Inside Perspective

Do You Have Integrity?
By Thomas Shea, D.Sc., CPP

Think about that answer for a second, while keeping in mind that in the definition of integrity, words are backed up by actions. Are you that cop that, while on patrol, writes sixteen speeding tickets on one shift and later races home at sixty mph over the speed limit? Are you that Sergeant who stands in roll call and lectures all of your subordinates about work ethic and then yourself call out sick eighteen times a year? Are you the elected union leader who utilizes your position as an angle to get unjustly promoted over others whom you represent? Are you that high ranking, command staff supervisor who stands idly by, while your Chief or Public Safety Director wreaks havoc over the police department, but you do nothing because you don’t want to risk your future aspirations to that position? Are you the Chief that constantly writes up patrol officers for the most minor of infractions but then turns a blind eye to your favorites in the specialized units who break the same rules?

Unfortunately, examples such as these are not that uncommon in law enforcement. I am sure that many of you reading this can think of somebody matching these descriptions within your respective departments. If you really observe others closely, you will learn that at some point during a cop’s career, they have to face an internal, professional ‘test’ of their moral courage. The decision they make regarding this test will likely adversely affect their lives in some fashion or another, should they choose to “buck the system.” This could mean losing a benefit of some sort. Many people, not just officers, are not willing to do this; alternatively, they try to justify their choices by stating things such as, “Well, they would probably do the same thing to me.”

Judging by how much revenue it generated, the movie Braveheart appeared to resonate with the public. Many of the ethical principles in the movie, such as integrity and humility, are applicable to the point of this article. The main character, William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson, had an uncompromising conviction regarding his beliefs. This is an admirable personality trait which we all aspire to possess but in reality, is extremely rare. There is one particularly memorable scene where Wallace is bribed with titles and gold to turn against his countrymen. Wallace says, “…And then I should become Judas.” The Princess with whom he is negotiating with states, “Peace is made in such ways.” Wallace then replies, “Slaves are made in such ways!” Now, imagine the ‘titles’ are promotions in your departments and the ‘gold’ are salary increases that come with it. Would you truly turn it down if you knew that it was not the right thing to do, or would you give in, thus compromising your integrity? Keep in mind that whatever decision you make, you should probably be aware that many more people than you may realize are observing you. The respect they have for you may be diminished as a result of your choice and it will be extremely difficult to ever earn back.

For those of you who have children, you likely recognize that this is the most important job you will ever have. You are probably aware that you are the template from which they form their ethical standards. They often duplicate everything that you say and do. Many times throughout their lives, you most likely advise them on what is, “the right thing to do,” while at the same time attempting to  instill in them the morals and values which you find essential in order to be a good human being. What I’m about to say is not meant to offend anyone, rather, the intent is to be thought provoking. The next time you begin to lecture your eight or nine year old, really try to consider if you “practice what you preach.” If you instruct a child about a particular set of ethical standards and then leave for work and violate them yourself, are you not being hypocritical? What if your children saw those actions that directly contradict what you taught them? Do you think that they would draw that conclusion? If the answer is probably yes, you should probably reevaluate your choices.

Thomas Shea attained degrees from Rutgers, Seton Hall and New Jersey City Universities. In 2015, he completed his doctoral dissertation in police executive leadership. He retired from the Long Branch Police Department in 2017, where he was assigned to the Patrol Division, Investigations Bureau and Street Crimes Unit, Training and Internal Affairs. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Centenary University. Lastly, Dr. Shea is a Marine Corps veteran.

Featured Interview

Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis: Sandy Hook Elementary School Survivor and Teacher
By Joe Uliano

In this featured interview, I recently spoke with Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis–a Sandy Hook Elementary School survivor, teacher, and hero. After working seven years as a teacher, Roig-Debellis faced the greatest challenge of her career on Dec. 14, 2012, as she made the decision to survive and protect her students. Be prepared to hear the chilling inside view of what transpired on that horrific day. We are hopeful this feature will get all of us thinking about how we can better secure our schools, with the anticipation of preventing any further attacks on our most vulnerable and precious population.

Here is her story:

“My students and I were sitting in our morning meeting, which is a very calm, quiet time. We had just greeted one another as we do every morning and we were somewhere in the midst of sharing our holiday traditions when very loud, rapid fire shooting began over and over and over. Our classroom, being the first in our school, I knew immediately that what I was hearing was a gun. There was not a moment of pause or hesitation. I got up, closed the door, and turned off the lights. My keys were across our classroom on my desk and I knew I did not have the time to retrieve them. Our door remained unlocked.

