Shield courtesy of Santa Ana Police Officers For Christ

       Dear Valued Friends and Peers,

       What follows is the text of a commentary by Christian LE Officer Bill, concerning "civilian review boards."  His arguments against the formation of a civilian review board, basically an outside organization overseeing such an exclusive and professional organization as a modern day Police department, are insightful and very compelling. This document is definitely an educational resource to those in the civilian community who don't understand the dynamics involved behind the scenes in the day to day operations of a Police department.

       But that's not why I asked him if I could post it here.  At the end I wish to draw some metaphors and point out some parallels between unqualified outside agencies and individuals policing the Church , also a very exclusive and professional organization (this in light of the recently released "Project Megiddo" from the FBI), in much the same way that unqualified individuals—outsiders—seeking to police a law enforcement agency are just as unqualified and ineffective.

       But first, Officer Bill's excellent commentary. . . .


Civilian Review Boards
By Officer Bill


       The people who press for "civilian review boards" are always those who have a "bone to pick" with the police; either disgruntled former police "experts," or those associated with those who feel they've been "done wrong" by officers.

       The first issue to consider, is what would the purpose of a "civilian review board" (CRB) be? The Police Dept. currently has a Police advisory committee (LEPAC.)

       If it is to review specific police actions, this purpose is flawed in several areas. First, all police actions are presently subject to review by the citizen complaint process, internal review—triggered by concerns of co-workers or supervision/management, the District Attorney, the Grand Jury, the CA DOJ, the CA DFEH, the US DOJ/FBI, etc. A CRB is clearly redundant.

       A secondary issue would be, what would qualify members of a board to investigate and evaluate police actions? In the profession of Law Enforcement, we do not consider a Police Officer to be a "seasoned veteran" until he or she has "five years patrol experience." In other words, even a newly sworn Police Officer who has completed the Police academy, is not even qualified to pass judgment as a Police Review Board member.

       Several difficulties are encountered here. Lay persons lack a sufficient understanding of police practices and operating conditions to knowledgeably perform a meaningful evaluation. This would be similar to an automobile mechanic being chosen to evaluate the work of a surgeon. Having currently serving law enforcement personnel would achieve no benefit above present processes. Often cities using CRB’s pay more dollars in civil law suits, simply because the CRB did not agree with the Officers' tactics and so on. Does Riverside really want to take this financial obligation?

       Even having former law enforcement personnel would present several different problems. Counter productive to the notion of having "knowledgeable" people involved in the process is the problem of "perishable skills," and "stale" knowledge. Police work is a dynamic process which is impacted by continuously evolving tactics, equipment, theories, statutory law, case law, policies, and other variables. The final option would be to train/educate civilian board members or investigators to a level comparable to sworn officers/investigators. This too, is flawed, however, as it is ludicrous to suggest that a student is qualified to accurately evaluate the performance of a practitioner.

        In short, only those who are contemporary police practitioners are qualified to accurately evaluate contemporary police actions. The fact that some people do not trust the police does not change this fact. Complaints against medical professionals are investigated by qualified medical personnel. Complaints against mechanics are investigated by persons with a qualifying mechanical background. Financial audits are performed by accountants.

       And as to the question of how can the officer's own Department be trusted to address complaints or objectively investigate misconduct, consider this: Have you ever in ANY business or service operation seen it suggested that "If you have a complaint, please do not disturb the manager. We ask that you immediately bring any problems to the attention of our competition." Of course not! Who is more qualified to satisfy a complaint than the supervisor or manager of the person who delivered the service at issue? NO ONE!

       Lastly, let us consider what a CRB would accomplish with their findings. Would it have the ability to terminate an officer? Obviously not. Would it have the ability to prosecute an officer? Obviously not. Would it have the ability to otherwise sanction an officer? Obviously not. Would its role be strictly advisory? Yes, obviously. What impact or influence would this advice carry? If it cannot, under existing state and federal law, and labor contracts cause sanctions on the basis of its own findings, would it be in a position to return the work of a Departmental investigation for "additional work?" If so, would it have the ability to continue to direct reconsideration, until the Department's findings mirrored its own opinions? That would not exactly constitute an objective process. It would simply provide "teeth" for an unnecessary, unqualified body to impart its own "feelings" as to the appropriateness of police action. Unfortunately, we are already well aware that there is a difference of opinion with regard to almost ALL police actions. Those whom receive service or protection, may or may not be satisfied. Their satisfaction may be influenced by past experiences, expectations influenced by media portrayals both fictional and non-fiction, personal prejudices, drug/alcohol influence, mental stability, personal relationship to parties involved in the incident (including officers), and innumerable other factors. And then of course, the recipient of enforcement action is only happy with the officer in the rarest of situations.

