Hate the cops? Want to “change” policing? Here are a few things to think about.

For all those engaged in the current orgy of cop-hate, I don’t think that you are considering the long term, second and third order effects of the changes you would like to see.  The future of policing is apparently that all uses of force are going to be judged in the court of public opinion, and the officer will be personally and professionally ruined even if the force they used was justified if “the public” finds it distasteful. Here is a preview of where that will lead.

– Right off the bat, good cops are going to quit working. They’re not going to stop showing up or collecting a paycheck, they’re just going to cease doing ANYTHING that can expose them to liability or bad publicity. Here is a dirty secret about civil service; you can’t get fired for doing nothing, but you can get fired for doing the WRONG thing, or the RIGHT thing if enough of the wrong people don’t like it. Lesson learned, don’t do anything. Answer your calls, and if possible handle them without any enforcement action. When you can, don’t follow up, just write “no apparent suspects” on the report and move on. 

– The best officers are going to move to the lowest crime, highest paying jurisdictions where they are least likely to be exposed to a career ending incident. Why would an ambitious young officer stick around in Cleveland, facing the possibility of a career-ending incident with every radio call, when the same person could work in Pepper Pike, get paid significantly more, and the probability is that they can make it to retirement while entirely avoiding any type of controversy? 

– Older Cops who can are going to retire as soon as possible, leaving police departments with younger, less experienced forces. Right now, an officer can retire at 48 with 25 years of service from the date of hire. Most officers stay into their late 50’s; most often they make up the command staff and supervision of an agency. Officers with the longest service have the most to lose personally and financially. Why stay longer than you have to and risk it all? What you will see now is younger, less experienced and prepared officers at every level, with a correspondingly lower level of service. 

– Avoiding liability in police hiring is already ludicrous and will get worse. Most citizens have no idea the level of scrutiny a police recruit goes through, or the things that can get a candidate disqualified. Why would a rational person agree to submit to a full investigation of their entire life, including credit history, a full-scope polygraph, full disclosure of their medical history (including any mental health counseling) and interviews of relatives and neighbors, if all of that private information can be displayed to the world at the request of the media? This “higher standard” for police officers that we keep hearing about already disproportionately eliminates minority candidates. It will either push minority hiring down further (if these standards are equally applied) or set up a system with two sets of standards. That will manifest itself in increased animosity between people who have to meet a standard and those who do not. Veterans in particular are being hard hit by the focus on avoiding potential “problems”, since a history of exposure to violence/potential for PTSD is such huge potential liability for a city to take on that the easy choice is to select a different candidate. Being a veteran used to be a huge plus for a police recruit; it is now one of the biggest “red flags” because if an officer who is a veteran uses force, his past military service is scrutinized as closely as his police service. Police managers look at that and are now saying the equivalent of “Thank you for your service in the battle of Fallujah, but we don’t need that headache if you get in a shooting in our city.”

– Liability-driven policing is rapidly becoming a “one and done” profession, sort of like professional sports, except that instead of career ending injuries in the case of athletes (which also happens to police), an officer’s career is now over if they are ever disciplined or use force. Discipline or involvement in a previous use of force now makes an officer too big a potential legal/financial liability for a city to take on. Why would someone go into a career knowing that if they ever make a mistake – or even receive an unfounded complaint –  they will be not only unemployed, but unemployable? Here is another “secret” people don’t want to talk about; people who break the law and get caught will use the system to get out of it if they can. Charges are often dropped by prosecutors in exchange for criminals dropping complaints; a smart defendant will file a complaint against an officer who arrested them if they can.  Maybe the FOP should offer insurance to officers in case they lose their job when they’re cleared of misconduct but become a political liability and are forced to resign or are let go. The alternative is that, like pro sports, cities are going to have to pay officers as if each year is potentially their last. How much would you want to be paid annually if you reasonably believed you and your family might have to live off of this year’s salary for the rest of your life? 

– Cities are paying garbage collector wages and competing with law school for recruits. Why would a rational person become a police officer if they can go to law school, work 9 to 5 in an office, make significantly more over a career, never expose themselves to any violence or trauma, and keep their privacy intact? Nobody has to take a full-scope polygraph to be lawyer, let alone one that is “public record”. You can have a DUI, go bankrupt, have a messy divorce, or even be convicted of most misdemeanors and still practice law. You just can’t can’t do any of those things and enforce it.

