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Guns & Gear
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
By Juan A. Lozano Associated Press
HOUSTON — A man charged with killing a suburban Houston officer first shot the 10-year veteran in the back of the head and fired a total of 15 times, authorities said Monday.
Shannon J. Miles, who is charged with capital murder, appeared briefly in state District Court in handcuffs and shackles. The 30-year-old Houston resident said very little, other than to answer the judge’s questions. He is being held without bond and has two court-appointed attorneys; neither spoke to reporters directly after the hearing.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson would not comment on a motive to reporters. This weekend, Sheriff Ron Hickman said the attack was “clearly unprovoked,” and there is no evidence that Goforth knew Miles. “Our assumption is that he (Goforth) was a target because he wore a uniform,” the sheriff said.
Anderson read the probable cause statement in court, saying that police first received a call at 8:20 p.m. Friday. When authorities arrived at the gas station in the Houston suburb of Cypress, they found Deputy Darren Goforth, a 10-year veteran of the force, face-down. He was already dead, she said.
Surveillance video from the gas station shows that Goforth, 47, had just come out of a convenience store after he had pumped gas and that Miles got out of his red truck, she said.
“He runs up behind Deputy Goforth and puts the gun to the back of his head and shoots. Deputy Goforth hits the ground and then he continues to unload his gun, shooting repeatedly into the back of Deputy Goforth,” Anderson said.
Goforth was shot 15 times and a witness saw the shooting, Anderson said. She added that the shell casings match the .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun found at Miles’ home.
The killing evoked strong emotions in the area’s law enforcement community, with Hickman linking it to heightened tension over the treatment of African-Americans by police. Goforth was white and Miles is black.
The nationwide “Black Lives Matter” movement that formed last year after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, has sought sweeping reforms of policing. Related protests erupted in Texas recently after a 28-year-old Sandra Bland, a black woman, was found dead in a county jail about 50 miles northwest of Houston three days after she was arrested on a traffic violation.
“We’ve heard Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter. Well, cops’ lives matter, too,” Hickman said Saturday.
Miles’ criminal record begins in 2005, when he was convicted of criminal mischief, giving false information to police and resisting arrest, according to records. In 2006, he was convicted of disorderly conduct with a firearm and sentenced to a maximum of 15 days in jail. He was convicted of evading arrest in 2007, and his most recent conviction came in 2009 for again resisting arrest. Records show he was sentenced to several short stints in jail, anywhere from six to 10 days.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press