Quote of the Day from Ken Nealy, of the Houston Police Robbery Division:
Most knowledgeable, or reasonable, people should believe that if they’re going to rob a business, the business owner is gonna have some type of protection to protect themselves, their property and their employees, so that should be considered food for thought.
OK, not the most elegant statement ever made on the topic. ["Knowledgeable or reasonable" robbers, Ken? How many of those have you run across in your investigations?] And I’d love to see this coming from our police chief, and our Mayor.
But clearly the tide is turning.
The clearest indicator, in fact, is that this quote comes from a local TV station, KHOU Channel 11.
This is in the context of recent incidents in which a jewelry store owner shot and killed three robbers, and a grocery store owner shot two robbers and killed one of them.
The reports are straightforward, and do not decry shop owners defending themselves. Local black and Hispanic leaders are not quoted as blaming the robbers’ actions on society. Most important, the comments at KHOU’s website are overwhelmingly in favor of the self-defenders.
KHOU was to my knowledge the soul TV presence at the Houston Teaparty event, and their coverage of that was also favorable, or at least neutral. I think they’re getting a clue.
I wanted to praise Investigator Nealy on his remark, but could find no contact email (understandably, I guess). Instead, I emailed Officer McCoy, who runs the HPD Recruiting Blog:
I was pleased, even a bit stunned, to see KHOU’s recent report on the trend among shop owners to arm themselves against robbery. This report featured a clip of your own Ken Nealy of the Robbery Division saying, “Most knowledgeable, or reasonable, people should believe that if they’re going to rob a business, the business owner is gonna have some type of protection to protect themselves, their property and their employees, so that should be considered food for thought.”
The concept of “knowledgeable or reasonable” armed robbers aside, this is an outstanding position for a police official to take. I can think of no greater deterrent to crime than the wide-spread knowledge among even unreasonable would-be robbers that they risk far more than yet another trip through the revolving court system door.
Investigator Nealy exemplifies Sir Robert Peel’s Seventh Principle of Policing: “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
This attitude will go far to engender mutual respect between all citizens who lawfully defend their communities and themselves, in uniform and out, and to breaking down the us-and-them wall that weakens our resolve, our security, and our liberty.
Please, if you can, forward my appreciation to Investigator Nealy. I encourage his superiors to support his statement, loudly and publicly. (Including Captain Holloway, Asst. Chief Montalvo, Chief McClelland, and Mayor Parker. And not neglecting Captain Slinkard and Deputy Director Woolfolk.)
Update: Aw, dang it! Officer McCoy is ignoring his email until after Christmas, and he’s about the only online HPD contact I could find.