“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

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Wow, some great comments folks, I appreciate it. As opposed to keeping everything in that back link, I'm just going to share my thoughts here.

- First off I don't have an issue with "professional courtesy" as it were in most situations - for cops, fire, etc in law enforcement; just like the example used I wouldn't have an issue with two plumbers cutting a deal for some work. I've cut plenty of people breaks on tickets in my career - not just cops - but yes, if you're an officer & I stop you for a minor violation odds are you're going to just get a lecture. This has to do with not just professional courtesy, but with the fact that most agencies will have serious issues with one of their guys getting a ticket (or worse arrested) when it comes time for their performance reviews. I certainly don't want to cost someone their raise (or worse their job) because I felt like proving a point by writing a taillight ticket or a minor moving violation. So yes, cops (and a few others) get a break here.

- However, my personal thoughts on this end when the safety of others is affected - particularly with incidents like DUIs, firearms violations or similar things. This is because not only are these HUGE errors in judgment (in areas we gorram well oughta know better), but an officer making these mistakes puts far more than himself at risk. It's one thing when your stupidity just affects you - but when you've worked a DUI fatality accident, seen what it does to children, innocent passengers and everything else you have no excuse to do the same. Particularly when we're talking not the .08 "I had one more at dinner than I should have" but the above the .20s where someone deliberately got trashed.

Fortunately I haven't been in a situation like that where I've had to arrest another officer - but I do know a few who have. It's a tough place to be in & hopefully I won't be faced with it.

I guess I can best sum up my thoughts this way - we are given an incredible amount of trust and responsibility by our society, to take freedom and lives away, to control things that happen in the community, etc. And with that trust and responsibility comes certain obligations as well. Like it or not as officers we are under the spotlight - certain elements of our lives and behaviors we have given up the privilege of keeping private. Do I think agencies and the public should be involved in what happens in my bedroom, or what I write in a private email to friends? Certainly not. But should I be expected to set an example when I drive, or if I choose to drink alcohol outside the home, or go shooting, or any of a number of very public activities where my status as law enforcement is known and looked at? Absolutely - that is another of those prices we pay for the job.

Just my two cents worth as always.


Meadowlark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


Thank you. You also gave me some blog fodder, and I think it is important to touch on the concept of malum prohibitum vs. mala in se.or is it wrong because it is forbidden or is it inherently wrong. There is nothing inherently wrong with driving 55 mph. In some instances, that's too fast. In some instances, that's too slow. It is a matter of intelligence and judgement. I really have no problem with blowing a red light at 0400 with no one around. I've done it in unsafe places. I really have no problem with professional courtesy in those situations. The police officer should use his judgement.

DWI, though, is an inherent wrong. Yes, like when you go shooting, or do other actions that impact others. If you grant professional courtesy in something that's inherently wrong, what else? Lie on the stand? Shoot someone? As paid professionals yeah, you gotta be above that behaviour.

I thank you for bringing that up. I don't want anyone hanged for a bullshit thing like a tail light. The important stuff, I hope cops would have no tolerance for.

Front Porch Society said...

Well put, Sean.

Captain Tightpants said...

William - I think you hit it perfectly with the malum prohibitum v mala in se comparison - thank you sir.

Jannah Swiftwing said...

I have been mulling the topic since you made the post. In my current line of work, I have come up to situations that are similar. When you see a co-worker's car at an expired meter, what do you do? Or when they bring in vehicles to lots that you patrol 'after hours' without paying the 'honour' fee of a couple bucks? Do you ignore those things? What about when someone parks at a fire hydrant? Or in a bus zone? Those are far more 'serious' offenses that we should really know better than to do.
This is really good food for thought, especially as I'm looking at a long career in law enforcement. Kinda good to think about these things before getting in so that situations like that don't throw me off guard when they happen.
I completely agree with you about the DUI instances. A bit of speeding or a burnt out tail-light are nothing compared to DUI. A line has to be drawn somewhere, right? Professional courtesy can be extended when one acts professionally. But when professionalism flies out the window, then shouldn't the courtesy follow?