History teaches us that society gets exactly the policing it deserves. Maybe, fellow Romans, we should consider that before grabbing a fiddle and matches. 

37 thoughts on “Hate the cops? Want to “change” policing? Here are a few things to think about.

  1. ” Most officers stay into their late 50’s; most often they make up the command staff and supervision of an agency.” I’m older than my late 50s, and I’m still on the front lines. I have no interest in promotions. I’ll leave when they carry me out. Nobody’s bullying me out of my job.

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    • That is awesome, O.C.! Good for you. I think you would find that you are an outlier, though. For every one of you, there are several officers “pulling the pin” early, or leaving short of retirement.

      Even more important is the future of a profession that you obviously care about. It’s not about who is nearing retirement, it’s about who will be doing the job 5-10-20 years from now.

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  2. Couple of thoughts – First, what is this some kind of scare tactic? “Let the police run roughshod over the constitution or you’ll be sorry!” Um, no. Police should be held to a higher standard of both accountability and culpability for their actions due to the amount of the public trust and power they hold. If a person doesn’t like having their every action scrutinized or being held accountable for mistakes made in high pressure situations this perhaps law enforcement is not the right profession. This isn’t about public opinion either. This is about being held to the same standard as any other American citizen. Being a cop doesn’t give you some special pass to kill or injure just because you didn’t “feel safe”. In fact I would argue that by choosing to be a police officer you give up your right to defend yourself. The motto is “serve and protect” not “I should be safe”. Law enforcement is an inherently dangerous profession and if you can’t take being in danger without having to defend yourself then again – maybe the wrong line of work. Hell, soldiers in Afghanistan had orders to only fire their weapons AFTER they were fired upon. I believe police should follow those same rules of engagement. Where I agree with the author is on compensation. We need to compensate officers much better than we currently do so we can ensure the highest quality talent pool. That said, fines and civil forfeiture proceeds must be collected and distributed in a way that doesn’t directly or indirectly benefit law enforcement agencies. The nation is rife with examples of police abuse because of the inherent conflict of interest such policies create. Also not addressed at all by the author is the increasing militarization of police and the statistical fact that police disproportionately conduct enforcement activities in communities of color even when controlled for crime rate. The current “orgy of cop hate” is the natural result of decades of police abuses. The “thin blue line” mentality combined with incredibly powerful police unions have made holding bad officers accountable nearly impossible. Because there is no accountability, there is no trust. So you want me to think about the consequences of holding the police accountable? I’m living with the consequences of not and it’s pretty awful.

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    • Thanks for the comment, Dave. Yours is an example of a generally reasonable and well thought out opinion. More than happy to discuss the issues with you.

      “Couple of thoughts – First, what is this some kind of scare tactic? “Let the police run roughshod over the constitution or you’ll be sorry!”

      If you could point to the part where police are “violating the constitution” I would really like to focus on that. Can you also refer to the case law that relates to the situations you are talking about? That will help me research your position and form an effective opinion.

      “Police should be held to a higher standard of both accountability and culpability for their actions due to the amount of the public trust and power they hold.”

      As long as that standard is reasonable and realistic, I am generally with you. Where I think we disagree is the “reasonable and realistic” part. It’s not realistic to expect police officers to take a beating or wait for a person to open fire in order to “prove” the threat they face is real and serious.

      “If a person doesn’t like having their every action scrutinized or being held accountable for mistakes made in high pressure situations this perhaps law enforcement is not the right profession.”

      In principle, I can agree that like any other profession police officers should be well supervised. Where I think we probably disagree is about who has a valid opinion about whether or not an officer’s actions are “reasonable”. I don’t believe that the general public has enough information or grounding in reality to understand what is “reasonable”.

      “This isn’t about public opinion either. This is about being held to the same standard as any other American citizen.”

      Wait, I thought you said police should be held to a “higher standard”? Which is it? I would LOVE to be held to the same standard as lawyers. I just don’ think anyone is going to allow that.

      “Being a cop doesn’t give you some special pass to kill or injure just because you didn’t “feel safe”.”

      Nope, a police officer is held to the same standard as any other person – reasonable fear of death or serious physical harm.

