Cops and Civiliansgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Yesterday I read a post that brought up the issue of what the Police think of civilians. I felt strongly that I needed to reply to this post and spent a little time writing this reply. The gist of the original posting was that all cops hate civilians. My hope with this post is to start a discussion and get a few people thinking.
Pretty funny post. With 10 years Police background, I agree with almost nothing you've said. Sure there are a few cops (somewhere) that match what you have posted, but in my experience most of us sincerely want to help the public (yes even the guys with the dumb questions).
The absolutely worst part of my job was being hated by almost everybody. The following are a few examples of real issues I dealt with over a 10 year period:
As a beat cop I knew all the dirty laundry of almost everyone in my neighborhood.
(the next comments will be stated using the term "You" to describe the neighbors whom I served...please do not take these comments personally)
I was the one who had to serve the divorce papers to "You" because you beat your wife.
I was the one who had to escort the Repo Man to repossess the car that "You" failed to keep up the payments on.
I was the one that had to bring "Your" kids home when they were caught spraying graffiti on some other neighbors car.
I was the on who had to escort those same kids from city jail to city jail to be booked after their latest graffiti rampage across three small towns because "You" failed to discipline "Your" kids after their last escapade.
I was the one who had to come to "Your" house and break up the argument "You" were having with your wife when "She" called 911.
I was the one who had to apprehend the burglar in "your" house that you found there when "You" got home because "You" didn't lock "Your" front door.
I was the one who put out the fire that started because "You" fell asleep in "Your" chair while smoking a cigarette and I happened to see the smoke.
On top of all that:
I was the one who when "Your" son decided to pass a car on his motorcycle by riding on the shoulder, caught his rear tire on the car's front bumper, and hit the pavement at 75 mph with his girlfriend dressed in shorts and a tee shirt (both of them), who I had to escort to the hospital and stay with them to make sure they got the proper medical care until the next morning because "You" were out partying all night and couldn't be reached.
And I was the one who pulled "You" out of the wreck of "Your" car and gave "You" emergency medical treatment until the ambulance came because "You" decided to drive home after spending 4 hours at the local bar drinking.
No I really have nothing against the civilian population. But hating me because I had to deal with all of "Your" screw ups was really the worst of it all.
-- ExCop (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999
You go, man. Stick it to 'em.
Most cops are pretty cool. The sad part is the people like my former data processing teacher who gave up a law enforcement career because of all the crap he had to tolerate (including getting shot).
There are, however, some cops who do bad things and their fellow cops cover for them. That should stop.
-- Tim the Y2K nut (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
Cops need better pay and more respect. On the other hand, I really don't like the policemen who turn on their sirens just to go through a light that they don't feel like stopping for. When some people see behavior like this, they hate all police. Not me. I just get that sinking feeling in my stomach and clammy palms whenever I see them.
-- coprolith (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
Hey coprolith It must have been me that you saw going though the intersection with my lights on, only to turn them off on the other side. Maybe it was the time I was trying to catch the burglary in progress and didn't want to warn him of my arrival. Could have been one of those time my observed arrival would have precipitated more violence. You would surely be surprised at the number of times not being noticed works to the advantage of our hard working citizens. Been there - done that. See ya... Charon
-- Charon (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
How ironic that the thread that you disagree with so much was entitled... "WHY COPS HATE YOU", and here you are, giving us all sorts of examples of why cops hate to deal with the civillian population, aka "YOU" (meaning me).
And the thread was describing why cops hate civillians, not the other way around, but I presume now that there is good reason to think that might be true. Apparently you've had your share of hatred and it's scarred you, and you try to come across like a decent fellow. I wonder what all the other corrupt, filthy cops think of "YOU" (meaning "me" of course).
Would it bother you to know that the original thread was written by a cop?
-- (Just @ reporting. the facts), August 12, 1999.
I have alot of respect for the job police undertake each day. They see the worst of the worst in our society and no doubt the majority of police officers are good people. The reason you find so much animosity though is because they do an absolutely horrible job of policing their own ranks.
Abuses of power, followed by the well known 'blue wall of silence' infuriate the average citizen. Too many officers think they ARE the law instead of it's defenders, and their partners and co-workers simply look the other way.
I look at it like this; the police in my town are there not because God came down and pointed his finger and said "You Shall Have a Police Department". They exist because the people of my town ALLOW them to exist (and I don't mean 'I pay your salary' although that is also true). All authority granted to them is on loan from the people they are supposed to be serving. It does not come from the government or from God.
I know there are several towns in NJ the have NO police force. Instead, they set up citizen patrols and call in the state police to make an official arrest when they have someone in 'custody' or a murder to investigate. They got fed up with abusive officers and took matters into their own hands. To my knowledge, they have no more crime than other towns.
If more officers were willing to stand up and refuse to tolerate the few over-the-top officers that exist in almost every police department you might find less "you bastards" and more "hey, how ya doin?" in your day to day interactions with the public.
