Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 5:38 am Dick Conoboy
On July 7, two Bellingham police officers confronted a homeless man with a knife outside a McDonald’s restaurant on Bakerview Rd. You can read the Herald article on this incident here. In many communites in the U.S., that man would now be lying in a morgue, a victim of bad police training and a “shoot first” mentality. Instead, after some initial success calming the individual, he was hit with bean bags and a taser before being taken to the hospital for a mental evaluation. Charges are pending [against the individual], but the police officers ended their shift without the terrible burden of having killed someone. The infotainment industry had to move to other stories to keep their ratings. Police doing the right thing is not nooze for them.
This is the way it is supposed to work. Our police are trained to de-escalate confrontations by speaking first and using graduated force if at all possible. Having spent almost seven years as a volunteer with the Bellingham Police, I can tell you that our police receive a good deal of training. Moreover, the culture is not them vs. us (public vs. police). The culture I encountered was evident in the everyday conversations I heard in the halls and offices of the police department building where employees let their guard down and I moved freely. The public was not viewed as the enemy. […]