and scenes, some of which never go away or can’t be unseen or experienced. This doesn’t make you damaged, broken, cracked or crazy; it does, however, cause us to use coping mechanisms to handle those demons or uncomfortable situations. Some of these mechanisms are very unhealthy and un-useful to our mind and body, such as drugs, alcohol or high-risk behaviors. Some are healthier, such as exercise, meditation or hobbies that help us heal. Journaling is another positive coping mechanism that lets you see your progress.
According to the dictionary, a coping mechanism is an adaptation to environmental stress that is based on conscious or unconscious choice and that enhances control over behavior or gives psychological comfort. So, in Gumby-style, it is a way to control you and the garbage that you carry with you. The interesting thing about coping mechanisms is that they can be learned and unlearned, usually with practice and guidance. This can be self-taught or learned in therapy or group settings.
I think an important part to remember or to understand is to recognize the stress/stressor and coping mechanism that we use to control the behaviors. “Feel the feeling.” I know that sounds like you’re sitting on some therapist’s couch while they ask you, “How does that make you feel?” The truth of the matter is once you can identify the coping mechanism and determine if it’s good or bad for you, that is when you produce real change and success. Change is good but, damn, is it uncomfortable and sometimes ugly.
Change takes time. The first step isn’t always the hardest, it’s staying on course. Human beings — even we supermen, wired tight, type A personalities — are creatures of habit. We do not like change, and it is easy for us to slip back into old habits, behaviors or coping mechanism. One of the biggest mistakes that we make is abandoning all hope when we fail or don’t conform to our new behaviors or coping mechanism. We will fall and we do fail, but that is not the important part. The important part is to get back up, try and try again, forgive yourself and keep striving forward. Seek out help and be honest with yourself and others about where you are in your healing process, because it is a process. Don’t believe your own bullshit but hold yourself accountable for your behaviors and actions. And, finally, we normally suck at asking for help because we are used to being the helper, guardian or warrior, so use your resources. Reach out to your partners, battle buddies, friends, family and, yes, even professional help such as at a crisis hotline [(800) 273-8255] or a clinic/hospital. Remember to stop, breathe, assess the situation and adjust accordingly. You are not damaged or broken, just adapting to your environment.
Robert “Hoss” Horstman is an adjunct professor of psychology at El Paso Community College. He has a master’s degree in counseling and a bachelor’s and associate’s degree in criminal justice. He served in the U.S. Army as a medic and is a 25-year veteran with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Horstman is also a licensed chemical dependency counselor in Texas.
The wife of an NYPD sergeant who was gunned down by ex-con in the Bronx became emotional Tuesday when the three cops who put their lives on the line to defend her husband until his last moments were awarded the department’s top honor.
“[I want to tell them] just how much I love and appreciate them,” Lisa Tuozzolo, wife of slain Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, said after the NYPD Medal Day ceremony, her eyes beginning to well up.
“They are uncles to my children. They are the support system that I need and I’m proud to know them.”
In a morning ceremony at One Police Plaza, Lt. Manny Kwo, Sgt. Arvid Flores and Officer Elwin Martinez received the Medal of Honor — the department’s highest accolade — for their role in taking down the gunman who fatally shot Tuozzolo in 2016.
Kwo, who was joined by his wife Sherry, told reporters after the ceremony that he owes everything to Tuozzolo — even his nearly 15-month-old daughter, Willow, who he held in his arms.
“I’m going to tell [Willow] everything about the man that made it possible for her to be here,” he said.
“I’m going to tell her about how kind he was, how gentle he was and about how much he helped me become the supervisor that I am today. I wouldn’t be the person that I am without who he was.”
Eighty-five other NYPD cops — some living and others deceased — were also honored at the Tuesday ceremony.
“They have to be the best, because lives depend on how they do their jobs,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said of the honorees.
“Their lives, their fellow cops’ lives and the lives of those they’ve sworn to protect.”
Recipients of the Police Combat Cross, the department’s second-highest honor, included Sgt. Keith Bryan and Detective Joseph Ayala — who fatally shot the recidivist gunman who killed Police Officer Miosotis Familia in a mobile command vehicle in July 2017.
And Detectives Timothy Brady and Jason Hallik, both of the Bomb Squad, received the Medal for Valor — the department’s third-highest award — for their role in dismantling the second explosive device found only blocks away from the scene of the September 2016 Chelsea explosion.
Police Officer Ryan Nash, of the Technical Assistance and Response Unit, received the same award for his role in subduing the terrorist allegedly behind the October 2017 truck attack on the West Side Highway.
