Tag Archives: cops


Did We Just Experience a 30 day Purge?

Several years ago Hollywood created, released, and marketed a film that suggested that a law abiding community could be obtained.  A utopia, if you will, could be created if the government would simply shut down for one day.  There was a catch, however.  In the time that there was no law enforcement, no rescue services, and no safe haven the community will be able to purge itself of all it’s anti-social desires and misdeeds.  This was a fictional account of what could happen.

With marginal results, the film warranted a sequel.  Last summer The Purge II opened in theaters nationwide.  Uncertain whether it was a marketing attempt or a hacker’s wet dream, the entire nation was put on alert that real-life “purges” were going to take place in urban cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City.  Heads of state scrambled to prevent panic as the danger might be perceived as eminent and debilitating.

As time would tell, there was no mass shut-down of social or emergency services.  There was no “24 hours of lawlessness,” but the months that followed unveiled a paradox of proportional injustice.  Instead of law abiding citizens turning on their government, government officials have idly watched as law enforcement officers have turned on the citizens they swore to protect.  There has been more media-amplified killings by members of the law enforcement community in the last 12 months than ever recorded.  Consequently, an uprising of citizens has provoked more fear and reaction from the cops.

The citizens who have not engaged in a righteous civil rights struggle since the assinations of JFK, MLK, and Malcolm X are learning how to successfully develop a meaningful call to action.  Contemporary leaders have exercised the gamut of rallies, riots, sit-ins, die-ins, boycotts, and social media civil rights campaigns.  To no avail, the problems have been exacerbated right up to and including the mass murders that kicked off the summer of 2015.  What started as call to remember their names has morphed into a hashtagging frenzy that brought about awareness but has done nothing to slow the threat of injustice.  Good cops have been put on the defense, mayors and governors have braced themselves for public backlash, and county prosecutors have changed their tone to condemn the over-zealous murders that take place at routine traffic stops.  Even the president (from the safety of Kenya) has recently condemned the injustices that women, minorities, and the disenfranchised have endured for too long!


The Constitution that all officials have sworn to uphold has been revisited and challenged since it was penned.  But the Supreme Court has made some rulings in the past year that have inspired ambitious politicians to base their campaigns on soundbites that either support the status quo or promise change through a new world order.  The ignorant, the wealthy, and the oppressors now have a common bond as their presidential candidates spout catch-phrases like: “Let’s return to the good-ol’ days’ or Let’s take America back!”

The citizens who were once considered the minority have become the majority, and the over-privileged panic to maintain their wealth.  Meanwhile an overlooked demographic has been embraced by the top presidential candidates…the ignorant and uneducated.  There aren’t enough wealthy voters to elect a president!  They are relying on the poor and hungry. As an aside, what better way to cultivate a nation of uninformed voters than to condemn the public schools?  A political strategist can see it’s the quickest way to prevent a large number of people from acquiring the skills needed to question authority.  The powerful are plowing seeds of ignorance, sprinkled with precipitation from countless thunderstorms, and reaped for November 2016 consumption.

The poor and hungry…

There are various ways to explain the condition of poverty:  poor in wealth, poor in spirit, and (and this case) poor in authority.  Hunger can be defined as hungry for nourishment, hungry for wealth, hungry for knowledge, hungry for religion, or (for purposes of this analysis) hungry for human rights.  The New Civil Rights movement will embody the poor and the the hungry.  Those who are neither poor nor hungry will resist.

Since the confederate flag came down, the nation’s eyes have been primed for a revolution.  The rationale for keeping a historic symbol of hate up so long was already understood and accepted for 150 years, but the articulation of these sentiments was just too much for our nation to bare.

Starbucks made a preemptive attempt months ago when it suggested we talk about race, but the market could not tolerate such a “controversial” topic.  The masses said, “No, it’s not the time…” as entire movements of “Black Lives Matter” and #ICantBreathe filled the airwaves, web paths, and store fronts.  August will mark the movie release of “Straight Outta Compton” which will certainly shine a spotlight on what becomes of young black youth who embrace their art to change the world.

