Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Last night on another website I took a poll.

There are a number of police officers on the site and from time to time they get bashed pretty hard, generally unfairly. A number of the members there sometimes ask the various Law enforcement type how they would act under certain circumstances.

Last night I took a dirty rotten poll asking officers if they would do such things as beat up 97 year old men, set fire to orphanages, flash girl scouts, and things of that nature if they were ordered to do so by their chief.

Of course, to make it fair I gave them two choices. They could either vote 'yes' or...'yes'.

Strangely enough, for some odd reason everyone that voted in the poll voted 'yes'.

The poll was a mild spoof on some of the questions asked of cops over the years. Mine, of course went beyond the ridiculous and into the sublime.

The point being that generally speaking police officers will generally do what they are told by the community they serve. If the community wants strict policing of the most minute infractions they police there will make damned sure that jaywalkers are brought to justice. If the community wants them to simply keep the peace, they will generally be a lot more tactful and will tend to let a few of the lesser things slide.

The average cop is generally just some guy that gets up in the morning and goes to work at a somewhat thankless job and makes a paycheck. After work he is generally trying to do the best he can to raise a couple of kids and keep them fed and clothed. In reality they are not a whole lot more different than anyone else that works for a paycheck.

They come in all shapes and all sizes and with all humors. Some are serious like Joe Friday of 'Dragnet' fame, some are a lot more easygoing. In generall they are just guys that are trying to do a good job and are attempting to make the planet a little better and safer place to live.

Of course, like everything else, there are exceptions and these tend to get noticed by the public. Of course, these few tend to smear a fairly honorable trade for the rest of the tradesmen practicing the trade. There are also a few honest mistakes made here and there by honorable officers and these tend to grab the limelight.

You have to remember that policemen are simply human beings and by definition they are flawed as we all are. They do make mistakes and that is something simply to be expected. We can only hope that the mistakes they make can be corrected, hopefully with an eraser, but if necessary the courts. That is part of the reason we have courts. They sometimes correct mistakes made by policemen.

Some areas have strict police forces and the township next to mind has a force with a fairly strict reputation. I have had contact a number of time with some of the officers there and have suffered no headaches. I sometimes hilltop with a portable ham rig in a mall parking lot at off hours and they have stopped by a couple time to see what I am up to. I simply write these visits off as guys doing their job, which is simply what it is.

Frankly, I would wonder if they didn't have enough curiosity to check me out as sitting in a mall parking lot at odd hours with a military radio is something that probably ought to be checked out.

A lot of people get indignant when the police do drop by and see what is going on. They get upset which really when you think about it is wrong. Police are supposed to check things out to make sure things are on the up and up.

It doesn't make any sense to get upset with an officer that is simply doing his job. If you are engaged in lawful and reasonable behavior the cop is simply going to nod and go away. If you are pleasant he just might have a pleasant conversation with you. If you are snooty with his do not be surprised if he returns the compliment. After all, he is only human.

One of the things people ask one another is "What are the cops like in such and such a place?"

Why don't you simply look around?

If you see that just about everyone driving obeys the speed limits and comes to a dead stop at stop signs than it is a lead pipe cinch that traffic laws are enforced. On the other hand if you see a number of pickups roaring past you with the passenger shooting signs and mailboxes with an occasional whiskey bottle being thrown out the window you can probably figure that they don't enforce traffic laws (and a few other laws) in that area.

A trip to a tavern willl tell you something. If the people there behave themselves they most likely enforce laws there. If you walk in on a Saturday night and see people breaking chairs over each other's heads and the bartender explains that the loose substance on the floor is not sawdust, but last night's furniture you can bet they don't enforce a whole lot in that particular municipality.

Policing simply reflects the community and the community generally gets either what they want or what they pay for, and often both. Cops are like everyone else. They tend to seek employment in the higher paying areas. If a community pays well it will draw a large enough empoyment pool so the community can be selective. If they don't pay well, they are generally stuck with what they can get. This is why wealthier neighborhoods generally get better officers.

Police officers are little more than a reflection of the community in which they serve.

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