“THE PAST IS PROLOGUE” ANTONIO! SHAKESPEARE “THE TEMPEST”
I want to start off by repeating an op-ed that the Beverly Review published in Chicago this week. It will give you some sense of just where I’m going with this article. it is as follows—Retired City Cop Praises Firefighters and EMTs.
I’m a retired Chicago Police Department lieutenant and back in my days as a cop, there was always a bit of rivalry between city cops and firemen. Usually, it was a back-and-forth about the differences in the jobs, some good-natured banter and sometimes it got kind of heated. I never partook in any of it; I had too many good friends and relatives on the Chicago Fire Department, and I also witnessed firsthand some of the heroics they perform while fighting fires.
Years ago, I read Dennis Smith’s book “Report from Engine Company #82.” In it, he writes, “Something has to be said about firemen running into buildings while other people are running away.” The same can also be said about cops who run towards gunfire while everyone else is fleeing for their lives.
With this in mind, I highly recommend National Geographic’s and HULU’s six-part series on 9/11. Riveting, sad, and enlightening it tells the story of just how heroic our firemen and cops are. When you pass by a firehouse or see the beat cop drive by, know that they are willing to risk their lives to serve and protect. Bob Angone Ret Lt CPD-
Sometimes we tend to focus too much on some of the negative and dismiss the thousands of times they are there for us.
The frightening mental strain of policing and working in violent neighborhoods cannot be realized except by those folks who are assigned day after day hour after hour. Yea! it is as the saying goes “what we signed up for” but make no mistake, no one I ever knew in my 33 years on the Chicago Police Department at least, had the slightest knowledge of just what that oath entailed. What cops, firemen, and paramedics see and deal with in those neighborhoods and throughout the city of Chicago in what is most likely one of the most dangerous places in America.
Who can honestly say otherwise? In just eight and a half months there have been over 3,300 people wounded and over 606 souls have been murdered, including babies, toddlers, and hundreds and hundreds of teenagers. There have been a staggering 53 MASS SHOOTINGS (incidents where at least 4 people are shot at one time and as many as 15.) It defies all aspects of a decent society. Imagine the terrible moral injury to the souls of those who investigate, child pornography, human trafficking, torture, murder, and unspeakable horrors we humans are capable of inflicting on each other. The news media never ever gives the details of the brutality, that’s left for the cops and first responders, and I can tell you even at the end of the day it just does not vanish. To this day on a personal level, I can give you details from many, many, years ago of scores of conversations with total strangers who I was the last human they spoke to in their lifetime. One does lose the ability to be shocked for sure but one thing that’s never lost is the memory of the horror.
Human nature is always the flaw in the system. Bashing cops and sometimes first responders have become more and more prevalent in the last few years. Who hasn’t seen the headlines, almost every confrontation between a cop and a person of color makes for BLARING headlines. Cops especially are always called upon to make those perfect decisions with imperfect information, it’s the nature of the job. Kierkegaard summed it up brilliantly when he said LIFE CAN ONLY BE LIVED FORWARD AND UNDERSTOOD BACKWARDS.” My thoughts when I constantly hear the drumbeat of “POLICE REFORM IS BADLY NEEDED” AFTER ALMOST EVERY INCIDENT OF POLICE MISTAKES OR BRUTAL BEHAVIOR OR CORRUPTION, but if one really gave it some thought what if we played up the millions of times the cops get it right and they do get it right 98.5% of the time. Will we ever be able to have skin color confrontations and yea! police work deals with confrontations almost on a daily basis, without the suspicion of racism or profiling being involved? As long as we get our police officers from the planet earth there will be mistakes, bad cops, and corrupt cops and no amount of additional training will make a difference. Anybody who thinks so either has a soapbox or is hoping for ROBOCOPS to become a reality.
The solution is not for calling reform every time an ugly incident involving bad cops takes place. Remove and prosecute bad cops if the situation warrants it, discipline bad cops if need be, but tossing the baby out with the bathwater and interfering with legitimate police practices is not only dangerous it’s plain stupid. The medical profession has about 65,000 malpractice suits filed yearly. Doctor mistakes, and bad decisions, reckless conduct resides in the belly of every profession on earth, cops, doctors, lawyers, politicians, you name it human fallibility raises its ugly head. Ignoring thousands and thousands of good deeds and only reporting controversial ones might sell papers and draw large TV audiences but it also distorts reality and does a disservice to those folks who are dedicated to serving and protecting. So far in 2021, 92 firefighters and paramedics and over 280 police officers have given their lives in the line of duty and no amount of reform or speeches will bring them back. Look behind the headlines and remember all humans have levels of fear and it’s easy to stay on the high road when one doesn’t have to deal with lives on low roads.
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