Welcome to the first TacCat interview! Patriot Cop is a close friend of mine who is an absolute wealth of knowledge and almost always has an answer to any question that he’s asked. This interview was conducted over the phone over a period of days and hours and got so long that I thought it was best to divide it into two different parts. Part one of the Patriot Cop interview will mostly contain questions directed at his law enforcement career. Part Two of this interview will follow tomorrow.
Alright Patriot Cop, for the readers would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
Growing up I was either privately schooled or homeschooled and I have always dabbled in everything; so I typically learn how to do most things on my own. I began working part time at the age of 12 until I was 15 or 16 when I got my first work crew. After getting my first work crew I opted to work full time while being homeschooled. I graduated in 2001 and since then I have always worked in the communications field; even when Southwestern Bell was still a thing. I’m still doing the same thing that I used to do, but instead of towers and lines, I’m dealing with fiber optics. When I was 21 I became a firefighter and did that for about 9 years; when I left I left as a chief. I did go through all of the courses for becoming an EMT,but I decided I didn’t want to do that. Naturally I ended up deciding to become a police officer since I have always been an adrenaline junky. I went from being a reserve officer after a few years to becoming a full time officer, and during that time I worked in four agencies, the last one being the smallest. At that department there wasn’t a lot of work, but our chief tried to make it fun for us, so we went through a lot of training. I got my certifications for SWAT, advanced SWAT, hostage rescue, flashbang grenades, OC gas (pepper spray), 30-40mm launchers, pretty much if you name it I probably have that certification stashed away somewhere. Now, the one that I will admit not getting was the sniper certification. When I left the department, I left as chief. I do have to say that being a law enforcement officer is a lot like being a teacher… it is underappreciated and underpaid. It is a job that you do because you enjoy it and not for the money. Nowadays I just keep to myself though and go on hikes with the family. When I’m not doing that I’m doing what I have always done; playing with primitive technologies, weaponry, and learning how things work. So far… I haven’t ran into a machine that I couldn’t figure out, and I do most of my own mechanical work since I’m cheapskate haha.
What were your general feelings about being a police officer? Is it everything people think?
I kind of knew what I was getting into having been in emergency services before. But was it? Well… I was lucky. I got a lot more training than others who have been in for 30-40 years. There are many aspects that people don’t think of, like the politics of it. If you’re in a larger city, there is a lot that you have to do to keep your employers happy and sometimes that means turning a blind eye. Its not all car wrecks and gun fights though. It is a lot like being a kindergarten teacher. You have a world full of immature people that cannot handle their own problems. You have a lot of people hitting their spouses, getting too drunk, or parents too afraid to punish their kids, or their kids are hitting them. You get a lot of calls and go, “What the hell is wrong with these people?”
I answered a call one time of a lady chasing a man with a baseball bat… I asked her why she was doing that and she said she was defending herself… you really do get to see the dumbest people in the country. It is stuff like “I can’t make my kid go to school.” In that situation, the parent then turns you (the cop) into the bad guy by using you as an enforcer by saying stuff like, “If you don’t go to school we’ll have him take you to jail.”
You’re supposed to have an answer to everything and you are expected to make everyone happy. You run around chasing calls that make you shake your head…and you have to ask yourself how some of these people made it so far in life without dying. When you do happen to put a kid into handcuffs after their parents ask you to do it, you get to hear “They were such a good kid, they were going to be the next Einstein!” and other similar phrases.
The most annoying thing is domestic violence calls like marital disputes. 95% of the time you go to make an arrest, the other party then bails the bad one out, and they drop the charges the very next morning. I got to the point where I wouldn’t take statements until the next day. Why go through all of that paperwork all night long just for it not to mean anything the next morning?
If you happen to work for a rural department, chances are you will spend a lot of time just chasing cows out of the road.
How different are the inner workings of one police department to the other? Is it mostly the same deal at each one?
Every one of them has a different policy and procedure depending on the chief. It can be everything from facial hair, weapons, clothing, etc. In some areas you’re shutting peoples sprinklers off, chasing dogs out of their yards, and other mundane tasks like that. It all depends on what area you’re in. The core of it is pretty much the same though. Some agencies will tell you to write as many tickets as possible, others will tell you to take it easy on issuing tickets.
When you were in, what would you say was the general feeling towards the 2nd amendment? Would you say there were more, or less officers that would participate in confiscations if they were to happen?
