Monday, January 28, 2008

Billings PD's Kathy Carson: "Pursuits are always fun!"

I came across an interesting article from Montana's News Station regarding recruiting police officers. You can read it HERE. Basically, it notes the shortage of police recruits and the techniques used to recruit. Shiny badges, cars, motorcycles. Dogs, guns, driving fast. Making it seem like police work is a video game. Apparently this is how you recruit police officers these days. Sure, as it is with every job, the employer must make its pitch, but what infuriated me was the following comment by Billings PD's training officer Kathy Carson:

"Pursuits are always fun! Although they're dangerous, they're very exciting."

Completely irresponsible. It is this sort of mentality and approach to police work that kills. I'd like to ask Kathy this:

Was it always fun when two Palm Beach officers were killed during a police chase when they were run over by one of the pursuing officers?

Was it always fun when an innocent 17-year-old Chris Cooper was killed while riding his bike?

Was it always fun when 404 people were killed in 2006 as a result of police pursuits? Or how about 2005, when 359 people were killed? That must have been fun.

Was it always fun when an innocent 22-year-old Steven Cornell was killed in Tampa?

There are countless officers who understand their duty and with honor and valor patrol the streets putting their life at risk to save lives. I can only hope that these poor recruiting methods don't put the wrong ideas into our law enforcement officers heads.


Anonymous said...

This is absolutely sickening. This person has no place on the job. If this is a recruiting method, that department needs to seriously re-examine their means of recruitment. Is there any way to hold this person's feet to the fire and answer the comment she made with the deaths you cited? I would very much like to see her try to justify her statement when confronted with the hundreds of innocent men, women and children slaughtered in the streets of this country every year.
Cheryl Cooper

Anonymous said...

I am a police officer who reads and supports this site. Carson's comment was not literal. I have no doubt she respects the fact that pursuits are dangerous and sometimes deadly. You have gone overboard to criticize her enthusiasm for the thrill of the chase, which many officers, including myself, enjoy. I have enjoyed every pursuit I have been in...none of them have ended in tragedy. If one of them had, well then I wouldn't have enjoyed that pursuit. But chasing down bad guys and getting the job done is fun--nobody can deny it and we shouldn't try. I doubt that Carson is an irresponsible officer and I think you've read too far into her comments. In general, pursuits are fun.

-Adam Doran
Kansas police officer

John Harriss Phillips said...


I agree with you. However, Officer Carson's inability to insure to me that she does take her job seriously led me to think otherwise. If she would have told me so, this wouldn't be an issue.

This ended up being a tricky situation, and thinking back I might have handled it differently.

John Phillips


Anonymous said...

Here in Montana, pay for police officers tends to be pretty low in some circumstances. Furthermore, police officers in Montana can work as officers for one year without attending any police academy. As there is only one academy - in Helena - quite often the waiting list for attendance is longer than one year.

This low pay and lack of training contributes to the overall low quality of police officers in Montana. As a paramedic who worked in three states and three foreign countries, I rate the people working for the Montana Highway Patrol as the least knowledgeable and least professional of any police agency I have ever encountered. Their method of "policing" is actually bullying. The only good thing I can say about the MHP is that there are only 175 of them to cover the whole state, so their ability to hurt people is limited.

People working for some local agencies are better than the MHP officers, but not many. In some cases, the local officers can, if it is possible, be much worse. For example, a dispatcher and a deputy with the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office were fired and imprisoned because they covered up a domestic violence call made by the wife of a fellow deputy.

Kathy Carson sounds like a typical Montana police officer. All hormones and very little sense. Someone who responds to any criticism by attempting to bully the person giving reasonable criticism into backing off. This is what happens when your officers are underpaid, undereducated and un-supervised. A problem that will only get worse as the economy heads into a recession....

Anonymous said...

My name is Sharon. I am Kathy Carson's sister. Just so you all know her comment that you are so offened by was in answer to the question What did she like most about being a police officer. Please get your facts straight before putting something on-line. As far as the ignorant people commenting, I assure you she takes her job very seriously and is very good at it. Oh and I'd say she is overqualified. My sister has been a sheriff,paramedic,fire-fighter and served in Irag two times. She also recently received a medal of honor for catching a man exploiting and abusing his own daughter. I for one am very proud. Sharon Carson

Anonymous said...

First off, I am not ignorant, I am the grieving mother of a 17 year old boy who was an innocent bystander during a high speed police chase.
Second, it's IRAQ, not Irag. Offended is the correct spelling, not offened. And you should always put a space in between commas when you are continuing a sentence. I wonder if your sister took the death that occurred while she was involved in a pursuit seriously. Apparently not.
Sharon's comments and grammar skills corroborate what you said about the general educational level of the population of Montana.
You say police pursuits are always fun. Then you say it wouldn't be fun if you were involved in a chase in which someone dies. You sound very confused...

Anonymous said...

Excuse me for my type-o's. And I am proud to not be a resident of Montana. Oh and the man that died was running from my sister, who was not chasing him. Oh and f*** you for your personal comments you don't know either of us. Sharon c
Carson Still proud.

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