Policing Ethics, Part One: Firing The Faint Of Heart

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department this week fired Officer Cordell Hendrex for “freezing” (it’s all on video) as a deranged sniper  fired hundreds of rounds into a crowd of county music fans below the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas in 2017. “I’m inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor,” Hendrex said into his radio as he hid behind a wall. “I can hear the automatic fire coming from one floor ahead, one floor above us.”

As Hendrex stayed there in terror (by his own testimony), the gunman continued to fire, eventually killing 58 people and wounding more than 800 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.  His lawyers are  appealing the decision. His defense? He was scared, that’s all. It’s unreasonable for the public to expect  police officers to rise to heroic standards and place their lives in jeopardy in a public safety crisis. The Las Vegas department’s training didn’t prepare Hendrex for storming the hotel room. He’s been a terrific cop, as long as he didn’t have to put his life on the line.


This is becoming a common refrain. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has fired two more deputies for dereliction of duty in not responding quickly enough to the mass shooting last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in addition to the disgraced  school resource officer who cowered outside while the gunman continued to kill. Their defenses are essentially the same: bravery is too much to require, if not to expect.

I know I’m accused of blaming too much on the political Left, but this is a Leftist attitude. They want police armed with pillows and scowls, and believe that if we just make all the guns disappear nobody will have to play hero or hurt anyone. OK, I’m exaggerating, but not that much, sadly.

If you decide to enter a field that is pledged to protect the public, you are agreeing to place your life on the line for others. If you don’t think you’ll be up to the challenge of a burning skyscraper, a mad sniper or a  gang attack on the community, then it is unethical to seek or accept the job. If you think you’re up to the challenge but your nerve fails the challenge comes, that doesn’t make you a terrible person, it just makes you a terrible public servant. You deserve to be fired, and should accept it.

There are other jobs where you can actually do what is expected of you. and what you are trusted to do, without having to potentially risk your life.

3 thoughts on “Policing Ethics, Part One: Firing The Faint Of Heart

  1. This philosophy should apply to city officials, mayors, and congress. Failure to uphold the laws or aiding and abetting criminal behavior should be grounds for immediate dismissal, and any nation with a lick of integrity would demand it. Taking into account the behavior of our elected representatives over immigration and ICE raids, we are a nation without a moral compass and leadership that reflects that perfectly. We’re in big trouble.

    • Now you know what I’m going to say, I know you do. There’s no LEGAL duty, and Scalia was dealing in law.A parent also has no legal duty to, say, rescue his drowning child at the risk of his or her life. But the ethical duty…?

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