Well, a lot of that depends on location. In my honest opinion, and I can only speak for my state. If you stay out of the major cities, most LEO are pro-carry, pro-gun, and pro-2nd amendment. Most sheriffs and deputies like guns and want people to have guns. In general though when you get to the more liberal cities around the country, you find cops that think they should be the only ones to have guns. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have departments like mine that were filled with those who followed their oath to defend the Constitution. So much so that we would write to the local papers and say:
“We stand with the people and if the government tries to come for your guns, they will have to go after us as well. We will stand with and fight with the people.” At the end of the day though you wouldn’t see many officers that would take that kind of risk. This is already a high risk job that is severely underappreciated, especially by those that would demand that confiscations take place. I also need to point out that most of the anti-gun officers tend to have a God complex, don’t know their firearms, don’t clean their duty weapon ever, and aren’t trained well enough to actually deal with a situation like that. Then you have officers like me who partially got into law enforcement just so we could open carry since it wasn’t legal in Texas at the time for regular citizens.
Now in general, most of your law enforcement officers would more or less tell the government to screw off. Chances are they would say something along the lines of: “People already hate us and now you want us to decrease our chances of making it home? No thank you.” That said I do think that it is important to ease a lot of people’s minds who are overly paranoid about law enforcement being the ones to confiscate their weapons. My department and many others have been trying to stockpile military style vehicles and weapons…. This isn’t to use against the people for when/if the confiscations come, it is so that we can arm civilians willing to fight with better equipment if they didn’t have their own. The fear of cops having this equipment is extremely over perpetuated and part of it is because people simply don’t understand why. If the government were to attempt revoking the 2nd amendment, they would probably start up a new division (or use a current one like the ATF), train them specifically for that task, and sic them onto the civilian world. These people would be hired because they wouldn’t have any moral inclinations to feel remorse for doing what they were doing, or leaving the general public defenseless.
What do you see right now being the downfall for police departments? Do you think that the smaller towns get enough of a budget?
The budget is really area dependent, it either gets based off of the city or the county, and what the county/town council approves. I have worked in towns that were fairly well off and we would get one box of ammo a year. I worked in a very small town that was predominantly poor and I (as chief) got $2,500 yearly training allowance for each officer and $1,000 yearly budget for ammunition per officer. This town might have had 1200 people just so you get an idea of how small it was. Even big departments don’t give allowances like that…it was insane. Most departments either have you pay for it yourself or they send you to free training that is honestly garbage. Another sizeable amount of departments will only do $200 per officer per year for training. Now you have to remember, my budgets didn’t include the meals, hotels, or travel for those officers. I could literally send an officer out for training for a whole month once a year, other departments might be able to send an officer away for a week. Needless to say the size of the town doesn’t dictate what the budget is. It is all about what council will allow. I have seen towns that were made entirely of higher class citizens and the officers got next to nothing. State Police wise…their annual allowances are across the board. In Texas though the state doesn’t subsidize departments. Departments could subsidize it with 60% of the ticket revenue until it reached 20% of the annual budget we were given. The other 40% and anything past the 20% of the yearly budget goes straight to the state. They formed it that way to cut down on speed traps. I found a way to beat that limit though…like I said I like finding those loopholes. If you had a $200,000 budget, you convince your council to give you a $2,000,000 budget, but you promise not to spend anything over $200,000. The $2,000,000 was the official budget that got written down, but that was just so that we could maintain more of the ticket revenue. Even though I found that loophole, I don’t think that anyone else in the state has been able to. We hardly wrote tickets though for those wondering, but if we were to, why not keep more of that money to help our town versus it going towards the state for God knows what.
As far as the downfall for police departments… Really the biggest problem I see is not law enforcement as much as it is the legislation. People get irritated with the officers, but they’re being paid to enforce the law, they’re being indoctrinated to follow the law, and they’re just doing their job. Nobody gets mad at the legislators though. They get mad about getting a ticket about window tint, but not the legislators that set that in place. There are a lot of officers that are enforcing unconstitutional laws because they don’t know that they’re unconstitutional… Anymore now though sadly, the police are the “Harass People for Victim-less Crimes” department. There are even more issues such as politics in departments, but the biggest issue is the legislative branch of the government, and the departments are playing right along with it.
