Police Integrity and other Oxymorons

I am all for law and order yet I am not a big fan of law enforcement.police

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.

chickenshit3Yes, 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 dropare 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.

120926103335-jimmy-hoffa-1960-horizontal-galleryI 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 radargunmany 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.

jimmysintension

9 Comments

  1. Right with you. we let put hero worship get way ahead of us. A hero can become a villain real quick.

  2. I definitely feel that $900 million is a corrupt number obviously an inside job. Having said that, I come from a four generation firefighting history (hoping to be the fifth!). I am extremely proud of what the men before have done for their cities, communities, and country (three of which served in the Armed- forces during conflicts throughout the world). My great grandfather was career ending injured on a routine “easy” structure fire. He lived the rest of his life full of complications and suffering. The monetary sum that followed his injuries meant nothing compared to having my fathers grandpa back. My father often talks about the man that was lost.
    I agree with you in the aspect that changes need to be made but! These men and women are all heroes and not necessarily “jocks”. In fact they were men and women trying to do something greater than themselves.

    • Nice…though I wish you would have called me out more assertively on my needless ad hominem attacks. I believe deeply that DROP programs around the country are absolutely legal extortion from the taxpayers -though this does not include payouts for injuries such as your grandfathers…he deserves compensation FOR THIS. Since this blog was basically directed at police officers, other than the retirement issue, I agree with most of your analysis. However consider this: We all choose the profession of our choice. NASCAR drivers get in crashes, police officers get shot at and firefighters may get burned; tragic? Yes. All that surprising? No. If one does not want to run the risk of such tragedy, become a college professor. 🙂

  3. As far as the chicken shit tickets go, I’m totally with you. However, you portray the brothers in blue as these ass-holes out on the road to get your money. You are only talking about what you have experienced first hand which in this case is “unlawful” driving. The law breakers of the community that have been caught and thrown in jail might be thinking that they wish they weren’t as good at their jobs. You could’t possibly know what else is happening out there while your getting your speeding ticket.
    Now regarding the DROP program, first I’d like to point out to you that that with an average payout of $306,000-$328,000 that is only $61,200-$65,600 a year. That being said they are only paid an average of $40,800-$43,000 a year! The individuals on that list that were paid 7 digits or close to it were Fire Chiefs and Police Commanders that have dedicated much time and energy to their carers and made a hefty pay check as a result. Being a Veteran, I know how crappy a government service job can pay even if your life is in danger, I personally only earned around $30,000 a year. Now I don’t know about you but in my opinion, that’s a pretty pathetic salary especially for a person that has spent 25 years putting their life on the line for the community as well as their family. Yeah some of the force may be corrupt, but let’s be honest, corrupt people are everywhere and there is no escaping them. The only solution to a corrupt force is to find them and fire them. Dropping their pension plan won’t effect corruption in the least bit.

    • Perhaps nationally, though this is from Bloomberg:
      “Los Angeles firefighters made an average of $126,258 last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, more than twice the national mean. Fifty-three of the city’s 100 top-paid employees in 2010 were firefighters. Each collected more than the $195,869 earned by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In an interview, McOsker said his pay was $145,000.” This is what we call in academia, horseshit.

      Bloomberg

  4. You have just put into words all the feelings I have. Thank you for being more articulate than I could be, and also for inspiring me to fight my ridiculous ticket I have sitting in my desk drawer…

    • Whether or not you deserved the ticket you got, fight it. When the 210 extension to Redlands opened up and I received a ticket for 80 I did not fight it as I knew it was illegal. Though was it dangerous or unethical on an empty highway? Hell no. I am so sorry I did not fight it just on principle (and to clog up the fucked up system!)

  5. First, I agree with you that the DROP is a “legal extortion” by the unions. While unions have their place, many of them have grown way too far out of control and exert too much influence. However, I disagree with your assessment of DROP. According to the LA 2013-2014 budget [1], the DROP payout will be $98,245,000 (Los Angeles Proposed Budget, page 350), much less than your estimate of $900,000,000. In fact, the DROP disbursement makes up an insignificant 1% of Los Angeles’ budget.
    Another point which I disagree with you on is your claim that “law-abiding taxpayers are becoming a primary source of revenue.” According to the Revenue Outlook [2], the total revenue from the LAPD amounts to $34,070. Yes, that’s right: the revenue from the Police Department is .0004% of Mayor Villaraigosas’s $7.7 billion spending plan. Adding parking fines to the LAPD revenue (which is not included for some reason) brings the percentage up to .002% of the budget. Revenue from tickets is not a significant source of revenue for the city of Los Angeles.
    I think it is important to remember that wherever you go and whatever you do, there will always be assholes. Whether you are a police officer, teacher, engineer, nurse, store manager, construction manager, or politician, there will always be some asshole that says, “I can get away with punching this poor woman that I have just handcuffed” (or whatever equivalent there is for other professions). You’re always going to run into people that want the best they can get, even at the expense of others. It is up to us to not be that asshole, and try to set an example to others.

    I don’t know how to make links, so I will drop my sources here:
    [1] Los Angeles Proposed Budget 2013-2014 fiscal year
    http://cao.lacity.org/budget13-14/2013-14Proposed_Budget.pdf
    [2] Los Angeles Revenue Outlook
    http://cao.lacity.org/budget13-14/2013-14Revenue_Outlook.pdf

  6. Not all police officers are uneducated. My dad has a bachelors degree, and he is a cop. I completely agree with you that the small tickets are stupid. I also agree that there are many officers with ego issues, but I respect them for doing a job that everyday puts them in harms way. You referenced the Dorner situation where they had a one million dollar reward for assistance in his capture. This wasn’t just a normal killer, he was driving up next to cop cars and putting 11 rounds in them. This is also a danger to the public, and somebody this actively unstable needs to be taken into custody ASAP. And as a last note, you said “Aside from the incredible amount of resources we allow law enforcement to spend when it’s their ass on the line.” But if we put incredible amount of resources into it every time their ass is on the line, it would have to be that way literally every day.

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