Have you, gentle readers, ever wanted to be a police officer? You have?! OK then; stand up straight, raise your right hand, and repeat after me:
Me: “Your name…”
You: “Your name…”
Me: “No, your own name…”
You: “Your own name…”
Me: “No, I mean…OK, OK! Am a police officer.”
You: “Am a police officer.”
Me: Booga booga booga!”
You: “Booga Booga Booga?”
Congratulations! You are all virtual police officers of the SMM police force until the end of this article. A benefit of attaining this prestigious position is that all of the organizational knowledge of a police officer has been automatically downloaded into your subconscious as you read this sentence. Did you feel the tingle of excitement?
You know that one of the most important things any police officer has to know is who, in their jurisdiction, is above the law; immune from arrest. I’m speaking of day-to-day, normal circumstances. High-ranking police administrators will likely tell you that no one is above the law. You know you can’t believe them, so you seek out experienced street cops, perhaps an equally experienced Sergeant.
The answer, in large part, depends on where you work. If you work in a medium to small city, particularly in a conservative area, the administrative answer is likely pretty straight. The street cops and Sergeant will simply explain the kinds of people that it is smart to treat gently, and that it is best to avoid contacting or arresting unless they are such jerks you have no choice. In a big city, particularly those under Democrat rule, there will be a very long list of untouchables, which frequently changes.
Cops know there are other pitfalls. In Conservative cities, the chain of command is clear and generally does not change. While police agencies are under the control of elected officials, officers take orders from, and answer to, the chief. Officers know they won’t be getting orders, particularly contradictory and dangerous orders, from politicians. In Democrat-controlled cities, police Chiefs are always getting bizarre and politically correct orders from politicians. In fact, no chief unwilling to fully support the politicians that hired him will ever be appointed.
The first state of affairs–a clear and uninterrupted chain of command–is most conductive to good discipline and the rule of law. The second state of affairs is most conducive to corruption, confusion, and placing officers and the public in deadly danger, as officers discovered during the Freddie Gray riots when they were receiving tactical orders from the Mayor’s Office, orders that nearly got many of them killed.
Officers know that they must be able to do their jobs, and as long as they are acting within the law and the reasonable boundaries of the exercise of professional judgment, their superiors must protect them. In Conservative agencies, this is generally the case. In Democrat-controlled cities, it is not. No officer can be certain what will happen when he properly does his job.
Keep in mind, gentle reader/cops, I am, of necessity, speaking in generalities, but they tend to hold true.
So what happens when you, virtual police officer, can’t be certain that doing your job properly will not see you disciplined, perhaps even fired? What happens when routine, accepted and lawful action on your part–just doing your job the right way–could end your career? What happens when you know that your superiors will not only fail to protect you, they will gladly throw you under the bus to protect themselves?
You’ve seen it. You know that some cops will always do the absolute minimum, just to avoid any possibility of trouble. They don’t shirk their duty. They answer every call they’re given, and they handle them professionally, but they do not lift a finger to be proactive. They make the same salary as you, and often, because they know how to stroke the right people, end up promoted while dedicated, proactive cops find themselves stuck in patrol forever, with no chance of promotion. But that’s under normal circumstances.
What if you discover that you could end up a felon on Tuesday for doing precisely what you did on Monday and every day before that? What if you, and every virtual officer, suddenly had no doubt that you could be arrested and relentlessly prosecuted for doing your job properly? What would you do then?
This is what you’d do:
If you could not leave; if you did not want to leave, you’d do the bare minimum, and you’d absolutely avoid the kinds of people and actions your political commissars would use to hang you.
If you were younger, not too invested in a pension to move, you’d get the hell out of there and find a rational place to work, where a cop can do his job and actually uphold the law, where he can serve and protect. Such places actually exist.
You’d sit back and watch in disgust as the crime rate skyrocketed, because the crooks would quickly figure out what was going on. Like animals, they can smell weakness, and being crooks, they’d take advantage of it.
