In the Middle of a “Perfect Storm”

jim-foster

By Jim Foster
Long Beach, California Police Dept.

Police officers have never been under more scrutiny. The public’s perception of our profession has clearly changed in the blink of an eye. Why is this happening? I believe there are several factors that are working simultaneously against the police, and this “perfect storm” has built a caustic atmosphere around law enforcement and our ability to fight crime.

The seeds of this crisis were sown in late 2008 when the worldwide financial crisis struck. A small group of very wealthy people played Russian roulette with the economy and failed. After the disaster, those same people looked to shift the blame, and they turned their claws on us.

Why?

Because we have two things others wanted. In many states we have union representation and we have a secure retirement. All of a sudden, we are the “haves” and everyone else was a “have-not.” In this effort to divide and conquer we were no longer the heroes who protected our neighborhoods. We were now the selfish and greedy public employees who caused our economic problems.

In California, AB109 (Realignment) went into effect on October 1, 2011. Its goal was to reduce our prison population by 30,000 inmates before June 27, 2013. It also established Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) which meant that released convicted felons would not be supervised and would not be sent back to prison for violating the terms of their release. The public was told that the released felons would be carefully screened, but that was untrue and by August 2013, the governor himself was refusing to release 9,600 inmates because he had also come to the conclusion that their release would threaten the public’s safety.

At the same time, realignment was releasing felons, California was shrinking its number of cops. According to the DOJ Criminal Justice Profiles 2003-2012 report, the number of sworn California law enforcement officers dropped 7.2% in four years (from 82500 in 2008 to 77000 in 2013). Nearly half of those officers work on the front lines for municipal agencies. Numerous studies, including those from the RAND Corporation, the Public Policy Institute of California, and the Center for American Progress all agreed that there was a direct correlation between the decrease in sworn officers and the increase in crime. More criminals and fewer cops… you do the math.

In my view, other factors that have whipped up the hostility towards those of us in law enforcement include the decriminalization of crime (felonies turned into misdemeanors, etc.):

Crime was decriminalized: Prop 47 was enacted on November 4, 2014. It turned felonies into misdemeanors and allowed current felons to have their convictions reduced or overturned. It crushed law enforcements ability to collect DNA evidence, and prior offenses could not longer be used to enhance penalties. A criminal can commit nearly an unending stream of crime without ever having to worry about the consequences. When the public begins to realize the foolishness of this law, they will inevitability blame the police for failing to control crime. Unfortunately, their enactment of Prop 47 essentially decriminalized crime and allowed our habitual suspects a virtual unending public laboratory to hone their skills.

Non-action was promoted: The newest trend in law enforcement is to do nothing. In an effort to avoid “provoking an escalation of force”, some law enforcement leaders had taken a “hands off” approach. If a criminal wants to commit “small crimes,” then the police should let it happen in order to avoid a possible physical confrontation if the offender chooses to resist. Remember, it’s not their fault. They resisted you because they were afraid, young, had a bad home life, etc. The old adage “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” is false. Just recently in Denver, a group of demonstrators vandalized the police memorial that lists the names of fallen police officers. The police were there, but the Denver chief ordered his officers not to take action in order to avoid confrontation. The suspects defaced the wall while the officers just stood there. Vandalism is not protesting, it’s a crime. The world is full of cowards who chose to do nothing, and the US Department of Justice is leading the charge to promote avoiding confrontation at all cost…even if the cost is justice.

Police tools were removed: One of the themes that came out of Ferguson was that the police looked too much like the military. The federal government wants to reduce the ability of police agencies to get gear because they don’t want you to “look bad.” Remember, your life and your safety are a secondary concern. Ironically, the same week the Attorney General announced he was cutting gear to the police, an active shooter with a military grade assault rifle fired on LAPD’s SWAT during a running gun battle. The officers lived because they were behind their armored vehicle (the same tool the was scrutinized in Ferguson). Every tool you possess is under scrutiny because it is designed to forcibly gain submission from a person who does not want to cooperate peacefully. Everyone if looking for the magic tool that does not kill or injure and is 100% effective. That tool does exist. It’s called compliance. Parents should give this tool to their children beginning at birth. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the ones who never learned that lesson.