-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), August 12, 1999.
Whoa...Lets have a little balance to this question please. For the purpose of my answer I will be referring to police officers as you. You were the one that stopped my wife and I out for a nice drive and gave me a speeding ticket for $150.00 going 71mph on a 55mph highway You were the one who said you just broke off the chase as the kid went head on into the family of five. You were the one with 10 of your buddys joyfully night sticking that rodney King guy, when 3 of you could have sat on him. You were the one who stopped that defenseles black women on the highway dash video, screaming at her, maceing her in the face, all because you had a tough, boring day. You and your buddys were the ones that recently pulled over that young black girl, and unloaded about 12 rounds of your frustration, as she was reaching for her brush. The list could go on and on...quit complaining, you have one of the best jobs in the country. The gang with the blue suits and permission to be one up legally over J Q PUBLIC.
-- Les (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
Hey - ExCop - "You" saved my life about eleven years ago this September. Thank you. Since then, my primary purpose has been never, ever exhibit the behavior that put me, and any other poor schmuck who shared the road with me, at risk again. So far, so good. One day at a time. Thank you again.
-- Woodpile (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
While growing up I categorized the cops in my hometown as follows:
1. Those who were routinely picked on/beaten up as kids. They persued the power behind the badge for obvious reasons - paybacks & enhanced self-esteem.
2. Those who were bullies as kids & had the realization that wearing a badge would ensure their bullying ways could continue.
Once the raging hormones, & just plain rage, mellowed I realized that I had been too jaded in my estimation of cops. Yes, the two categories above accurately describe some cops, in my experience. Yet I came to know decent, balanced people who also wore badges. These folks weren't mental midgets. They were pretty compassionate in their dealings with civilians. Most telling, these folks had less than ten years on the job.
Bitterness was creeping in on them, but had not enveloped their souls. They had not been scarred by lawsuits, charges of abuse, etc. Refuge from the daily grind of negativity had not yet been sought in a bottle. Perhaps just a nice, flaky pastry or two. ;)
I have the utmost respect for the badge. I treat cops with genuine respect. (And I get the hell away from them as soon as I possibly can, because a bad cop can turn your life upside-down in the blink of an eye.) They perform difficult duties for little remuneration except high levels of stress & the occasional "thank you".
Here's a heartfelt "THANK YOU" to all who wear the badge with dignity.
Here's a "kiss my a**" to all the cops who use the badge to wreak havoc; to all who inflict pain, physical & emotional, upon those whose only crime was to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time by the wrong cop.
To borrow a phrase from the irrepressible G. Gordon Liddy, "Thank you for your service to our country."
-- Bingo1 (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
Cops might get more respect if they were still "peace" officers (maintaining the peace) rather than "police" officers (enforcing every intrusive, unconstitutional, revenue ehancement law, rule, and regulation the politicians can come up with).
In most places, you have more to fear from the pigs than you do amateurs. If you carry, you definitely have more to fear from the pigs than the amateurs.
A "joke" I once heard is that, "to get all the pussy and dope you could ever want, become a vice cop."
-- A (A@AisA.com), August 12, 1999.
I have utmost respect for the badge. Sometimes the person behind it can be a problem though. We all have lots of little stories to tell...
I can tell about being handcuffed in front of my kids... a suspended drivers license the state never bothered to tell me about. WHUPS.. cause I was the wrong guy.
I can tell you about some of the locals who get here 3 minutes after I call, even when I told them no rush I can wait. Damn fine service.
Then there's the officer I often clock at 45MPH in the 25MPH zone. Why is he speeding? To get in possition quicker to cite the next guy who goes 45mph on that road.
How about the local lady cop who likes to park her car ON the median barrier next to a busy intersection. What does she do there? Paperwork as far as I can tell, but it's damn near killed some people who try to see past her car.
I've seen Staties going far out of their way to help stranded motorists, and when my Mom died the officers who responded were the soul of compassion. In fact they saved me from beating the living crap out of the apartment manager who wanted to change locks before we could even move the body. They took him aside and I never saw him again.
Tell me... exactly WHY do the police officers who have their cars serviced by me all have a POLICE cap in the back window of their car? It can't be reached without diving sideways between the seats usually. Could it be there as signal to other officers when they get pulled over? Naw, they'd never expect special treatment, would they?
I love the nearly instant responce I've gotten the few times I've called in a drunk driver on my cell phone. Within minutes an officer passed me and nailed the dangerous jerk. But... I can't figure out why I have never once followed a state trooper OR a local officer down the road who was NOT exceeding the speed limit. Is my speedo off? On every car I've owned?
Explain to me why it's a 'worse' crime for someone to shoot and kill an officer than it is for someone to shoot and kill me. Am I worth less? Is my wife? My kid? Explain that one to me.
