Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Policemen and the public

I've had reason to spend some time with policemen lately.  NO, I haven't been arrested (!), I've attended the funeral and a cop-sponsored and prepared picnic lunch for a policeman who I wrote about recently, an American hero in my eyes.  He worked the late shift for more years than he had to because he liked taking sandwiches to the homeless, feeding stray cats by the hundreds, and paying for dog groomers for homeless peoples' dogs...all on his nickle.   He shared a few things with someone I know who relayed them to me and I wanted to share them with you.   I can't tell you what district they're from but I can say it's the L.A. area and that I don't think this is unique to Los Angeles.

There is the situation where cops have to cuff criminals and the criminal then screams he's been hurt by the cuffs or something in the arrest.  That cop has to take the perp to an ER and wait there until he's been seen.   Cops are then witness to ER employees slipping lawyer's business cards to the criminals who fake injury at their arrest.  Meanwhile, the cops sit there knowing this perp will either get rich or get off.....arresting can't be easy when a criminal is on drugs or just trying hard to get away and won't calm down and they do get a bruise here or there, so's the cop! But, the cop can't call a lawyer!  But the perps are taught how to do it.

Another pretty shocking fact is that the cops are fired on every single night during their the air, at the car, whatever..........they have guns shot at them all the time and nobody discusses this in the city council or the media.   I don't know how they don't get and remain so bitter they literally cannot "protect and serve".  They have wives and children at home, get shot at, take criminals into ERs because of the rules and waste hours sitting there because the law says they must and then they have to witness ER employees doing their best to help the perp?     And so many of us are so hard on cops, aren't we.   As if all of them are monsters in metal who can't get hurt, whose families don't worry, as if they're making $200K a year to take the abuse?

Funny, there was a sign I saw on the median of the street leading to the funeral that day.  It said:


Times sure have changed;  we used to have respect for those who risk their lives to save ours.   Values?    They shouldn't change, but it sure seems like they have.  Yes, I KNOW some cops screw up, I know some of us have been arrested and didn't like it.  No one's saying cops are perfect.  I'm posting this to show another side and to relay some pretty horrid truths we should all know.......something we should all keep in mind the next time we see a cop.  



Ducky's here said...

Some good ones, some bad ones.

Lot of wife beaters and some of them will steal anything that isn't nailed down.

Others are extremely dedicated.

You have the cross section of human beings, no need to idealize them.

Z said...

If I were to idealize anybody, I'd pick good cops over a lot of other people, trust me.

Mark said...

I don't have any friends that are police officers, but I have family members who are ministers, and they, like cops are sometimes looked on as infallible. But, like Preachers, police officers are human, just like you and I.

I understand that and have often teased them about police stereotypes, such as donuts, etc. They always have a great sense of humor about my jokes, and don;t seem to be the least bit offended.

But yes, they are human.

Z said...

I guess I have to say that my point is that, in many cases, they get treated like CRAP and we don't hear that, all we hear is some cop roughed somebody up.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Cops are indeed human. I'm one of them. But these humans are held, publicly, to inhuman standards. I don't such mind that. I do mind that some cops besmirch my ideal and my standard.

On the other hand, I find that doctors, lawyers, beggarmen, thiefs and politicians have a much THINNER crossing point than cops do in terms of what is RIGHT and what is WRONG.

And they are HELD to that standard much more than those other positions.

I'm not saying it's bad; it just IS.

What I AM saying is this: kill benefits and wages and take public sector unions down and you'll get EXACTLY what you pay for:

Cops who do NOTHING but look for THE MONEY.

I am SO glad I'm not far from retirement after 35+ years on the job.

You will NOT be the recipient of my extensive training, education and experience.

You want cops? Public Sector cops?

Get ready. You're about to GET what you PAY for.


beamish said...

I don't rah-rah over cops either.

