The Future of Policing
The Thin Blue Line Requires Many Layers
On September 30, 2010, David Hartley and his wife were jet-skiing at Falcon Lake on the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. They were photographing an old church that was almost underwater on the Mexican side of the lake when armed men in two or three boats approached. The Hartleys attempted to flee, but the men opened fire, hitting David twice in the head. His wife said she wanted to recover his body but had to race for her own life. His body was not found. The head of the Tamaulipas state investigator on the case was delivered in a suitcase to the Mexican military’s headquarters there were suspicions that drug traffickers were involved. The area of the lake in which the Hartleys were attacked was also the site of fighting between the Gulf Cartel and their onetime enforcers, The Los Zetas, a collection of renegade former police, Central American special forces veterans, and gang members; brutal killers, but ones armed with satellite trackers, antiaircraft weapons, and the ability to monitor the conversations of local politicians.
The beheading of the investigator was a warning to Mexican authorities not to investigate
while Los Zetas conducted their own operation. If police organizations do not adapt, the bad guys will, the level of criminal violence on the southern side of the border is horrifying. The U.S. Department of Justice identifies about 20 narcotraffickers and gang groups are involved in bringing drugs across the border from Mexico to the United States.
Lt. John Sullivan of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said: “In many ways, film and video capture the cop’s life better than written text. . . Police work is routine, mundane boredom, punctuated by sheer terror, mayhem, crisis, excitement, and bureaucratic blunder. On top of this add valor, compassion, and drama. It strikes at the core of human life and experience (in all weather) . . . .” Community-based policing urges...