September 24, 2015
Cops Fail to Kill Troubled Suspect

Sergeant Michael Van Buren is in the right line of work. We first see him starting out with the usual stuff, screaming at an apparently armed woman to hit the ground, drop her weapon. When this doesn’t work we all too often see the officer repeat himself, shouting more and more hysterically until he pumps both himself and the suspect into mindless rage and fear.

But Sergeant Van Buren isn’t a frightened coward. He shifts gear instantly into calm reason and patiently persists. Little by little, minute by minute, a relative calm descends, and at last the situation is brought under control.

Van Buren seems to be a regular Sonny Lee, of whom I’ve written before. Sonny was a short, wide, famously tough detective sergeant in Arlington, Virginia, when I was a police reporter. One day I asked him if he had ever had occasion to draw his gun. “Hell, no,” he said. “Man needs a gun to do this job, he’s in the wrong line of work.”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at September 24, 2015 01:28 PM
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