To Serve and Protect?

A Boston area woman in labour is given a ticket for driving to the hospital.

This is the type of thing that makes decent citizens hate cops. I don’t expect them to be TV supercops and hunt down evil genius serialkillers, but I do expect them to exercise judgment.

Too often the excuse of cops is “that is the law”. While this masks the real cop attitude “I AM the Law!” it is also absurdly reductionist. Every day cops are choosing which laws to enforce. It is not an excuse.

I think the job of a police officer is tough. I can see how dealing with the worst of humanity can make one bitter. I would have trouble doing the job without going nutty. All the cops I know last about two years before the constant parade of human suffering and degradation makes them cynical.

But they are being paid (where I come from they are paid really well) to do a job that has an important civic role. Adopting a judgment free approach is unacceptable. If all we wanted from police was traffic ticket writing we could install photo radar and red light cameras and save a ton of money.

In most areas cops are given a wide swath of respect and benevolence in recognition of the role they do in serving the community. But what if they don’t serve the community? What if they don’t even see that as their job?

It is understandable that dealing with criminals would develop an “Us vs Them” mentality. But make no mistake. “Us vs Them” is not “law abiding citizens vs criminals” it is “Cops vs Everyone Else”.

Including pregnant women in labour.

Think about that the next time the Police Union Propaganda machine starts demanding something.

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Filed under Justice, Law

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