Out-Front Narcan

NARCAN: The Patrol Officer’s Perspective By Joe Uliano
Second chances don’t come around too often in life

Here in New Jersey police officers have been giving out second chances on a daily basis. Police officers throughout New Jersey are committed to the fight against drug addiction and the growing trend of fatalities related to drug overdose.

To articulate this growing trend, The Center for Disease Control conducted a study spanning from 1999 to 2010, which concluded that our nation has become plagued with an opioid epidemic that is spiraling out of control. The study indicated that New Jersey has one of the highest fatality rates associated with opioid use in the Nation. As a response to this epidemic, the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey enacted P.L. 2013 c.46, commonly known as the Overdose Prevention Act.

Under the Overdose Prevention Act, police officers now have a greater duty to act when dealing with an overdose victim. Police officers are now tasked with providing a safe and effective antidote, known as Naloxone or Narcan in the field. Narcan is administered via an intranasal mist in each nostril and requires little training and poses no health or exposure risk to the police officer.

So why are police officers being tasked with providing Narcan?
As police officers, we are often first on scene and in many cases our immediate intervention is the difference between life and death. An opioid overdose generally attacks one’s respiratory system as it renders the victim unresponsive to the point that spontaneous breathing is either significantly reduced or completely absent. With the administering of Narcan, our immediate intervention has become more significant, which gives our victims a greater chance of survival. Narcan is designed to counter the effects of an opioid overdose by reversing respiratory depression, sedation and hypotension (low blood pressure). Prior to the implementation of Narcan, police officers would have to rely only on basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation, while valuable time was wasted waiting for a responding paramedic unit. With the use of Narcan, overdose victims have a greater chance of survival.

The stigma associated with a drug user
Drug addicts are stereotypically viewed as junkies–members of an inept population that have made the choice to live the way they do. However, this stigma has begun to change over the last few years, as we now know opioid addiction is affecting all walks of life.

Heroin is an illegal opioid that has been abused for many years and has taken many lives. It is important to understand that heroin is not the only contributing narcotic causing a spike in overdose fatalities. We are seeing medically prescribed opioids, such as Codeine, Demerol, and Oxycodone being widely abused and have now become major contributors to this growing epidemic.

Medically prescribed opioids have placed an interesting twist on the stigma associated with the former stereotypical drug addict. In fact, we now know making reference to a drug addict as being typical should be avoided. We have seen opioid addiction in many homes and in every profession, as drug addiction does not discriminate. Medically prescribed opioids have become the leading cause to heroin addiction. This is because eventually the prescriptions run out and the addict is forced to turn to the streets to feed his or  her addiction. Those who are abusing opioids, develop altered brain function and chemistry, which creates the chemical dependency and the craving for more. This is why we cannot and must not classify drug addicts as anything less than someone struggling with a disease and not a choice.

Why are we saving 
drug addicts?
In a recent open discussion with officers from around the nation, this question came up. One officer asked: “Will this program increase drug use, because some drug addicts will no longer fear overdosing?” These remarks may sound harsh or insensitive, but nonetheless it is a valid question and concern. A similar debate arose during the late 1980s with the creation of the federally funded “Safe Needle Exchange Program.” This program was designed to reduce the spread of HIV. However, many raised concerns that the program would increase drug usage. The federal government conducted a six-year study from 1991 – 1997 that concluded that the program did not produce an increase in drug use and the goal of reducing the spread of HIV was accomplished.

So the question remains: Why are we as police officers saving drug addicts? The answer is simple and obvious. It is our duty. But, there is more involved. When we encounter an injured child or an elderly person, we tend to feel it a little more, as it touches home and in our hearts. We know that they are members of a vulnerable population and without our intervention or assistance they would be more vulnerable. We know this because we have compassion and empathy for those in need.

The truth of the matter is that those suffering from drug addiction are also part of a vulnerable population who also requires our compassion and empathy. We should not judge them or give into the stigma associated with drug addiction, but rather treat them as people in need. There is no greater gift than giving someone a second chance at life. If we are able to change the life of just one drug addict then we have done our job. At the end of the day All Lives Matter!

