Recently I have noticed a trend on social media sites such as Face Book and Twitter. This trend is disturbing and is distasteful. I am, of course, speaking of the latest fad, cop bashing. I, for one, am quite tired of it. I am tired of citizens who think they are experts on policing even though they have never spent one day on the street in uniform. I am tired of the nit-picking that is occurring, with regards to so-called police misconduct. I am tired of seeing heroic actions by police officers go unheeded while a single corrupt act by a single individual is newsworthy for days. I am most disturbed that members of my own extended family have jumped on this cop bashing bandwagon, disrespecting the honor of those family members who have served.
I feel confident that for every negative story published I can counter with a thousand, if not a hundred thousand examples of honorable deeds performed by police officers around the country. I know that a lot of this attitude is born out of ignorance. I know that for the 42 plus years I have been associated with the profession I would routinely encounter individuals who seem to think they know police work better than the professional performing the job. I would not presume to tell any member of any profession how they should perform their job, but for some reason, many think they understand police work, what police work is about, and how to do the job. I am not clear where this comes from. I know that today’s police officer is a highly trained professional. They continuously receive in-service training to ensure they maintain high standards. Until an individual has receive this degree of training, until an individual has receive the experience associated with the job, I prefer they keep their opinions to themselves because until they do, they really don’t know what they are talking about.
Police Officers are human. No matter how hard they train they are and will remain human. Thus they are subject to all the same weaknesses and temptations of all other humans. Considering the temptations constantly put before them, it is a small miracle that only a small percentage actually succumb to the temptation. And those who do succumb do so because they are human. When a police officer breaks the law, it is a big deal. Same circumstances in two professions would be treated completely different. If a police officer takes a few bucks off a corpse, as repugnant as that may sound, and is caught there will be news stories and scandal that will go on for days. However, if the hearse driver or morgue attendant does the same thing, little will be said of it. Sure they both may lose their jobs, as they very well should, but only the police officers actions will make headlines. There are those who say this is as it should be because police are held to a higher standard. But a higher standard not withstanding, there is still just a human being behind the badge. The impact of a disgraced police officer will have far-reaching consequences not only for the officer, but the officers family, the officers organization, and the officers community. Not so for members of other professions.
Before you become a cop basher, I challenge you to take the time to educate yourself about the profession. There are avenues available other than watching cop shows on TV. Take advantage of the ride along program offered by many police agencies. Attend a citizen’s police academy. Read the available literature on the profession. Here is an idea, why not take the time to actually speak with a Police Officer and learn from them what being a police officer is all about. It is not surprising that a person who day in and day out sees the worst of humanity may lose sight of the higher standard and do something human. But you won’t know that until you know what they know, see what they see, and do what they do. And until you do, I prefer you keep your opinion to yourself.
Let me be clear that this article is in no way meant to defend any police officer who commits any act that dishonors the profession. I have no tolerance for that type of behavior. I am very glad that the protocols are in place to weed out and remove such individuals. I realize for the most part, I am preaching to the choir. I am only hopeful that someone will read this and come away with a different point of view.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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