What Do You Think?
The articles posted on this page reflect the opinions of the author only. The Des Moines Police Burial Association and the Des Moines Police Bargaining Unit Association do not acknowledge support of an opinion unless expressly indicated.
They say -whoever "they" are, that confession is good for the soul.
So here goes my confession. In 1974 when I joined the Des Moines Police Department, I took an oath that said I would protect and serve the citizens of this community. I will have to admit now from listening to the rhetoric generated by people like Sharon Zanders-Ackiss of Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI), that I got that all wrong. I thought I was supposed to go out and protect the lives and property of the people who live in this community.
Well shoot, here I was going out and violating the "presumed" rights of ne’re-do wells who thought they could do anything they wanted and the law simply did not apply to them. Those people included drivers who thought they could drive down a residential street (25 mph zone) at 3X the actual speed limit. It also included people who preyed on small children for the purpose of sexually molesting them. There were people who liked to break into people’s homes -whether the residents were home or not and steal the property which those residents worked hard and if they just happened to be home, physically assault them or even worse. There were people out there going armed with intent to inflict serious injury or even death on people they either planned to encounter or the victim had the misfortune of being in their way -like maybe a clerk at a convenience store. People who were selling drugs or prostituting themselves in a residential area made the lives of the good people who lived in that area an absolute living Hell. This list of these poor people whose "presumed" rights I guess I violated is endless.
And here I was going out on the street day after day for nearly 30 years as a uniformed cop or operating in a plain clothes position trying to make Des Moines a safe and great place to live. I tried my best to make people feel that they could go to sleep at night and feel relatively comfortable in knowing that they did not need to worry about someone breaking into their house, garage or car while they slept. I wanted parents to know that while their kids were walking to and from school someone had an eye on them and was keeping them safe. I wanted people to know when they left their homes to go to work and earn an honest living that they could be relatively confident that their homes and other property would be intact when they returned. I wanted business owners to feel that they did not have to keep looking over their shoulder worrying about some thug coming into their business to either rob or just plain steal from them. I hoped that when they closed up their business for the day to go home that they also felt that the Des Moines Police Department was doing all they could to keep their business safe from burglars. I felt people should be able to walk down the street and not have to be harassed by someone making threats to them or making vulgar remarks to them. Silly me. I guess I should not have cared about any of that stuff.
I keep saying; I wanted or I hoped, it should actually be we wanted and we hoped. Because "we" describes the greatest group of people that I could ever have hoped to know, let alone work with. These people all took the same oath as I did when they started their career as a police officer and according to CCI's rhetoric we all got it wrong.
I feel cheated that I did not have all of CCI’s guidance and expertise to tell me I should just let the criminals do what comes naturally for them.
"This is what our community is dealing with," said Sharon Zanders-Ackiss, of CCI as she talks about the video of an officer engaged in a fight with a man he was trying detain -after being alerted to the fact that the man was behaving in a confrontational and threatening manner. Never mind that during the altercation that the suspect tried to disarm the officer of his taser. Yes, you are absolutely right Ms. Zanders-Ackiss, that is exactly what our community is dealing with. A bunch of people who are totally out of control whether it be for their lack of mental capacity or their just plain "I don't give a damn about the law" attitude.
I thank God everyday for the fact that Chief of Police Dana Wingert is at the helm of one of the finest police departments in our nation. And I am thankful for everyone of the D.M.P.D. officers who stand between me, my family and friends and all those “fine” citizens who actually take pride in reaping all the havoc they can on our community.
David F. Brown
(Retired D.M.P.D. Sergeant) And damn proud of it.Read Moreabout David Brown testimonial
Criminal Justice Reform
There is a lot of talking going on today about “criminal justice reform.” Unfortunately from what I am hearing it is all pretty much one sided labeling the police as villainous heathens who prey on the citizens of the communities that they took an oath to protect and serve. Some people however –and I will say that group is not defined by any particular race, but rather by a certain generation who feel our laws are antiquated and simply do not apply to them. Hence they feel they should be immune from arrest or prosecution for violating these laws.
Not wanting to admit that there are problems on the non-police side of this issue is a travesty in and of itself. And until that happens there will never be any resolve to the issues at hand.
There is a big problem not just within our community but in our nation as a whole. For years people who have had absolutely no positive role model in their lives and were most certainly not ready to become parents themselves have been making off spring of their own. The only piece of advice a lot of those people have ever been given and have then passed on to their children is; “Don’t you let anybody tell you what to do.” That piece of truly unfortunate advice applies toward teachers, other citizens they encounter in life, sometimes their own parents, business owners, bosses (should they find themselves being employed) and of course the police.
When a police officer starts their career one of the very first things that takes place is that they swear to an oath to enforce Federal Statues of The United States, the criminal codes of their states and the ordinances of their individual communities. Contained in those books are items we commonly refer to as laws. There are probably overall millions of pages in all of those law books. Hundreds of thousands of laws, covering everything from where you can or cannot park, what color of lights you can display on your car and all the way up to making it against the law to kill someone.
So when the police get notified by a concerned citizen or actually see someone violating the one or more of these laws they are mandated by that oath they took at the beginning of their career to take action. Now that action could be anything from just making a friendly advisal to cease and desist from their illegal behavior, issuing a summons –traffic or criminal, if it’s appropriate, and sometimes having to take someone into custody and on to jail.
Probably the vast majority of people who are subject to the latter submit to arrest peacefully. They go to jail and get arraigned in front of a judge. There if it is applicable, they have a bond set, a bond is posted and they may go on with their lives until the charges against them are adjudicated in a court of law. There’s that word again, LAW.