JoeUlianoJoe Uliano’s public safety career began in 1995, after obtaining certification as an emergency medical techni-cian, a certification he has held for the past 20 years. While serving as an E.M.T. Joe decided public safety was his calling and began to pursue a law enforcement career. He was a true believer in stepping stones and first took a job as a police dispatcher, which ultimately led to landing a job as a municipal police officer in 2001. After being hired as a police officer, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Caldwell University and a master’s degree in Human Resources, Training, and Development from Seton Hall University.


Police Officer Christopher A. Matlosz
By Julia Torres

chris-in-carBorn February 24, 1983 ,in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Christopher Anthony Matlosz was known throughout his life for his infectious smile and spectacular sense of humor. A graduate of Howell High School, class of 2000, he later received an associate degree in Criminal Justice from Brookdale Community College. His desire to make the world a better place led to a law enforcement profession, having graduated from the Monmouth County Police Academy, later serving in the Freehold, Englishtown, Long Branch, and Manasquan Police Departments. As fate would have it, the Lakewood Township Police Department employed Christopher in August of 2006, where he served honorably until the end of his watch on a wintry afternoon in January 14, 2011.

While driving his police car, Officer Matlosz, 27, stopped to speak to a teenager. What then followed was highly unexpected. What began as an initially calm conversation led to a quick violent eruption. The teen had taken a few steps back, pulled out a gun, and fired at Officer Matlosz. The coward hadn’t given Officer Matlosz a chance to get out of the police car and defend himself.

Matlosz4The perpetrator fled, leading local and state police on a manhunt entailing door-to-door searches, wooded areas, and a helicopter’s searchlight, to no avail. However, when an officer’s life is lost in the line of duty, it bonds the thin blue line with a sense of justice, and God feels no different. His word states that, “anyone who rebels against authority…will be punished.” (Romans 13:2)

Indeed, that day of punishment came when the cold-blooded murderer, appeared before an Ocean County judge to hear his sentence: Life without parole. Although this brought vindication to some fellow officers–there was one less killer on the street–it did not allow closure to all the loved ones of Officer Matlosz.

Kelly Walsifer, who had been engaged to Christopher, clearly expresses today how she has felt since his passing. “The feelings change every day all day and they will for years to come. Some days are easier than others as time goes on, but I still struggle even five years later. There isn’t just one feeling in this grief process I still fight every single day. I have learned and grown so much since that day… If Chris came back to this Earth, I don’t think he would recognize the person whom I have become.”

Kelly’s sentiments are proof that crime is never independent. Christopher Anthony Matlosz left behind a loving family, a soon-to-be-bride, caring friends, loyal pets, and thousands of brothers and sisters in the law enforcement community. His memory will live on in the hearts and minds of those he touched. Let us honor his sacrifice. May he continue to rest in peace.

Cover Story

‘Don’t blame yourself,   I used you.  I took advantage of you.’
By George Beck

Matthew Hoffman, 32, had a plan to die. According to published accounts, on January 4, 2015, he milled around outside the San Francisco Mission Street Police Station, and in the late afternoon was found sitting on a planter box inside a restricted area in the police parking lot. Three sergeants noticed Hoffman and asked him to leave.

As the sergeants attempted to drive out of the parking lot, Hoffman stood and blocked the driveway, holding his hands in his sweatshirt pockets. The sergeants got out of their police car and asked him many times to show his hands, but rather Hoffman lifted his shirt and drew a pistol, pointing it at the officers. Instantaneously, two sergeants drew and fired, killing him. It was later learned Hoffman had a pellet/BB-style gun without the orange safety tip. There was no way the sergeants could have determined this in the split seconds the encounter elevated to deadly force.

In the wake of the ambush killings of NYPD Officers Ramos and Liu, several accounts of the New York City incident claimed cops across the country were on high alert, and somehow that played a contributing role in this shooting. Although, in some respects, it is true that law enforcement was and still is on high alert, especially since Harris County, Texas, Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth, 47, was simply pumping gas when he was ambushed and killed for no other apparent reason other than the uniform he was wearing, this incident really came down to a split-second decision: live or die. Officers are human, and just like anyone who sees a firearm pointed at them, they quickly realize how imminent and potentially deadly the situation is.

Hoffman understood this well. He knew  if he created a situation where officers perceived deadly force against them, they would reflexively draw and shoot. Part of this is training–-law enforcement officers are trained to use deadly force when it’s used against them or another innocent person, but most of it is instinct, a primitive survival response.

