Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Most of my previous posts at “Gary’s Police Blog” have been law enforcement related and I usually try to stay away from politics and other non-law enforcement topics. But, because of some of the latest vile comments by t.v. host (HBO) Bill Maher I just felt the need to express my outrage and disgust at this horrible excuse for a human being.

From what I hear Mr. Maher is an avowed atheist and proud of it. Okay, that’s his choice and here in America that’s his right. In addition to being anti-religion Maher also apparently has a real intense dislike for the new quarterback of the Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow. Why? I don’t know why. Maybe he doesn’t like Tebow’s college alma mater the University of Florida and/or the Florida Gators. Maybe he doesn’t like the Broncos, or maybe he just doesn’t like professional football at all. I don’t know why this man obviously hates Tim Tebow so much, but I bet it has something to do with Tim’s unshakable faith in God.

What also seems very apparent though, at least to me, is that Mr. Maher’s dislike for Tim Tebow, plus his anti-religion attitude, has caused him to now cross the line. In a Christmas Eve tweet Mr. Maher poked fun at Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Tim and the Broncos had been beaten badly by the Buffalo Bills. Tebow threw four interceptions and Denver lost the game to Buffalo in a blowout, 40-14. Mr. Maher tweeted:

“Wow, Jesus just F___ed Tim Tebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler 'Hey, Buffalo’s killing them.’” (In an effort to avoid offending anyone I’ve removed most of the letters from the word that begins with the letter “F” that Mr. Maher used).

“Tebowing” is a new word you will not find in the dictionary. It is a word coined exclusively because of Tim Tebow, of course, and it means to get down on a knee and begin praying, even though everyone else around you will probably be doing something else. If you’ve watched any of the Bronco’s games that Tebow has quarterbacked you’ve probably seen him do this after he has scored.

Personally, I’d rather see a professional football player “Tebowing” than doing some of the other stupid things they do after they score a touchdown. I’m particularly turned off by the idiotic dances that so many of them seem to feel are necessary. I don’t mind the “Lambeau Leap” that I believe began with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field where they play their home games. At least those players are involving the fans when they celebrate a score, but these stupid dances that many other players do are disgusting. It’s as though they are saying, “Look at me --- I’m great.” So yes, I’d much rather see a Tim Tebow thanking God that some other conceited player thanking himself!

Many people who are upset with Mr. Maher’s comment about Jesus have called for a boycott of HBO, which is the home of his show, “Real Time.” A boycott may happen, but I doubt it will have any effect on HBO’s decision to keep this controversial individual on the air. Again, personally, I gave up HBO a long time ago, manly because I didn’t like some of their programming. Even if I had HBO I would never watch Mr. Maher’s show because I don’t like him and I don’t like the kind of man that he his.

I know he could care less, of course. Arrogant people like him usually don’t care what the common folk think about them. After all, they’re better than the rest of us, right? Yeah, right! I doubt it!

Gary P. Jones, Captain [retired]

Fort Lauderdale P.D. (1967-1993)

author of book: Badge 149 - "Shots Fired!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder should resign!

United States Attorney General Eric Holder needs to resign --- now!!!!! But, if he doesn't resign then President Obama needs to fire him --- immediately!!!!! Anyone want to take bets on whether of not that will ever happen? Not me!

From a law enforcement point of view Eric Holder has been a disgrace. Remember the New Black Panther voter intimidation case in Philadelphia, back in 2008? Two members of the New Black Panther Party brandished a nightstick at a polling place, but Mr. Holder was responsible for his Department of Justice (D.O.J.) dropping that case, although there was sufficient evidence to prove that voter intimidation DID occur.

What about Mr. Holder's decision that we must give Miranda Rights to terrorists who are captured on the field of battle --- and in foreign lands? What about Mr. Holder's defense of civilian trials for terrorists captured on the field of battle? Mr. Holder supported this too, in fact, he has passionately advocated for this very questionable decision.

What about illegal immigration and Mr. Holder's D.O.J. filing lawsuits against individual states (like Arizona) that have tried to protect themselves and their citizens from the awful scourge of illegal immigration? This perverted line of thinking is just absurd.

Now we have the A.T.F. fiasco called "Operation Fast and Furious" which played such a direct role in at least one U.S. law enforcement officer being murdered.

