My life as a tyrant


I’m going to say something that will undoubtedly cause me to lose some police officer friends. But I feel it needs to be said anyway. I’m willing to take the heat for it.

Keep in mind, I became a police officer because I wanted to be a good guy. Even though we’ve all seen reports of police brutality and corruption, I still believe we cops are the good guys. I’ve seen cops perform brave, selfless acts for strangers on countless occasions. Even the worst cops I’ve ever known would risk their lives to defend the innocent. But I have to say this anyway. Before you start throwing shoes, hear me out. I have a good reason for saying it.

If you think our police are no threat to your freedom, you’re living in a fantasy world.

Now I’ll explain what I mean. I worked for the United Nations Police Mission in Kosovo for eighteen months. I wasn’t there as a soldier. I was a civilian cop, living in town, basically a Kosovo PD officer. For part of my tour I worked patrol with a group of international officers and local police. We had officers from America, the UK, Germany and Greece, plus local Kosovar Albanians. The Americans were regular street cops from police departments all over the United States.

One of the American officers in my station came from a very wealthy suburban police department. My cop stories were about murders, fights and chases; his were about citizens having garage sales without permits. For some reason, citizens selling things without permits aggravated him to no end.

In postwar Kosovo, many tens of thousands of war refugees lived in the capital. Not enough jobs existed to support them all. Many of them became vendors in a sprawling, dirty bazaar. They supported their families by selling cheap Turkish and Pakistani housewares and trinkets. Under old Yugoslav law, which was still the legal standard, those vendors had to have permits. Few bothered to stand in line at a dilapidated government building to pay for a permit.

This officer – I’ll call him Joe – became infuriated every time he patrolled the bazaar. He’d find vendors without permits, then ticket and berate them. He’d make note of other illegal vendors so he could ticket them later. He’d even drive through the bazaar off-duty to spot illegal vendors for future targeting. He’d vent his anger about illegal vendors at us, which always made me laugh. I didn’t care the least bit about vendors without permits, and thought Joe would eventually get over it. I was wrong.

Joe got so mad at illegal vendors that he researched Yugoslav law. We had been advised not to do anything that violated the Bill of Rights, but officially Yugoslav law was still in effect. And Joe discovered he could use Yugoslav law to do something about those damn illegal vendors.

Joe put a plan together. Officers from a couple of stations, along with some NATO troops, would go through the bazaar, identify which vendors had no permits, and confiscate all their merchandise. Local Albanian Kosovo Police Service (KPS) officers would assist. A large NATO truck would follow the officers so they could load all the confiscated items. All the seized property would immediately be donated to charity organizations.

When I heard the plan, I was amazed. Then I got angry. Why would anyone, in a country which had suffered through a horrible war less than two years earlier, think vendors without permits were such a big deal? We didn’t have a crime problem in the bazaar, the only reason we were going in there was because Officer Joe had a personal issue with the vendors. And wouldn’t an operation like that violate people’s rights?

I argued against the operation, and was overruled. Since Yugoslav law allowed it, we were doing it. I was ordered to take my team of KPS officers and participate.

The day of the operation, I forced myself to show up for work. My KPS officers were angry, frustrated and hesitant. They didn’t want to do to their people what we were about to make them do. But their jobs and livelihood, like mine, depended on following those orders. So we walked out of the station toward the bazaar.

An officer from a European country met me outside the bazaar, held out a stack of papers and sternly ordered, “Take these. You’ll need them to document what you confiscate.”

I kept my hands down. “I’m not taking them. I think this is wrong. We can’t just take people’s property.”

The officer held the papers out further. “It doesn’t matter. They’ve been warned. Take the forms.”

I didn’t move, or respond. The officer maintained his stern demeanor for a few seconds. Then, seeing that I wasn’t going along with it, he backed down.

“Okay, fine. Just take some forms, in case you change your mind.”

I took a few forms and stuck them in my pocket. The next time they came out, later that afternoon, I dumped them in the trash.

The operation began. Dozens of officers entered the bazaar, followed by NATO soldiers and their cargo truck. The vendors initially didn’t know what was happening. Then cops walked up to stalls and asked for permits. Nobody had them. The cops grabbed everything they had and threw it into the back of the truck.

Hundreds of vendors picked up their wares and ran. The slow ones were accosted and stripped of their possessions. KPS officers swarmed me, saying, “We can’t do this! This is what the Serbs used to do!” I stood back, watching the chaos in angry silence, and said something in Albanian. It was a phrase I never in my life expected to say.

Ne jeme komunista sot.” We are communists today.

Our KPS officers were ordered, forced, to join in. They grudgingly helped take the property, although a few from another station were enthusiastic about it. Customers in the bazaar stood close by and yelled insults at the KPS officers, or screamed things like “Why are you doing this?” One KPS officer almost got into a fight he didn’t want to be in, over something he didn’t want to do, with one of the customers. Guilt was obvious on the KPS officer’s face. That was hard to watch.

I stayed back. Officer Joe, the illegal vendor hater, picked out an old man selling bananas. The old man, who looked about eighty but was probably younger, struggled to pick up boxes of bananas before the truck arrived. Officer Joe reached the old man’s stall, tore a box from the old man’s hands and threw it in the truck. The old man grabbed the next box. Joe fought it away.

I remember standing there in impotent frustration, thinking, So now we’re literally wrestling food away from old men. This is disgusting.

I finally managed to grab a handful of KPS officers and leave. I stayed at the station until the operation ended, angry at what we had done and at myself for being part of it. I had stood by and done nothing as a fellow cop turned us into petty tyrants. That still bothers me.

Joe beamed with pride when he came back to the station. As he promised, all the confiscated property was donated that day. No vendors had been ticketed. None received receipts for their property. None had recourse to recover what had been taken. If police did that here, they would be charged with a crime.

Later that day I argued my way up the chain of command that the operation had been wrong, we shouldn’t have done it and should never do it again. An Irish officer agreed with me. But a senior American officer listened to me with a disinterested expression and said, “Look man, it’s legal here. So I don’t have a problem with it.”

I learned a lot from that operation. Prior to it, I had been something of an idealist about cops. I thought American cops would go by what’s right and wrong instead of looking for what they can legally get away with. I know now that cops like Joe have no problem violating people’s rights, as long as they have some “official” way to do it.

Maybe you’re thinking, “But this was in another country, so it’s okay.” I don’t think so. I took an oath to defend the Constitution, not to enforce any law no matter what it is. If I go to Afghanistan as a cop, I’m not going to beat women for walking the street without a male relative, even if it’s legal there.

So why do I tell this story now? This might seem like an abrupt topic change, but it isn’t. It’s directly related.

I keep hearing we don’t need the 2nd Amendment. I keep hearing the 2nd Amendment is an anachronism. I keep hearing that it was written for a time long past, when we had to worry about foreign invasion and government tyranny. I keep hearing the 2nd Amendment should be repealed because there’s no threat of tyranny today.

I’ll agree that we don’t currently worry about foreign invasion. But we ALWAYS have a worry about government tyranny. Don’t tell me, “it can’t happen here.” I know better. I was there when Officer Joe stole people’s property, because he had a personal vendetta and knew he could get away with it. Don’t tell me police officers won’t engage in tyranny. I’ve seen it.

