A Good Police Officer Is A Humble Police Officer

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

I have a great respect for police officers. Like soldiers, they selflessly put their lives on the line for my safety. But a good police officer is a humble one. They understand that they are not above the law—they are there to serve and protect the citizenry. When a humble and respectable person is wrong, they admit it. More importantly, when they’re wrong, and a 12-year-old kid asks for their badge number, they give it up and show dignity and honor for the job they are charged with. This Las Vegas police officer however, has traded such dignity and honor for a sense of entitlement and a god-complex.US_Park_Police_badge[1]

He did something illegal by parking his motorcycle where a motorcycle shouldn’t be parked unless he had been chasing someone, or doing other official police business that required an emergency parking job. As it turns out, he was getting food/drink and he got called out on his illegal parking by young Jeremy Drew, a kid with a pretty good sense of justice.

If this officer had a shred of dignity, he would have looked at Jeremy and said something like, “You know, you’re right. My sincerest apologies. I was wrong to park here. Here’s my badge number, and if you feel a duty to report me, then by all means, you should do so.” Would the officer had been so kind had I parked my motorcycle there while I got lunch?

Las Vegas PD Officer In Question
Las Vegas PD Officer In Question

Then that officer should seriously reflect on why he became a cop in the first place, and whether he’s serious about defending the Constitution and local laws—therefore not violating them himself. He then should either resign if he doesn’t have the honor to do the job properly anymore, or change his way of thinking and behaving if he does.

Many police get upset when we citizens show little respect for them. To those officers I say this: don’t do actions that are disrespectful, hypocritical, arrogant, or plain illegal, and you won’t usually get disrespected. The corrupt among you, the indifferent among you, and the good officers who do nothing about the bad ones, serve as the main reason respect for the badge is waning.

We all know bad cops are bad, but that’s simply not the whole issue. I understand the idea of the police “brotherhood,” but if one of your fellow officer’s is out of line and you accept it, allow it, and/or condone it, you’re indifference might as well be an endorsement. If it is a crime for a person watching a murder to do nothing (depraved indifference), then you as police officers should also do something to stop your fellow officers when they do wrong as well.

The honor for the badge should be far more important than the honor for the random person behind it. If they don’t respond apologetically and remorsefully—showing clear signs such behavior will cease, then maybe a discussion with superiors or internal affairs is in order.

While most police officers are good, the ones that are doing illegal and/or inexcusable acts are rarely dealt with when their offense is only a misdemeanor like above, and this tolerance of bad behavior is exactly why America has shifted from a country that heralded Andy Griffith to a country that embraces the “F*** the police” mantra so prevalent in pop culture these days.

In another instance, on May 26th, 2012, a Portland Maine law student who remained unnamed by choice, was carrying a sidearm, as is his Constitutional right. A resident with what appears to be little understanding of the rights to carry a sidearm, decided to call the police and report the innocent open-carrier. Officers were dispatched to the scene. See the story here:

Again, an officer was in the wrong, and reacted incorrectly once confronted by a citizen who was in the right. Here’s what should have transpired but didn’t.

  • An officer should have never been dispatched. The person who called the police should have been advised by the dispatcher that carrying a weapon is a legal act and that they cannot dispatch an officer unless it appears there is an illegal act happening.
  • The officer merely did his duty in responding, but he was incorrect in his interpretation of the law. I can forgive an officer for not being in command of the laws like a lawyer—a law degree takes a lot longer to attain than your typical police academy certification. But if someone is telling you the law, and they seem to know what they’re talking about, especially when you don’t, then stop acting like you do. The law student was right, which means the officer was either purposefully being incorrect, or just wasn’t certain and thought he knew the law. Either way, arguing with someone when you don’t know you’re right is pure arrogance. What would have been so hard about saying, “You may be correct, let me check with my superior” or “You’re right sir, my mistake” once corrected by the law student.

There are a litany of videos of police officers abusing their power, these are merely two. The military and police are somewhat similar, yet where the military is revered for its respect and honor, the police are too often not. The one glaring difference between the two is labor unions—soldiers aren’t unionized. When union entitlement mentalities take over a workforce, the workers rarely fear for losing their job. Someone with little fear of getting fired, isn’t so compelled to do the right thing—in government, this is a recipe for abuse.

When legislators, police, and other government employees violate the law, the penalties imposed are usually far less severe than what John Q Public might endure if he committed the same offense. This is fundamentally wrong in a country where “We the people” give power to the government.

Instead, government officials should be penalized more severely. I didn’t take an oath to defend the Constitution, but they did—they know better. If we can’t trust them, who can we trust? And if we can’t trust them, “We the people” who actually have the power according to our Constitution, might as well get rid of them. Would you hire an employee if you thought they would steal from you?

Barney Fife and Andy Griffith from The Andy Griffith Show
Barney Fife and Andy Griffith from The Andy Griffith Show

We voters must vote to rid our government of organized labor so that we can better hold the rule-breakers accountable. But police must start to care about the honor of their profession and police themselves as stringently is they police us. Doing so will yield top quality public servants. Until then, we get the Barney Fifes and/or Joseph Miedzianowskis instead of the Andy Griffiths and Elliot Nesses. We deserve better.

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2 thoughts on “A Good Police Officer Is A Humble Police Officer”

  1. Thank you very much for posting this. As a Libertarian with an interest in law enforcement, I have to defend myself and feel a little ostracized by others(only a few, most of my Libertarian buddies just tell me as long as I don’t abuse my authority, I’m fine). So again, thanks

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