Something that anyone who does not know me personally wouldn’t know about me is that I am passionate about our law enforcement heroes. I support hard-working, brave, honest police officers world round who don’t act like bullies or criminals for no apparent cause. Now a genuine cause…that’s a whole different horse. And even so, most cops are the picture of grace under fire.
What the public refuses to understand (even though they know better) is cops have to do their jobs. They have bosses that bark orders, families to feed, rent to pay and taxes to dish out. They have to follow orders and fulfill their job duties. Just like you and me and everyone else in the world that works for the machine. I punch the time clock, you punch the time clock, they punch the time clock. Sometimes we’re doing something we love, often not. Sometimes we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into, often not. Police officers get paid for doing what they’re supposed to do, just like us. Sometimes the public doesn’t like them, just like they don’t always like us.
I worked for Walmart. I worked as a cashier, at the courtesy desk and as a back up manager. Me and my co-workers have been terribly abused by you, the public. We’ve been hit, kicked, spit on, pushed called profane names, had things thrown at us…all in a day’s work. And I mean all in ONE DAY’S WORK. Walmart management does not care about this even though it’s not our jobs to have to put up with this. But it is a cop’s job. And guess what, Walmart doesn’t support it’s employees…we only have each other. Cops, their organization doesn’t support them either…they have to support each other too.
I was once downed by a customer who got pissed off by a member of management. Out of everything I endured during my Walmart employment…this was the worst. She stereotyped me. She was cursing at me, and I kindly asked her to stop because there were children nearby. She said, “Well, if you weren’t a high school drop out, maybe you could have a better job.” OMG! Fucking…right?
I looked at the dumb ass and said something like, “Ma’am, I am a college graduate. Not only do I have a bachelor’s degree, I graduated from one of the finest universities of its kind in the nation. Now, if you’d like me to prove that to you, just wait here. It’s about 15 minutes round trip to my home and back. I’ll bring you my degree as proof. And trust me, I have no problem showing it to you. What university did you graduate from?” Her mouth fell open. Speechless. Yes. I gotcha bitch. “Well, well then….” She turned around and huffed off without another word. You know…cops deal with similar situations every day. I’ll be truthful, if that had happened in the parking lot, I would’ve hit that slacker in the face. Then the cops would’ve had to come to keep me from ripping off her gorilla mug because I have a slight temper and might resort to violence. And, if I’m after a person to rip their mug off…nothing short of an officer of the law with a gun can step between us to stop me. So tread lightly around both of us. 😉
There is absolutely no reason to disrespect good, law abiding cops. In fact, I’ve experienced so much negativity by the public, I have a sincere compassion for them. I have preached this respect to people I’ve known over my lifetime and I do not care about their responses. One woman’s response was…”Well, there was this one cop who called me a bitch.” Okay. Why? “Well, he had no reason to stop me for speeding and I let him know it. That bastard. He was a bastard…and I told him so…He told me I didn’t have to act like a bitch for no reason. That I broke the law.” Really? Re-read that until you all get it. I said to her, “Did he say you were a bitch?” “Well, no, that I was acting like one.” Good lord. Grow up. What she didn’t tell me was that while she was trying to engage this cop with her smart ass attitude, she threw a tantrum and grabbed his pen and threw it on the ground and stepped on it, then threatened to step on his toe. WTF? *insert laughter here*
At some point in their lives, just about every citizen will have an encounter with a police officer, and not just because they nod to each other while passing on the street, or because cops are the safer people to ask for directions while visiting an unfamiliar place. I mean, there will be an encounter for a reason. I’ve had a few such encounters…some where I challenged the officer’s integrity…because I can be a smart-ass sometimes. Once, I challenged a cop with a legitimate question to which he had no real answer and had to peddle all over to prove to me he was correct…and his own answer proved him wrong and it incited his sarcastic side. I just laughed at him. *shrug* It was better than losing my composure and cursing like a fool. That would’ve been uncalled for. Why should cops have to maintain grace when I don’t?
I’ve always been one to challenge authority without breaking laws. However, when I was young I had a bad habit of taking people for granted. And a cop did not teach me different, my father did (as parents are supposed to!) when he pulled a stunt on me so frightening (to teach me a lesson) that I stopped taking people and things for granted. But, I never stopped challenging authority overall. My father taught me to question everything and I do. I challenged my teachers, my clergy, the law, my parents and my bosses and company policies. There are other good, positive and helpful ways to challenge authorities, policies, the government. And treating cops like dirt because your government pisses you off isn’t the way. Anyway…that’s a blog for another day.
So, an encounter with police can be good or bad. Your opinion of them can be good or bad. However, most of the time how you perceive law enforcement is a view caused by what type of person you are, sociologically speaking. People with criminal intent, or those who are encouraged to protect those with criminal intent, tend to view cops as a negative force to be dealt with in a negative way.