Accountability was questioned: So, what should happen to someone who breaks the law, is convicted, receives a fine, but then fails to pay the fine? “Debtor’s Prison” has become a revived trendy term to describe someone who is incarcerated when they fail to pay the fine. Critics’ state that no one should be jailed for simply failing to pay a fine, and that large fines are discriminatory. They point out that parts of fines should only be incurred by the taxpayer, such as 43 states bill defendants for a public defender; 41 states bill inmates for room and board during jail stays; 44 states bill prisoners for their own probation and parole supervision; and 49 states bill convicts for the electronic monitoring devices they are ordered to wear. Remember the old adage “do the crime, do the time?” No, no, no. You (law enforcement) are the problem because you are causing people to be incarcerated for minor offenses simply because they are poor.

Trial by media was encouraged: No other single factor is playing a bigger role in the attack on the police than media deception. They have led the public into believing a very dangerous pop culture depiction of police work, which includes a false belief that police can only shoot at suspects who are actively shooting a gun. They pander to the Monday morning quarterbacks and use language specifically designed to imply you are the problem. They are salivating at the chance to get body camera footage because it will allow them to second-guess your split-second life-or-death decisions for all eternity. The truth is sacrificed in the pursuit of their financial gain that is masked under the facade of encouraging public debate. They will encourage a controversy or a riot simply to help themselves. You are an expendable resource needed to promote their product. The public wants to instantaneously judge you, and trial by media is becoming the expected norm.

It never ceases to amaze me that despite all of these obstacles, our officers continue to go to work and honorably perform their duties. Never let these obstacles stand your way. You are the heroes who stand between order and chaos. You get dozens of chances every day to prove the critics wrong. You are a role model to children and the only hope to people victimized by evil. Thank you for all that you do.

Jim Foster is a police officer with the Long Beach, CA Police Dept. and a vice president of the Long Beach POA.

19 comments

As a resident of the city Long Beach for almost 30 years I realize that we have one of the best police departments in America. The truth be told I have both family and long time friends who work(ed) for the LB police department. Taking it one step further I’ve financially supported the LBPOA over the years. However, I see this article as being simply self excusing. Each point and paragraph attempting to casting all blame on multiple factors. I will accept the proposition that police work has gotten tougher over the years, but why that is being used to bondo over the gross injustices committed against citizens each and everyday across America? Is more than I can take. Just today the Under Sheriff of LA County was found to be guilty of corruption, misuse of power & interfering in a on going Federal investigation. He is the last of almost a dozen including the LA Sheriff himself and other rank and file officers who were indicted and found guilty. One of those sadly I can say I’ve know since he was young child. Least we forget the LAPD’s Christopher Commission findings weren’t all that long ago. “Power corrupts” a poet once said, and not many have more power than those who wear a badge and carry a gun for a living. Officer Foster, your article is well written, but with all due respect in my humble opinion it’s one sided and incomplete. A little professional introspection would help to complete it.

