Name Tags

Name Tagshttp://fox2now.com/2014/11/20/department-of-justice-investigators-in-ferguson-appear-to-be-breaking-their-own-rules

It seems like there’s going to be plenty to write on in the next several days, so I would expect fewer long posts and quite a few more shorter ones.  Today’s discussion:  Mandatory Name Tags.

Protesters have repeatedly found issue with the removal or use of uniforms without name tags.  They claim officers are willfully removing identifying markers so that it is more difficult to identify them later.  It is being used as evidence that these officers intend to abuse citizens.

The problem with this reasoning is that given the threats levied at officers and their families, the use of identity theft (like in the case of Sgt. Dilworth), false reports, and libel/slander as a regular protest tactic, it is completely understandable why officers would want to remove their name tags.  What’s more, it is common for officers wearing tactical uniforms not to have name-tags.  It is also common for officers not to wear name tags over top of jackets, like the type being worn as the temperature in St. Louis has dropped into the teens repeatedly at night.

However, Christie Lopez, Deputy Chief in charge of Special Litigation for the United States Department of Justice (pictured above), was recently quoted as saying the name-tag issue was “non-negotiable.”  With all due respect, to Ms. Lopez, I have a number of questions:

  1. What legal authority does the Department of Justice have over day-to-day policy in any local law enforcement agency not operating under a consent decree?
  2. Where in the US Code or legal precedent has it ever been decided that Law Enforcement must identify themselves?
  3. Follow up: Where in the US Code or legal precedent has it ever been decided that Law Enforcement must identify themselves by way of a name tag as a opposed to other methods such as verbal identification, business card, or badge?
  4. If applicable to local law enforcement, where in the US Code or legal precedent is it articulated that US DOJ employees are exempt from the mandate on name tags and identification?

The bottom line is that all of the above questions share a similar answer.

  1. The DOJ has no authority over local police agency day-to-day operating policy when not under a consent decree.
  2. There is no federal legal basis for these demands.
  3. Without a legal basis, secondary questions are pointless.
  4. Since the legal authority and statutory mandate doesn’t exist, it also doesn’t exist for DOJ employees.  Perhaps there is DOJ policy that states otherwise if there is no Federal Law requirement?

In the last several weeks it has been increasingly clear where our safety ranks in the minds of Eric Holder’s justice department.  I would go as far as to say that the DOJ’s intervention in day-to-day law enforcement activity but not in the direct terroristic threats levied against LEO’s by those like the RBG Black Rebels (which I’ve been informed stands for Revolutionary but Gangster) is evidence that we are supposed to be punished, perhaps even violently.  It’s beyond tying our hands at this point.  The DOJ has handed the protesters a baseball bat and locked the door.

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7 thoughts on “Name Tags

  1. The government seems to be bending over backwards to accommodate protestors. That’s OK, as long as protestors do not commit crimes, in which case, there is no excessive accommodation. Once protestors commit crimes, all bets should be off, they become nothing more than common criminals, and they should be treated like anyone else who commits a crime–handcuffed and taken to jail.

    I understand your concern for the safety of police officers. It’s as if your superiors are afraid to let you defend yourselves when it’s justified for fear of criticism.

    That’s crap–they should develop some spine and tell the protestors in plain language, ” If you commit a crime, we’re arresting you. If you block the road, we are arresting you. If you assault anyone, we are arresting you. If you loot, we are arresting you. We will use whatever force is necessary to do this. There are no more free passes. We will physically go into the crowd to arrest those who commit crimes.” They didn’t allow too much of this last time, which was a fatal mistake, in my opinion. It set a bad precedent, and reduced respect for law enforcement. The violent need to be forcibly restrained.

    They also need to take a cue from the protestors and have plenty of people with cell phone cameras/cameras to document what the protestors are doing!!! There’s a nice reversal of the situation that could be a big help. If protestors knew THEY were on camera, they might think twice about doing anything stupid.

    As for the press, their constant harping that the police response was :”over the top” is nonsense, and your commanders should say so in no uncertain terms. They tried to say so politely, but politely doesn’t work–they should start an aggressive media campaign to counteract the distortions. Perhaps playing films of how previous riots (Chicago Democratic Convention–late 1960s) would make the differences clear. I watched the live video–the response was nowhere near “over the top”.

    As a nice counter, we should require all protestors to wear name tags with their full name, address, and telephone number in type face large enough to read 100 feet away!!!!!! That way, when the media points the cameras at them, they are on TV!!!! Everyone knows who they are!!!! After all, if they really believe in their cause, they should be proud enough of what they are doing to shout who they are to the whole world.

    The anonymity of crowds tends to contribute to bad behavior, especially at night. Perhaps the police should set up huge spot lights to illuminate the crowds at night. Make it bright as day.

    And, no masks. If they don’t have the courage to show their faces, then they are cowards.

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  2. This is the first mention I have seen in the media that the police might have a valid reason to not want to wear nametags.

    http://www.aol.com/article/2014/11/20/wife-of-ferguson-police-officer-fears-for-her-family-s-safety/20996873/

    I would certainly like to see that May 2014 survey they talk about, but I suppose Al Sharpton and crew would dismiss it on the grounds that it’s a survey of “registered voters,” and black people are too helpless to register or some such. Still, the idea that the Ferguson police department was generally despised and abusive looks a lot less likely in view of this paragraph:

    “When you break it down by ward, even the area surrounding Canfield where Michael Brown died, 69% of those residents rated Ferguson Police good or excellent. Only 4% scored Ferguson police as poor.”

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  3. Seems to me, forcing officers to wear highly visible nametags puts them at a distinct disadvantage. Using modern technology, it’s too easy for those with nefarious intentions to use the officer’s name and employer to get personal information about the officer. In a normal, everyday police shift, officers are unlikely to find themselves in a situation, especially one which might be confrontational, with someone who “has an agenda” against the officer. But in a highly charged situation such as an emotional protest, like those.expected to occur in response to a grand jury announcement, there can, most likely will, be people in the crowds looking for some way to punish the officers who are there to do a thankless job. I don’t think it’s fair, or safe, for the officers and by extension their families, for their identities and personal information to be made public without cause. Should an incident occur, the publlic citizen should be able to identify the officer by looking at him, the same way an officer is expected to identify a suspect. The only obstacle to that is if the officer is outfitted in riot gear, including helmet and face shield. If that’s the case it’s likely a name tag would not be visible under tactical vests and jackets, and there shouldn’t be close enough contact to read it at any rate.

    If they are going to force officers to provide visible IDs, the same should be required of protestors, but I suppose the constitutional lawyers would have a field day with that.

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