I turned to my students and said, ‘We need to get into our bathroom right now.’

They protested, ‘How?’ ‘Why?’ They were arguing, because our classroom bathroom was an impossibly small space. It was a single occupancy stall built for a small child, no larger than 3×4 feet, with a toilet in the center. However, if we were going to attempt to survive, this was our only option. We had to try to fit. We began rushing to the back of our classroom, shots ringing out as if we were at war on a battlefield. Our colorful, vibrant classroom faded immediately. We started pushing into our bathroom. I stood one student behind the toilet, a few on top, my tiniest little girl, I held up on the toilet paper dispenser until all of our bodies were finally piled in. That’s when I realized that the door opened in–we were in but couldn’t close the door. I began picking students up and putting them behind the door until eventually we were able to close it, and lock it. I told my students we had to be absolutely quiet. They were and we waited.

We stood there huddled, squished like sardines listening to the sheer horror of what was happening on the other side of a cinderblock–pure evil reigned all around us. As time passed, it grew increasingly hot, it was very difficult to take a deep breath–
this was not a space meant for 16 people to hide in–it was barely large enough for a six year old. Some of my students were growing very uncomfortable and started to whisper, ‘Can we get out?’ I reminded my students we were waiting for someone good to rescue us, and so we waited. In waiting, there were so many unknowns. I never thought we would make it through, we were just too close. As we waited, I told my students how happy I was to be their teacher, how glad I was that they were in my class and how loved they each were. I did not want the horror they were hearing to be their last memories. We waited for 45 minutes I’m told-I had no watch, no phone. It felt like an eternity.

Eventually a knock came at our door, terror struck as I was sure the gunmen had finally found us. Why wouldn’t he have, we were in the first classroom? I whispered to a student to ask who was there, I did not want a monster to know that there were 16 terrified people hunkered behind that door.

My student asked, and as you would reply to a small child the voice spoke, ‘Hey little fella, it’s the police, we are here to help you.’ At that point, I spoke. ‘If you are really the police we need your badge,’ which they immediately slipped under the door. As I held it in my hand, I could not believe it, not after what we had heard and endured. I said, ‘I don’t believe you, this does not look real; it looks like a toy badge. We aren’t unlocking the door. If you are really the police, you should have the master set of keys, and be able to unlock this door.”

They did have the master keys, and after trying 5, 6, or 7 different keys, the door finally popped open and pushed in. We were greeted by an entire SWAT team, head to toe body armor, masks, shields, machine guns. They began pulling our bodies out of the space we were wedged in. I never thought we would see the other side of that bathroom door, and I am eternally grateful that we did.”

Please tell us a little about Victoria Soto, who selflessly lost her life protecting her students.
Vicki Soto and I had an adjoining door. We opened it often to pass students through, share materials or ask questions. She was an incredible, extraordinary teacher. It was very clear that teaching was her passion and she exuded that in everything she did. She lived for her students and she gave every lesson, every experience, her all, every single day.

Did you suffer from survivor’s guilt?
No. I have never suffered from survivor’s guilt. Perhaps because for so long I didn’t believe we had survived. After I finally realized we in fact had, it was my faith that would not allow me to feel guilt for surviving. If I start questioning surviving, I am questioning my faith. And if I start questioning my faith, which has always been very strong, then what do I have?

You mentioned during a recent presentation, that you attended counseling to move on with your life. Would you say you were dealing with symptoms of PTSD and what did counseling do for you?
I did attend counseling. There were two main reasons I knew I needed the guidance and help of a mental health professional. First, I needed a plan for my students, to help them feel safe and secure in our new classroom space. Second, I needed someone to convince me that I was alive. I had a very difficult time believing we had survived based on our proximity and how unimaginable it seemed for us to fit in our tiny bathroom. My therapist, who is now a friend, was amazing, and helped me to grapple with, and ultimately tackle both of these issues. Whether or not I had symptoms of PTSD, I’m not entirely sure. I was ‘cleared’ of ever having PTSD. I’m sure there were remnants. I don’t think you survive what my students and I did and not have some trauma and stress that sticks with you. It seems impossible.

Unfortunately, officers are trained to see these tragedies, it’s what they sign on for, but not our school teachers. Do you feel that a part of your career objectives have been stolen from you?
Thankfully, no! What happened on that day has nothing to do with teaching, or who I am as an educator. I can gratefully say that since that tragic day, and every day since, who I am as an educator has only been bolstered. So much was irrevocably changed that horrific morning, for myself, my students, and so many incredible people. I am grateful that who I am as a teacher was not.