Joe was, in many ways, a good guy. He wasn’t a horrible, hateful man who just oozed evil from every pore. He and I had a lot of decent conversations about life (and a HELL of a lot of arguments about what limits our authority should have). No doubt he did good things for people in the past, and probably did good things after Kosovo. He likely never did anything like the bazaar operation in America. But he did it in Kosovo, because he COULD.

Our founding fathers were incredibly intelligent, insightful men. They knew an external threat of invasion could exist. And more importantly, they knew an internal threat of tyranny would always exist. They knew that even basically good guys like Joe can let their personal hatreds control their official actions. They knew that even Officer Chris Hernandez might maybe, once or twice, have a little nagging thought like, There should be an automatic death penalty for anyone who drives through a quiet neighborhood at 3 a.m. blaring gangster rap. They knew I better have threats over my head, to keep me from carrying out that death sentence.

The founding fathers knew guys like me and Joe need to be controlled. They wrote the 4th Amendment so we would have to follow rules when we took people’s property. And they wrote the 2nd Amendment so that if we ever decided not to care about citizens’ rights, the citizens could forcibly change our minds.

This nation was formed by armed rebellion. Our freedoms were maintained by armed resistance to foreign threats. Our police and military exist to protect the rights that many hundreds of thousands of brave, armed Americans died for. We serve the descendants, family and friends of those men and women. We call them “sir” or “ma’am”, even if they’re a laborer and we’re a police chief or 4-star General. We don’t bend them to our will, we don’t strip their rights “for their own good”. We don’t repeal the Bill of Rights in order to protect them from the sometimes horrible consequences of freedom.

As I’ve said before, I don’t speak for anyone but me. Many, many cops will vehemently disagree with me about this (which might sort of prove my point). But I WANT law-abiding citizens to have guns. I WANT them to have a means to defend themselves from ME. I DON’T want the people I’ve sworn to defend worrying about Officer Joe and his friends taking their property on a whim. I feel ZERO threat, absolutely none, from lawfully armed good citizens.

I’ve been a cop in Texas for almost 19 years. I’ve interacted countless times with armed homeowners, business owners, and concealed carry permit holders. I’m absolutely comfortable knowing that they’re not helpless lambs, totally dependent on me for their safety and freedom. I’m there to protect good citizens from criminals; citizens have weapons to protect themselves not just from criminals, but also from me and Officer Joe.

That’s how it should be. That’s why we have a 2nd Amendment. And officers like me and Joe are why it shouldn’t be repealed.

NOTE ADDED 3/3/13: I’ve received a lot of interesting replies to this post today. Many of them point out my failure to act that day in the bazaar. Fair enough; this post obviously isn’t a defense of what I did. I don’t think there’s any way to interpret this story as a boast about my inability to stop something I knew was wrong. I admit guilt and don’t flinch from the criticism.

However, some of the comments have gone way beyond simple analysis of my actions, or justifiable criticism of law enforcement. There have been calls for violence against police, accusations that the President is a Nazi, claims that the federal government is preparing for all-out war against the citizens, etc. I’ve deleted those comments.

On the “how I roll” page I describe the rules I follow writing this blog. The comments I receive don’t have to follow the same guidelines, but those like I just described won’t be posted. This blog isn’t anti-police, anti-government, or a place for people to vent all their anger and suspicions about any political party, federal government agency or elected representative.

I welcome rational, intelligently presented dissenting opinions. This is a site where I hope reasonable people can calmly discuss important issues. It’s not a place for internet tough-guyism, veiled threats made from the anonymous safety of a computer, or expressions of support for any revolution.

Because I love this country, the last thing I’ll ever advocate is warfare between citizens and any arm of the government. The vast majority of police officers, members of the military and American citizens are fantastic people. We as a nation are strong enough to correct problems, even those we’re facing today, with discussion instead of violence.

281 Responses to “My life as a tyrant”

  1. 1 Charles W.

    Well done, we all need more people like you backing our only protection . . Our Constitution! The one and only garauntee on this planet we have to be enabled to legally defend ourselves and those with us. Again, well done…

    • 2 Notayup

      Fact is, “IT” for the most part has already happened and hardly no one lifted a finger to even attempt to stop it. The America most grew up in is history. The 1st amendment is gone with the swipe of a pen via EO It is now illegal to protest or even assemble when or where ever the secrete service are present, the 4th has been gone since the patriot act and the supreme court buried it for good last week ruling electronic surveillance is perfectly legal with out warrant. Then we have ” constitutional free zones” ie anywhere with in 100 miles of our borders which by the way includes the entire state of Florida. The military and federalized police are training to confiscate weapons and have been for years. The government knows what happens when economies collapse and are preparing for it in mass. The sad truth is that most people could care less, believe the constitution is outdated and will line up to turn in their weapons for a loaf of bread. America is in for a very, very rude awakening folks, prepare accordingly.

      • 3 Sharon

        That is only part of the sad truth. How can we the people stop and reverse the direction we are headed in?

  2. 4 Lisa

    You recognized a wrong being committed and had a choice to do right or wrong. You chose wrong, as most people do when they stand to suffer for choosing right in even a tiny way. History shows that people will not choose to do right until the cost to themselves of doing wrong is higher that the cost of doing right, i.e., they have been stripped of their dignity, humanity, or the means to support themselves and their families, and have nothing more to lose by doing right.

    The right choice for you was to refuse to participate. If enough of you had chosen that peaceful route, then perhaps the whole operation would not have happened, or at least it would have drawn attention to the immorality of the action. If you had refused, you might have inspired others to follow you (we are all sheep at heart). I admire that you recognize your choice was wrong and are thinking about it and trying to inform others in hopes that this won’t happen again. The proper response to most evil is not to commit violence against it, but to refuse to participate. That is where 80% of the population fails. They falsely believe that if they have permission of law, that wrong is not really wrong.

    The one thing I think I can add to your piece is that this path to destruction that we are on will not change until people understand that the only purpose of government is to enforce moral and legitimate laws. Right now, US citizens have been well-trained to respect and follow all laws, regardless of how crazy and immoral they are. They respect authority without regard to whether it is legitimate. If the military says to kill citizen X in country Y, we support that choice without a thought about morality. When the police enforce unconstitutional laws, we still support them. Why? Your premise that most police are ‘good’ is irrelevant. Most ‘good’ people still choose wrong over right, as you and your colleagues did. ‘Good’ people do not participate in harming others or stealing.

    A proper definition of ‘good’ is ‘doing what is right.’ It is not following orders, following your feelings, or going along with the crowd. If there is no absolute morality, then there is no morality at all. What is absolute morality, as defined by our Creator, or nature, or whatever the source is that you believe created us? It is quite simple. We are not to hurt others and we are not to steal. These values are enshrined in our Constitution.

    We will each be faced with a continuing series of choices between right and wrong. Every time one of us chooses to support wrong, we are responsible for the consequences that will ultimately cause people to suffer, and eventually that will include ourselves and our loved ones.

    Please continue to use your experience to teach others. And let us all endeavor to choose right over wrong, and encourage others to do the same.

