Every once in a while in order to offset the hysterics about bad cops, or bad apples wearing police uniforms, in my opinion, some folks need a reminder of just what the hell the reality of being a cop in America is all about. Recently one of Chicago’s more prominent columnists wrote a column that stated when cops screw up we don’t spare any ink letting the public know about it, but some of us don’t give the police the credit they deserve. In response to her article, the same paper published my response to her column — I will get to that a little further down in this piece but first I’d like to splash out a few facts that most people are not aware of.
This year through May 16, 130 cops in the U.S. have been killed in the line of duty, nearly 500 have been wounded and the number of injuries from batteries and stabbings is also in the near 500 range. Last year 265 cops were killed in the line of duty in the U.S and the woundings and batterings are hundreds of times more. I’m sure most of the country’s citizens are not aware of those numbers. However, I’m betting they heard about a cop anywhere in the U.S who screwed up or was involved in a questionable situation. Most times in a screaming headline. Just this morning 4 Cops in Alabama were shot in one incident involving a crazed gunman.
One would need Sherlock Holmes and Watson to know that that took place with the exception of the good folks in Alabama. My point is bad cops are so few and far between and the good cops are the overwhelming number. Preception matters and of course selective news coverage creates the illusion that the profession is ripe with so-called bad apples. Nothing can be farther from the truth. It’s the same in every profession, doctors, lawyers, politicians, priests, and so on. If we were subjected in the press to every malpractice suit, to every lawyer who disgraced the profession, every politician who is corrupted, every priest who is accused of being a predator most certainly our views would get skewered. Cops are not afforded that shade. What a bad cop does a thousand miles away from a given jurisdiction is likely to be a local headline in Chicago or any other City. The following was my Editorial piece in response to the column on good cops by Mary Mitchell of the Sun-Times.
“It’s been said over and over again that cops are members of the community, They are fathers, mothers, neighbors, and relatives. They are human beings who are susceptible to all human frailties. There are failures in any walk of life, but cops are often held to a much higher standard– as it should be. But as Mary wrote, we do not give them the credit they deserve. Having been a Chicago cop myself for 33 years I can say with all honesty “NO ONE HATES BAD COPS MORE THAN GOOD COPS.” Cringe moments sometimes last for days when the media reports on bad cops- some from incidents hundreds of miles away– who have crossed the line and disgraced the overwhelming majority who take seriously their oath to serve and protect. Now this past weekend, two more Chicago police officers were shot after they ran towards gunfire. In the last 16 months, 16 officers have been shot and more than 108 have taken on gunfire. Chicago cop suicides rates are among the highest in the nation. MARY MITCHELL GETS ALL THAT. SHE NAILED IT. THINK ABOUT WHERE SOCIETY WOULD BE IF WE DIDN’T HAVE ALL THOSE GOOD COPS RUNNING TOWARD GUNFIRE. THANKS FOR NOT SPARING THAT INK, MARY IT’S NICE TO BE RECOGNIZED.
I’m not trying to do a public relations piece for cops, what I am doing is shining the light on reality, THE OVERWHELMING NUMBER OF POLICE OFFICERS IN AMERICA TAKE THAT OATH TO SERVE AND PROTECT SERIOUSLY. THERE IS NO SHORTCUT TO COURAGE. LOOK AT THOSE NUMBERS. THEY DON’T LIE OR SENSATIONALIZE. Pro Deo et Patria STAY SAFE. LAST WEEK WAS NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT MONTH — HUG A COP — IT’S NOT TO LATE.
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