Tag Archives: cops

Guest on Inside Thrill Radio

I was recently a guest on Inside Thrill Radio. I was one of three guests on the show, all of whom had background in law enforcement and utilized the experience to write crime fiction. It was a great discussion. Here is the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2017/10/26/inside-thrill-radio-with-special-guests-micki-browning-jj-hensley-and-isabell

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

AVAILABLE NOW!

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

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Police Arguments Against Officers Carrying Narcan to Treat Overdoses are Weak

Naloxone, or Narcan, can save the life of a person who is overdosing on an opioid such as heroin.  Lately, there has been controversy as some police departments have begun training officers how to administer Narcan to individuals should the situation become necessary.  Some believe this measure enables addicts.  Some, including a great many in law enforcement, believe administering a drug should be an exclusive function of a trained medical professional such as an Emergency Medical Technician.  I’ve been shocked at emotion behind some of these arguments, some of which convey zero ambivalence.  As a former law enforcement officer, I realize I can be predisposed to agree with those who carry the badge and my opinions can be viewed as less than objective.  In this post, I want to be completely clear that I believe any police officer that objects to carrying Narcan is dead wrong.

DSC03440-B2

Example:  An officer responds to a call for a subject who went into cardiac arrest at the dinner table.  The officer runs into the house and finds the male subject non-responsive.  The wife is screaming, the kids are crying, tensions are high.  The officer immediately administers CPR or uses an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).  The officer does not ask the wife if the subject recently snorted cocaine.  The officer does not stop to inquire if the subject took meth.  An individual is in distress and the first responder happened to be a police officer, not an EMT.  Period.

Now, I can understand how the officer can feel differently when a drug must be administered intravenously, which is sometimes the case with Narcan (there is also a nasal version).  But, I’ve seen many officers argue through comments on social media pages that the administering of Narcan is “enabling” or is “the job of an EMT”.  With all due respect, those arguments are bogus.

As a police officer, it was not my job to evaluate the lifestyle choices one made that led him or her to be in distress.  Much like when I was a Secret Service agent, it was not my job to judge the political stances of those I had sworn to protect.  In fact, as the Secret Service protects visiting heads of state, I’m certain I protected dictators from third-world nations who were probably guilty of mass killings.  It’s not a pleasant reality, but it’s the job and sometimes the job means you reserve judgement when you are on duty.

Can you imagine police officers responding to a scene and refusing to perform CPR on an individual because she ate cheeseburgers three times a day and let herself become a prime target for a heart attack?  Or an officer putting the AED back in the bag because a the person requiring assistance may have had too many drinks and fell down the stairs in his house?  Where is the line drawn?  Can an officer be slow to call for an ambulance if a drunk driver crashes into a tree?  Is an incident involving marijuana okay, but cocaine is not?  Is a meth addict worth saving, but not a heroin addict?  What about the person who suffered from chronic pain and accidentally got hooked on pills?  These are not choices for any first responder, including a police officer, to make.  The choice was already made when the oath to protect was taken.  You save lives with the tools available.  You save lives and put your judgment aside.

The bottom line is you save lives.  That’s the job.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

 

Zootopia: The Most Realistic Cop Movie Ever

Shootouts:  None
Unlocked doors kicked in:  None
Unrealistic computer hacking:  None
Questionable uses of discretion:  Some – but, what did you expect?  We’re talking about animals here.

20140725_130317

Disney’s Zootopia is the story of Officer Judy Hopps who attempts to unravel a series of disappearances in the metropolis of Zootopia.  In the past, I’ve been highly critical of television police dramas and unrealistic Hollywood productions that do a horrible job of portraying my former profession. Zootopia does a fantastic job of avoiding thed usual pitfalls of the cop drama, while lending realism to policing in movies (you know… other than the fact the characters are cartoon animals).  So, how realistic is this film?  Extremely.