Should our teachers receive hands-on training rather than just drilling to better prepare them for these incidents?
I believe that awareness and preparation are both key. When I say that what happened at our school could have never happened there, that is a true statement. And yet, look what happened. Sometimes I fear we live in a culture of ‘it will never happen here, or to me’. I think that people need to have a heightened awareness of their surroundings, of who is in their presence, of what is happening around them. If there is a way to prepare teachers better for this, I fully support it!

Seeing what you’ve seen, are our children safer now in terms of school security?
This is important, it’s an important first step, but there is so much more to be done. I know that more can be done and needs to be done. However, I believe that there is a level of greater awareness today.

I think it’s important to address basic safety as a main concern. I travel a lot in my work now speaking and I am amazed that there are still schools in our country with unlocked doors. This is unacceptable. My students and I would not be here if our school hadn’t been locked. We are here because he spent three minutes shooting his way in through a window and we had time to hide. You can’t predict the unimaginable, but you can do everything in your power to make schools as safe as possible. When you tuck your children in bed at night, your front door is locked. Our schools doors need to be as well.

What do you say to the SWAT team that rescued your students and you?
Thank you. It is hard to articulate my gratitude to the SWAT team that found and rescued us from our bathroom hideout. I will be eternally grateful to each of them always.

Please tell us about the outpouring support that you and your students received, which led to the creation of your non-profit organization “Classes 4 Classes.”
Classes 4 Classes, initially was my life line. When I founded it back in January 2013, it was my way to find good in what seemed a very dark and evil world. Since, we have begun to transform the way social emotional learning is approached here in the United States. I am so proud of the work we do every day. Classes 4 Classes is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and we are the first ever social network for classrooms across the U.S. We currently serve classrooms in 25 states, and we plan to expand to all 50 this year! We provide a place for teachers to showcase student work, crowd fund for an educational need, and connect with other classrooms. We believe that social emotional learning needs to be active, and that students need tangible experience. That is what our website provides to thousands of students in their classrooms. We can’t wait until we are serving every single classroom in our great country! We believe we can change the way students learn to care about one another and connect so that there is no room for hate.

Joe Uliano has served as a police officer for the last fifteen years. During his time serving he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Caldwell University and a Master’s degree from Seton Hall University in Human Resources, Training and Development. Joe is currently attending Seton Hall University, where he is completing an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Educational Leadership, Policy and Management.

 

Sheriff Clarke Speaks Out

God is the Source of My Strength
By Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.

This isn’t something I talk about a whole lot, but as I’ve been talking about my new book, Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America, it’s something that has come up. So here’s the truth.

My faith in God is how I make it through every day of my life. Without it, I’m nothing.

My worldview, my politics, and my strong defense of law enforcement in our country has made me a target for character assassination. Someone is always trying to destroy and discredit my reputation. That comes with the territory as a sheriff and I accept that. But believe it or not, it’s still hard and can wear the strongest of men down. Though my persona is something that’s viewed as tough and unshakable, I’m still human. Some days, it’s harder than others. That’s when I turn to God for strength. I pray for guidance, compassion, empathy for others, and strength to endure the attacks coming from all sides.

Here’s how I deal with it: I pray every day, knowing I’m guided by my faith. Only through the strength of God and the faith that I wear on my sleeve, can I get through this. I’m willing to put myself out there and serve; that’s why I chose a career in public service. It’s like Jesus said, he who wants to be great must first become a servant of others. That’s what I do, and that’s what every American law enforcement officer does every single day.

In my book, Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America, I talk about my upbringing. I was born in a Catholic family and my mom and dad sent me to a Catholic grade school and then a Jesuit high school. Later, when I was an undergraduate, I attended a Lutheran college. The belief in the Bible, to understand the Bible, and to be guided by it, began at a very early age for me and has sustained me in my life. It is a central part of who I am. Now, I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, nor am I trying to be. The Lord understands that we are all sinners, and the good news is, Jesus offers us forgiveness.

Without that faith and prayer, I couldn’t get through this tough environment.

I also draw strength from those who came before me. Folks like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, and even further back to the Old Testament leaders like Abraham, Moses, and King David — they all reached a point in their lives where they realized they were mere mortals and needed God’s strength to get them through. That’s what I have to do daily because without His strength, I couldn’t do this.

Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. is the 64th Sheriff of Milwaukee County and is currently serving his fourth full term. He has appeared on many of the national news stations to defend the law enforcement profession.

Cover Story

Blue for Good
It’s More Than A Job
By Sgt. Anthony Espino

In our busy modern world, many parents are hard workers, always striving to support their children, while providing a home that’s filled will love. Children with this upbringing are blessed with parents, who teach them to be respectful, civic-minded, and responsible.
However, there are many children who are less fortunate and are raised by parents who have alcohol, drug, emotional, and or mental problems. In this difficult environment, children can become less receptive to being respectful and responsible. But, let me be clear, I have met children who have come from broken homes, who were good and respectful kids, whereas children that came from loving homes were mean and disrespectful. Yet, the law of averages dictates otherwise. My point is that many children do not have the fortune of being surrounded by positive role models, and this is where police officers can bridge the divide.

Police officers are peacemakers, law-abiding citizens who enforce the laws to keep society safe. Whether we realize it or not, police officers are put in a position to model healthy traits, such as self-esteem, physical wellness, safety, and respect. These are the traits that we were taught at the police academy. Police officers are supposed to be the model citizens who respect and enforce laws. Unfortunately, not every child responds positively to an officer’s modeling. Many are being taught disrespectful attitudes by friends and family, but that shouldn’t stop us from being a model officer.

As a police officer, it’s very important to interact with children in a positive manner. As a juvenile officer, I spend a lot of time at my local schools talking to children on topics such as bullying, stranger danger, saying no to drugs, and being respectful to their peers. This type of interaction can make a difference in a child’s life. Connecting with children is an important part of good policing. Officers who are open and interact with kids stand out in their minds and help develop opinions of those who wear a uniform. Being approachable and answering questions about what you do and how you do it, could be the beginning of a child’s desire to one day want to protect and serve. It’s also the time when a child starts to form favorable and admirable opinions of law enforcement officers.
However, this type of interaction should not only be geared toward juveniles. Police officers need to interact in a positive manner with adults, as well. A simple hello or thank you for opening a door, or letting you enter a lane of traffic, can go a long way to bringing everyone together. Engage in conversation when you’re standing in line at your local coffee shop.

Let people know we are human beings just like them, and not the lunatics the media has lately portrayed us to be.

Police officers are viewed as authority figures–someone who has all the answers and makes problems go away. It’s important that we behave in the manner we represent. Police officers enforce the laws; therefore, we must follow those laws. Remember, with great responsibility and power, comes being held to a higher standard.

Over the years, teachers, parents, and friends have told me that children watch and admire me, and many want to be just like me. Think about that for a second. I am not a celebrity, nor am I a professional athlete. Yet, I have the ability to make an impact in a similar way and on a personal level.

Here are some tips to become the best possible role model as an officer in the community.

1. Be Respectful – As the old saying goes, “Respect is not given, it’s earned.” Respect has always been a two-way street—those who give respect, more often than not, are treated with respect. At times we as officers can feel that nobody respects us, and can fall into a cynical and negativity trap. As a role model we have to rise above this and make sure we are modeling the appropriate behavior. Even in the most difficult of times, being respectful will show others that you are a leader and can adapt under pressure.

2. Integrity Matters – Think about someone you consider a role model. Now ask yourself why you chose that person. Chances are you selected him or her because of the high level of integrity he or she demonstrates on a consistent basis. Good role models never compromise their integrity in any situation—good or bad. Having the upmost integrity with every decision makes others want to model your behavior.

3. Accept Responsibility For Your Actions – Anyone in a role model position is quick to preach to others about accountability, yet, how many are willing to accept it for themselves? True role models know accepting responsibility and being held accountable is the appropriate behavior to model for others. If one is not willing to hold himself or herself to this high standards, how can they expect others to do so.

4. Words Matter – Take a moment to pause and think before speaking. Make certain your words are chosen to inspire and support others, especially when around children. Slow down the conversation with them. And if for any reason, especially when you are out in the public’s eye and become angry, take some advice from Thomas Jefferson: “When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to 100.”

5. Be A Good Listener—Your most cherished and important mentors in your life are not only wise when it comes to decision making, they are expert listeners. When someone is facing a situation in their life and they seek a friend to help, they routinely select those who are good listeners. Only when you fully know the problem someone is facing, is when you should respond. So ask questions, and make sure you are listening. Being a good listener is essential for all role models.

