We are the Police

I’m very thankful for the jobs that the emergency services perform. The police especially have an incredibly difficult role to play in society. They walk a very important and delicate balancing act. And they do it incredibly well, “nearly” all the time.

The city I call home (New York City) has an amazing police force of professionals who keep this city safe and moving and generally do it with a smile and swagger.

Every now and again one of their number is accused of acting poorly or gets in trouble in any number of ways, and every other member of the police force is there for them, giving them 100% unquestionable support. That is the level of brotherhood and loyalty that gets people to want to do a very tough job. I don’t for one second resent this behavior, and in fact support it 100%.

Is it right that every policeman gets behind a comrade in trouble? It’s not just right it’s critical. Without this why would anyone want to stay in a tough, often poorly paid job.

How do you police those who police is always going to be a complex issue! Whoever polices the police must in turn be policed and those people must in turn be policed, and you can end up with a situation that is impossible, where an infinite number of people must work for policing organizations. So instead we use a system of having a specific department who police the police from within the police, and it “generally” works well, actually it’s the best of all possible tried and considered options. But that does not make it perfect.

Clearly the police force does not want rouge elements who do bad things, but when they do happen, externally is should be expected that they offer total support for every single officer, while inside their ranks fixing the issue. I can imagine that in times past this would have included broken limbs, but clearly that is not a modern acceptable response.

Maybe what exists is not always enough, but as soon as you allow any other group to influence the way this works, what can happen can be much worse.

The crazy asshole who shot two officers in their car this week and then killed himself was clearly an evil nutcase. I cannot imagine what made this lunatic act the way he did, and absolutely no good can come of it.

The poor men who were killed and their families have suffered a terrible act, but being part of the brotherhood of police, those who died will be honored and those who survived will always have support. There can be no exceptions to the support officers give each other, its total and an incredibly admirable thing.

What I do know is that I have no idea what the right long-term answer should be, and I’m not sure anyone else does either. But I do know that the police must be safe and that anyone who dies either at the hands of the police or at the hands of anyone else should be investigated openly and fairly.

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