      “In fact I would argue that by choosing to be a police officer you give up your right to defend yourself.”

      This is where you are losing me, Dave. I don’t understand how a rational person can make this argument. Who in their right mind would take a job like that? How can you hold the belief that by virtue of signing a contract to enforce the law, you also give up the right to protect yourself & agree to voluntarily accept being injured or killed? I would question the stability of a person who signed off to do the job under those conditions.

      “The motto is “serve and protect” not “I should be safe”. Law enforcement is an inherently dangerous profession and if you can’t take being in danger without having to defend yourself then again – maybe the wrong line of work.”

      “Hell, soldiers in Afghanistan had orders to only fire their weapons AFTER they were fired upon.” – That isn’t really the ROE, but since you brought it up, do you know WHY that’s the ROE? Because in the grand scheme of things, the General fighting the war felt that it was worth it to lose some Privates in order to win the “hearts and minds” of the locals. It’s not right there, and it’s certainly not right here. I do find it interesting that, like the General who made up that ROE, you are perfectly willing to sacrifice OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES, but most definitely NOT YOUR OWN, for your principles.

      “I believe police should follow those same rules of engagement.”

      Well, that’s awesome, and you are entitled to your beliefs, but thankfully the fact is that the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed the “reasonable officer” standard in case law.

      “Where I agree with the author is on compensation. We need to compensate officers much better than we currently do so we can ensure the highest quality talent pool.”

      See, we do agree on some things. Please contact your elected representation, because that’s who wants the most cop for the least money.

      “That said, fines and civil forfeiture proceeds must be collected and distributed in a way that doesn’t directly or indirectly benefit law enforcement agencies.”

      Again, some common ground. Civil forfeiture is sometimes abused, although it could also be argued that it is used to make up for under-budgeting for political reasons. The issue does need more scrutiny, we can agree on that.

      “The nation is rife with examples of police abuse because of the inherent conflict of interest such policies create.”

      I think “rife” is probably a strong word, but since it sounds like you have bought off on the media hyperbolae & “cops are the bad guys” trope, I’m not going to argue it. I don’t think any level of elected government should have access to seized funds, either, since like you said, it breeds corruption. The issue is that you’re blaming the trash man for what the refuse company’s auditor’s and CEO are doing. Blaming the individual officers – especially patrol officers – for abuses of civil forfeiture is on par with blaming them for the color uniform they wear. They have no say in it and are going to carry out policy unless it is illegal or shockingly immoral.

      “Also not addressed at all by the author is the increasing militarization of police and the statistical fact that police disproportionately conduct enforcement activities in communities of color even when controlled for crime rate.”

      “Militarization” is nonsense and deserving of it’s own post. Double crazy points if you mention Andy Griffith.

      As far as the “statistical fact” that “police conduct more enforcement activities in communities of color” – hit me with your stats and we will talk.
      Where I think we probably have common ground is that some policing policies generate more enforcement action against street crime, which is directed at poor people in socially disorganized neighborhoods, and they tend to be disproportionately minorities. Correlation isn’t causation, though. The enforcement action isn’t BECAUSE they’re black, it’s because they’re involved in activities that mainstream white society, through it’s elected representation, has determined to be criminal, or criminal if you do it in public.

      “The current “orgy of cop hate” is the natural result of decades of police abuses.”
      Really? Funny, I didn’t hear much outcry on 9/12/2001. Probably because I was working 12 hour shifts answering 911 calls about Al Qaeda paratroopers.

      “The “thin blue line” mentality combined with incredibly powerful police unions have made holding bad officers accountable nearly impossible.”
      Depends on what you mean “accountable”. When you violate policy at your job, your employer disciplines you based on your contract. The same happens to police officers. Were you to violate the law, you don’t get fired from your job, sometimes even if you’re found guilty.

      I’ll give you an example. A long time ago, there was a fight at a wedding. Some of the people on one side of the fight were cops, and the other side were mostly steel workers. On the monday after the wedding, one of the steel worker’s wives wanted the cops involved in the fight charged with assault and suspended without pay during the investigation. Let me reiterate; it was a mutual fight, and none of the cops were on duty when the fight happened.
      Now imagine the reverse. You’re the foreman of a steel mill. A woman shows up on Monday and says “I saw some of your workers involved in a fight on Saturday night.”
      Why on earth do you think the foreman cares? Do you think he’s going to lay off a bunch of his workers until an investigation is conducted & if they’re charged, the case is adjudicated? That’s not how it works. They didn’t get special treatment for being cops, they got treated like everyone else.
      What I think you are trying to say is that cops deserve to be held to a higher standard when it’s held AGAINST them, but help to the same standard as everyone else when they don’t operate in the same situations.

