I don’t pretend to know what goes through the mind of a police officer (or soldier or firefighter or Good Samaritan) when he makes the split-second decision to forsake his own safety and run to danger. Such actions take incomprehensible courage. Like most Americans, I was sickened by revelations that first responders—including a school resource deputy and several Broward County deputies—didn’t run to the danger. As kids were being slaughtered inside the school, they took up positions outside and waited. We don’t know all the details yet. Was it a case of poor training? A fatal miscommunication? Faulty protocols for responding to an active shooter situation? Or was it a lack of courage on the part of the officers who responded to the scene? Whatever the reason, 17 victims lost their lives and evidence points to the fact that lives may have been saved had the officers gone on the offensive as the shooter roamed the halls of the school.
The actions of those officers have left a lot of people rattled and questioning the ability of the police to protect them. What will happen if the gun-grabbers get their way and disarm all but the police and the bad guys? There’s a sense that we’ll all be sitting ducks with no way to protect ourselves from those hell-bent on reaping destruction.
While we’re all debating the gun control issue, a sheriff in Oakland County, Mich., wants residents of his jurisdiction to know that his officers are trained to run to the danger—and they won’t hesitate to confront the bad guys.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, who’s been in the position since 1999, released a statement to his officers and posted it to Facebook. “I am sure we were all sickened and dismayed when we heard the news regarding the Broward County Deputy who was at the scene at the Florida school shooting and stayed outside as the shooting rampage occurred,” Bouchard wrote to his deputies. “I want to be clear on my expectations. If we arrive on a similar scene our job is to go in without delay, locate, and neutralize an active shooter.”
Moreover, Bouchard declared, “I will either go in first, by your side, or at your six depending on arrival times. Regardless, I will be going in.”
He added that an active shooter scene is not the time to question whether they’ve made the right job choice. If officers are not up to the demands of the job, he said, they “need to find other ways to make a difference and leave police work for now.”
“We stand on the Thin Blue Lie and face those threats head-on,” said Bouchard. “In these moments, we must not only be the best trained and best equipped, but unwavering in our willingness to face any threat.”
Today, Sheriff Bouchard released this statement to his boots on the ground to reaffirm his thoughts about safety and security in Oakland County.
God bless Sheriff Bouchard and his officers and all who run to the danger.