Joseph Loughlin, a former assistant chief of police for the city of Portland, Maine, has written a compelling book on the misunderstandings, misconceptions, and myths about police shootings, entitled, SHOTS FIRED.
I met Joe many years ago after an Easter sunrise service I conducted on the beach at Amelia Island Plantation. He was intrigued by my giving the evidence for the Resurrection, as in a detective story, which I entitled, “Where is the body?” (This is included in volume 2 of my SOUL FOOD) We became good friends and he shared with me his book, FINDING AMY, about his department’s search for a missing girl. I encouraged him to write further about his police work.
SHOTS FIRED, is written in response to the erroneous reports that grab the headlines about shooting fatalities. The media and friends of those killed give false narratives to blame the police. Headlines are not given to the police fatalities. The total number of police deaths in 2014 was 122, in 2015 there were 123, in 2016 it was 143, and that number is climbing.
The public does not know how many officers were assaulted, disabled, disfigured, or put in wheelchairs for life. We do not know how many suffered injuries so severe that they will never be able to work again. Marriages break up under the stress, careers are ended after extensive investigations, and cops commit suicide because of guilt. On average sixteen thousand officers are injured out of fifty to sixty thousand assaults reported each year.
Loughlin writes to help his readers understand the police officer’s reality and the circumstances under which many deadly force incidents take place. He interviews the police officers involved and their stories are reported verbatim so that you get an immediacy about what was happening to them in their encounters with violent perpetrators.
My daughter is married to a police officer in Texas and she tells me that every time he has to go out on a patrol, to serve a warrant or respond to a call, he has to be aware of the deadly implications of something unexpected that might go wrong.
I am impressed by how many of the police officers are men and women of faith who desire to serve the community and find they are praying for protection in the most dangerous situations. As one officer expressed himself: “I am religious and spiritual and thank God James didn’t get hit. God may have been intervening. I was raised in a religious, conservative family and we all grew up good. My brother is an officer too, and my sisters are registered nurses. We all give back. I remember thinking that I never signed up to be a cop and kill somebody. I just wanted to chase bad guys and put them in jail and help people. I had no intention of killing someone. I couldn’t believe I had.”
It is unfortunate the news headlines often report the wrong interpretation of police shootings. SHOTS FIRED supplies a much needed corrective to false narratives.