Another Day of Professional Excellence Recorded by Local Metro Police
by Joe Scribe, Metropolitan Times-Howler
Last Saturday, August 7, 2010, proved to be yet another stellar day of many in a long string of excellence recorded by local Metropolitan police forces, according to initial reports by local officials, community activists, victims, and suspects.
Upwards of 9000 law enforcement officers representing city, suburban, county and state agencies, as well as an undisclosed number of federal agents, fish and wildlife enforcement, and parole and probation officers, fanned out over the five-county Metro area to take part in a wide array of law enforcement operations over a 24-hour period. During that time, 397 criminal suspects were apprehended on charges ranging from misdemeanor traffic offenses to first degree murder, another 1143 traffic citations were written for motor vehicle violations, and 4601 separate reports were written, initiating criminal investigations of all manner.
Random calls to several dozen of the criminal suspects and alleged traffic violators since last Saturday have all been met with a consistent theme: The officers with whom the suspects had encounters were all polite, professional, and thorough. Even three who had been tasered after violently resisting arrest acknowledged they probably should have just listened the first time, and were grateful for the prompt medical attention to remove the barbs. Additional calls to an equal number of persons filing criminal reports likewise indicated people were uniformly confident their cases would be investigated with professional rigor and attention to detail.
And the City Police Department was surprised midday Saturday when two young men, who had earlier filed federal civil rights lawsuits accusing arresting officers of using racial profiling and excessive force, called a press conference to recant their accusations. Said one, "Well, the truth is, see, we kinda started the fight in the first place. We thought maybe we could, you know, get some money from the city even if we lost and had to go to jail, you know. And we're real sorry about that now. We should have never lied like that." The young men credited a pastor and local community activist, Reverend -----------------, with setting them straight for even considering such a politically and racially divisive ploy.
In other news involving the Rev -----------------, he announced today he will be organizing and leading a sit-in vigil on City Hall steps to demand a 10% pension payment increase for officers retiring with 25 or more years of service.
Just imagine seeing that article on the front page of your morning paper. Of course, we'll never see a column like that in print - far too dull to sell papers, there are more than enough newsworthy stories to print in our information-saturated world, and cops everywhere would choke on their morning coffee to see such a thing - but reading that would still be a pleasant change-of-pace. The fact is, we will never see it because it is not news. It is a merely a mixture of reality and wishful fantasy; the reality being that it merely reports what the vast majority of cops do every single workday of their career, with the fantasy sequence being the comments of suspects and those we often commonly identify as our biggest detractors.
The truth is, the role of the media is to serve as society's watchdog. In part, that role requires they monitor the actions of public officials - and all of us who wear the badge are a part of that club - report on them, and by doing so hopefully ensure accountability in our behavior. Nonetheless, it can be frustrating to know so much good is being done by so many and in so many ways, and to know the good things are so rarely covered, while stories about law enforcements failings, both real and perceived, are so readily available. Sure, there are the occasional public interest stories about a local PD's or police union's philanthropic activities, or when a high profile case is solved, that paints law enforcement in a favorable light, but those stories have a short shelf-life. For in-depth, long-term media coverage controversy seems a necessary ingredient.