All it takes is one good cop

No matter what anyone says, one good cop has always been able to make a difference in any bailiwick


“DO NOT PUT YOUR KNEE ON A SUSPECT’S NECK OR SPINE.”

That’s what it says on page 196 of “Street Survival II: Tactics for Deadly Force Encounters,” which I co-authored in 2018 with Jim Glennon and Charles Remsberg. It is also said by most of the police trainers who train the tactics recommended by that book. Sadly, that book and the training of those trainers would have fit into the category of “fear-based training,” described as such and kept from the Minneapolis Police Department by order of Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis.

What if one good cop had approached the Mayor when he made his declaration and said, “Respectfully, sir, all cops experience fear and one way to manage fear is by gaining the defensible skills taught in this book and survival training classes that will help our officers prevail in a defensible manner.” Maybe if that one good cop could have convinced Mayor Frey to allow his police department to train the way they thought it best, Derek Chauvin would have read or heard the words “DO NOT PUT YOUR KNEE ON A SUSPECT’S NECK OR SPINE” and George Floyd might still be alive.

One good cop dons a mask and prepares to face the rioters in his city. (Photo/Dan Marcou)
One good cop dons a mask and prepares to face the rioters in his city. (Photo/Dan Marcou)

That did not happen so:

What if one good cop had intervened on behalf of Mr. Floyd during his arrest and taken hold of Chauvin, pulled him off Mr. Floyd and told him, “Hey, they are calling you on the radio.” That is the universal signal one good cop gives to another when he or she sees their partner is losing it and endangering both their careers. That is a survival technique taught in some of those classes banned by the Mayor. That good cop could have assisted Mr. Floyd up, dusted him off, returned to him his dignity and continued with the investigation. If one good cop would have done this, no one would know George Floyd beyond his family and friends who loved him dearly.

That did not happen so:

What if one good cop had viewed the video of Chauvin on the neck of George Floyd for more than eight minutes and recognized that something terrible had happened during this arrest. What if that cop’s outrage would have caused him or her to realize that probable cause existed to arrest one of their own and proceeded to make that arrest before the entire country was outraged. Would the riots have happened?

That did not happen so:

What if one good cop after Mayor Frey ordered the police to stand down when the crowds began to rumble went to the Mayor and said, “Respectfully, sir, you would not tell the street department to stand down during a blizzard. You would let them do the job they are trained to do to protect the people of this city. Now I am leaving this room convinced you realize that allowing the police to do what they are trained and paid to do, is the best course of action for the safety of this community. I will keep you apprised of our progress.” If that would have happened, would so many business owners and their employees be in tears and out of work, wondering, “What now?”

That did not happen so:

What if one good cop on the second night of rioting when the governor suggested standing down again because the rioters outnumbered the police and the National Guard, replied, “Respectfully, sir, we will always be outnumbered in a civil disturbance. That’s why we have the tactics and equipment we do, which will help us to ultimately prevail. Have the same faith in us that we have in ourselves.” Would the rioters, anarchists and criminal opportunists have ruled the night as they did on that second night?

That did not happen so:

What if one good cop noticed that one mayor in Atlanta declared, “This is not a protest, this is chaos,” and allowed her police department to do what they needed to do. That police department’s teams of officers used their tactics and equipment in a professional manner to bring peace back to the city, which was indeed in chaos. They did it with a calm determination, which is the hallmark of proper training, preparation, planning and good leadership.

That did happen so:

What if one good cop realizes the thin blue line has crumbled where they are and that order has turned into chaos, yet their leaders appear indecisive, even clueless. What if that good cop realizes in the midst of chaos, that the thin blue line has always started with one good cop, who rallies more of his and her fellow officers by declaring, “We draw the line here!” If that happens, can order be returned in such times as these?

I think so, because all it will take is one good cop, and this country has hundreds of thousands of them!

NEXT: What does George Floyd's death tell law enforcement?

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