-- Art Welling (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
Cops get a bad rap. If there were more cops like you, would it be any different? Would people think more highly of police officers? I'd like to think so. I maybe wrong about you, but you seem to be a kind and gentle person. You also seem to have good character and I am guessing that you brought that good character to the force. I'm sure that somewhere during your tour of duty that someone may have said a prayer for you or were grateful for your assistance. Perhaps, they still remember you in their prayers today. At the very least, I will keep you in my prayers.
I will just assume that there are more reasons than I can now imagine why people have contempt for a police officer, the police in general, or laws. At the personal level, expectations are often unrealistic with regard to what different people assume a police officer should and shouldn't do in a given situation. It seems to me that people often feel they have been treated unfairly (whether or not, they have been unfairly treated). Thus this one problematic that seems to stand out is that a police officer is trained more in the use of force than in making moral decisions (increasing in their own prudence). So, yes, Artistotle for cops is what I am recommending. But reading Aristotle is not enough, mentors that can teach by example are also required. But I do assume that the modern police force really isn't set up to explore such improvements: there is no lack of the lack of interest and support for such solutions.
Another seemingly popular disaffection is the feeling that police officers do not generally treat people as persons, but rather as criminals or rather criminal objects that can be manipulated precisely as the law requires without any regard for the person, their needs, their hopes, their situation, and their future. This seems to be another problematic that requires the capacity for moral judgement as much as a possible change in the way laws are conceived, written, and enforced. Certainly, this is no simple matter that we will solve here.
Your illustration of "You" signals some thing close to what I am getting at. "I" may be the one who was late in my car payment because "I" lost my job due to lay offs and "I" am trying to get another job so that "I" can resume my car payments, pay the mortgage, and keep food on the table. But "You" and some repo scum is going to come and take the car and put me at such disadvantage that in three months "You" will come back with the bank scum and put me and my family on the streets. And "You" will arrest me (or kill me) and put my family at greater disadvantage when in my very desperation to feed my family, I rob the 7-11 at gunpoint and take 50 bucks, a gallon of milk, and a box of cereal, because all the homeless shelters are full and public assistance won't give me a check as I don't have an address. Thank "You" for helping a heartless system destroy me and my family.
It's possible-- especially in the face of the risks for a depression.
"You" are just doing your job, of course. Lucky "You". But do "You" really get it? Do "You" see the existential problematics going on? Is "Your" heart calloused and your moral judgement impaired? What are "You" doing differently? What are "You" doing to change the system? What things are "You" doing outside the box and out of the system? Do "You" realize that "Your" JOB is not just a job, it is a vocation!?
Whatever you do for a living, be you a police officer or a computer programmer, serve and protect your neighbor. Call it value-added or whatever you like, but this is what being human is all about. If you fail in this or your profession fails in general, and it seems that if people have a general contempt for you or your profession, don't be surprised to find that you or your profession has contempt for human beings. Perhaps, these are among the basic problems that all kinds of people are responding to with a deep and expectant want for change, renewal, and the end of the world as we suffer it, today (teotwawsit).
So, no, I am not blaming you, Excop. I blame us all-- and especially myself. I think about the things that I have failed to do. Y2K is likely not to be the end of the world as we know it (or suffer it), and I assume that many of us here will be disappointed by what seemed to be a missed opportunity. What will be more disappointing, however, is if we did not act ourselves and do good because we know it to be right... despite the apparent misfortune of not having the world turned upside down and being forced to change.
I might even assume that if we here fail to act ourselves and do good because we know it to be right, any hope that Y2K would bring such promise through world shaking changes was a fanciful hope and any such world-shaking changes would have only been the worse. So I will hope more for the best and as little and few Y2K problems as possible... as I smile and wave nicely to the unappreciated police officer eyeing me with suspicion.
Sincerely, Stan Faryna
-- Stan Faryna (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
I treat all police officers like human beings with families and lives beyond the badge... and with a smile... so consequently... 98% of those I've ever come in contact with... treat me the same way.
What goes around, comes around.
Most do "serve" with dignity. (And they appreciate the unexpected "thank you.")
Manners, helpfulness and kindness work wonders... anywhere... with * almost* anyone.
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
Wow - really great stuff! First of all thanks for all the good posts. Now I will attempt to reply.
Just@: No it wouldn't suprise me that a Cop might have wrote it. "We" have all had different experiences and its just that in "my" experience and with those that I have had experiences with it wasn't that way.
TECH32: Yes there are abuses of power, in Police forces as well as other areas of government. Do I or most of my fellow officers condone those abuses? No. Have I stood up against the abuses? Yes. Did it resolve much? I am sorry to say no.
Les: Would I have pulled you over for 71 in a 55? Probably not unless you were driving to endanger. I made it a rule only to stop those who were risking others lives by their driving habits. Have I used my authority to overturn the rights of others just because I was bored or had a bad day? No. Excessive use of force or use of Deadly force without sufficient cause was met in my department with being brought up on charges and suspended then dismissal.
Bingo1: There are bad apples in every bunch. But don't throw out the bushel because of a few bad apples. Thanks for a balanced view.