Among the posthumous honorees was retired Chief of Detectives William Allee, who died of leukemia as a result of the time he spent at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“Every officer who is being honored has written a heroic chapter into the history of the NYPD,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the event.
I listened to an interview with Mike Tyson, and he talked about his old trainer Constantine “Cus” D’Amato. Cus and his wife took a young Tyson into their home and trained him to be a heavyweight champion fighter. Cus taught Tyson to fight and destroy his opponents. Tyson said he was a student of old fighters and watched hundreds of their films. He also spoke about one major problem: Cus never taught him how to “turn it off” so that he could cope with the hype, power, drugs, women and excessive lifestyle that consumed his life. Fighting was the only thing Tyson knew. This reminds me of the men and women in law enforcement who have a hard time turning it off. Is being a cop the only thing you know, and are you able to turn it off? Here are some ideas to help you turn it off and enjoy being off duty.
Take a seat. When you go to a restaurant, do you have to be seated facing the front door? There is nothing wrong with doing this during your tour, but try to actually enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner with your family without having to play the role of “security” the entire meal. Relax and be present with your family. (You may disagree with me on this one because it involves your family, but if you must sit facing the door, be mindful of the time you give your family.)
Wardrobe malfunction. Does your wardrobe consist of jogging pants, cargo pants, cargo shorts and T-shirts? For many officers, this is the only clothing they wear off duty, or worse. Impress your spouse and dress up for a night out; you’ll see a positive response.
Talking “code” at home. Do you use work (cop) codes at home? Do you say things like “10-4” instead of saying “OK”? Do you say “Roger that!” instead of “I understand”? Do you use cop codes with your kids? Again, you’re off duty; use proper grammar.
Driving like a cop with the family. Anyone who has driven with me in the past knows I drove like an idiot. I’m guilty. Why do we do it? The answer is simple — because we can! When you drive with your family, do you drive the same way you do in your squad car? This can lead to arguments, or worse, a car wreck. Slow down and remind yourself that you’re not going to a call. If you’re constantly driving too fast, leave earlier and take your time.
Wearing a gun and handcuffs everywhere. I know officers who carry their gun while taking the garbage outside. I know officers who carry their off-duty weapon and handcuffs! This programs you to believe you’re never off duty, ever. In the movie Stripes, the drill sergeant stated to an uptight soldier, “Lighten up, Francis.” We can all learn from the drill sergeant and relax on our days off.
Deviating from the plan. Does your spouse make plans with you at the last minute and your answer is always, “No!” Next time, say yes. You’ll surprise and please your spouse. Stop being so rigid and enjoy a little spontaneous time with your family.
Change. Officers do not like change on their day off. Don’t believe me? Sometimes you have to roll with the punches. I recently spoke to an officer’s wife, and she couldn’t agree more. Cops do not do well with change. Deviation from any schedule is a major problem for many of us.
Having a shrine or “brag wall.” I’ve walked into homes of officers who have a law enforcement shrine to themselves. The word narcissist comes to mind. You’re being a hero in your own mind. Instead, be a hero to your family by exhibiting humility and showcasing their pictures and awards. I am not saying don’t recognize your accomplishments or awards on a mantel or in a shadow box, just don’t turn your home into a hall of fame of your accomplishments.
Paranoid much? Do you know officers who are paranoid? Yep, me too. These officers spend an enormous amount of their life on “high alert,” always worrying about worst-case scenarios. An officer once told me that he was being followed. He activated himself, took out his weapon and continued driving home. The car behind him continued to make the same turns as him. Terror kicked in. Turns out it was just his neighbor who happened to be going the very same way.
For some, it is hard to turn it off; it took me a few years to learn the concept. I had help. My wife, close friends and dad helped by saying to me, “You’re off duty, copper, settle down!” It was both tough and humbling to hear. You can’t change overnight. The process of turning it off also means you have to slow down and clear your mind of the leftovers from your workday. Incremental change is necessary for the overall happiness of you and your family. Try it for a few days. It may feel weird at first, but it’s a healthy change that will provide immeasurable happiness for you and your family. Let me know how it works out for you.
Brian Mc Vey was a Chicago police officer injured in the line of duty in 2012. He is a proud father, adjunct professor and freelance writer. He holds a master’s degree from Adler University in Chicago, Illinois. You can reach Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A rare Plymouth muscle car is being auctioned by Michigan police.
The 1969 GTX Convertible was found on an abandoned property near Traverse City, reportedly after the death of its owner, and it appears to have been sitting there for years.
The red two-door is one of 362 like it that were built that year with a 440 V8 and automatic transmission, and it has just 20,269 miles on its odometer.
