Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Not Cut Out to Be a Cop

 

There are several YouTube channels that show police activity, and they’ve had a lot of content recently with the riots and such. I had often thought if I had not gone to law school that I might have enjoyed being a police officer, but I now know that would have been a terrible idea. I grew up in a military family and I served in the military. I have stark views of right and wrong; I believe, for example, that people who pull and point weapons at police officers earn every Darwin Award they get.

Sometimes, however, I just watch these interactions and I’m thinking “why aren’t you guys kicking the stuffing out of that creep” as they holler and scream for the camera while they are being detained. Watch the Portland riots or Baltimore, or really any of these BLM orchestrated fiascos; they’re out there. If you’ve never interacted with a police officer but feel privileged to criticize them, watch some video and learn the other side of the story.

I know that illustrates a basic flaw in my character. I understand that I should not be wishing that when the cameras are off that someone goes upside the perp’s head with the back of their hand and tunes him up; I understand that’s bad of me. As a lawyer, I am supposed to care about the Constitution, and I do… But sometimes the better angels of my nature are taking a power nap, and I channel my inner Inigo Montoya: “there will be blood tonight!”

I’m human, I admit it. The fact is that other than in combative training in the army and when I was taking Tae Kwon Do while serving in Korea, I’ve never hit anyone, and I’ve never hit anyone in anger, but obviously I have a low boiling point if the mere video makes me want to see violence visited upon people.

Which brings me to my point: Cops are human too and they make mistakes. Sometimes they respond to stimuli that most of us would never endure and have no capacity to imagine. Just as there are psychopaths in the medical profession (I’m thinking of Dr. Mike Swango here), there are psychopaths in policing (Derek Chauvin). The system works to get them out, but just like the rest of us, even bad cops have due process rights. In liberal cities, particularly those with liberal District Attorneys (I’m thinking of Klobuchar here) those due process rights can cause a cop to accumulate 18 complaints without ever having anything substantive done. The system, particularly the system run in Democrat-controlled cities, is poisonous to liberty in many ways, but this may be the worst of them.

Richard Pryor, when he was making movies years ago, made one about prison: Stir Crazy. It’s a great movie. What he said later about that movie is important. When asked what he learned from going inside the prison to talk to prisoners about their life there, he said “I learned I was glad there are prisons” (or words to that effect). When asked what he meant he related talking to one prisoner who when asked what he was in for, he said “murdering a family.” Pryor said he asked why the guy did it. “They was home.” Yikes!

No one, not a murder suspect, not a bank robber, and not even the lowest form of life, a pedophile, deserves to be executed by a police officer, but no police officer deserves to be killed because politicians have made him too scared to use his weapon to save his life. That is exactly where we’re going today. Cops are driving a lot more slowly to critical incidents (the Ferguson Effect) simply because they know politicians do not have their back.

I was arrested once. The police officers were nice, kind actually. I did what I was told and no one hurt me. The court system worked and I was let go. The reason there are erasers on pencils is because everyone makes mistakes. Let’s stop asking cops to be perfect. Let’s instead, ask how we can help.

Published in Policing
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  1. Doug Watt Moderator

    I have written about some of my experiences as a cop. I write them to give people a look at police work. The vast majority of people behave themselves. Although I can give people some idea of the streets I cannot give them the complete experience. Unless someone has done police work it’s impossible to describe it completely.

    • #1
    • July 9, 2020, at 10:56 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  2. Henry Racette Contributor

    Anthony, a good, heartfelt, thoughtful post. Thanks.

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    I have written about some of my experiences as a cop. I write them to give people a look at police work. The vast majority of people behave themselves. Although I can give people some idea of the streets I cannot give them the complete experience. Unless someone has done police work it’s impossible to describe it completely.

    And I’ve read your comments with interest, thank you. Son #4 is a cop now, has been for about a year, in a nice New England college town with 40,000 or so citizens. He’s a hunter and handgun competitor and a hell of a shot. (“And I taught him that,” dad says proudly.) My late wife and I adopted him from Vietnam when he was five years old. He has a heart of gold and enormous self control, and he tells me people are generally pretty friendly.

    But we were talking about an incident with an armed citizen a few days ago, one his department dealt with, and I asked him what he thought about the way the officer on the scene handled it. He said it turned out well, but that the man had already discharged his weapon multiple times and that he’d probably have put the man down — and was kind of glad he wasn’t there to make the call. He’s always been mature beyond his years, and I trust his judgment.

