Speech from the Grand Opening of Golden West College’s Criminal Justice Training Center (CJTC)

Editor’s Note: The grand opening of Golden West College’s Criminal Justice Training Center (CJTC) was held April 10. The keynote speaker was the Hon. Associate Justice William W. Bedsworth, Fourth District Court of Appeal. The video was provided by GWC.

BehindtheBadgeOC.com is publishing Associate Justice’s Bedsworth’s speech in its entirety, along with video. His speech perfectly captures how today’s law enforcement officers have to be vastly more equipped than their counterparts in the past.

Here is a slightly edited text of Associate Justice Bedsworth’s speech:

I know those of you in uniform probably feel like you’ve already had to listen to me too much in your career. I have both good news and bad news. The good news is they’ve only given me 10 minutes. The bad news is they’ve given me 10 minutes.

I’ve been given the honor of joining all of you today and I want to use those 10 minutes to make some points about the need filled by this spectacular facility. I was born in 1947. I was a boy in the ’50s. John Murphy, my next-door neighbor and godfather, was an LAPD sergeant. His equipment consisted of a .38 special revolver, a billy, a flashlight, and a pair of handcuffs.

The people who are trained here will be equipped with a .9mm semi-auto, 14-round sidearm. They will carry multiple magazines, double handcuffs, a tear gas canister, a baton, a handheld radio, a Taser, a flashlight, a voice-activated audio recorder, a body camera, a tactical knife, and a hidden backup pistol.

In their trunk will be a shotgun, a patrol rifle and a patrol bag full of report forms, first aid kits, and a dozen other items John Murphy never imagined. They will be expected to know how and when to use all of those things.

Sgt. Murphy had been trained to drive and to shoot. He had not learned artificial respiration. He knew nothing about CPR or the use of a defibrillator. He never saw an upper-body protection vest. He never used a computer to check a record or registration. Those tools and the expertise necessary to use them were science fiction to him. His knowledge of search and seizure law was rudimentary.

Mapp vs. Ohio had not yet been decided, so very little evidence was being excluded on the basis of Fourth Amendment violations. He did not know the Miranda warnings because Miranda had not been decided until 1966, the year he retired.

He knew nothing about detention law, because Terry vs. Ohio was not decided until two years after that. He did not know how the rights of high school students differed from the rights of adults because nobody knew that until the Supreme Court told us in TLO vs. New Jersey in 1985.

The men and women who go through their training here will be able to debate the finer points of all of those court decisions and dozens of others and hold their own with any lawyer. They have to be able to do that to do the job correctly.

Sgt. Murphy knew almost nothing about crime scene preservation or trace evidence, blood spatter interpretation, fingerprints lifted with chemical fumes, obtaining evidence from cell phones — cell phones themselves were all things none of us even imagined when the first academies began going through the facilities here at Golden West in 1969.

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