I think my political influence comes from my dad, and just seeing what he dealt with in Waco and what his political views are. My dad is 80 and I'm wishing that he'd live to be 200 years old so I can soak up all his knowledge from him. Also my wife, because she's a elected official to in our city. She was on the school board so she gets to see a lot of how politics work. She works with a lot of our local state senators and assembly folks here.
There's a lot of stuff that I didn't know, but now I know because of my wife and my dad just being able to shed light. I also love history. I love looking up history and seeing how things happen.
I've never voted like cops vote. I've always just been able to read all of the things that are going on, and then make my choice based off what I know the city needs and what I know our people need. I'm more of a conscious voter, as opposed to an emotional voter.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
What happened with with George Floyd pissed me off, because I knew that was straight up murder. We have a oath to protect people. It really just stirred up a lot of feelings. Even before that, taking it all the way back to Kaepernick, when he kneeled. Everybody in the law enforcement community lost their crap on it, saying he was disrespectful. It's so crazy because you get indoctrinated in this profession to start to believe the same things that the majority of law enforcement are believing. People start to have the same kind of ideologies and views that everybody in that profession has.
I've had these conversations with people that I believed were my friends. And they were like, "You support Kaepernick? He hates cops." No, he hates police brutality. There's a big difference but they don't want to hear that. They don't even want to hear the fact of why policing started.
There's a friend of mine, a defense attorney, who I worked cases with when I was in detectives. He called me up one day and he was like, "Hey man, we have got to do something about this". We ended up starting an organization, it's grassroots, but it's coming along. It's a bunch of retired cops as well as a few active cops that are just standing up, not biting our tongues, and not feeling afraid to be ostracized or blackballed.
It's about changing the culture and changing the mindset through education, and also through the hiring process. We are focused on how to get good cops in, especially cops of color to serve the neighborhoods that they grew up in, neighborhoods that they live in. You approach the situation totally different when you're invested in your neighborhood. I think law enforcement has forgotten that, and we tend to look at black and brown people as the enemy. That's from its inception. That's what drives me to want to get involved more and want to see things change. I know it puts a target on my back and people are mad at me because they think I'm disrespecting the badge, but what I'm doing is actually trying to bring validity to what we do and to serve.
That's the essence of the law enforcement code of ethics is to serve people. It's not to terrorizes communities. That's not what it's about. I want to see things change, but it's gonna take all of us. It's really gonna take police standing down and listening to the people they serve. If you want to see actual change, you've got to know your history, you've got to know where you come from, and then you've got to listen to the people that are being affected by the things that you do.
With BLM, even if you don't agree with some of the tactics of the organization, the message that needs to be heard is black lives need to matter. When it first came out, I start hearing everybody say "All lives matter, Blue lives matter." I think that was just that was a kick in the face, to BLM and to the message. If we can't, as a nation, admit that black lives don't matter right now we're never gonna achieve any kind of greatness.
You have to admit the the heinous crimes that have been done against black people, and not just black people but the natives too. You have to admit that stuff. If we don't, then shame on us. We're doomed to repeat it, as you see right now. Being being a black man and and being in law enforcement, I'll tell you the truth. I don't straddle the line at all because when I take off my uniform, I'm a black man. When I'm driving in my car, I get nervous still because I've been treated poorly by cops who didn't know that I was a cop. I've been treated great by cops who didn't know that I was a cop, but I've been treated poorly as well based on the simple fact that I'm black.
I'm not gonna take on the identity of this profession, and throw my brothers and sisters to the wolves when I know the truth. I know what's being taught. I know what I've seen throughout the 15 years of my career. I choose to stand for the truth. I don't care what the popular opinion might be, or the way the tide is flowing in this profession. I have to stand up for truth because I have to be the one at the end of the day to go home and tell my my wife and my kids that I did the right thing. If I didn't, I'm just living a lie.
DEFUNDING THE POLICE
The Defund movement was people getting pissed off. They were upset, and rightfully so. Shooting black folks and brown folks ain't cool. People want to see law enforcement to step up and say, "We need to change." I'm fine with defunding.
I think what needs to be done is reallocating funds to other services. In order to really establish a great community, we have to be willing to add more money to other entities. One of the most hurtful things that I've ever dealt with is going on a call and it's true, I do believe there are some calls that we we shouldn't go to. It's like bringing a bull to a china shop, we only know one way. I've left I left calls in tears, trying to figure out what in the world I'm doing. Like, how do I fix this problem? It tears me to pieces. In a position where I was supposed to protect and serve, I just felt defeated. I've felt like quitting because I just thought there's got to be a different way.
I think that's important. It's important to be able to work hand in hand with these other entities. But when situations are dire and people need protection, or when somebody has weapons, you need officers that are trained in de-escalation first. I think being able to develop these partnerships, we realize that we're not necessary for everything. We can utilize other people, but our egos have to be put on the shelf and realize that we can relinquish that power to somebody else.