There’s more, of course. You don’t like any of it. You really want to help people and catch bad guys. It’s why you took the SMM oath. But you can never be sure when some petty crook will cry “police brutality,” and you can never be sure how your superiors will behave when they do. The facts won’t matter; the politics of the moment will. Oh yes: you can be absolutely certain the local and national media will crucify you. The Baltimore Sun reports:
A week later, on the anniversary of the worst of the [Freddie Gray] unrest, two plainclothes detectives spotted another boy, this one with a BB gun, across town in East Baltimore. Thinking it was a real handgun, they gave chase, and one of the officers shot the boy, wounding him in his leg and shoulder.
It was just what police commanders have sought to avoid: an incident that revived the belief among many residents that the department is either unable or unwilling to protect the city’s poor black neighborhoods without contributing to the violence.
Suddenly, the national spotlight was back on Baltimore. And once again, the city was at the center of the national debate about racial equity and the criminal justice system.
At the scene of the shooting, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis huddled with other top commanders, his face stern. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had appointed Davis after firing his predecessor amid the fallout from the death of Gray, who died after suffering spinal cord injuries in the back of a police transport van, and a skyrocketing homicide rate.
Before a bank of cameras, Davis expressed regret that the boy was injured but defended the officer’s actions. He also promised a thorough investigation.
‘We’re going to get it right,’ he said, in what has become a common refrain.
What The Sun neglected to mention is that not only did the boy fail to obey the officer’s orders, he actually pointed the gun at the officers, who held their fire until that point. The gun, a replica of an actual handgun, could not be distinguished from the real thing without a close, physical examination. The officers got it right.
What do you think, fellow officers? Should they be worried about being thrown to the wolves? Would you, in the same city and circumstances, be worried about that?
And how are things going in Baltimore in the year since Freddie Gray’s death? After all, social justice warriors across the nation, including many in the Obama Administration, have been claiming there is no such thing as the “Ferguson Effect,” which is, of course, what we’re talking about.
Even as Davis has tried to project confidence in his ability to ‘right the ship’ in Baltimore, violent crime has continued at a staggering clip after reaching a per-capita record last year. In the past 12 months, there has been, on average, nearly a homicide per day. In the past week, the pace has been double that.
Davis and cops on the street say their crime-fighting efforts have been hampered, in part, by a surge in resignations following the unrest and by the difficulty of attracting new recruits. Since April of last year, 271 sworn members have left the department, while 86 have been hired. The department currently has 284 vacant positions.
Many officers are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the unrest, according to Davis, and union officials say morale is low. Meanwhile, the department is bracing for the results of a civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the trials of six officers charged in Gray’s arrest and death.
This is the Ferguson Effect, Baltimore version. It really does exist, and it is spreading across the nation. Because you are police officers, you are not surprised. You expected exactly this. If the politicians and public asked you, if they were willing to listen, you could have warned them. In fact, you tried. This is what the politicians, and many of the citizens of Baltimore, thought they wanted, and their fellow citizen/criminals are giving it to them, good and hard.
For the 2,300 members of the Baltimore Police Department, this is the new reality: confronting intense violence under intense scrutiny. [skip]
With the unrest, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby’s decision to criminally charge the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest, and recent legislative efforts in Annapolis to overhaul the Police Department’s disciplinary process, many Baltimore cops ‘feel like they aren’t getting support from anyone,’ said Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the local police union.
‘The morale is low. They’re not happy.
They feel that way because they’re not getting support from anyone, which would tend to make any rational person unhappy.
While Davis has come out in support of officers in several recent incidents — including Detective Thomas Smith, the 12-year veteran of the force who shot Dedric Colvin, the eighth-grader with the BB gun, last week — the chief also has bowed to pressure, Ryan said.
Ryan noted the legislative changes to the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights and Davis’ support for civilian participation on trial boards that review officer misconduct. Some officers feel that Davis has been spending more time ‘campaigning to keep his job in the current election cycle than running the Police Department,’ Ryan said.
