Daniel H. Harris

Anytime an individual’s encounter with police officers ends in death, it’s tragic. A human being has lost his/her life, the victim’s family will be hurt, angry and looking for someone to blame. The police officer who shot them becomes a scapegoat for their pain and frustration. That’s why cops don’t want to shoot people, much less tell anyone, if they don’t have to. It’s too much trouble and paperwork. They often hesitate to pull the trigger when they are justified. Officers die every year because of that.

Step back. Look at the big picture. There must be millions of traffic stops every day that end in nothing worse than a ticket or a warning. Hundreds of Americans are arrested daily without shots being fired, a tasing, or any other form of violence. There’s no telling how many people are questioned informally by detectives and released without a problem. That tells me that police department in America are doing a damn good job.

Take into consideration how many drunken, drug addicted, hostile, belligerent criminals they deal with on a daily basis — and the cops begin to look like saints of patience and compassion. Most of them are.

All the recently sensationalized incidents have had things in common. If you apply a little common sense, it’s easy to see what led to their deaths. It might be hard for the families to hear, but if their loved ones hadn’t resisted arrest in many of the cases, they would still be alive today.

It’s perfectly understandable to me that the victims didn’t want to go to jail, but if you insist on fighting police officers, you have to understand and accept responsibility if the consequences are fatal.

That’s the difference between criminals and cops. Every time a cop pins on his badge, he knows it might be the day he dies. Police officers don’t want to die. They just want to do their job and go home to their families.  Yet when we choose to live a life of crime, we choose to be their adversaries and the bane of their existence. With choice comes consequence.

It’s surely proof that the world has gone to hell, when I become the voice of reason and defend the Boys in Blue. As a criminal who’s been arrested numerous times, I can assure you that cops don’t go out of their way to kill criminals. If they did, I’d be dead.

My worst offense was on 02/03/1992. After I spent more than an hour shooting police cars in Dallas and Hunt counties here in Texas, I got out of the car with my M-11 Cobray in my hand. I meant to die, wanted to die, and would have died that day if I could have raised the gun.

Shock from loss of blood had me unable to function, but I stood for more than a minute looking crazily from side to side, before I fell. A news crew filmed the incident. That didn’t save me. Shooting me down would have been fully justified.  I’m still alive.

Don’t blame it on me being white. Cops only know one color. Blue. In 2005, 50% of people shot and killed by cops were white. The media never reports such facts.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been arrested or picked up for questioning before 02/03/1992 and I never got injured. Police had nothing to do with it, but I’m willing to share some important tips on how to survive encounters with police officers.

  1. Stay calm. If you start to scream and cuss, you are begging for more trouble than you are already in.
  2. Keep your hands in plain sight and away from your body.
  3. If you are required to move for any reason, you should move very slowly.
  4. Don’t try to argue your case in the street. If you’re innocent, the place to argue it is in the courtroom.
  5. Compliance. Whatever police officers tell you to do is what you should do. If the officer is wrong, then you can deal with that later when you get to court.
  6. American citizens have rights. Even if you never intend to break the law, you should know what your rights are.
  7. Be courteous during the process, whether you are getting a ticket or being arrested for a felony.
  8. If you are being arrested, politely asked for a lawyer and answer no questions until your attorney is present — except to provide proof of your identification.
  9. Never interfere in police business. You can’t help a friend or family member by going to jail with them.
  10. The best way to avoid conflicts with police is to obey the law. One thing all these years in prison has taught me is that crime really does not pay.

Whenever I hear someone giving a speech or sermon and telling their followers to kill cops, I remember 02/03/1992. After I was cuffed and laying on my belly by the side of the highway, a Dallas police officer came over and began to stomp on me as he yelled, “You shot at me! You shot at me!” for punctuation.

Guess I could hold a grudge. Instead I remember a big Texas Ranger in his signature white Stetson who grabbed the angry, over-excited cop and shoved him away from me and then stood guard to protect me.

Police officers do a hard job. Without them, no one would be safe and civilization would not exist. There will always be a few bad apples that overreact under stress, but from my experiences, your average police officers are damn good people who do a hard, dangerous job for low pay. Let’s take a minute and thank them for their service.

Daniel H. Harris #00622851


2664 FM 2054

Tennessee Colony, TX 75886