The R-word. Even a high-ranking police executive — who certainly should know better in his leadership role — used the word that ought to be banished from the law enforcement lexicon and from officers’ thinking. You know the word.
“There’s probably nothing more routine than this type of investigation,” the Chicago PD white-shirt told reporters, referring to the recent arrest of a homeless man who became combative when officers interrupted his “aggressive panhandling” in a busy neighborhood of nightclubs, upscale restaurants, and art galleries.
This time the offender had a hidden handgun, which obviously was missed in whatever pat-down or search of his multi-layered clothing may have been performed.
Even though he was handcuffed and riding in the backseat of an unmarked Crown Vic en route to a district station, the suspect managed to access the weapon and open fire on the two cops transporting him. One was shot in the back — nonfatally — but both were able to bail as their car rolled on and bumped to a stop against a light pole. Return fire shattered the vehicle’s rear windows and killed the assailant.
One officer had been on the job for 37 years, the other for 16 years.
Every contact has its unknown components. That’s what you need to be focused on, searching — mentally and literally — for cues to what might be different this time, rather than dismissing common encounters as the same-old-same-old with r-word thinking.