Hoffman wanted to make sure the officers understood his plan, “Don’t blame yourself, I used you. I took advantage of you,” he wrote in part from a suicide note left on his cellphone. “You did nothing wrong. You ended the life of a man who was too much of a coward to do it himself,” Hoffman’s note said. “I provoked you. I threatened your life as well as the lives of those around me. Please, take solace in knowing that the situation was out of your control. You had no other choice.”

Hoffman’s note certainly shows a desperate man who needed professional psychiatric help. Ask anyone in the law enforcement community and they will tell you, they would much rather have gotten him help than for it to end the way it did. Being used as a means to commit suicide is nothing any officer signed up for nor is prepared for.

Here’s what we know about Suicide by Cop (SbC): Frequently, someone has committed a crime and is being pursued by the police, and in their panicked state of anxiety, they decide they’d rather die than be arrested and provoke officers into a lethal force situation with the intention of dying. Or a suicidal person is already planning to kill himself and, like Hoffman, decides the best option is to goad the police into a deadly force situation, sometimes by pointing a firearm at the officer(s) or an innocent person(s), or charging an officer with a knife or other weapon, and thus forcing the officer to end their life. There are many ways a person can commit SbC. The key is that they create a situation where an officer perceives his or her life or someone else’s in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.

However, with any phenomenon, there are multiple layers. Not every person seeking death at the hands of law enforcement is only suicidal. There are  times when they are equally homicidal.

Take, for example, the recent ambush killing of Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim on the morning of June 21, 2015. Officer Kim, 47, a 27-year veteran, husband and father of three, arrived on scene to investigate a report of a belligerent man with a gun. He had no way of knowing the 911 caller and the supposed gunman were the same person. Like the San Francisco incident, Officer Kim had been lured into a trap, only this time the suicidal lunatic, armed with a firearm, also planned to kill police officers.

“He’s walking around getting belligerent with a gun,” the miscreant told the operator moments prior to Officer Kim’s arrival. Then in a trembling voice, he gave a description of himself. “Like very early 20s… about like 5 (foot) 6… he’s a little thick fellow.”

Officer Kim was the first to arrive on scene. He had done nothing to incite the attack. He was simply heroically seeking to find a man with a gun and make certain the community was safe. Bravely, Officer Kim approached and was fired upon. Yet this plan was no secret. The lunatic posted it on Facebook and sent text messages informing friends of his plans to commit SbC. But, sadly, no one said a word. The law enforcement community is at a loss for words when they learn many people were told, and yet, for whatever reasons, they chose not to report it.

After shooting Officer Kim, the crazed man fired upon responding officers, and was killed by return fire, thus accomplishing his abhorrent intentions. In the wake of this incident, the reality of SbC experienced a spike in discussion on social and mass media. Many people were starting to understand this dangerous and tragic situation that officers sometimes find themselves in.

The term Suicide by Cop first appeared in the 1980s in the United States. Some historians believe the assassination of Chicago Mayor Anton Cermack in February 1933, while shaking hands with then President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, was one of the earliest cases. Several accounts indicate the assassin, Giuseppe Zangara, shot at and unintentionally missed Roosevelt with the ultimate goal of being shot and killed by the police. Zangara pleaded guilty and nearly a month later faced “Old Sparky” (the electric chair at Florida State Prison). Zangara was enraged that newsreels did not cover his execution, leaving many to wonder if the fame of his death was the ultimate fantasy he craved.

SbC is often misunderstood or not properly identified. This is because absent a suicide note, or obvious evidence of video surveillance, body camera, MVR footage, or declarative statements like, “You won’t take me alive,” or “Kill me,” it is difficult to determine a person’s mindset post mortem. However, recent research indicates SbC can account for over a 1/3 of officer-involved shootings. Clearly, this phenomenon is a massive part of police shootings, yet most of it is only discussed in the volumes of academic literature not typically slated for general public consumption. More needs to be done to bring this information to the general public. Furthermore, research indicates many SbC incidents occur within 15 minutes of initial police interaction, the majority within five minutes, leaving officers with very little time to assemble crisis negotiators and other resources. Therefore, additional training at police academies to prepare patrol officers as initial crisis negotiators is needed.