6. Demonstrate Confidence and Leadership – A good role model is one who is confident and can inspire others to increase their self-esteem. Confidence includes being direct when speaking to subordinates and also showing you are fair with everyone. Be confident in your actions and decisions, and who you are as a person and officer.

7. Follow The Rules – As simplistic as this sounds, it must be strictly enforced. A good role model follows the rules and does not break them for any expediency. If you want others to act appropriately, make sure you are also following the rules.

8. Be Involved – As an officer in the community a simple wave and smile to residents as you are patrolling the streets can go a long way, but take it a step further. Get out and speak with them. Let them know you are available to help if they need your assistance. Get involved with the schools and programs for the youth. Showing them you vale them by sharing your time with them is a gift worth more than anything money can buy.

When I chose this career 18 years ago, it was to help people–to be someone the community can trust–and not a person looking for accolades or personal gain. As officers, we are fortunate to play an influential role to the children in our communities. We must seize this role. Take as much time as it takes to speak with the youth and provide them with information that is educational, inspiring, and positive. As they move ahead in life, these interactions and experiences will help them be better people, and they can make the right decisions when confronted with a bad situation.

Over two decades ago in a Nike commercial, former basketball player and current sports commentator Charles Barkley said, “I am not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”

I agree with that statement; it’s the parents’ responsibility to mold their children, teaching them proper manners, respecting one another, and preparing them for the future, but we as police officers can also make a difference in a child’s or adult’s life. Clearly, we have a role to play. Make sure we are modeling the appropriate behavior. Future generations of Americans will be glad we did.

Sgt. Anthony Espino is a 18-year veteran police officer, assigned to the Patrol and Crime Prevention Unit. His passion is to lecture to community members, teachers, and students to promote awareness and offer tips to prevent crime and victimization.

Spotlight

A Warrior Who Once Fought for Our Country and the Streets of Jersey City, Now Fights Against Breast Cancer
By PO Valerie Stetz

This story really hits me hard. I met Gina Sandwith twenty-three years ago, when she was nine. Her dad Det. Harry Sandwith had been my Police Officers Benevolent Association (POBA) Union President. I had the pleasure of becoming good friends with this family who served the residents of Jersey City–Gina’s stay-at-home, PTA mother Debbie Sandwith, and her siblings, JCPO Joe Sandwith, and her twin sister, Nicole Sandwith-McCabe, a JC Medical Center EMT, and former Marine.

Gina also had a servant’s heart. After graduating from Holy Family Academy in Bayonne, and briefly attending New Jersey City University, she enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in July of 2008.
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Gina did three tours overseas, one included a one-year combat tour in Afghanistan.

She earned the rank of sergeant, and later completed her contract with an honorable discharge.

Gina’s lifelong dream was realized on July 16, 2012 when she joined the Jersey City Police Dept, proudly receiving her Dad’s retired badge #2251. Currently, she is a South District Union Delegate and runs the explorer program for Jersey City PAL.
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In February of 2017, Gina received the devastating news that she had breast cancer, which had stemmed from a small lump under her left arm that she had discovered a month earlier. When the lump had grown bigger and had become more painful, Gina sought the professional opinion of her doctor. It was determined that the cancer was environmental, and she had probably had it for five to seven years.
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Always forward thinking, Gina–who is unmarried and without children–sought to freeze her eggs for the future, so that she could have children. However determined to beat the cancer and return to a normal life, her attempts were unsuccessful–another devastating blow.

Currently, Gina has completed two of the 20 required chemo sessions, and has been taking a medication that helps promote white blood cells but leaves her run-down, nauseous, in pain, and in bed. Yet, Gina is a fierce fighter who will not allow feelings of hopelessness to dominate her thoughts. Instead, she has decided to live on her terms, not on cancer’s terms. Bravely, she shaved her own head before the chemo made it fall out, and before arriving at the South District where she witnessed Blue love. Standing in front of her with heads shaven, were her partner, 24 officers, and supervisors.

Gina received another pleasant surprise after the first chemo treatment on Feb 28 when she was greeted by the Pink Heels Bergen County Chapter, escorted by the Untouchables MC of NJ, Fourth watch MC, and the Knights of Inferno MC, along with many friends and family.

On March 12, the NY/NJ Port Authority Police held a benefit for Gina with a barbeque, selling shirts, and raffling a weekend rental in a Porsche.

It is overwhelming and humbling to see the support and love people have for another person in need. Gina is extremely grateful for all the support and kindness she has been shown since her diagnosis–something that along with a positive state of mind–is necessary to beat this disease. Gina is a strong, young, beautiful woman who is going to beat cancer.