      “Because there is no accountability, there is no trust.”

      I would argue that the perception of mistrust is largely driven by the media, which is being fed stories by groups with their own agenda. More on this later.

      “So you want me to think about the consequences of holding the police accountable?”
      Yes

      “I’m living with the consequences of not and it’s pretty awful.”
      Ok, how are you SPECIFICALLY living with the consequences of lack of police accountability? I would seriously like to hear about that.

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    • Dave, you’re an idiot. Police should give up their right to defend themselves? Why should they give up any right afforded to every citizen. Police don’t mind being held to a higher standard but as such we are also judged by a higher standard (the reasonable cop standard which is a different perspective than what a citizen’s standard would be). this standard is true because we have a layer of training and understanding of the hazards that are present than your average citizen does. I do not believe in the rules of engagement that require I be shot at first before I may shoot back, not for our military and not for our police. “The current “orgy of cop hate” is the natural result of decades of police abuses” These decades of abuses are largely B.S., has there been bad officers doing bad things among the hundreds of thousands of honest and noble men and women who wear the badge every day, yes, but they are the exception not the rule and thus they make the headline news and small minded people like yourself see bad cops as an epidemic. Public opinion is in play in Ferguson where a man lost his job for doing his job because some low life thug tried to take his gun and kill him. So tell me this isn’t about “public opinion”

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    • First the majority of enforcement actions take place in minority neighborhoods because those are places with savagery. Let the minorities act civilized and see the stats of enforcement go down. It’s that simple. Secondly To say Police give up their right to protections is so unbelievably ignorant that nobody will take your reply seriously and I will stop commenting on your amazingly ignorant rant as it justifies no more intelligent thought. Get the hell out there and do the job before you spew the filth that your hands have typed here.

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    • Well Dave, then I invite you to take on the task of keeping the predators from the prey without being able to to defend yourself when necessary. Go back to your lazy boy.

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  3. Well said. Even better were your responses to the comment. All true and accurate. I now many cops who are old friends. Not ONE of them goes to work with the intention of doing anything else but their job and dong it the right way with no biases . All they hope for is to be able to come home every night.
    The one thing that is also at issue is : When you make it so difficult to be a cop, where are you going to find people to hire as cops ? People wondered why there were not a larger amount of black cops in Ferguson….maybe they don’t apply and maybe many won’t qualify…ever think of that one folks ?

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    • Thanks! You might also enjoy a follow-up post where I went through the same exercise with another, less coherent reply.

      Liability in hiring is a HUGE issue, mostly because in the event that an officer does something that gets on the news, their entire life back to their parent’s first date is going to be scrutinized like the Zapruder film. Excellent point.

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    • Not qualifying is no grounds for not hiring. You just change the benchmarks a little here and a little there and BOOM! The Justice Department is off your back and you are now the proud Department of less than ideal candidates. Yeah. I got out as soon as I could. Because someone was going to end up in the penitentiary and it was not likely to be the obvious candidate.

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      • I found myself in the same place, Scott. BTW, it says you reblogged this but I can’t find it. Did you take it down or am I just not looking in the right place? If you took it down, may I ask why?

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  4. You know, it does not bother me that you delete/refuse to post my comment. Instead of presenting an effective counter-argument, you keep your head up your blue ass. Still, I show my associates and friends and my readers what I post, and then how you delete it, and it works wonders to support my point of view. Within my own audience, I have won the argument, which suits me just fine, because I know I won’t change your mind, anyway. Your refusal to engage with me was all I need to convince my audience. To that end, thank you for living up to every expectation I had. And you wonder why cops are so maligned . . .

