Police Chaplain’s Perspective

Police Chaplain’s Perspective – Are you in the Faith?
By Chris Amos

FAITH is one of the most important attributes in a law enforcement officer’s arsenal: Faith in his or her training, abilities, peers; Faith that if in a questionable incident, his superiors will support him; Faith that if she was following the rules and regs, she will be covered; Faith that no matter what happens, if done in good faith, all will be okay.

However, in this day and age, sometimes our faith pays off and sometimes it doesn’t.

I want to share with you another kind of faith that is 100% effective 100% of the time no matter the outcome of a given circumstance. It is a faith that pays off big time–if we don’t somewhere along the journey of life lose or misplace it; a faith that will lead to the ultimate promotion. I’m speaking about a faith firmly placed in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross which paid the penalty, the price for our sins. But, what exactly does that faith look like, how is it fleshed out in my life, and how do I know if I even have such a faith? I want to answer those questions using the acronym F-A-I-T-H. If you can say yes to these 5 attributes of faith my friend, you have it!

F – FOLLOW: True Biblical sin, forgiving, life-transforming, eternal life giving faith involves a change of course. Quite simply, we make up our minds to follow Jesus Christ and not the crowd, the latest fad, the lusts of our own flesh. No, we turn from those things [repent] and follow Jesus. I assure you this doesn’t mean we become everyone’s doormat.
In ’96, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I was forced to kill a suspect that had shot me twice. Just last month, my son, a police officer and follower of Jesus, shot and killed a suspect that seconds earlier had shot his sergeant. His sergeant was wearing a vest–thank God and is okay. True faith involves following Jesus into some pretty precarious situations at times!

A – ALLEGIANCE: True Biblical faith instills within us an allegiance, devotion, and loyalty to Jesus Christ. Not just in a church when surrounded by other Christians but in roll call, on a Friday night, at the bowling alley, the golf course, or whatever you do and wherever you go to unwind. It’s easy to see fanatical devotion displayed by fans of the Giants or Jets. Large sums of money are spent to attend games and to eat. Horrific weather is endured in November and December and yet a true fan doesn’t quit when the going gets tough. Our allegiance and devotion to Jesus should make that of a football fan’s pale in comparison. I’m not talking bumper sticker faith, I’m talking deep-seated, unshakeable convictions and beliefs that will not be compromised no matter the cost.

I – INSTRUCTION: The Bible IS NOT a book of recommendations or advice. It is a book of God-given instruction to help us navigate this thing called life. The instructions provided on a medicine bottle are meant to be followed. The instructions given by your Range Master or Armorer are meant to be followed. The instructions for disassembling and reassembling your firearm are meant to be followed. Failing to follow the instructions provided in the instances above can get someone seriously injured or killed. How much more important is it to follow the instructions provided in the Bible? True faith understands this and takes the Bible seriously, going to it early and often.
T – TRUST: True Biblical Faith trusts in what Jesus did on the cross. We do not have to earn our way into Heaven by trying, by hoping, by praying we will do more good in our lives than bad. Faith encourages us to TRUST in what Jesus did on the cross. When he said “It is finished”, He meant, “It is finished!” Faith understands the folly of trying to earn our place in Heaven by good works. No, we receive Heaven as an unearned, undeserved gift from God by simply placing our unwavering faith in Jesus Christ.

And finally…
H- HAPPY: True faith will lead us to be happy, happy, happy. Psalms 144:15b tells us “yea, happy [happy, happy] is that people, whose God is the Lord.” Once we fully grasp the significance of FOLLOWING Jesus, pledging our ALLEGIANCE to Jesus, consuming the INSTRUCTION of Jesus, and TRUSTING in the finished work of Jesus, we can’t help but be HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY as we live life in the very presence of Jesus.

Friend, if your FAITH in Jesus looks like this, then relax and keep on believing in Him. If it doesn’t, the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to “examine yourselves to make sure you are in the faith”.
We examine our equipment and car to make sure everything is functional before each shift because we know our lives may depend on it. So too, should we examine our FAITH because I assure you, our eternity does depend on it. Take care and be safe. God bless and see you at the finish line.

Chris Amos is a retired officer and former spokesperson for the Norfolk Virginia Police Department. He is currently the pastor at Chr1st Fellowship Church in Norfolk. He is married for 30 years and is the proud father of three children, two of whom are police officers. He serves as the volunteer Chaplain for Norfolk Police Dept. and Norfolk Sheriff’s Office.

Operation Rebound

Operation Rebound
Remembering 9/11 Together
By Michael Boll & Caroline Angel, Ph.D., RN

September 11th always sinks deep into the hearts of our community. And, when we say OUR community, what we mean is not only our brothers and sisters in Blue, but our civilian New Jersey and New York Community. Together, we watched powerlessly in devastation and despair from the sidelines as the Twin Towers came crashing down. As the towers fell, we could taste the soot on our tongues and the fires and smoke burned our eyes. We will never forget that day, and each glance at the forever changed NYC skyline is a reminder. United, as a member of the frontline Blue, and a sister of the civilian community, we briefly share some thoughts on remaining resilient together.

