My name is Michael McDonald, and I’m about to do something very few officers are able to do…

Tell the truth.

I’m coming to you from my specific experience in a small town of Brookhaven within a department in South Mississippi.

If you were to do your homework, and see just what kind of officer I was, you might picture me as two completely different types of officer, depending on how, and who, you ask.

If you asked the chief, he would tell you I’m crazy and identify as the Pennywise clown in the movie, “IT”.

make entry

(Photo courtesy Eric Jackson)

 

He would say I followed him around the city watching him, waiting for him to do something wrong. He would tell you I took notes when he spoke to the shift just to catch him in his own words. He would tell you that I thought he was corrupt, and was never a team player.

If you were to look at my performance as a patrol officer, you would see a focused, organized, impartial professional. Within only 8 months I had arrested two known drug dealers, one of which made the news. 

I recovered stolen firearms, made multiple other drug arrests, and have been referred to as the Energizer Bunny when it comes to taking calls. All reports were completed, and never sent back for review. A patrol supervisor’s dream, right? Hmmm, not necessarily…

This officer says that his proactive attempts to police his community were met with repeated warnings from his superiors. (Adobe Stock)

 

There is a cancer developing within all law enforcement today, and little ole Brookhaven is no exception. Two officers died last year in what I believe were completely preventable incidents that could have been stopped by possessing and using basic knowledge of law enforcement, but not necessarily because they were not trained.

I say that because at the end of my time at Brookhaven Police Department I found myself making the same dangerous mistakes these two fine officers did. I am here today as a survivor who lived to tell why this can happen to the best of us.

A short example: on the very first day on the job, I had an interaction with a possible suspect accused of shooting a firearm within the city. During the investigation I decided that because no one had patted him down at that point, keeping his hands out of his pockets was key.

These two factors alone, which the chief told me directly, immediately bonded me with these two fallen heroes. I have become them. I am potentially writing my own death certificate.

After commanding him to do so, I immediately received counseling from not only my lieutenant, but also my FTO and a number of other officers. They claimed I was being overbearing and not treating citizens with dignity. I was told that I couldn’t just tell people to keep their hands out of their pockets while they are inside their own yard. Yet we’ve seen a number of occasions when people on their own property lash out, even going so far as to kill responding officers.

When I pleaded my case to these officers, they apparently told the chief that I was not a team player and that I had no respect for authority. They told him I needed to learn the way that Brookhaven police treated their citizens.

The friction intensified on every call that I was primary on. This went on for several months. Things like parking a house away from a burglary alarm call and walking to the home, tactically clearing residences that have been broken into, taking notes and more are all now used against me as character flaws. My own protection from complacency is completely under attack.

two Mississippi police officers

Brookhaven police Corporal Zack Moak and Patrolman James White were killed while responding to a call of shots fired. (MBI)

 

Months went by and I finally started to see myself slowly giving in. My family felt the daily struggle and stress of the job. I know now I probably have no future in law enforcement due to the inner departmental enemies I now have.

In a subliminal way, it’s no longer worth it to protect myself by being vigilant. I find myself just going through the motions and making the job as routine as possible just to have peace in the workplace. I have watched myself become complacent, choosing peace over vigilance on purpose.

This is exactly what led to the deaths of two great officers in my department. Officer White and Corporal Moak got complacent. A simple and common report of discharge of a firearm within the city turned deadly.

 

How many officers find a car riddled with bullets in the pitch-black, follow a blood trail from the vehicle to a shed not far away and conduct a dynamic entry without calling for backup? 

How many officers attempt to arrest a suspect who just shot at you and killed your partner without knowing if this suspect still had the murder weapon on him? Or without knowing the location of the second shooter?

I don’t know every detail of this case. But, these two factors alone, which the chief told me directly, immediately bonded me with these two fallen heroes. I have become them. I am potentially writing my own death certificate.

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Under no circumstances prior to working at this department would I ever think to do the things these officers did that night. However, I have already committed similar sins more than once since I started working there.

If we carry on this path, it’s simply a matter of time before those two officers are all of us. Being politically correct in order to make the public happy should never be put ahead of officer safety.

The chief knows this, and when I quit, I called him and his staff out of this fact. Not to point out what was wrong, but to try and help prevent the next death. 

Now, just like before, I am a target. He is on a mission to discredit me because if he can prove that I’m crazy, he can make himself feel justified in his current thinking.

backstabbing

After his department forced him to be complacent, this former officer decided to take things into his own hands… and quit. (Richmond Police Department)

 

To explain the Pennywise reference: I had an old profile picture on Facebook that I doodled on, making myself look like the Pennywise clown as an inside joke between my wife and I. 

This picture has now been printed out, placed in a file in the chief’s office, to which he’s given his own spin in his attempts in building a “crazy file” on me. This is what happens to those of us who choose to stand for truth and real meaning in life. I chose to quit civilian law enforcement due to the fact I know he, and others like him, will continue to tarnish my career. I refuse to punish my family and friends anymore.

I did five years as a cop, 10 plus years in armed security, and two years in corrections. I did my time to bring you this story.

American men and women have a problem chasing carrots. We have lost the importance of principle, discipline, honesty, and resilience in favor of corruption. We are all chasing that next carrot: money, a promotion, power…

Stop chasing my friends. Nowadays just being a stable, strong, honest and consistent human being is very impressive!

God bless!

Written by former Brookhaven Police Officer Michael McDonald