Conway, AR — There is no shortage of videos, testimonials, recordings, and records of police behaving in utterly horrifying ways. There are so many examples that we cannot possibly report on all of them. Because we focus so much on exposing bad cops and holding them accountable, we often get accused of being “cop haters.” But this is simply not true.
When cops uphold the rights of citizens, or expose bad cops among their ranks, we are quick to point this out. We have even had cops on the Free Thought Project podcast to discuss ways to bridge the gap between the police and the policed.
If we simply hated cops, how could we possibly attempt to fix the problem of policing? Most cops think that writing tickets for victimless crimes or kidnapping people for arbitrary illegal substance is righteous. If we close off a line of communication by simply “hating cops,” we will never change their minds on these issues.
This is how progress is made — by drawing attention to the bad cops while showing what policing could be like if there were more good cops. One of these good cops was captured on his body camera this week in a dramatic rescue in which he risked his own life to save people inside a burning home.
While fire fighters are equipped with respirators and protective gear to run into burning homes, cops are not. And, when Conway officer Carson Howard jumped from his car and ran inside a burning home on Monday, he had no such gear on his person.
On Monday, Carson was on a routine patrol when saw a house engulfed in flames with a lady begging for help in the front yard. A fire truck had not yet arrived and Carson was the first responder on the scene.
“I heard a lady come out of the house with two kids saying that there were still people inside,” Howard said.
As the video shows, Carson did not hesitate one bit as he ran toward the danger. Because the front door was engulfed in flames, he ran through a side door and into the smoke-filled home. Upon entering the home, Carson finds two people and a dog inside.
It wasn’t the typical throwing the unconscious person over your shoulder and carrying them to safety rescue like we see in the movies but it was certainly an act of heroism as the two people inside appeared confused and unable to get out. Carson then led them and the dog to safety and across the street away from the burning home.
“We got them over to the far side of the road and other officers spoke with them,” Howard said.
Carson said moments later, the entire house burned to the ground.
“I know that one of them was taken to the hospital for some burns and smoke inhalation but as far as I know, everyone’s okay,” Howard said.
Carson explained to KARK, that he would expect the same thing from other strangers if it was his family in the home.
“You know if it were my family inside, I would want some stranger to do the exact same thing,” Howard said.
Howard’s actions deserve praise for two different reasons. The first reason is that there were probably plenty of officers and regular citizens who would have rushed into the house that day but case law dating back to the 1930’s says that cops don’t have to do so.
The leading case on the topic is Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981) when the Court stated that the “fundamental principle of American law is that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.”
Because Carson has no duty to protect citizens, he was not legally bound to run into that home and he did so on his own accord, making him a true hero.
The second reason his actions deserve praise is that they did not involve an arrest or an extortion. When police provide a public service and no one is arrested, cited, or fined, the community wins out. What this highlights is that it is entirely possible for a community to be “policed” without preying on citizens.
If officers would concentrate more on helping those in need instead of kidnapping, caging, and killing people for vicitmless crimes, rest assured, there would be far less animosity toward cops. Thank you officer Carson for showing other cops what real public service looks like.