Beginning in the later morning hours of September 11, many of the Blue ran to the towers, desperate to help in anyway they could to support our brothers and sisters and the thousands of civilian members fleeing the destruction. Some of them could not get close, so they helped others locate missing loved ones. Some of our Blue stood vigilant in their own homes, being the rock for their families and communities. Mike recalls going to Ground Zero during 9/11 and seeing for the first time what a war could look like in our country–a weighty reflection from a Marine Corps vet. He says that it was hard to even get past the magnitude of the destruction and focus on assisting with the rescue and recovery efforts. Seeing our uniformed brothers and sisters working tirelessly without any regard to their safety really gave him hope that our country would eventually get through this tragedy.

For me, September 11th 2001 was the first day I was to become a volunteer for the American Red Cross. My job on that day was to be one of hundreds of volunteers answering phone calls from families of the missing. All the calls I took that night came from families of those missing from the 101st to 105th floors of One World Trade, the former home of Cantor Fitzgerald. It was too much for me to bear. I couldn’t go back the next day, nor a single day thereafter.

I would say that with shame, but honestly in talking to Mike, after his service at Ground Zero in those harrowing days following, even now, he hasn’t gone back to the site.

Wherever we were that day, however we helped, our entire community carries the deep grief of our Nation’s Fallen. Our Fallen. It will never go away.

The Officer Down Memorial Page (see: www.odmp.org/search/incident/september-11-terrorist-attack) informs us that the terrorist attacks of September 11th were the single greatest cause of line of duty deaths in American Policing history. Seventy-one officers were killed when the Towers collapsed and dozens more, we are told, have died from illnesses developed as a direct result of exposure to the hazardous conditions. While we can’t name them all here, please visit the Officer Down Memorial page, and honor their memories and their sacrifices.

But, the story doesn’t end there. Not even close. We have since rebuilt on the World Trade site what has become a hallowed ground for memory and reflection. We share our stories of those lost, carry their light and legacy forward, and continue to fight terror in our neighborhoods and abroad. And, we always come together to remember as a unified team.

Our Teams, Operation Rebound and Team Red White & Blue, both serving the military veteran and broader first responder communities, are wholeheartedly connected with the events of 9/11, and we take care to honor that day especially. For Mike, his drive to connect with families of the Fallen started in part post-9/11. For a couple of years after that day, he organized recreational and holiday activities for the families and children of 9/11 fallen Union County police. Last year, Operation Rebound held a memorial service in Warinanco Park, Elizabeth, NJ, and then began a 200 mile bicycle ride to Walter Reed Memorial Center in Washington DC, which they completed in under 24 hours. When they arrived at Walter Reed, they met with wounded military veterans and raised over 10,000 dollars to be donated directly to injured veterans on the Team. Previously, Team RWB has held remembrance events via functional fitness workouts at the Union County 9/11 Memorial in Echo Lake Park, Mountainside, NJ. Last year continuing again to this year, Team RWB will hold a remembrance run starting at the Empty Sky Memorial in Liberty State Park to run 11 miles and complete it with a moment of silence at 8:46am. Details of those events can be found by first joining our teams via the websites listed below.

As we continue to say, first with our thoughts from Memorial Day, and now with upcoming 9/11: these reminders bring challenges to many, especially those still bearing witness every day to their grief. Please take time to connect with each other, and remain resilient and united. We hope you will reach out to us directly or join us at our team events. Our goal is to provide a shelter for your stories to be shared among trusted others. Our Blue and Green brothers and sisters of the frontline with our caring civilian community, let us remember together.

Michael Boll: Mdbollio@uniontownship.com Caroline Angel: caroline.angel@teamrwb.org. www.teamrwb.org

Defensive Tactics

DEFENSIVE TACTICS – The weakening of “The Force”
By Lt. Patrick J. Ciser, C.P.D. (Ret.)

Historically, police officers in the vanguard when it came to fighting crime and protecting the citizenry of our great Nation. Our largest cities were always dangerous places, especially at night, and the United States has always had a high murder rate. From the days of Al Capone to today, it’s our gangs that are responsible for much of the carnage. Knowing from the 1930s that the police are charged with the incredible task of keeping these thugs at bay while risking their lives, were normally supported by the majority of the population and politicians alike. It was assumed that the police had to be a “righteous” tough bunch that wouldn’t back down in a fight. As a bouncer in various clubs from ages 18-21, I used to think how cool it would be to be the “bouncer” of an entire city, rather than a mere disco or club.

To be a bouncer back then, and still now, you need to be either big or know how to fight. As a young man, I remember telling people that I wanted to join the police “force”, however, today you rarely hear that term as many want to call us “Peace Officers.” Some liberal politicians are even calling for police officers to be disarmed at a time when we not only confront violent criminals, but in some cases, terrorists as well. In Great Britain recently, the police officers on scene of a terrorist attack had to wait for “armed” officers to get there to confront the jihadist. You can have a lot of dead people with only a few minutes delay, yet still, some would like to reduce us to social worker status.

Now don’t get me wrong, a good cop, as well as a good father, should be able to be a little of both. I like it when I see cops that are also mentors to street kids with no father. But, when I see cops holding up silly signs saying “Free hugs” that’s when I think we’re going a little too far. Recently, the Arlington County Police Department in Virginia made a synchronized swimming video. This was comical and somewhat entertaining to some I would imagine, but not my idea of a well trained, austere police department.

