Look...we're all affected by a person's
physical image.  Even police officers have
to consciously remain skeptical to avoid
being taken in from time to time.  You'll
learn that traffic violations are unique, for
when it comes to people lying, the
beautiful people can lie with the best of
them.  You'll find that many people who
are physically attractive, successful and
who fall into the general category of law
abiding people feel immune to interaction
with you; unless, they initiate the
interaction.  These guys and gals can be
genuinely insulted when you interrupt
their violations of traffic laws.  
Remember, they've got a good reason
for those violations, and you should
understand that.  If they're forced to
give you an explanation, you should
simply believe anything they tell you and
get out of their way.

In another article from the Tampa Pirate
regarding the Florida incident,  the article
is very critical of the deputy...surprised?  
It includes a statement made by the
deputy to another deputy immediately
following the arrest.  The second deputy
asks Deputy Stabins if her farther is
indeed in the hospital?  He replies, “I
don’t know, but she drives right by the
f—ing emergency room when I stop
her.”  This statement, recorded on the
deputy's video system, was obviously
included to show the deputy using the
"F" word.  It made no mention that by
passing the emergency room, the
deputy's first impression that she was
lying to him was only reinforced.  
However, right at the beginning of the
article, far removed from the deputy's
comment, it's covered by the woman's
statement that she was searching the
parking lot for her father's car. “I just
had to make sure he made it there.
Otherwise he was just sitting on the side
of the road somewhere dying.”

Come on.  One would think the woman
would first check inside the emergency
room to ensure her father was there, so
she could sound the alarm, as soon as
possible, if he was indeed incapacitated
while en route to the hospital.  Since the
heart attack story was true, the woman's
actions only prove that she was not
acting any more rationally than she was
when she fled from the deputy.

When you become a police officer, these
are exactly the type of people you'll be
encountering.  You'd do well to read
some of these comments and realize that
the world is full of irrational and hateful
people.  After all, their existence is a
primary reason for you to become a
police officer, so you need to start
thinking about how you're going to deal
with them.

Okay...let's look at Deputy Stabins.  I'm
not going to leave him off the hook.  The
deputy knew he was being videotaped.  
He thought that, as long as he did
everything right, there wouldn't be any
problem, because he acted "lawfully," and
he didn't use "excessive" force.  He didn't
use any abusive language toward the
woman; although, I wouldn't be
surprised if the use of the "F" word in his
comment to the other deputy is what got
him the 5 day suspension...especially if it
was overheard by the woman.

I'm sure that Deputy Stabins wishes he
would have handled this incident
differently.  For example, since they were
in sight of the hospital, he could have
instructed the woman to lock her car and
ride with him to the emergency room.  
Once her story and her father's condition
was verified, the deputy could have
transported the woman back to her car,
and any further actions regarding the
traffic citation(s) could have been
completed.  The positive thing about this
scenario is that the woman's refusal of
such an instruction or offer would have
changed the dynamic of the incident
entirely in the deputy's favor.  Of course,
there would be those critics and
"experts" who would say that the
woman's refusal to accept transport was
probably because she feared she'd be
sexually assaulted by the deputy.

Don't laugh.  Such false accusations are
not uncommon.   In this case, the deputy
had the capability to record audio inside
his vehicle, so the fear of a false
allegation of his conduct should not have
been a problem. Of course, many critics
would say, "That's ridiculous, the deputy
should have escorted the woman the rest
of the way."  They would conveniently
forget the deputy stopped the woman
for speeding.  Let's say you're the
deputy.  You escort the woman the
remaining distance.  You stop in front of
the emergency room, and she continues
on rolling around the parking lot looking
for her father's car.  I think you just
might feel a little frustration.

The critics really think they have the high
ground when they point out that the
deputy still arrested the woman after her
reasons for her actions had been
verified.  You have to scratch your head
on this one.  Sure, it's a simple
conclusion for simple minds.  They forget
the fact that the arrest occurred, before
the verification of circumstances.  Here's
the thing about arresting people.  When
you physically take a person into your
custody by applying handcuffs and
restricting that person's freedom, you
have -- technically -- assaulted that
person.  The only thing that makes that
assault legal is that you did it lawfully
based upon probable cause.

