Sunday, March 15, 2015

We've all been raised to respect the police

From our earliest memories, we all have been told that the police are our friends.  We've been raised to believe that the police are the good guys, and that whatever they do, it's the law and is right and legal.

Right?  If you wore blue, automatic reverence and deferral to a policeman's judgement was ingrained into all of us.

In most of the country, that is.  In urban high crime areas, maybe not so much, since simply living in that area makes you a suspect and likely criminal.  And if you aren't caught in a criminal act by those in blue 'serving' those areas, you are assumed to have done bad things in the past, it's what you do.  

And when the police are automatically assumed to be out to get you, which is true way more often that it should be within urban areas, their lack of popularity with these urban populations should not surprise anybody.  Crimes such as 'driving while black,' or even 'walking while black,' while not criminal, are often used as reasonable suspicion or probable cause by police in these areas, justifications to pull citizens over, or otherwise question citizens about their activities.

While mistakes were made prior to the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, MO by the police in dealing with a predominantly black area, the general dislike of police in areas such as Ferguson is readily apparent through urban America.  And the 'hands up' gesture is not based on the facts in the Michael Brown case, it is seen used again and again across urban America as a signal to the rest of us that respect for police is not universal, when they use their authority in ways that grate on the public good will decade after decade.

What about the good will given to police forces in predominantly white areas?  This too, is often wearing thin.  Police are, after all, government workers.  They are virtually impossible to fire regardless of their performance, are represented by huge public workers unions and have been documented time and again as behaving badly when it comes to dealing with those whom they have sworn an oath to 'protect and defend.'

All too often, police in predominantly white areas will fabricate evidence, plant evidence, steal evidence, and lie about their activities, lie about the circumstances of arrests they make, and even lie on the witness stand in a court of law, thus abusing the inherent trust that is placed in them. 

I am now seeing lots of television programs about police and their activities filmed in such a fashion as to put the police in the best light possible.  Don't get me wrong, though; there are many policemen and policewomen who are conscientious and honest throughout the country.  But their ranks are lousy with bad apples, and not just one here and one there.  They are everywhere, and way more bad cops are on the take, fabricate evidence and simply lie about the facts than should be in any municipality.  

Most police in rural, predominantly white areas find that crime is relatively rare, but they have to justify their salary.  Accordingly, nearly all the citizens that they are supposedly 'protecting and serving' are viewed at every interaction with them as potential perps, or at a minimum a source of revenue; to be written up with a citation for speeding, jay walking, spitting on the side walk or any number of other petty misdemeanors.

Is it any wonder that the police have lately gotten a black eye?  One main reason that the cops are in such a bad light in the public eye is the never ending advance in technology: video cameras are everywhere now, whereas 50 years ago, only news teams had the capacity to record video, and the potential of these news teams of yesterday actually recording cops doing bad things was simply not gong to happen.  No longer, however, thanks to this technology can a cop lie with impunity about what happened during an interaction with the pubic. There are security cameras virtually everywhere, cameras on their vehicles, cameras on private vehicles, and cameras in everyone's hands.  

Cops relying on their inherent trust from the public to always weigh in on their side of the issue is being called into question now.  

And for good reason: our police forces across this country need a complete audit of how they interact with those whom they have sworn an oath to 'protect and serve.'  

It's time the police got back to living that oath that they have strayed from over time.  


sig94 said...

Gotta disagree with you Fredd. Criticism of police is higher than ever, cops are under much more scrutiny than ever before.

Our ranks are lousy with bad apples? Where is your source? Potential police recruits are subjected to background checks, lie detector tests, credit checks, psychological evaluations ... a whole gamut of character and personality checks to eliminate risky hires.

And where is your source that cops are falsifying evidence at unprecedented levels? Does it happen? Of course it does. I have seen cops get busted for it - a few - very, very few over the course of 40 years.

I was an evidence technician for 7 years - I and my colleagues collected what was on the scene, nothing more.

With the growth of the internet and alternative media news sources there has been an increase in all sorts of government corruption reporting outlets compete for viewers. I believe that reporting is up, not levels of abuse.

And this is a good thing. Light must be brought to bear on corruption. I have personally assisted in the prosecution of officers who crossed the line. I knew one of them personally. As a retired police executive I have disciplined officers who used poor judgement.

There are people wearing badges and guns who shouldn't be. No question about it. But for you to make sweeping generalizations such as those in your post is reckless and unwarranted.

Fredd said...


Of course you would stand up for your profession, I would expect nothing less.

And why do you think that criticism of cops is higher than ever before and why are cops under more scrutiny than ever before? Because many bad apple cops are giving the force a black eye lately. And it is all over the news.

What is my source for your profession being lousy with bad apples? I open my eyes and look at the TV. I read material about this almost weekly where bad apple cops are doing things they shouldn't be doing. My source? If I don't give you a source for saying there's too many bad apples within the police force, then my claim is invalid? Give me a break, Sig.