Exhibit 1:  Officer Hopps, the first bunny on the force, uses a criminal informant (a fox named Nick Wilde) who has access to animals and information that cops don’t.  Hopps coerced Wilde into helping her by holding damaging information over his head.  This is the way it works with C.I.’s.  You have to get leverage and then use it wisely.

Exhibit 2:  Hopps has limited access to information.  Her own department has basically cut her out of the loop and limited her ability to use department resources.  Unlike NCIS in which Tim McGee or Abby Sciuto simply hack into restricted databases and violate countless state and federal laws in order to obtain information, Hopps has to get creative in order to run a license plate.  Through Nick Wilde, Hopps develops a contact named Flash at the DMV.  Contacts like this are invaluable in real world law enforcement, although the most helpful ones aren’t incredibly slow sloths that work at the DMV.  Rather, they are incredibly slow humans who work at the DMV.

Exhibit 3:  Hopps mostly stays within the law and even cites the requirement to have probable cause to search property.  In fact, Hopps is frequently careful not to violate rights, search without warrants, and is constantly respectful to the public.  Sure, she colors outside the lines when pushed, but who am I to judge?  I never had a water buffalo as a police chief.

Exhibit 4:  Officer Hopps gets caught up in city and departmental politics.  As in real life, law enforcement gets caught in between society’s problems and those who want to capitalize off of fear.  While a vast majority of the officers in the Zootopia Police Department (ZPD) are honest and hardworking, the department is put in the impossible position of bringing order to society while those with political ambitions stoke the fires of anger and discrimination.  In fact, I’d say the movie Zootopia is a better political commentary than anything I’ve seen this election year.  Contrary to recent political events, the film made my family laugh instead of cry which was a bonus.

So, forget Dirty Harry, Bad Boys, and Lethal Weapon.  Zootopia is policing at it’s best.  It has intrigue, suspense, politics, criminal informants, and the most ingenious and complex popsicle con ever invented.  Seriously, it’s a brilliant operation.  Go see this film and see if you don’t want to put in your application for the ZPD.  I know I do.

Did you see the movie?  Feel free to comment below.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

2014

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

 

Is There Really a “War” Against Law Enforcement?

Throughout the past couple of years, the public perception of law enforcement has become increasingly negative due to several high-profile incidents in which officers or agents either exceeded their authority, or were believed to have done so.  At times, some media outlets have fanned the flames and rushed to judgment and shaped the “facts” to fit a narrative that would help to create outrage and therefore generate ratings.  Some law enforcement officers are not without blame as we have seen most recently in Chicago where not only did an officer improperly apply force, but it appears multiple members of the police department and city government conspired to conceal a homicide.  Although I have been extremely critical of some police actions, I am still sometimes accused of being a police apologist whenever I have emphasized the need for objectivity and calm in the face of controversial acts that understandably generate strong emotions.  Some in law enforcement believe that the negative shift in public perception is part of a “war” against law enforcement that is being played out on our televisions and through social media.  I have a different take.

“War” = Ratings = Attention

The matchup between these two heavyweight boxers is going to be an absolute WAR!

There is a WAR on Christmas!

The WAR on drugs, the WAR on poverty, the WAR on Christian values, etc.., etc., etc.

Philosopher and Theologian James Childress describes the use of the word “war” as a dilemma:  “In debating social policy through the language of war, we often forget the moral reality of war.”

I tend to agree with Childress and would add that not only does the using the language of war while discussing social issues cause us to forget the harsh realities of war, but it polarizes debates and changes the mode of communication from meaningful conversations to relentless battles.  Conversations include ideas whereas battles ultimately result in casualties on both sides.

So why all this talk about war?  It’s simple.  Throughout history, if you want to mobilize the masses then you claim you are at war against a formidable enemy – be it physical or ideological.  Additionally, if you want to rally your followers and generate increased support then you need to control the media.  Major media outlets are controlled by massive corporations and therefore we constantly hear about the WAR against Christmas or the WAR against illegal immigration, but not about the WAR against corporate tax loopholes.  That war does not exist because the media has not declared that social problem to be worthy of inflammatory terminology.

