There are times that you reflect on your experience as a police officer, and for that matter, in any path you chose to walk. I ran across some observations from another police officer on a police blog. I’ll add my own comments on what this officer wrote.
The people at the top often don’t have a lot of practical experience. There are exceptions, but most cops who become chiefs, sheriffs, or other high-ranking officers spend most of their career paving the path to promotion. They spend a brief time as working cops, then transfer to a non-enforcement job, where they stay until they get their first promotion. They never truly understand the job, and the cops they oversee don’t identify with the brass, or the brass with the cops.
There is some truth to this. I have listened to what I call the 3.5 admin cops at roll call. The 3.5 refers to the minimum amount of years you had to spend on the streets before you could start climbing the admin ladder. The exceptions would be those that sought positions as K-9 cops or detectives.
There are some admin cops that like the paycheck, and there are others that are cowards, but they like having the badge. They get off the street as fast as they can because they don’t want to clean up messes, unfortunately, they become Monday morning quarterbacks. They weren’t there when things went to hell, and they didn’t see what the line cop saw, but they see themselves as experts. They are specialist’s in CYA; Cover Your [redacted]. Like a Monday morning quarterback, they will throw a beat cop under the bus of public outrage. It should be a relief to the public, as well as to other police officers that admin cops are not out on the street.
There is lots of stress, but not the kind you might think. Most of the stress comes from the police station, not the street. Law enforcement agencies are extremely political. Who likes you or who you’re friends or relatives with has a lot more to do with the progress of your career than how good you are at your job. “Management by intimidation” is a common technique. From a human resources perspective, law enforcement agencies are horrible places to work.
There is some truth to this, but once you become part of the minimum staffing model you can display the impudent digit, at least metaphorically anyway.
There aren’t all that many bigots. There are some, of course – in a cohort of close to a million people, some of them will be biased. You can get fired for expressing those feelings, so they tend not to last long. Most cops don’t especially care what color you are, what religion you practice, what country your ancestors came from, how much money you have, or what your sexual orientation is. Cops see every kind of person, often at the worst moments of their lives. They know there are good and bad people in every category. They do have a strong bias against jerks, so don’t be one of those.
This last paragraph is true. When you work nights you cannot tell what color a driver is. What you do know is that the driver has run one stop sign, or in my case one driver that ran three stop signs, all within three blocks. I had no idea who, or what color he was.
I could care less what Rodney Balko or David French say about policing, or police officers. They have no idea what they are talking about, nor have they spent any time riding with a police officer, but somehow they are experts on policing.Published in