In order to be approachable and compassionate, I guess we have to be clowns now. A father and the cop both have to be the authoritarian. A combination of a little fear and respect works well when molding children and street thugs. Some degree of caring and even love from individual officers can go a long way when molding our youth into good citizens.

I remember years back that to be a state trooper you had to be, I believe, 5’9” or 5’10” and a certain weight. You had to excel physically and be able to fight in the ring. Not everyone knew how to box, but that wasn’t the point, as they wanted to know if you would keep fighting back or fall down into a fetal position after taking a few blows. By the time I went to the Essex County Police Academy in 1979, boxing was no longer a requirement. I found out that one of the janitors was a decent boxer, so we would go a couple of rounds from time to time during our lunch break. I boxed in the Golden Gloves in ‘78, so I always thought it was a lot of fun. So now, EVERYONE gets to be a cop; how wonderful!! No height and weight requirements and no rough stuff at the academy.

“What did you say?” “Many are failing the physical requirements?” “No problem, just like the military, we’ll make them easier.” How sad is that to hear from a defensive tactic point of view? Big cities are no longer concerned if you had a minor arrest or smoked pot when hired. A bad credit score used to keep you out, as it was thought that you might not be responsible, and could perhaps even be “bought.”

Politicians are without a doubt our biggest obstacle when trying to perform our duty, as we’ve seen from Ferguson to Baltimore, giving orders to lay back. We took a sworn oath to protect persons and property. How do we look in the eyes of the public when we allow looting, arson, and mayhem to take place right in front of us? When a business owner pleads with us to take action as he witnesses his business being destroyed, how does THAT affect our self-worth? You decide.

Pat Ciser is a retired Lieutenant from the Clifton Police Department, and a 7th Degree Black Belt. He was a member of 5 U.S. Karate Teams, winning gold medals in South America and Europe. He is the Author of BUDO and the BADGE; Exploits of a 
Jersey Cop (BN.com/Amazon), and is a guest writer for Official Karate Magazine.

Featured Story – Command and Leadership of Ground Zero

Command and Leadership of Ground Zero

A 9/11 interview with Bernard Kerik the 40th Police Commissioner of New York City
By Debra Ann Faretra

As we approach the 16th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, let’s remember those who were lost, the first responders, the rescue efforts, and the missions of our leaders that stabilized “Ground Zero” and the surrounding areas during the crisis.

On Sept. 11, 2001, New York City came under attack and the America we knew was no longer that day. Our New York City Police Officers and Firefighters faced the most challenging feats of their lives and many perished during their unselfish heroic rescue mission. The city was a war zone and people were scrambling and running for their lives while the NYPD, FDNY and other emergency workers remained on scene performing their heroic roles, literally gasping for air and not knowing if they would make it out alive. They were responsible for evacuating tens of thousands of people to safety, while frantically searching for survivors in between, and were willing to sacrifice their own lives in the face of evil.

Through this mayhem, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and other members of their administration arrived at a scene of sheer horror after tower one was hit. They witnessed the loss of lives before their eyes, and subsequently the second aircraft hitting tower two. Kerik and Giuliani were on scene and in between the mayhem when tower one collapsed. The administration played a crucial role in saving thousands of more lives through their ability to maintain lead, focus, and implement resources. They were greeted by President George W. Bush on Sept. 14th to assess the situation more closely. Recovery and restoration of Manhattan was a prime focus aside from offering the American people a sense of security.

Sixteen years later, Commissioner Kerik continues to offer his leadership skills and expert opinions through many of our country’s most difficult situations.

Bernard Kerik, born in Newark and raised in Paterson, New Jersey is a retired police officer and Army veteran that served as a military police officer, K-9 handler, and Army Tae Kwon Do Team Instructor. He served in leadership and command positions with several law enforcement agencies in the United States and also as a national security advisor to His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan, prior to becoming the 40th Police Commissioner of New York City.

When asked what attributes are required to being an effective leader, he replied, “It’s innate and you’re either born with it or you’re not, and no school can teach you how to be a leader.” What he is essentially describing are Alpha qualities that are innate and acquired through genetics and personality construct. He paved his own way through the streets and didn’t follow any gangs but learned through trial and error at a young age. His effective leadership during 9/11 is attributed to his instincts and street survival skills that he says kicked in on that tragic day. This is consistent to Darwin’s theory of the “survival of the fittest” in difficult situations. Each first responder demonstrated their Alpha abilities and courage during this terrorist attack.

I asked Kerik about his commanding presence and mind state during Sept. 9/11 and how his leadership skills were executed while people and the city were crumbling around him.

The goal was to focus on the problem at hand and to ensure the subordinates were inspired, motivated, and projected to do what they were supposed to, through myself and members of my administration to bring stability to all the chaos.

“Policies, planning, and procedures are designed to effectuate intervention. The City of New York had emergency management plans in place for terrorist attacks that guided emergency responders and bosses to their posts,” Kerik said.

“The Emergency Command Center, Mayor’s Office, and Emergency Management were up and running and we practiced and planned for years for terrorist attacks but not necessarily planes into buildings. The plans and responses were already established should terrorism hit NYC. The command executed orders and the first responders did what they were trained and prepared for,” Kerik went on to say.

I asked Kerik to describe the frame of mind he was in when he was called into the war zone and if he was afraid.
“I was pissed! There was no time to be afraid even when the building collapsed,” he said. Everyone looked to him and other leaders to model responses and he says there was a job to do and the people relied on him.