She has fought for us in the USMC, and on the streets of Jersey City. Let’s ban together and fight with her. Please pray for a full recovery, and help her in any way possible.
The Jersey City P.O.B.A. is hosting a benefit for Gina on May 6th, at Hudson Catholic HS from 6-11pm. Tickets are $50.00 each. Anyone seeking to purchase a ticket, make a monetary donation, or a gift basket, can call the JC POBA at 201-963-3484, or Joseph Sandwith at 201-870-3621.

You can also donate on her Go Fund Me page at gofundme.com “Gina’s excess medical expenses.”

God bless Gina, the Sandwiths, and her blue family.

Valerie A. Stetz (Velazquez) retired on accidental disability from the Jersey City Police Dept. She was injured in a radio car accident responding to a robbery in progress call. Valerie is a member of the NJ Police Honor Legion. She is the radio host for the popular Internet show “Your World Uncensored” on DDV RADIO. She is also the Public Relations Manager for Nj Blue Now Magazine. Valerie is married, with a son and daughter.

An Inside Look

 

The PolitiChicks
By Debra Ann Faretra, M.A.


The PolitiChicks are three lovely and patriotic family women—Ann-Marie Murrell, Morgan Brittany, and Sonya Sasser—on a mission. Collaboratively, they stand up to the hypocrites that plague our nation with their contorted political views. They fight Hollywood’s elite, liberal media, and left wing extremists who are attempting to bully conservatives into silence. Their efforts are soaring with many national media outlets taking notice. By addressing the nation through their conservative values, morals, and ethics that are reflected in their writing and outreach, they are hopeful this will change the lives of future generations of Americans. Their new book “PolitiChicks: A Clarion Call to Political Activism” is a writing masterpiece that is comprised of various opinions of respectful conservative activists and politicians, who have collectively come together, as a show of force to be reckoned with. 

The causes that PolitiChicks collectively represent are our military veteran’s welfare, ObamaCare repeal, the elimination of Common Core, gun rights, and prolife, while also speaking out against radical Islamic ideology. They are passionate about assisting military veterans and first responders by contributing to fundraisers that truly make a difference. In this interview, you will hear from three patriotic and fiery women, who speak their minds, call it as they see it, and stand up against those seeking to silence their freedom of speech, and conservative views. 

The PolitiChicks are led by Morgan Brittany, a renowned Hollywood Diva best known for her roles in the ABC Series “Dallas” and “The Love Boat”. Brittany’s leadership involves tons of film and stage experience, playing various characters in different movies since she was five years old. Along with Brittany is PolitiChicks creator and CEO, Ann-Marie Murrell, a former actress, once a Democrat, and now a Conservative Republican. As an actress in the 80s, she appeared on the daytime soap “The Young and the Restless,” television series “Sledgehammer,” and HBO Films “Sunset Strip”. She is the proud daughter of a United States Naval Officer (Ret.), and not short on words by any stretch. The spokesperson and third writer is Sonya Sasser, who is born from a family of first responders.

The PolitiChicks formed by Murrell was “negatively impacted by the disastrous outcome by the Obama Administration.” This led to Andrew Breitbart to influence her to attend political events, unite people for a great cause, and make a difference. Murrell tells how the audience she wants to reach are those malcontented with their representation by their affiliated political party. By way of example, she spoke of the Democrats and their role in the outbreak of rioting during the Obama Administration. As Murrell claims, “The Democrats falsely portrayed themselves innocent and morally constructed, when in fact they systemically incited violence, rioting, and socially defiant behavior.” Her hope is that those blindly supporting politicians because of a false sense of party loyalty will stretch their thinking and form their own opinions, irrespective of the group’s thoughts. She is currently finding ways to bring unity to our country through intellectual debates, not hatred.

Murrell has a strong message to Hollywood’s McCarthyism: “Shut up!”

Instead of being offended by the slang word “pussy” utilized by men in a private setting, they should be more offended by wearing “vaginas on their heads,” shamelessly, which is more of an embarrassment to women. Murrell goes on to expose “how those in the entertainment industry have endorsed violence in the law enforcement community by openly contributing to Black Lives Matter,” and how she believes the current goal of many Hollywood entertainers is to have the President impeached or for the more extremist, “assassinated”. 

