Each class at the Idaho Police Officer Standards and Training Academy is allowed to choose a slogan that is printed on its graduation programs, and the class of 43 graduates came up with “Don’t suffer from PTSD, go out and cause it.”
Black said the class president was ex-military, and that the slogan “slipped in.” He declined to identify the graduate. Black said future slogans would be vetted by academy leaders.
Where to begin? You’ve got a graduating group of police officers who advocate police brutality as their class slogan. Which to me means one of two things: Either these guys didn’t learn anything in the academy—in which case they shouldn’t be graduated to become police officers—or this kind of attitude was accepted and encouraged in the academy. Which is obviously a pretty huge problem, too.
I suppose some will say it’s a joke. I don’t know. Seems to me that joking about police brutality oughtn’t be acceptable either. Especially for someone fresh out of the academy.
Note also that the academy’s director explains the dust-up by noting that the class president is “ex-military.”
Um. Isn’t that all the more reason for concern? This guy’s conflating military attitude (which is appropriate in the military) with police work (which is not at all appropriate in police work*)? And he’s going to be a cop, now? Worse, he’s the guy the other cadets looked to for leadership? Isn’t that all just a little troubling?
This is a big problem—the kinds of people police departments are recruiting to become cops. There seems to be less emphasis on keeping communities safe and public service and lots of emphasis on busting up bad guys and playing cowboy like the guys on Dallas SWAT. Remember the recruiting video the police department in the Raleigh suburb of Garner was using at local high schools? The whole thing was about busting down doors, car chases, tackling bad guys, and generally kicking ass. What kind of person is going to watch a video like that and be attracted to that kind of career? What kind of temperament is that person going to have? And is that the kind of temperament you want in your police force?
Seems to me that a video like that attracts the kind of candidate who might later think it’s funny to go out and inflict post-traumatic stress on the public.
(*Actually, I’ve noted before that there’s some evidence that U.S. troops in Iraq treat the civilians of an enemy nation quite a bit better than police officers here at home treat American citizens.)