Louisiana Rep. John Fleming (R) is just one of the latest elected officials now calling for Eric Holder's resignation OR termination. In a prepared statement Rep. Fleming said, "Attorney General Eric Holder is either withholding what he knows about Operation Fast and Furious, and the guns that ended up arming Mexican drug cartels, or he is incompetent for not knowing how the secret program worked." Rep. Fleming also believes that Mr. Holder's leadership at his D.O.J. has been an "absolute disaster." I couldn't agree more.

Even if we give Mr. Holder the benefit of the doubt, and assume he did not know about "Fast and Furious" beforehand --- he should have known. He is the head of the Department of Justice, the chief law enforcement officer in America, and he IS responsible for everything that takes place at the Department of Justice. That's how it works. President Harry Truman liked to say that "The buck stops here." Well Mr. Holder, that goes for you too.

Now, in an interview that appeared in the New York Times on Sunday an arrogant Eric Holder claims that the attacks against him by his critics are racially motivated. He said, "This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him. Both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we're both African-American." How pathetic! Race has nothing at all to do with any of this. Competence, honesty and integrity do --- and these are all qualities that Mr. Holder apparently lacks.

At least 60 congressmen, two senators, four Republican presidential candidates and two sitting governors have reportedly demanded Mr. Holder's resignation. Seventy-five congressmen have reportedly signed onto a House resolution for a vote of "no confidence" in Mr. Holder as attorney general. Including both lists, that means there are at least 86 members of the House who no longer trust Mr. Holder to head the all-important Department of Justice.

It is time for Eric Holder to leave the Department of Justice!!!!!

Gary P. Jones, Captain [retired]

Fort Lauderdale P.D. (1967-1993)

author of book: Badge 149 - "Shots Fired!"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why it should never be Departmental policy that high speed vehicle pursuits should be called off if only traffic charges are known and/or involved.

Sunday, in San Diego, another hero died! Not only was Officer Jeremy Henwood, age 36, a four-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department, he was also a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He had already served two combat tours in Iraq, and now he had recently returned home after he completed a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. He had commanded a logistics company. I believe he was assigned to the 4th Marine Logistics Group. Logistics groups are very important and they arrange for the convoys to resupply the front line troops.

Jeremy Henwood originally joined the Marines in the enlisted ranks and he was a sergeant before he became an officer. His initial training was as an infantryman and in 2003 he took part in the assault on Baghdad. Then, in 2004 he participated in the savage fighting at Fallouja. Fallouja was the heart of the notorious Sunni Triangle. How painfully ironic it is that Officer Henwood would survive the violence of the insurgency in Iraq, and the brutality of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, only to be assassinated in a senseless murder right here in America.

Officer Henwood was murdered by a 23-year-old male individual. Initial reports, which may not be entirely accurate (they usually aren't), indicated that the subject lived alone in a rented apartment and when he could find work he was a construction worker. He apparently had a minor criminal record that included petty theft and resisting arrest. But, although the murder of Officer Henwood appeared to be the deranged work of some insane madman, the subject apparently had no prior history of mental illness.

Earlier Saturday, before Officer Henwood was murdered, the subject was apparently involved in a shooting at an In-N-Out Burger restaurant, 14 miles away in El Cajon. In this shooting a male individual was sitting with his girlfriend in his vehicle in the parking lot. Suddenly, they were approached by a man who was carrying a shotgun. This man, who apparently was the subject who eventually murdered Officer Henwood, then shot the man in the car in the face, with a single round. Then, he fled the area in a black Audi.

Considering Officer Henwood's Marine Corps service in Iraq it is also a little ironic that the shooting victim from the restaurant was an Iraqi immigrant. And, while he was still in Iraq he even served as a translator for the U.S. military. The man is expected to survive, but with a shotgun round to the face I would imagine he will probably require some extensive plastic surgery. According to initial reports, police investigators had not been able to establish any sort of a relationship between the male shooter and the male victim at the restaurant.

Then, according to media reports, only a few minutes after the shooting at the restaurant an officer spotted the black Audi speeding and gave chase. The officer apparently had no knowledge of the shooting at the restaurant and was only chasing the Audi for traffic. The officer eventually terminated the high speed pursuit of the Audi when their speeds reached 100 m.p.h. The attack on Officer Henwood occurred shortly after this.

The armed subject in the black Audi got behind Officer Henwood's patrol car and flashed his headlights, as if he were trying to get the officer's attention. Then, he pulled up alongside the left side of Officer Henwood's marked unit. As the two cars sat there side by side, either stopped completely, or moving forward very slowly, the individual with the shotgun pointed his weapon out the passenger's window and he shot Officer Henwood in the face. Civilian witnesses tried to help Officer Henwood. One used his police radio to alert the dispatcher that an officer had been shot. They also gave him first aid until paramedics arrived at the scene.

