Well. After a little hiatus I’ve decided to start writing again. We will see how long it lasts. One of the last drafts I typed was over two years ago and you can read it below. Sadly, much of what I was trying to express in 2016 is still in play in early 2019.
Alright. This may be long and I don’t know if anyone is going to bother reading it but here it goes.
This week marks the 16th anniversary of the day I was sworn in as a police officer. I managed to work one year before the world changed in 2001 and almost 14 years before the shooting in Ferguson started the social/political/media narrative my profession currently finds itself in.
In that time I’ve seen many things, experienced many things, done many things, and have at least a small amount of insight into the LE side of the current “conversation”, if you can call it that. Unfortunately the media, the public (influenced by media) and the politicians seem to be the dominant voices.
First off, let me say unequivocally that there are “bad cops” out there and sometimes there are just inept cops…or what I call “delivering the mail” cops. There are poorly trained cops and there are cops that don’t take their training seriously. Anyone who has ever been in the military has seen the spectrum of “soldiers” that serve…anyone who has ever worked with any large group of people knows that no profession is immune from the “screw-ups”.
BUT. This whole “they”-thing and “THE Police” and all the other universal adjectives in play are a load of crap. A different conversation with words like “those people” or “your people” or “those types” associated with race or sexual preference would immediately be jumped on as racist, sexist, or some other “ist” and rightfully so. But everyone (seemingly) seems very willing to say “The Police” have some sort of universal responsibility for the actions of individuals, or even entire departments other than their own. It’s the bizarre “logic” that leads people to “understand” how a guy in Dallas winds up shooting PEOPLE for actions neither they nor their employer had any responsibility for.
It seems like folks believe “WE” are some sort of uniform, nationalized force…and that when one officer #$%&@’s up that somehow means we all do, or would do, the same thing. Police service is very local in terms of quality. Large Metro PD’s are nothing like my Mid-Size agency which is nothing like a small 8 man PD.
But. One thing people in LE do have in common is that we all have to deal with people in fairly similar situations. While how we may handle it may differ, taking an armed person into custody is what it is. Walking up to a car occupied by a guy you think may be an armed robbery suspect feels the same to a cop in Anchorage as it does to one in Miami.
Why do I say this? Hopefully to help people understand why most cops wont knee-jerk declare some of these recent shootings as “bad”. Many of us know that what we see on the television or the phone/computer screen (or in the Ferguson case simply a false narrative pumped out incessantly by the media) is not the entire story. We (cops) can often times see how a shooting that appears unjustified to the uninitiated could POSSIBLY be justified.