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  5. From where I stand at the hill over 50, I think back to my teens, when I was the victim of three cops beating me with fists and a nightstick into my eye. Why? I interfered in the arrest of a middle-aged white male drunk that leaned against a police car in the park. I loudly told the cops to leave the guy alone, and that lead to the cops seeking to arrest me, which I resisted when two plains clothes cops grabbed me and I thought for a minute that these were two Italian-American “goobas” just being kiss -ass cop helpers and grabbing me to take me to a patrol car. I had NEVER encountered cops before at age 15. I will say I was angry that they had pushed and slapped me and getting hit in the face was the result of me telling them off, later at the station they carried me to where the police dogs were in a chain link fenced in area and held me against the area so the dogs would bark and growl, telling me all the while I would be tossed in there if I didn’t cooperate. I will cut to the chase, I was traumatized for many years after that encounter, but today, I have had the positive experience of knowing and talking with half-dozen officers and knowing how dangerous the job is in a major urban center, has made me much more respectful and supportive of policemen and women. I want every police man/ woman to have all the gear they need to do their work and that includes from vests, flashlight to weapons, yet, I want them to remember as well as they can they don’t belong to corporations they belong to the community and the city that pays their income.

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    • Thanks for the comment, Corvus. My takeaway from your comment is that policing has actually become less brutal and more accountable in the last 50 years in particular. I can’t speak for what cops did 40 years ago, I only know that it would never fly now. Truth be told, things that were done 10-15 years ago won’t be condoned today, and yet the perception is that police are “abusing people” all the time. No one seems to be thinking about the media’s role in this, and the political forces on both sides controlling the narrative.

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  6. I first and foremost commend you for actually formulating thoughtful points in your post. Most of what I’m reading on the internet regarding the state of affairs the criminal “justice” system is from folks who are completely ignorant of the bigger picture here, which is you pay for what you get! I work in Probation, which is pretty much the “red headed stepchild” of police work, EXCEPT we are assigned the responsibility of “fixing” criminals. This task is quite hard and pretty much thankless, right down to the judges. I have worked my a$$ off by getting three, yes three, degrees. I could be making more if I went into the private sector but I genuinely like helping people and more specifically criminals; however at some point the cost outweighs the benefit. You can only be shit on so many ways and from so many angles while you get garbage an wages before you call it quits. It’s a VERY sad state of affairs! After 12 years working in the system and my $68 a month raise after busting my hump for the last 5 years, I’ve determined to call it quits. What do they call insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result! It’s time for some major changes to the system as a whole, not just the Police. Holla!

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    • Thanks for reading, BOCC. I can’t even imagine working in probation, especially after all of the “Social Work” majors I saw at college who appear to be going into the field to hook up their relatives and friends. Hats off to you for putting up with it for as long as you have. One of the things I am looking at for future posts is the “firewall” between police and probation/parole, because I think Criminal Justice would work better as an actual “system” instead of mutually competing fiefdoms. Please share widely & check back often!

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  7. Much of the conversation focuses on appropriate ‘punishment’ or discipline for officers who police in ways which are less than admirable or outright illegal. I have found that the most true and harsh form of punishment for humans comes from within. For example, an officer is unnecessarily rude with an individual or loses control of his/her temper and lashes out at someone who had done nothing to cause their temper to be elevated to begin with. The shift ends, the adrenaline dumps and he/she is now at a school function for one of their children.
    Instead of being able to enjoy watching their child’s band recital or soccer game, their mind is working overtime to rationalize why they were unnecessarily rude or enacting scenarios where they could have handled the situation differently. THAT is the punishment. Their attention is not on their child and there is guilt associated with that, assuming they’re an emotionally healthy individual. Perhaps they were “less than truthful” on a report in order to protect a fellow officer. The fact that they must now spend time wandering if their actions will come back to haunt their career is the punishment. The conscience is a powerful arbitrator of our well being. An unhealthy conscience can lead to substance abuse, depression, and a litany of other realities that make life less enjoyable. Anyone who has experienced depression or a guilt complex will tell you that they feel most bad for the people in their lives whom their health effects. This creates a cycle that is hard to escape.
    And then there are people who aren’t capable of feeling guilty and who have an unlimited reservoir of rationalization skills. They can’t be wrong, they are never wrong, they will never be wrong. That personality deficiency is the greatest punishment of all.

    tl;dr: you cannot escape yourself.

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    • A valid point of view, but whether or not police officer should or do feel guilt is ancillary to the topic at hand.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, though.