After the unprovoked ambush-like attack on Officer Henwood late Saturday afternoon, the police were able to track down his 23-year old assailant. The police located the suspect and the black Audi at an apartment complex and when they saw a man with a shotgun get into the car, and start to drive away, they moved in. Several marked units blocked the road so the Audi couldn't escape and then the officers moved in to make the arrest. When the suspect reached for the shotgun, the police opened fired. The officers pulled the wounded suspect from his vehicle and called for the paramedics. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

I guess we will never know for sure what this individual was thinking when he savagely attacked Officer Henwood. After all, he had apparently just bought himself a used black Audi sedan, so it would seem that he at least had some positive thoughts of living the good life. Yet, when police investigators eventually searched the subject's apartment they found a two-page rambling suicide note. Although the note suggested that there may have been some financial and mental problems troubling the subject, he did not say how he was going to kill himself, or why.

Officer Henwood died at the hospital, at 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, more than eight hours after he was shot in the face by the subject in the Audi. The police investigation is still ongoing, but as of now the investigators say they have no known motive for the unprovoked and cowardly attack on Officer Henwood. Located outside the downtown police department headquarters there is a granite memorial to all of the San Diego officers who have died in the line of duty. Jeremy Henwood's name will now be added to this memorial, and he becomes the 32nd San Diego officer to die in the line of duty since 1913.

I really hate being a Monday-morning-quarterback, but I have to wonder about that officer who chased the Audi, but then stopped the chase when their speeds reach 100 m.p.h. I wonder, did the officer decide on his own to stop the pursuit, or was he told to stop because their Departmental policy dictated that he should? If he stopped on his own, then I imagine he feels terrible. After all, if he had continued chasing the Audi, and not stopped the pursuit, then Officer Henwood would more than likely not have been shot. But, if he stopped the pursuit because he was told to stop, or Departmental policy indicated he should, then I imagine that officer is probably mad as Hell. I know I would be!

For over twenty-six (26) years I worked at Fort Lauderdale P.D. F.L.P.D. is an excellent agency with good leadership and outstanding officers. Times have changed though, and I know that the F.L.P.D. pursuit policy has changed too. I can almost bet that if the same exact circumstances that happened in San Diego happened in Fort Lauderdale, that the only known reason for the pursuit was a traffic charge (speeding), then I'm certain that a road patrol supervisor WOULD advise the officer to stop chasing the Audi. That's the way it is now at F.L.P.D., and I imagine many other law enforcement agencies too.

Unfortunately, these are the litigation-happy times we live in, and police departments all across America have had to adjust to these new realities. Did this more restrictive sort of a pursuit policy play a hand in getting Officer Henwood shot. God, I hope not!

Officer Jeremy Henwood Family Trust
c/o San Diego Police Officers Association
8388 Vickers Street, San Diego, CA 92111

Gary P. Jones
Law Enforcement Ambassador
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

author of: Badge 149 - ''Shots Fired!''

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Who is more stupid --- the bird, the cat, or me?

Most, if not all, of my blog posts have involved the law enforcement profession, but not this one....

In the early morning hours, when the sun comes up and a bright new day begins, I almost always awake to the annoying banging of a few stupid birds flying into the bedroom window. I suppose they see their reflection in the glass window and think they are seeing another bird. I would think that after they slam beak first into this glass wall a few dozen times they would get the hint. Hey stupid, it ain't another bird, it's glass!

Then, we have my stupid cat. She sits there quietly on a chair by the window and she watches these birds crashing into the glass. And, it's very obvious what she is thinking. She desperately wants to sink her fangs into one of these feathery creatures. Suddenly, the cat bolts forward and she herself slams headfirst into the window. She does this with such force that the whole damn bedroom seems to vibrate. After she does this several times, I'm definitely awake.

Usually, I'll just tell the cat, "Hey stupid, you can't get the bird because it's on the other side of the glass window."

This morning, after I made this same comment again, I got to thinking. Who is more stupid, the birds for repeatedly flying into the glass window, the cat for trying to go through the glass to get at the birds, OR ME, for trying to explain it all to my dumb cat?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You have the right to remain silent - or do you?

