Monday, February 10, 2014

A Great Warrior is Layed to Rest: The Phoenix PD Years, cont. (part 3 of 4)


                                                               by Rick Dalton
Jack surely suffered for his stand, but God never lets us fight a righteous battle alone.  In addition to His tender mercies, He brings into our lives people to share the burden.  Here, in a letter written about 1995, and published in Aid and Abet, is Jack's account of the arrival of reinforcements.

"In 1979, when I was just beginning to strike the first feeble blow "for liberty" inside the Phoenix Police Department, it was as if I were completely alone. It was lonely indeed to be the first to speak out and ask for fellow officers to stand up and say NO to the Officer's CODE OF SILENCE, to unethical, unlawful and unconstitutional orders or activities on the part of our brethren and/or government.
In those hard first years of severe pressure and persecution from my own department and from state and federal police agencies, God gave me many blessings. Specifically, He brought to my side "angels" from the private sector in the form of Theresa & Bob Huebner. Soon after, another "angel", the first and very brave police officer from Mesa, Arizona, named Rick Dalton. Even while watching the persecution I was undergoing for my stand, this dear brother, jumped right into the "fire" with me. These few great Americans helped me take to other officers and soldiers a strange and seemingly new (but actually very old) idea, one that had long since been forgotten by many: namely, that police officers and soldiers should know, understand and live strictly by their sworn oath. That oath outlined our duty and responsibility, not to the "majority", not to "the system", but to every one of the SOVEREIGN American people: to protect and defend the People and the Constitution, EVEN, if necessary, from an out-of-bounds governmental system." (Vol. 2, Number 10)
The Huebners were indeed a godsend. They have remained loyal all these years.  "Mother Theresa", as we called her, would be our logistical commander and travel scheduler as we moved around the nation at Preparedness Expos, gun shows and Patriot gatherings spreading the gospel of liberty.

Another strong and loyal lover of freedom soon came to Jack's side in the form of Carol Asher, whose total and selfless dedication continues to this day.  Carol handled correspondence, the production of Aid and Abet, and a million other details of our operation. (And as far as I am concerned,  Jack is the one who helped me by preparing me for the hardships I would face as I began do march to the beat of a different drummer at Mesa PD.  His courage and stellar example served as my game plan.)  It was a wonderful, dedicated team that God helped to put together.

Now back to the story of the attempt to silence Jack at Phoenix PD:

Back in patrol after winning his reinstatement, Jack solved several burglaries and arsons,  but he had been injured on the job, over a year before this, and he re-injured his shoulder several more times.  After going back and forth between patrol and "light duty" several times, all under the care of physicians contracted by the City of Phoenix, the powdered wigs decided that his injury was permanent and disabling.  The reality was that they never left him on light duty long enough for the injury to heal before sending him back to patrol in a violent area of south Phoenix called "the deuce". 

Fired Again

But, even though policy dictated that they should give him a medical retirement,  as they had done with many other injured officers, they didn't.  Not Jack McLamb.  They fired him.  Jack promptly appealed.  By this time they should have known better. But Chief Ortega who must shoulder the blame for this disgrace, blew it again.  Probably realizing the mess the city was in, Assistant City Attorney Allen Max called Jack's lawyer and offered to give him long-term disability in return for his promise to drop the appeal.  I called Max, but he refused comment, citing "pending litigation".

I attended the second appeal hearing.  Dr. Frank Stagg, who is contracted by the City of Phoenix to handle occupational medical matters, testified that in his opinion Jack's shoulder injury was injury was permanent.  But when cross-examined by Jack's counsel, Mike Napier, Stagg admitted that he hadn't examined Jack for nearly two years.  He further admitted that the injury would heal if given time - time that the department refused to allow.

Well, you guessed it.  The appeals board again gave Jack his job back.  Full. Back. Pay.  And they ordered Ortega to put him on light duty long enough for the injury to heal.  Yes, folks, it was deja vu all over again. And finally, that should have been the end of the story, but, Jack kept publishing that naughty newsletter.  So they ignored the order of the board and put Jack McLamb, the most decorated - and the most fired - officer in the department - on general leave - without pay.  They tried to starve him out. 

"Get up. Stand up. Stand up for Your Rights."(Bob Marley)

By this time, Jack had had enough, and filed suit against the City and the Department for wrongful termination and First Amendment violations.  After a protracted legal battle, during which time Jack had no income, the Department realized the handwriting was on the wall, and to avoid a big settlement along with bad publicity from a loss in court, they took advantage of Jack's weakened financial position and offered him the medical retirement he deserved - and had already earned - if he would drop his suit. 
                                                  Jack, son Augie, and Jack's wife, Angie
As we discussed the pros and cons, Jack looked sad.  Not because he was being forced to drop his lawsuit, but he was now going to be outside law enforcement, outside this grand vehicle to serve the people, to which he had dedicated his life.  He had indeed, recited these words, from the  original Law Enforcement Code of Ethics, which was an oath by itself:
As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve humankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect all persons against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitution rights of all people to liberty, equality and justice.
I WILL keep my private life unsullied as an example to all; maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others.Honest in thought and deed in both my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the laws of the land and the regulations of my department.Whatever I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided to me in my official capacity, will be kept ever secret unless revelation is necessary in the performance of my duty.
I WILL never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions.Without compromise and with relentlessness, I will uphold the laws affecting the duties of my profession courteously and appropriately with fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.
I RECOGNIZE my position as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it, as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the law enforcement profession.I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself before God to my chosen profession.
This oath is seldom used today, along with the words "To Protect and Serve", as the mission, purpose, and training of peace officers has been perverted.  But it lives on in the hearts of some still today, who like Jack McLamb, hold true to eternal principles, and live their lives, both professional and private, as an example to all. They are out there, and though their numbers may be few, the memory and the legacy of Jack McLamb call out to you, America's citizens, to find, encourage and educate them, even in the face of the onslaught of statism.  If the enforcers won't enforce tyranny, maybe it won't be enforced.