Sasser’s activism, spirit, and desire to unite her voice with others that shared her beliefs led her to become involved in politics. She tells how she wanted to make a difference and be a role model to encourage others to speak out and advocate for the topics that they’re passionate about. Direct and passionate, Sasser spoke about how women were misled by liberals, specifically Hillary Clinton after the election. She believes Clinton and Obama are the masterminds behind the anti-Trump marches, riots, and anger exhibited by protesters. 

When asked if liberal mental health professionals plastered a diagnosis on Trump, she replied “They attempt to marginalize and discredit him, because they don’t truly understand his out of the box and politically incorrect stance. The mental?health practitioners mislabel his behaviors, because they aren’t able to relate to all people equally and effectively.”

Sasser goes on to tell how building a foundation and legacy for conservative children to grow from rather than be influenced by the boisterous and dominating approaches of the left are efforts worth making. The left leaves behind footprints, because they lack any boundaries to respect others and create such havoc to be the center of attention, which ultimately can influence others to think they are the stronger party, Sasser implied. Sasser believes when the conservatives fight back it circumvents the lefts agendas. 

Morgan’s message to Hollywood, is just as blunt as Murrells: “Be quiet!” In a passionate discussion, Morgan says “Hollywood should respect all audiences and collect the facts before speaking to the world and erroneously misinforming them. Hollywood doesn’t emulate the good people anymore.” They are using their celebrity platform to indoctrinate hatred into people. Entertainers are responsible to make people feel better about themselves not placate one side and not abandon the other side of their audience.

The problem herein lies with, Hollywood and the music entertainment industry sending subliminal messages of hate about cops to society, which inadvertently gets cops killed. “First responders need to be rebranded and respected through Hollywood’s depiction of them as heroic members of society, not villains.”

We at NJ Blue Now thank the Politi-Chicks for their strong support of our law enforcement and military professionals. If you’d like to meet the PolitiChicks, they will be in the New York area for a book signing during mid April 2017. Check out their website @ http://politichicks.com/author/jpr/ for more details. 

Debra Ann Faretra, M.A., is a Mental Health Educational Consultant for law enforcement. She has a masters in Police Graduate Studies from Seton Hall University. She attended Caldwell University for two years as a graduate in Clinical Counseling Psychology Studies and is completing a second master’s degree at Seton Hall University in Psychological Studies. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She currently works in Essex County, New Jersey.

Operation Rebound

Brandon Holiday: A Warrior Mindset to Overcome Against All Odds
By Michael D. Boll

Brandon Holiday attended University of Maryland Eastern Shore where he played on the tennis team, was enrolled in the ROTC program, and competed for two years in the Ranger Challenges. Only the best compete in the Ranger challenge, an event where the military compete against others schools in a series of challenges. He transferred to Duke University and while attending there became severely sick and was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus. Not long after being diagnosed with Lupus, he had his first heart attack. Due to these medical complications, he was unable to continue his goal of serving as an officer in the Army, so he pursued a career in law enforcement. While an officer, he was injured in the line of duty and further medical complications from Systemic Lupus prevented him from continuing to serve as a police officer. 

In 2006, Brandon lost his leg below the knee, which was caused by a blood clot and an infection associated with Systemic Lupus. After the loss of his leg he went through stages of depression and coping with the loss, and dealing with his chronic disease that caused fatigue, pain and other severe symptoms, like blood clots. It was difficult at the time because there was a lack of a regional support network. After attending the Extremity Games, which is an extreme sporting event for participants who have suffered amputation and spinal cord injury, he was able to meet other athletes that were active and competitive in sports. The games provided him with new motivation to train and use sports as a catalyst for healing. 

Since attending the games, he has been partnered with his service dog Dyson, who he travels with during competitions. Brandon has competed at the U.S. National Sprint Canoe Kayak Championships, and is the 2014 and 2015, 200 and 500 meter, and master class 35+ National Champion. In 2016, he made the USA National Paracanoe team, and competed at the ICF Canoe Kayak World Championships to qualify Rio Paralympics. Now, he speaks to groups about overcoming adversity, and empowers patients to educate themselves in the face of illness and disease. 

Currently, Brandon is an Expert Patient Advocate, and the Executive Director of Athletes with Disabilities Network Northeast (www.adnnec.org). He has organized a network of peer mentors to assist area healthcare providers with mentoring and outreach. Mentors assist patients and their families with transitioning after facing a devastating disabling event. In 2017, he was also elected into the United States Olympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council as the alternate. He helps in promoting the Olympic and Paralympic movement, and creates events which provide opportunities for disabled community members and their families to have interactions in social settings with other disabled members, their families and mentors. This allows the newly injured person to see that a better quality of life is possible, expands preconceived notions of disability, and focuses on the abilities of what a person can achieve.