During the first 14 years of my law enforcement career (1967-1981) I always tried my best to avoid verbally criticizing another officer's actions, especially when they involved the use of deadly force. Yes, there were a few occasions when I quietly wondered (to myself) if the officer's actions were really necessary. Did the officer really need to do what he/she had done? But, I always tried to remember that I was not there when the incident actually transpired, and I did not experience the same things the officer had, so it wouldn't be right for me to second-guess them later. I didn't like people Monday-Morning Quarterbacking me when I was involved in a stressful situation, so I definitely didn't want to do this to someone else.

In 1981 I was promoted to the rank of sergeant and as a sergeant I no longer had the luxury of being able to remain silent when I had my doubts concerning an officer's actions. As a sergeant it was my responsibilty to accurately AND honestly evaluate the questionable actions of the officers I supervised. When you put on those stripes that's one of the things you know you will have to do. If you're not prepared to do this, then you have no business being a supervisor. Luckily, Fort Lauderdale P.D., where I worked, was a good department AND the overwhelming majority of the officers I supervised were dedicated and honest cops --- so, I never did have to make that choice; doing the right thing, or remaining silent.

Perhaps this is why it bothered me so much when I read the article about the New Orleans Police Department (N.O.P.D.) lieutenant who is now on trial in Federal Court. This lieutenant's decision-time, his own Waterloo if you will, occurred back on September 4, 2005, during the height of the post-Hurricane Katrina chaos. In what was reported to be an exchange of gunfire on the Danziger Bridge (U.S. Route 90), between the cops and the bad guys, two individuals were killed and several more were wounded. But, when the lieutenant arrived at the scene of the shooting he quickly observed that these supposed bad guys did not have any weapons. He wondered, if these where the individuals who shot at the police, then where were their guns?

The sad fact is that these individuals who were killed and wounded by the N.O.P.D. cops were all unarmed. Sadly, this apparently was not a case of officers just doing what they thought was right, and then having a tragedy occur instead. No, it appears that many of the officers involved just lost control of themselves and their emotions, and they committed murder. One of the two men that were killed was forty years old and mentally disabled. An officer in a moving police vehicle shot him in the back with a shotgun, as he ran away. His hands were in plain site and he held no weapon. Therefore, he posed no threat to the officers.

Did going through the turmoil, mayhem and devastation of Hurricane Katrina play a part in this? I don't know. I guess it could be a possibility, but it is still not an excuse. What the officers did was bad enough, but then the lieutenant didn't do his job and he apparently initiated a cover- up. This cover-up included encouraging and allowing the officers involved to provide false stories about what actually occurred during the shootings on the Danziger Bridge. He also apparently had knowledge and condoned a "throw down" weapon being planted at the scene.

On January 2, 2007, the police officers involved in the shootings were taken into custody. They were indicted for murder and attempted murder. However, on August 13, 2008, charges against all of the officers were dismissed by the District Judge. He said his reasons for doing this involved misconduct by the prosecution reference to the grand jury. I wonder what that really means. Did the prosecution try to help the officers involved, or did the prosecution just engage in stupid and/or unethical conduct? I suppose that's another story all by itself.

Although the federal government couldn't file their own murder charges against the officers, they could charge them with "Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law" --- after a lengthy and thorough investigation this is what they did. I was surprised to read that an individual convicted of this specific federal statute can be sentenced to death. Maybe this is why so many of the officers involved, including the lieutenant, made deals and/or pled guilty to lesser charges.

I began this post intending to talk about a supervisor's duties and responsibilities. But, the more I read about this terrible event, and the shocking way it happened, the more I realized that what happened there in New Orleans was not the norm. Most law enforcement officers in America would never behave as those few N.O.P.D. cops did. Most supervisors woud act in a totally different way too.

In fact, most of the men and women of the New Orleans P.D. acted honorably and bravely during the very trying times during and then after Hurricane Katrina. They endured looting, sniping and a host of other problems that most of us in law enforcement will never have to experience. Yes, some N.O.P.D. cops abandoned their duties and left the area, but most didn't. Some of those who stayed and served couldn't handled all the stress, and at least two N.O.P.D. officers committed suicide. I read what one N.O.P.D. Captain had to say about those two officers: "To me, they died in the line of duty. They died of injuries caused to their psychological being from the storm." Then he said, "...they were told you have to perform, you have to protect, and you have to serve, and they did."

I prefer not to remember those few N.O.P.D. cops, including the lieutenant, who disgraced the badges they wore, and the oath they swore. Instead, I want to remember what that one N.O.P.D. captain said to his wife when she asked him, "Why do you still do this? Why?"

