Hail to the Chief
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 21st January 2017
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September 30, 2015 9:25 am ET

Chief Johnson backs up his men … and rightly so

Source: Hail to the Chief

Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson

It gives me great pleasure to provide kudos to Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson, who—in my opinion—made the right call to back up his officers.

This all has to do with the police-involved fatal shooting of 19 year old Keith Harrison McLeod, which dealt with one issue—the truth.

And, as the saying goes, the truth shall set you free.

By releasing the video tape of the shooting, which captured the incident in its entirety, it should be clear to the masses that the officer followed his police training.

I still can vividly remember going through that training. One tends to think he would have plenty of time to react in a similar situation, but the training proved that there is little time for thought in a life-or-death moment like that.

That is one of the major reasons that the department, then under the leadership of Chief Neil Behan, decided to become one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country to become accredited under CALEA (the gold standard for law enforcement) as described in this posting from the county’s website:

“The Baltimore County Police Department received the CALEA Law Enforcement Accreditation November 2, 2014 for the ninth time. Accreditation means a police department meets a national body of standards developed by law enforcement professionals.

The BCoPD was first accredited in 1984; the Department voluntarily requests reassessment every three years.

International Gold Standard for Safety Agencies

The accreditation process is rigorous and is a year-long effort by the BCoPD’s Accreditation Team. The team is responsible for the hard work involved in documenting the Department’s compliance with CALEA’s standards in Policy and Procedures, Administration, Operations and Support Services.

CALEA was developed to enhance the status of law enforcement as a profession. CALEA seeks to improve public safety services by maintaining a body of standards developed by public safety practitioners and covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence.

Additional information about CALEA is available at www.calea.org.”

CALEA is designed to ensure that the agency has a policy, both written and practiced, to make certain that police officers are following the established standards set for law enforcement agencies.

Everything—and I mean everything—must be documented in writing, and actual implementation of that written policy must be displayed for inspection by a CALEA inspection team, which consist of law enforcement experts from around the country.

How do I know this? Because, along with my captain at the time, I was ordered to be locked in the academy library to rewrite the entire traffic section/division’s rules and regulations. It was an exhausting endeavor, but we accomplished it.

It works like this. To use an example, when you make a traffic stop, arrest a DUI suspect, or investigate a vehicle crash, you must have a written policy that outlines every step and detail that an officer may encounter in performing his or her duties in that moment.

Not only must you validate the written policy, but you must show how it is implemented through training and the necessary equipment for accomplishing the task. All of these aspects are carefully scrutinized by the CALEA inspectors.

First I want you to look at the video released by the county police department.

http://patch.com/maryland/owingsmills/police-reisterstown-shooting-video-will-be-released

I read the long list of comments, and I didn’t see anyone who took exception to the validity of the shooting.

There was no sound, but I have learned that the officer repeatedly told the suspect, “You don’t want to do this.”

It was obvious the suspect had other ideas. Even after being shot, the officer had to battle with the suspect to arrest him.

Now I want you to watch the following police-related videos, which show just what that officer was facing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_KJ1R2PCMM

Now the reality side.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mnTE85LYFU

There isn’t a cop that I know of who goes to work planning on shooting someone. That, in itself, is a nightmare.

In this case, Chief Johnson was right to release the video as soon as possible. His actions, as well as the actions of the officer in the video, speak for themselves.

Kudos indeed…

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