By: Friedrich Seiltgen
Many people ask me if I’m glad to be retired from law enforcement. The answer is yes and no. I worked with many good people, but the level of politics involved in law enforcement today make it hard to do the job.
As a new recruit in Orlando years ago, I was assigned to the West Relief Evenings squad. Back in 1997, the drug du jour was crack cocaine, but marijuana was always present. There were still cars with Grateful Dead stickers on them. If it had a Grateful Dead sticker on it, there was a high probability weed was in the car. We were allowed and encouraged to do police work then, but times have changed.
In 2014, America suffered through the shooting of Michael Brown by a law enforcement officer (LEO) and the subsequent fallout that culminated in the Ferguson riots. This one event, and the news media’s narrative, has had a lasting effect on law enforcement. The “Ferguson Effect” has LEOs looking the other way when crime happens.
These police officers are not cowards, but they don’t want to have their lives destroyed for doing their job. Self-initiated stops have decreased dramatically, and crime rates have increased as a result. The amplified scrutiny placed on law enforcement agencies has made it harder for them to fill positions within their departments.
In 2015, we saw more riots in Baltimore with the death of Freddie Gray. Gray died while being transported to jail. The district attorney charged six officers with Gray’s death. In the end, all the officers were acquitted, but the damage was done, and in 2017, Baltimore saw a record per-capita crime rate.
In 2016, Islamic terrorism struck Orlando with the Pulse Nightclub shooting. I came in service that morning at 0700 and was immediately dispatched to the scene for perimeter security. While stationed there, I watched bits and pieces of the local news. The federal alphabet agencies were on scene and had taken over the investigation.
Just like clockwork, the Obama administration trotted out a local Imam to tell everyone that this was a gun control issue. Never mind that the shooter, Omar Mateen, told Orlando Police Department dispatch, “I Pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic state.” This shooting was Islamic terrorism plain and simple and had nothing to do with gun control. I had been warning anyone that would listen since 2010 that this was coming. Not a matter of if, but when.
More recently, in California, the assembly considered a bill that would increase the standard for lethal force from “reasonable” to “necessary.”
In other words, a politician will tell an LEO when he or she is in enough danger to use lethal force. These politicians with their shooting review boards will take bodycam video of a shooting, play it forwards, backwards, and in slow motion to determine if you should have taken the shot. They don’t consider that we have about half a second to make these life or death decisions. How about we make it a law that all politicians are required to wear a bodycam?
Fast-forward 20 years from when I became an LEO. Meth is now the drug du jour, and new stickers have replaced the Grateful Dead ones. A total lack of respect for LEOs has taken hold, and police officers are being sent to calls that have nothing to do with law enforcement. One man called Orlando P.D. 911 to complain that his wife wouldn’t let him watch the NBA all-star game. Police responded.
I personally was dispatched to a call on the other side of the city in reference to a 3-month-old duck that was walking across the road. The next time you’re waiting for, and complaining about police response, remember the silliness your local police officers are dispatched to.
The disease of liberalism is gaining momentum. With a major influx of illegal immigrants, the demographics in Central Florida are changing, and not for the better. Liberals are invading the state, too, and turning it blue. Republican politicians have been replaced with Democrats, and the dangerous – yes, life-threatening – effects are starting to show.
Orlando Police Sgt. Debra Clayton was executed by Markeith Loyd on January 9, 2017. Loyd shot and killed his girlfriend, who was pregnant with his child. During the fatal confrontation, Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class Norman Lewis was killed while responding on his motorcycle.
Four people were dead because of Loyd, and the newly elected State Attorney Aramis Ayala stated she would not seek the death penalty. If there were ever a case that called for the death penalty, this was it! To right this wrong, Governor Rick Scott replaced Ayala with another State Attorney. Scott was, of course, immediately called a racist.
What does this all mean to the average citizen? It means you should double down on your efforts to protect yourself and your family. You alone are responsible for your security. Get your house in order, get armed, get trained, and watch your back!
Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He currently conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism, Firearms, and Law Enforcement Vehicle Operations in Florida. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.