Officers across the country know of similar SbC situations that were not heavily covered by the media. They understand and see first-hand what an officer goes through after being used as the unfortunate instrument of suicide. They know that in cases where the suicidal person doesn’t present an immediate perception of deadly force, and is, perhaps, deciding whether or not to die, there are ways to “buy time” and save their life. Think of how many officers talked suicidal persons off the side of a bridge. The fine officers of the Port Authority of New York / New Jersey and those working at bridges across the country know this well. Daily, they save the lives of those who otherwise would have jumped without their intervention. However, absent the chance to get to that opportunity, those like Hoffman who instantly point a firearm at officers, leaving them with no alternative, will almost certainly accomplish their objective.

George Beck is a police detective, writer and a Drew University Ph.D. candidate. He’s earned several degrees including an associate’s, bachelor’s and two master’s degrees. He is the author of The Killer Among Us (Noir Nation Books) and several other books. His nonfiction and short stories have been featured in magazines and anthologies nationally and internationally.

National Voice – Terrorism

By Lt. Randy Sutton (Ret.)

“Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:
• Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
• Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping; and
• Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

The blood of police and sheriff’s deputies is running in the streets. Recently the Houston Police Union sent a letter to the FBI asking them to investigate the spate of videos that call for violence against police officers. This came days after Houston Deputy Darren Goforth was assassinated by a black male suspect, while doing nothing more threatening than pumping gas, shortly after calls for killing police were aired on the radio and in videos. While I support this call to investigate, I don’t believe it goes far enough. The War on Cops in America is claiming the lives of law enforcement officers at an unprecedented rate as unprovoked vicious attacks against the police are instigated and celebrated by movements like “Black Lives Matter,” the “Nation of Islam” and others. Each of these murders and assaults is being investigated and prosecuted at the local level and as individual crimes. It’s time for our federal government to call these movements exactly what they truly are, Domestic Terrorism. It is time for the United Sates Department of Justice to devote its vast resources to protecting the men and women of law enforcement while vigorously pursuing and prosecuting those organized groups advocating the killing of law enforcement officers in our nation. Our government owes this to those that serve and protect and who are quite literally laying their lives on the line for their communities.

Do I expect that this will happen under the current administration of President Obama? Do I really think the same Department of Justice that has virtually ignored the violent deaths of law enforcement officers while actively investigating and censuring police agencies all over the country for perceived racism and politically incorrect policies, will suddenly develop a conscience and do the job the taxpayers pay them for by fighting crime and injustice? No I don’t. But if we as Americans raise our collective voice loud enough, if we unite as one people who demand that our government acts responsibly, we can effect change. And change is desperately needed if we are to stem the flow of blood being spilled by American law enforcement officers.

Hate groups and criminal organizations have existed in this country since the Civil War. Organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the “Mafia” who used threats, violence, intimidation and murder to further their own selfish and perverted goals of personal enrichment or racial superiority reigned for years without serious interference from the Federal Government. Until the social conscience of this nation took hold and became outraged at not only the cruelty and violence that these groups used to further line their pockets or oppress others, but how their very existence conflicted with our identity as a Nation. A Nation of laws, a Nation of ideals and a Nation of justice.

Those organizations are now shells of their former selves, hollow and petty. They have become a caricature and something no longer to be feared. This happened because we as a Nation stood firm and intolerant and our federal government and United States Department of Justice stood with its people and devoted the time and resources to bringing them to justice.

We now face a new and even more destructive force. They masquerade as a “movement.” They pretend to be concerned with social justice. But in reality, they are the same bullies who hid beneath the robes of the KKK and burned churches, lynched innocents, terrorized families and children. The faces have changed but the actions are the same just as the motivations are the same. Ignorance, intolerance, a desire for power over others and above all cruelty.

Just as we have in the past, when this nation faced dangers from abroad and from within, we must come together. As one people without regard to race or religion or political belief because if we do not, more blood will spill, more families will be left without a father or a mother, and more uniform clad bodies will be buried as Taps plays and the 21 gun salute assaults the still air while the mournful tune of Amazing Grace envelopes the brokenhearted.

The time is now.

