December 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

Blogs & Sites We Read

Blog powered by Typepad

Search Site

  • Search Site



  • Counter

Become a Fan

Cat Quote

  • "He who dislikes the cat, was in his former life, a rat."

« Afghan rape victim sentence reduced, stays in jail (Norman Costa) | Main | When Amma Came to New York City (Norman Costa) »

November 24, 2011


Good little story Norm. As you may recall I do a fair amount of OSHA and EPA training. Over the years, I have found that proper training is the key to a safe outcome (or as safe as possible) under various critical circumstances. It is my guess that this officer was not properly trained as to how to properly approach this kind of a situation. In that regard, I do not blame the officer at all. Not one bit. I blame his superiors and the campus administration. They should have made it very clear as to how to properly handle situations such as this, such as how you (Norm) put together your mock, but right on, piece. All of the officers should have been trained (and periodly re-trained) accordingly, given written tests and even run though mock drills. If they are loose cannons, if they found the training too restrictive, then he should have been given a mark of no compliance. No compliance, no job.

@Louis: I understand your point about the officer not being responsible for his actions and, although proper training is important and drills that reinforce that training help folks to better handle situations under stress. Problem is, you're making a serious error in assuming that the officer hadn't received proper training. My assumption is that he has received significant levels of training - I just don't know everything that his training entailed.

One thing I do know, though, is that risk assessment and the application of that risk assessment in making decisions are taught. I believe he seriously failed in properly assessing the risks that this officer believed he and his fellow officers faced. There was a small group of people committing civil disobedience in a clearly non-violent, non-threatening manner. No one was yelling epithets at the police. No on was making gestures that would have indicated hostility to the police. The videos clearly demonstrate this. Police had full freedom of movement and were in no way facing a hostile crowd. A rational assessment of the situation indicated that no force was necessary other than removing, and possibly arresting, those blocking the walkway. This man was a leader of the campus police force and expected to exercise a high level of skill when making decisions. He didn't do so.

Pepper spray is a fast, close order response tool. It could have been utilized if there had been a reaction that truly put the police at risk. In this case, it was used prematurely against a non-threatening, non-violent group of 20 or so people. Did the Lt. assess the risks? Of course he did. Did he do it correctly? No way. One of the things that truly galls me is the cavalier manner in which the pepper spray was used. The officers dispersing the spray calmly walked up and down the row of protesters spraying them again and again and again.

@ Louis:

I am in 100 percent agreement with you on supervision and training. There are no substitutes.

@ Don:

I would add that the University administrator who has direct authority over the police be examined carefully on the policies that were or were not implemented. If I were the administrator I would be at EVERY campus confrontation to observe and take action as required. The University is responsible. If the administrator was remiss, or coherent policies non-existent, or good policies not followed, then the ultimate responsibility rests with the Chancellor or President.

We need to keep in mind that the top university job is as political a job as you can find. Many - I repeat, many - university and college heads are wimp toadies to regional and State politics. Some powerful positions are de facto appointees for the purposes of partisan national politics.

I agree, Norm, that a leader would have been out there insuring that things were moving in the best and most appropriate direction. I have not been impressed by the Regent at UC Davis. Wimp toady - yeah, I'd say that is what I think of her.

It was more a "pepper hose" than pepper spray. The university chancellor needs to step down and an investigation launched into the chain of command to determine who okayed the action. Why was the campus police carrying pepper spray to this particular demonstration? This was not a crowd of random people on the street but students on university property. Have the university administrations in this country forgotten the tragedy of Kent State vs the Ohio National Guards? The police in Wisconsin and D.C. behaved with exemplary restraint and common sense during the street protests and demonstration at the WI state capitol. What were these macho cops thinking? Is it because they wanted to use all their arsenal once they had the opportunity? Were the pepper spray canisters nearing their expiration date and thet didn't want them to go to waste? Whatever the sadistic dumbasses were thinking, it was ridiculous!

The comments to this entry are closed.