COPS: GOOD AND BAD
IN MY OPINION: By W.T. “RoadBlock” Harrell
PART ONE: The Good
We are doing the same thing the government does to us by lumping all cops into a bad cop category. This is a serious mistake that makes it almost impossible to bring about any changes. I hope these articles, Part One and Two will give you something to think about. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
After serving thirty years in prison, many people assume I hate cops. Cops dictated if I could leave my cell, if I could receive medical care, when I ate, what I wore, what I could say to them without getting my cell tossed –24/7 for thirty long years. Did I like it? Not hardly.
Since coming home five years ago, I have to answer to my parole officer. He makes surprise visits to my home, and monitors both personal and business activities and records. Do I like it? No, but it’s his job, and we both know the rules.
My book-signing events take me many places. I’ve met and talked with a lot of local, state and federal police officers. Many are unhappy with the way things are going in America for all of us. Do I like it? Hell yeah, it’s great to finally have open discussions, with concerned uniform and street cops to old-school prison guards, about issues that concern us and our families and country.
And of course, our main topic is about law enforcement going to hell.
GOOD COPS: I believe there are many cops who do their best to uphold the traditional standards of law enforcement in a professional and constitutional manner. They’re respectful to lames, liars and John Q Citizen alike, have tremendous patience, and can diffuse a dangerous situation without a tank or riot gun.
As history has proven, these “good” cops catch shit rolling downhill. Treating the public with ethics and common sense goes against directives from the upper echelon, who crave sensational media stories to further their political goals. “Look, we are ‘Tough On Crime’, we just blew that drug house apart with everyone in it! One of them had an illegal marijuana flake or seed in his pocket. Vote for me, I will keep you safe!”
Faced with little support all the way up the food chain, however, bucking the system means losing promotions, friendships and possibly careers. Superiors no longer consider the good cop a “team player,” which is ironic, because a good street cop is usually an independent person capable of making good decisions without any help from a politician.
Some places are worse than others. Daytona Beach LE relishes their reputation for harassing tourists, especially during biker events. Yes, the ill will and ticket gouging adversely impacts commerce for local businesses, but the police chief isn’t shy about his political goals being more important than the community coffers.
In fact, he has publicly stated that motorcycle clubs are not welcome in Daytona because “they are nothing more than criminals and domestic terrorists.” I’m not sure how the Bikers for Jesus and veterans clubs feel about that.
By contrast, Panama City Beach welcomes people to Spring Break and biker events. The cops I’ve seen there handled visitors with common sense and courtesy, maintaining public safety while recognizing the attendees are there to have fun.
In any town, a seasoned street cop knows his clientele: the petty criminals who’ll never learn, a stranger who sets off all his sixth sense alarms, or a kid egged into something stupid by friends. From experience, those officers know how to handle each situation.
These police officers have my respect and should have the respect of everyone. Without them, our society would descend rapidly into total lawlessness, where only those with no conscience will survive. I believe the good cops live by the oaths they took when they were sworn in as Police Officers.
“I do solemnly swear to uphold, defend and protect the U.S. Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic.”
“On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character, or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the Constitution, my community and the agency I serve.”
Conclusion: Some of the police officers I have spoken with tell me they need the help of citizens to get Law Enforcement back in the hands of professional cops (as opposed to military trained killers). How? Well, do bikers appreciate getting lumped into one category by glory-hounds like Chief Chitwood? Exactly. So why would any decent law enforcement officer appreciate comparisons to a rogue cop who beat and brutally sodomized a handcuffed nonviolent offender? Or a military force posing as law enforcement
As hard as it is, we have to rearrange our own thinking. Not every squad car means grab the kids and the dogs and head for the bomb shelter. Not every blue light means an instant ticket. When you start to rage against all cops in general, think about a world without them between your family and the sociopaths waiting in the dark. If nothing else, consider they may be in the majority of officers that aren’t scared shitless of dogs, and save yours instead of shooting it.
If I can learn to have a reasonable conversation with a few, so can you. Sometimes you learn something very valuable, that just like us not all cops are the same.
Note: The way I looked at my personal experience with cops back in the old days? Their job as law enforcement officers was to put me in jail if I broke the law. On the other hand, my job was to not let them catch me violating the law. They had their job, and I had mine. Guess what? Fifty years later, after all that bullshit, we’re not keeping score. We’re all just glad to wake up one more day.