Military and Police

Minneapolis Mayor to City’s Cops: Warriors Not Wanted

Police officers should be proficient at making physical arrests and defending themselves against violent criminals, right? And they should also be professional, kind, and compassionate, depending on the circumstances, when dealing with the general public, correct? I think so, and I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive. In fact, I worked an entire career attempting to adhere to and observing that magnificent dichotomy in my fellow officers. But some folks don’t believe cops (warriors) can be both.

Take Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, for example. According to Blue Lives Matter, His Honor has “banned the city’s police force from attending ‘warrior-style’ seminars.” You know, those training sessions specifically developed by cops for cops whose exclusive mission is to increase the odds officers will come home to their families after their watch is over.

But Mayor Frey must not be a big fan of cops making it home safely after their shifts. Or he hasn’t given studying the issue the time and attention it deserves. I mean…how can you say you care about officer safety while forbidding your cops from taking part in the most effective officer survival training courses available?

In all of his radiant, virtue-signaling glory, Mayor Frey is apparently proud that his is the first city in the nation to implement a total ban on such training for Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers. And I do mean total. The ban does not only apply to defensive tactics training sponsored by the department while on duty. The mayor is prohibiting officers from attending such training while off-duty and on their own dime. Off-duty? We’ll see what the court says about that.

In fact, during an interview on WCCO 830 with Chad Hartman, Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis (POFM) president, Lt. Bob Kroll, addressed this concern. Lt. Kroll said neither the mayor nor the police chief spoke with the union prior to making this decision. Kroll mentioned pursuing an unfair labor practice law suit. Kroll said though officers may not agree with the decision, the department refusing to pay for “warrior” training is within the administration’s purview. But banning officers from pursuing training on their own time at their own expense is going too far.

Still, Lt. Kroll does not condemn Mayor Frey entirely. “I don’t think the mayor is evil-spirited or has a dislike for the police… I think he realizes he said something foolish.” Kroll said the Mayor has expressed an interest in meeting with him to hear officers’ concerns. When asked about MPD defensive tactics training in general, he praised their training unit.

Similarly, I was fortunate to have an outstanding cadre of officers who taught defensive tactics over the course of my career. Street Skills, in its various incarnations, was our annual “officer survival” training. Our instructors taught us the skills necessary to avoid physical confrontations if possible and, if not, to survive a life-and-death encounter. A cop is not much good to a community when buried under six feet of earth.

However, our instructors also pointed out the skills we learned during the limited training sessions were not enough. They encouraged us to seek additional training with them before or after our shifts. Or, if that was inconvenient —since traveling to downtown Seattle sucks— these days, officers could join martial arts clubs or sign up for officer survival courses while off-duty.

Mayor Frey said, “When you’re conditioned to believe that every person encountered poses a threat to your existence, you simply cannot be expected to build meaningful relationships with those same people.” What a load of bovine excrement. Think about the implications of this spectacularly stupid statement.

According to this social justice warrior (apparently, the only kind of warrior the left allows), law enforcement, corrections, or military members are not capable of showing civility, kindness, or compassion to the public they serve. Well, especially not if they’ve physically and mentally prepared themselves should a criminal try to hurt or kill them or another innocent person.

This is not just an arrogant position against proper police preparation, it is an insulting one. It illustrates what the mayor thinks about cops and shows he knows nothing about them or what they’re called upon to do. He apparently sees cops as nothing more than brutish caricatures who, if they prepare properly for the job, are simply out to harm and kill people. He can’t conceive of officers treating people as human beings while also being prepared to defend themselves and innocent people from violent thugs.

The mayor believes cops have to choose between being as prepared as possible to survive a deadly encounter and being “nice” to people. But it’s even worse than that. He’s not giving the cops a choice. I guess it’s the leftist-diluted defensive tactics training or nothing.

And what about their police chief? The person responsible for the safety of his officers? Sadly, he apparently serves as the mayor’s puppet, as is so often the case in leftist regimes. In fact, it’s interesting that in the first article I read about this incident, the chief doesn’t even comment for himself.

Instead, appropriately, Mayor Frey speaks for him. According to the Star Tribune, “Chief Medaria Arradondo’s police department rests on trust, accountability and professional service.” He continued, “Whereas fear-based, warrior-style trainings like killology are in direct conflict with everything that our chief and I stand for in our police department.” The mayor also added this bit of mindless blather. “Fear-based trainings violate the values at the very heart of community policing.”

Although, admittedly it seems a prickly term, the mayor hangs “killology” out there as if it were the study of how to kill people—and enjoy it. Killology is not a version of “warrior-style” training, as the mayor implies. It’s something else entirely about which the mayor is apparently not interested in learning the truth.

So, here’s a bit of education for His Honor: Lt. Col. Dave Grossman coined the killology in his book, “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society.” The book explores the psychology of the act of killing, and the military and law enforcement establishments’ attempt to understand and deal with the consequences of killing.

According to Veterans Disability Info, killology, “is the study of the psychological effect of killing in combat and a description of factors that actually help to restrain killing others by a combatant.”

Tell me this: if you’re in a job where a part of the job description is you may have to take a human life, then what is wrong with learning about the psychological and physiological toll it could take on you and your colleagues? Nothing is wrong with it. And that’s a part of what is so wrong-headed about Mayor Frey’s ludicrous decision.

To add to the lunacy, Minnesota cop-haters began calling for banning “warrior-style” training following an officer-involved shooting fatality not in Minneapolis but in the suburban city of St. Anthony. Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who had reportedly attended such training, shot Philando Castile who was in a car and went for a gun after Officer Yanez warned him several times not to.

A jury, which saw all the evidence, acquitted Officer Yanez for what was a justified shooting. But that was apparently not good enough for the leftist virtue signalers running St. Anthony who fired him anyway. But that’s how it is these days, isn’t it? Whenever an officer has to use force, and the incident becomes controversial, it’s always and every damned time the officer’s fault and never the criminal’s fault.

Perhaps Castile didn’t intend to hurt Officer Yanez when he reached for his gun. But, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: the officer is not a mind reader. He or she is not about to bet his or her life on a person reaching for a gun, after being told not to, meaning no harm. Sometimes police are forced to shoot bad people who do bad things. Other times cops are forced to shoot good people who do stupid things—like going for a gun after being told not to.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but it’s been my experience that some people just don’t want to do what a cop says, no matter how he or she says it. No, really. You can search all day for the magical words or phrases leftist cop-critics must believe exist, but you won’t find any. Criminals will even hurt or try to kill you to get away. I know… weird, right? Don’t take my word for it. Ask any cop. Better yet, ask any criminal—especially those responsible for cops not going home to their families after their watch ends for the last time. Something Mayor Frey might want to think about, if he does the right thing and reconsiders this foolish decision.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

Watch The Drew Berquist Show

Everywhere, at home or on the go.

WATCH NOW