When asked about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Kerik described that he didn’t consciously suffer trauma to his knowledge, but a day hasn’t gone by in 15 years where 9/11 isn’t on his mind or part of his life. When I asked Kerik how he was psychologically impacted by 9/11, he said unselfishly that the focus wasn’t on his own mental health but that he was hurt for the families that lost their children and some even lost two. He was deeply affected through the pain of others and not so much his own.

Kerik has been through many traumatic life experiences since his childhood. People that have gone through something similar may see life through a different lens and feel very vulnerable in the world. When asked how he overcame these events and remained resilient, he said, “You have a mission statement and you create goals and objectives. You have performance measures to get you around those goals and objectives to get you where you want to be. That’s what I used.”

I asked if he had any advice for those traumatically impacted by 9/11 or their everyday role as a first responder.
“People will deal with their mental health differently. If you think you need to talk to someone, then talk to them. Don’t be embarrassed, shy, or reserved about it. Take care of yourself now you need to stay healthy.”

Giuliani and Kerik attended over 400 funerals post 9/11 and had to focus on the city and being strong for the people. “There was just no time to get emotionally shattered, we had to keep moving,” Kerik said.

Ground Zero was the first battleground to the war on terror and he had to take a position to combat it.
Although many stayed strong through this painful and trying time, the psychological and physical impacts were felt by all at a later time. Each struggled through this ordeal of loss, trauma, and pain.

Policing in this day and age is a lot different. I asked Kerik what advice he has for the younger generation of law enforcement and those entering the profession today.
“The global war on terror has given police officers very different functions than in the past. It’s important to know about crime in the rest of the world and the characteristics of those threats because they are coming here. Terrorism is implemented in police training and to the recruits.”

Kerik mentioned that he and Giuliani share the sentiments that on the 9/11 and during the aftermath, the first responders’ rescue mission was unparalleled in this country. They carried out the greatest rescue and evacuation efforts in the history of the United States. They were strategized, organized, and courageous in their roles. Unselfishly, they didn’t have time to think of their own health either, and many suffered physical and psychological illnesses as a result.

“The unity and national response by law enforcement was incredible. Cops, firefighters, and EMS had driven across the United States to join in the rescue mission at Ground Zero,” said Kerik.
Many first responders and commanders were reluctant to discuss events of this tragic day due to the painful memories associated. We honor the fallen, their families, and first responders of September 11.

Kerik’s experience walking away from September 11 is, “Don’t take life for granted.”

The general public doesn’t really know Kerik as I do, but he is a humble person; he is a first responder and a soldier who took action and led the way for his troops on the 9/11 battleground.
Myself and the staff at NJ BLUE NOW would like to thank our Police, Fire, EMS, and our retired and active military members for their service. We also thank Commissioner Kerik for his service to our country! God Bless America!

Debra Ann Faretra, M.A. is a Mental Health Public Safety Instructor offering in service training for police and fire. She is also the Principal Mental Health and Wellness Educational Consultant for Forensi Consulting, LLC in Essex County, New Jersey. She is educated in psychology, counseling, and police studies.


The Psychology Amidst the Battle
By Jay Martinez, Retired Perth Amboy Lead Training Officer, SWAT Commander, Former Recon Marine, currently teaching at Rutgers

Too much rest creates rust.
I recall as a young kid following the hype in one of the greatest fights of all time. On June 20, 1980, Panamanian, Roberto Duran won the WBC welterweight title by defeating Sugar Ray Leonard by unanimous decision in 15 hard-fought rounds. After winning the belt, the champion celebrated and ballooned up way past his fighting weight. Their second fight was a debacle, and its best known as the “no mas” fight. Duran failed to regain the eye of the tiger and ultimately stained his career by quitting in the eighth round.

Aaah, the splendor of the tactical realm. It consists of the seen and the unseen. The Samurai explain it as martial arts. Believe me, it doesn’t mean what you think. Most people may even think martial arts were designed to teach kids in gleaming white uniforms. No, not even close! Martial arts were designed for warriors to kill in battle. Meaning, martial, the thinking part of tactics and arts, the physical aspect of it. There are so many forces at work throughout the process of operating as a tactician in the field. Have you ever measured the guiding forces that lead you to be able to succeed or what exactly failed the officer in their time of need?

Think your way home.
Tactics belong to the cognitive realm. Model tacticians whose names have become synonymous with battle excellency, prided themselves as great thinkers first. Alexander, Attila, Patton, Rommel, Montgomery, and Nimitz all shared commonalities. They were great students of war. They also insisted that their units do things correctly and professionally. A cavalier sense in training and in performance will not make the grade. Don’t forget, Anderson Cooper and the world is watching. In my company, I take pride in approaching tactics as a science. Implementing psychology, physiology, and other shared components to give the good guy the tactical position of advantage. Tactics are not a game. Furthermore, chance has no part in any of this. This is a battle of angles, leverage, speed, lighting, movement, cover, concealment, teamwork. But, if we hash over the primal definition of combat, we learn that it is a battle of two wills.

Your will should be like:
• Gold, can get harder, not softer, when heated to high temperatures.
• A lion goes on full attack mode when it is ambushed.

