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      President's Message

      Two things everyone in law enforcement knows: 1) The majority of law enforcement officers are hard working, ethical individuals with the highest regard for the public well being, (and by majority I mean it is had to find one who isn’t) 2) The majority of the public knows this and have full faith and trust in them.  There are those however, who do what they can to stain the reputation of law enforcement and there is little we can do to make them happy.  We acknowledge that policing changes and evolves with time and we understand we must evolve with it.  Back in the day an officer only had a six shooter on his side.  If he needed something else, maybe he picked up a near by stick or tree branch, maybe his buddy would step in and help him in a struggle, but beyond that he had nothing when it came to self defense or force needed to make an arrest.  Even way back then, lethal force was still considered a last resort.  The first step in any use of force is presence and the second step is verbal.  We talk our way out of situations all the time, and yes sometimes we need to insist things happen a certain way.  This is by far the most often use of force officers used, but sometimes that isn’t good enough.  Today they call it de-escalation, we call it, still doing what we always have.  As time went on we have found we needed more options to turn too.  Often it is the experience of the officers that creates the solutions to situation, both violent or some just dangerous by nature like auto accidents.  The first red light for example was invented right here in good ole downtown SLC by a police officer.  Our use of force, our defensive tactics and the tools we use to deal with situations change constantly and will continue to change.  It’s often officers that come up with the new options, whether it’s the way we talk, the defensive tactics we use or the restrains we deploy.  Just as there are an infinite number of situations an officer can encounter, there are an infinite ways of handling it.  One thing that does not change however, each officer draws from his or her training and experience to decide on how we make our decisions.  We understand, not all outcomes are what we would like them to be.  Sometimes people are saved and sometimes people are injured or even killed.  Sometimes it seems, no matter what we do, we can not win.  At one time officers were taught to use the carotid hold.  This helped in several situations but became problematic if an officer held on to the hold for to long.  Eventually the move was discontinued.  We needed to come up with more options to avoid using lethal force if at all possible.  We started using OC spray, which had great benefits as long as you don’t get caught up in the overspray yourself.  When an officer ended up in a use of force situation where he or he had to shoot an offender, the public would cry out, why didn’t you just OC him.  If someone died while fighting with police, most of the time due to the drugs he or she is on, or a medical condition he or she may have.  The public started blaming the officers for killing the person because they used OC.  Then came the ECD (Electronic Control Device) (Taser), officers started using ECD as a way of subduing the offender.  Now when an officer shoots an offender the public cries out, why didn’t you just use the ECD?  If an officer does use the ECD and the person dies they are accused of killing the person with the ECD.  Regardless which decision an officer makes, someone will have a reason as to why it was the wrong one and some will demand the officer be sent to prison.  Claiming they want justice and they want the officer to be treated like normal people, however, they only allow for one option, conviction, without due process.

      So what do we do?  Do we change how we do business?  We can’t, we have to continue to move forward as we always have.  We know, as stated previously, the majority of the public understands we are in a difficult situation and we have to make difficult decisions with little to no time to do it.  We also understand this does not give us a free pass.  We have made a commitment to the public to keep them safe, and that means doing all we can to improve ourselves.  Like any sports teams, we look at the plays we made, we watch the video when available.  We recreate the scenario and walk through it.  We pick it apart from beginning to end and back again.  We train, we train and train some more.  There are no one size fits all solutions to any call we go on.  We don’t have the ability to know the background, peoples medical or criminal history, what happened to them the hours before or what decisions they made before we got there.  So we reflect on the training we have had, we reflect on similar experiences we may have had in our career and we take action.  Could we have done it different, possibly, could we have done it better, maybe, but that doesn't make it wrong.  One thing we do know is we will take the results of each situation and apply them to the training we will go through before making the next decision.  This is the commitment we have made to the community and we owe it to them to keep that commitment.  In return we ask for a commitment in return.  Please give us the tools we need to keep us safe, allow us to have more effective weapons than the offenders we are going up against and trust us when we say, we are doing our best.  What is one of the biggest issues we are facing right now?  Retaining and recruiting officers.  Politicians have downsized our retirement plans, cut our budgets, and allowed our wages to fall way behind.  We ask the community to please let your local and state representatives know, as we support you, you support us.

      Michael Millard, President

      Salt Lake Police Association

      Submit Articles to the Law Enforcement Journal
      We are now accepting submissions for next publication in the Law Enforcement Journal.  Submissions will be compensated, but subject to editorial review before publication.  Photos and articles submitted will be published in an upcoming edition.  Please send submissions or questions to Jason.johnson@slpa.com.
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