I was raised in a police-loving,respecting family. My Dad’s Dad had been a railroad cop, as was my Dad for a short time. He went to the Rhode Island State Police Academy, but washed-out due to health reasons.
And I went to community college majoring in Administration of Justice. That’s what they changed to from Police Science. And I ate it up. Graduated with high distinction.
BUT, I was disabled, and in the mid-70s environment of inflation and job problems, there were many more physically-capable folks in the line at police personnel. No cop job for Guffaw.
I was taught the purpose of the police was not only to enforce the law, but to make certain the individual’s rights were protected. THIS is what separated us from banana republics. And made their job much more difficult.
But, according to the media, it appears there is police incompetence and corruption everywhere. Websites and news stories abound with tales of bribery, malfeasance and crime by sworn officers.
And then we have the L.A.P.D. Lauded in song and story. Well, story, anyway. (In)famous Chief Parker decided after the war that there was simply too much graft, corruption and mob influence in his department. He established ‘The Hat Squad’ to get the mobsters out of town, and worked with film and TV producers to make the image of the department better. TV shows like Dragnet and Adam-12 were the result.
I grew up on this stuff. They further reinforced my already sainted image of police, and did so in other major cities as well. Naked City, The Detectives, and M-Squad were among the other shows. Federal law enforcement was not left out. The Untouchables and The FBI come to mind.
But the twenty-four hour news cycle has evolved into the instant Internet news cycle. And now we hear about this recently-fired L.A.P.D. officer killing other officers and firing on them.
And the panicked police were firing willy-nilly on anyone who might be a suspect. And other folks.
The latest news stories indicate this maroon has died in a fire, saving the taxpayers the cost of a trial. And a professor on CNN praised the cop-killer!
I truly believe most police departments consist of good folks trying to do an ever-more-difficult job. But, that doesn’t excuse this kind of behavior. We have a sheriff here locally who has done some remarkably positive things, like having inmates staff county animal shelters, saving many tax dollars. Of course, the many costly lawsuits against the county for prisoner abuse and ‘accidental’ or ‘negligent’ death of inmates cost many tax dollars, also. I’d like to see comparison spreadsheets, just for fun.
We need to support the police. They are the blue line between the criminal and the citizen. But we need to make certain they are properly trained and policed themselves, to keep aberrant behavior to an absolute minimum. They are, after all, the in-your-face, on-the-street representatives of government and it’s power. Let’s hope it’s not gone to their head.
And that government needs to recognize we have the right to also defend ourselves. That sometimes, the best they can do is to draw the chalk line and write the report.
h/t Weasel Zippers