No one has tried to start it, but the owner of Bingham Body and Towing, where it is currently located, told Fox News Autos that he knows a mechanic that worked on it about a decade ago and said it was in great shape.
According to the Hagerty Price Guide, the car is potentially worth $90,000 if restored to top condition.
That’s a bit less than the rarest of 1969 GTX Convertibles, which are powered by Plymouth’s legendary Hemi V8. Only 11 of them were ordered and they’re worth up to $250,000 today.
The online auction for the Michigan car runs from June 5 to 18.
Initially conceived as an opportunity for state public safety training academies to share information on training management practices, the Acadis Readiness Summit in Edneyville, N.C., bloomed into an event of national significance in its field.
Dana Phillips, Deputy Director of the North Carolina Justice Academy, suggested the event as a means to engage other users of the Acadis Readiness Suite, developed by Envisage Technologies, in conversations about how different agencies use the software to streamline their training and compliance operations.
Phillips discussed his idea with Envisage, and the result was the inaugural Acadis Readiness Summit held April 15-18. Leaders from federal, state, and local government agencies attended, representing the gamut of public safety fields, including corrections, criminal justice, emergency management, fire service, homeland security, and law enforcement.
During keynote remarks, Envisage Founder and CEO Ari Vidali highlighted the similarity of mission needs and of challenges the agencies face that brought them together.
“There are 20 different modules in Acadis that were built by a disciplined and deep collaboration between agencies that may not normally work together,” he said. “Having federal, state, and local government agencies here designing the future together in this way is unprecedented.”
Envisage developed Acadis to fill a void in the marketplace for a training and compliance solution built to address the unique and critical needs of public safety. As a result of this approach, Acadis has grown to serve the largest public safety user base in the U.S. among training management software, utilized by 9,800 individual departments and 1.7 million public safety personnel.
NCJA Director Trevor Allen and Deputy Director Phillips said the Readiness Summit exceeded their expectations from beginning to end, with an impressive group of participants from all levels of government sharing their knowledge and experiences, and planning to work together more deeply in future.
One of the ways in which agency attendees shared information was through presentations followed by Q&A sessions. The following Acadis training sessions were presented by representatives of the Colorado POST, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Federal Protective Service, Indiana State Police, North Carolina Justice Academy, Ohio State Fire Marshal, and Utah POST:
Experiences with Online Training
Building Consistency in Course Registrations
Instructor Scheduling: Assignment Acceptance and Exchange® Integration
Streamlining Compliance and Blended Learning Strategy
Panel Discussion on the Impact of Acadis
In a retrospective session at the end of the Summit, participants reported they had learned about each other’s challenges, and solutions to the challenges they faced. They also said they discovered that their agencies are more similar in their use of Acadis than they had thought, and despite differing terminology, their agencies perform many similar functions and can share information and learn from each other’s experiences.
The Readiness Summit was nationally significant not only because it attracted agencies from all parts of the country to discuss problems and solutions they share, but also because it set them on a path toward working together to ensure the readiness of personnel serving all public safety functions in cities, states, and the nation. Acadis customers from the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies joined those from state and local governments as geographically dispersed as the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training, Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee, South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training, Washington State Criminal Justice Academy and Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, among others. Many of the attendees met for the first time, yet got right to work discussing plans for ongoing collaboration that will benefit all of their agencies and the people they serve.
“They were excited about coming together in a way they never had before,” Vidali said. “What’s even more exciting to me is that this group of leaders is charting a path ahead to tackle joint challenges in ways they haven’t before.”
Acadis Development Process Explained
Envisage Chief Operating Officer Michelle Cole presented “Making the Most of Agile Methodology,” in which she described the Envisage Agile software development process. In this process, Envisage focuses on listening to customers, figuring out what they need, and continually developing software features that deliver rapid value based on their needs.
Cole said Envisage is focused on giving customers rapid value through features that meet their needs in the smallest increment that will be helpful. This increment is called minimum viable product and is provided through an iterative process in which developers continually make customer-focused updates.
“We get to the smallest viable increment to add value for customers and build from there to add value as quickly as possible,” Cole said.
Envisage staff also provided a series of workshops in which they and other attendees shared information on the use of the following Acadis modules and capabilities ‑‑ Compliance, Reports & Data Tools, Surveys, Workflows, Imports/Exports, Registration, Mobile and Observed Testing, Curriculum Design, and Scheduling, as well as a workshop on using the FirstForward online platform for public safety.
