I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend. (J.R.R.Tolkien, The Two Towers)

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

Marko Kloos "Why the Gun is Civilization"

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why Cops Hate You

The following article was written in the 70's by an obviously angry cop. While I don't agree with everything he says, he does have some really valid points that many street cops encounter every day.

Warning contains graphic language.

(If You Have To Ask, Get Out Of The Way)

Have you ever been stopped by a traffic cop and, while he was writing a ticket or giving you a warning, you got the feeling he would just love to yank you out of the car, right through the window, and smash your face into the front fender? Have you ever had a noisy little spat with someone, and a cop cruising by calls, everything all right over there? Did you maybe sense that he really hoped everything was not all right, that he wanted one of you to answer, No, officer, this idiot’s bothering me? That all he was looking for was an excuse to launch himself from the cruiser and play a drum solo on your skull with his nightstick?

Did you ever call the cops to report a crime maybe someone stole something from your car or broke into your home and the cops act as if it were your fault? That they were sorry the crook didn’t rip you off for more? That instead of looking for the culprit, they’d rather give you a shot in the chops for bothering them with this bullshit in the first place? If you’ve picked up on this attitude from your local sworn protectors, it’s not just paranoia. They actually don’t like you. In fact cops don’t just dislike you, they hate your guts! Incidentally, for a number of very good reasons.

First of all, civilians are so goddamn stupid. They leave things lying around, just begging thieves to steal them. They park cars in high crime areas and leave portable TVs, cameras, wallets, purses, coats, luggage, grocery bags and briefcases in plain view on the seat. Oh, sure, maybe they’ll remember to close all the windows and lock the doors, but do you know how easy it is to bust a car window? How fast can it be done? A ten year old can do it in less than six seconds! And a poor cop has another Larceny from Auto on his hands. Another crime to write a report on, waste another half hour on. Another crime to make him look bad.

Meanwhile the asshole who left the family heirlooms on the backseat in the first place is raising hell about where were the cops when the car was being looted. He’s planning to write irate letters to the mayor and the police commissioner complaining about what a lousy police force you have here; they can’t even keep my car from getting ripped off! What were they drinking coffee somewhere? And the cops are saying to themselves. Lemme tell ya, fuckhead, we were seven blocks away, taking another stupid report from another jerkoff civilian about his fucking car being broken into because he left his shit on the back seat too!

These civilians can’t figure out that maybe they shouldn’t leave stuff lying around un-attended where anybody can just pick it up and boogie. Maybe they should put the shit in the trunk, where no one but Superman is gonna see it. Maybe they should do that before they get to wherever they’re going just in case some riffraff is hanging around watching them while the car is being secured.

Another thing that drives cops wild is the “surely this doesn’t apply to me” syndrome, which never fails to reveal itself at scenes of sniper or barricade incidents. There’s always some asshole walking down the street (or jogging or driving) who thinks the police cars blocking off the area, the ropes marked police line: Do Not Cross, the cops crouched behind cars pointing revolvers, carbines, shotguns and bazookas at some building has nothing whatsoever to do with him so he weasels around the barricades or slithers under the restraining ropes and blithely continues on his way, right into the field of fire.

The result is that some cop risks his ass (or hers don’t forget, the cops include women now) to go after the cretin and drag him, usually under protest, back to safety. All of these cops, including the one who risking his ass, devoutly hope that the sniper will get off one miraculous shot and drill the idiot right between the horns, which would have two immediate effects. The quiche-for-brains civilian would be dispatched to his just reward and every cop on the scene would instantaneously be licensed to kill the scumbag doing the sniping. Whereupon the cops would destroy the whole fucking building, sniper and all, in about 30 seconds, which is what they wanted to do in the first place, except the brass wouldn’t let them because the motherfucker had not killed anybody yet.

