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Guest editorial from the Audrain County Sheriff

Posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at 1:59 pm

Courtesy Matt Oller, Audrain County Sheriff

Just the thoughts of simple minded mid-west Sheriff-

This is not intended to be an excuse for apparent inaction in Uvalde, Texas, nor any other misdeeds by other police officers in incidents that have been publicized since, or before.  We all pay our penance.  The media and public see to that.  It’s merely some observations from someone who’s been in this business for over 25 years.  If you think this is some drive by post to take up for the cops who failed to act just because I’m a cop, you’re wrong.  Nothing could be further from the intent.

Conditioning can be directly related to training.  When you train anyone, or any living thing to do a certain thing repeatedly, you’re conditioning them to behave a certain way.  For instance, when you train your dog to keep its mouth off things and people, you’re conditioning the dog to understand that’s it’s not ok to put things in its mouth, regardless of why.  When you do that, you can’t be surprised when your dog won’t bite a bad man who comes into your home to do harm.  You’ve conditioned them to behave that way.

People are conditioned the same way.  When you train to do something more than you train to do something else, you can’t be surprised when a person acts the way they have been conditioned.

Starting in 2014, with the “Ferguson effect”, we started training our cops to “de-escalate” violent encounters, because using force is “too mean”.

During Ferguson and what came after, cops around the nation sat and watched as Officer Darren Wilson was ridiculed for shooting a violent man that was trying to disarm him on the streets of St. Louis County.  The cops all watched as the news media second guessed him, and turned the whole thing into a televised, 3 ring circus.  They watched as the public villainized him.  Cops all watched as the news told of how the FBI and Justice Department were launching a massive headhunt for his wrongdoing.   Cops all watched as the government paid his family millions of dollars for being a criminal who got called on his violent behavior and lost.  Cops all watched as Darren Wilson and his family had to relocate to escape threats and violence, and he was blackballed from his career.  Cops all watched as thousands of area police officers were hit with rocks, ice, urine, feces, bullets, and everything but the kitchen sink in the “protests” that followed while they just stood there and took it.  Cops all watched as people were allowed, and in some case encouraged to burn entire neighborhoods, block interstates and assault innocent motorists to “avenge” the violent criminal that Darren Wilson neutralized.  The list of what the cops watched goes on.  The Ferguson Effect can be found in more than just this case since 2014.  Every cop in the nation said silently, “I’m glad that’s not me.”

Yet, even after all of this, the shooting was justified by every single agency and reputable group that ever looked at it, but EVERYTHING COSTS SOMETHING.

Over the past 8 years, thousands, if not tens of thousands of cops have retired that were trained and conditioned long before Ferguson.  They have decided to walk off and let everyone who knows better deal with it.  Can you blame them?  New cops have come along that have been trained since 2014.  Even the old cops that are still around have been re-conditioned to a degree.  They have all been conditioned in the “new way”.  “De-escalate”.  Give hugs, high fives and fist bumps.  Don’t stop cars for minor offenses.  Don’t arrest people for crimes, refer them to alternative programs.  And for the love of God, don’t use force unless you’re prepared to be Darren Wilson.

Right now in my state, Firearms and tactics training mandates are outnumbered by “Ferguson Effect” training mandates by literally 24 to 1.  We are required to get 24 hours of continuing “training” per year.  Of the 24 hours required each year, 1 hour of Firearms is required per year.  The rest usually ends up being something that conditions us to “be nicer”.  This has been going on since at least 2016.  The basic training academies have made this shift as well.  The youngsters coming into this profession are being conditioned from the start with this methodology.

So now, for the most part, we’ve conditioned our dogs not to bite.  They’re “nicer” dogs……………. And now there’s shock, surprise, and outrage when they won’t immediately turn violent and go hunt down a human being and shoot him?

Everything costs something.

Welcome to the checkout line.

Editor’s note, the Centralia Fireside Guard requested Sheriff Matt Oller’s permission to publish this.