Sure, there's good and bad everywhere and in any profession. Here in St. Louis, we're swamped with gangs of car thieves, drug dealers, and assassins for hire. And that's just the people issued badges by the city. There's other gangs in this city that don't get a paycheck from the government with a pension.

I don't live under the delusion that police actually "protect and serve," or are under any specific, mandated obligation to do so.

Federal and Supreme Court decisions agree.

Kinda puts the "in the line of duty" cliche into vague territory.

Sam Huntington said...

I think we are critical of our police officers because we have such high expectations of them. We are sometimes disappointed by police behavior. There was no reason for Rodney King; but Rodney King is no reason to lump all police officers together, either. Now the fact is that police work requires aggressive behavior and there are times when a police officer crosses the line. We address these problems on a case-by-case basis.

I do not understand why our society is so unforgiving of their police, but excessively lenient toward idiots who behave so despicably. There are those who want an incident because a lawsuit may place them on easy street. What idiot doesn’t know it is poor form to spit on a policeman?

A police officer represents the law; when people show disrespect for police officers, they not only demonstrate contempt for our system of justice but they also illustrate that they are not mature enough to handle the responsibility that comes with liberty.

Anonymous said...


I forgot to tell you that my cross section with navy is the underwater detection and survay,

Mayebe one day your Marine will be equipped with my Tec.
there, you will be able to track and find an small piece of coin on the deepest waters and more.


Steve Harkonnen said...

Our neighbor down the street is an Augusta County Sheriff; good man. I've fixed his computer before and he's helped me out by snow blowing our driveway.

However...the majority of the county cops where I live are (expletive). All they are good for is doling out speeding tickets to raise county revenue. Meanwhile, the meth problem increases as illegal immigrants scrawl around like the cockroaches they are.

I don't like what cops have become in Virginia.

Chuck said...

I've seen cops (and paramedics and firemen) do incredible things for people. Some are bad because hey are human but all in all they are good people.

As far as this:

Cops are then witness to ER employees slipping lawyer's business cards to the criminals who fake injury at their arrest.

They must do things differently in other parts of the country. Here in the Midwest we in the ER are friends with the cops. Several of our staff are married to them. We had a group of cops cater our Christmas party last year (they partied as hard as the rest of us). There are no "poor" criminals being mistreated by the police. More often than not we don't ask too many questions.

Anonymous said...

I tend to demonize law enforcement and idolize the military. I do need to remember that there are very good men and women who serve the public and protect me and mine.

Anonymous said...

I see what you see in the ER. I have a few friends (RN's) who have worked in the ER, and if they witness a perp disrespecting a cop, they MIGHT just have a hard time finding a vein when starting an I.V., ifyouknowwhatimean.

or, they might use a 12 guage needle. ;-)

Z said...

Chuck, I'm very glad to hear that. I was appalled at what I heard.

I, too, have been touched by seeing the sweetness some cops show toward the elderly, etc.

The group at the funeral last Tuesday was amazing; great guys who certainly don't do it for the pittance they make. Rob, the cop I wrote about last week, was everything I said in the original piece and this one....paying for food for the homeless, food for stray animals...he was known for it. The community will be less for his loss at 44 yrs old.

I'm so sad to hear so many of you have mostly bad experiences with cops....I've had very few bad ones, though some are REAL S***Ts (if you'll pardon my asteriks!!)

BZ, I honestly don't know what you're saying; call me dense but I can't tell if you like most of them or NOT! :-)

By the way, what did I say in my piece that brought so many "Cops are human" comments...? I'm sincerely curious.
Do you guys mean "they're human and react badly"? or "They're human and people don't give them a break?"

HELP! :-)

Z said...

Jen, great that those RNs do that ...HURRAH!

Here's my deal: Cops can be bad, they can be good; I think part of the BAD is due to the disrespect and lip they have to take without responding.
They simply can't respond, as if they're robots who just have to help and shut up.
The guy in my piece told someone "They treat us terribly then beg us to come help when they're in need". That's awful...good cops go bitter with that stuff, how can anybody NOT?

