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Quote of the Day: Policing

Tam commenting on the recent shooting of an Australian woman by an apparently jumpy Minneapolis cop:

Policing is generally something folks get into because they knew they always wanted to as a kid, or because it’s a reasonably easy gig to land getting out of the military. It’s the ones who suddenly decided in their thirties that they wanted to drop everything and be Batman and a Force For Good that worry me.

I think people also go into law enforcement because their parents were in law enforcement. But the point is very well taken. Read the whole thing.

13 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Policing”

  1. Timothy Covington says:

    I have simple way of telling how good of a cop someone is. I ask them if they know what Peel’s Principles are. If they don’t know what they are, they probably have no business being in law enforcement.

    • Alpheus says:

      Last Thursday or Friday, someone called in to talk to a local talk show host. The person had a very bad experience when he had been pulled over, and had seed all sorts of news about police shooting others, and thus had a very negative opinion about the police.

      The host, being a law-and-order conservative type, thought the caller should re-evaluate the police, who put their lives on the line every day…but I think the host was missing something very important: this kind of opinion is growing every day, and it’s growing in no small part because of the growth of SWAT teams and being so concerned about their own desire to return home safely to their families, that they forget civilians have the same desire as well.

      I had to look up Peel’s principles (turns out that I’ve seen them before), but I can’t help but think that if the police are developing a less-than-desirable reputation, it’s probably due in no small part because they’ve drifted a bit from Peel’s principles.

  2. Whetherman says:

    I don’t know if it’s still extant, but in my day there was a cliche’ that ones high school classmates who became cops were either the bullies or the class clowns. It proved true for my class.

    I also recall the irony that in the early 1980s, Philadelphia was advertising for police recruits, and the advertised starting salary was a bit more than I was making as an engineer in the defense industry, with advanced degrees and nearly a decade of experience.

    I won’t dismiss that there are a lot of people who, through family tradition or exposure become cops for the right reasons, but at one time there were enough of the other type to justify the evolution of a stereotype.

  3. Weer'd Beard says:

    One thing Tam may have missed is that with doing after-hours security details (In Massachusetts it was Mandatory that all public construction on a roadway hired a cop in 4-hour blocks…I believe at overtime rates. Also the Cop at the door at the Pulse Night Club was off-duty and working as private security) cops can make scary good money.

    • Bram says:

      Yes – they can make tons of extra money particularly in states where they have a virtual monopoly of being armed in public.

      The MA roadwork thing is a huge drain but the state lacks the will to separate the cops from their goodies.

  4. Whetherman says:

    “cops can make scary good money.”

    I think the word is “mercenaries.”

  5. Heather says:

    I’m pretty sure being a cop would be an upgrade pay-wise from when I worked as a teacher. And I’d still be refereeing marriages.

  6. Bram says:

    I thought about it as I was leaving active duty, but couldn’t see myself being a the asshole who writes tickets for revenue.

  7. Whetherman says:

    “I thought about it as I was leaving active duty…”

    An interesting statistic would be, how many guys who were MPs (in the Army) seek jobs as cops when they reenter civilian life. It might say something about what motivates people, in terms of psychology.

    Of course that would depend on the era. I’m thinking of contemporaries who were draftee MPs, but wanted no parts of policing when they got out. I imagine most MPs now choose the job when they enlist.

    • Bram says:

      I was NOT an MP. I was a radio operator in the actual Infantry.

      Marine MPs weren’t that bad in my experience. When I reenlisted in the National Guard, I met some real asshole Army MPs. If they pulled their shit on Combat Arms Marines, there would have been a fight and the MPs would have lost.

      • Whetherman says:

        I personally had no bad experiences with Army MPs, though I did witness them really abuse a prisoner one time in a way that I’m sure wasn’t “regulation.” (I also didn’t see what the prisoner may have done that provoked them.)

        But again, at the time, most guys were just putting in their time, and not “committed” to their MOS, whatever it might be.

  8. Sigivald says:

    If they were good at being Batman at least they wouldn’t be shooting people left and right…

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