As a former Recon Marine and now a retired SWAT Commander, I understand the demand for training that mimics reality. All of reality. Not just bits and pieces. I have read that a good, experienced trainer has a specific responsibility, which is to construct real world training environments. I will tell you that the U.S. military focuses so much of their combat readiness on this very premise. The military recruit ventures through a cataclysmic series of events through their initial training stage known as boot camp or basic training. Every step has been designed to offer the young mind what it will require in order to succeed in their new environment and what they may discard. In other words, in with the new and out with the old.

Let’s appreciate how much of the mind is at work when the officer chooses to dial in force.
• Normalcy bias – the untrained, unrehearsed mind will disavow the threat. Imagine seeing a threat sprinting toward you with an edged weapon. NB will not enable an officer to react toward that threat. They will freeze, posture and or quit and wind up as a fatality. That is why constant repetition is the key to getting home. Rest creates rust.
• Mental chronometry – applicable forces that are now trained threats. Those forces are so intense that the untrained officer has created a delay against their own response. In other words, the threat was greater than the response and now the officer is down.
• Sympathetic nervous system (SNS) – The unconditioned officer is performing in an unfamiliar physiological zone. Their heart rate is over 200 beats per minute. Therefore, our prized motor skills have dissipated, leaving the officer operating under gross motor skills. Gross motor skills have to be refined to complete finer more delicate tasks, like conducting reloads and re-directing a threat. Also SNS is a fight or flight reflex. If you haven’t trained yourself to fight, such as, taking on a threat that is armed with an edged weapon, chances are you will wilt in the face of adversity. Mental muscle memory is just as important as physical repetitions. You must know and believe you can successfully encounter a possible deadly threat and win!
• Tachycardia – accelerated heart rate. The officer is now combat ineffective. She has underperformed and overreacted and succumbed to the gravity of the incident. In the movie, The Accountant, the central figure is a cool, calculated tactician and seems just to be doing his job. Can and will you invest so much of your time, effort and money to become the consummate professional?
• Motor skills – Our motor skills are God issued. They help to fine tune ourselves to our environment. Whatever we are attempting to accomplish, motor skills adapt to that specific need. Our motor skills, fine – needed to conduct a magazine change. Complex – a magazine change while moving to cover. Gross – Power based skills. We need all three, but our SNS dictates how much we actually receive. The less you condition and train, the less you get to access all three, very valuable motor skills.

Lastly, the ugliest possible scenario that can occur to an officer is quit or posture. We understand that the flinch stage is those two seconds that your training has not equipped you to handle. But, how about if your agency trainers missed the entire boat and stretched the flinch stage to ineffective lengths? The outcome will literally force the officer into a fetal position and die with no pushback.

If you believe that your success is incumbent upon your tangible skill sets, you have no clue what you’re up against. This is a battle that is waged in the mind. I challenge you to learn more. I am always here to assist you. Stay safe. Jmartinez@warningorder.net

Jay Martinez is the founder of Warning Order—a highly specialized law enforcement training company. For more information on EDP training, visit warningorder.net

Behind the Badge

Stand Down or Stand Up
By Joseph Pangaro, CPM

A very common practice is developing in the police community–standing down in the face of chaos.

Most recently we saw this practice at the Charlottesville Virginia clashes between the neo Nazi groups and the groups protesting them. The two sides assembled in separate areas but it wasn’t long before they began to engage each other, usually one person at a time.

The individuals from each group stood toe to toe and began yelling and screaming at each other, eventually they came to blows, hitting each other with whatever make-shift weapons they had or their bare hands. In a short time the groups of onlookers from both sides joined in and the fracas became more violent with several people getting seriously injured and eventually there was a death.

The police had assembled in the general areas and began observing the crowds, which is what this stand down practice has become, observing. I watched the news accounts of what was going on and it was clear that there were people at this event that were armed with handguns and long guns of all kinds. That in itself was not really a problem, especially for the police in Virginia where state law allows open carry, but other people were carrying sticks, clubs, tire irons and bats. Clearly state law doesn’t prohibit these items, but anyone watching the mood of the crowd as it developed and scuffles that were taking place would know that there was going to be confrontations between the two groups where those clubs, bats and tire irons would be used.

Even as the situation became more agitated, the police officers continued to observe, making only slight adjustments in their placement to contain the action.

It is this new phenomenon that we see where the police, as directed by their leaders, are taking a more hands off approach to these types of crowds. The thinking seems to be: Let the crowds interact and vent their feelings but don’t get involved in anything that can look bad on TV, even if they commit blatant acts of vandalism and destruction, or worse, assaults against each other using weapons right in front of the officers.

Charlottesville is not the only time we have seen this; it seems to be a growing trend. We watch time and time again as groups of “protesters” loot stores and break windows, turn over police cars and burn buildings, all the time taunting the police who stand by “observing”.

My two part question here is simple: First, has law enforcement become so demonized by the media and many of the people of our society that this hands off approach is now the default position to avoid accusation of police brutality and further agitation by our citizens?

Second, have our leaders become so averse to taking legal, moral and justifiable police actions in these violent events because they will be vilified and potentially lose their careers over doing their jobs?

I think the answers are obvious; yes and yes.

Our society is changing, our historical norms of behavior are being replaced by a much more violent culture that sees violence as the go to plan to get a reaction in the belief that “revolution” is at hand and these actions are required to remake our society.

Are they? Is revolution at hand?