An allied phenomenon is the “my isn’t this amusing behavior” exhibited, usually by Yuppies or other members of high society, at some emergency scenes. For example, a group of trendy types will be strolling down the street when a squad car with its lights flashing and siren on screeches up to a building. They’ll watch the cops yank out their guns and run up to the door, flatten themselves against a wall, and peep into the place cautiously. Now, if you think about it, something serious could be happening here. Cops usually don’t pull their revolvers to get a cup of coffee. Any five-year-old ghetto kid can tell you these cops are ready to cap somebody. But do our society friends perceive this? Do they stay out of the cops way? Of course not! They think it’s vastly amusing. And, of course, since they’re not involved in the funny little game the cops are playing, they think nothing can happen to them!

While the ghetto kid is hiding behind a car for the shooting to start, Muffy, Chip and Biffy are continuing their stroll, right up to the officers, tittering among themselves about how silly the cops look, all scrunched up against the wall, trying to look in through the door without stopping bullets with their foreheads. What the cops are hoping at that point is for a homicidal holdup man to come busting out the door with a sawed off shotgun. They’re hoping he has it loaded with elephant shot, and that he immediately identifies our socialites as serious threats to his personal well being. They’re hoping he has just enough ammunition to blast the shit out of the gigglers, but not enough to return fire when the cops open up on him.

Of course if that actually happens, the poor cops will be in a world of trouble for not protecting the innocent bystanders. The brass wouldn’t even want to hear that the shitheads probably didn’t have enough sense to come in out of acid rain. Somebody ought to tell all the quiche eaters out there to stand back when they encounter someone with a gun in his hand, whether he happens to be wearing a badge or a ski mask.

Civilians also aggravate cops in a number of other ways. One of their favorite games is “Officer, can you tell me?” A cop knows he’s been selected to play this game whenever someone approaches and utters those magic words. Now, it’s okay if they continue with how to get to so and so street? Or where such and such a place is located? After all, cops are supposed to be familiar with the area he works. But it eats the lining of their stomachs when some jerkoff asks, “Where can I catch the number fifty-four bus?” Or, “where can I find a telephone?”

Cops look forward to their last day before retirement, when they can safely give these douche bags the answer they’ve been choking back for 20 years: No, maggot, I can’t tell you where the fifty-four bus runs! What does this look like an MTA uniform? Go ask a fucking bus driver! And, No dog breath, I don’t know where you can find a phone, except wherever your fucking eyes see one! Take your head out of your ass and look for one.

And cops just love to find a guy parking next his car in a crosswalk next to a fire hydrant at a bus stop posted with a sign saying, Don’t Even Think About Stopping, Standing, or Parking Here. Cars Towed Away, Forfeited to the Government, and Sold at Public Auction. and the jerk asks, Officer, may I park here a minute? What are you nuts? Of course ya can park here! As long as ya like! Leave it there all day! Ya don’t see anything that says ya can’t do ya? You’re welcome. See ya later. The cop then drives around the corner and calls for a tow truck to remove the vehicle. Later, in traffic court, the idiot will be whining to the judge But, Your Honor, I asked the officer if I could park there, and he said I could! No, I don’t know which officer, but I did ask! Honest! No, wait, Judge, I can’t afford five hundred dollars! This isn’t fair! I’m not creating a disturbance! I’ve got rights! Get your hands off me! Where are you taking me? What do you mean, ten days for contempt of court? What did I do? Wait, wait,..... If you should happen to see a cop humming contentedly and smiling to himself for no apparent reason, he may have won this game.

Wildly unrealistic civilian expectations also contribute to a cop’s distaste for the general citizenry. An officer can be running his ass off all day or night handling call after call and writing volumes of police reports, but everybody thinks their problem is the only thing he has to work on. The policeman may have a few worries, too. Ever think of that? The sergeant is on him because he’s been late for roll call a few days; he’s been battling like a badger with his wife, who’s just about to leave him because he never takes her anywhere and doesn’t spend enough time at home and the kids need braces and the station wagon needs a major engine overhaul and where are we gonna get the money to pay for all that and we haven’t had a real vacation for years and all you do is hang around with other cops and you’ve been drinking too much lately and I could’ve married that wonderful guy I was going with when I met you and lived happily ever after and why don’t you get a regular job with regular days off and no night shifts and decent pay and a chance for advancement and no one throwing bottles or taking wild potshots at you? Meanwhile, that sweet young thing he met on a call last month says her period is late. Internal Affairs is investigating him on fucking up a disorderly last week; the captain is pissed at him for tagging a councilman’s car; a burglar’s tearing up the businesses on his post; and he’s already handled two robberies, three family fights, a stolen car, and half a dozen juvenile complaints today.

