Increased safety needs a plan

In 2005, in Castle Rock v. Gonzalez, 545 U.S. 748, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled police have the discretion not to enforce a restraining order that required arrest of the object of the order. Other cases have confirmed the police’s duty to protect is discretionary. It isn’t law enforcement’s hippocratic oath (“first we protect the citizens”). In fact, some law enforcement professionals say an officer’s first duty isn’t to protect citizens, but to protect his own life. (See, e.g., Steve Blow, Dallas Morning News, “Officer’s first duty is to go home sagely?” March, 2015.) That’s sensible if the objective is to arrest a criminal after the crime, not to prevent the crime. One can’t make an arrest if disabled or dead. But do we know what instructions are given to our local officers?

In response to public concern about our schools’ safety, our sheriff says he’ll deploy more deputies for more hours. But what are their instructions? Apparently the deputies in Broward County, Florida were instructed to remain outside the school until all the students had been shot. (That or they were just too scared to go in.)

Citizens shouldn’t feel the students in our schools are adequately protected unless there’s a security force pledged first to protect the students and take down threats before protecting themselves.

Maurice Emmer