Lax Background Checks On Law Enforcement Contribute To Innocent Shooting

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

cop with gun

Is this just a tragic coincidence or a pattern of poor judgement? Either way, it's something that the public should be made aware of and perhaps demand an accounting of practices and procedures by law enforcement.

Yesterday there was this, according to MailOnline.

'Oh you're gonna shoot me?' The sarcastic last words of straight-A student shot dead by college cop after being stopped for speeding

University student Cameron Redus, 23, was shot and killed by a campus police officer
According to police, the officer tried to pull Redus over for driving erratically and speeding
The two pulled into the parking lot of Redus' apartment block
Minutes later, Redus was shot 'four to six times' by Carter
Redus was a straight-A student set to graduate in May
Alamo Heights police and Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting
Carter is on administrative leave during the investigation

Now what is disturbing is how the Campus Officer was qualified to work for the school to start with, let alone carry a gun. Here's a bit of his background. See if you find any red flags here:

University officials describe him as having 'extensive law enforcement background.'

According to records viewed by My San Antonio, Carter has had nine jobs at eight different agencies over his eight-year law enforcement career.

He rarely stayed in any job for more than a year and the two years and seven months as a campus officer for UIW was the longest stint in his career.

The sketchy details in this story also include that this traffic stop happened off campus, on private property and the confrontation was verbal. Saying 'Oh, you gonna shoot me?' is not an invitation to actually shoot the honor student. Maybe the officer failed his class in Sarcasm 101. And to unload your gun into the unarmed student? Six bullets, four which hit their target at point blank range? Let's not even start with how trained he was in handling a firearm.

This might be a stand alone one-off incident. Something that happened in a small town but couple it with this LA TIMES article from last week:

police polygraph

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department hired dozens of officers even though background investigators found they had committed serious misconduct on or off duty, sheriff's files show.

The department made the hires in 2010 after taking over patrols of parks and government buildings from a little-known L.A. County police force. Officers from that agency were given first shot at new jobs with the Sheriff's Department. Investigators gave them lie detector tests and delved into their employment records and personal lives.

Serious misconduct found in these background check in a big city? A city that has thousands of applications every year? It's bound to happen. But here's one example that could be endemic to police thinking:

David McDonald was hired despite admitting to sheriff's investigators he had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl whom he  kissed and groped. He was 28 at the time.

McDonald had been fired from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department amid allegations he used excessive force on prisoners. A fellow deputy told a supervisor that he didn't want to work with McDonald because he harassed inmates.

So committing sexual assault on a minor with an age difference of 14 years (there's three major felony crimes there alone) wasn't enough to get him disqualified?

This is where the problems are cultivating. The police must do a better job of policing their own. They must be like Hebrew National Hot Dogs -- "We report to a higher authority."

When they turn their back on major crimes within the ranks and let those people patrol us, aren't they contributing toward the further abuse for which this officer was finally dismissed?

Ultimately, about 280 county officers were given jobs, including applicants who had accidentally fired their weapons,  had sex at work and solicited prostitutes, the records show.

These candidates weren't weeded out? Safety on the streets means safety from those who provide it as well. Or so you'd think.

For nearly 100 hires, investigators discovered evidence of dishonesty, such as making untrue statements or falsifying police records. At least 15 were caught cheating on the department's own polygraph exams.

Twenty-nine of those given jobs had previously had been fired or pressured to resign from other law enforcement agencies over concerns about misconduct or workplace performance problems. Nearly 200 had been rejected from other agencies because of past misdeeds, failed entrance exams or other issues.

Now Sheriff Baca here in LA has a tough job, and I think he's done a pretty good one under the circumstances. He's lasted a long time, so he's either good or he knows where the bodies are buried -- literally. Yet with my high respect for him and his staff, you really have to wonder about putting people with dubious backgrounds in certain jobs -- especially when personal safety and carrying a gun is involved.

Anyone and everyone has made mistakes. And they shouldn't result lifetime sentences. I believe in second chances. But caution must be paid. Seemingly the ultimate price was paid in Texas for giving an 8th chance. Let's hope we learn from it and it ripples across the law enforcement community nationwide. Our safety is in your hands. Use good judgment. You'll be respected more and we'll be more greatly served.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare