“Three Los Angeles County deputies were relieved of duty, and two of them were arrested following an off-duty shooting incident near La Mirada Regional Park,” latimes.co reports. “Deputy Pete Gomez of the sheriff’s media bureau said he could not say what happened at the park during the predawn incident, but that brandishing or pointing a gun could be charged as an assault. ‘I don’t know if there was an argument, I don’t know if there was a fight. I do know this will be thoroughly investigated.” The three deputies had minor injuries and no one was shot. What does that tell you?
For those of us in The Job, this incident isn’t as big a surprise as you’d imagine. I have yet to come across a shootout between colleagues—besides taking shots at the local watering hole off duty. But there have been plenty of disputes between law enforcement officers both on and off duty where I work.
The rule among the rank and file is simple enough: be careful who you mess with. The person you hate today may be your life-saving (or not) backup tomorrow. No one wants to mess with the cop who may have to shoot the bad guy that’s about to “make YOUR day.”
Usually police have a at least of modicum of mutual respect. Truth be told, the police force is like a fraternity. And like most frat house altercations, cop-on-cop violence is usually over a girl. Or money.
Some of these altercations have been settled by management. Some of them have been sorted out by guys within a team. Some of them have been “negotiated” privately. When conflicts remain unresolved and violence flares, it can get pretty ugly.
The police involved in this incident should be investigated with the same rigor that would be applied to civilians in the same situation. Keeping in mind that, in the end, we in the law enforcement field are just a “slice of the population.” We come with all the same baggage and problems as most “regular” people.
All that said, I find it deeply disturbing to read about three law enforcement officer getting into a gun battle with each other. Thankfully, the officers (and no innocent bystanders) were hit. Which should open a separate enquiry into LA firearms training. Sad but true.