Phoenix Law Enforcement Association

The “Reckless” Assertions of the ACLU

The City of Phoenix has experienced 37 officer involved shootings from January 1, 2018 – August 29, 2018.  Everyone is concerned and abuzz with trying to figure out the “why” behind the shootings.  So much so that the Police Department, with the City’s blessing, is embarking upon a $149K study.  A research team from the Police Foundation out of Washington, DC has already hit Phoenix to begin preliminary work.

AZ Central published an article on August 24, 2018 about Phoenix police shootings while profiling the percentage of times that Tasers were deployed.  The article states that according to a PD analysis of 28 officer involved shootings that occurred through June of 2018, “Tasers were deployed in just seven percent of cases that involved gunfire from the first six months of 2018.”

This isn’t surprising to any cop since we are all acutely aware that you don’t bring a Taser to a gunfight and, when confronted with a person wielding a knife, a firearm is still the preferred option.  As cops we’re smart enough to know and trained to understand knives can be lethal and can kill just as easily as a gun.  We might be trained to protect and serve, but when the chips are down we’re also trained to win the fight and go home in one piece.  

CLICK HERE to read The Republic article.

Of particular interest were comments provided by Alessandra Soler, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. Ms. Soler was quoted as saying that “elected officials and law enforcement need to take immediate steps to determine what is exactly driving the surge in shootings and figure out how to stop it.”  

In Ms. Soler’s utopian world she must think this is as simple as an angry parent that walks into a bedroom full of roughhousing kids who wags their finger and tells them to knock it off.  It’s easy for people who have never done the job to speak in glib soundbites.  It’s also important to note that those who have never done the job have no credibility.

Ms. Soler was further quoted: “Each time an officer recklessly fires a weapon, it contributes to the fear and anxiety many people, especially people of color, experience when interacting with police,” she wrote in a statement to The Republic. “Phoenix has a crisis on its hands.”

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines reckless as follows: 

“characterized by the creation of a substantial and unjustifiable risk to the lives, safety, or rights of others and by a conscious and sometimes wanton and willful disregard for or indifference to that risk that is a gross deviation from the standard of care a reasonable person would exercise in like circumstances.”

WOW!  Apparently Ms. Soler, based on her comments, believes Phoenix Police Officers are recklessly and wantonly firing deadly weapons without justification to incite fear in the minority community.  Ms. Soler also chooses to engage her selective memory in order to conveniently forget the fact that almost every single officer involved shooting this year involved a suspect with an edged weapon or a firearm.  Perhaps no one has told her there are specific state statutes that allow for the use of physical and deadly force in defense of ones self or a third party.  There are specific statutes that govern police use of force.  And, the statutes governing use of physical and deadly force in self defense also extend to citizens that might be put under siege by the miscreants among us in society.  

When Ms. Soler says “Phoenix has a crisis on its hands” she is correct.  The crisis is this: we are seeing an epidemic of criminals who, for whatever reason are willing now, more than ever to engage the police using violence, dangerous instruments, and deadly weapons. People who refuse to submit to lawful authority and somehow think it’s their God-given right to disobey, flee, argue with, fight with and act violently towards police.     

What is “reckless” is Ms. Soler, and others like her, who choose to propagate ill-informed opinions in order to lead people to believe that Phoenix Police Officers are are shooting without justification.  There’s something wrong in a world where supposedly educated people would willingly have people believe the police are the bad guys and the criminals are the poor, unfortunate, good guys.  We live in a society where radical groups, activist organizations, and some politicians have the aim of decriminalizing the criminals and depolicing the police. 

One thing we’re sure of; when the big bad wolf is kicking Ms. Soler’s door in at 2:00 a.m., she’s not going to call the City Parks and Rec Department, BLM or her ACLU buddies for help.  She’ll be on the phone to 911 screaming for help.  Since we are the professionals we are, we will respond and pull her fat out of the fire just like we would for anyone else.  And we will do it despite the fact she might be the very one trying to sue the police on behalf of the criminal that was trying to harm her.

No one is more worried about the increase in violence we see at the street level which necessitates the use of deadly force than the men and women who patrol the streets.  They are the ones who daily stand in the gap, run to the gunfights, and assume the risk.