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.


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