Officers also are uneasy about animosity toward police across the nation, and the implications for ensuring public safety, Ryan said.
‘All of us are walking on eggshells. What’s the next explosive thing that’s going to set the powder keg off? What’s the next matchstick?’ Ryan said. ‘If society wants us to be a softer police department, you have to be careful what you wish for.
Good and hard.
By all means, take the link and read the entire article. It is, for the most part, the kind of Leftist non-thinking police officers know too well. Consider the end of the article:
At a recent awards ceremony, dozens of cops sat in long rows, awaiting recognition for acts of bravery during one of the most chaotic years in the city’s history.
Among those being honored were various members of the department’s SWAT team who went into large crowds of rioters last year to pull injured officers out of danger. But most of the officers were there for acts performed outside the public view.
One was honored for saving the life of an infant who’d stopped breathing, another for spotting a man in cardiac arrest while on his way home from work, jumping out of his car to perform CPR until medics arrived. Others received awards for saving a gunshot victim and for intervening on behalf of a woman in an abusive relationship.
Officers Daniel Vernes and Arthur Hood were given the department’s Bronze Star for their actions during a confrontation with a woman who turned on them with a handgun and began yelling ‘I’m going to shoot you!’
In a split second, the department said, Vernes rushed the woman instead of drawing his own weapon, knocking her to the ground and wresting the weapon from her.
Did you recognize the problem, fellow SMM cops? A woman put several officers in mortal danger, judging only by The Sun’s account, it would be hard to imagine a more justified police shooting, yet the officer choose not to shoot, and exposed himself to serious injury or death instead. He’s getting a medal for it. He could easily have earned a coffin. Is this a case of a cop so situationally aware, so well trained, so exceptional that he absolutely knew he could rush her and do it safely, or is this the case of a cop scared to defend his life in the most effective, fully justified and lawful way, because he didn’t want to end up being prosecuted for protecting the public and saving his own life?
Let’s let Chief Davis have the (nearly) last word:
People want to know, ‘Is everything fixed? Is it done yet? Where’s the final chapter?’ Davis said. ‘Well, the book is being written, the journey is being traveled. And that’s going to be a process.
‘Thank you all for staying here in Baltimore and being part of history.
If you were a Baltimore, instead of an SMM officer, would you stay to be a part of that history?
The legal wrangling relating to the trials of five of the officers, and the re-trial of Officer Porter continues, and I’ll report on it as anything of significance occurs. But before your commissions expire, consider a few additional issues.
The Department of Justice will surely find the BPD absolutely racist and corrupt, but no high-ranking officers or politicians will be implicated. If the six officers are exonerated, the DOJ will certainly prosecute them. In any case, the DOJ will, just as it did with Ferguson, force a tyrannical consent decree on the BPD and Baltimore City. In Ferguson, the DOJ’s demands threaten to bankrupt the city, and threaten to force it to disband its police department. This will not happen in Baltimore. Baltimore is a Democrat-controlled city, so American taxpayers will end up paying a great deal of whatever penance the DOJ demands.
There is no possibility the DOJ will allow Baltimore officers to perform professional law enforcement, the kind that is not only fully within the law, but that effectively suppresses crime. There is no way the DOJ will ever take its hooks out of the BPD.
Oh, but if a Republican becomes president, that will change. Right.
Baltimore’s well-earned reputation will take decades to change. Very few people without personal ties to the community will ever apply to be police officers, and many that do apply are absolutely not the kind of person that should be a police officer. Baltimore, like Las Vegas before it, will hire just about anything with two legs and a sufficient temperature, just to have enough bodies on the street. This will, of course, make things worse–much worse.
The Ferguson Effect is nothing more than the inevitable, logical result when police officers are irrationally and unfairly treated like criminals, and criminals are allowed to do their will. The Baltimore version is simply bloodier, and will become more bloody yet.
How about it gentle reader/officers: glad your commission expires at the end of this sentence?