Saying you know police officers and have supported the LBPOA does not mean you know anything about law enforcement. Unless you’ve been shot at, chased an armed suspect through a dark alley, responded to the call of an officer down, or done any one of the thousands of things we have to deal with on a daily basis, you have no platform to criticize. You are the typical uninformed critic and you believe you have all the answers. . I have been a police officer for twelve years and have been to almost every type of incident you can imagine. I’ve been shot at and I’ve been in knock down drag out fights with people who wouldn’t mind hurting me or possibly taking my life to preserve the freedom they have forfeited because of their actions. Police officers are normal people who do things other normal people will not do. Just because we wear a uniform doesn’t mean we can win every fight, outrun every suspect or handle every situation flawlessly. We are simply people who have chosen a life of public service. We have brothers, sisters, parents, children, wives etc….We have a plan every day we go to work and that is to go home to our loves ones. You think I’m being dramatic? I AM NOT!. If our job is so easy, strap on a pair of boots and show us how it’s done. Next time there is an active shooter, a robbery, a burglary or any other crime in progress, handle it. Don’t call the police. By the way, make sure you handle it perfectly and ensure a win-win outcome for everyone involved because you will be scrutinized by the public and in the media who have all had a chance to review the incident, talk to advisors, review the incident again, formulate a game plan and carefully chart out what they would do in a given circumstance. Let us know how it goes. The problem in regards to your view of the perceived injustices committed by law enforcement is that you believe you could have talked the suspect into submission as he / she was formulating his plan to hurt / kill you or other innocent victims. Most people who resist the police are doing so for a reason. With that being said, we know we are not without sin and officers who dishonor the badge are held accountable.. Occasionally incidents are handled poorly or just plain inappropriately. WE DO NOT DENY THAT. When those instances are identified, appropriate action is taken. Has a police officer ever wrongfully killed someone? Certainly. Has there ever been a cover up? I’m sure of it. Has a police officer ever committed a crime and lied about it? No doubt. However, the number of these instances compared to the number of overall police contacts annually, is a fraction of a percent.. Again, we strive for continuous improvement. As Officer Foster states in his article, there is a very simple solution to every use of force carried out by the police… compliance. Investigations include talking to potential suspects and / or involved persons. We are often called to scenes and receive only part of the information prior to our arrival. And of that information, most of it is usually inaccurate. If we ask / tell you to do something and you have done nothing wrong, comply and you will have the opportunity to give us your statement. Also, we will have the opportunity to question you and determine if you have done anything wrong. If you have committed no crimes, you will be on your way. Believe me, there are thousands of people out here who deserve nothing less than going to jail. We don’t have to frame you to make an arrest. We don’t have an angry commander breathing down our necks to solve the one and only crime the police department is tasked with investigating like in the movies. We either have workable evidence and potential leads or we do not. We have stacks of paperwork that we submit to a judge upon making an arrest that require us to articulate why the arrestee needs to go to jail. It’s called probable cause. You cited some very serious cases above regarding police misconduct. In one instance, you mentioned twelve officers including the under sheriff were indicted. I wish the number could be zero and if what they are accused of is true, it is shameful. However, the LA Sheriff’s Dept. is the larges Sheriff’s Dept. in the country (9,935 sworn deputies). That number is roughly .0012% of their sworn staff. Lets say .0012% of all cops in America are involved in criminal behavior. Based on my limited research, there are about 1,300,000 police officers in America. That means there are roughly 1,560 cops in America involved in wrong doing. Of course we understand there is a margin of error. I think you would be hard pressed to find another industry with percentages so low. On top of that, factor in that we have to make split second life altering decisions. In a nutshell, quit watching the news and taking everything at face value. Like you tell your kids, there are two sides to every story. The media DOES only show you the juicy stuff because there job is all about ratings. There job is not to present the officer’s mindset or lay out their reasoning for any given action. Sports casters show touchdowns, spectacular plays and home runs. They do not show you the four pitch walk issued in the fifth inning because it is boring. However, that walk may be critical to the final score of the game. In a nutshell, I’m saying, do research, ask questions and get informed. You’ll be surprised how much the overall picture changes if you take the time to be fair and honest in your evaluation.

In 2012

Al B. I was a police officer for 33 years. I retired never having shot anyone. I also retired having one personnel complaint in 33 years. That complaint was for striking an armed robber in the head with the butt of my gun instead of shooting him. His attorney filed a police brutality claim. Of course it was considered an unfounded complaint.

Recently MSNBC of all channels, did a story on the myth of police corruption and use of force. They found that there are roughly 650,000 police officers in the U.S. They have somewhere in the vicinity of 67 million contacts with the public for all types of reasons. Their ultimate findings were that 99.1% of all of these contacts resulted in no public complaints of any kind. They pointed out that there was no profession in the country that could claim such a record.

The problem is that too many people have absolutely no idea of what a police officer does or how often they are confronted with non-compliance to a lawful order. In short, there are thousands of people every year who do nothing but give officers a ration of s–t when asked for the most reasonable requests ie: “May I see your driver’s license please?”

There isn’t an officer in the country that has been working for more than a couple of years on the street who has not been punched, kicked, spit on, called every name you can think of and some you can’t. They are the most visible form of government and far too many take their frustrations out on the most visible symbols of government–police officers.