Here's where the courts come into play.  
Once you've made a "lawful" arrest, the
determination and circumstances of that
person's release from custody is --
technically -- no longer up to you.  
During your career, you'll see people
released by officers after brief custody
even under circumstances where
handcuffs are applied, and you'll do it
your self on occasion.   However,
whenever you use force to make an
arrest, such as in this Florida incident,
your release of a person, even for
compassionate reasons, can put you in
jeopardy for criminal prosecution.  
Something tells me that had Deputy
Stabins released his suspect, he would
have shortly been served with a criminal
summons, or even an arrest warrant,
charging him with assault.  Like the
numerous police critics you'll encounter,
there are plenty of judicial officers who
just love preparing charging documents
on police officers.  Of course, in this
instance, I could be wrong.

The only time the immediate release of a
person you've arrested is mandated is
when developing information exonerates
that person of the crime for which you
arrested the person.  It could be as
simple as removing handcuffs.  In the
case where your suspect is further along
in the process, you simply move heaven
and earth to secure that person's

There may well come a time during your
career when you make an arrest; after
which, you wish you hadn't had to make
the arrest, because you feel compassion
toward the suspect.  Your compassion
doesn't change the facts of the incident,
or the lawfulness of your arrest.  So,
what do you do?  It's really quite simple.  
You address the issue in your probable
cause charging document.  After you
articulate your probable cause for the
arrest and any additional charges
stemming from the arrest such as
resisting arrest or any assault on you,
you can show your compassionate side.  
You don't have to be gushy or plead for
the suspect's release.  You simply state
the circumstances that created your
compassion for the suspect.  Your
feelings will not be lost on the reviewing
judicial officer, and your suspect will, in all
probability, be released without bail.  The
suspect will still have to appear in court
to face the charges; however, the
prosecutor will likely be swayed toward
leniency by your explanation of
circumstances.  I don't know what his
charging document contained, but this
would have been a good course of action
for Deputy Stabins.

You're going to begin your police career
facing challenges that, to put it mildly,
have been exaggerated.  There was a
time when doing things right would keep
you out of trouble.  Compassion has
always been nice and even appreciated
from time to time, but compassion -- or I
should say the constant and visual
displays of compassion -- was never a
requirement for every instance of law
enforcement.  Of course, I can't
remember, during my lifetime, when the
purveyors of irrationality have been so
influential as they are today.

There's a simple reason why people who
were seldom listened to in the past are
now heard from so often.  It's called the
24 hour news cycle.  There's nothing
wrong with people having access to news
and developing information on a 24 hour
basis.  In fact, I'd describe myself as a
"news junkie."  However, by the very
nature of its timeliness combined with
competition, 24 hour news makes the
quality of its reporting suspect.  If you're
like me, you keep up on the updates, and
you soon realize the trend of the new
media...constant, controlled ,
controversial and captivating.  When it's
a slow news day, just about any piece of
garbage will do as long as it fits the trend

The media loves cops.  They don't love
you, because you're cuddly.  They love
you, because you're controversial.  When
the LA allegations of excessive force
quickly fizzled due to a number of
circumstances including a lack of
sensational video, the media turned to a
Florida deputy to keep the theme of
excessive force rolling.  Deputy Stabins
got beat up pretty badly for several
days; until, an F5 Tornado and President
George W. Bush came to his rescue; the
tornado flattened a town in Kansas, and
President Bush was now the bad guy for
having some of the Kansas National
Guard assigned in Iraq.
Now...when you're dealing with media
types and critics, you'll find that everyone
of them possess the uncanny ability to
know exactly what you should have
done, or should not have done, in any
situation you encounter.  Naturally,
they're expressing their expert opinions
after the fact.  When you think about it,
it's a pretty cool gig.  Unlike you, they
never have to face any consequences
when they're dead wrong.

In the case of the Florida deputy, I heard
numerous comments related to the
image of the woman in this case such as
"she wasn't a crack whore or a
prostitute."  I actually learned a lot from
some of these expert opinions...I hadn't
before known that women addicted to
drugs or who fall into lives of prostitution
don't have fathers who have heart
attacks.  Anyway...this woman exhibited
an attractive and classy image, so, to the
experts, the deputy should have believed
the woman, and he should have gone to
extraordinary efforts to aid the woman.

When you become a police officer, one of
the first things you'll do is stop believing
people.  You'll have people lie to you far
more often than they'll be truthful with
you.  The lies will go from minor, and
difficult to detect, to obvious and then to
outrageous.  Rarely, will anyone be
completely truthful with you.  On those
occasions when people are being truthful,
you're still going to ask some questions.

