By Steve Pomper

The anti-cop laws proliferating in America are already wreaking havoc in many jurisdictions and are now infecting law enforcement academies. The Seattle Times recently published a story about how Washington’s police academy is integrating the state’s new anti-cop laws into its lesson plans.

While law enforcement academies may have veteran officers who continue to teach practical defensive tactics in spite of the social justice garbage being peddled by politicians, that may not be possible today. The radical left is now contaminating the police academy with a social justice virus.  

One criticism from an instructor and some statements from the head of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC) raised my eyebrows. As for the individuals, I’m thinking the academy is not about to select a director or assign instructors who don’t think as they do or, at least, do a good job at pretending they do.  

Here’s the scenario: Two cops come upon a disturbance involving three men. The Times describes one man as, “swinging a baseball bat” (cops used to call this a deadly weapon, a clue to draw your gun). The two recruits get out of their patrol car. One draws a Taser and the other his firearm (good: less-than-lethal and lethal cover). 

The scenario continues, they tase the bat guy, which, of course, works perfectly, and then the other two suspects “grumble but comply.” Fine. But not so fine once what the Times described as, “the skilled eye of an instructor” has his say. 

The skilled eye says something disturbing. The Times writes, “He [instructor] also questioned the need for the cadet to draw his firearm at the outset when no imminent deadly threat was apparent.” 

Umm… man with a baseball bat!

I didn’t witness the scenario, so, perhaps, the three combatants were, like… way apart, making the lethality of the man with the bat not so “imminent.” However, the Times said, “three men in a scuffle.” So, I’ll assume this was not a socially distanced—virtual—scuffle but a traditional scuffle: scufflers relatively close to each other. In the scuffling handbook, proximity is important.  

How fast can a guy swing a bat at another guy’s head? Faster than the officer can draw and fire? Probably. Faster than the officer can bring an already drawn gun up on target and fire? Not as likely. 

The instructor added, “But you [recruits] need to think about coming up lethal here without a [sic] more of a reason.” 

Umm… man with a baseball bat

The truly terrifying part is the instructor is right, but only according to the new anti-cop laws where right has become “wrong.” The radical left rejects reason, opting instead for irrationality.  

Then we have a couple of nuggets from the new director of the CJTC in Burien, Washington. From what I’ve read, Monica Alexander, a retired Washington State Patrol captain, seems like a genuinely nice woman. None of this is personal, and, admittedly, is based on her limited comments in an article. But, again, no one gets that job unless they’re real woke.   

From her comments, should I wonder if Alexander is expressing as much concern for the bad guys as the good guys? For example, she said, “if you have to fight, if you have to shoot, everybody loses” (not everybody). Might that baseline be setting up officers to believe if any incident doesn’t end peacefully, they’ve lost, performed badly, or did something wrong? 

Maybe in a loose, esoteric sense “everybody loses” because no cop wants to hurt, shoot, or kill someone. But, in real life, fighting and shooting can mean the difference between an officer going home, to the hospital, or to the morgue. 

Or is it now controversial to say that an officer who must shoot and kill a suspect who was trying to shoot and kill the officer did a good job? Getting home alive to your family is doing a good job. At least, that’s what my instructors taught me when I went through CJTC.  

Alexander also said, “What you want to be able to do is to talk them into the cuffs.” I do understand her broader point, here. And, indeed, officers make most arrests without using force but not always.

Alexander acknowledges “some cops are feeling a little beat up,” following a year of anti-cop riots and legislation. She says, accurately, from the officers’ viewpoint, “We all haven’t been doing it wrong. It feels unfair.” But then she says, dismissively, “My response is, ‘We’re all responsible for each other’s actions.’” What? That’s a very social justice thing to say. 

Police training must focus on high-risk, low-frequency incident training. Cops need to focus on what to do with suspects you can’t “talk… into the cuffs.” Selecting training scenarios where instructors only view “success” as not using force is dangerous. Are officers are being brainwashed to believe if they use force, they are the problem, not the violent suspect? 

Washington’s new laws have banned certain effective techniques and now require a “higher legal burden” for officers to detain someone and to use physical force. And, of course, magical “de-escalation” training is a paradigm in the new social justice training disguised as law enforcement instruction. 

One outlawed defensive tactics technique is the carotid artery (neck compression) hold (not to be confused with the chokehold, which leftist politicians have also outlawed). Proponents of these new anti-police laws likely confused the two, so they just banned them both, ignoring reality and officer safety. 

Professor Matthew J. Hickman, chairman of the Seattle University Department of Criminal Justice, Criminology and Forensics wonders if banning certain weapons without concern for their effectiveness “is putting the cart before the horse.” 

Hickman recently published a paper in the Police Practice and Research Journal. He reviewed Spokane cops’ use of “vascular neck restraints” across 230 cases over eight years. There was not a single fatality. 

Professor Hickman said, “Widespread public sentiment against putting arms around people’s necks” doesn’t invalidate the fact that officers in departments that use vascular neck restraints “swear it’s an effective and safe technique.”

If the chance of lethality were so high, officers would not practice neck restraints (restrict blood flow) on each other, as was common in training. But I don’t know a single officer who would let another officer similarly practice a choke (restrict airflow) hold. 

To show you the difference between pro-police and anti-police veracity, a civil-rights attorney and a sponsor of Washington’s anti-cop legislation countered Hickman—feebly. While Hickman cited a scholarly study (he’d authored) by name and publication, the civil-rights attorney referenced amorphous “research showing that neck restraints can cause long-term physical damage.” What was his reference? He did not cite it. 

However, the civil-rights attorney betrayed his radical anti-cop ideology when he said, “the primary reason for banning them is that they are ‘associated with racialized policing instead of community policing.’” This is pure anti-police, unsubstantiated by data, garbage. It means nothing to people who care about facts. 

But these are the folks responsible for laws that will get cops injured and killed—that is, cops who don’t quit first. Stupid has consequences—intended and unintended. Ideologues and low-information voters vote for laws, that affect officer safety, that are written and supported by people who hate cops

This hatred of law enforcement officers alone should discredit what police academies in blue states are now teaching officers: How to risk their lives by placing a violent suspect’s life and wellbeing above their own. They might not put it in those terms, but isn’t that exactly what they are doing?