What It Takes for a Police Officer to Be Fired

We’ve seen numerous cases where officers used an obviously unnecessary level of force and received little more than a paid vacation as punishment. It really makes one wonder what it takes for a cop to actually get fired. Apparently it takes a cop not killing somebody:

After responding to a report of a domestic incident on May 6 in Weirton, W.Va., then-Weirton police officer Stephen Mader found himself confronting an armed man.

Immediately, the training he had undergone as a Marine to look at “the whole person” in deciding if someone was a terrorist, as well as his situational police academy training, kicked in and he did not shoot.

“I saw then he had a gun, but it was not pointed at me,” Mr. Mader recalled, noting the silver handgun was in the man’s right hand, hanging at his side and pointed at the ground.

Mr. Mader, who was standing behind Mr. Williams’ car parked on the street, said he then “began to use my calm voice.”


Mr. Mader — speaking publicly about this case for the first time — said that when he tried to return to work on May 17, following normal protocol for taking time off after an officer-involved shooting, he was told to go see Weirton Police Chief Rob Alexander.

In a meeting with the chief and City Manager Travis Blosser, Mr. Mader said Chief Alexander told him: “We’re putting you on administrative leave and we’re going to do an investigation to see if you are going to be an officer here. You put two other officers in danger.”

Mr. Mader said that “right then I said to him: ‘Look, I didn’t shoot him because he said, ‘Just shoot me.’ ”

On June 7, a Weirton officer delivered him a notice of termination letter dated June 6, which said by not shooting Mr. Williams he “failed to eliminate a threat.”

As Radley Balko noted, Mader did exactly what people expect cops to do. He put himself on the line to protect a member of the community. For doing that he was terminated. Apparently the only option allowed, at least at his former police department, is to kill anybody in crisis.

This situation speaks volumes. We’re told that the police exist to serve and protect. Hell, they even have that local splashed on their squad cars in a lot of places. But time and again we see officers who are actively attacking members of the community walk away scot-free while officers who do work to protect the community end up being punished. This really illustrates the real purpose of the police, which is to expropriate wealth from the populace for the State.

Mader should have received recognition from his department for a job well done and given the opportunity to train his fellow officers in dealing with people in crisis. Other departments should have asked him to come teach their officers as well. What Mader did is what the words protect and serve imply. But protecting and serving doesn’t generate revenue for the State so he was made an example of. This is why the number of good cops is so low, when they manage to get into a department they are quickly weeded out.