Last night, I had the great privilege of speaking with the patrol commander who was on duty when the public assassinations of Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo occurred at the Cici's Pizza restaurant in Las Vegas on June 8, 2014. I am glad to say I learned a tremendous amount of information about this incident directly from the department who lost these brave, well-trained, and dedicated men.
One of the things I noticed when I was researching this incident last month was the wide, public availability of detailed, open information provided by the department regarding the facts in this case. This is not always the case. Departments feel uneasy about sharing too much information about the incidents involved in LODDs. They don't want their guy (or gal) criticized. However, protecting fallen officers from scrutiny and withholding important case-related facts are two very different things.
In the case of Beck and Soldo, like the cases of so many fallen officers, no criticism can be laid at their feet. They were eating in a public place when two violent people decided to publicly murder them as a political statement. LVMPD demonstrated a great openness about this incident, not just with me as a researcher and author of books about fallen officers, but with their community and the media. They released much of the footage of the stand-off while preserving the dignity of the human beings who did not survive this incident.
The commander I spoke yesterday said this about transparency in policing: "Our community expects it, and that's what we do."
As police assassinations continue to occur-- like they have in Dallas and Baton Rouge this summer, I think we need to become more willing to have conversations about the motives, means and opportunities cop-killers use to commit these atrocious and unprovoked attacks on police.