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Blanket condemnations or defenses of police departments usually miss the point: Most misconduct is not the result of police being police, nor of a "few bad apples" who are simply criminal, but of significant numbers of people in departments who don't behave as police being allowed to still wear badges and wield force against the public.  These mustachioed, mirrored-sunglass-wearing authoritah monkeys and careerist parasites who think their job is to Protect and Serve their pay-grade are attracted to law enforcement for reasons every bit as shallow and meaningless as themselves: They enjoy throwing their weight around, bullying people, and enjoying a measure of stature by association that they routinely disgrace.  It is these people who promote corruption, falsification of crime statistics, arrogant behavior, brutality, coverups, and injustice in police departments, and the weight they carry in both numbers and political influence makes it very difficult for real police to do their jobs.  So don't say "Fuck the Police" - policing plays a constructive role in the life of a community.  The problem is when people who don't behave as police are allowed to wield police powers.

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To illustrate the difference between Police and Fauxlice, here are some comparative scenarios detailing how they would each handle a situation:

1.  Political pressure to reduce crime.

Police: Request the resources needed to meet the objective, form a plan to meet the objective, and provide feedback to local government and community groups on non-enforcement programs that might prevent crime.

Fauxlice: Falsify crime statistics, fail to file reports on some crimes, downgrade the severity of reported crimes, and discourage victims from reporting.  Has the effect of increasing actual crime.

2.  A 6-year-old is being disruptive.

Police: Laugh good-naturedly at a child being a child, and contact his parents if they're not present.

Fauxlice: Taser the little bastard, then pepper spray him if he talks back.  Hog-tie him, arrest him, and throw him in the police cruiser.  Don't be afraid to break any bones - kids heal quickly.  You gotta show 'em who's boss around hya.

3.  A 5-foot, 90-lb mentally disturbed woman is waving a screwdriver.

Police: Restrain her, take away her weapon, and arrest her.  God forbid she gets in a lucky slash and a couple of stitches are needed.

Fauxlice: Shoot her to death, and report to Internal Affairs that the six 180-lb, steroid-amped officers who responded with guns drawn were horribly outmatched and terrified for their lives.  

4.  Evidence goes missing from a police station.

Police: Report it missing and investigate.

Fauxlice: Erase the records of its existence to prevent a potentially embarrassing investigation that might turn up all sorts of inconvenient things.

5.  A cop drives drunk and runs over a dog.

Police: Make a judgment call - is this part of a behavior pattern likely to repeat and endanger the public, or a one-off mistake that ought not cost a fellow officer his job?  If the latter, it would be legitimate to remain silent about the incident, provided the officer involved deals with the consequences for the dog's family.  But if it is part of a pattern and there's any significant chance of a repeat performance, shop his ass to Internal Affairs.

Fauxlice: Report that the dog was attacking a fellow officer, and recommend the drunk-driving cop for a commendation and promotion.  If he is promoted, he can then be blackmailed over the affair and become a convenient puppet.

6.  A peaceful protest occurs.

Police: Highest priority is to protect the safety of everyone present, and also to respect their rights.  Protecting property is the second highest priority.  Enforcing permit limits is dead last, and would overwhelmingly involve writing tickets rather than arrests.  If superiors issue illegal or unethical orders, refuse and file a complaint.

Fauxlice: Business wants a crackdown, so City Hall wants a crackdown, and that means an opportunity to get in good with the brass by busting up some hippies and college kids.  Yippee!  Shoot at their heads with tear gas canisters, pepper-spray people sitting on the ground, shoot them with bean bags, beat them senseless, lock them up with no water or medical support for 24 hours, then lament to the media how the protesters were critically endangering public safety by breathing without permission.

7.  Whistleblowers are facing retaliation for upholding the law against their own departments.

Police: Bite the bullet and do their job Protecting and Serving the public like free Americans with a spine, a heart, and a brain.  They knew there was a risk they could be killed or injured in the line of duty, and they also surely figured out at some point there was a risk they'd be demoted or fired in the line of duty because their superiors are corrupt.  That's the situation that separates officers from janitors - whether they're there to serve their community, or to do what they're told.  

Fauxlice: Keep their heads down and mouths shut, if not actively lead the charge against "rats" in the department who dare to do their jobs.  

