People

Cops are people too. Guess how I know. I know because cops are…

wait for it…

wait for it…

People.

It’s that simple. I don’t need to see a cop taking a few minutes during their shift to toss a football around with a lonely kid on their beat to realize cops are people too. I don’t need to see a cop singing in their patrol car to realize cops are people too. I don’t need to see a cop dancing in the street, jumping double-dutch, eating a donut, pretending to cite a child in a toy car, hugging a citizen, or crying at a traumatic incident to know cops are people too.

All of those things are fantastic, and I hope the frequency in which they occur increases at an astonishing rate, but those events aren’t the reason I know cops are people too.

I know cops are people too because they suffer from depression, like other people. I know cops are people too because they have bad days, like other people.  I know cops are people too because they make mistakes, like other people.  I know cops are people too because some are introverts, some are extroverts, some are confident, some are lazy, some are religious, some are arrogant, some are loving, some are energetic, some are friendly, and some are dicks because…

they…are…people…too.

When a cop pulls your family member out of car to perform CPR after a crash are you going to make sure they’ve made a silly YouTube video first? When the cops show up to your house because your neighbor is threatening to kill you over a barking dog are you going to request they each show you three goofy selfies before allowing them in? When a lunatic is shooting innocent people at a mall and the cops are going to risk their lives to end the threat are you going to be concerned about whether or not those cops have ever line-danced in uniform?

Me either.

I know cops are people too, because they’re people. Remember that the next time you expect them to be something else.

Hazards

Hazard lights: The universal language for, “Yeah, I know I’m not supposed to park her, but I turned my flashers on so…we cool.”

Profiling

t’s not right to judge someone based on a group they belong to, whether they’re a part of that group by birth or by choice.  The color of their skin doesn’t matter.  The country they call home doesn’t matter.  Their religious affiliation doesn’t matter.  The way they choose to dress doesn’t matter.  The neighborhood they live in doesn’t matter.  The person they choose to love doesn’t matter.  Everyone should be treated as unique and judged based on their individual merits, not by the group you identify them with.  Stereotypes only hurt us as a society.  Treat others the way you want your family to be treated.

Stop Profiling.

Unless it’s a cop…then judge away.  Use every stereotype you can muster.  Put on your favorite blinders and do your best Scowly McJudgerson impression.  Become the exact opposite person you’re crying the cops be.  Be sure to make tired references to pigs and donuts, or be subtle and say something about smelling bacon.  Encourage violence because actions that would be considered hate crimes against others won’t be against them because they aren’t people; they’re cops.  Lump them together and pretend they’re less deserving of individual treatment than your favorite disadvantaged group.  Don’t show cops the same respect you’re demanding they show you.

Profile away.

Honor

I was recently asked if I still wanted to be a cop in light of the current public opinion of police officers.  My answer, without hesitation, is now more than ever.  Just like the squeaky wheel gets the grease, the loudest mouth gets the news coverage.    Despite what appears to be a nationwide loss of trust in law enforcement, we aren’t any less busy.  Do you know why?  Because the nation still needs us, and the majority of this country knows we would sacrifice our lives to protect them.  They know we still respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year because we believe our efforts make this the greatest country on Earth.  I still honor my oath to protect and serve every day because I know it makes a difference.  I’ll help an unemployed citizen that considers me a fascist pig if they are in need just as fast as I’ll help a tax paying grandmother who makes my precinct fudge during the holidays.  Just because someone is ignorant, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the best I have to offer.  If you think cops are unfair, biased, power-hungry thugs that harass you for no reason and need to be filmed every time they sneeze then there’s a good chance you’re the problem.  It’s likely you and your family are why I have a job.  In that case, we’ll be seeing you soon.  My coworkers and I are going to continue to lace up our boots and buckle our belts just like we’ve always done because this country needs cops.  You need cops.  You’re welcome.

Obvious

Guess what doesn’t help when I’m directing traffic around a tow truck pulling a car out of a ditch on a narrow unlit well-traveled road in the early hours of a dark and rainy morning commute? I’ll go ahead and tell you. The answer is: Calling 911 to complain that it’s difficult to see me. Yeah…..I know. There’s a reason the patrol car on the far end of the scene has 174 blazing bright red and blue LED lights, the tow truck in the middle has quite a few active LED lights, my patrol car has exactly the same amount of LED lights as the other, I’m wearing a vest with enough reflective tape to be seen from the outer atmoshpere, and I’m holding a glowing orange wand appropriately large enough to act as ground control for a space shuttle. But since I have to spell it out for you, the reason is so you will slow down to a speed where you can safely navigate around the hazards and we can all have a wonderful day. Was that easy enough for you to see?

Threat

Did you just threaten to see me court? You know that’s part of my job, right? You just threatened to make me do my job.