Here in LA, I see a LOT of stories where the media immediately believes the cops screwed's almost painful. They're really not given the benefit of the doubt.

So, in many cases, I guess it's a kind of "chicken or the egg". Did good guys go into the force only to be turned bitter and rough and short-tempered by the treatment they get? Or did bad guys go in and make worst names for the force for their being associated with it? etc

Common Sense said...

My older brother just retired from 40 years on the LAPD, great guy.
He never needed to work but since he was a little boy he wanted to be a cop and he was.
I sent him this post and he knows this policeman well.
Great post Z.

Z said...

Common Sense, did he read my AMERICAN HERO piece I linked to in this post and he knows "Rob"? (his name is really David, by the way, I think I can reveal that now) Did he know him?? Really?

I'm so glad he read this and I'm sure he knows what I'm talking about much better than I do! He didn't have to work yet put his life on the line every single day....Please thank him for me. xx

Common Sense said...

He did Z, and he knew who you were posting about.
He has so many great stories about being a cop for so many years. The good way out ways the bad.
What's great about my brother is he never needed to work a day in his life, he was set up by his inheritance and he still choose to serve his community, we're so proud of him.

Z said...

Common Sense, I could just hug him. He must be a great guy. No wonder you're proud of him. I know that the good outweighs the bad, I just know it. The faces on all those guys last Tuesday touched me so much; clean, fresh, smart, and seemingly constantly vigilant.
We were laughing that that day was just the one to pull a burglary in that neighborhood... so many cops were at the funeral!
By the way, they had a 21 gun salute (7 guys shooting 3 times each, I didn't know there's a 'short cut'...almost gave everybody in the church a heart attack it was so loud!)...and the police woman who ran the day called neighbors around the church to tell them not to worry if they hear loud shooting! They thought of everything.
And they threw a super bbq at the Academy afterwards, too.
Dave was QUITE a guy and he suffered greatly. I'm glad your brother knew him. They sound like peas in a pod.

beamish said...

I think it goes with the occupation. Cops can fall into the habit of regarding every person they encounter as a criminal suspect, then they can develop a hubristic authority complex and bunker mentality where they actually try to antagonize and provoke and bully people who aren't actually guilty of any form of crime, treating society at large as a prison where they're the guards shuffling inmates around.

We shouldn't stereotype cops, but then again, cops shouldn't stereotype the public at large either.

Anonymous said...

Jen, great that those RNs do that ...HURRAH!

Police and medical professionals have always looked out for one another. Serving the public can be very discouraging, so the comraderie these professionals have for one another serves a purpose.

On a personal note, I never had any bad feelings for police until I moved to a small town. The mentality is really different from what I witnessed growing up. There seems to be less of a sense of accountability and I definitely see more resentment among the townspeople.

Anonymous said...

Some policemen work in a veritable war zone. It's easy to see how they might be hard edged, and always on guard for the worst.

That doesn't make them bad, it makes them human. They see it all, some good, but mostly bad and ugly.
It has to take a toll.

For the most part, if one is respectful of the police, he shouldn't have a problem. If he isn't, a policeman may be wary, and waiting for the next shoe to drop, and ready for trouble.

I don't live in a war zone, so, I've seen police who make an effort to be part of the community. They're trained to make that effort I believe, and we appreciate it.

We have a cop for a neighbor. Just a nice guy who you wouldn't know is a cop, unless someone else told you he is.

We've had two acquaintances who are policemen. Good men, both of them.

I'm sure there are bad cops. Like any group, that's probably unavoidable. But, I think they're in the minority.

We can't paint any group with the same brush. It isn't fair. Also, one bad experience one may have had dealing with the police, is not enough to judge them all based on that.
All that get's you is a big chip on your shoulder, and that, will not serve you well.


christian soldier said...

