Andrew Mills - Chief of Police - Santa Cruz

Cops: You Don’t Fight Alone

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Kelly is a tough lady and a good cop. Her beat had a residential burglary series and she was determined to solve the problem. She knew crime clusters geographically, so she went to the middle of the cluster. Kelly developed probable cause to stop a man riding a bike with a backpack in the heart of the burglary problem area.  She put out the stop on the radio and pulled him to the curb.

Immediately, the contact turned violent. The suspect punched her in the face, slicing her cheek wide open with a knife protruding from his palm. She fought with every ounce of strength. This fight was a life and death struggle. With every blow, she could feel her face slice open. Blood flowed down her cheeks, staining her badge. She fought through the pain and the shock, knocking him to the ground.

Kelly hit her emergency button and could immediately hear the screams of sirens approaching her.   

As she fought with him, she saw a red dot on his chest. She thought maybe it was blood dripping from her face through the holes he created with his knife.  The red dots continued to appear, move and change locations.  It’s interesting what you remember when fighting for your life.  She fought on, gained the advantage.  She survived. She won.

When debriefing the incident, Kelly mentioned the red dot to investigators. The dot seemed strange to her. She felt maybe it was a figment of her imagination or blood blurring her vision. Then, Kelly learned the truth.  

A wounded combat veteran convalescing at home saw her stop the man and watched in horror as he cut her face.  The warrior grabbed his rifle and pointed it at the man, determined he would not let this man kill this police officer.  He trained his laser light on the man and decided that he would take action if the man got into a position of advantage.  This warrior covered Kelly from the high ground. Silent. Determined. His red light let her know she didn’t fight alone. He held her six.

His red laser let her know- she didn’t fight alone!

We need people with the mind-set of these wounded warriors. Kelly willing to fight on. The man ready to protect Kelly. Santa Cruzan’s who occupy the moral high ground let our officers know they don’t fight alone. I don’t want you to grab a rifle with red laser sighting.  I want you to show up for your cops socially, politically and emotionally. Let them know you appreciate them, support them, and want to see them succeed.  Paint them with your red laser light of support.  Let our officers know they don’t fight alone. 

SCPD recognizes a substantial change in policing is needed and will come. SCPD welcomes change. We have proactively sought change. Our policy recommendations to foster change goes before the Council on November 24th. Hold us accountable for just policing, because just policing benefits us all.

When our officers show up for you, understand and appreciate their sacrifice and dedication. You cover them from the moral high ground of support; cover their backs figuratively with a red laser light. SCPD will always show up for you.

One Reply to “Cops: You Don’t Fight Alone”

  1. Chief Mills,

    I just read your blog post “You don’t fight alone” and I am in tears.

    You and your officers have embraced a transformative cultural shift at the SCPD that is saving lives at the risk and peril of yourselves. Stacey and I are deeply grateful for this change.

    As you know all four officers who responded on 16-OCT-2016, when our son Sean Arlt was wrongfully killed, stated in their depositions that they were ready to and would have shot Sean. I know these four officers were not “bad cops” but were the products of a misguided, misinformed police force.

    Please offer our humble thanks to Officer Kelly for risking her life each day to keep us safe. May she fully recover from the trauma of this event so that we all may be fortunate to have her as part of our community as an example of someone who respects and embraces the humanity of a person even when that person is violently attacking her.

    Be well

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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