In part 4, the final post, I will attempt to cover the mountain of good Jack has done during his life.  A daunting task indeed.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A GREAT WARIOR IS LAYED TO REST: The Phoenix PD Years (part 2 of 4)

                                                                   By A. Rick Dalton

Jack's Phoenix PD Career

After this big gator jumped nearly out of the bathtub toward me, and after Jack had calmed me down, he began to tell me about his love for kids.  And this led to the story of his beginnings on the Phoenix, AZ., Police Department.  The alligator had been part of his equipment used in school in south Phoenix, where he went into classrooms as "Officer Friendly".  Back in about 1978, when the program started, Alley Oop, as Jack called him, was small enough to fit in a briefcase.

The following story is adapted  from an article in the Mesa Tribune which I wrote sometime in about 1984.
Gerald J. "Jack" McLamb joined the Phoenix Police Department in 1976 to help people.  He was awarded the "officer of the year" award twice in his first few years on the department.  He was a good cop, and he was even better at communicating to his community.  His pioneering in the area of police-juvenile relations resulted in the nation-wide Officer Friendly Program, sponsored by the Sears, Roebuck Foundation  things looked good for Jack.
Then something happened.  Jack decided to take his community involvement a step further and  express his religious, moral and political beliefs on his own time.  Off duty.  It might not have gone so badly for him if his opinions were more to the liking of  Phoenix Police Chief Reuben Ortega or some of the other brass on the department.  But Jack McLamb made up his own mind about problems he saw in America and in law enforcement.  For example, he publicly stated that he thought the DWI roadblocks by the Arizona DPS in the Kingman area in 1982 were violating citizens' rights.
The American Citizen and Lawmen Association (ACLA), which he founded, filed a legal brief denouncing them because they violated the Fourth Amendment.  Later, the Arizona Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, ruled them to be unconstitutional.  This didn't sit well with his superiors.
 Then ACLA began conducting firearms training classes to teach people proper and safe handling of the guns they legally owned, including instruction on self protection.  Too many police officers feel citizens should not have guns, that they should leave the dangerous stuff to the cops.  McLamb's response was, "Can you guarantee that there will be a police officer sitting at the curb whenever a rapist, burglar, or any other kind of hoodlum tries to do his thing?  Obviously not.
Next, he took on national issues, and spoke out against the abusive tactics used by the Internal Revenue Service and the BATF, among others.  He warned police officers to be careful when when being "used" by the IRS to do the dirty work of seizing property without giving citizens due process.  These are dangerous situations and some have involved being shot at.  How prophetic.

The Power of the Pen 

The final straw was the creation of Jack's Aid and Abet Police and Military Newsletter, which gained a national following among law enforcement, other public officials and the public.  He was pressured by superiors  to quit writing it as police commanders around the country put pressure on Chief Ortega to shut him up.  Internal Affairs investigators asked him about his religious beliefs, including what church he attended.  They even assigned a supervisor to follow him both on and off duty. Surveillance was on of Jack's fortes. So it was kind of funny, when Jack would make a quick 180go the other way toward his "shadow", and wave at the poor stooge as he went past

Still, he kept publishing.  And citizens all over the country were passing out his pamphlet A Lawman Speaks for Liberty and issues of Aid and Abet to police officers on the streets, at the police academies, and in court.  Lawmen and women were joining ACLA rapidly. No doubt, Chief Ortega was getting a lot of grief from police commanders nationwide, telling him he should get this renegade cop under control.
Finally Jack was called in and ordered by Assistant Chief Bennie Click to turn over the mailing list and financial records of Aid and Abet.  He refused, citing his Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression.  Click fired him on the spot.  Click told a reporter, "We're not saying he can't write those things, we're saying he can't do that and be a police officer."  Click lost my respect when he failed to practice what he had preached to my academy class about integrity and doing the right thing. (Though I worked for Mesa PD, I attended the Phoenix Regional Police Academy, and there were recruits from six different agencies in my class.)
Fortunately the appeals process allowed Jack's case to be heard by a civilian board that was not controlled by the police department.  When they heard the facts, the board gave him his job back with full back pay.  The decision was unanimous.
They also delivered a scathing rebuke to  Chief Ortega and Click.  "I might not agree with he has to say", said Michael Sophy, a member of the board, "but he has every right in the world to say it.  You don't discipline people for what they believe." 
 This should have been the end of the story, but the HDIC (Head Dude in Charge) couldn't leave it alone.  Jack McLamb had made them look like the sorry egotists they were.  So they put him back to work, as they had been ordered, but they took away his intelligence position, and sent him back to an undesirable patrol position. He promptly was awarded the  officer of the month award, further humiliating them.  As the photo above shows, there are some things even a bullet-proof vest won't stop.
But that didn't even slow Jack down in his mission to reach police, military and other public servants with the message that their oath was a sacred trust, and that freedom slips away when the enforcers aren't vigilant in protecting rights.  Jack was the original oathkeeper. 

[To be continued]