Randy Sutton is a 33-year Law Enforcement veteran and the National Spokesman for ‘THE AMERICAN COUNCIL ON PUBLIC SAFETY.” www.defendingtheshield.org He served ten years in the Princeton New Jersey Police Department and 23 years with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department retiring at the rank of Lieutenant. He is recognized as one of the most highly decorated officers in the LVMPD history, having awards for Valor, Community Service, Exemplary Service and multiple Lifesaving awards. He has trained thousands of Law Enforcement Officers in the United States on the subject of “POLICING WITH HONOR,” and has been recognized by the President of the United States while receiving the “POINTS OF LIGHT” award. He is the author of “TRUE BLUE Police Stories by Those Who Have Lived Them,” “A COP’S LIFE,” “TRUE BLUE To Serve and Protect” and “THE POWER OF LEGACY, Personal Heroes of America’s Most Inspiring People.” His website is www.thepoweroflegacy.com.


Situational Leadership: The Answer to the Civil Service Promotion System?
By Eddie Molina

If the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Promotion System is anything–it is fair. But it’s certainly not without its flaws.
In most private sector organizations, individuals are promoted based on performance, experience and sometimes the bosses just have a ‘gut feeling’ an individual will succeed in the new position. A major downside to this merit system is that it sometimes leaves room for interpretation in regards to favoritism and if someone simply ‘knows the right people.’

The CSC aims to eliminate any possibility of favoritism and relies solely on a test score to gauge a person’s ability to manage and supervise others. It focuses on fairness and even credits individuals with more work experience. However, this system has its flaws too: It does not take into account a person’s experience in supervising others.

This ultimately leads to sometimes individuals getting promoted to a supervisory position without any formal management, leadership or supervisory experience. These newly promoted individuals will make mistakes as they go along and learn from them. They should, however, do a little bit of research into current leadership and management principles that exist today to better equip them with their new roles and responsibilities.

One of the leadership theories that many experts believe can help a supervisor with limited experience is known as the Situation Leadership Theory. In short, the leader adapts himself or herself to the situation and adjusts their management style accordingly. To put this in perspective, other theories exist that encourage the leaders to change the environment in which subordinates work, or change the subordinates roles and responsibilities to suit the leader or organizational needs. With situational leadership, the leader is adapting to the current environment or situation.
The theory works likes this: There are four basic types of subordinates. They are labeled M1 through M4, with the ‘M’ representing professional ‘maturity’ level.

• Type M1: A highly committed individual that wants to accomplish all tasks, is motivated to achieve stated goals and has the knowledge, wisdom and experience to successfully complete any mission.
• Type M2: A highly experienced individual that has knowledge and wisdom but has little to no motivation to go beyond the minimum required amount of work. There are often specific reasons for their lack of motivation and can be improved with proper leadership.
• Type M3: A highly committed individual that wants to accomplish all tasks, is motivated to achieve stated goals but lacks the wisdom, knowledge and experience. This person is typically new to the organization and is eager and willing to learn.
• Type M4: An inexperienced person with little to no knowledge or wisdom about the job and shows little to no motivation to improve their knowledge base or gain useful experience. This person ‘just wants to get by.’
These are the four basic types of subordinates. Each person generally falls into a category. It is also important to understand that subordinate level types (M1-M4) can change over time due to their assigned current leader’s skill level, outside influences and/or change in responsibilities.

A leader who understands the four subordinate types can then adapt to each person and adjust their management style. The manager will adjust their leadership style depending on the subordinate level type and the task at hand.
Situational Leadership Theory suggests there are four basic types of leadership styles that will match and suit the four types of subordinates. These four are known as Directing, Coaching, Supporting and Delegating. They are defined as:
Directing: The leader clearly states the directives and primarily uses one-way communication to ensure the subordinates fully understand the goals and the end state. The manager closely monitors progress and if change is required, solely decides on the type, level and severity of change needed with little to no input from subordinates. The management style is specifically geared toward the M4 type of subordinate that needs close supervision and proper guidance.

Coaching: The leader works closely with the subordinates to develop solutions to meet the stated goals. There is more of a two-way communication but the leader makes the decision based on having increased knowledge and experience. This management style is geared to the M3 subordinate that is willing to learn but lacks the skill to accomplish the task without direct oversight.

