Thursday, February 25, 2010

This is the kind of peace officer I knew growing up. Where did they all go?

Bacsi comments on "Multiple Murder by Cop on the Danziger Bridge During Katrina":

My dad was a small town cop who retired as the town marshal of a three man police department. Not much of a career, right? Except for the fact that I had quite a collection of knives including a Mexican toad sticker and one of those little Japanese darlings the girls hide in their hair, that he had collected from wannabe derring-doers by himself, all the while with his service revolver in its holster. Back then it was legal to keep souvenirs of that type, so no, he wasn't a thief.

If it had been legal to keep confiscated firearms I would have had another collection that would have included a shotgun he took after he walked up to a mental patient who was going buggy in the street, again with his service revolver in its holster - yes, the shotgun was loaded, yes, the perp had fired it, and no, my father was not stupid.

He was proudest of the Boys Club he ran for years, and I think the incident that gave him the most pleasure was finding a little girl who had gotten lost one night. He considered his job as being keeping the peace, as in keeping things peaceful so that ordinary citizens could live their lives in peace and not fear. It was a matter of trust and he always viewed his 'police' powers as being discretionary, meaning that if you screwed up he would let it pass if he figured you really didn't mean to cause trouble. But heaven help you if he caught you speeding in a school zone, and he always patrolled school zones when the kids were going and coming. The skeletons in the closets he knew about he didn't use to cement his power and position, he would simply say something like: 'Fred, you remember what happened last time you got drunk, so let me take you home and I'll even speak to the wife so she'll unlock the door.' He had no use for self-important city officials and would write them up for drunk driving or speeding just like anyone else. He quit two job because of the pressure put on him for that attitude, which resulted in him going to work in the woods at almost fifty to keep food on the table, before he was recruited as the town marshal by some folk who had a serious need for an honest police department.

The best story I've ever heard about him was back when he was a patrolman, this was from someone I met years after he died. She said she had been an alcoholic for years, and one night she got into a rip snort'n fight with her spouse who she caught making up to another gal in the local tavern across the street from the police station. The bartender yelled at her that he'd called the cops and she ran out into the alley and jumped into her car and threw it into reverse and stomped on the gas just as two cops stepped into the alley mouth. She blew threw them and lit out for home. Before she got out of town a prowl car came up on her ass with lights flashing and siren howling but she was so scared she kept going for a mile or more until she sobered up and finally stopped. The cop came up to her window and when she could stop crying and shaking, asked her what was wrong. She told her story and he finally asked her that if he let her go would she promise to go straight home and stay there. She promised and he told her to go. She looked at me when she finished that story and said: 'That cop was your dad.'

That cop was a 'peace officer', and they are a rare breed but can still be found if you look hard enough. If you have the good fortune to ever find one, then you might just take some time and give them your support, because beyond a doubt the establishment does what it can to discourage them at every turn, just like it does to anyone who won't be bought, bribed, or intimidated.



jon said...

you can find them, here and there. before he retired, my stepfather used to take the shifts that would let him drive around the old folks' home and just talk to people.

Anonymous said...

It began to change in the 80's. The FBI got ambushed down in Florida and took some casualties. Throw in a little bit of crack, and start glorifying law enforcement with the TV show Cops, and you get a militarized police force. By the time ATF raided David Koresh's church and the Feds shot that lady up in Idaho, it was out of control. I heard about that Haitian guy that was shot 40+ times up in NYC. Well when you have high capacity magazines that can happen. Further militarization.

If I were a judge, I would start dismissing any case made by a police officer for obstructing, I would demand medical examinations for anyone taken into custody. If I were a legislator, I would introduce legislation that would allow a citizen to resist unlawful arrest using the appopriate amount of force up to and including lethal force. By the way, the Texas grand jury that looked into the Koresh Church incident, concluded that the ATF approach was inappropriate and the response by church members were justified.

Chuck K said...

My Dad was a Chicago police officer up until 1964. He had stories like this.

I have to agree that the "war on (some) drugs" is in large part to blame for the militarization of the police and the lack of respect they get today, but one of the biggest factors I see, and my Dad commented on, was the elimination of the "beat cop" who walked through "his" neighborhood and knew everyone. When the powers that be put all officers in squad cars, they lost the connection with the community.

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul is an unusual politician, too; he might be 1 in 1,000, which means 99.9% of politicians are worse. Let me go out on a limb and say that at the best of times, police officers like this might have been 1 in 10 of the police population. And yet they were still oppressing blacks, infringing gun rights, banning recreational drugs, banning medical treatments and practitioners, enforcing taxes, etc. You can't find a period in American history when over 90% of law enforcement and politicians weren't defecating on some portion of the bill of rights. Why do you respect a system that produces these results? There never has been a political system in human history that allowed the civilian population to possess the same weapons as the standing army of the time. None. Zero.

BrianF said...

I suspect many confuse respect with fear.

Brock Townsend said...


Interesting, Bac Si is Vietnamese for doctor.

patrick henry said...

@Anon #1-8:16 AM.

Sorry, but WRONG. Right up to 1934, THIS country did, and with comparatively little crime.

