I know they are supposed to be our “heroes” though the system has created an overpowered and greedy monster. The law-abiding taxpayers are becoming a primary source of revenue through chickenshit infractions, while many law breakers, particularly those who offer little financial incentive to catch, are becoming a growing inconvenience for a fat and fucked-up force.
I have friends who are in law enforcement and I have nothing against them personally- thus when I suggest our biggest threat to our freedom is not a foreign invader or a patriot act, rather it is the incredible amount of power, prestige and resources we give to our “heroes” in blue – it is not a personal attack, but an institutional one.
I had the opportunity to sit with city of Redlands former chief of police Jim Bueermann a few years ago several times to discuss some communication training for his officers. Why? He conceded that the great majority of problems his department faces are self-imposed and can be avoided with solid communication practices. Jim is a very good man and he acknowledges many of the same problems that I do.
Unfortunately, he is one of the rare ones.
Yes, some, like Jim, are doing the Lord’s work and are actually concerned with catching criminals that are a real threat to society and public safety while keeping the chickenshit stuff to a minimum –thank God, though the bad is beginning to outweigh the good.
Where do I start? My my, there are so many places to choose…the cops who chest-thumped and high-fived after punching a cuffed woman who was stopped for being on her cell phone? Naahhhh…that’s too easy. (I am not even going to provide a link here….just go to youtube and type in “police punches woman” and you will find enough macho cops sucker punching defenseless women to sicken you).
How about the pocketbook?
Aside from the incredible amount of resources we allow law enforcement to spend when it’s their ass on the line (a one million dollar reward to catch someone after cops); such as protecting officers’ personal homes when a single killer is on the loose or the resources we throw at the pomp and circumstance of police funerals (which is fine though I demand government-paid victims’ funerals); probably the biggest rip-off in a dreary contemporary economy is the free money we are giving to both police officers and firefighters through what is called the DROP program.
DROP allows LAPD and L.A. city fire personnel who’ve been on the force for at least 25 years and are 50 years old to collect both a salary AND their pension for their last five years on the job. And, of course, they continue to collect their pension for the rest of their lives.
The average size of a DROP check is $306,000 for cops, $328,000 for firefighters. If we multiply that average with the number of employees who have participated in the program — 2,808 — we find that the city of Los Angeles has spent about $900 million on the program.
According to a KCET special, some officers receive a check at their retirement of nearly one million dollars.
Heroes? Hmmmmm…if this is not some of the most corrupt behavior by our city’s anointed enforcement of all things lawful and ethical, what the hell are the bad guys doing?
This is a legal extortion by loophole, engineered by powerful unions whose support is a must if one wants to get into public office.
Not surprisingly, in the current LA mayoral race the final two candidates for a run-off, Jan Gruel and Eric Garcetti support DROP and the unions; the strongest nixed candidate, Kevin James, was against it. Loser go home.
The primary argument for DROP is that it will keep the “best and brightest” on the force. Really? For one, who really looks to leave and change jobs at 50 years old and within a few years of retirement? Secondly, best and brightest? Though I do have one friend who was a high ranking officer and quite intelligent, the vast majority of officers in my experience are those testosterone-ridden dudes who played high school football, could not cut it in community college and found an occupation that would take them in to work out their masculinity issues, male or female.
Best and brightest? When I successfully argued AND WON in court against a traffic cop (read: DICK) by simply throwing out a red herring –playing to his inflated ego needs- and he blindly followed it, I realized at that moment these guys are not Einsteins.
I guess we will continue to pay these guys millions of unearned dollars for the opportunity to write us all tickets, costing us hundreds of dollars, for going 75 in a 65 and being a danger to no one, while the underlying driving force to allow such corruption, the almighty and powerful unions, remains in much closer ethical alignment with Jimmy Hoffa than Samuel Gompers.
Even my own teacher’s union (which I am FORCED to belong to by the way) is a leader in the downfall of education in this country; I am not anti-union, I am anti-corrupt union. Though I digress….
Yes, I could rail on this one for days. Though consider this: We give 21 year-old kids a gun, power and prestige, all before the brain is fully developed. We give the most power in society to the people many insurance companies will not cover because they lack the maturity – not to mention education. Sad.
I believe I would be remiss if I did not conclude with an ACTION step here….PLEASE everyone, next time you get the chickenshit ticket – you know the ones -rolling a stop at midnight, going 70 in a 65, jaywalking (yes, the City of Burbank is renowned for these little chickenshit gems)…FIGHT IT! Win, lose or draw we need to start clogging the system so it costs more to write the ticket than to not write it.
And maybe these former jocks can get back to what they should be doing.