You hear about how wonderful the FBI is at solving crimes. But stop to consider they do not handle drunks, landlord tenant disputes, family disputes, lost children, traffic accidents, street dealing, burglary, armed robbery,(except bank robberies and certain robberies on Federal property) shoplifting, petty theft, malicious mischief, fraud, gambling, prostitution, fights, riots, “civil disobedience” airplane crashes, etc. It seems that any kind of societal problem that comes up that politicians cannot figure out how to handle, they pass a law and ask the police to enforce it. Then they sit back and second guess how they do it.

I’ll tell you truly, I would have given anything to have had a camera on me and I think most officers feel the same way, because the vast majority of officers do an incredible job. They would love for the public to see the crap they have to put up with every day. Hey Al–Name me another profession that requires this of a person to be hired: A three hour comprehensive written exam, to test ones ability to think rationally and logically, to have a good grasp of the English language, powers of observation and general intellect. Then a physical agility test (sadly requirements have been lowered greatly since I went through the academy), a comprehensive oral examination conducted by both law enforcement and other community members, a psychological examination including an interview with a psychologist or psychiatrist, a background check going back to elementary school and a thorough medical examination. At least this was the process when I was hired. Then there is the police or Sheriff’s Academy for 16 to 18 weeks of intensive training, covering approximately 125 subjects, grueling physical training and “stress” training. If one makes it through all of that, they are placed with different training officers for a year. Their performance is evaluated on a daily basis and during the one year probationary period they can be terminated for ANY reason. Including temperament or “suitability” for the job.

Finally a “tenured” officer they may work in a solo unit or with a partner. However, they have to live with the fact everyday that a single slip or misjudgment could result in them losing their job and/or be sued, or worst of all go to jail. The vast majority of their time is spent in court testifying and doing paperwork. They are very lucky if they get in a couple of hours of “street” time in a day. By the time they retire, they will have written enough reports, memos and documents to fill a small library. They also have to always have in the back of their minds that this could be the last day of their life, or the last day without some injury that will cause a permanent disability. Yes, some will fail. They will take a bribe, or use unnecessary force, or some other inappropriate behavior. However, there is nobody that a good cop dislikes more than a bad one. Because they know that a bad cop reflects on them in the eyes of the public. But when you exam how few officers go bad, you will realize that as has been reported a number of times, there are fewer officers that tarnish the badge than priests, ministers or pastors that tarnish the cloth. Let’s don’t even mention lawyers, politicians, corporate folks, etc.

Power may corrupt some folks, but it doesn’t corrupt the vast majority of officers. They have been sworn to protect and serve and the vast majority of them will lay down their lives in the performance of their sacred vow.

I find myself in constant amazement that there are still men and women out there willing to take on this thankless and incredibly stressful job. But I say, “Blessed are the Peace Makers (Peace keepers). I loved my job because I truly believed that I performed a true public service and genuinely cared for my fellow man. I always hated a bully and law enforcement stands between the community and those who would be bullies out there.

I joined the South Pasadena Police Department in May of 1960. I went to the Torrance Police Department in November 1961, retiring as a Lieutenant in October 1992. I worked with many different officers from different agencies both local, county, state and federal. I found nearly all of them to be incredibly dedicated to ridding the streets of “bullies” and protecting and serving the public.

Long story short, Al B. I think you are the one that needs to do some introspection and investigation. I am sure if you are interested you can find the MSNBC report on Policing easily. It was only about a week ago that it aired.

To my BROTHERS AND SISTERS who choose to put on the uniform and badge, I wish you God’s blessings. As difficult as your job can be, please always keep in mind that you are performing one of the very most necessary jobs in society. Without you, anarchy and chaos would reign. You are truly the “Thin Blue Line.” Thank you, Officer Foster for writing your article. Don’t let the ignorance of folks like Al B sway you from what you know is true and right.

It is true that there are people in Law enforcement who are unjust and corrupt. There are also those who are rough when unnecessary, although this will often be a result of consistently with people who take kindness as a weakness. Bad officers are out there but the reasons that Foster has given in the many liberal acts of putting felons and lawbreakers back on the streets, of standing down simply because you don’t want them to be the perceived cause of resistance and or harm… these are all real. I don’t think this author is excusing the behavior that you mention here;
“the Under Sheriff of LA County was found to be guilty of corruption, misuse of power & interfering in a on going Federal investigation. He is the last of almost a dozen including the LA Sheriff himself and other rank and file officers who were indicted and found guilty…”
This new softness of openly defending and excusing a perpetrator of crime is all by itself due to the open coverage of flash video’s, the kind of video’s that gives validity to the idea that pictures can lie, as well as video’s taken right there at a scene.