A@A:There are STILL alot of good cops out there. Regarding Vice -As I recall the prostitutes I picked up were not the kind of people anyone would be interested in having sex with - cop or not. On the dope issue, I never did dope so I can't say.
Art: The cap in the back window is as you guessed. Does it work every time? No. About speed, sometimes it is legitimate other times it is just plain wrong. Even cops sometimes think that they are above the law. Have I ticketed other speeding cops? Yes.
About the loss of a cops life, first NO life is worth more than any other. With cops, there are so few of us compared to the perpetrators that the response to a cops death is harsher because of the need to discourage this kind of act in the future. If you knew that by killing a cop that they would all work extra hard to take you into custody as soon as possible it might just discourage you from taking that action. the best explanation I can give.
Stan: (thanks for the good reply) Would they be any different, I hope so. At least in my case I made a difference in my department. In my day to day policing I did take into account what was happening in peoples lives before I chose to enforce or not enforce the law. (The Repo man repossessed a car owned by a man with a six-figure income btw). I never had to evict anyone during my time as a cop but I did bring food and charity to poor families in my district. In response to your statement about do I get it. Yes I do, and I made as big a difference as I could to help protect my neighbors. Did I enjoy my job no. I hated the endless death threats, the damage to my house and car. At one point it was reported that I wrote hundreds of tickets, in reality I only wrote two in ten years. I saved many lives even changed a couple for the better but I finally got tired of the endless hatred and the low wages so I moved on to another job. I just felt that it was important to bring a cops view into this.
Tim, Coprolith, Diane, thanks for your comments!
-- ExCop (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
Unfortunately, taking into account the bad cops, the good ones tend to either leave for reasons very much like those of ExCop or remain good but become hardened.
Like much in our culture today, the good ones get it from all sides: the public, the worst of their peers and a legal system that is calling upon them to act as surrogate marriage counselors, drug treatment personnel and more while simultaneously putting them in jeopardy of legal trouble if they make any mistakes along the way.
Offline, Arlin Adams, whom some of you know and whose views some of you know (ie, somewhere to the right of G. Gordon Liddy :-), made the point that those thinking about firearms use during rollover should FIRST have done everything possible to team up with police in their own communities and to have built alliances where possible. To the foolish macho men among us, that says it all.
Especially in rural communities, your local cop is your neighbor and your kids play ball with their kids. Don't YOU make it adversarial.
-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), August 12, 1999.
Ah! Touched a nerve.
I'm a US Navy veteran. I've never done any illegal act in my life. I do not trust, nor do I cooperate with any law enforcement officer I come in contact with.
I used to be fine. But after a series of run-ins with cops, It would simply be stupid for me to say anything other than "I want an attorney."
Capricious and vicious cops have cost me thousands of dollars directly in destroyed property. They were raiding my house (I was 14) and deliberately smashed my ham radio set, and all my electronics gear. I could never replace it. It had taken me 3 years to save the money for it.
I was cited with driving a bicycle "improperly" on a city road at 2am. In New Orleans, it's too hot and dangerous to ride during the day, so I did my training at night. I had a light, reflectors, and full gear, including a cute racing shirt that practically glowed in the dark.
The cop stopped me. Searched me (!), and then made me stand there for 20 minutes while he fished around for something to cite me with. Eventually finding something, I was given a ticket, and told to walk home (in shoes that are damaged by walking, and *very* hard to stand on) and NOT ride my bike. I was 8 miles from home.
Going to court about that case is another nightmare I don't care to relate right now. Suffice it to say, the cop didn't show up, but I was still found guilty.
Several years later, I was involved in a motorcyle accident. 3 hours after the accident, as I awaited a ride to the hospital with a broken foot, the cop finally showed up.
He cited me with failure to yield. And I had to pay all damages. He did this without any evidence, as the scene had been cleared hours before. My insurance rates went up $1,000 A YEAR for the next 3 years. I had to give up on my motorcyle since I couldn't afford the insurance.
Oh yeah, the accident occurred on a non-county maintained SINGLE LANE DIRT ROAD. Texas law said that I could NOT be cited with failure to yield under these circumstances.
I went to court again. Again the officer didn't show up. Again I was found guilty. Do you see a pattern here?
In 1987, I was cited for going 85 mph in a 55mph zone. (On a motorcycle again). However, it was a lie. It was RAINING at the time. I was actually going 45 mph. Only an idiot would go 85 on a M/C in those conditions. Since I was a Motorcycle safety instructor, I contend I wasn't an idiot. That ticket cost me over $3,000 in insurance premium increases. I was unable to contest it, because it happened in Illinois, and I lived in Texas at the time.
Now for those who think I was a "Harley Rebel" or "Ninja Racer" type, you should note that I was riding on an older BMW boxer - fully faired. I was properly dressed, and that thing couldn't race to save my life.
