The “Stand Up” Begins

imagesOn a recent blog, “Who Will Speak Up,” I asked when today’s police were going to stand up, speak out, and seriously respond to the crisis at hand — the lack of trust communities of color have for their police.

FBI Director Comey stood up and addressed the matter along with “unconscious bias” that most white folks have. See his remarks HERE.

I was greatly encouraged when I received this note from Alex Salazar, a former police officer and the efforts of a group to which he belongs. He wrote to me:

“Chief Couper, pleased to make your acquaintance sir via my good friend, mentor and former boss, retired LAPD Captain John Mutz. My name is Alex M. Salazar and I am a former Los Angeles Police Officer. I am a member of a group of current, retired and former police officers from across our nation who are appearing in Washington DC this upcoming Wednesday on the 25th. Just wanted to say hello and that I have read your heartfelt book on policing “Arrested Development.” Thank you for being a pioneer in talking about these volatile and divisive issues of our time. I am attaching an article my good friend and former colleague LAPD retired Sergeant Cheryl Ford Dorsey wrote about our upcoming meeting with Civil Rights Congressman John Lewis. Looking forward to dragging out this diablo sir kicking and screaming. Please jump in at anytime. lol”

I went to the above site “Honest Police” and was greatly impressed by what I saw — a number of retired and former police officers standing up and speaking out; including Sgt. Cheryl Ford Dorsey (mentioned above). Read her article in “The Huffington Post” HERE.

Officers are standing up and speaking out. We need more of our nation’s police to follow their lead.

As many of you know who follow this blog, I think the “stand up” should include an apology (see my post on this) and a pledge by police to improve and act trustworthy. To me, it is the only way forward.

Tomorrow, a number of these “stand up” officers are going to Washington to meet with Rep. John Lewis, who was one of the Freedom Riders in 1961, received an apology in 2013 from Kevin Murphy, then chief of police in Montgomery, Alabama. Murphy’s apology was accepted by Lewis. (See video HERE). And note that when Lewis and his colleagues who accosted and assaulted by Montgomery police, Murphy was not yet born. There’s a message here.

I send good thoughts and my blessing as these officers travel to our nation’s capital to meet with Congressman Lewis tomorrow. Godspeed!




  1. Chief Couper,
    Thanks again for your articulate voice and tireless effort to advocate change in our police service to diverse communities. Thank you for acknowledging the courage of Alex Salazar and Cheryl Dorsey Ford as it is police officers like them and others who lead the necessary change.
    While I have followed you for many years and admired your honesty and your vision for policing, I deeply appreciate your voice today as I believe the momentum for change is upon us. Your ground breaking work and personal story in Madison has an excellent chance to be more deeply heard with more urgency for all who are committed to serving our communities as well as the majority of police officers.
    John Mutz


    1. Thanks, John. I hope we can continue to team with today’s police and encourage them to stand up and let their voices be heard. We are at the first stage of a crisis that seems to go far beyond my days policing the Civil Rights Movement and speaking out for good, caring cops who pledge to fair and civil to all whom they encounter. Let’s stay in touch. I hope I am able to bring Boise’s retired chief, Mike Masterson, into the conversation!


  2. as administrator and editor of … i encourage you to re-publish this and any of your work at the site . you can make a user id, and i can adjust your status to empower you to publish directly . we can also create a bio for you on the site … leading people back here to your blog


  3. I fInd it interesting that a whole lot of police chiefs who are now retired but were shaping these problems while they were running departments are calling for current law enforcement officials to stand up and apologize. Shouldn’t the retired police leaders like Mr. Couper and his contemporaries who created these cultures in some, and I emphasize “some” agencies be the ones apologizing and be held accountable.
    All agencies and all communities have to continue to work towards greater partnerships, but I question if this is the group that should be leading this effort.


    1. I am saying today much of what I said when I was a chief. Many police leaders are constrained by the politics of the situation. Mayors are in denial as much as chiefs. I have apologized and will continue to. It takes guts to stand up and say something is wrong and then take steps to right it. But that’s life, right? It separates those who say “what happened” from those who make things happen. We have a lot of work to do ahead of us. We need to work together! If not retired officers, then who? They are the ones most free from the system.


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