Although I think you have a valid complaint in many ways, I also suspect that you are a victim of the larger picture caused by
this:
“Trial by media was encouraged: No other single factor is playing a bigger role in the attack on the police than media deception. They have led the public into believing a very dangerous pop culture depiction of police work, which includes a false belief that police can only shoot at suspects who are actively shooting a gun. They pander to the Monday morning quarterbacks and use language specifically designed to imply you are the problem. They are salivating at the chance to get body camera footage because it will allow them to second-guess your split-second life-or-death decisions for all eternity. The truth is sacrificed in the pursuit of their financial gain that is masked under the facade of encouraging…”

Prop 47 was the BIGGEST mistake California has ever made. I have nothing but respect for The Men & Women in Blue. Oh, I voted NO!!!!

Sadly, the author is only preaching to the choir. We all realize every point made is true. What we need are answers. Until the public realizes that law enforcement is not the bad guy here, politicians are going to blame us for their bad policies, criminals are going to blame us for their noncompliance, and the wealthy are going to blame us for the bad economy.

Anyone have suggestions on how to fix this? That is the article I want to read.

Thank you! Enlightened I am! I also live in Long Beach…”white collar” gal in the financial sector for 30 plus years. I’ve seen my fair share of corruption… Oh boy! While I endeavor to commit my efforts, donations and concerns to the fundamental solutions of poverty, drug addiction and crime…I’ll gladly accept and appreciate that “corrupted” protection from our law enforcement any day! Are you willing to strap one on? I’m not! THANK YOU LONG BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT!

Hockey Cop: One of the major hurdles is a way too liberal press who do not want to portray officers in a good light. That is why I was so surprised when I saw the MSNBC special on the police. The press needs to be cultivated and one of the best things the police can do, is not to resist the cameras! Embrace them.

The cameras are going to prove what most of us know to be true. It isn’t the police that are the problem. It is a total break down of the moral fiber of this country. The police must share the contents of what these cameras reveal from all over the country on at least a weekly basis. The country will learn quickly how the officers are confronted and many of the situations they have to deal with. It will quickly become apparent that our problems are the break down of our society. The total lack of respect for any kind of authority as represented by the most visible form of this authority—the police. Our officers are raised in this same society, though hiring practices and training have eliminated most of the tendencies of the general population.

It is the breakup of families, the lack of teaching of respect for others and their property, an educational system that teaches children that they are living in an evil country that is the source of nearly all the evil on the planet, the belief that there is a right to food, clothing, shelter, medical care, subsidies for utilities, “education,” and other benefits paid for by others.

Does the press or anyone ever investigate who and what are behind most of these demonstrations on and off college campuses? No. But read Saul Alinsky, Kleon Skousen, Herbert Philbrick and you will find out. The Black Lives Matter Movement is not some group of neighborhood people who have come together for some alleged civil rights purpose. They have been planned, organized and directed. The same is true of many of the environmental movements and other so called “civil rights” movements. They are designed, organized, led and planned to accomplish the internal demise of this country.

Oh, boy,now I know I will get some attention, especially from the Leftists out there. The truth is something they cannot bear!! That is why Conservative speech is stifled everywhere, but especially on college campuses where Communists make their home.

And before you start deriding what I am saying, please read Alinsky first. Infiltrate some Communist organizations like I did as a young police officer. I have watched as they have carefully followed the blue prints set up in the 1920s for the eventual collapse of Capitalism. So please don’t bother telling me I don’t know what I am talking about. I have been there and heard it and seen it with my own eyes.

The American Civil Liberties Union was formed as the legal arm of the Communist Party. How many Conservative causes have you seen them fight for? Every once in awhile they will take on a Conservative cause to misdirect attention from their Leftist goals.