  3. 5 Robert Scanlon

    Always good to find cops who aren’t delusional about the true nature of government.

    • 6 Ed

      “Always good to find cops who aren’t delusional about the true nature of government.”

      Yes, that would be good, let me know when you find one.

  4. 7 Donn

    Having served in a metropolitan police force a decade ago and having served as private security in Iraq in 2004; I hear you. I hear you on the abuses in Kosovo (the tyranny) and on how citizens need to protect themselves. My thought is that personal firearms are for personal defense; “protecting yourself or another from grave bodily injury or death.”

    Like you, I have little or no problem with legal carry and ownership, especially if the person carrying is qualified (most are not) to handle those firearms for self defense. Sadly, most are not qualified, most are not trained in bring their firearms to bear in a combat situation. I’ll touch on this later.

    Now, what I write next may seem to disagree with you. It may be arguing for the banning of the possession of some weapons. In essence I’m not. I just has some concerns about the ramifications of saying the 2nd amendment protects us from the tyranny of ourselves (our government). As for protecting ourselves from the tyranny of our government? I don’t know how that is possible or practical in any real sense.

    Why? That would mean weapons of war in the hands of civilians. We are talking about AR variants in their many forms which, with the exception of one function (select fire), are basically functionally the same as the weapons you and I carried overseas. You carried weapons of war. I carried weapons of war. I’ll say it again. Many of the AR variants sold today by the manufacturers and dealers are functionally the same as what you and I carried. The only thing missing is select fire.

    Even with that function missing, you and I both know just how effective an AR variant is, even in single-shot mode.

    Should the general population have access to weapons of war? I really don’t know. I don’t have an easy answer for that. We could try to ban them, as we have attempted to do in the past. It didn’t work very well. It especially won’t work very well when the technology exists *today* to use 3D modeling software and a 3D printer to “print” an AR lower receiver and large cap magazines. The latest version of that lower receiver shot over 600 rounds before failure. It cost almost nothing to produce. *Anyone* with the software, the plans file and a printer could have made one.

    Add all the accessory components available over the internet and from local dealers and — Bingo! Instant weapon of war.

    There are more weapons in currently in the hands of civilians in this country than we have in the hands of trained military. It’s not practical, nor even possible, to collect them all. I don’t think it will ever be. Would you participate in the door to door search and ollection of said firearms? When, not if, but when the inevitable confrontation breaks out, would you return effective and deadly fire? That is the situation every front line solider and police officer would face. The government knows this.

    Can the government convince our front line soldiers and police to try to take them away? Can they convince our front line soldiers and police to get into firefights with civilians by deeming them domestic terrorists? It’s possible they can. Such confrontations always depend on the willingness of the front line enforcers to carry out the orders of their superiors.

    Even in your situation, you could not stop Joe. No one would listen to you.

    So we have an uneasy state of balance in this country. There are really more firearms out there already than we can every hope to take away. They are in the hands of a populace that, to a significant degree, will not turn them in. There is even another significant part of the populace that, dare I say, is actually hoping someone will try. Those are the deterrent to any real attempt to remove firearms from the populace.

    But we also have a problem. Those same AR variants are falling into the hands of people who are “good guys” on paper. Those good guys are turning out to be not so good. They are mowing down innocent theater goers, children in schools, with those same weapons of war. Other “nice quiet men” (yes, they are mostly men), are using handguns to clean out coffee shops in Seattle to avenge supposed wrongs.

    Now, the pat response to this from some “gun rights” advocates is to have more firearms out there, to arm more people, to arm our teachers, our firefighters, our first responders. Really?

    There has to be another answer to gun violence in this country than “more guns”. There has to be an answer to the Gun Culture in this country, the fear they continue to feed, the violence they continue to dismiss with rhetorical hand waving, and the hand they have in the same violence. When I say Gun Culture, I’m taking about the people who don’t see weapons as a tool but as a hobby, a fetish, a multi-million dollar line of business, and a security blanket.

    That same Gun Culture fights, at every front, at any reasonable (yes some are quite reasonable) attempts to regulate the ownership, sale and transfer of weapons. They see *any* regulation as infringement. I am of the opinion that they are wrong and, the thing is, it helps the mentally unstable, the criminal, the “bad guys” get access to what are basically weapons of war.

    This United States of America has a real problem with gun violence. That problem is fed through a deadly combination of fear mongering, afraid people, opportunistic politicians and capitalists, and entertainment where violence and firearms are the stars, not the actors.

    I believe that we have a legal right to have the ability to effectively protect ourselves and others from the imminent threat of grave bodily injury or death. I believe that firearms are effective and reasonable tools to that end.

    I also believe that the firearm ownership in this country is an effective deterrent to outright government tyranny.

    But I also believe we have a serious problem with gun violence in this country that cannot be solved with more guns and less regulations.

    So, what are we going to do about it?

    I’ve thought about this for a while. Here are some of my musings, if you are interested.

    By the way, thanks for trying to stand up for what was right in Kosovo. I ran into similar situations when I was in Iraq, and when I was a LEO. That balancing act isn’t always easy. Thanks for trying.

  5. 8 Vic

    Like the author, I would like to believe there are at least a few “Officer Friendly” types left, but I’m not convinced of it. As to “it can’t happen here…”, I refer you to the firearms confiscation, participated in by many LEO agencies as well as the federal government, in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina. This, including the video showing the brutalizing of an older lady in order to take her deadly .38 special revolve. I also refer you to the southern state that tried to give its police the authority to confiscate all firearms during any emergency. Add to that the California confiscation of SKS rifles in 1999 and later, plus the recent introduction of confiscation bills in both the Washington state and Missouri legislatures. There will be plenty of police who want to “tac up” and go a confiscatin’, including those who are itching for a chance to be a real badass and shoot someone.

  6. 9 MetaCynic

    It’s worth keeping in mind that every police state has managed to stay in power by finding people who will enforce the law no matter how unjust or immoral especially if the enforcers are entitled to perks and consumer goods denied the masses.

    Some years ago a university study demonstrated, in a controlled setting, that a great majority of ordinary people will inflict punishment on others if order to do so by a person in authority. This study has been repeated many times all over the world with the same results. It seems that most humans are hardwired to obey authority, especially if it absolves them of any responsibility for their actions. Hence the “I was just following orders” defense. Many of the Nazi defendants at Nuremberg were genuinely perplexed that anyone would prosecute them for following orders. They had been indoctrinated from an early age that it is a virtue to obey authority figures.

    Unfortunately American public schools are more concerned with maintaining order through obedience than with teaching children to think critically and question authority. Thinking before acting is the difference between a citizen and a subject who mechanically obeys as he’s told.

  7. 12 Chris

    I think American Citizens don’t understand that there is reasonably priced firearms training available that EXCEEDS the training the government provides for police or military. FrontSight is an example of a place who does this. I know there are other schools as well. People should take classes (at least one time) to feel comfortable with a firearm as a tool of self-defense.

    • Chris,

      Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve taken a few of those classes myself, and it’s a good idea for private citizens to invest in some training.

