Home / Badge Abuse / Everyone’s Looking at Uber, While Ignoring Kalamazoo Shooter’s Law Enforcement Background

Everyone’s Looking at Uber, While Ignoring Kalamazoo Shooter’s Law Enforcement Background

kalamazoo-shooter-degree-in-law-enforcement

Media accounts of the Kalamazoo murder rampage have focused heavily on the fact that suspect Jason Brian Dalton was employed as an Uber driver. Scant attention has been paid to the fact that Dalton had aspired to become a law enforcement officer. According to CNN, Dalton earned an associate’s degree in law enforcement from Kalamazoo Valley Community College in 1992.

The New York Daily News, typifying much press coverage of the killing spree, reported that Dalton had been hired as an Uber driver despite having “at least nine driving violations in his past – but they may not have come up in the ride-share company’s background check.” Those violations, which involved routine offenses, such as speeding or failing to provide license and registration – were scattered over a 16-year period that began in 1990. Over the past decade, the paper grudgingly acknowledges, Dalton “kept a clean record.”

The reader is invited to believe that Uber failed to perform due diligence in vetting Dalton. His unremarkable history of traffic violations, however, would not have disqualified him to attend the police academy: While traffic violations would have been reviewed as part of an assessment of his “moral character,” Dalton had no felony convictions or comparable offenses in his record.

The KVCC Police Academy boasts that ninety-two percent of its alumni “work in law enforcement — the highest in the state….” As an academy graduate, Dalton could have obtained a peace officer certification, and then be deployed on the streets in uniform, carrying a gun, invested with lethal discretion and “qualified immunity” in the exercise of deadly force. Rather than being an Uber driver, “Officer Dalton” would have been behind the wheel of a patrol car, and since he would possess state-granted powers of arrest, he would have been able to detain victims on his own initiative, rather than waiting for them to come to him.

Uber is an upstart independent service challenging well-entrenched local monopolies. This made it an inviting target for opportunistic criticism of its vetting procedures. Like any other market-based entity, Uber will refine and improve its performance. The same cannot be said, however, of the government’s law enforcement monopoly. A Louisiana resident, for example, can become a government-employed police officer without any training or certification whatsoever, and continue in that occupation on a part-time basis without ever attending a police academy.

“Many assume police officers are rigorously trained before being allowed to patrol the streets,” reported the September 15, 2014 Shreveport Times. “But drive through rural Louisiana and it’s possible to be stopped by a law enforcement officer who’s never experienced a day of police academy and instruction on use of force, stressful scenarios and physical fitness that comes with it. Sometimes, an eight-hour firearms training and on-the-job guidance is all an officer gets before starting work as a salaried, gun-toting, arrest-making officer.”

Owing to a lack of oversight, Louisiana motorists face the possibility of running into an “Officer Dalton”-style sociopath whose “qualifications” are a government-issued costume and corresponding jewelry – and the intangible “qualified immunity” that sets him apart from unprivileged predators in the private realm.

A similar state of affairs exists in Arkansas. In order to become a licensed practicing cosmetologist, the Arkansas Department of Health requires an applicant to pass a state board examination and complete 2,000 hours of specialized training. After logging 600 hours, an applicant can qualify to work as a manicurist or instructor.

The same state government that exercises such rigorous oversight of people who cut hair or paint nails in the private sector imposes no training or licensing standards on police officers.

“The second night I ever put on a badge and gun I was riding in my own car,” recalled Crittenden County Chief Deputy Tommy Martin. At the time, Martin was 21 years old and hadn’t spent so much as a minute inside a police academy classroom.

“According to Arkansas state law, officers do not have to be certified for up to a year after they’re hired,” reported the Memphis Fox News affiliate in February 2010.

The lax standards governing “professional” police officers in Arkansas allowed Coleman Brackney, a man convicted of criminal homicide, to become Police Chief in Sulphur Springs.

In January 2010, Coleman Brackney, at the time an officer in the department that menaces nearby Bella Vista, murdered a man named James Ahern following a high-speed chase. After trapping Ahern’s vehicle and then pounding on his window, Brackney shot him six times – the last time in the back. Brackney claimed that Ahern – who had a record of trivial and petty offenses – attempted to run him over after the chase had ended. This was a lie, of course: The dashcam video documented that Brackney was never in danger.

By any honest definition, this was an act of murder. Yet Brackney was prosecuted for “negligent homicide” – a charge that assumes that the officer, who shot Ahern six times at point-blank range, including once in the back, did not intend to kill the victim. He was sentenced to a single month in the Benton County Jail and fined $1,000. The families of the victim were given a $20,000 settlement by the county.