For a long time, someone close to me hated cops. “They don’t do shit for you!” she often spouted. “They’re untrustworthy garbage. Pigs.” But, this person had a reason for feeling this way… Oh yes. A good one. Just listen to it: Her significant other beat her up for the thousandth time, and the cops didn’t show up fast enough. Because all those times she didn’t prosecute while they were willing to help her…was their fault. It was all their fault that her old man was a piece of trash. What could they do? Each city, each state has their laws. They asked if they could help her and she said no. Yet she kept dialing 911. They came to the house once to search for the beast. He was hiding upstairs. She knew where he was, but did not turn him over…even after it was her who called the cops. So she projected her feelings about her spouse onto the cops. She got hit, called the cops, then begged them NOT to help her. It was the cops’ burden to bear… And it always will be.
On the lighter side. My sister grew up in the 70s. Cops were “the fuzz” back then. *laughing hysterically* When I was just about 8 yrs old, I asked her why are cops the fuzz. She said, “Because they stick to you.” What she didn’t tell me, is why they stick to you. My thoughts are – and because my sister was a good, gullible kid for the most part, she didn’t know why they stick to you. You see, it’s unhappy, often criminal, citizens who make up tag lines for cops: fuzz, pigs, oinkers, coppers, Boss Hog…and who knows what else. I mean, as soon as the average citizen doesn’t agree with something their neighbor has said and done…the neighbor becomes the jerk, the know-it-all, the dubmass, what have you. It’s the way humans operate and label one another.
In my book, Someday Always Comes, the narrator, 16 year old Tessa Price has a very negative view of cops throughout the book. That was a stance many of my teenaged friends had then (1985). We were after all what would eventually be labeled as Generation X. And we still can’t be beat.
Here’s one of my true encounters with police which I shall try to relate with dignity and humor. When I was, oh…maybe 19 (1988-89 or so), I was sitting in a parking lot of a fast food restaurant. I was in the parking lot in my car with my boyfriend’s brother. We were just sitting there, smoking and talking, waiting for his girlfriend to show up. This couple approached us. They were neighborhood people…kind people…genuine…honest and the parents of a couple of great kids. They used to be hardworking, tax paying people. But somehow they became heroine addicts; known drug users and hustlers. They were good people who got caught up in a terrible loop they couldn’t get out of. I liked them. I really enjoyed talking to the woman. She understood me, and never at any time did she ever offer me dope, or try to convince me to use. (BTW, she got out of that mess a few years later. Thank heaven!)
So, we’re talking. The couple was standing on the passenger side of the car talking with us through the window. Me…the huge law breaker that I was at 19…had expired license plates, no city sticker and so was operating an illegal vehicle. Woo-hoo! Go me.
So, an unmarked cop car manned by a Pink Panther duo shows up. They position their car behind mine. They did that so I couldn’t drive away, of course. I had no where to go anyway. But it’s procedure, you see.
Anyway, Pink & Pink get out of the car and proceed to interrogate the couple. Of course, these two “narcs” were neighborhood cops…and I was very familiar with them as they patrolled our hood for years. They were all too familiar with the couple we were talking to. And sadly so. So, they frisked the guy. They don’t touch the woman since they were both male cops. They asked my friend and me to get out of the car and for no apparent reason, Meanie Pink dumps my purse ignorantly all over the trunk of my car and I stand there biting my lip as my shit rolls off the car and onto the ground. Despite that…I stood there with my arms crossed, my body language clearly challenging that cop to make one wrong move toward me. My first inclination was to punch that prick in the face because, while he was doing his job, he didn’t have to be so ignorant while doing so. I certainly gave him no cause to treat me like a dog. The female druggie was pleading with the jerk, saying I have nothing and did nothing; that we were just talking. His partner, Goodie Pink, on the other hand, just stood there with an odd look on his face that said to me how unnecessary all of that was.
Meanie Pink then decided he needed to search my car because my boyfriend’s brother was known for pot in the neighborhood and may have had dealings with the law in the past. I, however, have never had negative dealings with the law and did not use drugs, never have since then either. I was not a delinquent and although Meanie Pink deserved a shot in his kisser (& honestly, I have a bad temper!)…I complied with the law all the while he misbehaved.
Meanie Pink then got in my car and searched everything; nearly ripped my dashboard off trying to find something that might be hidden in there. What did Meanie expect to fucking find?… Elvis Presley? Jimmy fucking Hoffa? WTF, Meanie! You’re just mad ’cause your partner’s better looking than you! (Or so I remember my teenaged mind yelling.)
After his efforts to intimidate me, he had to play 20 questions about who I was and why I was there. I told him that I was always there! WTF…It’s a restaurant 2 blocks from my house. You know me, jerk wad!