Envisage thanks all of the attendees and speakers and especially appreciates the efforts of NCJA Deputy Director Chris Anderson and his staff at the beautiful NCJA West Campus, where the Summit was held. Envisage also commends the excellent work of Summit planning committee members Danise Alano-Martin, Rob Aney, Chad Bollhorst, Heather DeMoss, Brian Dimbath, Hannah Sitz, and Kim Storvik.
Man with 2 sons on the spectrum creates instructional video for police training
Law enforcement officers are often the first responders to incidents involving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as autism. However, many officers are not equipped with the training needed to deal with these individuals in high-stress situations.
Recent encounters between law enforcement and those affected by autism have shown that the disorder continues to be one that officers are grappling to understand. In Pennsylvania, an autistic man was fatally shot earlier this year, and in Chicago, an officer shot and wounded an unarmed man with autism. And these are just a few of the many incidents of this kind that have cropped up in recent years.
With autism affecting an estimated one in 59 children in the United States today, according to the Centers for Disease Control, these types of encounters will only increase in the future if mandatory, autism-specific training is not adopted by police departments.
One police officer in Aspinwall, near Pittsburgh, is not waiting for that to happen.
Officer Scott Bailey has helped create an instructional video to help law enforcement officers interact with people who have autism, and the video is being used in trainings across the country.
Bailey knows firsthand about the disorder because he has two sons on the autism spectrum.
“We took it upon ourselves,” Bailey told reporters with CBS Pittsburgh. “I have a great, great family with my sons, both Trevor and Trent, and my wife, Tina, really helping us out. The DVD has been utilized all over the country.”
Currently, Pittsburgh gives identification cards to those with autism to show officers during encounters, but Bailey says it’s not enough.
“We’re trying to get our driver’s license to put, like, the autism on your identification card or your driver’s license now,” says Bailey’s son Trevor.
“However, it would be on a voluntary basis. This way when law enforcement officers encounter somebody that has autism, they can understand autism is a hidden disability and sometimes it can mask as if they were doing illicit drugs or committing a crime,” Bailey said.
It’s easy to see how officers can sometimes get the “hidden disability” wrong. Autism is not a one-size-fits-all disorder; it refers to a broad range of psychological behaviors characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
According to Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization based in New York City, police are often trained to respond to a crisis situation with a certain protocol, but this protocol may not always be the best way to interact with people with autism. Loud noises, flashing lights and even an officer’s uniform could trigger a person with autism to react in a way that officers may misinterpret (e.g., avoiding eye contact, wandering off, yelling, etc.), and that could lead to unintentional outcomes.
Bailey’s video and initiatives to raise awareness of autism will no doubt help decrease these incidents and ensure that everyone gets home safe.
A guy tried to steal a tall, freestanding gumball machine, smashing it through a glass door, only to find out that it was harder than he thought it would be.
While her son was taking part in a Shop With a Cop event, a Kentucky woman was arrested on shoplifting charges.
A woman allegedly used a stolen credit card at a convenience store, then tried to escape through the ventilation system. She fell through the ceiling.
Once wasn’t enough. Two teens in Georgia were arrested after they allegedly burgled the same house twice — on the same day.
A driver’s license ended up back with the Iowa man who had reported it stolen months earlier. Someone used it to get into the bar where the man worked as a bouncer.
If only he hadn’t been so greedy. An alleged bank robber in Ohio received a stack of money from a teller. Then he wanted the money from a machine in the lobby. He was told it needed a driver’s license to operate. He handed over his own.
A California man was so proud of a murder he had committed that he had the scene tattooed in detail on his chest. When the police picked him up for a petty crime four years later, they noticed the tat. Not good.
Officials charged a fisherman with a felony after he apparently inserted a 1-pound weight into a bass he’d caught to win a Texas fishing tournament. The giveaway? The fish sank to the bottom when it was placed in a tank.
A man was accused of burglary in Wyoming after his DNA was matched to a partially eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich left at the crime scene. His DNA was also found on a coffee cup at another crime scene.
A Florida man wanted in connection with an assault helped police find him when he used his wanted poster as his Facebook profile photo. Dude!
LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles police officer is being treated for typhoid fever and another employee has typhus-like symptoms.
The LAPD reported the illnesses Wednesday involving employees of its Central Division office. There’s no word on how the officer got the bacterial disease, which can spread through contaminated food or drink or contact with a carrier.
Police say a specific diagnosis for the other employee with typhus-like symptoms hasn’t been determined. The LAPD says it’s working to disinfect any work areas that may have been exposed.
The office was also fumigated earlier this year as downtown struggled with an outbreak of typhus, which unlike food-borne typhoid fever can spread from infected fleas. Homeless people who live near City Hall and a deputy city attorney fell ill.