       Police work became the domain of professionals when the general populace found it was no longer able or willing to protect itself, person by person. Police officers are uniquely charged with performing a myriad of services and upholding volumes upon volumes of laws as modified by even more volumes and volumes of case laws. They are expected to do so flawlessly, each and every time. They are expected to bring the unwilling into compliance and/or custody, without injury or violent appearance. They are expected to master weapons and defensive arts, but never employ them against aggressors. In short, they are expected to fulfill the expectations of everyone, every time, in spite of the fact that nothing will satisfy most of those who call upon them, because an overwhelming majority of those they contact created the situations they find themselves in by their own choice.

       A civilian review board is an absolutely IDEAL way to discourage those few members of our society who have chosen a noble profession, followed an anointed calling, and performed invaluable service to their fellow man, by second guessing and sanctioning them for actions based upon a pure heart, sound training, established law, and well-thought policy. We Police Officers are not against citizens, the citizens are the reason we took that oath of office: And that is to protect & serve them. The word IDEAL above is written in upper case for a purpose. Ideally, we would all hope the best for our community, but realistically there is evil in our society. Many citizens want us to do our job, but they seem to not like the way it sometimes has to be done. As a former veteran of the Los Angeles Police Dept, I have experienced that a CRB is idealistic and not realistic. In the realm of reality, we can not be idealists in a real real world. Therefore, we must be realists.

       I have often observed that there are essentially only two things that a police officer can do wrong...ANYTHING or NOTHING. A CRB would be a most effective way of proving out my observation.

       My request in closing? In the time of an emergency don’t call us, call the CRB members, so that when somebody needs saving from an armed criminal, or any other conceivable human service, at any hour, of any day, people will know there are a handful of PERFECT PEOPLE ready to respond. Let's just hope that the decision doesn't have to be made in a split second, under stressful conditions...CRB's do much better taking such matters under submission for resolution by committee.

       Officer Bill
       PO Box 8668
       Redlands, Ca 92375
       Phone/Fax (909) 335-0025


       "For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?  But them that are without God judgeth. . . ." (I Corinthians 5:12-13)

       As frequent readers of my site have seen, and especially in the areas concerning Police officers and professional law enforcement, I have shown that, primarily in the spiritual realm, a Christian is a "type" of Police officer in the community, upholding the Biblical moral standards which militate against the immorality and hedonism which can so easily overwhelm a society—lawlessness and anarchy.  Even as a Police officer upholds the "law of the land," a Christian, if they are faithful to God and His Word, upholds and defends the moral law contained therein.

             The parallel can also be drawn comparing the local church as a "type" of Police agency, as as an organized community they are a clear metaphor in the spiritual realm of what the local Police agency is in the community.  To be the "standard" against lawlessness, to protect the weak, to uphold the law, to "resist evil."

           As Officer Bill has clearly argued in his commentary against civilian review boards, there are few civilians with the understanding, experience, and insight to possess the qualifications to understand fully, modern day Police work, let alone the unique dynamics and peculiar practices which entail the same. Most people, as civilians, view their local law enforcement officer with a bit of mystery and bewilderment, not having a clue as to what these people have to endure every day, the training they have to go through, the demands that are made on them through the whole chain of command.

            Now concerning the Church, does the world understand the Church and her ways?  Is the world qualified to comment on spiritual things and the customs, practices, and ways of the Church?  Of course not.  The Bible clearly states: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (I Corinthians 2:14)  Post Modernist, Humanist, and secular thinkers view most religion as "superstitious" and "regressive," even "stone-age."

           These facts being stated, now to my intents for this article.

           Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a document entitled "Project Megiddo" which detailed many threats they perceived to be facing the nation in the year 2000; the majority of these threats coming from fringe groups within the "Conservative" spectrum of the political and social realm.  Follow the link to read the full report plus my commentary on it.

           The government's unbalanced presentation being what it is, I think this report was definitely a wake-up call to the Christian Church in America that issues such as racial prejudice under the guise of "christianity" has become an issue that can no longer be ignored.  Many of the dangers detailed in the Megiddo Project are very real, especially the hazards to society concerning the spread of the "Christian Identity" heresy.  I've studied what these people believe.  They are "extremist" in every sense of the word.  This was addressed this to some extent in "Hate Groups, 'Racism,' And The Riverside PD."

           Another area the FBI came out strongly against was the plethora of apocalyptic cults, operating under the guise of "christianity," a threat also very real, as evidenced in these more notorious individuals, a cult called "The Concerned Christians," recently being thrown out of Israel and Greece.  These particular "christians" are a concern to authorities because they seem to think they can "force God's Hand" in initiating violence to bring about the "end of the world" and the Apocalypse.

       Are they Christians?  Jesse Penn-Lewis in her book, "War On The Saints," makes the argument that many individuals like this are just extremely deceived, spiritually, by the enemy in the spiritual realm.  Yet this writer, understanding the tactics of the enemy, still leans toward acknowledging a good many of them as covert, undercover operators of the enemy, in a bid to slander and discredit the Church.  Regardless, they operate outside of the mainstream and clear Biblical Christianity.