So frankly, I don’t give a damn whether you believe this or not. I know it to be true. I went to school for 16 years part time while I was employed as a police officer, eventually obtaining my law degree. I sat through so many classes and listened to “Leftist” professors harangue this country and tell 17-18 year old students that this is an evil country; that “Socialism” was a much superior system. Being much older than many of the students in my classes and having studied Communism and infiltrated several so called Civil rights groups in the 60s, I knew what I was witnessing was what I had heard, read and experienced regarding the Communist conspiracy in this country. I gave speeches to a number of civic groups back then. Too bad that some of those speeches could not be heard today as you would see that what I said would happen on college campuses and in the country in general as happened. It didn’t take any insight on my part, all I had to do was to listen to men like Kleon Skousen, Herbert Philbrick and others and particularly sitting in on meetings of so called, civil rights groups and hear for myself what their plans were. How they organize, how they use dupes (Do Gooders for a causes like environmentalists, animals, and other so called “social justice” types).

They also explain how to counter someone like me who knows what they are doing and how they are doing it. The trick is to diminish me by calling me a “Right Wing Loon,” a Racist, a Homophobe, a Hater. Don’t you ever wonder why you hear these terms from the Left on a daily basis?. Their philosophy, lie and repeat the lie over and over again and soon people will begin to believe it.

Until this society wakes up and realizes that it is being used, there isn’t much hope, Hockey Cop. Unfortunately, the police do not have a way of demonstrating all over the country in anti-anti-cop movements. They have to work for a living.

But knowledge of your enemy is absolutely necessary in overcoming him. Until the American people realize how they are being manipulated and used, efforts to overcome this anti-police mentality will fail. Their goal is to make policing so difficult for the individual officer that he/she will basically stop taking steps in all but the most critical situations. When law enforcement breaks down–anarchy results. Anarchy then results in a different form of government and that government is one that can control the anarchy by dictatorial means– Communism or it’s twin, Fascism. Notice I said twin. They both use the same techniques to control their citizens.

In order to regain control, if it isn’t already too late, colleges and universities have to be boycotted and demands made for equal representation on the campuses. Young minds are very pliable and they can easily be swayed. But if they are exposed to other than Communist ideology, there can be a turn around. The question is–is there the will to do it. I think not.

So my final response to you, Hockey Cop, is there are no answers. We have gone beyond the point of no return. Our educational system down to grade school level, our media, our entertainment industry, the courts, government at many levels, police leadership (in many cases) have been so thoroughly infiltrated by the Left that it would take an incredible turn around to undo. Our children, for the most part, have had their fight, their patriotism, their individualism sucked from them by our educational system. No, not all of them.There are still some remarkable young people out there, but far too many to overcome the effort to transition back to reality.

I told my Grandson when he was a senior in high school that he would live in a totalitarian United States before he died. That was about 11 years ago. He is now in law school and I hear him espousing the Leftist principals that I knew he some day would. I cry. Not only for my Grandson, but for what I know is coming to this country. Who would have thought that even 15 years ago a Socialist could or would run for the presidency of the United States and draw cheering crowds. Who are most of the people in these cheering crowds? Our thoroughly brainwashed students. Strike One for the Communists. Our media and nearly all of the entertainment industry–Strike Two! Create chaos and uncertainty in the society–cause unrest by demonstrations, drag down the economy with over regulation and over taxation, pit race against race, class against class, religion against religion, gender vs gender. Ah yes, divide and conquer, the oldest warfare strategy in the book–It is the wind up and here comes the pitch——-What do you think it will be–a ball or a strike?

It’s too bad that the “leadership” people (i.e. command Staff), of most Departments – especially Los Angeles – for the most part, SUCK at what they are supposed to do: LEAD! I have witnessed over 20 years of this deplorable situation…

I think the “caustic atmosphere around law enforcement” was created when someone finally videotaped cops needlessly beating a black man on the floor. Cops cry about not getting respect and then turn around and treat the citizenry like a lower class.

