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Guns & Gear
By PoliceOne Staff
Despite security measures meant to mitigate the risk of danger, acts of violence continue to occur inside courthouses across the nation. From a targeted attack by a sovereign citizen to a violent outburst during a trial, take a look at these five stories covering this disturbing trend.
Deputy shoots, kills armed White House fence jumper in Pa. courthouse
The suspect entered the lobby of a courthouse and slashed a deputy before he was fatally shot.
Scuffle inside Ohio courthouse ends in gunshot
An altercation caught on camera between a man and courthouse security officers resulted in a lockdown and arrest.
Footage of sovereign citizen’s ‘full-frontal assault’ on courthouse released
Surveillance video captured the attack that resulted in one officer wounded and a suspect shot to death.
Courthouse violence unpredictable, despite security advances
When Utah’s new courthouse opened, it came with security improvements that are becoming standard, but nothing can prevent every violent courtroom outburst.
Ark. courthouse rampage footage released
Gunman shot one person before police fatally shot him on courthouse lawn.
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By Gordon Rago York Daily Record, Pa.
YORK, Pa. — Officer James Miller’s message is simple. His job is to protect and serve. To do that, you have to do a couple things. Love your fellow man. Have fun. Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder. And love the people you are there for.
Otherwise, as the Springettsbury Township officer put it, “get your butt out.”
That short speech-of-sorts was recorded by Facebook user Larry Batty-Deshields who said the officer was doing paperwork outside his new business called Phone Garage on Eastern Boulevard on Monday when the two got to talking.
If you ask Springettsbury Township Chief Daniel Stump, that’s the kind of patrolman Miller is. Serving the township for 15 years, Miller goes “above and beyond” interacting with residents, whether it’s at the local convenience store or pulling over to say hi to someone. The chief says he often has people come up to him saying they met Miller and talk about how great he is.
“I like that,” Stump said. “He’s the kind of guy who takes the time and invests in people.”
By Thursday, the video had been shared by almost 3,000 people. It was viewed about 230,000 times.
“Has it gone viral yet?” Stump asked.
That question might be getting asked more and more by police today. In an age where residents can pull out their cellphone and record a massive fire, a shooting at a mall, or when they’re pulled over for a ticket, the chance of a video or image reaching the masses is more likely.
Sometimes those videos are of officers belting out their best Taylor Swift rendition. Or an image of a police officer hugging a young boy during protests last summer in Ferguson.
Others videos garner national attention showing police brutality, sometimes leading to officers being criminally indicted.
But the 40 second video taken of Officer Miller offers a different glimpse into the life of a police officer, one who passionately talks about his job while doing routine paperwork in his cruiser.
“The cameras and the ability to record everything has brought a certain part of law enforcement out,” said West Manheim Township Police Chief Tim Hippensteel. “And sometimes it’s negative.”
Still, Hippensteel agreed with Officer Miller, adding “5 percent of your population takes 95 percent of your time.” He said it is those simple two minutes of helping the proverbial old lady change a tire — just helping people — that speak to most officers’ personalities behind the uniform.
“They just want to go out there, earn a living and help people,” the chief said. “Unfortunately, we have to run into bad guys.”
Of helping people, he added, “It’s what you do to quite frankly survive.”
Police Chief Greg Bean, with Southwestern Regional, who teaches a community policing class at York College, said he often shares a saying that officers have to treat people they encounter like their grandmother.
But, remember, he tells officers, grandma might have a gun behind her back.
“Officers have to be approachable,” Bean said. “You have to treat (people) well, but be very wary.”
Bean referenced the recent shooting of a Louisiana state trooper who on Sunday evening stopped to help a man whose truck was stuck in a ditch. Dashboard camera footage, police have said, shows the man shooting the trooper with a shotgun. The veteran officer died the next day.
“When officers get into police work, studies show that they overwhelmingly want to do good,” Bean said. “They get into it for all the right reasons.”
He continued by saying that because police officers are thrust into so many negative situations day in and day out, their view of society can become tainted.
“You’ve matured as an officer when you’re able to treat people individually and try to help them in any way possible,” the chief said. “What you have to do is be personable and be willing to get out there and be aware that at the same time there are those out there who have ill will.”
Copyright 2015 York Daily Record