You also ask where my source is that cops are falsifying evidence at unprecedented levels. I don't read anywhere in my post where I said anything like that. I did, however, claim that cops falsify evidence way more than they should. It happens on the news all the time. Cops lie like dogs because they can. And you know it. Where is my source? If I can't produce a source for saying that cops falsify evidence, then my suggestion that this is so is completely invalid, right Sig? I can come up with a Lexus/Nexis search with bad apple cop stories in the news as long as my arm, don't think I am exxagerating any of this.

Give me another break. Sweeping generalizations are made by the general public about what a mess the police are making these days, not just me. Reckless and unwarranted, Sig? You should maybe open your eyes to what a pig sty that bad cops are making out of what was once a noble calling.

LL said...

Professionalizing the police requires money to hire the best and it requires a desire on the part of communities to make the change. There are as many differences between police departments as there are between varieties of fast food. Perhaps that shouldn't be but police departments reflect the cities that they serve.

Z said...

there have always been bad cops..and bad accountants and bad presidents and bad teachers.

I'm with sig. God bless you for the work you do, and all those cops who are getting a bad name because of a few.

Ed Bonderenka said...

I've met good cops a nd bad cops.
I hate it when one cop tells me another must have been having a rough day because I was given a revenue gathering citation.
Or another tells me he's aware of that speed trap 50 miles away.
When copsright tou a ticket and offer to knock it down so they don't have to appear if you plead gratefully to the lower (no points) citation.

Fredd said...

Z: of course there are bad apples in every walk of life. There are bad McDonald's employees who pop their zits into the special sauce on your Big Mac.

But like bad doctors, bad cops can kill you or almost as bad, they can take your freedom away. Bad cops are a scourge on a free society.

Bad McDonalds employees or bad accountants don't usually kill you. Bad cops do.

One bad cop in a community can poison that entire community. One bad accountant, not so much.

Bad cops are a really, really bad thing. I can't say it loud enough. And yet we seem to put up with it, saying that there's always room to improve.

There should be NO bad cops. Ask me how we can start working towards this goal.

Fredd said...


Honestly, I haven't had much interaction with police, but the little I have had, the officers were rude, arrogant and impatient, and not all that bright.

So, I cant honestly say that, like you, I've met good cops. None of the cops I have ever dealt with have impressed me at all.

Fredd said...

LL: every community should want more out of their cops, other than arrogance and indifference and often incompetence.

Dump half the fire department and use that money to attract better police candidates with more education.

The crappy police forces that most communities have to put up with are just not good enough.

Joe said...

A police woman came up to me while I was waiting for my wife to return to my car. She said I was parked in a no parking zone. There were no signs, no painted lines and no indication of any kind that it was a no parking zone. In fact, it was in a parking lot and the space looked just like all of the other "legitimate" parking spots. Ultimately she did not issue a ticket, but only after I repeatedly pointed out that the spot had no "no parking" indications.

I'm sure there are some good ones, though.

Fredd said...


You ran into an average police woman. Better police woman would not have gone out of their way to bully you. Worse police woman would have made you move, issued you a ticket or arrested you.

Sounds like about an average interaction, I would say.

sig94 said...

Fredd - it is still anecdotal "evidence" which is not evidence at all. I was sued twice for police brutality, once in state and another time in federal court. Each time I was easily exonerated because the idiot was lying out his ass.

Cops are accused all the time by defendants in order to bring leverage against their criminal charges. I have done the research (granted it was 20 years ago) on these types of things and the overwhelming majority of these claims are false. I spent three months researching this for my Chief. And the media ignored it as well as the politicians.

I also uncovered politial shenanigans and reporteed it and the same thing. If it was a democratic in office the media wouldn't even show up for a press conference. My PBA union tried that - our mayor finally went to prison five years later after the feds got a whiff of the money he was stealing. But no one would listen to us at the time. This was 1986.

The liberal media always loves to throw these charges around and then do not report a thing when the cop is cleared. It has happened to me several times when I was working the road. Front page exposure on the BS claims, the exoneration buried back in the obits.

Ahhhh - I've been there Fredd.

Fredd said...


Of course you are right about criminals lying out their asses. That's what they do, a given. They are called criminals for a very good reason. THey are scumbags that lie. I get it.

Both of the things we write about here, my post, your comments, are anectdotal. All of it. Doesn't make it false. (or true, for that matter).

Most (but not all) reasonable folks can see right through the crime stats, and police brutality reports that are filed by scumbags. I can, at least.

But the film at 11, that is a different thing. I see what I see, and it's not good most of the time. I am not swayed by an analyst trying to tell me that the video of a cop clobbering a perp with a billy club while on the ground with 7 other cops on top of him holding him down (Rodney King) was reasonable force under the circumstances. Or 5 cops wrestling a guy selling loosie cigarettes on the street to the ground is the way to do it (Eric Garner).

I got eyes. I see what's going on, and it ain't good many times.