Bron: What do you do for a living? Let’s just say for the sake of making this clear, that you are Computer Tech. How would you like to be branded a thief, because some Computer Techs cheat their customers because they know that most people aren’t savvy enough about computers to know they are being fleeced? That is what you are doing. No cop says that there aren’t bad cops out there. Nobody hates a bad cop more than another cop. They tarnish the badge. No computer tech would say there are no cheating computer techs. It isn’t the fact that a very small number of cops do some bad things. We are giving you that. But the vast majority are folks doing a very tough job in a professional manner. As the MSNBC report showed, 99.1% of the millions of contacts that the police have with citizens do not result in complaints. I’m not sure that even computer techs could do as well. What the cops are saying is don’t paint all of us with the same brush. The vast majority of them are doing a good job in an honest manner. Are there crooked lawyers? Crooked salesmen? Crooked ministers or priests? Crooked bankers? Crooked judges? Crooked politicians? Crooked businessmen? Crooked doctors? Of course there are. Do we brand them all as crooks because some of them are “dirty?” Well, maybe politicians! (No, just kidding!!) So please when you talk about a police officer beating a black man on the floor, please say “A bad police officer did so and so–” Don’t say COPS did so and so. It is totally unfair. Are all catholic Priests child molesters? I’m sure you get my point.

Bron…. you are a perfect example of why we have such a problem in regards to policing. You use very descriptive language like “needlessly beating” when in fact, you have NO idea why any given police officer may have take particular action. Every single incident handled by the police is independent of another and has to be looked at impartially. You like to say things like Cops do this or Cops do that. Law enforcement is the only profession that people want to paint with a broad brush. It’s this way because we rain on people’s parades. People hate the police because there are rules. It’s really as simple as that. I’ll tell you what I tell everyone. Very simply….. if we’re so bad don’t call us. That will free us up to help the people who truly appreciate our help. You’re obviously well qualified to evaluate the police, which makes you an expert. You certainly don’t need us. Good luck in your future endeavors.

I’m in my mid-70s, white, and I fear the police…..

I do not trust the police…I have been taught not to trust the police by the police and the actions that they do and the aftermath of those actions. I cannot speak for anyone else or the videos of police not showing them in a good light, but I can speak for myself.

Where I grew up, the police had what they then called routine investigation. This is when the police would stop one walking or driving and question the citizen on who, what, where.. Who are you, what are you doing here, and where are you going? The problem arises when a policeman wouldn’t find anything to object to would want to carry things further. In one case, the cop told me after the initial interview that the real reason he stopped me was for a broken taillight. He invited me to get out of the car and take a look. We both moved to the rear of the vehicle and I there was no broken taillight. Yes, there is and he took his baton and busted the light, turned back to me and said, ‘See, the lights broken, I’m going have to write you up”…He then took an agressive sance and asked me if I had anthing to say… He was just waiting for me to say anything or make a move so he can beat or shoot me. I took the tikit and later tried to make a complaint. I quickly found out that complaining to police about a policeman was a wasted effort and could be physically dangerous if pushed…..

The police breaking a taillight is faily lightweight stuff and although illegal and unethical by the policeman, it’s reaaly nothing compared to what they do..

My senior year in high school, I picked up my girlfriend from her class and was going to drive her home. I was low on fuel and drove three blocks to a gas station and bought some gas. I drove out od the station’s side entrance, turned left and went one block and stopped at the stop sighn. While waiting for cross traffick, a car slamed into me along the driver’s side, spun around in the intersection and nearly hit a couple of other cars going through. The driver climbed out and seemed to stagger as he moved towards us. Then he pulled out a gun from under his suit coat and began screaming obsenities while pointing the gun towards us. I told my girlfreind to get out and run as my door was crushed and wouldn’t open. Luckily for us, there were two cops around the corner that came running up the the other driver and got to him before he shot anybody… Then things took a strange turn. The two cops were acting freindly with the other driver, calming him down and escorting him away. I found out why later on. He was a plain clothed cop. To make a long story short, I was charged with speeding, wreckless driving, and causing an accident. The two cops stated they witnessed what had happened. I supposedly came down the street at a high rate of speed trying to get away from the plain clothes policeman who was chasing me for a traffic infraction. I stopped suddenly and the policeman lost control of his vehicle in an effort to not crash into me. I think the cop was drunk and didn’t realize how fast he was going. There was never any mention in the records of anyone having a gun or being drunk. The two police’witnesses lied about everything to protect the other policeman The end result was that I lost my license for a year, I lost my car, and for as long as I lived in that town afterwords, I was fodder for the police harrassment whether I was sitting, walking, or, eventually, driving again..