Come meet Brandon on May 13th, 2017 at the Cooper River Park Pennsauken, NJ, where athletes with Disabilities Network 5k-1 mile fun run walk will be held. This supports programs and a portion of the proceeds goes toward injured police officer Josh Vadell from Atlantic City Police Department. Go to www.Runsignup.com and search for Athletes with Disabilities Network. 

Technology

Drones and Law Enforcement
By Peter DeLisa

Live PD broadcasted on Feb. 10, 2017, treated viewers to a look into our future. Four individuals had robbed a store in North Carolina and were chased over 70 miles while shooting at pursuing officers. When they crashed, they ran into a car lot and subsequently into the woods, at night. In an extremely dangerous situation, officers with rifles and K9’s went into the dark searching for the suspects.

Then, something very different happened. A deputy arrived and deployed a drone equipped with a thermal camera. Thermal images appeared on screen for all to view. Soon thereafter, the criminals were captured.In the past, the use of aerial and thermal imaging cameras were only from those agencies with helicopters. Now, drones are being used with the same or even better results. Unfortunately, the use of a drone is not without challenges. In Aug. 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration put into effect rules under 14 CFR Part 107. Those rules specify pilot licensing requirements, operational parameters, and training. Public safety agencies are NOT exempt. In the past, agencies could apply for and obtain a certificate of authorization or COA. Those certificates are no longer being issued and operators and agencies have to comply with Part 107 licensing and obtain necessary waivers.What is necessary to operate a drone? A pilot must pass an FAA knowledge exam. Then,a license for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) will be issued. The drone must be no more than 55 pounds and registered with the FAA. Drones must be operated no higher than 400 feet above ground level, in daylight, not above people, and only in class G Airspace (uncontrolled airspace and generally not near a busy airport). Drones must also remain in the pilot’s sight and cannot be operated from a moving vehicle without a waiver.The next obstacle to deploy a drone for your agency is if you are near an airport. What can you do? If it’s not a busy airport, you only need to make notification by phone. If it’s in controlled airspace--Newark, Teterboro, Trenton, etc.--you can apply for a waiver that will allow you to operate. Waivers take about 90 days to obtain and are valid for four years. How do we fly at night? That rule is also subject to waiver. For night operations, you will need a trained observer to help you operate safely. Although drone technology may not be easy, it is certainly easier, quicker, and cheaper than using a helicopter. 

Law enforcement drone usages include: suspect search, search and rescue, crime scene documentation, fatal accident documentation and measurement, SWAT operations and scene control. I would caution against using drones for surveillance. The public is extremely sensitive to the perception of ‘surveillance’ by police and most states are enacting laws to prevent this. Don’t be a test case! Also keep in mind, drones typically fly 20 to 30 minutes without a battery change.

Your agency can add a drone to their apparatus. It’s really not difficult to make happen. Just like the training on the Intoxilyzer, being on a SWAT team or riding a motorcycle, it’s all about training, education and experience. Locate a professional or take a training class. If your agency already has a pilot, the process is easier. Take the test and get your UAS license. 

Select a drone that will fulfill your agency’s needs. A commercial drone with camera and software and thermal camera can cost between $12-15,000. 

Start small and practice, practice, practice. Most drones have a flight simulator program. Some have an autopilot function that will completely fly the mission for you! As you become experienced or if you collaborate with an aviation professional, you can expand the operation and apply to fly at night, fly higher, and fly in controlled airspace. Many agencies across the United States and some in New Jersey are already doing just that.

The Monmouth and Ocean County Sheriff, have programs and operate several drones. Bergen County OEM has a program. They have successfully used drones in a variety of situations. 

Welcome to the future! An autonomous drone is being developed for use by patrol officers. The television show ‘APB’ showcases drone technology weekly and ‘Live PD’ has shown us their actual use. We have a saying in aviation, “It is best to be on the front side of the power curve.” Now is the time to get out there with this technology.

Peter DeLisa is an aviation and law enforcement professional. He is an Airline Transport Pilot rated in Jet aircraft, certified flight instructor, and Part 107 Drone instructor and pilot. He has also served as an officer, detective, supervisor, and instructor with expertise in narcotics, firearms, and animal cruelty. He owns and operates Eastern Drone Solutions in Monmouth County NJ. He can be reached at PDD@Easterndroneco.com