  8. 14 Big Al

    I am a Chicago Police Officer with over 15years on and agree with you totally. We have some in our own department that are blind to what’s going on now in America . There are many officers that believe in the constitution and the bill of rights. I will never disarm a law bidding citizen. They wont address the criminals with  illegally obtained guns or that commit crimes with gun. The media portraying that law bidding citizens are the ones we should worry. No one questions the Big Government motives or passing laws that circumvent our bill of rights. Unbelievable!

    • Al,

      This country would benefit greatly from an insider’s view of why Chicago’s gun control laws are such a failure. Any chance you’d be willing to write that up. Thanks for reading and stay safe out there.

      • 16 Dustin Shadle

        I have to agree. All of these areas with tight, sometimes overwhelming gun control laws, we need insider points of view from both law enforcement and the citizens in these areas who see what the true problems are.

    • Please write it up! As a law abiding gun owner in Illinois, it is so completely frustrating to watch Chicago politics! Obviously our media is so incredibly biased/anti gun and watching the Chicago mayor and leaders blame all gun owners is infuriating! My heart breaks for the kids and young adults killed in Chicago and those affected by gun violence, but I just want to scream at the politicians that disarming the public is the LAST thing you want to do! Anyway… My husband is continuing the interview process for police departments as well as Customs and Border Protection and hope he has the opportunity to have a positive impact in a community as an officer. God bless you and keep you safe in Chicago! =)

      • 18 Ron

        In Chicago, they cannot control gang violence or handgun crime (which is the real problem, not rifles) so the mayor and the police chief find it easier to keep their jobs while blaming guns in general and all gun owners, while they have bodyguards and weapons and refuse to disarm themselves to show the rest of us how much safer we’d be without weapons. They both know they are lying, but do not care as they do not respect the voters.

  9. 19 purple_persuader

    “It’s my job.” It is just that, that is the danger. The vast majority of people when faced with a decision of right or wrong when having to weigh one’s livelihood in that decision are going to choose “livelihood”. It is the immediate that is chosen, without regard to what in the long run may be the consequences, such as later becoming a victim of a corrupt bureaucratic government. See how many became victims in the USSR who were at first victimizers.

  10. Well writting and worth sharing, which I did. Thank you for sharing this!

  11. 21 Rick237

    Thank you for telling the truth.

  12. 22 Your just as bad

    You know what,Im not buying this good cop routine,y.ou judge a man by his actions alone and bottomline you didnt do nothing but pout,you still dont even mention this cops name!..still afraid to break protocol ha

    • I have to admit, you’ve got a point there. Until and unless cops start being willing to break the blue wall, the Joes of the world will continue to win.

    • 24 Wakefield

      You sure are judgmental for someone who lacks a great deal of grammar skills. When you point a finger, make sure to acknowledge the three pointed back at you.

    • Guilty. I did something before the bazaar operation, refused to participate and did something after, but none of that was enough. I won’t report any officer’s name (or soldier’s name) without their permission. I wrote this story to talk about my failure and my lesson learned, not as a tell-all about someone else.

      • I guess the above poster believes that you should have pulled out your gun and began executing those whom you disagreed with, going down in one final blaze of glory. This is what we have to contend with even when we refuse to obey unlawful or unjust orders. Some people want so desperately to hate us that nothing we do will ever be enough.

  13. 27 Pat Manns

    I have been a police officer in NY for 19 years and I also totally agree with you. I am trying to figure out way to make time go faster so I can retire so I do not have to quit to avoid enforcing laws that I believe to be unconstitutional. The sad part is that a large majority of people don’t believe in all of this gun control and it is being shoved down the voters throats because of a politicians own agenda. There is still very little talk about stricter laws and punishment for the criminals that commit crimes with guns yet nobody cares about this. Good post and I again agree 100%.

    • Pat,

      Stay safe until retirement, and if you can, please speak out. Now is the time, that’s for sure.

    • 29 Marlin

      I wanted to be a police officer from the time I was 5 years old. I pretty quickly as a young man discovered I wouldn’t be able to handle some of the nastier aspects of the job vis a vis violence against children…. I never thought that possibly being asked to violate the constitution would become part of the job, yet there are many who wish to have it become part of the job….. man, good luck. I hope you never have to make the choice between your badge and the constitution.

    • 30 tomreichle

      stricter laws on those who commit the crimes and stop coddleing the convicted our prison,s are way to nice.We all heard the saying 7 hots and a cott,there are actual people who will commit a crime just they have a warm place for the winter.Doing time is a lot safer then trying to make it on your own in the streets it is not a deterant.Prison should not be comfortable in the least bit Hats off to the sheriff in Arizona he has the rite idea

  14. 31 jay stoddard

    GREAT READ!! AND is logically and ETHICALLY SOUND….if we can get 50% of folk to adapt this quality of character, the world will be ok…it is the only “proper” stance that LEO’s could have…keep up the great work, for I am sure you are helping thousands of American “reason” this recent dilemma in America’s timeline …

  15. 33 C. Hoffman

    Reading your account is chilling. Question: What are US local police doing working internationally under NATO? What was the purpose of your deployment to Kosovo? It appears to me the purpose may be to introduce local police to international intervention / assistance here in the states.

    • Hoffman,

      American police have been involved in training police from other nations for almost 20 years now, I believe. The mission was part regular police work and part mentoring. We weren’t under NATO, we just worked alongside them. The purpose isn’t to introduce them to assistance here, it’s to train them to be a modern, professional police force. That’s easier said than done, although it seemed to be working in Kosovo while I was there.

      Thanks for reading, hope that answered the question.

  16. 35 Kenneth Hill

    This is not a problem with just police. in my 20 yrs of service with the Army, there was no shortage of those who followed orders without question, and those who did question could still be misled into acting when they should not have, at least initially. I think that as long as people learn learn from their misstakes and standup thereafter and encourage others to learn from their misstakes, restoration of charactor is acheived.

    • Kenneth,

      I think this kind of problem can exist in any para-military organization, and it’s not an easy problem to fix. There HAS to be discipline, there HAS to be a “follow orders without question” mindset SOMETIMES. The trick is knowing when to follow rules and when to use your head. That only comes with time, judgement and the presence of older, wiser veterans. The personal AAR process you mentioned can also go a long way toward helping people to mature.

      Thanks for commenting, and for your service.

  17. Your a good man, with a not so good situation on your conscience. By sharing your soul, and passing this horrible situation to inform others, I hope that you have felt some release in the matter. I commend you for doing so.. If others followed your example, maybe their voice would be able to sway others into doing what’s right, instead of what is commanded of them.

    • Sandy,

      it did help to write this story. But more importantly, I think it’s a point that’s needs to be recognized in America today. When I hear highly-placed legislators discuss repealing the 2A, as if humans have outgrown the tendency to abuse power, I get worried. This story was just a reminder that we’re human with typical human failings, greed, and regrets. No matter what laws are passed, our nature doesn’t change.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate it.

  18. 39 Joe

    I’m not saying Joe was right, he seems like a typical thunderhead cop. That said I can take you to at least two pizza parlors in my town run by illegal alien Albanians who snuck into America with phony passports. They are protected by the alphabet agencies and therefore have become wonton criminals. When they are caught , they plead that they can’t be sent back to Albania because of vendettas against them. When the laws are working for everyone in this country then I’ll worry about some Albanians. As a police officer you know what I just said about Albanians is true.