Supporting: This approach is most appropriate for M2 subordinates, who have the knowledge and experience but lack the motivation to give 100%. The leader in this case should focus on motivating the subordinate and finding out the root causes of their lack of motivation. This is significant in the CSC system as many subordinates lose motivation due to routinely working with inexperienced supervisors that often employ micromanagement as a form of leadership. Interpersonal skills are paramount for the supporting leader and requires training and experience to master.
Delegating: This leader has high confidence in the subordinate and need only to state what has to be done with minimal direction and guidance. The subordinate has the experience, knowledge and motivation to fully meet every goal with little oversight from the leader. This approach works best with an M1 type of subordinate. Inexperienced leaders must recognize this type of subordinate and resist the urge to closely monitor and micromanage the subordinate.
Remember that this leadership style is only a theory. But most of us would agree that sometimes a person in a CSC system can make their way to a leadership position with no formal leadership experience. This can be challenging especially for subordinates that are good at what they do, have the experience to achieve any goals and have the motivation to properly finish the task. It is, at the very least, a simple solution to help alleviate one of the weaknesses of the CSC promotional system. Through proper leadership it can bring a subordinate that was once motivated to work back to life.

So if you or someone you know falls into this category, then perhaps suggest using a Situational Leadership style. It may serve them well and more importantly, serve subordinates even better.

Women In Blue

Domestic Violence: The Batterer & Victim Wear Badges
By Captain Donna Roman Hernandez (Ret.)

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Generally speaking, domestic violence is a learned behavior exhibiting a pattern of coercive domination and control based on or supported by violence.

Domestic violence batterers are manipulators and predators who use physical intimidation, emotional control, their authority and the vulnerability and loyalty of their victims to fuel their lust for control and domination. Batterers make their victims feel as though they are responsible for the abuse.

It’s a painful reality for victims of domestic violence to face when loved ones turn on them, but it’s an extraordinary challenge when the batterer and the victim are both law enforcement officers.

According to research by the National Center for Women and Policing conducted in the 1990s, two studies found that at least 40% of law enforcement families experience domestic violence in contrast to 10% of families in the general population. A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24%, indicating that domestic violence is 2-4 times more common among law enforcement families than American families in general.

Underreporting or Not Reporting the Abuse
Because domestic violence abuse is often shrouded in secrecy, and frequently incidents go unreported and misreported, no one knows precisely how often domestic violence occurs or how many people are affected. However, domestic violence incidents are often discovered in divorce statistics, medical reports or as homicides.

Underreporting of domestic violence among the general public is a problem but it is likely to be an even greater problem among female law enforcement officers. These victims have their own unique reasons for not reporting the abuse perpetrated by their spouses, boyfriends or family members who are also law enforcement officers. Based on my personal experience as a survivor of officer-perpetrated domestic violence, I know that female officers are less likely to self report the abuse or call the police because: they work within a male-dominated police culture; they might be perceived as weak for tolerating the abuse; and fear their jobs could be in jeopardy.

In her book, Crossing The Threshold: Female Officers and Police-Perpetrated Domestic Violence, Diane Wetendorf believes that a female officer may prefer to hold herself responsible for ‘allowing’ the domestic violence to happen, thus implying that she can control it and can do something different the next time that will prevent an attack. Wetendorf stresses, “The female officer’s denial is a coping mechanism that helps her maintain a sense of control, strength and invulnerability. She simply cannot afford to identify herself or have others identify her as a battered woman.”
Female officers know their officer abusers misuse their institutional powers and know how to work the system. They use physical and non-physical methods to make their victims feel helpless and ashamed and know where to assault their victims in concealed areas without leaving marks. Both officers take their firearms home with them, making the level of violence even more dangerous.

The Coercive Control Model
Dr. Evan Stark, the founder of the first shelter for abused women in the United States and an award-winning researcher and a leader in domestic violence advocacy, has an international reputation for his work on interpersonal violence.

In his book, Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life, Stark talks about the coercive control model being a pattern of behavior focusing on control and dominance that men use as a form of subjugation that more closely resembles kidnapping or indentured servants than assault. And how abusers extend their domination over time in ways that subvert women’s autonomy and infiltrate the most intimate corners of their lives and exercise control over their decision making. Stark said, “Coercive control entails a malevolent course of conduct that subordinates women to an alien will by violating their physical integrity (domestic violence), denying them respect and autonomy (intimidation), depriving them of social connectedness (isolation), and appropriating or denying them access to the resources required for personhood and citizenship (control).”

Zero-Tolerance for Abuse
A July 2003 Concepts and Issues Paper, “Domestic Violence by Police Officers” prepared by the IACP National Law Enforcement Policy Center, acknowledges that the problem of domestic violence by police officers deserves careful attention. It says, in part, “A tone of zero-tolerance to officer-involved domestic violence may be the most crucial prevention method for law enforcement departments/agencies to implement. Zero-tolerance is accomplished through comprehensive baseline education and training for all officers, implementation of a policy, and consistent policy enforcement.”

All domestic violence offenders must be held accountable for their actions, even when the offender is a law enforcement officer.

Captain Donna Roman Hernandez (Ret.) served 29 years in the Patrol Division of the Essex County and Caldwell Police Departments (NJ). She is a domestic violence and sexual assault subject matter expert and a keynote speaker/writer on law enforcement topics. Her book, Domestic Violence Kills, will be available on Amazon.com in November.  Donna is the President of Violence Intervention & Prevention Specialists, a multi-faceted training company.  She is the Host of Tough Justice Talk Radio Show (www.toughjusticeddv.com). Contact Donna at Violenceips@yahoo.com or www.blueforcefilms.com.



Gang Life is Often Regrettable
By Efren Almodovar

Being a corrections officer allows me an inside look into gang members, and here’s a trend I noticed: Most members eventually (if they live long enough) get to a point where they regret ever joining.

Here’s how the cycle works: Gang members are not born gang members; they choose the lifestyle believing it’s the easiest and best way of life. They come in all shapes and sizes and from all racial, social and economic backgrounds. They become who they are because they want to belong to something. Once affiliated, their desire to compete among each other becomes an often tragic quest to see who is the tougher, more loyal member. The gang lifestyle is typically short-lived because when they are arrested, all financial support is gone. The “bond” that was formed is broken and everything they perceived as truth was revealed as an illusion.

Over the years, I have always questioned gang members about their reasons for joining because, to me, it seems undesirable to choose a lifestyle that is wrought with constant worry about rivals killing you, or struggling through unending fights, multiple incarcerations, and enough legal trouble to make your head spin. Surprisingly, there is never the same answer, but many, if not most, claim they did not receive the expected “benefits” they were seeking.

Through constant dealing, speaking, and interviewing gang members, I have learned that as members become older, they undoubtedly become wiser in the game. Many realize that joining was a mistake. They confess that incarceration was never worth it and wish they could hit a reset button and start over. But by the time they realize, they have already developed an extensive criminal record and constantly live in fear. There is always that lingering anxiety about who is going to get them next. In addition, a large percentage of gang members cannot read or write past the fifth grade level—a contributing factor as to why some members do not understand the written laws. Many will tell you the time spent in the gang was valuable time they could have gained employment skills.

I have seen many members become ensnared in the gang lifestyle for the simple reasons of honor and pride. Long-time members feel the need to secure a reputation that fits the standards of a gang. This makes it hard for some to leave because their life can be in danger if their reputations isn’t up to par. Age can be another dangerous factor because gangs typically get rid of the old and bring in the new. Local gangs become more high-tech and cannot afford older members not understanding how things work or not looking like a stereotypical gang member. Gangs build reputations for themselves which they maintain at all costs.

To sum up, the life of a gang member is dangerous and regrettable. Many have spent countless years incarcerated for criminality stemming from their roles in the gang. Rivals may seek revenge and kill them on the spot. Even if they leave the gang, they still live in fear because their lives are always at risk. In the gang lifestyle, only two things are guaranteed: death or suffering. They will die defending their perceived honor or suffer in a cell contemplating their horrible deeds that gang lifestyle guarantees. Unfortunately, by the time they realize their easiest choice wasn’t the best choice, it is too late to restart.

EfrainDet./Cpl. Efren Almodovar has been in law enforcement since 1996. He is a Gang Detective for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office. He holds an associate’s and bachelor’s degree and is proud to serve as a police academy instructor.


