As a writer, I spend a lot of time on social media, engaging with my fans, a number of whom are in law enforcement. Over the past week or so I have seen several videos, involving police officers, which have sent a cold chill through me.
For those of you who don’t know me, I spent over two decades in law enforcement; including twenty years with the NYPD. While I have a deep appreciation for the often thankless work that our law enforcement officers perform on a daily basis, that does not mean I am a biased cheerleader. I believe that we should always examine every issue through a clear lens.
Are there bad cops? Absolutely.
Should law enforcement be held to a higher standard? Absolutely.
But make no mistake about it, we don’t recruit officers from some mythical alien planet, where everyone is virtuous and never makes a mistake. We recruit from local communities, from among us, and if we are flawed as human beings this means those who we ask to protect and defend us are equally flawed. Theoretically, the background check is designed to weed out any problems, but too often we see that these checks become lax when politics enters the mix.
The authority entrusted to officers is immense. They have the power to take away your freedom and that is something that should not be treated lightly, but I’m often dismayed at how this is treated as a one-way street. Often the biggest critics of police officers are the ones who aggressively abuse their freedoms and push for confrontations.
Case in point: Charlottesville.
Regardless of what side of the fence you are on this issue, we have to agree that American’s have a First Amendment right to free speech. You may not agree with it, but you have to respect it. The reason is pretty clear: today you might not agree with their speech, but tomorrow they might not agree with yours. But disagreement was not on the hearts and minds of some in Charlottesville. By all accounts the ‘white supremacist’ contingent failed to materialize, but that wasn’t a problem for the Antifa folks. No they showed up ready for a fight and when they couldn’t find any ‘fascists’ to bash, they turned their anger toward the cops and journalists. They were a riot looking for a reason.
This is part of a growing trend in America where people are being emboldened to act in any way they want without fear of any consequences.
Recently in New York City, the police were called to a location in the Bronx. As the officers were leaving the location, several males confronted them, cell phone cameras in hand, and began a profanity laced tirade against them. Even though they were committing a clear case of disorderly conduct, no action was taken by the officers.
Because police officers now work in an exaggerated environment of: damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Frankly, I have never seen it this bad before.
Politicians and pundits are actively supporting groups who call for the death of police officers. They even make excuses, citing the current president as being the source of all these issues. Apparently, for as enlightened as these folks claim to be, they are unaware that these groups and events predate the last election.
The reality is that they have been running roughshod over facts for a very long time. Why you ask? Ratings and votes. I wish I could say it was something more profound, more enlightening, but it’s not. If you are interested, I wrote about this previously (Violence Based on a Lie) and I am sad to say nothing has changed.
The fact is that law enforcement in America is an illusion. The population of America is 320 million and there are less than a million law enforcement officers. You do the math.
The origins of policing in America are founded on the British model which contends that the powers to police are with the implicit consent of the public. That means we want to be safe and we want the police to perform this job. It’s the principal of community policing, but what happens when it is undermined?
That is what is happening today in America when politicians and journalists spread misinformation or just outright lies. Sadly, this mindset is also taking hold among police administrators, who fear a career ending political backlash if they don’t toe-the-line.
Imagine the message that is sent to the front-line officers when they perform their job exactly as they were trained, in accordance with the manual they were given, and yet when the public protests, they are made a scapegoat. Is it any wonder why more and more officers are taking a hands-off approach? It’s a tough enough job to do when you know the agency has your back, but entirely different when you know that your bosses will sacrifice you to protect their careers.
When we demonize and dehumanize law enforcement, we make it acceptable to do anything we want to them. They become the nameless, faceless representatives of evil repression. We don’t have to look any further than the assassination of NYPD police officers Ramos and Liu in 2014 to see what that looks like.
But when the cops are gone, who will protect us? And that question should send a cold chill through YOU.
If you would like to stay up-to-date with the latest information and posts, then please consider signing up for my free NEWSLETTER.