The Treatment of Law Enforcement Officials is Getting Worse

This is absolutely true.  As our society has become more polarized in our beliefs and respect for governmental authority has decreased, the police have become targets of verbal and physical assaults.  As a former law enforcement officer, I admit there are times I have to make sure I don’t get an “us versus them” mentality when discussing the police and those who are heavily critical regardless of the facts.  The best way for me to do this is to keep things in a historical perspective.

In the United States, there is a long history of police forces being used as a tool for oppression.  This is a sad fact that is evidenced by how some organizations were utilized throughout the civil rights movement.  Additionally, police are the most visible symbol of governmental authority which is fine until people become disenchanted with the government and believe the government is responsible for society’s failures.  Therefore, in a polarized society where 24/7 media outlets are quick to assign blame and use terms such as WAR, people lash out at the most visible and accessible symbol of governmental authority.  The hard truth is that most people do not know the name of their Senator, but they sure know what the local police cruiser looks like.

No –  There is No War on the Police

I do not believe there is a WAR on the police any more than I believe there is a WAR against Christmas.  Law enforcement as a profession is going through a difficult time and is suffering from wounds that are sometimes self-inflicted, but often caused by misconceptions, misinformation, and the hunger for ratings.  For decades, departments have tried to remind us that 99 percent of police officer are doing a great job.  However, that claim has become a cliché that is often falling on deaf ears.  Social media outlets are being flooded with videos of law enforcement officers doing the wrong thing, but few remember that it is rare for anyone to find it worth while to post videos of the police doing their jobs with honor.

In response to these difficult times, many law enforcement organizations (such as those where I live in the area of Pittsburgh, PA) are changing their ways, becoming more transparent, and joining forces with the community to improve both operations and perceptions.  These changes result in conversations, rather than battles.  The removal of violent terminology opens the door to reason and accountability and discourages knee jerk reactions.  The challenges police are facing on our streets are real and can be horribly violent.  To ignore this would be naïve and irresponsible.  However, we must be careful not to buy into the WAR mentality that is being pushed on us at every turn.

When a society believes it is at war with its protectors, it’s time for everyone involved to take a big step back from the frontlines.

Maybe it's time to put the pin back in this thing

Maybe it’s time to put the pin back in this thing

If you have any thoughts on the matter, feel free to leave a comment below.

 

 

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

Resolve

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover

February 2016

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

10 Movie Cops Who Could Have Been Good Runners

Two of my favorite topics are law enforcement and distance running.  So, this week let’s combine the two.  I’m going to list 10 movie cops and explain why I think they would have made good runners, and at what distance.  To conduct this study, I used a complicated algorithm that involved coffee, pistachios, and more coffee.  Here is the list in no particular order:

#10.  Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino in Heat)

Ultramarathon:  Not only was the movie itself incredibly long, but Hanna persevered in spite of taking on a competent gang of criminals and tacking relationship issues.  The final scene alone demonstrates his ability to give a race that final kick, even when handling a shotgun.  If only he could have inspired Val Kilmer to stay in shape.

scale

#9.  Clarice Starling (Jody Foster in Silence of the Lambs)

Nighttime 5Ks:  No night vision goggles needed here.  She simply blows away the competition.

#8.  John McClane (Bruce Willis in Die Hard films)

Tough Mudder & Spartan Race:  Broken glass?  No problem.  Fire?  Please.  Walls to climb?  Air vents to crawl through?  Ledges to leap from?  Whatever.  McClane fights through injuries like few others and still manages to toss around some witty one-liners.  The fact that Die Hard 2 was totally ridiculous and those planes could have landed at any number of D.C. / Baltimore / Richmond airports, is irrelevant.

airplane

#7.  Ed Exley (Guy Pearce in L.A. Confidential)

10K:  This is one of my all-time favorite movie cops.  Constantly underrated and underestimated, he chugs along and lulls his competition to sleep until the final sprint.  Sure he’s overly-concerned with trophies and medals, but when push comes to shove… he’ll shoot you.

