How to Protect Your Family and Yourself Against Revenge Threats

Like most cops, Bob Willis considered his home a safe haven–until the Christmas Eve a gang of Asian criminals tried to crash through his front door and he ended up, barefoot in the snow, in a gunfight in his back yard. That startling ordeal, which terrorized not only his family but a house full of holiday guests as well, remains unsolved. But Willis, then a patrol officer in New Berlin (Wisconsin), has no doubt it was a strike of revenge…and an ominous warning: Stop interfering with a roving band of armed robbers and “opportunity predators” that his department had been pursuing—or cops will pay.

Revenge threats are nothing new in law enforcement. Most are meaningless—offenders emotionally blowing off steam because of the disruption you’ve caused in their lives or an attempt to leverage some influence for themselves through fear and intimidation. But a deadly minority of threats prove all too real: the New York officer whose face was blown away in a shotgun ambush by a motorist incensed over a traffic ticket…the Canadian officer stabbed multiple times on courthouse steps by the vengeful brother of an offender he’d killed…the Hawaiian detective fatally shot through the window of his home in retaliation for a gang drug bust…the East Coast officer warned to “back off” of a local drug gang by members who burst into his home and put a shotgun to his mother’s head, to mention just a few legacies of vengeance on record.

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