I usually avoid direct topical stories but these one hits close to home on so many levels. I’m so angry I could break something.
This particular story hit home on my feelings. With all the bad press law enforcement officers get these days, this was totally unnecessary. This entitled jerk brought shame to law enforcement everywhere. I firmly wish he had been fired vs being allowed to resign.1 This was a deplorable act that damages the trust we place in those who are supposed to serve and protect us.
It doesn’t help the law enforcement are already heavily marginalized by our sensationalist style media these days. These incidents are rare but because of the way we consume news for outrage, you’d think it was everywhere. Fun facts: There are just under 700,000 law enforcement personnel in the US.2 Of those, the abuse of power complaints are less than 10%.3 Should it be 10%? Of course not, but when we are talking about perception vs reality, it sets a very relevant point. This also does not mention the 60,211 assaults on law enforcement.4 No one ever mentions that part. And yes, people sign up for law enforcement knowing there are inherent dangers. That doesn’t make said dangers any less relevant.
The idea a Chief or high ranking officer would doubt the word of his officer used to be unheard of. I can well understand the Chief’s embarrassment and shock over discovering he needed to fact-check is own officer. (It doesn’t help that all the negative coverage of LE has discouraged many from even considering a job as an officer. I can’t help but wonder how low the bar gets sometimes to get cadets in the door.) This whole incident was just…unnecessary.
The one thing law enforcement in this country needs is citizen involvement. When the powers that be know they are being watched and potentially held accountable, they are less likely to abuse said power. I’m not talking about outrage on social media either. I’m talking about your community. Get involved. Indifference and outrage on social media does absolutely nothing but increase the problem exponentially.
And I’m not some rabid fanboy. Growing up in E. Texas as a little gay boy I discovered more than once what the police thought of the LGBT community back then. I was openly called a queer and fag to my face by police on multiple occasions; including once in a gay bar by the officer paid to staff as extra security. But things change. I now work for a law enforcement agency and have many friends who are cops and they are good people. They don’t go out hoping to shoot someone. They do the job and go home to their families, just like you and I. For every bad cop you hear about there are at least a 100 more you never hear about. Why? Because good news doesn’t generate outrage or ad-clicks. My point here is be outraged by individuals, not whole organizations. If I marginalized everyone based on the news I’d think all pit bulls are killers, all priests molest kids, and all gay spread HIV on purpose. Let us not become the oppressors we fight so hard to overcome.
I’m just so angry over this story today.