There were several incidents throughout my live that have occured. Like when some cops beat me for driving the same make, year, color, and model of car that was used in a felony crime. Went through whole felony stop procedure and when I was lying on the ground, one of the cops decided to give me some street justice and, of cource, the other cops joined in, as police are want to do. After, as one policeman put it, they ‘soften me up’, they poured into a police car to take me to jail. On the way to jail, a radio message came in telling everyone to stand down, the perp had been caught and identified. The two policemen that were ‘escorting’ me began to discuss what they could charge me with and how to get the message to the other cops that beat me. The driver finally said “The he!! with it” and turned the squad car around and litteraly dropped me off at my car. He told me that if anyone asks, you were beaten by a Black gang that was robbing you. and that’s what we’ll say…. They left me lying there and drove off. That was 36 years ago and my jaw still hurts on occassion.

The last time was in 1992 when my wife’s car broke down. She walked to a small convieniance store and called me for help. I drove up, stopped, reached over an opened the door for her. Just then a mess of cops came from every direction, grabbed her, handcuffed her and was walking her to a police car. While that was going on, my door was thrown open and I was drug out, thrown the the ground and while two cops that must have weighed a ton each sat on me and another pressed his foot on my head, I was handcuffed. They roughed me up somewhat while calling pervert and other degrading names. They thought I was a’john and that my wife was a prostitute. It wasn’t till I was allowed to say anything that they began to get rougher. I told them that she was my wife, we are married. Now, in the police’s eyes, I’m not only a pervert but a lying, low life, scum bag that deserves a lesson. The cop in front of me said he was just the guy to teach me that lesson.. After a couple of punches aunuformed cop walked up and stopped the hitting. He at least asked some questions instead of making assumptions. He took my wallet with my ID and walked over to the police car where my wife was being held. Talked to her for a few moments, handed our IDs to another cop and told him to check if my wive’s car was down the street. The cop came back and confirmed that everything checked out and the uniformed cop had them release us and we were free to go. We got back into my car and just sat there waiting for the police to leave. I have too many freinds who were ‘free to go’ and the cops arrested them for resisting arrest.

These and a lot of miner situations have taught me to fear and not trust the police. Even the so called ‘good cops’ in backing up the bad cops are not the most trust worthy of specimens. Innocent people that are arrested, charged, and then proven innocent still have to pay for the police’s actions by loss of jobs, bankrupt by lawyers, and in some juristictions, even the innocent have to pay for court costs…

There have been a little over 240 long time convicts recently released from prison. Around 80% of these exonerated people have been found innocent because of planted evidence, police purgery, or tunnel vision on the part of the police. The other 20% were released on honest mistakes made by police, DNA evidence, or the real perpatrator finally confessed the crime while confessing to oher crimes.

The question is do honest cops cover for bad cops, do honest cops let an innocent go to prison, do honest cops make up false charges for whatever reason??? I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a truley honest cop. Not when they investigate themselves and come up with the same conclusion every time…….

Thanks for sharing your experiences from 500 years ago. Police work has evolved so much and is unrecognizable compared to 50 something years ago when your story of the terrible police started. And by the way, if you have so many horrific experiences, maybe you need to take a look in the mirror and evaluate what you’re doing. I’d bet a paycheck you’re no pillar of the community. I’d bet two paychecks that if these incidents ever even happened, you’re leaving out tons of vital information that may shed a different light on the story. Yeah I pulled up to give my wife a ride and all the sudden dozens of officers crawled out of the woodwork and threw me and my wife to the ground. In fact, they attacked us as we were saving babies from a burning orphanage. Officer Foster, great article. J. Netherland……. nevermind. Not worth it.

What happen to our Policeman is really not their fault. The odds are against them. With new rules prohibit them from arresting for minor crime which lead to worse crimes. Leaving Criminals out early for crimes makes it worse. They are making impossible to enforce the law like they did previous. I think the 2014 ruling should be withdrawn, for the safety of police officers and our citizens also. This was made for our Policeman to look bad, and the media doesn’t help anything.

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