    • Joe,

      I’ve read a bit about Albanian organized crime. At the time I was in Kosovo it was just starting to become a problem, since then it’s gotten much worse. I know that the vast majority of stolen passports are Belgian, because in that country they stored new passports at easy-to-burglarize courthouses. Those passports mostly went to the Albanian mafia (according to what I read, but I’m no expert, so I may be wrong). I would guess those guys came in on Belgian passports. And the Albanian vendetta thing sounds very likely, that was a strong part of their culture.

      In my work I have run into a few Albanians, but not as suspects. There just aren’t many down here, and those I’ve dealt with were regular people.

  19. 41 Bob

    I think that law enforcement culture and the justice system is very much to blame. There is an emphasis on ‘everyone is a suspect and wants to kill me’ training and attitude and ‘officer safety’. I believe even in a big city where crime is high and things are tough, police should still be held accountable for their actions but you can understand it a bit more when things get out of hand. On everyday Main St there is no excuse for it.

    However since at this point law enforcement is given free reign to molest and abuse, it naturally attracts the type of people that like that sort of thing and causes others who would otherwise not be involved to, as in politics, go along to get along. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched the video ‘the largest street gang in America’ by boiling frogs. or read Will Griggs work but to me after watching and reading these and others, it is clear that it is not isolated and that it is systemic throughout the US.

    The major problem is that law enforcement are not held accountable for their actions. Courts and investigations typically let officers get away with outright murder. Secondary to it is the politicians that make the laws leave them vague to allow selective enforcement by officers. This allows Officer Friendly to harass and cause anyone he may have issues with a lot of grief. This is contrary to the American principle of ‘rule by law, equal justice by all’.

    How to change it, 1) hold law enforcement and the justice system accountable for their actions, 2) treat the constitution and the bill of rights as the law of the land, 3) throw out any laws that allow one individual to be treated differently from another.

    It’s clear that this entire issue has come down from the top (laws that allow the #1 law, the constitution, to be undermined), has been building for at least 50 years and is now coming to a point that we need to decide whether we will continue as a constitutional republic or as a collectivist (corporatist/ fascist) state. It’s possible it is too late to turn back. Which means the 2nd amendment (the right that protects the other rights) may be needed more than ever. Which is unfortunate.

  20. 43 Eric

    I appreciate the story, and I agree. But remember, every single one of the officers involved, no matter how much they may have been horrified or unwilling, STILL put themselves and their own interests (their job, whatever), above what was right. They decided that these poor bastards would take a lower rung on the ladder. Their personal convictions about what was “right” had a limit, and the limit was their own comfort.
    So yes, when even the best-intentioned can be made to do evil, we need the 2nd amendment.

    • Eric,

      You’re right, and that reality sucks. I hope that by speaking out about it I help people understand why the 2A was written in the first place.

  21. Thank you!

  22. Chris, thank you for writing this post! I also greatly respect your ability to honestly look at your own actions, as well as that of others. That takes courage and integrity. Far more than those disparaging you. The fact that you expressed that what was being done is wrong without much support at the time speaks highly of your character.
    Kenneth Hill makes an excellent point that it is not just law enforcement “just following orders”, nor is it the military. I personally think the worst offenders are “bureaucrats” in any government agency. Following every jot and tittle of policies, regulations or laws in some cases to utterly destroy people.
    I issue a challenge to some anti cop folks out there.
    Rather than plotting death and other destructive behavior, why not be as courageous, honest and honorable as Chris here and provide support for officers willing to risk their careers to stand for what’s right. Often whistleblowers lose everything, careers, income and friends, will anyone step up to the plate to keep them on their feet? At least to help them support their families? Officers willing to do the right thing also need support while on the “inside”. It will be those officers that help influence positive change.
    Chris, I’m a retired Sheriff’s deputy(FL) that currently lives in NM. You will find a friendly face here should you be passing through.

    • Hey Juli, thanks for the support. It’s good to read a positive comment like yours. This has been a tough crowd lately. 🙂

      • Chris, it is my privilege, in fact your post has provided some much needed encouragement for me. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort trying to build bridges between law enforcement and citizens, as well as educating both on the principles of our founding that we’re well on our way to losing. Getting both sides to really think for themselves rather than accepting political or media driven talking points can sometimes get tiring! 🙂
        Thanks again for walking the walk from someone who’s been there.

  23. You are one of the good guys, Chris…it’s such a darned shame that our numbers are not what they used to be, or should be.

  24. 50 Ron Thompson

    As a Police Officer myself I agree with everything that this Texas Officer said. There is no just glory in simply following orders. I think this was judged so when the Nazis were tried at the end of WWII.
    We used to be called Peace Officers now we are refered to a Law Enforcement Officers and there is a difference.

  25. 51 Sue Lieb

    Interestingly enough, the same kind if nonsense goes on in your state of Texas. In my experience it was in Conroe. There was no visible speed limit sign and we were pulled over. This clown refused to take our AAA guaranteed bond card. He was obnoxious and threatened to take my husband to jail ( for 10 mph over the speed limit???)
    Abuse of power is already here! That was 28 years ago or so, but it gave me a lasting memory.

  26. 52 gordo

    I guess all we can hope for is that there are enough people with authority who still care about the Constitution and take their oath seriously. I weep for what my country has become, but I am determined to defend my Constitution to the death if need be.

  27. 53 Cali

    I am a 17 year old girl and even i can understand that we need guns. I come from a nice neighborhood but I still see the need to have guns for protection almost everyday. I think that we need to have stricken laws regulating who can own guns but I don’t think we just get rid of our 2nd amendment completely. Our entire country exists today because of guns and it will continue to exist and function as long as we have them. If you look at Britain, you can see what not having guns will do to our crime rates. It will do NOTHING to get rid of our second amendment and it disgust me that people think that this will solve our problems. I hope by the time I’m 21 I will still be able to get a concealed weapons permit as long as my right hasn’t been taken away

  28. 54 Chris

    Ok I’ve heard enough. So apparently Officer Hernandez has had some sort of Moral epiphany and wants to cleanse his soul after being part of wrong doing on the part of some LEOs. From what I gather he’s been doing this cop stuff for 19 years.Now he wants to clean up his act? Spare me the self serving diatribe. Chris, if these problems were happening when you first started why didn’t you act then ? Probably because you wanted to be one of “the Boys” and not upset the apple cart. Now you are close to retiring and now you figure its ok to let us know that you are baring your conscience for almost 20 years of abuses brought on by you and your brethren. Sorry dude i don’t for a minute buy this line of horse manure. You say now you support the USC, how about 20 years ago? Or didn’t they teach you that in the academy. My guess is you are getting spooked about the coming hostilities and don’t want a taget painted on you and you think that by saying to us civilians(victims) you are sorry we’ll give you safe passage ? think again bud. I am not advocating violence towrds anyone but that’s what it looks like to me.