Now here he is, on another juvenile call, trying to explain to some bimbo, who’s the president of her neighborhood improvement association, that the security of Western Civilization is not really threatened all that much by the kids who hang on the corner by her house. Yes, officer, I know they’re not there now. They always leave when you come by. But after you’re gone, they come right back, don’t you see, and continue their disturbance. It’s intolerable! I’m so upset, I can barely sleep at night.

By now, the cops eyes have glazed over. What we need here, officer, she continues vehemently, is greater attention to this matter by the police. You and some other officers should hide and stake out that corner so those renegades wouldn’t see you. Then you could catch them in the act! Yes, ma’am, we’d love to stake out that corner a few hours every night, since we don’t have anything else to do, but I’ve got a better idea, he’d like to say. Here’s a box of fragmentation grenades the Department obtained from the Army just for situations like this. The next time you see those little fuckers out there, just lob a couple of these into the crowd and get down!

Or he’s got an artsy-crafty type who’s moved into a tough, rundown neighborhood and decides it’s gotta be cleaned up. Ya know, Urban Pioneers. The cops see a lot of them now. Most of them are intelligent(?), talented, hard-working, well paid folks with masochistic chromosomes interspersed among their other wise normal genes. They have nice jobs, live in nice homes, and they somehow decided that it would be a marvelous idea to move into a slum and get yoked, roped, looted, and pillaged on a regular basis. What else do you expect? Peace and harmony? It’s like tossing a juicy little pig into a piranha tank.

Moving day: Here come the pioneers, dropping all their groovy gear from their Volvo station wagon, setting it on the sidewalk so everyone can get a good look at the food processor, the microwave, the stereo system, the color TV, the tape deck, etc. At the same time, the local burglars are appraising the goods unofficially and calculating how much they can get for the TV down at the corner bar, how much the stereo will bring at Joe’s garage, who might want the tape deck at the barber shop, and maybe mama can use the microwave herself. When the pioneers get ripped off, the cops figure they asked for it, and they got it. You want to poke your arm through the bars of a tiger cage? Fuck you! Don’t be amazed when he eats it for lunch! The cops regard it as naive for trendies to move into crime zones and conduct their lives the same way they did up on Society Hill. In fact, they can’t fathom why anyone who didn’t have to would move there at all, regardless of how they want to live or how prepared they might be to adapt their behavior. That’s probably because the cops are intimately acquainted with all those petty but disturbing crimes and nasty little incidents that never make the newspapers but profoundly affect the quality of life in a particular area.

Something else that causes premature aging among cops is the “I don’t know who to call, so I’ll call the police” ploy. Why, the cops ask themselves, do they get so many calls for things like water leaks, sick cases, bats in houses, and the like things that have nothing whatsoever to do with law enforcement or the maintenance of public order? They figure it’s because civilians are getting more and more accustomed to having the government solve problems for them, and the local P.D. is the only governmental agency that even answer the phone at 3:00 AM, let alone send anybody.

So, when the call comes over the radio to go to such-and-such address for a water leak, the assigned officer rolls his eyes, acknowledges, responds, surveys the problem, and tells the complainant, Yep, that’s a water leak all right! No doubt about it. Ya probably ought to call a plumber! And it might not be a bad idea to turn off your main valve for a while. Or, Yep, your Aunt Minnie’s sick all right! Ya probably ought to get ‘er to a doctor tomorrow if she doesn’t get any better by then. Or, Yep, that’s a bat all right! Mebbe ya ought to open the windows so it can fly outside again! In the meantime our hero is wasting his time on this bullshit call, maybe someone is having a real problem out there, like getting raped, robbed or killed.