You’re told when you’re going through the academy that you will uphold the laws of the state…but you take an oath to uphold the Constitution and to uphold state laws. A lot of recruits though didn’t get a civics course in school and don’t realize that the Constitution is supposed to trump everything else. The officers that do realize this are put into a difficult position… because if you do decide to uphold the Constitution over State law…you won’t have a job for long. Its gotten to the point where you can’t go home at the end of the day, or get to retirement, and maintain your morals. Its either you sacrifice your own morals, or you go against the morals that the state holds… At the end of the day its a battle of “Do I stand for what I believe in, or do I make sure I can feed my family at night?”
Do you think that officers get enough support from the “leaders” in this nation?
I don’t think law enforcement gets support from anyone. Anymore its an expendable force. From the civilian standpoint I would say about 90% of people expect the police to die for them since they’re too afraid to fight each other…and you know… “They know what they signed up for.” When you look at law enforcement leadership, there used to be a brotherhood. People think that cops cover stuff up for one another…and that is how it used to be. Now its all dependent upon if a higher up will be affected on if something gets covered up or not. Now…too many police department heads have become political pundits.
It doesn’t matter if what their guy did was justified, if the mayor or the people want him gone, the head will boot the officer for political favor. It’s the same way even when you get higher up the chain with governors, congressmen, etc. The value of life for those in emergency services isn’t valued at all by leadership and that is partly why I didn’t want to be an officer anymore. I have no issues dying for someone that appreciates it, but its another when its for people who would give you the finger afterwards.
Nobody really likes law enforcement, hell, I don’t care for it much either but it is a necessary evil; even for people that don’t like it. If you asked people across the world if they would like to have law enforcement they would say yes…because having them beats not having them. I don’t blame anybody for hating law enforcement though, no one wants a speeding ticket, told to wear a seat belt, or where to walk. I don’t like it, but it is always going to be that way. Nobody likes the dentist, nobody likes the IRS, but they are necessary evils…to some extent. That said, I don’t see the federal government supporting the FBI or border patrol, or letting them do their assigned jobs. I can see both sides of the spectrum though between hating law enforcement and liking it.
What advice would you tell someone that had the goal of becoming a police officer?
The best advice I have for someone that wants to be one…is not to be one. A lot of my instructors and a lot of people who made their lives in this line of work… they’re pretty much the same way. I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone gets into law enforcement these days. A lot of people with the same core values as me agree. If you have the need to do it, go through your academy, and become a reserve officer. You volunteer a few days a month, you get to have all of the fun, but I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone get involved in law enforcement full time with how things are going. So my final advice is, don’t get into it, and thank me down the road. If you’re in law enforcement already, get your degree, and get out to do something else. A majority of our force here in Texas actually doesn’t last past 5 years, so that should tell you something.
My next best advice would be, go to your local PD, ask your 10-15 year veterans their advice on it. They will tell you the only reason they’re staying is because they’ve been a cop for so long that they want to get their retirement.
I enjoyed being a reserve, you don’t get tied up in all of the politics of being in law enforcement or the other downsides, but you get a majority of the perks like being able to carry your weapon in all of the U.S. territories and states.
To follow-up with the last question…. For those that are wanting to become a police officer, do you think that they should first become familiar with a variety of firearm platforms and know the basics on some of the more common explosives? Part of the reason I ask this is because I’ve ran into cops that couldn’t clear some of my guns due to them having manual safeties.
Hmm… there are many different trains of thought on that one. Some of the best cops that I worked with were into firearms before they became police officers and those are the guys that I would want watching my back. The vast majority of people that get into law enforcement are not gun people and learn everything on the range while they are in the academy. Some of it is down right scary…they can’t remember how to run their ARs, shotguns, how to load anything, or how to properly maintain their weapons. A lot of people would walk in and I would make them provide their own gun. I had a list of “top tier brands” I made as well as duty caliber preference and if you bought a .40S&W the department would provide the ammo. Some would show up with WWB in their magazine and I would say “You don’t have a f*cking clue, do you?”
So, yeah. One of the prerequisites was that I needed to see your firearm and your ammo. I would tell them that they needed to go get hollowpoints and I would give them a list. I actually had a person show up with a mag loaded up with HSTs, Ranger Ts, cheap Winchester hollow points, and FMJs… it was ridiculous. I have even seen people run the same defensive ammo for 12 years. So, yeah. When people talk about cops being well trained and knowing guns…that applies to a very small percentage of people. The anti-gun crowd will tell you “No” to this question and the state will probably side with them as well…but it is something that every officer should know at least at some point down the road. Its also almost impossible to learn about the different kinds of explosives yourself legally.