Lastly, I now have a scanner that evesdrops on the local sheriff here in Oregon. One day I listened as a deputy went on a 15 minute fishing expedition trying to find something to pin on some campers in BLM land (Federal land). (Camping is legal on that land) Aside from the fact that he kept them (3 I believe) at bay for 15 minutes, and that he was trying to find an ordinance to write, he HAD NO JURISDICTION!!!!
So, am I suspicious of cops and their motives??
Jolly *despises* people who abuse power - and people who have power to abuse.
-- Jollyprez (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
To clarify, when they raided my house at 14, a sibling had committed a crime (she was 18). I was not a suspect. The police totally destroyed most of the house. This was in New Orleans.
-- Jollyprez (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
Ok, I served for awhile on the local sheriff's department, but I am trying to stay out of this debate, with one exception:
Bingo, *sob*, that pastry comment cut so deep! :-)
Actually, from my experience, most road officers where to busy working during normal supper hours, staff to busy with telephone calls, problems in the jail and "routine" work to eat at normal hours. About three in the morning, by the time things "hopefully" quiet down, donuts at the local convenience store is about the only option left, or potatoe chips (well, the choice is obvious to go along with the coffee to keep you "alert" till 7:00 a.m.).
Oh yes, how I miss that good life...hated on sight, lied too, spit on, thrown up on, bled on, (etc. will suffice here, ref: other body fluids), cussed, threatened (with life and limb, retaliation or law suits before you ever even open your mouth or make a decision).
Stress, did we mention stress? See one point ExCop forgot to elaborate on here was that "all of the above" in his list can happen just as easily over a period of time, or that much and more/worse can happen within a 12 hour shift.
Yep, I sure did luv them donuts...:-)
-- Lilly (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
"Would it bother you to know that the original thread was written by a cop?"
Would not surprise me. This thread doesn't surprise me.
You could simply switch the word "cop" in these discussions for "nurse" or "doctor" or "teacher" or "priest/preacher" and have the same arguements.
I'm a nurse, and I've worked alongside the best and the worse in the medical field. People working FOR the public are part of that same public themselves, human beings first and foremost; some are heroes, some are scums, and most fit in between and are decent.
But, I must say that cops are a breed appart in one way, they have been given control and powers over the public that other public servants don't have, and that tends to go quickly to the head of bad seeds and turn them into control freaks abusing their powers. But for every bad apple, there's at least a bushel full of heroes.
-- Chris (%$^&^@pond.com), August 12, 1999.
What JollyPrez says, happens all too often. There MAY still be some good cops, but too many are in love with their badge, the power, and are closet fascists (like the cop mentioned rousting the campers on BLM land). I repeat, even by more and more "middle class" white people such as myself, cops are seen as lackeys for the establishment, no longer interested in maintaining the peace, but in it for the power rush, the ability to roust people for violating some bureacrat's wet-dream enacted into law (law enforcement or policing), to trash dwellings and vehicles. And to drvie fast with impunity.
-- A (A@AisA.com), August 12, 1999.
And that goes 10-fold for all the pigs in the alphabet agencies.
-- A (A@AisA.com), August 12, 1999.
Jolly, in my opinion, Texas and New Orleans are absolutely the worst two places you could be to get stopped by cops.
But I must tell my experience with cops when my young son was jailed for smoking pot with friends in a parked car. The car was his, the pot was one of the other guys, and all of them had brought booze.
When I went to see him that night in jail, the arresting officer came out to meet me, very much on the defensive and started telling me not to get excited. Finally I said, "I'm not excited; all I want is to hear your side of the story before I talk with my son." He told me what happened, and then I asked what he thought I should do as I was a single mom. He was surprised, but said, "I think you should let him stay in jail overnight. He won't like it, but it might keep him out of trouble later on." ( All the boys were either 15 or 16.) Then he told me the mother of my son's best friend had come to the jail screaming and cussing them and asking why they weren't out catching criminals instead of badgering kids. She bailed her son out, and threatened to sue, and warned that she had friends in high places.
Anyway, I went to see my son, who was clearly in the wrong, and admitted it. But when I told him he could stay overnight, he was furious and said he'd never speak to me again. I said, "I'm the one who shouldn't speak to you." and left.
When I got home the other boy's mother called me and asked if I wasn't furious at the asshole cops for picking on our kids. (The parents were very weathy and very indulgent.) I said no, that I didn't think they had picked on them and that I'd left my son there to think over what breaking the law might lead to. She then turned on me and screamed, "What kind of a mother are you! If I'd known you weren't going to get him out, I would have." I informed her it was none of her business and hung up.
And we wonder why kids do the things they do when they have the full consent of the parents to act like fools.
BTW, that was many years ago. Now my son is a fine law-abiding citizen, a good husband and father and has his own business which is a success. And his best friend,,,,, well he too is very successful in busines, but his personal life has been a sad mess, with many people hurt along the way.
