Frank Borelli Editor-in-Chief Officer.com
"Never discuss politics or religion in polite company."
I remember being taught that as a child.
Of course, I also remember the statement, "Children should be seen and not heard." Things change.
In today's world - most especailly in the past few weeks - if you've watched television you can't help but be inundated with more coverage than you might even want about the current presidential race. If you've kept up with coverage on the war(s) in the middle east, you might see a connection there between religion and politics...just maybe.
Such topics of discussion may not have any place in "polite conversation", but they most assuredly get discussed around the local convenience store coffee pot by the officers and deputies on duty.
Some of those conversations can get pretty heated. Now I'm not about to go into my own beliefs and values here. Any of you who have read my writing have a pretty clear idea of where I stand politically and you all know I'm not "politically correct".
It took me almost twenty years to make Lieutenant for a reason - not enough filter between my brain and my mouth (or fingers when typing).
However, what I'd like to discuss briefly is just how different those various beliefs and values can be even among a group of people who protect and serve. When you think about it there is a rather particular type of person required to put on the uniform and do the job.
"The Brotherhood" draws it strength from the unspoken assumption that if you're a cop then you're family. We are. It's a fact.
Whether we like the "us and them" reality or not, it DOES exist. But even brothers fight. Sisters can be worse. Parents often have to referee disagreements and in the case of police officers "parents" can mean a plethora of things from the agency administration to the criminal justice system. Hopefully we're smart enough and adult enough not to physically fight when we disagree.
That said, we all know "adults" who, well... aren't. Not making any sense thus far, am I?
The purpose of this blog entry is to get you, the brother and sister law enforcement professionals, to consider the value of what you're disagreeing about.
Do any of the current presidential candidates, as a part of their platform, make any definitive statements affecting law enforcement? Sure, when they're talking to representatives of the Fraternal Order of Police or the National Sheriff's Association they might make statements.
Those statements will be couched to make whoever they're talking to happy. But, in general, the position of any presidential candidate regarding supporting the police, or the fire department, or the local hospital or any public safety organization isn't something making the news on a daily basis. I submit to you - my brother and sister cops (officers, deputies, etc) - that WE collectively should be evaluating candidates based on their positions on issues that will affect US. Ultimately this will also affect the public we serve.
While the rest of the population puts their first priority on various health care programs, tax law changes, etc - not to say that we aren't all interested in those - I can't help but think we might be better off focusing on what will benefit law enforcement in general? It's just a thought - and I look forward to reading yours in return. Stay Safe!