I like to see myself as an advocate for cops, but I'll be the first to admit that through the years there's been some real dumbasses within our ranks.
And while our detractors love nothing more than shining a spotlight on these morons, they tend to gloss over the fact that a vast majority of the time it's fellow cops that are responsible for blowing the whistle and thinning the herds.
Take, for instance, the case of Jason Moore, formerly an officer with the Fort Meyers (Fla.) Police Department. A few weeks ago Moore was off-duty when he had dispatchers type in a phony call of a man casing cars in a mall parking lot. This was a pretext to get the call assigned to a female officer who'd just broken up with him. By having her do a felony stop on himself, Moore had hoped that he might get a chance to propose to her. (Thankfully, she declined, which gives hope there won't be any progeny from this particular specimen anytime soon.)
While Moore didn't get what he'd hoped for, he did succeed in getting himself and the involved dispatchers fired from the Fort Myers Police Department for making a false report of a possible crime.
"I made a mistake, yes I did," a reflective Moore told FoxNews.com. "But I think it was overreacting [by police officials]."
No, for overreacting, you have to go across the country and see what's happening here in Los Angeles County in the aftermath of LAPD's shooting of an illegal immigrant (euphemistically referred to as an "immigrant day laborer" by the obsequious L.A. Times.)
I give big kudos to the Los Angeles Police Protective League for speaking out loudly and candidly against the repellent politico Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles).
Romero had questioned the officer's decision to fire, despite the fact that the suspect (a Darwin Award aspirant, in my mind) had been 1) drunk, 2) threatening passersby with a knife, and 3) advanced menacingly toward the officer with said knife after ignoring repeated orders to surrender.
Romero, who has no credibility on such issues because she has never worked in law enforcement (not a minute), said that LAPD needs to change its policy regarding the use of deadly force. "We want sensible policies. There are ways in which we can disarm suspects, disarm suspects that are not lethal...that are sensible," she said.
A couple of days ago, Paul M. Weber, president of the police union, put Romero in her place in a press release.
"Sen. Romero seems to have forgotten the adage 'Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt,' " said Weber, who is fast becoming one of my fave peeps in l.e..
Weber didn't stop there, going on to lambast Romero for her "embarrassing public display of her ignorance of law enforcement" and accusing her of making her comments as part of "an empty publicity stunt."
I just love assertive police unions. They make my li'l heart go pitter-patter, yes they do.
But the fact that it often falls upon unions to speak the truth is testimonial to the degree to which our leaders fail to put such reprehensible jerk-off's in their place. For Romero is only the latest of innumerable government officials who venture to pass judgment on the nuances of a profession they have little knowledge of. Why just this time last year our commander in chief was getting raked over the coals for making precipitous comments in the aftermath of the Professor Gates' matter.
True there are a few who will stand up and call it like it is. Joe Arpaio impresses me as such a man. Does he grandstand? Sure! But he's Italian, so cut him some slack. What's great is that he apparently encourages his troops to go and make their feelings known, too. Here's a great video of some of Maricopa's finest tearing Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon a new one:
My old boss, L.A. County Sheriff Leroy Baca, would shit a brick if he saw something like that coming from his troops.
While I understand that many chiefs and sheriffs might be reticent to be so candid, I would hope that they would allow their subordinates to speak their minds without fear of political reprisal (at least, in-house). I guess it really comes down to what their greater priority is: Doing the right thing, or doing the politically safe thing.
Our leaders should remember that every employed cop has friends and relatives, and access to electronic media that can disseminate their opinions far and wide to constituents. Just as the Tea Party has gained traction in a remarkably short period of time, so, too, I believe our law enforcement community has the potential to change the less savory aspects of our political terrain. I only hope more and more cops speak up on the things that they take exception to. In this manner, perhaps they can hold those politicos who speak through their lower orifices accountable, as well.
Crosses Should Be Family Decision
A three-judge panel in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that erecting 12-foot high crosses adjacent to highways to mark the spot where Utah state troopers have died in the line of duty infringes the First Amendment's establishment of religion clause. While the American Humanist Association called the decision "an important victory for separation of church and state," one has to wonder if the court would have so ruled if the officers were memorialized in some Islamic manner (seems like the only untouchable religion out there these days).
For all the talk about separation of church and state, I recall having sworn an oath over a bible a time or two during my career. As an agnostic - atheists get pissed about whenever anyone identifies themselves as such, but screw 'em - my take was such overtures didn't bother me too much.
But I suspect that for some of these men and women, it meant much for them. That the oaths they took on behalf of the profession and the community meant that much more to them because of their faith in their God and they acted on that faith.
Because of this, I believe such monuments should be left to the wishes of the officers' families, who may or may not want to have their losses so memorialized.
Given the sacrifices suffered by the officers and their loves one's, it seems a damned small price to pay.