By Carlos Solano
Few jobs have the bullshit that cops have to put up with. From political agendas, legislative mandates, and public opinion, to being spat upon, shot at, and killed, peace officers unselfishly put their lives on the line to maintain a quality of life for our country that decent people appreciate.
I have been privileged to serve in such a capacity and feel lucky to be able to share my observations in this book, particularly when it comes to the topic of the increasing de-emphasis of laws enforcing narcotic violations, public behavior, and other violent crimes that are a plague to our communities.
Policing is like insurance: we want it, we need it, and we pay the premiums. When it is used only in emergencies and viewed as unnecessary, people want it cheaper or not at all. When a tragedy strikes, they regret the day they canceled it. I offer a behind-the-scenes view of police work, based on three decades of experience as first a local police officer and then as a state special agent with the California Department of Justice.
It’s cops that arrest, enforce, and keep the peace out there on our streets. They fight with desperate criminals in dark alleys and routinely get wounded, emotionally scarred, or worse. They act as family counselor, doctor, financial advisor, lawyer, social worker, and psychiatrist. Police officers choose this life because they want to make everyone’s life, not just their own, a little safer and a little better. They also break up gang fights, are thrown into raging gun battles, conduct high-speed pursuits, and are expected to maintain courageous calm with perfect decision-making. They’ve missed their kids’ soccer games and back-to-school nights and work on holidays, while others are closed for business, at home with their families. This is not the job for someone who wants banker’s hours.
Society will crucify a cop who had milliseconds to make a life-or-death decision, but others will get a pass because they are famous or represent a minority. Do we really need lectures from our leaders that plastic bags are dangerous to the environment? Or be told that enjoying fast food and Big Gulps is akin to criminal behavior? We enact laws to protect us from the “ferocious” 32-ounce cola, but think it’s okay to release hardened criminals from prison because a “non-violent” felony crime landed them there? Trust me, I’ve seen many trials and you have to be quite the over-achiever to land in state prison.
News flash: you don’t go to prison for smoking pot.
I am neither a Rhodes Scholar nor a member of a think tank. I know we will never eradicate drugs; it is far too late for that. What we can do is limit the poison, death, and misery drug use wreaks upon our society. This book gives a perspective from being in a line of work like no other, one that acutely exposes the human condition in relation to liberty and justice.
No one wants to live in an intoxicated society with criminals roaming free or in a police state that tramples upon our freedom. We live in an amazing country. It’s not perfect. Cops aren’t perfect. But both are worth fighting for.
Carlos Solano is the Deputy Director at the Los Angeles Regional Criminal Information Clearinghouse (LACLEAR) and author of the book The B.S. Behind the Badge, available at Amazon.com.