#6.  Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand in Fargo)

Frigid 5Ks & Turkey Trots:  Not snow, nor sleet, nor wood chippers can keep this Chief of Police from going the full distance.  An inspiration to pregnant runners everywhere, Minnesota’s Gunderson puts the “aye” in race.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

#5.  Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves in Speed)

The Mile:  One of the most obvious choices due to the movie title.  He was probably a good sprinter in his younger day, but drifted to the mile.  Fun fact:  He never takes public transportation or a shuttle to any event.  Never.

#4.  Donnie Brasco (Johnny Depp in… well, Donnie Brasco)

Half-Marathon and Marathon Relays:  Because he’s the ultimate team player.  Or is he?

#3.  William Somerset (Morgan Freeman in Seven)

Any race he wants:  The man is a phenomenon because he could narrate his own distance race and make it sound extraordinary even if he was running in dead last place while eating a donut.

#2.  Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones in No Country for Old Men)

Half-Marathon:  He’d do the full, but he’s retiring soon.  He’s a formidable competitor in the Texas heat despite his constant disappointment with the world.  You’d be well-advised to avoid trying to strike up a conversation with him during an event.

#1.  Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner in The Untouchables)

Marathon:  This character’s lines at the end of the movie tell the story.  In court with Capone he yells, “Never stop.  Never stop fighting ‘till the fight is done.  Then at the very end of the movie he answers a reporter’s question by saying, “I think I’ll have a drink.”

Name one marathoner who hasn’t been heard saying those phrases.

Who would you add to this list?  Comment below!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

Resolve

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover

Police and the Use of Force

Throughout the past few months, the topics of policing, racial relations, and rules regarding law enforcement use of force have taken center stage in what have often been emotional and contentious debates.  On many occasions, the conversation has been hijacked by opportunists looking to self-promote and media personalities seeking ratings.  I won’t attempt to dive deeply into the issues as they are complex and much too important to attempt to dissect in a simple blog post.  In this piece, I am not making any judgments regarding the most recent occurrences that have been played out in the press.  However, I would like to mention a few things to keep in mind when entering into conversations regarding the recent incidents in Missouri, New York, and Cleveland or even if addressing the issues in a broader sense.  Here are some things I hope everyone will try to remember:

 

  1. When police use force, we can’t assume race or economic is a factor

This has been an unfortunate leap many have taken, partially because some media outlets have linked the two together.  The fact of the matter is that stories dealing with race relations get more attention than some that do not.  Was race a factor in Ferguson, New York, or Cleveland?  I don’t know, but I’m not going to assume so.  As a law enforcement officer, I was involved in several physical altercations and I can honestly say the last thing on my mind was the other person’s skin color.  Call me selfish, but I was much more concerned about doing my job well which, in my mind anyway, included staying alive.

Are there racist cops?  Absolutely.  The same way there are racist computer programmers, airline pilots, and politicians.  Should racism be tolerated?  Of course not.  But, I’m not going to assume race is a factor even if racial tensions exist in particular town or neighborhood.  Police officers are human beings and every officer and incident needs to be evaluated objectively.

  1. Police use of force rules are widely misunderstood

Officers and agents are trained to abide by a use of force model, or continuum, that calls for the officer to escalate force only if necessary.  In most models, an officer’s mere presence is the first step followed by verbal direction, hand control techniques, non-lethal means (pepper spray, Taser, blunt impacts), and lethal force.  An officer or agent can leap over one or more steps if the situation calls for it.  If the officer believes that there is an imminent threat to life (the officer’s or another’s), lethal force may be used.