-- gilda (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
Assuming a *civilian* was pulled over -- just how pissed would the officer be if the motorist had one of those "POLICE" hats in the back window? :)
-- DaveW (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
That was a great story and one I've not heard enough. You may recall that I have three teenagers, so hear a lot of stories regarding the police and teens they know. I've never had any experiences with the police and my kids. Heck...I've never had any experiences with the police at all. The stories I've heard, however, lead me to believe that some parents are all too eager to defend their innocent children. I'm hoping that the reason I've not had a problem is that I made it clear when the kids were young that I wouldn't be there to bail them out.
I suspect my oldest was 10 when she related the story of a school- chum whose older brother had been jailed for breaking and entering. My daughter felt so sorry for the family. They were trying to borrow money for bail. I simply asked, "Why?" She said, "Mom! He's in JAIL!" I said, "That's where he belongs. You do the crime, and you do the time." This same family is raising two grandchildren born out of wedlock. Daughter #2 heard about this and asked me, "Mom...if I got pregnant, would you raise my child?" I said, "Absolutely not. There's no excuse for an unwanted pregnancy. If you're having sex without a condom, you're playing Russian Roulette with your life. I certainly hope you respect your life more than that, but if you don't, I won't take responsibility for your decisions."
My dad was honest to a fault. My uncle (by marriage) was quite the opposite. My uncle would get stopped for a traffic ticket and pull out his driver's license with money attached. My dad got pulled over for a traffic infraction once while I was a child. It was near Christmas and all three of us kids were in the car. Dad had no idea what he'd done wrong, yet the officer said something about an illegal turn. The officer was SO nice. My dad was insistent that he should be ticketed. He felt he'd broken the law and must be punished. Perhaps the officer had never come across someone like my dad, but I remember him telling my dad in parting, "Just be more careful from now on, and consider this my Christmas present to the kids."
There are certainly instances that happen wherein the officers involved in an arrest go overboard. I was as appalled at the Rodney King incident as anyone else. However, Mr. King was hardly a law-abiding citizen taken aside for his color. My sympathies go out to those folks who are, not the folks who broke the law, fought arrest, etc.
I doubt that I would have been as lenient as you, had I had the same responsibilities. Some folks always want to put the burden of responsibility on the other guy. I remember taking a bus ride with my kids between London and Wales. We were off on a day-trip to see some castles that my son had seen on a television documentary. There were signs all over the bus stating that no alcoholic beverages were allowed. We shared the ride with three Scotsmen who were drinking what appeared to be soft drinks before they became LOUDER and LOUDER. The bus attendant finally asked that they turn over their drinks. They became louder and more obnoxious. They began calling the attendant names and generally making a nuisance of themselves. They ranted on and on about how unfairly they'd been treated. The woman was simply doing her job (as you were), yet these folks didn't want to blame themselves for breaking the rules. Fortunately for the rest of us, a call was made and the offenders were helped off the bus at a town on the way by the local police.
-- Anita (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
ROFL! I was thinking the same thing. You know those caps are always up for auction on Ebay for five bucks or so.
I guessed you were a stand up cop. Am thinking that the force and the community lost out big time when they lost officer Excop to civilian life, respect, and better pay. But also glad that you are safe and sound and here with us for the countdown.
Sincerely, Stan Faryna
-- Stan Faryna (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
Ooooh, bad cop stories. I'm stillupset after reading about the one who smashed the ham radio set. Talk about Mean!! Made me wonder if they had kids and/or a heart. Okay, my bad cop stories. I was a heartbroken 19 year old, driving down a ND highway day after a blizzard, usual conditions, came over a hill and there about maybe 6- 7 car lengths in front of me was a pick-up, stopped dead on the highway. Unfortunately, there was black ice, and trying to pump my brakes calmly produced zero effect. The next thing I knew, I was in my car out in the middle of a field. I had broken the windshield with my head, but even though UNseatbelted, had remained in the car. I reached for the door, and there was no door. Miraculously, I walked away with just scratches, bruises, and a little glass near my eye. The cop who came, "knew" the middle aged female driver (on a first name basis) who had stopped to look at "something" she thought she saw out in the field (illegal of course), but I was "cited". My insurance rose accordingly. Years later, living in the San Fernando valley of southern CA, a drunk driver, who happened to be an ex-cop with a brother still on the force, careened into my father's parked van, shoving it into our parked van. My father's van was Totalled, and ours had about $3,000 some worth of damage. The guy drove away, was stopped and caught by a neighbor who saw the whole thing. Had bottles in his car etc. DID NOT EVEN GET A TICKET. We tried and tried to follow up on that, but kept getting stonewalled. I even talked to MADD. Talk about frustrating. But yes, when my registration was one day over and expired, Whammo, nailed and fined. Okay, in perspective, I do admire alot of law enforcement people, and have a friend now who works as a sheriff down there, but the bad cops are a nightmare. I'm working on my teenage son to have a better attitude towards cops. He was a teenage skateboarder and picked up on the usual cruddy attitude that most skaters have toward cops. I'm going to forward this thread to him. I have to agree that most people let any kind of power or position go to their heads. Scary when they wield physical power and weapons though.