I watched a news report of some of the Antifa groups having a meeting before an event where they discussed having the event get violent at the “right time”. This was as the cameras were rolling, not in a clandestine meeting somewhere; they were planning on getting violent as part of the goal of the event. I think this reality is due to the stand down efforts that agencies are taking.

To be honest, I can understand the development of these stand down policies; we watch our brother and sister officers do their jobs to protect life and property and they are treated like rogue warriors out to hurt people for the sheer pleasure of it, as if they were simply bullies let loose to terrorize the population. They can and do face arrest and trial in some cases for doing their job.

Standing down is a reaction to this paradigm change in our society.

Where will this lead us as a nation?

History has the answers if we look for them. It will lead to chaos, and more violence and a destruction of our society in general. We will devolve into a place we won’t recognize and assume the default position of humanity: tyranny.

Protest is good. It is part of our heritage and necessary for our rights to remain strong, but violence allowed to run amok is the opposite of who we are as Americans. Law enforcement and living within the law is the foundation of a safe and healthy society.

Lt. Joseph Pangaro retired after serving 27 years at a police department in Monmouth County, NJ, having served as the Lead Training Officer. Pangaro is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickenson University’s Certified Public Managers Program (CPM). He’s a newspaper columnist who writes about the rigors and joys in law enforcement. Joseph Pangaro is the CEO and President of Pangaro Training and Management, and Pangaro Global Training, an online training company. Email Lt. Pangaro JPangaro194@yahoo.com or Twitter: @Pangarotraining.


A Life-Saving Antidote for Officers and their K-9 Partners
By Rafael Rosa

As law enforcement officers, one of our primary objectives is to provide protective services to the community we serve. Rarely do we put ourselves first when attempting to safeguard the lives of those we are entrusted to protect. This is the reason why police officers are imbued with all sorts of life-saving training so that we can properly address a life-threatening situation accurately and swiftly.

As more individuals become addicted to opioids, police departments across America are arming themselves with the sobering power of Narcan to resuscitate the blitzed drug addict. Yet Narcan–a drug that counters the effects of opioids–is not exclusively for drug abusers. K-9 officers can also use Narcan to reverse the negative side-effects of their drug-sniffing dogs.
Recently, there have been several instances when in the process of tracking opioids; dogs have been afflicted with moderate forms of overdose. Like the human anatomy, which quickly absorbs the opiates, a dog’s internal composition works in a similar fashion. Therefore, it is crucial to provide relief to man’s best friend, especially when they are unwilling victims of their assigned profession. But K-9s are not the only species that can experience the negative effects of opiates while performing their duties, officers too can be exposed to the toxicity of the drug.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opiate used primarily by surgeons to alleviate pain, is a porous drug which can easily permeate the skin. The drug is widely used by addicts for its powerful euphoric effects and has caused countless of deaths around the globe. Having the ability to dissolve quickly, most addicts ingest the drug sublingually. Others, however, smoke the opioid, or just merely take the drug as a pill.

For this reason, among others, officers should always wear gloves and avoid bare contact with the drug. At 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, even the minutest amount of fentanyl residue can cause undesirable effects to an officer. Therefore, Narcan, which was developed primarily for addicts, can also be used as a life-saving anecdote for officers and their K-9 partners.
Lastly, on the eve of the 9/11 commemorations, let us remember the countless first responders who risked their lives searching, day and night, in a heroic effort to safeguard the living and retrieving the dead. It is to these men and women, including over three hundred trained K-9s, which we owe the greatest admiration and praise. As always stay alert, stay alive.

Rafael Rosa has been a police officer since 1999. He presently holds an associate and bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, and two masters. At present, he is a doctoral candidate.

Cover Story

New Jersey State Police Superintendent, Colonel Joseph R. Fuentes
By Daniel Del Valle, George Beck, and Joseph Uliano
NJ Blue Now recently sat down with NJ State Police Superintendent, Colonel Joseph R. (Rick) Fuentes to get his take on a number of issues currently involving law enforcement in our state and across the country. In this exclusive uncensored interview, Colonel Fuentes discusses the future of modern policing, United States relations with Cuba, his agency, body cameras, and so much more.

NJ Blue Now Magazine: When you joined the state police, did you ever think that one day you’d be leading it?

Colonel Joseph r. Fuentes: No. Absolutely not! Every step of my career I was given a chain of very, very good assignments. I spent most of my career as a detective and in intelligence. I never chased ranks, mostly because I always thought the assignment that I was in was going to be the best assignment that I was going to have.

You worked with several governors on both sides of the political aisle, which is a feat that’s not common nowadays; can you tell our readers how you manage to separate partisan politics from policing?

I always said this to local chiefs, and you guys all come from those departments. I think the political pressures and the political tensions are far greater at your departments than they are here at the State Police. There is a lot of independence that’s given to the superintendent. The superintendent works for the Attorney General–that’s my chain of command, so the attorney general acts as a great buffer. If I was to put a reason behind maybe my longevity in this job, which is across four governors and seven or eight attorney generals, it’s probably because a large part had to do with the federal consent decree… I think as long the consent decree was going fine that probably was the foundation for my staying.

Where do you see modern policing headed in the next decade? 

