Are Male Cops Asked THAT Question?
I get asked lots of questions like: “A real cop? Did you carry a gun?. . . Oh, but in Australia, not much happened there!”
Have you seen the Oscar nominated movie, Animal Kingdom? I knew some of the real criminals portrayed in that movie, and knew the two young cops that were ambushed and killed. And yes, I carried a Smith and Wesson '38 . . . . I wrote the cop stories, like vignettes in Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City.”*
I remember my first week out of the Academy going to visit a girlfriend, who worked in a local coffee shop. I walked in, in uniform, and my friend pointed to my Smith and Wesson 38 at my hip and exclaimed, “Oh my god is that loaded?”
What a silly question I thought, and answered, “Of course it’s loaded, what do you expect me to do if a criminal points a gun at me? Say, Please sir can you just stop for a second, while I load this thing, thanks very much. Of course it’s loaded.”
Our training for using our standard police issue Smith and Wesson 38’s was pretty basic when I joined the police force. In the Academy we were taught how to shoot. This was my very first time using a firearm, and I remember being surprised at the “kick back” as my very first bullet landed in the police academy firing range ceiling!
The basics I learned: You have to ‘cock the gun’ and get a sight line for any kind of possible aim of accuracy. This basic training frankly ‘goes out the window’ when you are using it in self defense in the heat of the moment with all the tension and adrenaline running through your veins.
Once out of the Academy, every six months you had to “re-qualify’ by going to the shooting range and getting 36 out of 40 rounds on a target body silhouette or you were not licensed to carry a firearm. Every time I went to qualify my partner at the time would joke “how many do you want us to get on yours for you?”
I was not an accurate shot, and I did not and still don’t like firearms but there was no way I would be on the streets as a cop without one. Despite the joking around about my accuracy, I did not know one cop in my five years on the force, who was trigger happy.
I almost shot someone whilst on duty, but in the split second between me pulling the trigger and not I stopped and avoided shooting what was eventually established to be an unarmed man. I only had to draw my weapon a few times, and thankfully never pulled the trigger but I did come very close one night.
It was soon after the Walsh street killings. Every cop was on edge and so upset because of the ambush and shooting of two young cops, who were a few squads junior to me in the Academy. I knew them to say “hi” to. They were both based at our neighboring police station so we crossed paths regularly.
Constables, Steve Tynan, 22, and Damian Eyre, 20, were checking reports of a suspect vehicle in Walsh Street, South Yarra, early hours of a quiet morning. The car had been left with the motor running in the middle of a suburban street. When the young trainee constables went to investigate, they were both shot at point blank range, for no reason except that these particular criminals hated cops.
Steve and Damian had no chance and it was only then I realized for the first time that wearing a uniform and driving a police car we are walking, moving targets and these criminals see us before we see them.
There is not doubt there have been many controversial police shootings and each and everyone of them need to be thoroughly investigated. I believe unless you are there, it is very difficult to be judge and jury. There is no doubt there have been many unjustified police shootings. There have also been cops ambushed, and shot to death by criminals just because they were cops.
I personally believe no civilian should carry a gun that doesn’t need to be reloaded after six rounds. I am happy to debate this... I believe a civilian has no valid excuse to have a semi-automatic. “A right to defend yourself?” Yes, you can have a six shooter so if a criminal attacks your home you have that. An army is not going to attack your home. Since when has a civilian needed more than a six shooter to defend themselves? A right to bear arms? Yes, and if you want more than a six shooter then you need to have a very valid clearance that only a few people in the United states should be allowed to have (and also you have to reapply every few years).
I talk more about cops and guns, including my training at the police academy in Chapter 8, aptly titled, “Cops and Guns,” in my memoir, Sex, Love & Cops.
P.S. It's Wednesday, September 12th, 2018, and I cannot get out of my head another black man shot by the police last week in Dallas... A policewoman came home off duty, entered the wrong apartment, and shot and killed a black business man in his own apartment minding his own business! If this is case is true, this is a wrongful shooting, and should be treated accordingly. I do not defend horrible tragedies such as this one. My advice is only we cannot be judge and jury until all the evidence comes in. It's careless for the general public to weigh in on these matters until a thorough investigation is done, which in this case has just started.
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*This is an excerpt from an interview I did with PresspassLa about the release of my upcoming memoir, Sex, Love & Cops, and what I’ve been up to acting wise...
Link to the full interview here:
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