Cop Stories..the good, the bad, and the really ugly

So as a former police officer, I enjoy reading the heart warming stories of an officer who does something above and beyond like adopting kids whose mother died in an overdoes case he worked, or my former sergeant who is now a chief and collected money from local businesses at Christmas and randomly gave it out to folks he stopped to wish Merry Christmas to.

Sadly, you can’t read these stories without coming across the others that none of us want to hear. There are the tragic shootings of unarmed people. There was the arrest and excessive force against a Utah nurse who wouldn’t violate policy and the law for a detective, but there are more than I could even get in to listing.

I have been fascinated with the litigation surrounding cops who arrest firefighters over a pissing contest. I have just finished looking at 6 cases in the last 10 years where an officer on some sort of traffic crash arrests a firefighter who is helping a patient for not doing whatever the officer said. In every case, the officer was in the wrong.

My complaint here isn’t even all these issues, however that is certainly a HUGE problem. The thing I am so upset about today is the defense by the brothers in blue in ALL these cases.

Every time I see an officer doing wrong in the news, I go research it myself online. I try to get every fact and every side of the story before I make up my own mind on if the officer is in the wrong. Unfortunately the first thing I see online is the complete opposite among current law enforcement. They blindly defend whatever the officer in question did. When the officer in question has actually done wrong, or worse committed a crime they are themselves tarnishing the reputation of law enforcement.

I have said it before, but it bears repeating. We need to pay ALL law enforcement better. We need to train them better. We need to screen them better. We have too many cops out there who aren’t suited for the job, and they are getting the credit of the good guys who are coming to their defense when they do wrong.

If you have a impulse control, anger management problem, superiority complex or simply an axe to grind you shouldn’t be a police officer. Federal law enforcement screens for these types of things when they do backgrounds on their applicants. They actually talk to friends and family and even enemies of the applicant get a feel for who their applicants are. This isn’t done at hardly any other level of law enforcement. Its expensive. Additionally, its hard to get applicants who don’t have these issues when you pay $20,000 to $40,000 a year to start in a job where you put your life on the line.

When I was a police officer starting out, I paid my own way through academy (few departments in my state paid for it), I purchased my own weapon, duty gear and uniforms, and I started at $10 an hour. This wasn’t that uncommon in Missouri. A red state, who loves their guns, supports the troops and is supposed to be pro law enforcement doesn’t really back the badge financially.

There is so much that needs to be fixed with our criminal justice system, but a good start would be fixing our police departments. Abuse of authority needs to stop, killing when an officer’s life isn’t in danger needs to stop, and blind support of bad cops needs to stop.

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