Street cops would like to work the phones just once and catch a few of these idiotic complaints: A bat in your house? No need to send an officer when I can tell ya what to do right here over the phone, pal! Close all your doors and windows right away. Pour gasoline all over your furniture. That’s it. Now set it on fire and get everybody outside! Yeah, you’ll get the little motherfucker for sure! That’s okay, call us anytime.

Probably the most serious beef cops have with civilians relates to those situations in which the use of deadly force becomes necessary to deal with some desperado who might have just robbed a bank, iced somebody, beat up his kids, or wounded some cop, and now he’s caught but won’t give up. He’s not going to be taken alive, he’s going to take some cops with him, and you better say your prayers, you pig bastards! Naturally, if the chump’s armed with any kind of weapon, the cops are going to shoot the shit out of him so bad they’ll be able to open up his body later as a lead mine. If he’s not armed, and the cops aren’t creative enough to find a weapon for him, they’ll beat him into raw meat and hope he spends the next few weeks in traction. They view it as a learning experience for the asshole. You fuck somebody up, you find out how it feels like to get fucked up. Don’t like it? Don’t do it again! It’s called Street Justice, and civilians approve of it as much as cops do even if they don’t admit it.

Remember how the audience cheered when Charles Bronson fucked up the bad guys in Death Wish? How they scream with joy every time Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry makes his day by blowing up some rotten scumball with his .44 magnum? What they applaud is the administration of street justice. The old eye for an eye concept, one of mankind’s most primal instincts. All of us have it, especially cops.

It severely offends and deeply hurts cops when they administer a dose of good old fashioned street justice only to have some bleeding heart do-gooder happen upon the scene at the last minute, when the hairbag is at last getting his just desserts, and start hollering about police brutality. Cops regard this as very serious business indeed. Brutality can get them fired. Get fired from one police department and it’s tough to get a job as a cop anywhere else ever again. Brutality exposes the cop to civil liability as well. Also, his superior officers, the police department as an agency, and maybe even the local government itself. You’ve seen those segments on 60 minutes, right? Some cops screw up, gets sued along with everybody else in the department who had anything to do with him, and the city or county ends up paying the plaintiff umpty-ump million dollars, raising taxes and hocking it’s fire engines in the process. What do you think happens to the cop who fucked up in the first place? He’s done for.

On many occasions when the cops are accused of excessive force, the apparent brutality is a misconception by some observer who isn’t acquainted with the realities of police work. For example, do you know how hard it is to handcuff someone who really doesn’t want to be handcuffed? Without hurting them? It’s almost impossible for one cop to accomplish by himself unless he beats the hell out of a prisoner first which would also be viewed a brutality! It frequently takes three or four cops to handcuff one son of a bitch who’s determined to battle them. In situations like that, it’s not unusual for the cops to hear someone in the crowd of onlookers comment on how they’re ganging up on the poor bastard and beating him unnecessarily. This makes them feel like telling the complainer, Hey, motherfucker, you think you can handcuff this shithead by yourself without killing him first. C’mere! You’re deputized! Now go ahead and do it!

The problem is that, in addition to being unfamiliar with how difficult it is in the real world to physically control someone without beating his ass, last minute observers usually don’t have the opportunity to see for themselves, like they do in the movies and on TV, what a fucking monster the suspect might be. If they did, they’d probably holler at the cops to beat his ass some more. They might actually want to help!

The best thing for civilians to do if they think they see the cops rough up somebody too much is to keep their mouths shut at the scene, and to make inquiries of the police brass later on. There might be ample justification for the degree of force used that just was apparent at the time of arrest. If not, the brass will be very interested in the complaint. If one of their cops went over the deep end, they’ll want to know about it.

