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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.

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.)

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David Brown, DMPD Retired

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.

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Sgt. Dave Brown (Retired), Kenosha Wisc.
Riots

    

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!?

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Dave Brown, DMPD Retired
Officer of the Year

Chief Wingert congratulates Senior Policer Officer Brady Carney on being selected Des Moines Rotary Club Police Officer of the Year. Read Moreabout Laddie testimonial

Laddie, Officer of the Year

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.

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Dave Brown, Retired Sgt. DMPD

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.

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Dave Brown, DMPD Retired
Police Officer of the Year

Chief Wingert congratulates Senior Policer Officer Mike Moody on be selected Des Moines Rotary Club Police Officer of the Year.

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"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.

   

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Dave Brown, DMPD Retired

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.

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David F. Brown, DMPD Retired

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.

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Sgt. David F. Brown, DMPD Retired
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