Claire Wolfe titled her post "Copitude." I think she's being too nice, considering the comment she quotes, in which John Barnes, a police union president in Michigan, says of legislators (supposedly all Republican) who want the police to pay into their own retirement and insurance, "If we cannot earn their respect we will do what we have always done; hit it with a flashlight until we gain compliance."
I still like to think there are plenty of good, decent LEOs out there, men and women for whom "hitting...with a flashlight" is well down on the list of ways to gain compliance and who don't equate the workings of a legislature with a resisting suspect, but I'm reminded of Gresham's Law, "Bad money drives out good," and wonder if it doesn't apply to police as well.*
Certainly Mr. Barnes' comments don't do anything at all to allay my concerns. Quite some while back, I wondered if police were not turning into a sort of new Equestrian Order, just as the office of President of the United States seems to be accreting power and authority in a way similar to the evolution of the office of Emperor did for Rome. Oh, it's slow, slow; but the policeperson of today is a very different figure to the Officer Friendly of my youth, even as he was not quite the same as the beat-walking neighborhood policeman of my Dad's childhood, known to adults by his first name.
Everyone loses; policing is a lot harder when the citizenry view the police as an occupying army -- especially when that's a largely accurate assessment.
Try beating that into submission with your flashlight, John Barnes.
* The preferred version is "Bad money drives out good when the rate of exchange is set by law," for instance when the silver content of U.S. half-dollars was substantially reduced in the 1960s and the old, mostly-silver ones rapidly vanished from circulation. In the case of police, a sworn officer is a sworn officer is a sworn officer and you're required to comply with the lawful orders of Matt G, Lawdog or the mad dogs of Canton, OH all the same, though I'd bet only the first two know who Robert Peel was or what he had to say about LEO ethics.
5 months ago