Catch-22

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Being a cop has never been an easy job but it seems like it’s harder than ever today.

For fresh-face rookies just starting out, the difference between reality what they’ve seen on television or heard through the grapevine can be a rude awakening.

The reason most Americans know what non-cops are referring to when they use the term “thin blue line” is because law enforcement is a fraternal culture where loyalty is prized above most other virtues.

But sometimes it’s just too much.

Cops that see co-workers break the law, assault restrained subjects or suspects, and other unprofessional conduct have always—and will always have—a painful decision to make.

You either stay silent, or you speak up and run the risk of being considered a rat and a traitor by those that simply want to go along to get along.

Make no mistake, there are not a lot pats on the back waiting for any police officer who stands up for what he or she believes in.

More often than not, it’s a one-way ticket out of town and sometimes a career change, too.

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Lexipol’s Gordon Graham gave me the best gift ever, during one of his talks, when I served as a small-town chief. In addition to the new evaluations I prepared for my employees, there was a supplemental form that asked critical questions every six months, they included, but were not limited to: (1) had the employee been the recipient of any mistreatment by other employees, (2) had the employee been witness to any other employee dishonesty, (3) had the employee witnessed excessive force used against any person by a co-worker, (4) had the employee seen any other employee act is a racist, discriminatory manner toward a minority, etc. These supplemental evaluation waivers signed by myself and the employee. This prevented any employee, dismissed in the future, from suddenly raising internal discrimination/”the whole department is crooked/racist” allegations, without me throwing their previously signed denials of same…

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