We are trying to draw that template now. I would have to say the intelligence driven–which is really information driven that ends up as intelligence. It’s all part of the cycle, and technology today, relates to almost everything in policing right now. We are at the forefront on technology and intelligence. There’s always been an understanding on my part that the Hudson River is not a boundary or firewall against crime. Therefore, the greater New York City metropolitan area extends way into New Jersey, Newark, and beyond Newark, or as I like to say, the greater Newark metropolitan area extends all the way across the five boroughs of New York City. It really is one high-risk homeland security issue and hometown security issue related to crime and our ability to collaborate with not only police departments in New Jersey, but New York City is extremely important as well. And I have to say that most recent Bill Bratton and Jimmy O’Neil have been one hundred percent supportive of that.

You’ve been involved in intelligence-led policing where counties come together to analyze crime stats to see what they are missing. In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge we face in terms of crime reduction and criminal apprehension? 

Okay, so you all know about the CORE STAT (corridor status) program. We realized five or six years ago, as the ROIC really began to stand out, we needed some kind of a format to bring police chiefs from cities and the smallest towns who often suffer the same issues, together to discuss crime. The area we picked out was the area where 80 percent of the crime in the state was located. We called it initially the “21 Corridor,” which spans 19 miles between Paterson and Newark that became the grounding of this initiative, now it’s spread out like a triangle. It goes to Jersey City, even down to Elizabeth in Union County. It’s always been and you guys will remember this, it’s sort of like the old detective associations on steroids, at those meetings people get together, sort of share the shoe box, the way things used to be, and you will talk about cases and try to share some tidbits. So what we did was formalized that process into CORE STAT and if you haven’t been to those meetings, you really should go because what goes on in those meetings is absolutely amazing. I’ve watched shootings get solved across the room, you know across the room in real time.

Is there a particular area where you would like to see improvement, as you go forward into the future with your agency? 

Yes, it’s going to be on the technology side. I think, in part, our training is good and our men and women are very confident, that’s because of the training and the processes that we put them through. But let me just go to an executive order that the governor signed last week. It was on the Office of Information Technology and it concerned establishing economies of technology across state government, that’s both, a way to eliminate waste and it’s also a way to energize the technology support that could been given to all departments. I think we were singled out as one of six agencies that they are looking at to energize the technology support. I think as long as we are staying on the cutting edge, because now everything is cyber. Even now talking about the opium crisis, we are talking about the dark web. Heroin is increasingly being supplanting and fatally with fentanyl and fourteen other analog compounds that we identify in our labs–it’s killing people with overdoses which remain at a troubling high rate, so we are doing that as a result of retooling our lab technology. On the cyber side, and obviously with the NJ CCIC program up in the ROIC, we are looking for cyber-attacks against government infrastructure at the local, county, and state level. If you keep your technology strong, you’re going to keep your organization moving forward, so that’s where I think the emphasis has to be, not just with the state police but in any large police agency. Because that will also define the amount of support we could give police departments that can’t afford those resources and that’s important.

Is an open relationship with Cuba a good idea considering they allow several of our fugitives of justice asylum?

So look, the relationships with countries are a matter for the President of the United States and Congress if there’s a treaty. I’ve taken a very aggressive position on this most recently. I wrote an editorial for the New York Post. This was during the waning moments of the administration of President Barack Obama. I went hard at the administration for not just Joanne Chesimard, but the other four, and these are going to be names that you may of heard of; Charlie Hill, Gerena, Cheri Laverne Dalton, remember her from Nanuet, NY and also Willy Morales–these are all individuals down there along with Chesimard, who have in some respect, either directly or indirectly been involved with police killings–whether it’s bombers or as a direct confrontation with law enforcement as in the case of Charlie Hill and Joanne Chesimard. Charlie Hill has not even been prosecuted for the murder of Trooper Robert Bloom, New Mexico State Police 1971, which was two years before Foerster was killed on the turnpike. So he’s been out there that long, high-jacked a plane within a month or two after that homicide, him and two other individuals, who flew to Cuba, where they were given political asylum.
Look, I have every reason to believe and have a very high level of confidence that the Administration of Donald Trump is going to address this issue, so you know I’m going to be front-and-center on that, but look, the New Jersey State Police is a familiar brand to the Administration of President Trump. He comes to Bedminster here and sees our Troopers constantly. He’s great with our Troopers, he understands New Jersey just like he understands New York and he also understands the situation involving the fugitives down in Cuba.

What can the President do to bring Chesimard and the other terrorists hiding in plain sight in Cuba back to the United States? 

Put those chips back on the table. I don’t know how else to express that. I guess that’s probably the best way to do it. You know we haven’t concluded those negotiations yet. The last Administration still left this an open issue.

Do you feel the U.S. fugitives should have been part of the negotiations? 


In 2016, the 156th class graduated with 32% minorities. Is that a satisfying percentage for you or is there more to be done to increase those numbers? 