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  8. So, if the police aren’t given cart blanche, they’re all gonna give up? I think you’re sadly underestimating the overwhelming majority of good officers who aren’t in any way afraid of being judged fairly, since they don’t do anything wrong.

    Moreover, it’s ridiculous to imply that anyone who is protesting is engaged in an “orgy of cop-hate.” Come on, really? If someone protests an incident they find horrifying, are you saying they hate the entire institution? So I guess anyone who protests a war must hate the military – or maybe even the USA?

    Furthermore, nobody wants officers judged in the court of public opinion. We want them judged impartially, and NOT at the discretion of prosecutors they work with every day. Someone who works with a potential criminal defendant would never be allowed on a jury. Why should they be placed in charge of the prosecution? That’s not cop-hating, it’s just common sense.

    Finally, comparing becoming a police officer to becoming a lawyer, as if it’s an either/or choice for most people, is just apples and oranges. They require different skill sets. There are plenty of people qualified to be lawyers who would never make it through the police academy. And there are plenty of great officers who may not have had the grades and test scores to get into law school. Moreover, during my three years of law school, I amassed $100,000 in debt — and that was 20 years ago. Someone who went straight into law enforcement after college (assuming they went to college) would probably have EARNED more than that. So maybe some people would rather earn money than rack up debt.

    Thanks for the discussion. I’m just not buying your premise.

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  9. All good points, but there are a few things that were missed. First how many of you know that police have their civil rights violated all the time and no one ever argues to help them. Last i checked everyone was subject to judgement by a jury of their peers. So admittedly, if cops are not people as everyone keeps pointing out, is it fare to select a jury that is already predisposed to hatting cops? can a civilian with no training or background in law enforcement really be considered a peer? So why then does society complain and claim corruption when a citizen jury finds an officer not guilty? Yet only laughter and applause when the verdict is guilty after months of bias reporting of half truths and edited video?

    It is said that Police have to much power which leads to corruption and mistakes. Yet in most states a citizen on the street who witnesses a crime or is victim of a crime has much more power than theses Officers. In some states Joe Citizen can use any force necessary to protect his property, himself or another. In Texas a man can watch someone brake into his neighbors car shoot and kill him, and face little to no after effect. Worst case, he is walked through at the jail and then cleared of all charges within days. Yet if an officer were to observe the same crime, he would have to call out to the subject, identify himself as an officer, and hope he can take custody of the suspect without force. If force is needed however he must start at the lowest force necessary to stop the crime and face the fallout.

    Which brings me to the complaints of excessive force. Any time an Officer uses force to affect an arrest, it is common practice and considered step one for the defense to say it was excessive. As a citizen ask yourself this, when is the last time you had to fight with someone to get both hands behind their back and placed in handcuffs, while watching your back, the weapons attached to your belt, the other victims around you, traffic, and the suspects hands to make sure he is not pulling a gun, knife, pen, car key or other lethal weapon on you? If you don’t know why I listed pen and car key as lethal weapons, you should research self defense tactics and assaults committed with everyday items. Citizens forget Officers are fighting for two reasons, to gain control of a suspect or for their life, were we only fight to defend our selves or to inflict injury with the goal to knock our opponent out in order to get away or prove we have won.

    With complaints come law suits, suspensions, termination, nationwide ridicule as we have all seen. But when an officer has done nothing illegal and is cleared by citizens of the same cop hating society, what is his recourse. His life is effectively over. When any other citizen where to face the same ridicule nationwide by false accusations and is proven innocent they get a large settlement. Hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars are paid to those wrongfully accused, wrongfully terminated, and slandered on a national level, yet the Officer is given nothing more than the directions to the back door where once out he has to hit the reset button on his whole life.

    One last thing you may want to think about is what is an Officer if not a Parent. An officer is simply put a parent. A parent to children of all ages. If you have kids of your own look at what you do with them. One does something bad, how do you try to correct it when u catch it? a slap on the hand a belt to the butt? You get a call that your kid did something wrong at school or got caught steeling, what do you do when you get there. Now make the kid any age from 1 week to 140 years old, take away the biological relationship, remove the years you spent teaching them write from wrong, add an unjustified hatred toward you personally, add a nation of onlookers to scrutinize and criticize you every move, add a victim and community demanding justice. Now fix the problem, o yeah, because TV says so, do it in 60 minutes from the moment you get introduced.