Goodie Pink steps in and says something like, “There’s nothing here. Let’s go.” Well, Meanie has other plans. No, he forgot to look in the trunk. So he takes me keys out of the ignition, opens my trunk. Mind you, my purse is still on top of the trunk lid along with the few things that didn’t fall off. Well, guess what? Yup. He opens the trunk and the rest of my shit slides off. Damn you, Meanie Pink! I hope you choke on your next doughnut!
So when Meanie was done with his peacock display of power, he headed for his unmarked car, while I bent down to collect my belongings cursing him under my breath. Goodie Pink decided to help me, and he whispered, “I’m sorry.” Well, I’m sure Meanie didn’t hear that, but he wasted no time in COMMANDING his partner back to the vehicle. But, you know what? Goodie Pink’s sincere apology made me think less of Meanie and more about what kind of person Goodie was. I knew that there were more Goodies on the force than Meanies. I don’t know why Meanie was mean. Maybe life made him that way. But, Goodie was no younger than Meanie was, and therefore probably had the same exposure to life as Meanie. I guess it’s a matter of how we process and deal with stuff. Or maybe Meanie was just always a meanie. But, being a meanie doesn’t necessarily make you a criminal. It just means you’re disrespectful.
I could’ve stereotyped Goodie as being a meanie. I mean, after all, he let that cop treat me like a junkie. But, Goodie probably had his reasons. I don’t blame him that his partner acted like a jerk wad. And now as an adult, I realize that if…back at that point in time…while this whole display of thug-ness was going on, if some trash drove by that parking lot and started shooting at us, Meanie would’ve changed his focus and tried to save me, just as Goodie would have. At this time in my life, I really don’t think Meanie was a bad cop, he was just, well….a meanie.
What makes a bad cop? Well, I consider myself an educated citizen and a good judge of character in general. I consider bad cops those that steal drug money or dope they seize, or watch child porn, participate in wife beating, or human trafficking, among a slew of other things. But, and despite the brotherhood mentality, a lot of good cops can be looked upon as bad when they cover up the faults of their fellow officers. How confusing to have to make that choice.
Who speaks out against good officers? Cowards, that’s who. And even I couldn’t have said it better than this newsman, Glenn Beck. This broadcast deserves to be shared worldwide for all cop bash-ers to see. Yes, for people who will never have to stand in their shoes or the shoes of their children, and for those who do not have police officers among their family or friends. And it’s a good video to watch for those who do not know how to utilize a police officer, or a police department. Often, mis-utilization of one’s sources often causes disregard of those sources.
I have a lifelong friend – a 35 yr friendship – who is a big-city police officer. Our lives have sent us in separate directions and we don’t see each other much, but very seldom does a week go by that I don’t think of her. And, guess what, I reflect less on our friendship but more on the fact that she’s a cop for 2 decades already. And because of my love and respect for her, I thank the gods she’s never been shot, or stabbed or beat to death by some thug who doesn’t deserve to live. Thankfully, she’s no longer on the street but working in some other capacity. It makes me feel better that there’s a lesser chance she’ll be shot down by some bank-robbing fillth-bag who’s too sorry to work for a living at Walmart or Dairy Queen like the rest of us.
My stepfather’s son spent around 30 years with a county sheriff’s office. While I didn’t interact with him regularly, I was, and still am, inspired by that. My stepfather was proud though he never voiced it, and I know how his son’s job affected his life.
Growing up, I had a neighbor who had a cop for a son. For some odd reason, I was always happy to see him stop by the neighborhood. My brother has a friend who’s been a big-city cop for over 20 years. What makes them stay so long?
I worked for a short time in police services, and since then I’ve been wanting to re-enter that environment. I saw everything they do; everything they are. I saw how these seemingly normal men and women had to deal with their shift even once out of the squad car. I transcribed their dictated reports. I had to type about child rape, and murder and theft, and horrific accidents. The descriptions of what these cops saw made me want to hide in a closet for life, or more often than not…my stomach balled up in knots and I wanted to puke. My anger and hatred toward the perpetrators I listened about and transcribed about fueled an odd hatred for society. But after discussing it with the right people, I realized that not everyone in society does these terrible things, and even less condone it. Just like not every cop is bad, nor even a Meanie Pink.
I had to leave that job for reasons out of my control really. I wish I never did. I looked upon those officers, and my other co-workers who shared that darkness with me, like they were my family. I had become a part of something I didn’t fully understand before that time. I felt a part of something bigger than myself that was full of secrets and mystery, and when I left that brotherhood of police services, I left my “children” behind. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, but in a caring way. These people that are looked upon by some in society as the enemy…as terrible, awful men and women, treated me with more respect than anyone ever in my life including my real family.
Thank you, Glenn Beck for this wonderfully powerful charge in favor of cops everywhere. They are human beings with a burden that takes a special person to bear.