Arguably the Law Enforcement profession is the most exposed profession in the world when it comes to entertainment and everyday life. This morning just reading the Chicago papers there are no less then ten stories involving cops and the stories they generate in the everyday life of a big City. Crime, corruption, and trials dominate the headlines. Then of course we have the television Cops. Since the eighties we've been exposed to the "Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, Cagney and Lacy (yea) N/Y P.D. Blue, and of course all the CSI copycats. CSI Miami,CSI New York,CSI Sherwood Forest is sure to be right around the corner. These shows feature Cops wiggling around in 3 inch heals with tight skirts and Victoria Secret tops collecting DNA samples using Noritake China plates.
I gotta tell you after 33 years of crime scenes, I have never once observed a 3 inch heel unless it was on the victim. All of these shows of course feature cops who bring terrorists, serial killers, rapists ,mass murderers and many other miscreants to meet justice, most times in under an hour. This is so because the 10 and 11 O'clock news shows are ratings bonanza's and the networks are all about ratings. Those that are not concerned with the news and weather can simply switch to the cable channels and watch all the Cop show reruns. Of course every one of them are figments of the imaginations of creative writers. In actuality, you couldn't find more CRAP unless you visited the stables at Churchill Downs. What am I getting at you are probably asking? The reality is, cops are human, we come from the society and communities we live in.
Richard Thaler the Nobel Laureate from the University of Chicago and renowned Behavioral Economist, perhaps summed up us humans best, "Humans are impulsive, we are biased, and otherwise fallible." Make no mistake, Cops are trained, however no matter how much training one gets the human stain remains. One never knows what the constant exposure to violence, trauma, danger, poverty, and man's inhumanity to man, not to mention having at times to make split second decisions that involve life or death. The reality is, 98% of the time across America, cops are actually on video getting it right time and time again. To the news media and those who monitor Cop behavior this is not news by any stretch. However, that 2% is inevitably never going away. Cop mistakes, cop corruption, and cop brutality, sometimes leaves the 98% calling for the slaughter rule. The broad brush comes out, cops become red meat in a jungle of hungry meat eaters, the carnivores and omnivores are both feasting.
This is not a knock on the news media, communities should be outraged by police misconduct, and the news media has a duty to point it out. However it's difficult to get a true picture of those who serve and protect by just monitoring the negative headlines of police behavior and watching the made up shows that are presented for entertainment. This didn't hit me until a while back when a friend said to me she thought the Cops were mostly responsible for the 2,990 souls murdered and the 15,000 wounded in Chicago in the last 5 1/2 years. At first I thought she was kidding but man oh man she wasn't. I asked her how she came to that conclusion and she said that's all she has been hearing from the media, the cops need to be reformed so the community can feel their trust.
When you have that much violence in communities, rest assured, it's not the fault of the police, or any kind of reform. People are not afraid of the police, they are afraid to cooperate with the police because they live in fear of the Gang Thugs who are doing the majority of the killing. They would not hesitate to retaliate, snitches wind up with not only stitches but sometimes are found dead in ditches. That in my opinion is the real reality. I'm sure other opinions are out there.It's good to remember if everyone is thinking alike, nobody is thinking.
As far as I know, nobody in Law Enforcement is asking for your tears, we know that tears dry quickly when they are shed for others. However it would be great to keep in mind the overwhelming number of those men and women who serve and protect are not defined by headlines of police misbehavior or what we see as entertainment, Dr Thaler's words should be front and center in judgement --impulsive-biased- and otherwise fallible, that 2% is never going away. We loath them as much as anybody. History according to popular belief, doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes.
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