Going back to my example where I
escorted the couple to the hospital.  
During the husband's statements to me,
I ask where they were coming from.  
When he stated they [he and his wife]
worked downtown, I ask if they worked
at the same location.  He immediately,
and coherently, explained that his wife
had received the call from the sitter,
called him, and he then picked up his wife
at her job site.  I ask enough questions
relating to small details to satisfy me that
he was truthfully attempting to justify
the traffic violations he had committed.
It was initially unclear when this
egregious use of excessive force was
committed; although, the Internet is an
amazing thing.  I found a reference to
this incident in an article dated May 4,
2007 putting this incident in November --
presumably in 2006.  What's very
interesting in this article is that no
excessive use of force is attributed to the
deputy.  It simply states, "Stabins [the
deputy] should have been more
compassionate, a board of review found,
and it suspended the deputy for five
days."  As the news stories of this
incident proliferated, the November date
was rarely mentioned, and there was
never any questions, to my knowledge,
as to why it only became newsworthy
after five months.

It was posted all over the place on May 3,
2007.  Coincidentally, that was one day
after the Los Angeles Police Department
was accused of using excessive force
against protesters who just happened to
injure no fewer than 15 police officers.  It
was also the same day when Los Angeles
Police Chief William Bratton, LA's
imported savior from the New York City
Police Department, announced his
request for an FBI investigation into the
allegations of excessive force against his
LA officers.

I'm certain if the Associated Press, who
released the story regarding Sheriff's
Deputy Kevin Stabins, had a real video of
excessive force, this hapless deputy
would have remained anonymous.  It
must be pretty bad for the news media
when it has to reach back five months to
find a story alleging police excessive force
to compliment the current news cycle.

In an update of this story in The Tampa
Tribune on May 3, 2007, Sherriff David
Gee is quoted, "I think (Stabins)
understands that he was wrong and
could have handled it better.  On both
sides, really, it could have been done
better."  Of course, the Sherriff's
reference to "both sides" isn't discussed,
and why should it be discussed?  That
would only detract from the subject of
police excessive force.

On May 3, 2007, Bill O'Reilly, of the Fox
News Show
The O'Reilly Factor, got in on
the act.  O'Reilly was amazed that the
woman who was allegedly assaulted by
the deputy wasn't suing the police
department.  Bill was discussing the issue
with a police expert -- an assistant
commander of something or other --
who just couldn't resist sliding in a
macho remark, "If it was my 23 year old
princess, [presumably his daughter] I'd
be knocking on the chief's door."
If you're truly considering a police career,
you should view this video.  If, after
viewing the video, you agree that the
deputy used excessive force to effect the
arrest, you should consider another
career path.  Now, you may initially let a
whole lot of things get in your way such
as the fact that the suspect is an
attractive woman.  She was speeding 63
mph in 35 mph zone, [undisputed]
because her father was in the hospital for
a heart attack.

Try, for just a moment, to put yourself in
the deputy's place.  You stop the
speeding woman.  She tells you she's
speeding to the hospital for the reason
stated.  You should immediately believe
her, because everyone knows that
nobody lies to a police officer.  You say,
"The stop takes place within sight of the
hospital, so it must be true."  Again,
everybody knows that a person would
never create such a reason when they're
in such close proximity to a hospital if it
weren't true.  Poor Deputy Stabins.  He
told investigators that he didn't believe
the woman.  What a dummy, everybody
knows that every police officer has a
crystal ball installed in the dash of his
police car to aid him in his mind reading

Okay, since you've established that this
complete stranger is being totally honest
with you, and you reason that since her
unlawful speed hasn't killed anyone...yet,
and her distraught behavior will not
impair her driving ability, you quickly
apologize for inconveniencing her and
shout, "Drive on, and good luck" as she
speeds away.  Sounds pretty stupid,
doesn't it?

Let's return to the realm of reality.  
When you're stopped for speeding, and a
police officer takes your license and
registration for the purpose of issuing
you a citation, you're technically under
arrest.  When you sign the citation
verifying your intent to either pay the fine
or appear for trial, you're released from
that officer's custody.  When the woman
in this incident fled from the officer, for
whatever reason, she indicated her intent
not to pay the fine or appear for trial.  At
the instant the woman fled from the
deputy, she was subject to a lawful

None of the reporting disputes the
lawfulness of the arrest.  All of the
reporting does state that all charges
against the woman were dropped by the
Sheriff's Department.  If true, I find that
very interesting since the only entity that
can drop or dismiss charges lawfully
lodged by a police officer is a court...as in
judge, or through some other form of
judicial review.  Oh well, when it comes to
putting police in their place, you'll find few
courts that will object to having their
power usurped.

