According to the Temple Police Department’s website, “The department has adopted the motto of ‘Integrity, Honor, and Dedication’, as these terms best describe the character of the men and women who are the Temple Police Department.”
It pains me to say this, but that’s more bull excrement in one statement than every pasture on which my family farms combined.
I was recently sent a copy of the Killeen Daily Herald from this past Friday, April 19. In the “Our Texas” section there was a story titled, “Army Marathon security tightens in wake of bombings.” This was the first Army-sponsored marathon in the area. The following paragraphs were tucked near the end of the story:
The only concern brought up during Thursday’s brief regarded Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham, a Temple resident whose arrest there on a weapons charge has drawn national attention.
Cpl. Christopher Wilcox with Temple Police Department said that he didn’t expect anything beyond Grisham making “a spectacle of himself.” The gun rights advocate recently released a video of his arrest that has garnered more than 1.8 million views on YouTube.
“I don’t see it causing a problem for the marathon, and I think the people that are showing support for Mr. Grisham support the marathon,” Wilcox said.
What the hell is that?! Wilcox is basically saying that I should be viewed with the same suspicion as the Boston bombers. He insinuates that I’m no better than the 9/11 terrorists. My wife even feels like he is creating a hostile environment for us to continue living in the City of Temple. How can we feel safe in a city where the spokesperson of the police department is labeling law-abiding citizens as criminal threats?! What if we actually have a need to call the police to respond to an emergency? Can we count on them to do so without bias? I don’t think so.
I don’t know what the Temple Police Department is trying to pull, but if you ask me this amounts to defamation of character. I think the department has bigger problems than trying to defame the character of a law-abiding citizen and paint him as some sort of terrorist-in-waiting for standing up for his rights to keep and bear arms and freedom from illegal search and seizure. You know, LL recently wrote a post asking people not to call the Police Department because this case was out of their hands. I wrote a post addressing the alleged threats made against the arresting officers and standing by the PD as a whole. But, after reading this passage in the paper, I’m convinced they are out of control and the department needs an enema. I still don’t condone violence, but I understand now why so many people are angry at this department.
When did it become standard practice for a police department to excoriate a citizen that exposes their corruption and abuse of authority? Let’s recap what Cpl. Christopher Wilcox has said about me publicly so far, beginning with the Army Times article.
Wilcox told the Army Times that the arresting officer “approached Grisham and told him to set down the loaded rifle that was slung across his chest so the two could talk.” Instead of complying with that fictitious order, Wilcox said that I “became very irate and angry and yelled at the officer he was not going to take his gun.” Wilcox then told the Army Times that “a scuffle ensued.”
On March 24, Cpl. Chris Wilcox issued a report to the Temple Daily Telegram that “instead of talking to Grisham first, the officer decided to disarm him.”
Right off the bat, we have conflicts in what Cpl. Wilcox is putting out in the public. Which is it, Temple PD? Did I refuse to put down my rifle or did the officer not talk to me? The “scuffle” mentioned in early articles seems to have disappeared. If, in fact, there was a scuffle, why weren’t there any charges alleging this? If there wasn’t a scuffle (which there wasn’t), why hasn’t Wilcox corrected his version of events?
On April 3, Wilcox told the Telegram that I was carrying my rifle “by a sling designed to assist the user with immediate usage of the weapon.” Can anyone show me a sling that ISN’T designed to assist the user with “immediate usage of the weapon?” He also made sure that readers knew I was walking “near the airport” without actually telling them that I was walking AWAY from the airport at the time of my arrest. In fact, I live 50 feet from the airport, so anywhere I walk with a gun is “near the airport.” At some point, I would have had to walk TOWARDS the airport. What non-residents reading that also don’t understand is that Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport is barely even a regional airport. As far as I know, there are no commercial flights. The airport is mostly used by Army rotary wing aviation units and private, small-plane pilots.
The statement in the Killeen Daily Herald was probably intended to strike fear into the public that I intended to use my weapon in some nefarious manner by capitalizing on the public hysteria about 9/11 and recent terrorist events. This is probably also the same reason that Wilcox tried to tie me to the Army marathon as some sort of threat or risk to the event.
You know, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had actually cared enough to show up at the marathon to support the runners. I would have had to do so unarmed since the department saw fit to charge me with a bogus crime that required confiscation of my CHL permit. I can’t help but wonder if I would have had a police officer detailed just to shadow my every move or if I would have been subjected to unnecessary searches or pat downs.
These statements by the Temple Police Department are so offensive just on its face. When I was arrested, I wasn’t doing anything violent. I was walking calmly and peacefully down a country road in the middle of nowhere with my son. I wasn’t threatening anyone. I wasn’t breaking into homes. I wasn’t selling drugs. I wasn’t hiding dead bodies. I wasn’t shooting from the roadside. I wasn’t raping women and children. But, Chris Wilcox wants to convey to the public that I’m somehow a public nuisance and should be feared for daring to stand up for my rights and legally carrying a weapon in the middle of the country.
This is a despicable act that our local police force has done. How can anyone in this city trust a single thing they do when this is how they operate when embarrassed? How can anyone feel safe when we have officers claiming to have “Integrity, Honor, and Dedication” are actively lying on police reports, lying to the public via local media, and defaming citizens that expose their corruption and oppressive actions?
Chief of Police Gary Smith wrote on his page that, “Our officers and supporting employees strive to set the standards for police services, and we all understand the demands placed upon us to maintain the highest levels of integrity and professionalism in the duties we perform.”
Chief Smith, I feel the need to remind you of what the definition of integrity is. According to Merriam-Webster, integrity is “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” Since that definition obviously can’t be what the Chief is talking about based on recent events, I looked at other definitions. Maybe Chief Smith is using this definition of integrity: “the quality or state of being complete or undivided.” Maybe the entire department is undivided in their corruption and stick to each other regardless of whether the officer was right or wrong. Perhaps they have integrity in defending the illegality of their police actions. I can only assume based on the statements being made officially this is the appropriate definition.
The Temple PD seems to have forgotten a vital characteristic of their existence: THEY WORK FOR US! When a police department forgets that they are not above the people they are sworn to protect and serve, they lose credibility and authority in the eyes of the citizenry. They do not exist to protect each other but to enforce the law and “provide a safe and peaceful environment…through which the quality of life of all citizens may be improved.” Intentionally working to subvert the name and character of citizens does the exact opposite of that philosophy. It’s counter-intuitive. I would argue it’s also illegal. Perhaps, their charter needs to be looked into by the state if this is the kind of crap they are pulling.
Here I thought that the problem was only contained within the officers that arrested me on the scene back on March 16th. I was wrong. Based on the numerous statements from Cpl. Christopher Wilcox, one can only come to the conclusion that the department, under the current leadership, needs to change its motto. I recommend, “Iniquity, Dishonor, and Infidelity.”