Dear Valued Friends
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
Megiddo" from the FBI), in much the same way that unqualified
individualsoutsidersseeking to police a law enforcement agency
are just as unqualified and ineffective.
But first, Officer
Bill's excellent commentary. . . .
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
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 reviewtriggered 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
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.
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 CRBs 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
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 dont 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.
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
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 societylawlessness 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
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
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.
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
being stated, now to my intents for this article.
the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a document entitled
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
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.
"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
The bottom line
is, just as the only people qualified to police a modern day professional
law enforcement agency are other professional LEO'stheir
peersso 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.
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
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
Christian and Biblical worldviewthat the manifold promises of God
are unconditional in our current timesinstead 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.
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 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)
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