Five years ago, I began this amazing journey as the editor of PoliceOne.
As might be expected of someone passing a significant career milestone, I’ve been reflecting lately on what I’ve seen and done in the past half-decade. In those five years I’ve written more than 650 columns and tactical tips, not to mention countless editor’s notes and emails to P1 members. Looking back at all those now, it’s evident that certain themes have emerged over time.
Here’s a recap of just a few of the issues I’ve covered, a handful of my favorite articles, and a couple of “shout outs” to some of those people who’ve helped me along the way.
The Issue: Early on in my time here at PoliceOne, I wrote about the importance of wearing body armor, and it’s a topic I’ve revisited on numerous occasions. I’ve looked at the nuances of NIJ .06 armor, new products coming to market meeting that new standard, and an excellent way officers can provide used (but still useful) body armor for cops in need.
My Favorite(s): My favorite two body armor articles weren’t really even about body armor - rather, the crucial purpose it serves. One was about Officer Dennis Eddy and the other was about Lt. Brian Murphy.
Special Thanks... I could thank numerous industry experts for being invaluable to me in discovering and disseminating information about body armor, but most of all I want to thank the two gentlemen mentioned above. I’m honored to have met and shaken hands with both Dennis and Brian, and if it weren’t for their decision to don their body armor, neither of those heroes would be alive for those handshakes to have happened.
Thank you for wearing your vests, my friends.
The Issue: I began writing about the D-Block (the notion that the FCC and congress would allocate spectrum for a nationwide interoperable broadband communications network) just weeks after starting the job.
Two years after that first column, there was a tipping point, momentum began to build, and in early 2011, D-Block allocation appeared imminent.
My Favorite: It took a while, but in February 2012, D-Block allocation was finally “done.” I guess that would qualify as my favorite article, although with the buildout still to come, perhaps another item will take that top slot a some point down the line.
Special Thanks... Throughout my coverage of this issue, I’ve come to know many great people, but I want to specifically thank Chief Harlin McEwen (now Chairman of FirstNet's Public Safety Advisory Committee) for always helping me understand the issues and the many forces at work.
Counterterrorism in America
The Issue: The first article I wrote on counterterrorism was on the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, a little-known piece of legislation which “created new pathways for wiretapping and other surveillance aimed at studying the behavior patterns of people on the domestic front.”
Since then, I’ve written on counterterrorism tactics for patrol officers, a ‘neighborhood watch’ model, and the pre-attack indicators of terrorist activity.
My Favorite: Although choosing a single favorite column on terrorism/counterterrorism is tough, it’s probably the one that stemmed from a conversation I had during my visit to New York on the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I met and spent time with hundreds of first responders, but after speaking with Lt. Corey Cuneo of NYPD (a.k.a. ‘the coffee lieutenant’) the column about his story unfurled in my head like a giant American flag caught in a glorious breeze.
Special Thanks... Many people have been mentors and guides as I continue to write about counterterrorism. Fred Burton is one of the world’s foremost authorities on terrorists and terrorist organizations. He’s also one of the busiest people I know, yet he always seems to make time to talk with me and teach me something new.
Active Shooters in Schools
The Issue: One of the very first articles I wrote for PoliceOne was on the topic of active shooters in schools — specifically the need to arm campus cops with something more than a call-box and a whistle.
I’ve since written on the topic from a variety of angles — everything from arming and training teachers and administrators to innovative training models for active shooter response.
My Favorite: Although it’s also hard to choose my favorite column on the topic, I'd have to say it’s the one I wrote after attending a seminar presented by Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman. The column is great, but even better is the memory I will always have of sitting with Dave in the bleachers of a small gymnasium, eating sandwiches and talking about our families during the lunch break.
Special Thanks... Dave Grossman. Like so many people I’ve met on this job, I’m humbled to call Dave a friend.
No Parole for Cop Killers
The Issue: About a year after coming on the job, I wrote my first in what would become a semi-regular series of articles alerting PoliceOne Members to the possibility of a cop killer walking out of jail on parole.
My Favorite(s): It’s impossible to pick a “favorite” one of these. With your amazing help, we’ve generated thousands of petition letters addressed to parole boards in places like Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, New Mexico, and most recently, in Oregon.
Special Thanks... As you might imagine, these efforts have brought me into close contact with the friends, family, and fellow officers of the cops whose lives ended too soon at the hands of those murders. You are all family to me now.
The Theme Throughout
There’s just too much ground covered in the past half-decade to capture it all here. For example, absent in the above summary is the single-most-important subject on which I regularly write — police officer safety. On that topic alone there are literally hundreds of tips and columns on everything from traffic stops, to gunfighting skills, to counter-ambush tactics, to your mental/emotional well-being, and of course, training.
So, while there’s no way to cram into a single column my five years of reading, writing, editing, training, travelling, teaching, talking, and thinking about all the topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community, one theme permeates throughout and hovers above the all rest — you.
In the past five years, I’ve come to know some of the very best people this great nation has to offer.
What drives me on a daily basis is the knowledge that something I do today has the potential to save someone’s life tomorrow, or increase the quality of someone’s life for the rest of their years.
One of those people may be you.
Aside from my family, there is nothing in the world I’m more passionate about than the work we do here at PoliceOne — and aside from my family, nothing gives me greater happiness.
Editor in Chief of PoliceOne is absolutely, without doubt, the very best “job” I’ve ever had. I am living, breathing, proof that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
One of my many email pen pals said something to me recently that I think sums this column up perfectly: “Keep spreading the world and speaking the truth!”
You can count on that, my brothers and sisters.
Stay safe out there my friends.