Can Being a Nice Guy Get You Hurt?

The common job shared by every cop (first & foremost) is this: go home at the end of your shift. If you think that you don’t minimally owe that to yourself (you do), you owe it to those in your life and in your world who love you; those who depend on...


Is there really such a thing as Karma?

A few days ago, I became aware of an officer from West Bloomfield, MI who made the ultimate sacrifice.

I suppose the ‘hardened’ side of me might have taken the news much like the ultimate sacrifice that is made by 150 (or so) cops each year across our Great Nation.  But, this one was different.

Hitting close to home

On Monday morning, my phone rang with calls from my former partner, members of a couple of the crews on which I’d worked over the years, students I taught at the academy and others from our Community.  The thread was common, “Did you hear about the guy fromWest Bloomfieldwho was killed overnight?”  Of course, I said, “No,” to the sad news.

In the overview, I get lots of phone calls, emails and other messages with hot, late-breaking events.   I’m known as a writer who is Hell-Bent on saving Just One Life.   I speak about it.  I travel the country and teach classes on it.  I moderate an email discussion group with hundreds of members where it is frequently the center-stage topic.

In short, when we lose someone from our esteemed group of some 700,000 cops (nationally), other cops believe that I need to know and know right now.  The truth is: I do.

The common job shared by every cop (first & foremost) is this: go home at the end of your shift.   If you think that you don’t minimally owe that to yourself (you do), you owe it to those in your life and in your world who love you; those who depend on you.   (Note: have you ever heard a sweeter, more meaningful word than, “Daddy,” when it’s spoken by your own child?  I haven’t.)

As a result of circumstances beyond their control, as of that night, there are now FIVE people (wife + 4 children) whose lives have been suddenly dismantled and shattered.  Reading the accounts of what happened in West Bloomfield on that night, Ofc. O’Rourke’s world came to a jolting end.   Sadly, O’Rourke’s story is not all that unique.

He had been sent to a house with another officer (or two) to investigate a possible family dispute.  There were reports of shots fired within the home as well.   I strongly suspect that the approach was done as carefully as O’Rourke knew how to make it.

I remember being dispatched on calls to a residence where we were told of a “suspicious person” or maybe an “unknown trouble” by dispatch.  But when the radio warned of “SHOTS FIRED” I can only expect that all of the hair on the back of O’Rourke’s neck was at full attention, along with every sensory receptor he could muster at the time.

The unofficial word: O’Rourke was shot though either a wall or a door on his approach from outside the house.   WOW!  The shooter could not even SEE O’Rourke.  How does that happen, I pondered.  The cop and the bad guy hadn’t even made contact.  No visual, no audible, NO NOTHING.   And yet, there lay O’Rourke in a puddle of his own blood.   His life had been abruptly ended by someone who had little or no reason to end it.

In the hours that followed, I mused over who (or what) had failed.  As a professional trainer, I couldn’t help but wonder if a trainer had failed him.   Was O’Rourke preoccupied with one of life’s many issues that tend to grab our attention?

You all look the same to me

There are volumes of data from studies that support the long-standing belief that it’s truly difficult for people of one racial or ethnic background to identify folks from another.  Ain’t no BS there.

Now, take a bunch of masculine guys all walking around with the same (or very similar) stances, mannerisms, demeanors and (oh yeah) uniforms and gear.  Add to the mix some moron who is holed-up in a residence with a gun.   Make that moron feel edgy and possibly have prior experience being in jail or prison, and then consider how rational his/her decisions are at that moment.

One needn’t believe in Karma or any other kind of spiritual kinship to see how things could go sideways in a hurry.

This content continues onto the next page...
  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to Officer.com. To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.