The Rules of Engagement that our military BEST and our police officers must follow are 'tying their hands' and leave them vulnerable...
Don't get me started on some lawyers and un-just judges --
to your post below- yes- the United States has been made vulnerable via weak administrations--esp the one we have now -bho and his fellows of the 'hate America' crowd...


cube said...

I don't have a warped opinion of cops in my area. The only time I feared them were those times when I was a kid and had an expired tag because I couldn't afford to pay for it.

Since I've grown up, I find myself comfortable around cops.

Sadly, we're looking at 3 cops killed in the St Pete area in the last month. It had been 30 years before a cop was killed in St Pete before January 2011.

This looks like a serious problem.

Z said...

Beamish, I GREATLY admire and agree with your comment, considering especially how much you're usually pretty anti-cop. Great comment.

Jen, I'm surpised and sat at that.
I'd have thought it's the urban cops who are less respected. SO MAYBERRY days are over, huh?

Pris, there are so many great guys who are cops...they far outweight the jerks. Tho I must admit I've been treated rudely before, I really have.
I have very often seen cops in a restaurant or something and said "be really careful out there and thanks for what you do" and they kind of JUMP in anticipation when they see me coming and I think that's a sign of the kind of crap others give them. It always makes me feel badly because most of them don't relax even after I say what I said. They seem not to be able to take it in.

Carol, the rules of engagement are tough...on cops and soldiers, you're right. They are under SUCH stress and THEY have to follow RULES and the perps just have to make their lives miserable, try to hurt them, and usually get away with it.

This reminds me, sort of, of my hypothesis that you can't have capitalism work with goodness...

Mark said...

Police officers have cultivated a wary attitude directly because of the way the public treats them. When they approach a driver after a stop, they expect an argument. The crap they have to put up with on a daily basis far outweighs those few polite citizens. It's no wonder they act the way they do.

Last year, I was stopped by a cop after crossing an intersection. I had entered the intersection under a yellow light, but the cop insisted it was red. I said, "Officer, the light was yellow when I entered the intersection."

He gruffly responded, "It was red. I know what I saw."

I didn't argue any further. I decided to fight him in court, so I went back to the intersection armed with a camera, and took several shots from different angles of the intersection from where he was sitting, and from where I entered the intersection, and included an aerial shot from Google earth.

I then printed them up on 8x10 glossies, and took them with me to court. I explained in detail how the cop couldn't have possibly seen at what point I entered the intersection, nor could he see from his angle what color the light was when I entered. I firmly established a reasonable doubt, and felt confident the judge would rule in my favor.

He didn't. Later, while talking to an attorney friend, it was explained to me that the Judge had to seal with the attorneys every day. He only had to deal with me once. It was an old boys club. I didn't have a chance.

The same week I got that ticket, I ran a red light at another location. I did. I was at fault. I didn't argue. I paid my fine.

Mark said...

I had dealings with a small town police department once, too. They have so few crimes in their small hamlet, when they get any kind of crime committed at all, they treat it as if it's a triple homicide. They are absolutely the most ruthless cops I ever met.

Z said...

Mark, ya.. ... they're so defensive because they have to be. I guess it's also part of being vigilant when you know you could be dead any second and you've got a family at home to worry about.

That's a sad story about the judge. This makes my point that sort of dangled there in my last comment with little explanation....(the phone rang and I just went ahead and published it)...Anyway, without good people, how can capitalism or even the police/public relationship work well? Maybe I"m being naive;how can ANYTHING work well without good people? It just feels like SOMETHING used to contribute to human beings having respect for their parents, elders, strangers on the street, law enforcement, companies not cheating, etc etc...

Is it faith and the lack of it today where God is so mocked? What could it be? I don't know.

ANybody want to hazard a guess, too?

Z said...

Mark, by the way, I have to admit I am ducking your lefty troll JIM so I'm not commenting at your place on the top post. Every time I do, I get him immeditely here in all his unthinking, nasty regalia and I've got enough here with my own trolls. I'm SO sorry..will be more around when Jim's not around :-)