Most of this comes down to common sense, a characteristic the cops feel most civilians lack. One of the elements of common sense is thinking before opening one’s yap or taking other action. Just a brief moment of thought will often prevent the utterance of something stupid or the commission of some idiotic act that will, among other things, generate nothing but contempt from the average street cop. THINK and it might mean getting a warning instead of a traffic ticket. Or getting sent on your way rather than be arrested. Or continuing on to your original destination instead of to the hospital. It might mean getting real assistance instead of the run-around. The very least it’ll get you is a measure of respect cops seldom show civilians. Act like you’ve got a little sense, and even if the cops don’t love you, they at least won’t hate you.

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At 11:12 AM, Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

you know what I think of cops -- they are tools, dangerous tools, like guns. Use them appropriately. And the best thing to do WHEN it is the cop misbehaving is to take video. And even that didn't do Rodney King much good.

And when cops do something totally insane and get killed, let's quit making out like they are heros. The guy who walked up the stairs before his backup came after the guy said he'd kill him, and got killed, hey, he is stupid, not a hero. The guy who blocked the road with his car and then stood behind the car, and got killed when the speeding car they were trying to catch couldn't stop in time and hit his car . . . he's stupid, not a hero. And the cops who decide on the scene who is guilty and don't think planting a little evidence or lying to get him is wrong -- they should be in jail, not the "perp". And the DA (or CAs in VA, or mr. mcafee in Wise County) who lie and cheat and do anything necessary to get their man (or woman) should face the same jeopardy they place the defendant in.

Let's talk about THAT.

Or maybe I should open the door to that homeland security officer who is knocking now. Or maybe I should tell him that without a warrant he is trespassing.

Oh, and we didn't even get in to the CPS people.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger H. Stallard said...

Of course it was stupid of the officer to go in before his back up arrived. Every officer I talked to about it said the same thing. But he did it and paid the price. Even the newspaper articles and local news on TV inferred that.


Where do you get the hero bit?
If you're talking about the funeral, that ceremony is what would be given to any officer or soldier who died in the line of duty. How many soldiers have died in war because they did something stupid? Does that make their death any less? Less for what they had done before? Less for what they were trying to accomplish? Less for the loved ones they left behind? "Oh, we're sorry little girl but we're not going to bury your dad with honors because he did something stupid!"

I'm still looking for the original news article about the deputy killed behind the road block but I think they proved in court that the driver intentionally swerved to hit the car in the road block. The passenger in the vehicle said the driver said something to the effect of "Watch this!"

Planting evidence is not wrong it's ILLEGAL. So is perjury. Any officer who does either should be locked in the same cell with his victim.

Of course there are cops out there who would do just about anything to make an arrest but there are also ones out there who do it according to the law.

At 11:21 PM, Blogger H. Stallard said...

OK, I was wrong about the roadblock one...here's the latest on it...


At 12:26 PM, Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

you know I'm over-reacting, doncha Harold? But what I saw in news coverage was HERO -- with a slight mention that really his backup hadn't arrived yet. And to how long it is hanging on, the last time I picked up a paper, there was a letter to the editor saying they should name some street after him.

That Sullivan County site is maintained by a rather interesting fellow I went to high school with. Not that I actually know him, I don't. I always thought the guy driving the car was railroaded originally because he was black, not from around here, and (gasp) was with a white woman.

I do stupid things probably every day. But the point is to be less stupid. Cop or civilian.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger H. Stallard said...

You're right about the railroad job. Once ALL the facts came out that was obvious. But there was another roadblock situation where the driver said "Watch this" and tried to hit the officers but I can't find it because I don't remember enough details to find it with a Google search. Anyway it's not that important.

Boy, what I could tell about DA's and CA's and regular lawyers and even a Judge or two! I think that when they all go to law school, they first take classes in what the laws are and then do their major in how to get around the laws.

I've been trying to put things in my blog that show all sides of these law/police/criminals things.

And yes, you do (in my opinion) over-react at times but I'm not going to be stupid enough to point it out to you first.


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