After Brackney was released, his criminal record was expunged. In April 2013 the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement – a regulatory body that enforces less rigorous professional standards than whatever body sanctions professional wrestling referees – reinstated Brackney’s “peace officer” certification. All that he needed now was a job opening – and one was soon created in Sulphur Springs.

The same media disinformation complex that treats Uber as a public menace over the six lethal shots fired by cop wanna-be Jason Brian Dalton had no interest in the six lethal shots fired by Officer Coleman Brackney – or the corrupt government monopoly that renewed Brackney’s license to kill.

  • Carl T

    As a former law enforcement officer I am appalled at the seemingly endless examples of police brutality occurring in our country. I also applaud The Free Thought Project for their relentless pursuit of real justice when it comes to policing the police.

    That being said, this piece of yellow journalism is a sad reach for drawing a connection between a homicidal maniac and his brief interest in a career in law enforcement. He received a two year degree in law enforcement 23 years ago and that is a valid reason to further pillory law enforcement? Nice try.

    This article is peppered with such hyperbolic verbiage that the issues in Louisiana and Arkansas, which are real and scary, are lost in the poetic license that you so sprinkle about like confetti on New Year’s eve.

    So if a guy spends his lifetime watching episodes of Cops, Dragnet and Adam 12 on TV and then commits some heinous act does that lead us to conclude that once again “cop culture” is to blame? I don’t believe that is much of an exaggeration based on your logic with this lunatic.

    As stated, I think that you are on the right track with your desire to out bad cops and bad conduct/abuse but you fall woefully short on reporting on real injustices. Sadly your message and your credibility suffer and the end result is that the real issues are muddied by your strident rhetoric.

    • Guy Kelley

      You spin a slick piece of ca-ca, there spunky, although I fail to see your point of “Yellow Journalism”. If the shoe fits wear it ! We are talking about cop culture in America. Not in Russia or China or North Korea, but here at home ! Were a victim of Police Justifiable Murder Is Committed Every Day Of The Year. Not including the abuse of Police Brutality as the man who was Kicked in the Head as he was kneeling down to comply with the cop orders or the homeless man who was shown the gloves that was going to beat him to death in San Diego. Or the cop suing the family of the 12 yr old boy that was playing with a lookalike gun in a park, cop shot and killed him in less than 1.50 sec, the family is being sued by this piece of garbage with a bandage for emotional distress.
      YOUR PIETY MAKES ME WANT TO VOMIT!

  • Death penalty

  • No “Law Enforcement Background.” Guy was a cop wannabe. Those guys are usually marginal. Another Misleading Post brought to you by the “Free Thought Project.” I like alot of their posts. But they are every bit as biased as anyone they try to indict. Read, follow up on their posts before forming ANY opinion

    • I agree!

    • You know I don’t consider myself a right wing conservative. I usually am slightly to the left of center. But reading the liberal fucktards on this site makes me sick. I’m the father of a law enforcement officer and I know how hard he studied I know how many hours of training he has. You pussies that rag and rag and rag about the cops and say they should they be abolished or reformed would be the first ones to sue a city if you got robbed on the streets and there were no cops respond to your plea for help. What about the cops that come to you and give you CPR when they reach your overturned car before EMTs get there because you’re driving drunk or don’t know how to handle wet roads. I don’t see any of you assholes running to put your gear on and get ready to take out a barricaded gunman that’s already shot three or four innocent people or to take on a terrorist cadre, you idiots would piss your pants if asked to do what they do. So eady to sit back and post on the internet while others keep you safe. You assholes make me want to puke.

    • What the duck does that have to do with my post? “Fucktard,” typical neo con babble. No one is indicting ALL cops. But if you think a badge is a license to kill, you are an idiot

    • Chet Lewis is the type of asshole that makes me want to puke fucking bootlicking cop apologists are lower than scum.

    • Lol, well if your kid has a brain he’ll find another line of work. The political soldiers aren’t putting vests on anymore, they’re putting targets on. And when the time comes, and trust me it’s coming, a badge will be a target.

    • None of you cretins are man enough to actually say your words to my face and I sure as hell know you don’t have the balls to say them to my son or any other cop.

    • Chet Lewis OOOO, Internet tough guy! wants to fight. Can’t handle anyone disagreeing with him. Typical fucking Law & Order type. BEat ’em in submission! Even if it is on the internet. What a POS.

  • There’s a reason it hasn’t been mentioned, because it does not matter one bit what he went to collage for law enforcement almost 25 years ago

    • Then it shouldn’t matter that Uber only went back 10 years. Which is a lot further then my local taxicab companies look.

    • Yeah your totally right. It shouldn’t matter.