The past 30 days have been a warning to the world.  We are a nation that was heralded for it’s democracy and liberties. Those who’ve sworn to uphold the Constitution are also the same individuals who apply THEIR discretion of its interpretation.  The Supreme Court is the third branch of our government, but another kind of supreme court exists at every traffic stop.  When our lawmakers do not create “just” laws and our law enforcers prioritize the laws based on their whims, the Supreme Court only gets the cases after it’s too late.  We the people..?


Vigilante “hacktivists” are now taking center stage.  The same technology that was designed to make our lives easier has allowed us all to fall victim to cyber-attacks, terrorist threats, and out-and-out fear for our well-being.  We are now witnessing authorities surrendering to the demands of terrorists, hackers, and the media.  The NAACP and the ACLU have revved up their efforts to put anti-police social media and iphone apps into the hands of potential victims everywhere.  Our liberties are being attacked and we are at a loss to defend them.  Question:  Who is the enemy?


Boys or Men In Law Enforcement

I had an epiphany while waiting at the Wawa.  A detective I’d worked with nearly twenty years ago walked into the Wawa where I get my weekly coffee.  It’s my Friday morning treat.  But this morning, unlike others, I garnished an idea that had to be explored immediately.  What if cops were not hired until AFTER they were 35 years old?  Thirty-five is the cut off for new recruits.  Most seasoned officers have scaled the ranks and are preparing for retirement by the time they’re in their late 30s.  By age 45, most officers are too young for the retirement home obviously, but young enough to embark on a new career. The wisdom that a mature officer must have… 

Not knowing the statistics involving the average age of officers accused of misconduct, I can only recall the emphasis on empathy. The civil injustice argument is that our law enforcement community is out of touch with the people that it serves. Rookies are so eager to make their mark that empathy is not as coveted as aggression. Making the arrest gets the recognition that restoring community confidence lacks.  But what if these cops already had the experience in the community that was not embalmed in distrust, racial inequity, or profiling?  An older cop (who usually aspires to be a detective or ranking officer) is more likely to deescalate a situation.  Police don’t just arrest criminals. They are community servants.  There’s an opportunity to lead a community and to be a positive example.  Cops are the ones who respond to all types of distress calls.  Caught in traffic with a woman in labor?  Grandpa wandered off again? Noise ordinance violations?  Who do we call?  We are never disappointed when the police arrive regardless of the officers’ age.  But wouldn’t we agree that a seasoned officer has a more realistic approach?

In a more intense scenario, which officer would you want to respond?   In a domestic violence call? Community disturbance? How about an attempted larceny?  A recruit straight out of the academy (or with only a few years experience) has a lot to learn about long term implications.  Since when does a year of physical training, days of class lectures, or hours of practice at the shooting range qualify anyone to effectively manage a crisis?  Are they equally qualified to mediate a dispute?  The answer is yes according to past practice and societal norms.

With all of this (mis)information spinning in my head, I approached the plain clothes cop who was wearing his badge on his belt opposite his cuffs. I let the fellow behind me in line scoot ahead just so I could chat with the detective. Omitting an introduction, I was blunt.  I asked him, “do you suppose that with all that is going on with our failing pension system, it would be more prudent to be starting a career at our age rather than preparing to retire?”   He responded gently, “pardon me?”  I introduced myself as merely another public employee. I took a different approach.  He was not annoyed.  Seemingly intrigued, he waited for me to explain.  I continued, “do you suppose there would be fewer cases of misconduct if the officers were a little older?”

He said, “well, I hadn’t given it much thought”.  This was probably the most honest answer he could have given.  Why not?  A forced answer is not necessarily a good answer. Who was I to ask, anyway?  I thanked him for listening and thanked him again for serving the community as I paid for my coffee.

I walked away wondering if he would ponder why I had engaged him. Would he follow me to my car?  Would he write down my tag number?  Was it probable that he might remember working with me long ago when I was a cadet?  Our hair is gray now and our memory is selective.  Did it even matter?  Even after I no longer worked in law enforcement, the sight of uniformed officers intimidated me. Today was very different. The detective was no more thrown off than I was. Perhaps I planted a seed. Or maybe the entire conversation would be discarded.