-- Mumsie (Shezdremn@aol.com), August 12, 1999.
If your a cop and your whining about your job, and all the territory that comes with it, I suggest you find another line of duty. Your only there to uphold the law, not be the almighty law.
-- saw you in action (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
OK, I will give my cop experience too. A few (actually, quite a few) years ago my wife and I went to a town about 50 miles away for a meal and a movie to celebrate our anniversary. When we came out of the theater, I noticed that our car had been damaged in the parking lot, and there was a note on the window - not from the other driver, but from someone who had seen the other car, and taken down the license number.
I called the local police, and they ran the plate. It turned out to belong to a policeman's relative. The note was unsigned, so I had no witness. I said to the desk sgt. that without a definite witness, and only an anonymous note, I was sure I didn't have a case. He asked me to give him a chance to see what he could do, and took my phone number. The next day I received a call from the owners of the car, and they sent me a check for the repairs.
I won't mention the town, because there are a lot of towns where it could have happened; where police and other public servants still want to do the right thing, even when they don't really *have* to.
We are all prone to complain about short-tempered cops, or having our rights abused, but how often have we taken time to express appreciation for the work of the police? A kind word of thanks and encouragement can mean a great deal to someone who has to deal with the seamy side of life far more than any of us want to.
thanks ex-cop. and to the rest of you as well.
-- Gene (email@example.com), August 12, 1999.
On to the next reply - and again thanks again for ALL the comments!
Lily: Thanks Lily
Chris: Yes Chris and the good ones need our support no matter what field they are in.
A@A: Sorry to say that seems to be the trend in the public eye was more often an exception than the rule when I was active.
Gilda: A lot of the worst problem kids I dealt with came from fine upstanding middle class homes. Your son owes you a lot for you good upbringing.
DaveW.: it would only matter if when asked he or she said they were a cop when they were not. Best thing would be to say you collect hats. I remember when I came out east I got caught in a funky timed light trap and the cop that pulled me over did everything but strip search me even though I had my police ID with me.
Anita: Thanks for the comments, I really was trying to "Protect and to Serve" my neighbors even though sometimes they made that pretty hard to do.
Stan: Thanks I appreciate it.
Mumsie:Abuses are hard to deal with in any job. I can say that for most of my assignments I was blessed to work with mostly good cops. (I had run ins with two or three during my time)
Saw You: My comments are placed here to start a discussion not to "whine" by any means. Even had I known in advance about all the crap I would have to deal with ahead of time I still would have become a cop anyway. Thanks for your comments too.
-- ExCop (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 1999.
Sounds like most of you are just bitching because you got nailed because you were doing something wrong or dangerous. Sounds like most of you blame the cops for enforcing laws YOU don't like. Sounds like most of you cann't wait for y2k so you can take a shot a cops because you think they may be able to get away with something you cann't.
You mean to tell me that all of you, ALL of you, don't have perks in your profesion that others don't? Get a grip, each one of you that have complained have stated that you knew, just KNEW, why a cop did what he did. You talk as if you could read his mind. You talk as if, when you saw him do something outside your scope of experence, he MUST be doing something bad. Well, it has been my experence that honest people don't complain near as much as the thugs and thieves.
Cops are hired by the COMMUNITY to enforce the laws of the COMMUNITY, and just because they bust YOU for breaking a law that you don't like....well then you cry like a little girl. You have contact with a cop and you are ready for a fight, you egg him on, you try to push all his buttons, all in effort prove have wrong the law you don't like is. And when he has had enough of your whimpering and arrests you, well then he is a jack booted thug.
If you don't like the laws change them, but obey until you do or break them and become a criminal. If you don't like the actions of you local police, confront your local leaders and have them changed. But stop your crying. If it were not for the police, we would have a community ran by YOU, and that is scarer than any cop.
-- justice (email@example.com), August 13, 1999.
I have known many cops over the years and without exception they all share one significant common characteristic: the only real friends they have are other cops ! Comments ?
-- Yan (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 13, 1999.
This sure is a long thread for something that we all already know: in any segment of society there's some good ones and there's some bad ones. And so what? I too could relate my good stories, and I could relate my bad stories -- but what's the point? To excop, I would simply like to say that you're posting here for some reason, I don't know what it is, but I think your just fine.
-- grngrl (email@example.com), August 13, 1999.
From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California
I wouldn't say I hate cops, but I definitely don't want to have anything to do with them. Cops treating average folks terribly cannot be explained away by merely listing some of the typical lowlifes a cop has to deal with. Obviously they're going to see their share of scum, but that's the job. Even if half the people they deal with cluster toward the top few percentile of criminality, that fact mustn't be allowed to color cops' treatment of the rest.
I believe that this problem is more than just a case of "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch." In my own law-abiding life I have had numerous unpleasant and frightening encounters with officers of the law.
