Being a cop…After McKinney

The fallout from McKinney (and Ferguson….and Baltimore) will be felt for years in many different ways, and this is just one of them.

Would you encourage your kid to become a cop today?

The standard response to the question “Why do you want to be a cop” has always been “Because I want to help people”.  And that’s a great answer.

  • But what happens when the cops go to help a store owner who was just assaulted and robbed (Ferguson) and are vilified in the media for months afterwards?
  • What happens when the cops go to help clean up a drug infested neighborhood for the residents who can’t do it themselves (Baltimore) and are indicted afterwards?
  • What happens when while the cops are trying to help the victim of an assault, they have to manhandle a teenage product of poor parenting (McKinney) and then have to resign their jobs days later?

I’ll tell you what happens, the folks who became cops to help people will decide that it just isn’t worth it.  They’ve got a great desire to help others, but don’t forget that “others” also includes their own families.  They’ve got wives who enjoy pretty things and kids that need new shoes and college to pay for and medical bills just like everyone else.  And so to help the “others” that are closest to them, they’ll decide to go take another job.

Maybe they won’t quit.  A lot of those cops are going to be too old, or too uneducated, or too jaded by the job to be able to start over with something new.  But those cops WILL NOT stay on the street.  They’ll take a desk job or some hide away in some part of the police department that doesn’t actually require interaction with bad guys.

So who will be left to deal with bad guys?  The people who don’t need to be cops, that’s who.  The law enforcement profession has always attracted people who were too dumb or lazy to do anything else.  Or even worse, those people who want to exercise power and control over those around them.

Those bad cops will be left.  And don’t forget that those lazy, dumb, bad cops won’t just deal with the bad guys.  They’ll be dealing with everyone else too.  They’ll be pulling over your teenage kids.  They’ll be responsible for driving through your neighborhood keeping the ne’er-do-wells away at night.  And they’re gonna do an awful job at it….because they’re lazy, dumb, bad cops.

Right now EVERY cop in America is wondering if his next call is going to wind up on the news, if his family will receive death threats, if his department will hang him out to dry for doing the job they sent him out to do.

So what about the good cops who are scared to do their jobs but can’t leave or get off the street?  They’re going to just quit doing anything.  They’re not going to look for people speeding through a school zone, or patrol a neighborhood at night, or go looking for bad guys.  They’re just going to sit and wait for things to get better.

None of those things may be right, but that’s the way things are.

You see, McKinney is different.  In Ferguson, someone died.  In New York, someone died.  In Baltimore, someone died.

But in McKinney a teenager broke the law, refused to cooperate and was pushed to the ground.  And when a cop can’t physically control a criminal without all of this fall-out….there won’t be any good cops for very long.

Mixed in with all the other things resulting from McKinney is the long-lasting damage done to the law enforcement profession.

I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s not a simple or quick one.

I’m convinced that for now, the answer begins with all the ordinary, sane, tax paying, non-criminal folks in this country to start telling the fringe, crazy, leaching, criminals in this country to just shuuuuuuut-uuuuuuuuup.



3 Comments on “Being a cop…After McKinney

  1. Eric, I’ve never thought that some cops are attracted to the job because they can’t do anything else. Surely that’s only a small percentage. However, I do think a lot of them enjoy the power they have and sometimes abuse that.

  2. I was JUST saying the same thing to a friend and the hubby yesterday…. Crazy backwards world we’re living in right now. *Sharing*

  3. Hey Judy! It’s a lot more common than you’d think. To be a cop in most places you’ve gotta have a clean record and some common sense, but not much else. So given the option of swinging a hammer in the sun or riding around in a car talking to people, a lot of guys choose the cop car.

    ***To be clear…I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Those guys make great cops. The point I was making is just that those are the cops who will eventually stop being cops and go back to swinging a hammer.***

    And yes, the job has always attracted people who are attracted to power. And nothing will ever drive those people away from being cops (which is why it’s so dangerous to lose the good cops).

    Good to hear from you!