In law enforcement, you deal with these type A personalities, they are taught to be a warrior and they have that mentality. They don't want to give up that power, because they feel like a part of their identity being stripped. That's the that's the sad part. People's lives are buried in these these titles and these identities. But I'm all for it. I think it's great that we can reallocate funds and help more of these entities to build up communities.
Hopefully we can all get together and start piling a chunk of money to all these different services that will help people, because that's what they need. It's the same thing as when you when you look at folks that are out there struggling with drug abuse, and you want to take them to jail because they've got dope. I've talked to many, many folks out there that I've come in contact with and I've asked them "Is jail actually helping you get over your addiction?" And they say no. There's the problem, are we really trying to rehabilitate folks? Are we really trying to get them ready to come back into society or are we counting them as loss? I think it's the latter. I don't think we're really doing what we can do for for the betterment of people. Sometimes I think we've given up on folks like, but they're not unreachable. We can grab them and try to help them.
Batman is my favorite superhero. Alford said in The Dark Knight, "Some people just want to watch the world burn." We know there are those people and that's where you call the cops, that's where we need to be. We need to protect society, from those that want to be predators to the people. But folks that are just making mistakes, we've got to help them because they are crying out for help. The reason that they reoffend is that no one has helped them. It's like putting a band aid on a bullet hole, like what does that do? The Defund movement doesn't offend me, because I knew where it was coming from. But I think there has to be some kind of plan in place that all the entities involved can benefit from so we can actually make changes real changes.
I think we should protect them. I measure everything up to the the Commandments, love God love people. I don't care what your views are, what your sexual orientation is, what your lifestyle is, I don't care. I'm not going to argue with you on that. My job is to love people. I don't see them any different. They need rights, because they're human. If you're human, you deserve all of the rights that everybody should be afforded.
We get so caught up, and it is the church too. We get so caught up with the do's and the don'ts that we forget really what it's all about. Jesus never judged. He told everybody to show up. I'll be honest, you have a lot of Bible thumping folks that really don't know the first thing about scripture, or who God is, that are leading the charge with all this stuff. They forget the biggest principle, which is love and it hurts my feelings because I see how it hurts my friends that are in that community.
It kind of reminds me of my first experience up in Utah. I was in Smith's and a little girl walked up to me. She was with her mom. She tugs on her mom, and says, "Mommy, why is his face black?" Her mom was like, "Oh my god! I'm so sorry." I told her "No, no, no, it's all good. Just teach her that there are more people out in this world that are different."
I think that's one of the things that people need to understand in the world, that everybody doesn't subscribe to the same belief system, or the same way of life that you do.
Being someone that's allowed to carry a firearm, I'm all for gun rights. But you can't make it that easy to get a gun, that's the problem that I have. I think every household should be able to protect themselves, but I think that we try to push this so far right that there's no real accountability. There's no real checks and balances. There has to be some kind of revamping of the law or like and who we actually allow to have to have firearms.
I have buddies that are Marines, that have been over in the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, that will tell you right now there is nobody who needs an AR 15. Period. I was talking to one of my buddies that was former military, he was also a SWAT guy. We were talking about tactics one day, and he was like, "Look, you get a lot of these jokers that are playing military, when they become law enforcement. They have no training. They see something that they think looks sexy on TV and they want to add that to their little repertoire." Everything has been glamorized and you can find them on the internet a dime a dozen. But there has to be some kind of limitations.
I think that's the biggest thing, how do we protect? How do we protect society from the dangers of somebody else getting these weapons and doing damage on somebody else?
I'm not the one that's gonna tell a woman what to do with her body. If they decided that that's what they wanted to do, I would hope they will go to a place that would treat them with dignity and respect and do the procedure how it's supposed to be done. Then after that, we get them the type of help and emotional support they need. I think when it comes to that, the church shouldn't be in a position to say, "This is what you should do because God said this." God never said that. That's some church doctrine. People ask me how I can say some stuff like that and the best way I can justify my answer is that I've gone to domestic violence calls, plenty of them. I've told the woman don't go back home, or you probably will die. Yet, the Church says divorce is wrong. Do you think God is pleased when I send a person back into a home that's abusive and has the potential of them getting killed? Just listen to Jesus? I don't think so. We have to stop trying to think what we want to think about what God is wanting us to do, especially in the church. We have to stop. There are so many different reasons why women decide to go through with an abortion and I'm not the judge, juror, or the executioner. I'm the person that's supposed to be there for support. We get so wrapped up in our do's and don'ts in the church that we we stopped loving people.
That's probably one of the hardest decisions. People think that women just make that decision all willy nilly, like they want to get their nails done. It's not on a whim, like "Okay, yeah, I'm gonna go get one of these today. Then I'm gonna get my car detailed." No, this is something that was thought out. This was something that was driven by emotion, or some kind of fear or pain. The last thing they need is for me, or anybody else that's claiming to be a Christ follower to stand there in judgment and tell them that they did wrong. My thing is this —if they have it done, it's up to us to get them help and point them in the right direction. Never cast judgment. That's the worst you can do.