"Well, you get up every day, and you go to work with heroes. Not everyone can say that."

God bless the dedicated men and women of the New Orleans Police Department!

Gary P. Jones
Law Enforcement Ambassador
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

author of: Badge 149 - ''Shots Fired!''

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Who was that beautiful woman?

Most people know that Tallahassee is the capitol of Florida. It is a beautiful city, although at times it does get a little bit crowded. It has two major colleges, Florida State University and F.A.M.U., and thousands of students attend these two fine schools every semester. Usually in February or March Florida’s legislative session begins and Tallahassee really becomes crowded and congested when lawmakers from around the state flock to the city. Tallahassee natives complain about the excessive traffic and the congested roadways, but I still think it’s a whole lot better than having to travel on busy I-95 in south Florida during rush hour. You literally take your life in your hands when you do that.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, the State of Florida, like almost every other state I imagine, decided to beef up its security at future legislative sessions. Uniformed officers of the Capitol Police usually handles security at the Capitol and its buildings but now, in our post-9/11 world, that would all change. The decision was made that all other state law enforcement agencies would be asked to volunteer manpower to help augment the Capitol Police.

Even though I was a Captain with the Department of Insurance (Division of Insurance Fraud), rank didn’t matter and they were really just looking for warm bodies to fill all of the vacant posts they wanted to cover. When the session finally rolled around I worked it for four full days (February 26th thru March 1st). Although these were all 10-hour days and the work at times was demanding and stressful I liked doing it. It afforded me an opportunity to get away from my normal routine at Insurance Fraud and I also enjoyed watching the state senators and representatives, the lobbyists and the private citizens who came to the Capitol to watch their government in action. It was all very interesting.

Unless I was rotated to another position I usually was located at the front entrance to the Senate Office Building. I mostly worked with two other officers, a uniformed officer with the Capitol Police and an officer who worked at Fish and Game. Although they were in uniform I was not and I was in a business suit with a jacket and tie. The work was pretty much what you would expect to see as you went through security at an airport prior to boarding a plane. We x-rayed the contents of people’s briefcases, women’s purses and they also had to go through a walk-thru metal detector. Things usually went along smoothly but every so often the line might get a little long. For the most part though people were patient and they seemed to understand that what we were doing was important and it was for their own good. The painful memories of 9/11 were still fresh and had not yet faded away.

One day near the end of my shift I saw two women standing in line and waiting for their turn to go through the metal detector. When the first women walked through nothing at all happened. When the second young lady walked through the detector it suddenly buzzed and beeped to let me know that something was amiss. I looked at the young woman and suddenly realized what a true beauty she was. She was beautiful! Her hair was perfectly in place, her make up looked like it had been professionally done, her clothes were stylish and elegant and she wore some pretty expensive-looking jewelry. This woman looked like she had just stepped off of the cover of a fashion magazine. When the metal detector alarm went off she looked at me and smiled. It was an “I’m sorry” kind of an innocent smile and it almost made me melt. I told her to go through the detector again. When she did, the same thing happened. The alarm went off again.

I motioned for her to come forward towards me and I picked up the portable hand wand detector that was used when we wanted to be more thorough and certain. In my own mind I was convinced no one this lovely could be a terrorist or a threat to anyone in the Senate Office Building but rules were rules and I would have to use the hand wand. I slowly ran the wand up and down her body, front and back, and both sides too. The wand and my hand never actually touched her, but I still felt like I was invading her space and I was a little embarrassed. She didn’t seem to mind though and she patiently waited for me to finish. As I did, I looked over at the other two officers I worked with to see what they were doing. They were busy with other people at the x-ray machine.

I told the woman that I suspected her jewelry may have set the walk-thru detector off. As I was telling her this I looked over to the right of the detector and saw two men standing there. They were both dressed in business suits and they were smiling. They seemed to be very interested in me AND the young lady. From my many years of law enforcement experience I immediately formed the opinion that these two guys were cops. They were. They showed me their identification and it indicated they were with the Tallahassee Police Department. The beautiful woman walked away from me and then rejoined the two plainclothes officers and the other woman. They entered the Senate Office Building and I never saw them again.

Who was this beautiful woman? I eventually learned that she was Katie Harman and she hailed from Gresham, Oregon. But, she’s better known as Miss America 2002. She had been crowned on September 22, 2001, just days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Now, she was touring the nation and meeting the people. At Florida’s Capitol she met Governor Jeb Bush, AND me!