Was it you, in early September 1973, in Ann Arbor who arrived half an hour later when I called about an apparently violent stranger who was pounding and kicking wildly on my flimsy door while I shook in terror? This was my first day as a new freshman in the womens' wing of a college dormitory. Did you notice that he was still banging and kicking when you finally arrived?
Was it you, a few hours later, who was still questioning me as to why I had been in a bath robe in the hallway of my dormitory? Did you explain to me that there was nothing that could be done about that man, since he had not actually threatened or touched me? Was it you who took the phone call after I got a letter from the man, in which he told me that he had told all his friends where I live? Did you tell me to just forget it?
Was it you, six years later, at the same police station, when I walked in covered in blood and wax, after a housemate (a subletting stranger to me), had gone on a bad acid trip and assaulted me? Did you refuse to go see if she was still in the process of destroying the house and everything in it? Did you tell me you just don't get involved in domestic disputes "be they male-female, female-female, whatever"?
Was that you, in early September 1980, in Champaign, Illinois, on the day after my wedding who stopped me and my new husband for expired plates? You see, we had just arrived in Illinois that day, and I had tried to arrange in advance for plates to be sent to me in New York, but the DMV SNAFU'd and they didn't quite arrive. Did you suddenly pull a gun on us as we were getting into our trunk to get our paper work and scream "get back" at the top of your lungs, or was that just our imagination? The people at the police station were convinced that we both hallucinated that.
Was it you, a few years later still in Champaign, who stopped me for driving at four o'clock in the morning on my way home from the computer center? Did you tell me I had been speeding, order me to come sit in your car, and lecture me for almost an hour about everything under the sun, talking so fast I couldn't believe it, and then let me go? Did you see the black man who watched the whole thing, and told me you had just done the same thing to him? Or was it you who took my call at the police station, eight hours later when I finally stopped crying, and suggested that I just forget about it?
Was it you, in 1984, in Minneapolis, who stopped me merely because I was driving at three o'clock in the morning? If that was you, you said I might be drunk but you didn't say why you thought that. You gave me the distinct impression that I was about to be sexually assaulted before finally letting me go, with an angry threatening finger pointing a few inches from my nose, saying "You, watch yourself!"
Was it you, in about 1986, still in Minneapolis, who pulled over car after car all day at a corner which had a new "no left turn" sign posted high in the center of the intersection, yet still had a left turn lane there? After the black man in the car ahead of me asked quite normally, "What's going on here?" did I watch you haul him out of his car, throw him up against a wall and kick his legs out from under him? Or was that you at the police station a short while later, when I called to report the incident, who said you'd get right on it, and then hung up before asking the officer's name, or what corner it had been on?
Was it you, in 1988, again in the Minneapolis area, who took the call at the Edina police department when I called to file a complaint? A stranger had come into an unattended Laundromat on France Avenue where I had several loads of wash going, and started jacking off. The Edina police said they wouldn't do anything about it because that was the dividing line between Edina and Minneapolis. The Minneapolis police said the same thing. I had to wait 10 hours until my husband came home from work to go back to retrieve our laundry.
Was it you who took the call in 1989, when I called to report a car that was driving up and down our street and throwing firecrackers at bicyclists and pedestrians, including children and the elderly? It was good to hear that you'd send somebody by, but I doubt if you really did, because you hung up again, before finding out what street I was on, or the car's license number which I had written down.
Was it you who accosted my fellow homeschooling friend's son a couple years ago? He was the boy who worked mornings and liked to stop off at the Donut Shoppe afterward to shoot the breeze with the owner. Apparently, although there was no daytime curfew, you and your buddies didn't think a child had any business being out of school at that time of day. You instructed him that he was to walk straight home from work from then on, without stopping anywhere else. [!]
Do I really think any of these jerks were you? Of course, not. But these officers all had exactly the same attitude toward citizens as you display, in telling us that it was WE who you experienced in each of those negative job encounters. Guilty until proven innocent. Unfortunately, I don't have any positive policeman stories to balance these off. Do you think I'm likely to do a good job in teaching my son about Officer Friendly? Do we have anything to fear from your former co-workers if they come knocking at our door a few months from now?
-- Dancr (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 14, 1999.
All I know, is right this moment, is that if it were not for police persons and the like, I would be dead. Police personnel and all the associated people that work for and represent them have saved my life on more than one, two, or three occasions. They say our tax dollars pay their salary, and I agree they need a pay raise ten times over. If you and yours had a bad experience with a peace officer, join the club, cause I have too, but I choose not to discuss any of the negative, because it is immaterial!
Take the good with the bad and get over it.........
-- Larry A. Maxten (email@example.com), February 04, 2003.
We have Family and many friends who are Policemen and Women and we are so glad when we see any Officer as we travel. So many who dislike the Police would not obey any law if the Police were not out and watching out for the rest of those who are law-abiding. We Thank any and all who serve as Peace Officers, sure there are a few bad apples, but the good ones far and away are many more than those who are not doing a good Job.
-- Buck Hatton (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 22, 2004.