I won’t name specific states but I would put those numbers up against any academy in the land. Your department should reflect the persons you are serving and that’s the bottom line. We got very, very aggressive in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office maybe four or five years ago. We basically redesigned the whole recruiting bureau. Most importantly, we put money behind it. I think that was one of the issues. If you don’t have money to go out and do it, like billboards, radio ads, meetings, and going out of state to different types of schools that have diverse student bodies, you’re going to be limited. You need to have money behind that. The last three or four attorney generals have been very, very supportive on this concept. So beginning with several classes ago, we implemented this. We are seeing the fruit of this right now and it’s been very, very positive and just recently we had a meeting with the community up in Totowa, where members of minority groups and faith-based communities went to the podium and said some very good things about the State Police, relating to the accomplishments directed toward diversity. It makes us a better organization and makes a well-grounded organization. It’s bettering our relationships with the community and it’s very, very strong here in New Jersey. And look, I’m not just laying on State Police. I think that law enforcement in general at every single level in New Jersey has been commendable on the way they have related to the community. I could tell you, when they did the 21st Century Policing, we went through each one of those pillars and looked at all those things and the satisfying thing there is this didn’t just pertain to the State Police, but across law enforcement in general as so many of those pillars were already being followed by police agencies in New Jersey.

Your agency has a strict policy with physical fitness for those seeking promotions. Do you believe local and county agencies should follow that lead and why? 

I would never tell the county and local departments what to do, but I could tell you why we do it. I think one of the distinctions is that we often patrol alone, at distances that are somewhere separate from our back up. We all have been in boxing rings. We know what happens when you hold your hands up trying to stand off against somebody for a minute. I don’t know how Chuck Webner or Muhammad Ali and Frasier did it for fourteen rounds, but you will get exhausted pretty quickly. We always maintain that you have the ability to know your limitations, physically and mentally, and that you could go beyond them, which is what we train people to understand in the academy. A lot of people enrolled at the academy, never had thrown a punch, never had fired a gun, and by the time they come out, they have an understanding on how to best defend themselves… The police officer or the trooper that comes across as physically fit is far less likely to get involved in a physical confrontation, because nobody wants to engage in the physical confrontation they don’t think they could be successful in. So again, we teach our people when you are by yourself, you are protecting your gun, because if you lose your gun, the situation changes dramatically, that’s why we maintain that level of fitness.

Body cameras, what is your take? 

I like them and I’ll tell you why: Look, we have been what I call Hollywood, since 1999, which is why we are filming our stops. Obviously in car video systems, they give you the landscape view of the motor vehicle stop… You still end up with the he said or she said about the appearance of contraband, or for the movements that require our additional actions like observing a gun. Those types of things, and that is important, it (body cameras) sort of closes the loop on that… So essentially we had a slow roll out on the body cameras that we are putting out now… We have them in three stations, and we are putting them out to four more right now. We are putting out a camera that is redesigned–we are the ones designing or redesigning the cameras with our vendor–the reason is, we need a twelve hour battery. A twelve hour battery on the camera creates a bulky camera that we have seen and can dislodge from our uniform–from the summer shirt even from the winter uniform. We are trying to get to a camera that hooks into the belt, which means it will stay there and has a wire with audio and visual that goes up the tie, so the chances of dislodging in a physical confrontation are far less.

A lot of our readers are officers, troopers, the guys at the bottom, non-administrators. What’s your message to those patrolling the streets? Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of anti-law enforcement sentiment and some officer’s feel they kind of have lost their purpose. What is your message to the road officers out there? 

Don’t let narrative influence you. Don’t let the media agenda influence you. I looked at New Jersey when all the unrest was going around the country, and we never had any problems. Why? Because of the community relationships that police across all levels of law enforcement in New Jersey had already established with the community. I think it’s our professionalism. I think it’s ours, and again this is me talking broadly about law enforcement in New Jersey, not just State Police, but to go back to the beginning of your question, the person who is wearing the uniform and out on patrol is the heart and soul of every organization–that’s the center of gravity… When people still ask me, what’s your job? I say I’m a Trooper in New Jersey. That’s the most honorable best thing that I could say in terms of what I have done with the last almost forty years of my professional life. The person that’s wearing that uniform is the bedrock, the shoulders on which we all stand on. So look, depending upon on what newspaper you read, depending upon what TV channel you look at, you are going to get different views about law enforcement, but I think the standards for us are higher than anybody else. We are put on the highest pedestal, right? And that’s where we should be. We have powers that stand beyond the President of United States with the ability under very specific circumstances and justified to be able to take a human life. That is an incredible amount of accountability and responsibility, which is why we train our people to the degree that we do. I can be proud in my organization, but I see law enforcement across the spectrum in New Jersey and the job we have all done.

What has been the biggest obstacle that you have dealt with being the head guy?

That’s actually an easy one for me, too. We are in collaboration with all police departments. That has placed a lot of responsibility on us. The information sharing, you know the intelligence. The ROIC puts out up to three thousand products a year that police departments are completely depending upon. The one thing I get concerned about is being able to fuel that mission, and every week I get together with my deputy superintendants about three hours. They provide me with an agenda and throw out some items of their own and we sit down and help each other out. That’s very important… I don’t micromanage this organization. I got a very good command staff, so decision making has come a lot faster, which is the result of that. I’m not waking up too much at night. They are, and that’s the way it should be and they are very good problem solvers. And it’s not a lieutenant colonel, keep in mind the person who runs the 24/7 watch in the ROIC, who is the point of contact if they are needed, like a lost child, overturned tractor trailer, plane crash, whatever the case may be, any of our specialized resources is either through a high ranking sergeant or a lieutenant. I always go back to what Dwight Eisenhower said, “The sergeant is the army.” …Our mission has expanded since 9/11. I worry about being able to keep up with a lot of those obligations.