    • Apparently you missed some important facts about my story. This was about one incident, in another country without constitutional protection, where I failed to stop something that I thought was wrong even though it wasn’t illegal. I don’t feel like I’m a target or believe there’s a coming war. I get the feeling you saw a chance to take a shot at me for being a cop, but didn’t bother to actually read what I wrote.

      • 56 chris

        No Chris actually I did read your story several times. So you got a bit of conscience about some Albanians having their wares swiped by cops at some bazaar in a country thousands of miles away and you expect what now? How about the activities of your fellow officers in this country, you know the own whose Constitution you swore to protect and defend. That being said, what are you doing to right the wrongs done here? Be reading your blog, I gather not much. The trouble is too many cops that have had a change of heart saying pretty much the same shop worn “Ive made mistakes but I’ll do better next time .” are only out to save their asses and careers. You say your a good cop , Prove it by turning in one of your blue brothers next time he or she violates the constitution. How’s that for starters.

        • Chris,

          If I’m reading your comment correctly, you’ve taken the single incident I wrote about and concluded that I’m responsible for multiple abuses of power over the past 19 years. I can tell you that I haven’t seen anything like what happened in the bazaar here in America. I’m not crusading to correct what you perceive as police abuse, and have never claimed I was. I’m also not defending that actions of all officers everywhere.

          For starters, I’m speaking out about the principles involved in abuse of power and the human tendency to get away with whatever we can. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way, and by telling this story I’m warning about unchecked police authority. If that’s not enough for you, sorry man, but it’s not my problem. I’m doing what I feel is right. Making you happy with it isn’t my goal.

          • 58 Chris

            So correct me if I’m wrong but other than this incident in a foreign country, you have never witnessed police abuses in this country? Is that what your saying? It seems to me that it happens all too often Lapd and the King fiasco, Fulleton pd beating a kid to death and noone stopped it as he was crying out for his father. NYPD and the BS that happenes there. USC Davis campus cops tear gassing students. Come on man, get with it . What really chats my hide is you guys , so full of your Holier than thou egos think that because you get sworn in and carry a badge and gun gives you free reign over the population. Not so Nonne is above the Law most of all the jerks that enforce it. Getting mad at me? I hope so. I have dealt with you Thin Blue line guys for years and also the Blue wall of Silence. I am sick of your cavalier attitude towards the very people you say you serve and protect. How about some humility and gratitude for starters. I do know about the badge and its stresses that goes with it because I used to wear one one just as you do but I decided i would not be look you and so many other cops ( sarcasm) that i gave it up and have been better for it. I have all too often scene police create crimes where there were none so they books could look right to the watch commander. Phony searches, illegal warrants. no knocks falsifying and planting evidence etc etc. I could go on for hours. But alas you never saw or took part of this even in Texas. Btw I made Patrol Sergeant before I threw in the towel. So by all means keep explaining your position and eventually you will get what you ask for. But not from me.

          • Oh brother. Here we go. So now you’re throwing all those incidents at me, as if I’m at fault for the Rodney King beating, a death in Fullerton and abuses in NY?

            I’ve given you plenty of chances to speak here. Now you’re just venting about how much you hate the police. Have at it, but do it somewhere else.

          • 60 Chris

            I do believe you misunderstand my point. Nowhere did I hold you responsible for The King beating, Fullerton Murder or the Messes that plague other departments. What i am basically saying and asking you is where does your personal accountability begin and end. For several paragraphs you defend youself and buddy Joe while at the same time condemning your actions or lack thereof. My own interpretation of what transpired in Kosovo is based only on what you say happened . If you really want change in the LE field, say so. The problem basically starts out with simple respect. People in general are hateful and fearful of the police because of serious incidents that all to often end in the innocent civilian being life changing hurt or killed by police and NO OR LITTLE accountability. Do you understand me so far? I can only imagine the fear , hate and distrust those people having already been victims ina dirty little war felt as you and your compatriots left that bazaar.. Do you see now the long term damage that you did by not stopping that activity? Those people may not remember what they ate this morning but I guarentee you they will remember you on thier deathbeds. You want people to respect and admire you? Earn it by working for it .

          • Chris,

            I don’t have any grand illusions that I can change all of LE, nor do I think all of it has to be changed. There are things about the police that are great. The things that are wrong are for the most part out of my control (such as the incidents you mentioned). I feel like I’m doing the right thing by speaking out, to private citizens and police officers, about the dangers of abuse inherent in any organized, armed force. I think the fact that I’ve spoken from experience helps give people a better understanding of the reasons for the BoR and 2A. I’m using a personal experience to illustrate a principle. My story isn’t a call for change in LE across the country, it’s a reminder of what the founding fathers were worried about when they wrote the BoR.

            You obviously want sweeping change across LE; as a former cop, you have the credibility to speak out about what you personally witnessed, and show what you think is wrong with the culture. You probably have good points. I personally don’t think the entire culture needs to be changed, I just think we need to step back and remember why safeguards on police are necessary.

            Not everyone is going to respect and admire me. Since this post hit several sites a few days back I’ve had a few people say they wish I had been killed, they hope I suffer and die, etc. I didn’t write this with the expectation that I would get slaps on the back. The entire story is about the loss of my naive, unrealistic view of police power, and the personal epiphany I had when I failed to stop something I knew was wrong. I personally think my story might be valuable in an effort to right some wrongs, and more importantly, to prevent the kind of problems you’re speaking about. For now, as far as I’m concerned, speaking out this way is the best thing I can do.

      • 62 Ed

        ” This was about one incident, in another country without constitutional protection”

        Yeah, ok Chris. Whatever. Still, you refused to post my comment about this same thing happening here and how it has been going on for over 10 years. I read what you wrote, and posted a well-thought out reply, which you refused to post.

        You also still defend and excuse the actions of “Joe”. These things you describe in Kosovo were happening right here at the same time. They have gotten worse here since then, but you post your story as though the same thing hasn’t actually happened here, but that it might happen sometime in the future.

        You can’t dismiss all criticism by claiming that this “tough crowd here lately” is just bashing you for being a cop. You’re being asked to wake up and take a look around right here, right now instead of just remembering what you saw in Kosovo.

        Your pal “Joe” needed a blanket party from his fellow cops. He deserved to be completely ostracized by the rest of his group for organizing the raid. Still, according to you he’s a basically decent guy who would never do here what he did over there.

        Wake up, son. You’re part of a system that will roll right over you if you don’t go along. That system is in the process of rolling right over the rest of us already.

        Check up on your pal “Joe” and see whether he’s killed any citizens yet. You might be in for a big surprise about your “basically decent cop” pal and what he’s done since his sadistic raid on poor people in Kosovo..

        • Ed,

          I deleted your previous comment because it’s an accusation against an entire police department, and I have zero knowledge of the situation. As I’ve said before, this isn’t a place to beat up on police for everything wrong with LE. Your accusation may be true, I don’t know. But I’m not going to accuse an entire department of theft and robbery. I’m sure you have plenty of other places to speak out about that.

          Regarding the principle, about police seizing property here for the last ten years, I can’t speak with any authority about that. I write about MY experience, not what happens in every police department across the country. The vast majority of my career was spent on night shift in high crime areas; maybe I was lucky, but I wasn’t raiding any businesses. If your concern is some police overstepping their bounds, you’re right it does happen. But I’m not standing up for all LE actions everywhere, or saying all cops are right all the time. If I thought that, I wouldn’t have written this essay.

