Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?…' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

Decisively Addressing Dangerous Conduct

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Maybe we’d be much better off if cops — who understand life-threatening situations — ran family law, rather than psychologists and mental health professionals (oh yes, and mediators, evaluators, and organizations where all these get together).  Maybe not — but I enjoyed the common sense in this article below.

Too bad it’s not applied when a family law case is involved.  Rather, the real “danger” is fatherlessness, for which a whole profession has been spawned (like that reference?  🙂  ), Supervised Visitation.  This facet is also handy for chastising protective parents, and is also a field for futher federal funding of how-to conferences (in addition to the existing parent education, and so forth).

Disclaimer:  I am posting fast, due to reduced internet access, and more stuff to do in the limited hours (kind of like family law, right?).  My purpose is only illustration and to provoke some thought.

Thank you, retired police officer Steve Gray.  May as much common sense start — SOMEday — to be used in “domestic disputes” throughout the land.

Right now, when dangerous or illegal behavior shows up in the context of divorce and in family courts, the opposite tactic and policy is being intentionally! used:  Rather than removing the catalyst [parent who engaged in illegal behavior]– the policy is to force repeated and  stressful contact with the catalyst (where abuse or violence has ALREADY occurred) and then sell services — and/or drugs? — to  force the unwilling party/parent to conform to this treatment, on the philosophy that a person’s biology and family role is more important than his character, or humanity.

Readers Forum: BART officer acted properly, but the Times didn’t

By Steve Gray
Guest Commentary Posted: 11/28/2009 12:01:00 AM PST

As s gratefully retired police lieutenant and enduring Times subscriber, your editorial chastising the BART officer for the arrest of the “bombastic” rider left me with one lasting impression: I’m glad the Times is not in charge of recruitment and training of cops.

Officers understand that discussion with an obviously belligerent provocative suspect, in a confined space, with the possibility of retaliation from persons either hostile to or allied with the suspect, only exposes the officer and others to unnecessary risk.

The principal rule in any hostile arrest situation is to remove the catalyst — which the officer did. Had the officer waited to act, the possibility of escalation would increase exponentially.

Add into consideration that the officer was alone, was likely afraid himself, and had no idea whether the suspect was armed, makes The Times editorial posture not only specious but dangerous.

Officers are aware that any arrest situation exposes them to acute risk. During my career three of my fellow officers were disarmed and shot with their own firearms. One of those officers, Sgt. Jim Rutledge of the Berkeley Police Department, was fatally wounded. The suspect in that case later shot and killed a child hostage.

Cops must carefully weigh and measure not only the risk to themselves, but as in the BART situation, the risk to multiple passengers as well. A passive response may result in a riotous or retaliatory situation; an aggressive response may do the same. Either choice may minimize the risk to bystanders, but escalate the risk to the officer and/or suspect.

It is axiomatic that there is no singular manner in which a cop should respond. Each situation is fluid. The principal rule is that police officers should decisively address dangerous conduct, which is exactly what the officer in the BART incident did.

I found it ironic that the same day the Times published the article critical of the BART officer, it also published an article naming two Bay Area cities as among the nation’s most dangerous. The juxtaposition of these two seemingly different articles supports a syllogism that police have long understood: Police confidence and community safety are directly correlated. If officers sense that a community supports criminal conduct, they will passively respond to calls for help.

That is why the Times editorial is not only myopic, but dangerous. If officers get intimidated and feel they don’t have community support in addressing lawlessness, they will conform to community standards and adjust their responses accordingly. Before responding assertively to calls for help from our wives, parents and children, officers will first be wondering “how will this affect me.” That should be a frightening prospect.

This is not an endorsement of police misconduct. Officers are — and should be — held to extremely high standards. Scrutiny and transparency are very important, and there is historical evidence of police misconduct that justifies such scrutiny.

However, I believe that the Times has a responsibility to carefully evaluate and measure what appears on the editorial pages. That includes approaching an issue from different perspectives.

What is chronically missing is any substantive discussion of the consequences of governmental agencies being dissuaded from doing their duty. That represents corruption of a different type, but corruption nonetheless. The Times has a journalistic responsibility to meticulously consider editorial content, and clearly understand the impact of such editorials.

I think it is important to note that the officer involved in the BART incident was injured representing the interests of the persons on the train being victimized by the offender’s behavior. I only hope that other cops continue to do their job protecting us and are not dissuaded or intimidated from doing so by editorials or a political minority posing as a political majority.

It was refreshing that the BART passengers, recognizing the propriety of the officer’s actions, applauded when the offender was removed. Your editor should be applauding as well.

[[Gray was a police officer for 31 years in Berkeley, Hayward and Mountain View and he retired as a lieutenant. He is a resident of Martinez.]]

Well-written!  Let’ s not be “Mypioc” and “Dangerous” when dealing with dangerous situations.  Clear and present danger is  NOT  “lack of resources in Family Law” (see last post) but spousal batterers, and that’s per a law on the books, California legislature.  Cops understand that

Courts, I believe, also do, but apparently simply have a different agenda. 

Again, people talk about what’s important to them.  So why are these all these “court” organizations and professionals focusing on lack of finances, when the mothers involved have stayed focused on safety — their own, and their children? 

Perhaps if they squandered less of the federal grants with “Required Outcomes” of custody matters, there’d be less financial pressure on the parents, and fewer family wipeouts. 

Again, just think about it.

Written by Let's Get Honest

November 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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