I just read a great article in the N.Y. Post written by author and police supporter, Thomas A. Reppetto. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I rarely post other people’s articles, but again I must make an exception for this exceptional column written in support of the NYPD. I’ve posted a link to the article below.
Reppetto details the attitudes of many police critics, including politicians, and puts into context the situation facing those who dare to pin on a NYPD (or many other) police badge these days. Cops have a lot going against them. One of those things is the fact that, by necessity, cops, at times, must be authoritarians. It’s a part of the job description. In essence, we hire cops to tell us what to do when we are doing wrong and to give us tickets or take us to jail when we don’t listen.
Police officers need a greater level of understanding from the public, and the public needs to accept more responsibility for its actions. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard from people in social situations about the time some cop stopped them for a driving infraction that they, of course, did not commit. I’ve had people say to me that I’m not like most cops; I’m nice. Well, sure, calmly talking while watching our kids at the park or something. I imagine they probably wouldn’t think me so nice if they had been on the other end of my ticket book after I stopped them for a traffic infraction. After all, no one likes to get a ticket.
Often, cops look at the cop-haters and police critics and comment on how unfair they are to law enforcement. However, we tend to neglect, or pay short shrift to those “good” citizens (some of them friends and family) who can cause just as much damage to the public perception of cops as those others when they refuse to take responsibility for their actions.
Of course, this is not to let off the hook those badge-heavy, petty tyrants out there who treat law enforcement like it is a game. Stopping people for dangerous infractions is important and necessary. However, stopping people and interrupting their pursuit of happiness simply because you are trying to set another record for issuing tickets may do as much damage to police public relations as the cop-haters.
As Reppetto points out in his article, cops make mistakes on the job. But so does every other person on the face of the Earth. Still, most other people conduct their business in relative calm and safety. Not so with police officers. Today, under pressure from cop-haters and politicians stricken with the do-something disease, more and more cops are getting disciplined or fired for unintentional errors, often made in the heat of a very scary moment.