I don't know the relative abundances of Police vs. Fauxlice, but I do know Police don't get a lot of community support when they're putting themselves on the line to protect the community from its own law enforcement apparatus.  They're usually alone, while the jackals who go after them have an entire political support network behind them.  Maybe we can start to turn this around by addressing that first, making sure whistleblowers get the recognition and support they need to uphold the law when their superiors demand the opposite.  Fuck Tha Fauxlice.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Very powerful! It also seems completely realistic (4+ / 0-)

    Especially your scenarios.  It takes a lot of guts to be a cop.  Perhaps most when you're fighting your own.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:47:30 AM PDT

  •  Wish I could rec this (3+ / 0-)

    20 times for this alone

    Police don't get a lot of community support when they're putting themselves on the line to protect the community from its own law enforcement apparatus.  They're usually alone, while the jackals who go after them have an entire political support network behind them.

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible. -- Voltaire

    by Hastur on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:23:57 AM PDT

  •  my s.o. and I have ongoing discussions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, Horace Boothroyd III

    about this very matter. My perspective is that given what seems to be expected of police today (arrest users and kids for nonviolent drug offenses; juke the stats; deny 1st amendment speech and assembly rights to fellow citizens at the behest of corporatists) it's not a profession honorable people would be getting into anyways, and if there were any honorable peole there they'd do as you suggest:

    If superiors issue illegal or unethical orders, refuse and file a complaint.
    But since you never hear about people doing so, I'm forced to conclude that the fauxlice dominate extensively.

    S.O. insists that the job is honorable and employs many good people, and that if I have policy problems I need to blame the hierarchy/city government. I do blame them - but I wouldn't carry out their orders myself, and I'm real skeptical of people who do so uncritically.

    "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

    by joey c on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:25:30 AM PDT

  •  As a resident of Oakland CA (3+ / 0-)

     I can relate to this:

    So don't say "Fuck the Police" - policing plays a constructive role in the life of a community.  The problem is when people who don't behave as police are allowed to wield police powers.
    It is a very appropriate position to take. We desperately need the police to address the issues of this community. Instead it feels more like they think they are an embattled US military outpost in Afghanistan, and we are all insurgents in their crosshairs.
    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour
      We desperately need the police to address the issues of this community.
      Wich, often as not, is them. Busting people for "Jaywalking" in order to plant something, for example, in areas where, by statute, jaywalking does not apply.

      I know people with criminology degrees who, in the course of their studies, reallized that they could never work for today's police forces, for whom the words "entrapment" and "frame-up" have lost meaning since they've become routine police procedure.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 09:30:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have known several police officers. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    They are all honorable, public spirited people. They appreciate that the power that comes from carrying a gun and being able to arrest people needs to be very carefully used.

    Police are human, and they can make mistakes. Most of the time those mistakes occur when they are scared or uncertain and have to make life or death decisions instantly.

    I also know that people like those you describe exist on many police forces. When this happens, it is due to a lack of leadership from the top.

    •  I'd say it's due to lack of leadership all around. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn, IreGyre

      When there's none at the top, the responsibility falls to the middle.  When the middle fails, then rank-in-file officers have to deal with it.  If they fail, then the community has to step in.  And whoever does step up to the plate at any level needs the support of those around them, at least among the public if not their comrades.  Ideally everyone would exercise leadership, but normally no one does.

      Everything in moderation, including moderation.

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:44:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Doesn't matter.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    ...it doesn't matter that some police officers are civic-minded and thoughtful people, I can't tell the difference between them when one approaches me, as far as I'm concerned, they are ALL a serious threat to my safety, liberty and well-being, and I treat them as such.

    I'm very good at "Eddie Haskell-ing" them, being downright obsequious in my faux-respect, just like generations of African-Americans taught their children to behave around cops.

    As far as I'm concerned, they're just another gang, with better weapons and communications, with a team of taxpayer-provided lawyers to back them up.

    Remember:  They are allowed to TORTURE us if we don't obey them.

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 09:17:14 AM PDT

    •  Refusing to make the distinction (0+ / 0-)

      empowers the wrong side of it.

      Everything in moderation, including moderation.

      by Troubadour on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 11:03:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can show you two photos of cops... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, IreGyre

        ...one that's civic-minded and fair, and one that's a dangerous screwball.

        You can't tell the difference by looking.

        If I see a snake on the trail, I give it a wide berth, it may or may not be dangerous, but I'm not taking any chances.  (And I LIKE snakes.  Some of them are still dangerous)

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 11:24:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  4 words -- "Blue Wall of Silence" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 09:20:23 AM PDT

  •  Great context TNR (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 12:19:26 PM PDT

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