A Dangerous Time for Officers in a Climate of Intense Scrutiny & Public Skepticism

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Michael D. Shetler, CEO of Shetler Security Services still believes that we have the best trained officers in the world and welcomes cameras as a valuable tool both for protection and accountability

In the wake of the fatal arrest of Freddie Gray prompting riots in Baltimore, Maryland to incidents such as Walter Scott, who was shot and killed by North Charleston, S.C. police officer Michael Slager, and the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO., (both captured on bystander’s camera phones), a wary public may wonder if we’re actually seeing a rise in police brutality. Another theory is perhaps the proliferation of camera technology is just capturing more tragic incidents.

Many officers, however, view this dangerous climate in a much different light, and the FBI recently released data showing the number of cops killed in the line of duty to be on the rise. According to the FBI, 51 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2014, an increase of 89 percent over the 27 killed in 2013.

“I think many police officers feel like there’s a war on cops at the moment,” notes Michael D. Shetler, CEO of Shetler Security Services who provides global security solutions for entities worldwide. “While there are bad cops, just like there are bad plumbers, in reality, we have the best trained and most well-educated police force in the world with access to more tools like cameras and non-lethal options such as Tasers than ever before.”

In regard to better training, Shetler notes that sophisticated escalation tactics are now standard practice in most law enforcement agencies, and in situations of grave danger, police are taught to either make an arrest or protect themselves.

“Police officers don’t normally lay their hands on law abiding citizens,” adds Shetler. “It’s really reserved for cases where they’re making an arrest, and you as an individual determine the force of your arrest.”

Shetler knows of what he speaks after a long, storied career in law enforcement. The seasoned veteran has served as the Sherriff of Montezuma County in Colorado; Director of Public Safety for Dutch Harbor Unalaska, AK; Director of Public Safety for Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico; as well as Assistant Chief of Police for Sebastian in Florida where he was attached to the Governor’s Council on Organized Crime and Narcotics.
“In my experience, the majority of police and security officers are doing what they love, and trying to make a difference in society,” relates Shetler. “At times, they’re called on to do what’s right in a split-second that can make the difference between life and death, and all of their training and life experience means that they usually make the right decision.”

Shetler also notes that his security business is really a customer-service business and individuals with customer-centric backgrounds are now being trained to be exceptional security professionals.

“This ain’t a Barney Fife with a rusty gun industry,” smiles Shetler. “We employ stringent background checks and drug testing to find only the best and brightest security officers who are often called upon to observe and report at some of the most sensitive – and secure – locations around the world.

Shetler reminds us that we’re all constantly on camera, whether driving in the heart of the city, or walking through the lobby of an office building. He also warns young police and security officers to never do things outside of department policy, or to do things that would put them in danger.

“When you’re an officer, you have to remember that if you’re driving or on foot patrol, chances are that you’re on camera” Shetler reflects. “If you think for a moment that you’re going to get away with something, it’s probably the time that you’ll end up on YouTube.”


Shetler Security International provides security services for some of the most well-known financial institutions in the United States, private companies, universities and large events. Their staff has over a century of supervisory and executive command level law enforcement experience. This extensive and diversified combination of training, education and experience positions Shetler Security International to conduct expert consultation, evaluation, assessment and implementation of a wide variety of security industry needs, including guard and roving patrol, corporate and executive security, diplomatic and foreign theater security and technology solutions. For more information, please visit: http://www.shetlersecurity.com.

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Terence J. Murnin
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