Recently, a symposium alleging cowardice during the recent Columbine, Colorado tragedy and other high profile incidents generated some interesting comments. Below are for and against examples of the mind-set of some police officers. Obviously, when it comes to the issue of police cowardice, we are not all on the same page.
Pro: Chief of Police (ret.): "I was beginning to think that the Calibre Press mindset had totally supplanted the public service mentality that I spent 30 years believing to be the duty standard for American policing." "Your three examples serve to illustrate exactly what has gone wrong with the 'me' generation of police officers who will take no risk and shoot too soon."
Pro: C.O., ___ California State Prison, re. the Columbine tragedy: "I would hope they [responding officers] would be begging to enter the school. In the corrections field we would never behave like that."
Pro: Prosecutor's Investigator/former Police Chief: "I have seen, just in my 15-16 years in law enforcement, what I believe is a shift in the mindset of new recruits coming into the profession." "[they] want it all now - the best assignments, the best vehicles, the best equipment, the best pay and benefits and no personal risk or commitment."
Con: Sgt., city police department: "I only thank G-d that you are a FORMER police officer and are not immediately engaged in the training of PRESENT police officers."
Con: Southern city police sergeant: "We may be paid to work in a 'high-risk' occupation, but we are not paid to 'take risks'."
Con: Littleton, CO: "As most people with alphabet credentials hanging out of their backsides, your comments pertaining to Columbine H.S. show that you're long on education and short on brains." "You'd make a good Chief!"
[Author's note: I received a number of messages from those claiming to have been first-responder witnesses to the Columbine tragedy. Most of these e-mails were lacking in substance. One, signed "(name withheld) SWAT Commander, Columbine," suggested I check certain documents such as "agency report" and "official timeline" pertaining to the incident. When I asked for copies, the Commander replied, "Don't waste my time." Now, one has to wonder if the reports exist in the first place or if they've been doctored or what else is being covered up.
I know what I heard and saw - just like everyone else tuned to network television that day. The Sheriff, in no uncertain words, said he didn't order his men in because he didn't want them to get hurt. The images of officers crouched behind cars while children were at risk will be forever burned into my mind.]