Guardians or Warriors? Too Bad, You’re Still Getting Warriors
July 15, 2016 (Fault Lines) — There has been a new movement in police philosophy recently, as more and more experts have tried to encourage police departments to move away from a warrior mentality to a guardian mentality. Recently, after five police officers were killed in Dallas, PoliceOne ran two articles dealing with the issue.
The first, 10 reasons why American police officers are warriors, is by Dan Marcou. Marcou knows something about police work, having retired from the LaCrosse, Wisconsin police after 33 years of service, including time as the SWAT commander. He’s somewhat of an expert on both SWAT and crowd control. You know, when you are trained as a carpenter, and your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
So Marcou made a list of terrorist attacks, beginning with the attacks of September 11, 2001, yet he fails to show exactly how police were supposed to deal with these attacks, other than to claim that police should absolutely be warriors. This is a really poorly thought out line of reasoning. When it became apparent that terrorists were attacking the United States by flying planes into buildings, the solution was not to bring in the police to stop them, it was to ground all flights and to launch military fighters. LAPD did not launch its “fighter jet” with Sgt. Joe Friday to protect the public.
The same thing applies to his use of the Fort Hood shooting by a disgruntled Army major. Marcou pointed out that “two civilian police” responded, but what he did not point out was that those officers were employed by the Department of the Army to secure a military base, not really a police role.
This is not a valid view of what police do. Pulling ten events from the last fifteen years does not indicate that we need soldiers on the streets of America. We’ve had that before—didn’t like it, and we threw the redcoats out. Instead, we should have officers on the street to handle what the majority of the calls are, not the minuscule number of calls dealing with terrorism.
But Marcou writes about what he knows, and what he’s interested in. And when the bio photo most often associated with his articles is of him in a black SWAT outfit, complete to Kevlar helmet and AR-15, that tells you he’s interested in being a soldier, not a cop.
The second article, Guardian vs. warrior: The many roles of a police officer, by David Blake, comes from a different angle. Blake is an adherent of the Force Science Institute (FSI) philosophy and has a Master’s degree in psychology, earned after a 15-year police career in SWAT, gangs, narcotics, and the like.
Blake used statistics to try and show a point that officers were both guardians and warriors. Guardians are the ones who make arrests without the use of force, but warriors are the ones who are feloniously injured or killed, the “heroes” of police. This is a mere attempt to redefine a label, to allow officers to focus on the warrior role. It’s basically an attempt at propaganda, and it follows what FSI started.
The Force Science Institute is an attempt to put a scientific bent on police propaganda by its founder, Dr. William Lewinski. Lewinski will, for $1,000 per hour, come and testify that police should shoot first and ask questions later. He’s done all sorts of studies, and published them in police journals, typical of experts. The problem is that in other branches of science, in real science, the studies have to be peer-reviewed in order to be published.
The problem is that in 2012, a Washington State professor was asked by the Department of Justice to look at the research. The conclusion?
[T]his study is invalid and unreliable. In my opinion, this study questions the ability of Mr. Lewinski to apply relevant and reliable data to answer a question or support an argument.
Basically, FSI research was being labeled as pseudoscience. Canadian authorities won’t allow his research to be used in police shooting cases. Instead of promoting de-escalation of use of force situations, Lewinski advises to shoot first. That’s not what police departments need. Departments need guardians much more than warriors, as noted by Dallas Morning News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd after the Casebolt incident in McKinney.
After the five officers were killed, some called for more militarization, in other words, more warriors. Chief David Brown said that:
We won’t militarize our policing standards, but we will do it in a much safer way. We are not going to let a coward who would ambush police officers change our democracy. Our city, our country, is better than that.
Dallas gets the idea. In many other parts of the country? Not so much.
Do you want guardians or warriors protecting you? You need to make your wishes known, because the police will chose warrior every single time. They’ll justify it by straw-man arguments, by pseudoscience propaganda, but appeals to officer safety and the First Rule. But they’re wrong.
And unless you insist on it, you’ll get warriors.
 As do his books, such as S.W.A.T. Blue Knights in Black Armor, which presents a military appearance for officers.