“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bad apples

I was talking with a non-cop friend the other day, who shared with me the story of a traffic stop they were in recently.

I won't go into the full details, but it boiled down to what (in my opinion) was a questionable stop in the first place... normally I'm all for "two sides to every story" and I can certainly name plenty of times that I've had a valid stop on someone, or even arrest, that they really didn't understand until later. Unfortunately, this wasn't one of those cases from what it sounds like...

But the unfortunate part was this officer's behavior once the stop took place. He apparently never identified himself, and spent a good five minutes on the side of the road yelling & ranting at my friend about various things, without ever explaining why they had been pulled over or anything else. Just a whole collection of rudeness. Then he got in his car & drove away. And I trust this friend enough to believe that is how events occurred if that's what they say happened.

It's officers like this who give the rest of us a bad name, and make our jobs harder. Now you have a normal citizen, who's never had an issue with cops before, pissed off at the entire profession because of how one idiot acted. From here on out every time they see a police officer, or even worse gets stopped by one, this is the memory they are going to start with. Which means their interaction is going to already be at a negative level when it shouldn't have to be.

Even worse happens when these idiots pull these games on some of the thugs out there... now you have someone who's already anti-law enforcement, and you've just given them more reason. So the next time someone else stops them, especially if they're riding with their crew, their mind is going to remember... and is more likely to say "I'm not going to get disrespected like that again." and end up fighting, or shooting someone who has no idea what brought this on beyond the badge they are wearing.

I have a job to do out there. Sometimes that job requires me to be abrupt with people, to arrest them and sometimes even to be violent with them. But that doesn't mean I have to be rude, disrespectful or treat them poorly while doing so. I've written people multiple tickets and gotten a thank you as they drove away. I've taken someone to the ground in a painful hold and called them sir the entire time. It's people who bring too much anger to this job, or who take everything personally, that make the citizens wonder about what their police are doing, and makes it harder for me to do my end safely and fairly.

Just a brief rant.


Berserk said...

On one hand I agree with you, but on the other I know that you've got to play to the crowd. We've got some neighborhoods in my district (about a third of the district, actually. My district is not a very nice place) where calling someone "sir" won't go over very well. They'll either assume you are a rookie or assume that you're talking down to them. That's not to say that you should be disrespectful, but the way we've got to talk to some people so that they will relate to you might very well sound rude if you use it with the wrong person. It's all about context.

Captain Tightpants said...

I understand what you're saying about tailoring your contact to the crowd - we have similar areas both good and bad. My point is just the guys who are rude and disrespectful because they think the badge gives them that immunity is all.

Trust me, my district is similar to yours - I have the majority of the Section 8 housing for our community, plus we are on the border of a lot of the city problems. So I can understand where you are coming from sir.

Berserk said...

See, I was right there with you 'til you called me "sir." ;)

Dori said...

Like I used to explain to the Chiefs who'd reprimand me for calling them "Sir": No respect intended, just an annoying southern habit I can't seem to break!