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    • I’m working on a post that goes into more detail, but to bottom line it up front, minority candidates are statistically more likely to have grown up poor in cities, particularly if we WANT to recruit police from the populations they serve. A person who grows up in poor, socially disorganized communities are far more likely to have some involvement in the criminal justice system, or be closely related by blood or social network to someone who is. In hiring, most police agencies conduct more than a background “check”. It is an investigation. Someone with close ties to people with criminal backgrounds are already on their way to being disqualified. Credit checks, while in theory done to guard against the potential for corruption for financial reasons or to show a “pattern of bad judgement”, discriminate against any candidate who has had a tough financial time.
      Another issue is the “pay to play” system of hiring. While some large agencies still run their own academies, and some will pay to send candidates to regional or state academies, the new paradigm (borrowed from the fire service) is for agencies to only hire candidates who have already completed the Academy. Agency-run programs are giving way to Academies being run by community colleges and vocational/technical schools; these can cost $5,000 of the student’s money to attend with no guarantee of a job after. This acts not only as an socio-economic “filter” to eliminate candidates who can’t afford to pay several thousand dollars up front & take the four months off of work to attend a full-time academy.

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  10. A few years ago I did many citizen ride-alongs with my local city police department. During shift change as I was exiting the department to go to my truck to go home, I met a cop that was coming on duty. As we passed, he said to me, “hey ‘Jack’ you have been doing lots of riding. You ought to think about joining the police reserves. Who knows, you might learn you like fucking with people too.” I was completely speechless. Anytime I am called for jury duty, I tell the judge about this incident and I am always immediately excused from jury duty. If you ask me why I have not exposed this bad cop, because blue backs blue, guilty or not, and though I am white, I do not want to be the victim of this cop. A year or so later, I learned that this cop lost his job because of domestic abuse of his baby’s mother.

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    • So you met ONE bad cop, who made ONE (possibly) inappropriate comment one time, and he was subsequently fired later for completely unrelated bad conduct.

      First of all, I’m not sure what you’re upset about. Was that the only thing you saw in “all of those” ride-alongs that disturbed you? What is it ablut that comment that upset you, the implication that he liked “fucking with people” or that he used (gasp!) inappropriate language.

      Essentially what you’re telling me, unless I am conpletely misunderstanding your point, is that a police officer made on comment you didn’t like, and then a year later ot turned out he was a bad guy, and the system worked – he was fired.

      What do you think he was “guilty” of? Being “insensitive”? Please explain, I would really like to understand this story.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Actually, my reasoning for going on the citizen ride-along was to get a sense of the job, though understandably still a limited view, but still a view that most never see. The example I previosly wrote about was not the only incident. During one of the debrief sessions all the patrol officers sat at a table with their supervisor and were going through all of the traffic tickets. All but one of the patrol officers used squad cars, but the other one was a motorcycle patrol officer. I remember them all laughing at the abundance of tickets the motorcycle officer was writing considering his radar gun was not working. The motorcycle officer seemed proud that he could get away with it. In another debrief I heard the city police talking about how the county deputies couldn’t get a warrant legally to search a home, so one of the deputies called in annonomously to Crime Stoppers and made a bogus claim in order to generate “probable cause” so they could get inside the home.

    I live in a small Texas town of about 15,500 within the city limits. I suppose I am disappointed that if the law enforcement are behaving and performing their jobs in less than honorable ways in my little “back woods hick town” that it MAY be pervasive across America when i witness it and then aggregate it with what I see on the news. It is too bad that only negative police stories make the news 99% of the time.

    With regards to what upset me in my previous post, yes, I was most upset thinking that this guy lives his life and loves his job because he gets to “fuck with people.”

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    • Thank you, Jack. That makes a lot more sense. I totally agree with you on two of your points; its generally only news when a cop does something a news producer thinks is either heroic or monsterous.
      Its possible that misconduct is pervasive, or that the lack of oversight in a small town might have contributed to it.
      The other thing I agree with you about is writing excesssive numbers of traffic citations. That is almost always about revenue and not safety. It doesnt surprise me that the officer was confident that the tickets wouldnt be challenged, because the local courts and municipalities all get a cut of that money.

      Like

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