When you read the articles on this
incident, you'll see the words, "yanked"
and "slammed."  "Yanked" from the car.  
"Slammed" on the hood.  Oh, no.  Not
pulled and pushed...yanked and
slammed.  On the second stop, the
woman clearly refused the deputy's order
to get out of the car, but there was no
discussion on that issue.  It was all about
the deputy yanking the woman from her
car and slamming her on the hood.  All
the articles support the slamming version
by stating that she was slammed so
hard, "her feet left the ground."  I'm
sorry...the woman's body was obviously
rigid, and high heeled shoes aren't that
great for maintaining traction.

It's clear from the video that the woman
was not cooperating.  If you do become a
police officer, you'll find that force is a
relative thing.  Anytime a person resists
you physically, the amount of force you
apply has to be sufficient to overcome
the force being exerted against you.  
You'll also learn that when a person, man
or woman, of any size, passively resists
you by making his or her body rigid,
force is necessary to put that person in a
position to be handcuffed.  

From a standpoint of safety, this video
could be used as a training aid.  Deputy
Stabins, quickly and efficiently, subdued
the suspect preventing a prolonged
struggle which could have resulted in
injury to either the deputy, suspect, or
both.  You'll notice that when it should
have been obvious to the suspect that
the deputy intended to remove her from
the car, the car began drifting forward.  
The media stories addressed that issue
by describing how the suspect's foot
slipped from the brake pedal because of
the deputy's actions.  The critics would
have you believe that the deputy was
trying to remove the woman from the
car, before the vehicle was in park and
the engine turned off.  Does anyone
really believe the woman intended to
cause that to happen as instructed.  The
deputy was initially attempting to put the
car in park when the woman's foot
accidentally -- presumably -- slipped off
the brake.  That's what cops do when
they attempt to remove people from
vehicles under similar situations.  
Remember all those dash cam videos you
see where police officers are hanging
from the driver's window of vehicles as
the suspects speed off?  Do you think
those officers are just hitching a ride?  
The know it all critics might observe, "The
officer should just let go, before the car
takes off."  I'd suggest those critics take
it upon themselves to conduct personal
demonstrations of their escape

Okay, fine.  Many in the media, and other
critics, would have preferred that the
deputy had simply "yanked" the suspect
from the moving vehicle.  That would
have made for a much better visual
story.  The car would have continued
forward possibly endangering others, and
the attractive suspect may well have
fallen to the ground.  Better yet, she
might have been partially out of the
vehicle and trapped by some obstruction
as her head and shoulders bounced
along the pavement.  That didn't
happen.  The deputy trotted along the
drifting car, endangering himself, while
repeating, "Put it in park...put it in park."  
At this point, the deputy could have been
criticised for not letting go of the suspect
and moving away from the car for his
own safety.  

Following the release of this useless and
completely abused false allegation of
excessive force, I watched the news
coverage closely.  The word "compassion"
showed up all over the place in the
context of the deputy's lack of
compassion.  Everybody, and I mean
nearly everybody, based everything
about this incident on contributing
circumstances that had absolutely
nothing to do with the use or
determination of excessive force.

When you're looking at police
departments to join, you might want to
cross the Hillsborough County Sheriff's
Office of your list.  It's getting pretty bad
when a deputy gets a 5 day suspension
without pay based on something as
subjective as compassion.  It's pretty
obvious that the influence was present,
and strong enough, to exact some form
of retribution against the deputy for his
perceived lack of compassion.
Florida Deputy Suspended for
Excessive Force
"...when you're dealing with media
types and critics, you'll find that
everyone of them possess the
uncanny ability to know exactly what
you should have done, or should not
have done, in any situation you
encounter." ~ Barry M. Baker
an Expert

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Copyright © 2021  Barry M. Baker  
Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
Police Exam Self Help
by Sergeant George
Godoy (Ret).  
Sergeant Godoy
served for 5 years as a police
recruitment specialist where he
personally tested over 1,000
potential police recruits.
Recommended reading for
those of you thinking
about becoming a Police
There are Five
Indispensable Truths
for a Successful Police
Today's police officers are
afforded the best ballistic
protection in history... and
it only gets better.
Accurate crime reporting is
so important on so many
levels.  It all begins with
you and your preliminary
police report.
As a police officer, you'll
be writing something
everyday of your police
career.  Everything you put
to writing, no matter how
seemingly inconsequential,
will be important.
While television police
shows and movies are not
normally the best examples
for you to apply to your
police career, they do
sometimes offer some
valuable insights.
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