          One of the figurative dangers of speaking out as a cop is that you become a target for every accusation against any police officer anywhere. In comments I’ve been challenged about the drug war, property seizures, purchases by the DHS, etc. I didn’t write about any of those subjects, I don’t have firsthand experience with all of them, and believe me when I say I don’t defend all of them. I can also tell you that my attitudes on certain police duties, like the drug war, have changed drastically since I first started in this job.

          I don’t dismiss criticism against me for my actions. I’ve allowed almost every comment criticizing me to stand, unless it violated the guidelines I talked about earlier. That day in the bazaar I didn’t just learn a lesson about abuse of power, I learned a lesson about myself. I wrote the essay as an insider’s perspective, to give another warning about the need for adherence to the USC at a time when serious voices are talking about fundamentally altering it. My smiley-faced comment about facing a tough crowd lately was just that, a humorous side comment in the face of a lot of justifiable criticism. It wasn’t dismissive of your legitimate points.

          If you comment again and start out with “whatever” or call me “son”, I’ll delete the comment. I don’t have a responsibility to let you rant about activities I have no connection to, or talk down to me. This isn’t a public arena, it’s a personal blog. That’s as fair as I can be.

      • 64 Richard

        Actually, the Serbian constitution of 1990 DID ostensibly protect human rights. It was just ignored, although I’m sure it was ignored in a “legal manner”. Chris, I encourage you to leave the country on a vacation (not Mexico). Go somewhere else, Asia or South America maybe. When you return here, I think you will be amazed at how kindly you were treated by immigration officials in those other nations and how much of a police state you encounter here upon returning. When you emplace all of the tools for a police state, eventually you will have just that.

        • I’ve actually traveled quite a bit, and my reception here in America has taken longer than in other countries but didn’t seem particularly intrusive to me. My reception in Greece was always cold but not overtly hostile, my one encounter with Russian immigration officials was very dry and formal, crossing into Macedonia we always had the weird experience of having to drive through a pool of disinfectant. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but in my personal experience it hasn’t been too bad. Thanks for commenting though, I had never thought about our customs procedures compared to other countries’.

  29. 66 Richard

    Dear Sir,

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think you should be applauded. Where is there any evidence that you won’t just follow orders again and violate basic human rights if there is technically a “legal” way to do it? I have been to Auschwitz. The Nazi summary trial records are chilling. They would actually give the prisoner accused of stealing bread a trial before they shot him. So it was all nice and legal, you see.

    The evil villain of Schindlers List, Amon Goeth, was actually imprisoned himself by the Nazis. His camp had changed directories. Under the new directory, a form was needed before a prisoner was shot. Under the old directory, it was not. He didn’t get the form, and was imprisoned. I write this to show how absurd the orders that you will told to follow could be one day. I fear that you will just follow Officer Joe again, metaphorically speaking of course.

    • Richard,

      I’m not asking for applause. Maybe I should have made that clearer in my essay, but I wasn’t bragging about not stopping that operation. So no argument with that first part.

      On the second part of your comment, you lost me. The fact that I or any other officer can fail to stop an abuse of authority, or even participate in one, doesn’t mean we’d willingly murder innocent people. One interesting thing that happens in debates like this is that the word “Nazi” gets thrown out very early on. It’s not always applicable. There are degrees of wrong, not every type of wrong leads to putting children into gas chambers. I understand the principle you’re addressing, and I don’t disagree. But I also know the human side. People can disagree all they want, but I don’t see a guy like Joe participating in murder.

      • 68 Richard


        I have studied that period of history in depth. Pure evil monsters, for the most part, weren’t born that way. It was guys EXACTLY like Joe who became the evil ones. I’m not comparing our situation to the rise of Nazism, yet. I do, however, believe that I do NOT like the direction that things are going. I truly believe that you will be asked to do things that will make you question your inner conscience if you truly feel as you’ve written above. I hope you make the right choices next time when it’s “murricans” not just some worthless Slav “without constitutional protections”. The Serbian constitution of 1990 did protect against exactly what Joe did by the way.

  30. Mr. Hernandez, I really enjoyed your piece, I hope many read & circulate it. I’ve often wondered (And complained through writings) about how many officers had reservations when violating peoples’ rights. I understand the role that chain of command & policy play, but I wonder how often officers think about it when they forcible draw blood on a “no-refusal” weekend? When they participate in an insurance checkpoint, that basically condemns everyone guilty until they prove their innocence? When they pass through a red light, simply because they can? Un-level law is something that at the top of the list of things that our founders condemned. These seemingly simple actions, seemingly justifiable to “get the bad guys” fly in the face of those structures & sensibilities. In short, I applaud what you’ve done here. I’d urge other officers (And all citizens) to please study what their rights are & only apply law that can stand in non-interference with those rights. Thanks again Mr. Hernandez.

    • Dale,

      thanks for the compliment about my writing, I appreciate it. I’ve never seen an insurance checkpoint, although I’ve heard of them. It seems to me they’re more common further north. About no-refusal DWI blood draws, to tell you the truth nothing I’ve heard about them bothers me. As I understand it, they’re made possible by the presence of a judge to review the facts of the case immediately after the arrest, then decide whether or not enough PC exists to justify a warrant for a blood draw. If a defendant is pulled over with PC, exhibits signs of intoxication, fails multiple field sobriety tests and then refuses a breath test, is there something inherently wrong with having a judge review that information and deciding whether or not to issue a warrant for a blood draw? I don’t think so, but I’m open to hearing your side of the argument.

  31. 71 Cindy Sobota

    No on knows how they will respond in any situation until they get there. With this experience under your belt, you will know better how to act; and what you can and can not change if, God forbid, it happens again.

  32. 72 An American In A Foreign World

    I left the criminal justice field in 1992, and never looked back. The idea of being a peace officer was already a thing of the past, and being a police officer was the new norm. We’ve come a long way since then, and our society doesn’t know the way back even if it wanted to go there.

  33. 73 Scott Lee

    Okay, so you had a gun and you did nothing. And if the people who were having their property confiscated had guns, what then? They shoot you, they keep their stuff and it’s end of story, right?

    Or does it end with UN tanks driving through their city, mowing them down for defending their property?

  34. Could it be that the police are the “standing army” that the Framers warned us about?

  35. 75 J-M

    What a timely article! I recently ended a decade long friendship with a man who was a RESERVE officer in an obscure California town. (in the 1980’s)By that I mean unpaid flunky. He never made it to the real police force, but to this day acts like he was an officer, he collects guns and he works part time as a security guard. He has NO IDEA about boundaries. He feels he has the right to search anybodies belongings at any time, do background checks, call the real police if you don’t like what he does, that kind of thing. If you don’t like it, then you either have something to hide or you have a mental problem. I’m glad he never made it to be a real officer. This “reserve” officer/security guard actually ENCOURAGED me to plant drugs in the cars of anybody I was upset with and call the police to turn them in. (like I would know how or where to get drugs, or as if *I* would do anything that diabolical!) You just never know what’s in somebodies mind until you object to something…the whole dare to criticise thing. His persona is of a man who wants to save the world and protect us all. Except that he is the one we need protection from. Oh and btw this “reserve” officer/security guard didn’t want to take on my husband. His whole vitriol was reserved for a me, a woman, who had NOTHING TO DO with the problem. It makes me wonder just how prevelent this kind of thing is?

