Who Is Watching The Cops?
Okay, I know the title of this post seems to indicate that I am making a post about Police Corruption and Abuse; sorry to disappoint but this post is FOR the Police.
I am a staunch supporter of constitutional rights, just as much so as anyone else. I’d be the first to stand up and speak out when I see any type of Police Corruption and/or abuse. I think anyone that knows me, knows what I just wrote is true. But I do have a rant, and it is supportive of the Police; so please read on.
I am seeing a trend these days of people video taping the Police and confronting the Police over issues that they believe are unjust or just wrong. I am all for video taping, and as a Private Investigator I think I have a fairly firm grasp of privacy issues and what constitutes an expectation of privacy. Based on my knowledge as a Private Investigator I believe that video taping the Police in a public place is completely legal. However, I have a concern over the confrontations that I have seen occur in some of these video tapings, so let me address that one specific key issue.
I have seen a lot of citizen confrontations with the Police, and I have to say that rarely have I seen a discourteous, impolite and/or less than professional manner in which the Police Officer were communicating with the citizen he or she was having a confrontation with. As a matter of fact I have seen Police Officers tolerate more rudeness, belligerence, and down right verbal abuse than any citizen could be expected to tolerate. I have a real problem with this. Now, before I go much further I want to acknowledge and compliment the people that do remain courteous and respectful when confronting Police Officers, that is how you are supposed to communicate with another person and Police Officers are people too.
Who can fault a person for doing their job? Who can fault a public official for correctly doing what the citizens of their community pay them to do? While I will concede that the job of a Police Officer is often unpleasant, and is usually confrontational, and often enough ends up in someone going to jail, that does not seem like a reason to disrespect the people that work in the Public Safety profession across the board. These Police Officers are typically just responding to calls, and enforcing criminal procedure. I think that very, very rarely is that personal. I can’t for the life of me understand why people can’t treat the Police with the same respect in their communications that the Police seem to try hard to treat the citizens with. I know that some Police Officers can seem a bit abrasive at times, and that can be irritating; but there is a huge difference in being abrasive and being disrespectful.
Just because a citizen has taken it upon himself or herself to watch the Police does not give them any right to call the Police names and use foul and disrespectful language with the Police. I could not imagine a job where I had to look forward to being talked to in the worst possible way everyday I came into work. It is possible to be civil when a person is confronting a Police Officer, not only is it possible but it is far more effective and the Police Officer is far more likely to listen if one addresses them in a civil and polite manner. Personally speaking, I have never been addressed in a rude or belligerent manner by a Police Officer, as a matter of fact any time I have had a confrontation with a Police Officer he or she has never been less than professional with me.
My thoughts are this, let the Police do their jobs. If you think they are doing something wrong, video tape and document but remain courteous and cooperative. A citizen has many recourses available to them after the incident at hand is over with. If the Police Officer gives you an unlawful order or violates your rights, then document it, get an attorney and make them pay for it; but I see no need to communicate with the Police Officer in a less than civil manner. My observation has been that most Police Officers are just good people with a thankless job. I’ll acknowledge that there are some “bad Police Officers” out there; but one thing that may do everyone well to remember is that every Police Officer out there has the potential to be the one to save your life one day.
I don’t think it is asking too much to treat the Police with some civility and basic human respect when you are communicating with them.
Ricky B. Gurley.