09/10/2010

Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief10-43: Be Advised...
with Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief

Justin Bieber walks after hitting Md. trooper with water balloon

The 16-year-old entertainer is the one who's all wet after water balloon toss on Md. trooper

Justin Bieber, a teenage singer whose popularity has caused safety concerns just about everywhere he goes, apparently doesn’t have a ton of respect for the law enforcement officers charged with protecting him from his throngs of crazed admirers. The 16-year-old entertainer threw two water balloons at Maryland state troopers assigned to crowd control duties outside Bieber’s trailer prior to a concert at the Maryland State Fair.

Bieber will reportedly not be charged with anything, despite the fact that “one of the balloons hit a trooper's gun belt and burst, and the other brushed a trooper on the chest but didn't burst,” according to a report from a local TV news station.

One officer who was reportedly “soaked from the waist down,” appeared ready to take Bieber into custody but the young man’s handlers apparently convinced the law enforcer to let Bieber go free.

Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, a PoliceOne Contributor and Street Survival Seminar Instructor, sagely wrote in May of this year that “Many parents just don’t know how to deal with an unruly or uncooperative child.” By the behavior of this petulant little performer, neither can bodyguards, managers, hangers on, or record label executives.

Sure, Bieber’s “weapon” of choice was a water balloon. Let’s not forget though, that as I wrote in this space back in March of 2009, things aren’t always as they appear. In that tactical tip we advised about a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun concealed within a “Super Soaker” toy water-gun. The commonplace summertime toy was disassembled and altered, allowing the shotgun to remain fully functional while encased within the water-gun.

In the case of the Bieber incident, that balloon could well have contained a liquid far more insidious than water — water, by the way, is an excellent distraction device that momentarily seizes the attention of the person who’s been suddenly struck with it. Certainly not as distracting as a flash-bang, but something that could mean the difference between life and death nonetheless.

Despite the treatment the incident got in the mainstream press, this event in Maryland was no laughing matter. What do you think? Add your comments below.

Betsy Brantner Smith put it thusly: “I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve been to as an officer, a detective and as a sergeant to deal with “out of control” children who simply needed a little parenting.” Amen to that.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. In addition to his editorial and managerial responsibilities, Doug has authored more than 750 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), and an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association. He is also a member of the Public Safety Writers Association, and is a three-time (2011, 2012, and 2014) Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" Finalist in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

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