There are many, many misconceptions about the use of force, but allow me to focus on one.  The use of a firearm is always lethal force.  One of my pet peeves is the Hollywood depictions of an officer shooting an aggressor in the leg or arm as a means to stop him.  This is pure fiction.  Even if you ignore the fact the femoral artery runs through the leg and the brachial artery runs through the arm, bullets don’t often follow a straight path once they enter the body.  Bullets bounce around, they mushroom, and they leave fragments that cause severe damage.  The argument that an officer should have shot a person in a non-lethal way is invalid.  Can you imagine the following interaction between a lawyer and an officer involved in a shooting?

Lawyer:  “Officer, did you intend to kill Mr. Smith.”

Officer:  “No, I shot him in the leg.”

Lawyer:  “So lethal force was not necessary?”

Officer:  “No, that’s why I shot him in the leg.”

Lawyer:  “You shot a bullet into Mr. Smith and didn’t think that it might kill him?”

Officer:  “Right.”

It seems ridiculous because it is just that.  The officer would probably be prosecuted in criminal court and certainly be sued.  Just as ridiculous is the argument that an officer should have used non-lethal means if being confronted aggressively with a knife or other dangerous weapon.  Pepper spray, Tasers, and batons have a very limited range and are sometimes ineffective.  I have personally seen demonstrations where an attacker with a knife can reach an officer standing over 20 feet away before the officer can react appropriately.  These things happen in the blink of an eye and the speed and chaotic nature of assaults should be considered.

One last consideration regarding use of force – EVERY encounter an officer has involves a weapon because the officer is carrying one.  Every time an officer goes to the ground and has to wrestle a suspect, the suspect’s hand is only inches away from a gun.  All it takes is for an officer to lose consciousness or to be at a severe tactical or physical disadvantage for a suspect to obtain that weapon.

http://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/officer-safety/use-of-force/Pages/continuum.aspx

 

3.  Video clips and sound bites are not thoughtful analysis

A few months ago a short video clip emerged from a gay rights parade in Pittsburgh.  The clip showed an officer punching a female participant in the parade and gave no other context.  Immediately, some individuals and entities latched on to the clip and claimed it was an example of police brutality.  Several days later, information came out that prior to the officer punching her the woman had attacked a parade protester and then had kicked the officer in the groin when he attempted to take her into custody for the assault.  None of that was shown on the video clip that had gone viral in a matter of hours.  This is an example of why it is so important to reserve judgment before all of the facts are available.

http://www.wtae.com/news/gay-pride-parade-arrestee-pleads-guilty/29274810

 

A Simple Test When Debating This Topic

Whether or not the individual you are talking with believes the police are evil; or that a particular race, socioeconomic group, or ethnicity is to blame; or members of a specific political party are at fault, just ask the person the question:  “All of them?”  If the person responds in the affirmative then you may be wasting your breath, but don’t give up.  Words can be polarizing, but they can also reverse the tide.

Have any thoughts?  Leave a comment!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

Watch for my new book, BOLT ACTION REMEDY, in 2017!

AVAILABLE NOW!

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

Keeping Your Lips SEALed

It’s not an easy thing to strike a balance between National Security and Transparency.  Living in a democratic society necessitates the population enter into a social contract where some freedoms are surrendered so that many protections can be afforded.  Generally, this contract refers to the administration of justice and the fact criminal penalties are enforced for certain behaviors.  However some other rights, such as the “right to know” are surrendered at times.

padlocks

In recent months, a couple of Navy SEALs have come forward to discuss information pertaining to the raid that took the life of Osama Bin Laden.  These revelations have not been authorized by the government and are most certainly in violation of non-disclosure agreements signed by the individuals who are releasing the information.  These events raise the question:  Are the disclosures acceptable because of the public’s right to know?  I argue the disclosures are unacceptable, illegal, and possibly immoral.

 

POTENTIAL DAMAGE

This argument is fairly obvious.  Anytime information is released regarding national security related tactics and procedures, there is a threat that adversaries will use that information to develop countermeasures.  Sometimes only a few details are all that are needed to reverse engineer and an operation or allow opponents to deduce what methods and equipment were utilized.