  • #AllLivesMatter…

  • Being critical of the required education and training needed to be a police officer is completely understandable. But this POS has absolutely no connection to law enforcement. Anyone can attend a college, university or training academy to gain a degree or certificate in criminal justice (actual certification of cops is different for each state). Considering this prick was NEVER hired by a law enforcement agency shows that even though he might have been interested in being a cop, no agency was interested in him.

  • It’d be nice to actually read the article instead a page infested with popups and adds.

  • this terrorist is out of the news already…..guess why!

  • Always the actors never the stage… I gave up as a sheep hand.

  • couldn’t read this becuse of ads…

  • He kinda looks like John Wayne Gacy. Very eerie.

  • jamesawyatt

    FILING PF SUITS AGAINS INDIVIDUAL OFFICERS, THOSE WHO HIRED THEM WITHOUT THROUGH VETTING AND THE MUNICIPALITIES THAT EMPLOY THEM:

    AS LONG AS BUREAUCRATS ARE ALLOWED TO HIRE WITH LITTLE OR NO SUPERVISION THOSE WHO SEEK TO BE EMPLOYED AS COPS, MANY OF WHOM HAVE A HISTORY OF BEING BULLIES GOING BACK THROUGH THEIR CHILDHOOD AND WHO SEEK THIS MEANS OF FURTHERING THEIR BULLYING LUST NOW ARMED WITH IMPRESSIVE UNIFORM, SHINY NEW BADGE AND DEADLY WEAPONS AND WITH THE PRESUMPTIONS THAT THEY NOW HAVE A LICENSE TO BEAT, CRIPPLE AND SHOOT WHEN EVER AND WHOM EVER THEY PLEASE, ATROCITIES ARE EXPECTED TO BE THE NORM AND WILL BE EXPECTED TO GROW AT AN EXPONENTIAL RATE.
    IT IS FOREVER HOPED THAT ONE OR MORE LAW FIRMS WILL COME INTO BEING THAT WILL RELENTLESSLY UNDERTAKE THE FILING OF SUITS AND NOT ONLY AGAINS THE INVOLVED JURISDICTION AND THE INDIVIDUAL ROGUE COP OR COPS BUT THOSE WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THE HIRING OF THE COP OR COPS; THE IMPRESSION ALWAYS BEING THAT THESE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HIRING AND THUS ARE AS GUILTY AS THE INVOLVED ROGUE COP(S) & THEY HAVE TO BE FACED WITH THE HARSH REALITY BY HAVING LEVIED AGAINST EACH AND EVERY OFFENDER HUGH AWARDS/FINES; NOT JUST ON THE JURISDICTION, I.E. THE CITY, COUNTY, STATE OR FEDS . . . BUT ALSO AGAINST EACH OF THE INDIVIDUAL INVOLVED IN THEIR BEING HIRSD . . . AS WELL AS THE ROGUE COP OR COPS THEMSELVES AS INDIVIDUALS; THE AWARDS TO BE PAID BY THE INDIVIDUALS’ BY THEIR PRORATED AWARD SHARE PAYMENT OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS AND ONLY A PRORATED SHARE BY THE JURISDICTION AS WHAT THE JURISDICTION PAYS WILL INVARIABLY COME OUT OF THE POCKETS OF THAT JURISDICTION’S TAX PAYERS.
    STIFF PENALTIES IN THE FORM OF HUGE FINANCIAL JUDGEMENT AWARDS SHOULD GO A LONG, LONG WAY IN FOSTERING AN AWARENESS BY THESE WHO HAVE ESCAPED ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SO, SO LONG OF THE POTENTIALLY VERY EXPENSIVE FOLLY OF THIS THEIR IRRESPONSIBLE ACTIONS WHICH RESULTS IN SO MUCH SUFFERING AND MANY TIME CRIPPLING INJURY AND/OR DEATH.

  • Media will keep it alive only if murderer is muslim. ….

  • This is just another sensation causing post with no substance except for a biased opinion.

  • Actually they did say something about his police science training

  • Larry B

    What a horrible article, UBER had nothing to do with this idiot killing people. The fact that he attended law enforcement classes has nothing to do with the killings. His driving record has nothing to do with a Police academy that he NEVER attended. To try and disgrace a Michigan Police Academy that has an outstanding record of doing backgrounds on candidates and training them to be the best is outrages. I would challenge the writer of this article to try and be accepted into the Kalamazoo academy much less make it through just the first 2 weeks of this rigorous training. I wonder why people have quit reading the papers and don’t trust the news on how they twist the facts for ratings. FIX the story! HE NEVER ATTENDED A POLICE ACADEMY and in Michigan you MUST attend an academy before being an officer unlike other states.

  • Chelsea Martin