  36. 76 justfartnaround

    Reblogged this on JustFart'nAround.

  37. 77 Alex

    God Bless Texas and Chris Hernandez

    • 78 Tigah-dude

      Great post. I live in Louisiana, a state that is generally friendly to gun ownership and rights. New Orleans (a city i love btw) is a different story. Despite state law that specifies that one’s personal vehicle is an extension of one’s home, NOPD will illegally confiscate your weapon. It is often recommended that you inform an officer of the presence of a firearm in your vehicle when stopped for an ordinary traffic violation. In NO, their policy is to confiscate your weapon if you do so. Despite the fact that they are essentially stealing your weapon acc to LA law, and that it is a major crime to steal a firearm. So, if ever in NO, and you are legally carrying in your vehicle, do NOT do what you feel is responsible because your rights might be violated by the cops. I personally know some NOPD who are great guys and they wouldn’t do that, but there are many stories of this happening down here. The advice I’ve been given, were it ever to occur, is to dial 9-1-1. The operator will likely side with the cop then and there but the illegal action and the clear violation of state law and your legal rights will be on the record. Always be respectful and never abusive, of course.

  38. 79 Tony

    Very good of you to write this article. I see what happened to you over there as life changing. I don’t think there is one person among us that has never been in a similar position in their life. Where you’re out with your friends and someone decides to pick on somebody because they’re not quite like you and them. You never would do anything like that yourself but with peer pressure, you don’t stop it. As much as you know in your heart it’s wrong you do or say nothing. You let it go on and say nothing because to say something would make you less cool. At that moment you are the person you hate most. A bully and you’re committing tyranny against another who does not deserve it. That’s just one example. I’m sure you can think about a time or two when you were in that same position of authority with numbers and even though you won that little victory, it wasn’t sweet. I swore my oath to our US Constitution in 1971. It hasn’t expired. The Bill of Rights was not given to us by the government or any man. It’s from the rule we must live by. They’re God given Rights that all free people in America have. The rule that I feel our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote them was “The Golden Rule”. Thank you for sharing your story Sir and thank you for your service. God Bless!

  39. 80 Gary Costanzo

    Sir I find you to be an honorable man. As a Marine I swore an oath just like you and all law inforcement officers. To protect our citizens and our constitution. Some times that means we must follow all orders given. But there are provisions about unlawful or unconstitutional orders. I am glad that I can count on you and others to do what is right. I also thank you for your service as a police officer.

  40. Very well put sir, I thank you for being so frank about you experiences!

  41. 82 CV

    When talking about military and police violating constitutional rights, history seems to have forgotten the LA riots in 1992. At first it was the CA national guard and LAPD on the streets. Then 3rd Battalion 1st Marines was sent in. In direct violation of the posse comitatus act, active duty infantry, most of which served in desert shield/storm, followed orders and stood on the streets of south central LA. You can argue all day if it was necessary or not. Regardless, it was martial law. Marines detained and searched individuals and private vehicles all outside the scope of the constitution. Young soldiers and Marines WILL follow orders, mostly out of fear of reprisals from the chain of command. Add in the DHS who are in my opinion the new SS and .gov will have more than enough willing souls to attempt confiscation if ever given the order to do so.

  42. Reblogged this on The Patriot Perspective and commented:
    Another insight on why the Second Amendment is so vital.

  43. 84 Dave Allen

    There are so many good points added to this very well written blog. And I feel for the Chris’s in this nation and abroad that are put into the situation that you have been Chris. I do not think I could honestly say that my response would have been any different. I wish to make a notation or observation, as having many varied levels of interaction with law enforcement and military for a short period of time (Navy).

    There is a training for people who represent authority, boot camp, academy, it is all the same. What they teach is the necessity to maintain a superior position in any interaction. With that is taught to some lesser degree respect for the people you interact with. I get that. Officers like Joe forget the second aspect of that training, or loose sight of it. The purpose of pointing this out follows with the story I would like to share.

    Hurricane Ike came through Texas with quite an impact. There are other storms before and after, and I am quite sure that there are similar stories associated with these storms. Almost a year after I was involved in a conversation with two police officers in Houston and as is common there was talk about the immediate weeks following. One of the officers began to brag about how he used his authority to pressure a utility worker via a traffic stop, to come to his neighborhood first to reconnect the downed utilities. The second officer also jump on the bandwagon with a similar story. And I looked at them in disbelief, minor injustice, maybe, but what if this were on a grander scale? What if there was more on the line? And what if the laws were changed to make that behavior the law?

    What Chris writes about here in a foreign country already exists in our country today!! Given the opportunity common neighbors can become a large threat to you. If the bill of rights and the very foundation of what makes this government work for “we the people” is compromised we become a simple police state to do what ever the ruling party sees fit for you the people. Under the guise that it is for your “protection”, your “safety”, or “for the welfare of our children.” If you think that can’t happen here you are living in a dream world like the Officer Joe was.

    Thank you for hearing my story.

  44. 85 Paul

    Interesting perspective. Really leaves me wondering where we stand in Alaska with no county sheriffs. No counties. All police are employees of either cities or the state. Well shielded and well protected. All the right lawyers. All the right union reps. All the right barriers. If you’ve ever watched Alaska State Troopers then you know that some give their authority just a little too much exercise.

    Alaska State Troopers need to learn from the bears. If you show them no fear and demonstrate no threat, you have nothing to worry about.

  45. 86 greg b.

    Read “Ordinary Men, Reserve Police Battalion 101”
    It is an book about ordinary men, bakers, lawyers, workers, farmers, etc who are drafted into the Ordnungspolizei and sent to Poland. They were given the choice of joining the firing squads killing jews or not to and be assigned to other duties without punishment.
    80% joined the firing squads killing anyone put in front of them. Men, women or children.
    It can happen anywhere and does.

  46. First of all, Thank you for your service in both uniforms. Your account is right on point for all of us,. That counts for PFC right on up to POTUS and every cop out ther. We all swore that oath. Every day we have to decide what is right and wrong. Your observation that in Can happen here is real and true. We are in grave peril. Remember Hitler was elected too.
    God Bless The USA. Godf Bless her PATRIOTS.

  47. 88 Sharmin

    Thank you, not only for your service and support of our US Constitution, liberty and freedom… But also for having the gumption and integrity to own such an event and admit it publicly. It is so easy for the masses to pass judgment on situations and circumstances they’ve never endured. We all make mistakes and it’s what we learn, apply & not repeat that reveals our true character. I hope and pray that you continue to spread your advocation of US citizen’s individual liberties and freedoms and educate people that are lacking real world experience and knowledge. God bless.

  1. 1 The Kind of Cop We Need | The Liberty Zone
  2. 2 If They Come for Your Guns
  3. 3 Great Pro Second Amendment Article Written by a Peace Officer

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