As government tyranny grew, so did crime - with nobody in power ever saying "Anybody else think we're on the wrong road?"

I saw some YT vid of some lefty-bimbo prattling on about what she called "the popsicle index" - what percentage of people in a given area could let their child go to the nearest store to buy a popsicle without being worried about their safety. In my childhood - even in a huge city now world-renowned for its violence - I did just that over about 12 blocks away almost daily, at age 6.

Things were just beginning to turn - my bike was stolen from my backyard and Mom got mugged on a dark street - but in daylight for sure you had nothing to fear.

Now? Fuggeddabouddit - almost everywhere.

So what - exactly - has been accomplished by all this creeping fascism? Everyone I know is more worried about some out-of-control cop, or being killed in a mistaken 3AM invasion than they are of criminals - but then I live in a very safe place.

From what I can see we've lost nearly everything and gained nothing at all.

I say it's time to return to 1934 - and let We The People get the criminals off the street - whether their "uniform" is a white tee-shirt and baggy pants or a nice "official" blue suit.

Gaige said...

So... this peace officer let a drunk driver go on a verbal promise she'd go straight?

I think that's dereliction of duty. Not in any official or legal sense, just a massive lapse in common sense.

Sabre said...

In my opinion, if that attitude was still prevalent in law enforcement,many of the problems of today would be nonexistent.By the way, that Rockwell painting was done at Joe's diner. Its location is on route 20, in the town of Lee, Massachusetts.It is still open,and the walls are adorned with photos and memorabilia of all the famous people who ate there, including a photo of "40 years after" the boy and the patrolman, with Joe. And the food is great, too.

Sergeant Mac said...

These days, if you let 100 drunk drivers go (or "take them home"):

70 of them will take it as the break that it is, won't do that again, and will only speak of it later to thank you.

29 of them will brag to everybody they know about how they "got away" with DUI. (maybe 5 of those stories will get back to someone who will start an internal investigation leading to the loss of your job, or at least a suspension/demotion)

1 of them will get back in the car, or get in a different car, drive, wreck, and injure/kill themselves or someone else, and damned near EVERYBODY will be calling for your head.

Times have changed. A LOT. And not for the better, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Nowadays, that woman backing out of the alley would have been on the receiving end of a mag dump. And that's in "peacetime".

Do you think restraint will improve in a more tense situation?

Does you think that, if the good police were to resign in the face of egregiously unlawful orders, our Moneyed Masters will fail to sign up more scum to take their place?


Skip said...

I know a lot of cops in small towns and large cities.
Almost to a man it's the 'us against them' attitude.
Commenter above is right. They need to be out of the cars and on a beat getting to know the people they 'serve and protect'.

III more than them said...

I was a young screw when I tore around a corner near home, barely missing the curb on the left. A couple blocks later, I lined up to my driveway and peeled rubber into it.

The motor cop parked his bike next to me in the driveway, and asked for my racing license. I gave him my "license" for the local cart racing spot. He laughed, asked for the real thing, and wrote me up. Failure to stop. No wreckless driving.

In the body of the ticket, he made mention that I stopped and WAITED, while a kid jumped into the street to retrieve his ball. I had waited until the boy was well away from the street before resuming my ass hauling to my house. The motor cop saved me quite a few bucks, and showed me that not all of them are power hungry jerks.

Pretty damned good for LA cops....

Happy D said...

I am afraid that your "If I were a judge, I would start dismissing any case made by a police officer for obstructing, I would demand medical examinations for anyone taken into custody. If I were a legislator, I would introduce legislation" attitude is part of the problem.
Do we really need more laws?
When you let the child rapist go because the case was made by a police officer will you bear the consequences when he does it again?

Anon#2 "And yet they were still oppressing blacks, infringing gun rights, banning recreational drugs, banning medical treatments and practitioners, enforcing taxes, etc."
A gross oversimplification of the history to say the least. I know that the Vin Suprynowicz version of recreational drug having no effect on innocent third parties. Is a holy scripture of libertarian thought. But the full non newspaper historical record does not fully agree.
Now I am no fan of the drug war. I would like them decriminalized so the worst of the trash would dispose of themselves.
Do you know why medical treatments and practitioners came to be regulated? Look up the origin of the term "Snake oil salesmen" to find out the rest of the story.

"There never has been a political system in human history that allowed the civilian population to possess the same weapons as the standing army of the time. None. Zero."
Back to history class I am sorry to say.
Start with the English longbow and the requirements of the commoners to practice with them.
The population of the British colonies in the Americas had access to the superior small arm the long rifle. Just two examples of the flaw in that statement. Their are more.
Respectfully, Happy D.

Anonymous said...

It hasn't been that long ago that I lived in a place with cops like that, who generally left people alone as much as they could, and when they did have to have dealings with you, they would mostly be civil and neighborly. Then again, I did live in a place where a jury might let a man walk for shooting a cop who was getting out of hand, but those days are over, and cops are paranoid stormtroopers who are taught to see We the People as their enemies, and treat us as such. I just hope that the good ones, whatever small percentage that may be, are smart enough to get into an honest line of work before it gets nasty. I'd say private security companies will be a big hit in the future.