We hear about those who decide to go another route and resist the officer’s attempt just to arrest, but interfere with attempts to investigate and defuse suspected criminal activity. Some are defending the actions of those people by contending that the officers are “profiling.”
Practically everything a police officer does involves one form or another of profiling. As a former police officer I can honestly say that if I had received information that a burglar working my area was supposed to be driving a yellow 1965 Ford F150, I will guarantee you that I would be giving a hard look at every yellow 1965 Ford F150 I encountered.
In my career I never encountered a burglar, child molester, armed robber, rapist etc., that had their criminal specialty tattooed in bold blazing letters across their foreheads. You’ve seen the bumper stickers or window decals that read; MY KID’S AN HONOR STUDENT AT GOODRELL JR. HIGH. Well I never saw a bumper sticker or decal that read; “I AM THE ONE WHO’S GOING BREAK INTO YOUR HOUSE WHILE YOU’RE AWAY”, either. These people were ferreted out by nothing less than good old fashioned police work. That is what that sign “TO PROTECT AND SERVE” on the side of police cars means.
Police officers are human beings. They are not robots or computers generated in a laboratory. They have families that expect …let me rephrase that. They have families that hope and pray that they will return home safely every time they go to work. Three families of men I worked with during my career prayers weren’t answered, unfortunately. Things can go sideways in police work in a millisecond. Offenders may have guns, knives or even just violent aggression to be aimed at the police. And today when people do that, it seems like the police are chided for defending themselves from real and perceived threats. Walking away from trouble or danger is not a luxury police work provides. But, you, as citizens are free to criticize and arm chair quarter back the actions of the police having no idea of the potential dangers their job presents millisecond by millisecond. These officers are the only thing between you and that danger.
There is an old saying that goes;” it takes two to tango”. Well, it also takes two to tangle too. Instead of being resentful be respectful to the police when they attempt to speak with you. You will probably find that that respect demonstrated will be mutual. If you do break the law, be prepared to face the consequences for your bad decision. Keep in mind your social agenda does not figure in to the equation as to whether you go to jail or not. Traffic tickets, criminal offenses are tried in a court of law, not out on the street in the court of public opinion.
David F. Brown
(retired Sergeant D.M.P.D.)Read Moreabout David Brown testimonial
This is the original version of the article "What happened in Kenosha, and why police are necessary" published 9/2/2020 in the Des Moines Register.Read Moreabout Sgt. Dave Brown (Retired) testimonial
Des Moines Riots 2020
The events that have taken place the past few nights in cities all across our nation only emphasize the mentality and rationale of “today’s generation.” They are screaming “WE WANT JUSTICE AND WE WANT IT NOW!” Just like they want a new I-phone or a brand new car, they want everything, right now. They have no concept of how life really works.
Can someone enlighten me? I’ll be the first one to admit I can be a little dense. How does burning down a Target store, bank and worse yet businesses that have just reopened after being closed due to the Pandemic and whose employees have suffered unparalled economic hardship. How does destroying those businesses and putting people out of work again justify what they want RIGHT NOW!?Read Moreabout Dave Brown testimonial
Chief Wingert congratulates Senior Policer Officer Brady Carney on being selected Des Moines Rotary Club Police Officer of the Year. Read Moreabout Laddie testimonial
The job that I enjoyed so much for nearly thirty years, would be made so much easier today by all the experts out there telling me how to do my job. Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI), the ACLU or just anybody who has become an expert in law enforcement from watching marathon episodes of either COPS or Live PD. There is always someone out there today willing to step up and tell you what you did wrong and how you should have done your job better.Read Moreabout Dave Brown testimonial
Our partners’ stand-by us, they support us, they comfort us and they do their very best to understand us. They put up with the odd hours, our absences due to duty requirements. They often bite their tongues when we express our frustrations, our prejudices or just in general our venting about the behavior of citizens or administrative bureaucracy that inhibits our ability to do our job. They are there to serve as our sounding board and be a buffer from the insanity that often threatens to destroy us.Read Moreabout Dave Brown testimonial
Chief Wingert congratulates Senior Policer Officer Mike Moody on be selected Des Moines Rotary Club Police Officer of the Year.Read Moreabout testimonial
"CPS" vs "DHS"
When I joined the police department in 1974, it was not unusual for us to receive calls from our dispatch office directing us to go to a specific location -usually a parking lot to meet with "CPS". CPS stood for Child Protective Services. They were an agency of The State of Iowa.
Read Moreabout Dave Brown testimonial
Now hold on everybody, talk about a rush to judgment. It seems like everybody wants to go after this poor 18 year old illegal alien -Fernando Lopez Aguilar. He was the one driving the car at a speed that could be conservatively described as highly excessive. He ran a stop sign on the southeast side and hit another car and hit another car which ultimately hit another. He was driving a car with brakes that he knew did not work. He had an 8 month old infant in the back seat of the car. His actions took the life of 12 year old Lea Phann. He has caused a number of people to face the burden of massive financial hardship because he did not have insurance. Not to mention the horrible feeling of loss that Le Phann's family is having to endure. Five ambulances were called to the scene of the horrific accident he caused and wouldn't you know it, he is the only that wasn't hurt.Read Moreabout David F. Brown testimonial
I have been retired from the police department for thirteen years now, I saw firsthand the problems that officers are dealing with on the street today, but to a lesser degree back in 2003 at the end of my career. But I knew this was coming. For years society has been demanding a kinder, gentler cop. When in reality society has been becoming more and more violent -not just toward the police but each other. Look what goes on in Chicago week after week. Dozens of people being shot, quite a few of them killed. We deal with the same problems here in Des Moines just not to the same magnitude.Read Moreabout Sgt. David F. Brown testimonial