Best case scenario:
-It’s inconvenient for you to get to court.
-The judge’s head is screwed on straight and you’re found guilty of the traffic violation I observed.
-I get paid overtime for showing up to court.
-I forget I ever met you after I leave the courtroom.
-You remember me for the rest of your life.

Worst case scenario:
-It doesn’t dent your unemployed lifestyle to appear in court.
-The judge suffers from a moment of ineptitude and finds you not-guilty.
-I get paid overtime for showing up to court.
-I forget I ever met you after I leave the courtroom.
-You remember me for the rest of your life.

Did I mention I get paid overtime regardless of whether or not you’re found guilty? I’ll see you in court.

I’m back – maybe

I realize it’s been a while. I’ve been busy with life and my blog hasn’t been too important. I would like to move it up on the priority list. I occasionally find that someone new is following my blog and it inspires me to write again. I also get comments that stir my interest. As much as I appreciate the positive feedback, negative feedback requires a more analytical response and I enjoy the challenge. Communication with those who disagree with me makes me a better person and a better police officer.

I started this blog for various reasons, the least of which isn’t that it entertains me. If I’m the only person that enjoys my blog then I consider that a success. I know others like it too, and entertaining them is another of my goals. I also thought it would be interesting to see how my attitude changed over the course of my career. I was initially writing in an electronic journal, but modern technology hasn’t been able to recover years of corrupted files. I’m going to ease back into writing by first answering some angry and flawed responses to my posts, but there will be new entries soon.

Thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for reading. Thank you for responding.

Joe

Is it too much to ask that you wait until I’ve made my morning trip to the local coffee shop before you throw your temper tantrum?  I have a routine, and everyone I contact for the rest of the day will benefit from my ability to stick to that routine.  Every morning my district partner and I sit down with a steaming cup of caffeine and debrief our briefing.  This is when the real information is shared; important information; vital information; information out of the earshot of my department’s administration.  This is where we vent.  This is when we blow off a little steam.  Guess what happens when you make it impossible to stick to our routine.  Okay I’ll tell you; we aren’t able to blow off steam.  It has to be released somewhere though.  Sometimes that means that instead of just kicking your door open, we’ll take it completely off the hinges.  I’m not saying you aren’t completely justified in flipping your lid after your internet girlfriend broke up with you; I’m just saying give me a chance to have a hot cup of life essence before you focus your rage on your enablers, sorry – parents.  I don’t think I’m asking too much.  Thank you.

Redirect

Let’s pretend for a moment that you have a job that nets you enough money to make the statement “My taxes pay your salary” remotely feasible. Now let’s also pretend you spent the same amount of time in a certain apartment that I did today. While we’re pretending, I have an amazing mustache.

If you had been in that government subsidized apartment with me you would have seen how else your tax dollars are being put to use. You would have seen an unemployed mother that receives food stamps for herself and her two children because she can’t afford groceries. You would have seen that same mother use her iPhone 5 to try and get a hold of a family member to watch her kids so the department of human services didn’t take them. You would have seen her explain to DHS that she and her new husband have been snorting bath salts lately (look it up, it’s not what you think) because they’ve been under a lot of stress lately. You might have heard her say that she usually only smokes marijuana, in her bathroom of course, to protect her kids. I’m sure you would have heard her ask DHS if they could make sure the foster family that takes care of her children buys them school supplies because she hasn’t had the chance yet since her SSI check is late.

You most likely would have seen the neighbor sitting in the recliner in the living room. I’m not sure you would have caught that he was a registered sex offender. I’m sure you would have seen the young male sitting at the computer with the 24″ monitor, but I’m not sure you would have realized he was a high school dropout that’s been diagnosed with schisophrenia and bi-polar disorder but has decided to stop taking his medications because he thinks he’s smarter without them.

I agree that the amount of taxes that are taken out of my paycheck seem ridiculous (I pay taxes too by the way), but some of the programs they fund seem less ridiculous than others. Try to remember that the next time you erroneously believe you’re my boss because the government redirects some of your hard earned salary to my department.

Three

Three doctors together at a Starbucks:  Well sure, that’s a stressful job. I’m sure they’re comparing notes and sharing techniques.

Three computer programmers together at Starbucks:  Of course, they were probably awake all night writing hundreds of lines of code.

Three landscapers together at Starbucks:  Why not, they’ve probably been outside working in the elements all day.

Three cops together at a Starbucks:  OH MY GOD, WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?  My taxes pay your salary and I’m not paying you to take breaks. You can relax on your own time.  You should have eaten a large enough breakfast to get you through your entire shift so you can focus 100% of your time fighting crime.  There are murderers and rapists running all over town and you’re drinking coffee?  Get out there and do the job you’re being paid to do, unless it means holding me responsible for committing a violation, then you should stop harassing me.

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