       Is the FBI or any other Federal or secular organization qualified to police the more fringe members of the Church in situations like this, let alone even have a grasp of the spiritual dynamics of the second and third dimensions, to have any impact on them? Of course not. As most citizens are outsiders looking in on any type of temporal Police agency, so is the FBI and any other secular "watchdog" organization an "outsider looking in" concerning the spiritual affairs of the Church.  This is even more so evident in the fact that the FBI researchers took the easy way out and made absolutely no effort whatsoever to differentiate between who is an "extremist" and who is not in their dissertation and basically rolled everybody within the Conservative community into the same pile.  That leaves a lot of innocent people in harms way.

           All due "respects" to such expert organizations such as "The Militia Watch Dog" and "HateWatch," etc., but all secular organizations like these can do is disperse their mostly left-wing biased "expertise" to Federal, State, and Local law enforcement agencies in a furtive bid to deal with these groups. True, it's information that can be utilized in certain forms.  Yet, this maintains nothing but a static "containment" situation; a deteriorating stalemate at best, simply because they don't have the qualified insights, understanding, or skills, let alone the moral authority to deal with them effectively.  In the end, during a "stand-off/conflict," outside of some very skillful negotiation, all any law enforcement agency can do in dealing with them is utilize force. Thus, in my opinion, a lot of these "watchdog" groups are pretty much impotent and useless for long-term resolution except for some entertainingly lurid and alarmist weekend reading, or to pester and annoy the Conservative community in general.

       The bottom line is, just as the only people qualified to police a modern day professional law enforcement agency are other professional LEO's—their peers—so too, the only people qualified to effectively police the Church is the leadership and duly equipped membership of the Church.  Even as an Internal Affairs Division (IAD) of a Police Department is tasked with investigating fully any and all complaints against an officer to aggressively head off any abuse of authority or criminal act, so too does the leadership of the Church, with all duly equipped members, need to ID these errant groups, aggressively speak out against them, and through Biblical KNOWLEDGE "protect the flock," by denying them new recruits as well as bringing others out of them.

       Not attempting to "contain" them, not trying to "discredit" them, but through faithfulness and from the moral high ground, as the only ones with the authority, resources, and spiritual understanding and weapons, seek to shut them down.

       The Millennium and the year 2000 is now upon us. From all reports it seems a lot of the "christian crazies" will have the field, most certainly in the biased broadcast and print media. In my opinion these situations are so prevalent because the Church leadership has been somewhat derelict in their duties in presenting a balanced Christian and Biblical worldview—that the manifold promises of God are unconditional in our current times—instead frequently opting for the more sensational and provocative "prophecy" and end times material, let alone many ministers' apprehension in overtly dealing Biblically with the more touchy "PC" subjects of racism and ethnic tension.   Many of these apocalyptic cults and movements as well as the overall aura of "prophetic" apocalyptic fatalism and the "siege mentality" generated by the last twenty years of relentlessly hearing about the "end times" has had it's inevitable fruit. The Bible clearly says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish...." (Proverbs 29:18)  With no vision or view of the future, despair, fatalism, hopelessness, and bitter cynicism has its way.

       The year 2000 is irrelevant to this mindset and aura, the Y2K bug is irrelevant to this, the Clinton Administration is irrelevant to this, and finally, whether or not we are in the "end times" is irrelevant to this.  Always, and at all times, the Church is simply and unconditionally commanded to, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)  Whether during the Roman persecutions, the first millennium, the second millennium, or should the Lord tarry, any time in the future.  Much commentary and derision has recently been had at the expense of those individuals who, at the turn of the previous century, sold all they had and went up on a hill dressed in white robes to wait for the inevitable return of the Lord; with results much to their embarrassment and shame.  Yet today, many people are up on that same "hill," but in their hearts, waiting for that same return when they should be doing battle with Satan and his hoods down in the valley, utilizing the many promises of God to reach out to the lost as well as impact this nation for good.

       Imperative is the need for the Church to consistently "police" their own ranks from more and more mainstream and high profile pulpits, in much the same way the legal institutions Officer Bill mentioned in his commentary police any law enforcement organization.  Until this shirking of responsibility changes and this timidity and retreatist mindset in confronting these exclusively moral issues on the part of the leadership of the Church is abandoned, we shall all continue to deal with the fallout, including the intrusion of the Federal law enforcement community into an area they have no real knowledge of, or business being in.


       "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (II Corinthians 10:3-6)

       Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. . . .(II Peter 5:8-9)

"Civilian Review Boards" Copyright 1999 By Officer Bill.
This document is posted here at Salem the Soldiers COPS Page by special permission from the author (thanks, Bill!)
and may not be reproduced in any way without the express permission of the author.

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