    I still worry about him being out there.

    • #2
    • July 9, 2020, at 1:06 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  3. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Anthony L. DeWitt: I was arrested once. The police officers were nice, kind actually. I did what I was told. No one hurt me. The court system worked and I was let go. The reason there are erasers on pencils is because everyone makes mistakes. Let’s stop asking cops to be perfect. Let’s instead, ask how we can help.

    Doctors kill many–way many–more people than cops do, but we hold cops to a higher standard, because they make uninvited house calls. As an engineer and libertarian I see the problems in policing as (1) poor use of technology (2) tyranny of cities creating victimless crimes and extracting revenue from poor people. As for “not perfect”, the current ask is for “not malicious” and “not tyrannical”, which is an expectation we built a country upon.

    • #3
    • July 9, 2020, at 1:20 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Unsk Member

     A little off topic. Last Thursday, a group of my neighbors and myself went to the 6:45 pm roll call of the Hollywood Division of LAPD to give them pizza and soft drinks and to give them moral support for all the great things they do. 

    A few of us had been to the 6:15 Am Friday Roll Call a couple weeks before. 

    This time was different. We got to hear this time most of the discussion during the Roll Call. Some Issues that came out:

    A. The Master Sergeant emphasized that LA is not NY where half the force is quitting and not showing up to work because of all the nonsense DeBlasio is doing and that things seem to be calming down at least in Hollywood. So he was essentially telling the officers to “keep your chins up”. 

    B. Since the police are now under heightened scrutiny, the Master Sergeant wanted to make sure those cops filing our their reports of a crime pay close attention to every detail they could remember because it’s very possible after the fact that those reports will be challenged in ways that will not be fun. 

    C. It came out also not in the roll call discussion but in other interactions that the LAPD has been told by the politicians that when dealing with the Homeless, unless the Homeless person is violently attacking someone or is being violently attached themselves, even if they are stealing, vandalizing or whatever, the LAPD is absolutely not to get involved. At All.

    This attitude reminds of a situation in Minneapolis told to me by a friend who lives there just yesterday where the Homeless there have been encouraged to camp out at any park they like across the City. Minneapolis has several fine lakes somewhat close to downtown and each of them have several parks around them. So of course the Homeless have decided to put their encampments in those parks that are in the most expensive parts of the City off the best lakes and to make life for those evil rich people Hell on Earth.

    Furthermore, it kinda came out that the police believed that soon they will be limited to only life threatening events assaults like murder, home invasions and robberies in the kind of calls they will be able to make thanks to our wondrous dedicated public servants like the Mayor.

     

    • #4
    • July 9, 2020, at 2:57 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. kedavis Member

    Unsk (View Comment):
    Furthermore, it kinda came out that the police believed that soon they will be limited to only life threatening events assaults like murder, home invasions and robberies in the kind of calls they will be able to make thanks to our wondrous dedicated public servants like the Mayor.

    But aren’t those mostly committed by “people of color?” Which means they can’t be enforced, Because Racism.

    • #5
    • July 9, 2020, at 7:07 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Concretevol Thatcher

    I could not agree more with a post, from start to finish. I see a lot of these “protesters” who seem to often be privileged, ungrateful, white kids absolutely screaming profanity in the faces of police….many of whom are black. I don’t think I could take being a cop either in those circumstances. What world do these people live in that they feel like they can verbally assault someone like that not expect to have their teeth knocked down their throat? In the ultimate irony these jackwagons invariably call on the police to protect them if another citizen decides they aren’t going to stand there and take it or don’t let a mob drag them out of their vehicle.

    • #6
    • July 10, 2020, at 6:36 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Anthony L. DeWitt: Sometimes, however, I just watch these interactions and I’m thinking “why aren’t you guys kicking the stuffing out of that creep” as they holler and scream for the camera while they are being detained.

    I couldn’t get through an episode of “Cops” without at least once marveling at the forbearance of the police. I couldn’t have held it together.

    “That’s it! You’re all going to jail! You’re going to jail, and you’re going to jail, and you’re going to jail …”

    I’d probably end up arresting the cameraman too.

