It’s become popular among effete liberal journalists to pick apart every interaction police have with blacks. It has become so formulaic that I had to laugh when one journalist called a cop racist for his rough-and-tumble arrest of a young, black male who had assaulted someone; the cop was also black.
Armchair quarterbacks of all flavors, be it law enforcement or football, typically share one thing in common: they’ve never actually done it themselves. They are voyeurs. They wax eloquent on what the cop did wrong with absolutely no grounds upon which to draw a conclusion. Watching a cop fighting with someone during an arrest is almost always out of context.
Now before I completely launch into a rant about this, I readily admit there are bad cops in the world. Similarly there are bad doctors, attorneys, teachers and practitioners of every other profession. Sometimes cops do cross the line, and they should be held accountable when that happens. But in an effort to fill white space, journalists rush to judgment with little or no facts so they can turn in a story ahead of the competition. This is primarily due to the fact that today’s journalists tend to be liberal hacks purveying sensationalism to make a name for themselves rather than actually doing the hard research and work associated with good journalism-think Geraldo Rivera.
Let’s look at a few simple facts. The truth of the matter is the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers are good people trying to maintain a safe, civil society. Cops, just like anyone else, want to go home at the end of the day, be with their families and lead normal lives. Unlike anyone else, cops and other emergency service responders are constantly exposed to the potential for getting killed during a normal workday and, lately, for being ambushed.
Make no mistake: the number of ambushes of police officers has clearly risen over the past few years to about 250 incidents per year between 2008 and 2013, up from about 200 per year during the previous 10-year period, according to a Justice Department study.
Another fact that seems to be overlooked is once a cop is involved in a situation, the situation has to be resolved, period. A cop can’t just ignore the problem and go away. If the subject escalates the situation, the cop must escalate the response. At some point you cross a threshold, and you’re going to jail. A cop doesn’t walk into a classroom, arbitrarily grab a student, drag them out of a chair and take them to jail. You have to see the context of the situation. Saying that the cop should have done something other than what he did ignores the reality that every situation evolves differently and a cop is always forced to respond to a changing condition. They do the best they can given the situation as it unfolds.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently said in a press conference that Chicago cops are “going fetal,” meaning they’re laying back rather than doing their jobs. Emanuel said, “Officers themselves are telling me about how the news over the last 15 months impacted their instincts: Do they stop or do they keep driving? When I stop here, is it going to be my career on the line? And that’s an honest conversation. And all of us who want officers to be proactive, to be able to do community policing in a proactive way, have to encourage them, so it’s not their job on the line or that judgment call all the time that if they stop, this could be a career-ender.”
In my almost 20 year association with law enforcement, I worked with a lot of cops. No two were alike; they had their own quirks, prejudices and philosophies just like anyone else, but there are two truisms that stand out over all those years. The first is I never heard any cop say, “Let’s go violate that guy’s civil rights,” or, for that matter, intentionally do anything that they thought was a violation of someone’s civil rights. There were occasional unintended mistakes, but not once can I recall anyone intentionally doing something wrong.
And the second truism is that even the biggest slacker I ever worked with never held back when something bad went down. Despite the fact that legally law enforcement officers have no obligation to put themselves intentionally into harm’s way, I never once saw a cop that didn’t rush to the aid of a civilian in trouble or back up another cop in a dicey situation. The one common denominator of virtually all law enforcement officers is they’re sheep dogs. They are by nature protectors, a fact borne out by the large number of applicants for law enforcement job openings despite some segments of society pinning a target on their backs. If you don’t like cops, just think about a world where no one responds when you need help.