Community policing memeI was just reading this Voice of OC article, “Neighborhood in Anaheim Turns on Police” and found this passage extraordinary:

“In the second incident early Sunday morning, officers arrived at the neighborhood with guns drawn because of a report that an armed gang member had invaded a resident’s home, according to Dunn.

Hostile residents again challenged police officers, he said.”

Let me get this straight: a West Guinida Lane man calls the police, reports an armed gang member has entered his home looking for someone, and asks for help. The police arrive to assist this man – and they’re the ones getting harassed!

It’s helpful to remember the one of the very fundamental reasons we form governments is to protect our lives and liberty from criminals. It’s there in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”

I called Sgt. Robert Dunn, the Anaheim Police Department’s public information officer and asked for more detail on this incident. Sgt. Dunn told me a male called the police to report that someone he identified as a gang member had entered his home, armed and looking for someone.

I asked what time on Sunday morning the call came in. 4:30 a.m., Sgt. Dunn told me.

Did the crowd form after the arrival of the police. No, replied Sgt. Dunn – the crowd was there at the scene when the police arrived. The intruder had left by tat time.

So, shortly after 4:30 in the AM on Guinida Lane, there was an angry waiting for the police – who were there to secure an individual right to be safe in his own domicile. [And why is there a crowd waiting to assemble in the pre-dawn hours?]

According to Sgt. Dunn, this has become common in that neighborhood. He mentioned a recent incident: a pursuit that ended with the police securing the vehicle, in which a firearm was found. As police secured the crime scene, someone in a car with an “FTP: Film the Police” sticker circled the area, yelling obscenities and calling the officers murderers.

I have to wonder: why is it that the discussion of crime and policing in Anaheim is framed by the belief that it is the police who need to do more? That it is the police who need to improve their community outreach and be laced under closer supervision?

Does anyone think jeering and harassing police officers coming to the aid of a crime victim is an example of good citizenship? How does that help the neighbor dealing with an armed intruder in his home? Does such behavior make the neighborhood more or less safe? What element is encouraged by roving bands harassing police: the law-abiding or the law-breaking? It’s an indication of how topsy-turvy the discussion as become that few — least of all the media — are asking these questions.

The people in these Ustream videos jeer and pelt the police and complain about all the cops who roll up – ignoring the fact that the additional police arrive because of these crowds that spring up any time police respond to a cal for service (and it is useful to remember that police are arriving on the scene because someone in the neighborhood has called for help).