PUTTING A HUMAN FACE ON A UNIT IS NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING

This is a gray area that is difficult to explain.  There may be times when it may be beneficial for a military or law enforcement organization to show that their employees are people with genuine emotions, hopes, and problems.  The U.S. military can use public relations programs for recruiting purposes and police departments can promote community policing programs that will help secure neighborhoods and build goodwill.

However, some specialized units and agencies that deter enemy action through some level of intimidation are less likely to benefit from public relations activities that demonstrate the humanity of their members.  This is the case with Special Forces units just as it was true in my former organization, the Secret Service.  Sometimes an element of mystery can manifest itself into an ominous feeling in the gut of an adversary, and that ominous feeling can result in dissuading violent action or at least in causing hesitation before an attack.  When a U.S. Navy SEAL pops up on FOX News to talk about a mission, that element of mystery is diminished and opponents no longer see an elite warrior.  They see some guy with a name giving an interview that shines a light on internal procedures and operational tactics.

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LESSONS FROM THE GREATEST GENERATION

My grandfather was a heavy machine-gunner in World War II.  Over time, I’ve be able to determine that he was active in campaigns in North Africa and Europe, but for the life of me I have no idea what he experienced.  He died many years ago and, like many WWII veterans, he never spoke of the war.  That generation accomplished amazing things and experienced horrors many of us will never fully comprehend, but they did their duty and few rushed to the media or sought individual credit for their actions.  Because of this, they have become known as The Greatest Generation and will continue to be celebrated as an example of sacrifice and bravery.   Perhaps one of the downsides to the silence by The Greatest Generation is that some of their lessons have not gotten through to some modern-day warriors.  In recent decades, some soldiers and law enforcement officials have helped define recent generations as the Attention-Seeking Generation.  Whether or not the people who defeated Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito were truly different or the temptations as self-promotion are more prevalent today, I’m not sure.

CODE OF THE SAMURAI

I own a cool little book I pick up from time to time.  It’s something like 128 pages, called CODE OF THE SAMURAI and in its pages one can read about Bushido – the JapaneseSamuraiWay of the Warrior.  The book details many Samurai warrior traits including:  Duty, Service, Education, and… Modesty.    These are terms many organizations use, but few have employed them like the Samurai did.  Those traits are the reasons that, for centuries, Samurai have represented the very best in military service.  As a unit, I have nothing but respect for the Navy SEALS, just as I respect our other military entities.  But, when it comes to having a resounding effect throughout time, it’s hard to top the Samurai.

 

To put things in perspective, some of the first mentions of the word “Samurai” appeared in the 10th century while the U.S. Navy SEALS have only been around since the early 1960’s.  Today we have weapons that can destroy targets across an ocean, but we are still writing books and making movies about the samurai.  That’s quite an echo throughout history.

 

 

It’s ironic that those who are the quietest seem to be heard for the longest amount of time.  The Samurai did it by creating a culture of honor and respect.  The Greatest Generation shaped the world with courageous actions and a quiet dignity.  Now our warriors are being tempted to reveal operational details and are being seduced by bright lights and book deals.  A few are probably thinking that conducting interviews and smiling for the camera will help them leave their own mark in history.  A vast majority of our soldiers and cops serve honorably and stand by their oath to keep secret information secret.  As far as military and law enforcement organizations go, they will continue to do their best to enforce non-disclosure agreements and to educate on the importance of confidentiality.  Maybe it’s up to the general public to reinforce the fact that we understand and accept the social contract and that we expect our protectors to protect information as well.

I for one will not buy any book or see any movie that financially benefits a person who broke their word by seeking the spotlight.  Only time will tell how recent generations of protectors will be remembered.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the modern-day warrior turned out to be a lot more Samurai and a lot less Sound bite?

 

What are your thoughts on the recent disclosures by two Navy SEALS?  Leave a comment!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, and Measure Twice – which also involves running.  Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

RESOLVE was a finalist for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers organization and was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Suspense Magazine.

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