Let’s Not Be So Quick To Condemn an Officer
By Chief Steven Jones, Trinity Texas Police Department

As Chief of Police, I face situations daily that are quite overwhelming. One overwhelming obstacle involves handling complaints from people who allege an officer was rude, unfair or 

The majority of the time, with the help of video, I am able to debunk the complainant’s allegations. For example, I reviewed a recent traffic stop that led my officer, Randy Wheeler to draw his weapon.
As I watched the dash camera footage, I saw the driver’s vehicle moving south on Highway 19. It appeared the driver had on his parking lights and not his headlights, just as I had been told. I saw the officer slow down and prepare to turn around with his emergency lights on in an attempt to stop the vehicle.

I released this video and one of the questions I received was: “Why does it matter if the guy continued to drive south, move into the left turning lane, and pull into the gas station?” It matters because officers are trained to pay special attention to vehicles that fail to pull over immediately when an officer attempts to stop them, as it is an indication of criminal activity. In a little over a week the video was viewed nearly 600,000 times on YouTube.

A popular argument made with regard to vehicles failing to pull over immediately is that people prefer to drive until they find a well-lit area. If a driver chooses not to stop immediately, they should expect the officer to have a heightened sense of alertness. If it takes them an excessive amount of time to stop, they can potentially face criminal charges, and expect the officer to be aggressive until he or she determines they are not a threat.

In this particular traffic stop, dash cam footage shows the officer approaching and engaging the driver shortly before placing his hand on his duty weapon, then drawing and pointing it at the driver.

The dash camera video catches a perspective from outside of the driver’s vehicle. This footage doesn’t show the officer’s point of view, and makes it appear that he was being overly aggressive toward the driver. It appears the driver has done nothing to warrant the officer’s aggressive behavior as he is seen ordering the driver out of the vehicle and handcuffing him. It isn’t until you view the footage from the body camera, that the officer was wearing; that you learn the driver committed an error in judgment that demanded swift and aggressive behavior from the officer.

The body camera footage reveals the officer approaching and engaging the driver, and a pistol sitting in the driver’s passenger seat. The officer asks, “Is that a real gun?” The driver, seemingly instinctively, reaches for it.

Within a split second, the officer draws his duty weapon and stops the driver from grabbing the pistol. Currently, Texas law allows you to carry a pistol in your vehicle, even if you do not have a concealed carry permit. The pistol can be loaded or unloaded. One of the conditions, however, is that the pistol has to be completely concealed in your vehicle. The driver having the pistol in the passenger seat, in plain sight, is not in accordance with the law.

Even though the driver was in violation of the law, the footage clearly shows that the officer stayed calm and did not draw his weapon until the driver reached for his pistol in the passenger seat. At that moment, the officer was faced with a decision that many officers face more times than many people realize: shoot or don’t shoot; live or don’t live.
In this case, the driver didn’t have malicious intent, but there was no way for the officer to know that. The two videos that accompany this incident offer a valuable lesson: It’s imperative to evaluate all aspects of a situation before coming to a conclusion. The dash camera excluded the officer’s point of view, and if that footage were all we had, viewers would argue that the officer unjustly acted in an aggressive manner toward the driver.

People sitting in the parking lot could have easily filmed the incident on their cell phones, recording footage that, like the dash cam, excludes a perspective that is paramount in understanding the situation. The video(s) could have later surfaced on the Internet like so many others have, possibly leading to an outcry demanding the officer be terminated or prosecuted. The body camera footage allows us to show that there is, and may be, more to these incidents than the limited perspective often offered to the public via video footage.

The man the officer pulled over was later charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance as well as other crimes involving his alleged attempt to conceal the controlled substances, showing that criminal activity was involved.

In conclusion, I hope this is another lesson that footage from a dash camera or cell phone isn’t always sufficient in telling the entire story. So let’s no be so quick to condemn an officer until all the details are known.

chiefJonesChief Steven Jones began his career in law enforcement as a deputy jailer at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and in 2003 became a patrolman with the Trinity Texas Police Department. In 2007, to complete a vacated term, the County Judge and Commissioner’s Court appointed him Sheriff. Chief Jones led one of the first departments to utilize social media, becoming their own source of reporting their activity. This led to his department featured as a reality show showing the lighter side of law enforcement and the inner department brother/sisterhood. His “All Lives Matter” photo went viral on social media, pushing the attacks against law enforcement front and center.