    • #7
    • July 10, 2020, at 7:35 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Anthony L. DeWitt: I was arrested once. The police officers were nice, kind actually. I did what I was told and no one hurt me.

    I was detained once. Not handcuffed, because:

    1. They ran out of cuffs.
    2. I was sober. Well, soberer.
    3. I spoke in complete sentences, eschewing profanity.
    4. I was only peripherally involved.
    5. Back-up arrived, and I was friends with one of them.

    No one ended up arrested, that I know.

    • #8
    • July 10, 2020, at 7:42 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    A video that can not be played soon.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_n45cwhIyI

    Chris Rock on “How not to get your ass kicked by the police.”

    • #9
    • July 10, 2020, at 11:44 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Anthony L. DeWitt Coolidge
    Anthony L. DeWitt

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    A video that can not be played soon.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_n45cwhIyI

    Chris Rock on “How not to get your ass kicked by the police.”

    I’ve seen it. It actually is pretty smart.

    • #10
    • July 13, 2020, at 11:40 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Anthony L. DeWitt Coolidge
    Anthony L. DeWitt

    Percival (View Comment):

    Anthony L. DeWitt: I was arrested once. The police officers were nice, kind actually. I did what I was told and no one hurt me.

    I was detained once. Not handcuffed, because:

    1. They ran out of cuffs.
    2. I was sober. Well, soberer.
    3. I spoke in complete sentences, eschewing profanity.
    4. I was only peripherally involved.
    5. Back-up arrived, and I was friends with one of them.

    No one ended up arrested, that I know.

    Hey, that’s okay. I once tried to jump over a Volkswagen and Mr. Newton reminded me how that whole gravity thing works. Two pitchers of beer were to blame, certainly not my failure to quit drinking them.

    • #11
    • July 13, 2020, at 11:41 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Anthony L. DeWitt Coolidge
    Anthony L. DeWitt

    Percival (View Comment):

    Anthony L. DeWitt: Sometimes, however, I just watch these interactions and I’m thinking “why aren’t you guys kicking the stuffing out of that creep” as they holler and scream for the camera while they are being detained.

    I couldn’t get through an episode of “Cops” without at least once marveling at the forbearance of the police. I couldn’t have held it together.

    “That’s it! You’re all going to jail! You’re going to jail, and you’re going to jail, and you’re going to jail …”

    I’d probably end up arresting the cameraman too.

    Yeah, I can’t even watch that any more. I watch the A&E reruns of LIVE PD and just want to slap some of these people.

    • #12
    • July 13, 2020, at 11:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Anthony L. DeWitt Coolidge
    Anthony L. DeWitt

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Anthony L. DeWitt: I was arrested once. The police officers were nice, kind actually. I did what I was told. No one hurt me. The court system worked and I was let go. The reason there are erasers on pencils is because everyone makes mistakes. Let’s stop asking cops to be perfect. Let’s instead, ask how we can help.

    Doctors kill many–way many–more people than cops do, but we hold cops to a higher standard, because they make uninvited house calls. As an engineer and libertarian I see the problems in policing as (1) poor use of technology (2) tyranny of cities creating victimless crimes and extracting revenue from poor people. As for “not perfect”, the current ask is for “not malicious” and “not tyrannical”, which is an expectation we built a country upon.

    Yeah, I would agree that no one should be treated maliciously by the cops.

    • #13
    • July 13, 2020, at 11:45 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. kedavis Member

    Anthony L. DeWitt (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Anthony L. DeWitt: I was arrested once. The police officers were nice, kind actually. I did what I was told. No one hurt me. The court system worked and I was let go. The reason there are erasers on pencils is because everyone makes mistakes. Let’s stop asking cops to be perfect. Let’s instead, ask how we can help.

    Doctors kill many–way many–more people than cops do, but we hold cops to a higher standard, because they make uninvited house calls. As an engineer and libertarian I see the problems in policing as (1) poor use of technology (2) tyranny of cities creating victimless crimes and extracting revenue from poor people. As for “not perfect”, the current ask is for “not malicious” and “not tyrannical”, which is an expectation we built a country upon.

    Yeah, I would agree that no one should be treated maliciously by the cops.

    Then it’s just a question of who gets to define “maliciously.”

    Ah, paradise.

    • #14
    • July 13, 2020, at 11:51 AM PDT
    • 1 like