Man, thats part of why I don’t want them touching my gun though. I have seen cops fight and fight and fight with guns to clear them since they don’t know them. That is part of the reason Glock is a decent carry option… at least there’s a higher chance that they know how to safely handle it.
A few years ago, a suburb in Houston went with a private security firm instead of renewing with the city, they ended up experiencing lower rates of police brutality and crime. Some are claiming that this is because the courts and law enforcement are now separated…what are your thoughts on this?
Show me the statistics. If they arrested the same amount of people for the same crimes, then yeah, there would be some validity. The reason that they probably experienced that though is because most security guards are lazy and won’t do anything. I guarantee that if it was something serious that the guys at the firm are going to be calling the police department for help. I guarantee that they weren’t getting into car chases and the like. In Texas they wouldn’t be able to arrest on a lot of the situations that a regular officer would be able to. Security guards are a bit of a joke, you’re better off with a guard dog. They find that fine line where they can do just enough not to get fired…so I would not say that there is any correlation. The only real difference between privatized and public law enforcement is that the privatized firm will probably have better trained and equipped people. That said, security agencies in Texas don’t have the same authoritative powers that cops do. This is really an apples to oranges comparison. If I saw the statistics I could probably tell you why there was that decrease.
Not too long ago you might remember, I had someone tell me their local sheriff advised them to carry FMJs… is there anything you would like to say to the LEOs that aren’t actually gun guys, but still want to give out information on firearms?
Look…if you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t give advice. It is better not to give it than to give bad advice. If you don’t know the details behind the decision or choice of your department, you are just doing what you are told, and that is no way to base what you recommend to others. There is no law enforcement grade FMJ ammunition, the only thing that comes close in Speer Lawman, and the only reason I say that is because it was designed to mimic how Speer GoldDot in terms of recoil. Speer Lawman, again, is not meant to be carried though. There is not a single company out there that is making law enforcement certified FMJ ammo. The only FMJ we actually carried while on the job was in 5.56 and that is only because that’s what was bought for us. If you wanted to carry something else you bought, you were allowed to.
There are a lot of cops out there that just talk out of their ass though. Honestly, I don’t even ask them anything, even if something is illegal or not. If they can’t tell me what the law says current day, I won’t take their advice on it; period. You have to remember, people in the real world are a lot like they are on Facebook. Some people are trolls and officers can be the same way. You can have one person ask a cop what pepper spray to use, right? The cop will give them the name of the worst brand on the market and then laugh with their partner. Case in point, a lot of people think that cop cars are faster because of their engines, right? Truth is, once you add on all of the weight from the skid plate, gear, and other equipment it goes at about the same rate as your ordinary street vehicle, maybe a hair faster if that. When a civvy asks though…you know what we tell them. The point is, if you ask a cop a dumb questions, chances are you will receive a dumb answer.
Alright, story time…. Once upon a time I knew a local PD that had a remote controlled flood light. They had convinced college kids that it was a lie detector. They would pull up to college drinking parties, ask if kids were drunk, and get lied to…until the light started to move and they would fess up…it was absolutely hilarious.
Patriot Cop: “Have you ever looked into the Miami Heat Shooting at all?”
Me: “Very little, I do know that it is why we have 10mm and .40S&W, that is about it though.”
Alright, after the Miami Heat Shooting they found brass casings in the pockets of dead officers. Ready to hear why? When they would hit their department’s range, they were instructed to put their spent casings in their pockets so that they were sure to leave with the same amount of casings as they did cartridges when coming in. They were instructed not to do this in real life… but things stick.
This isn’t to say that there isn’t any useful information to be had from law enforcement. Figuring out what they use for carry ammunition can get you started in the right direction as can using their statistics. That said, you would be surprised at how many stupid decisions are made for entire departments that are made because of a chief or captain’s personal preference.
Thank you very much for reading part one of the interview I had with Patriot Cop! Part two will be up here on L1F.us in the coming days! A huge thanks to the Liberty First Foundation for allowing letting me use their platform to share my articles with you all!
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