Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Another home run from a public service union.

T-shirts sold by the Twin Rivers Police Officers Association have this message: “U raise ’em, we cage ’em,” surrounding a picture of a young child behind bars.

On Monday, community leaders and child advocates said the T-shirts are highly offensive and could validate feelings of mistrust for the Twin Rivers’ school police force. The agency has been under intense scrutiny over complaints it has overstepped its authority.

“There is nowhere on the planet where it is OK to wear a shirt like this,” said Ed Howard, senior counsel for the University of San Diego’s Children’s Advocacy Institute, after seeing the image of the shirt.

The quote and picture is on the back of the shirt. The Twin Rivers Police Officers Association logo is on the front.

When the union that represents all the cops Twin Rivers pulls this crap, they’re henceforth barred from ever making the “it’s just a few bad apples” argument.

Thanks to Eapen Thampy for the tip.

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46 Responses to “Charming”

  1. #1 |  Marty | 

    but… if this had been a rap t-shirt that said something about 911 being a joke or some cop killer reference, there’d be cops lobbying for legislation banning it.

  2. #2 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Used to be called public servants now they’re just complete ASSHOLES. This is the attitude unions in general have,that some how they are better than you. To all the ‘GOOD” officers out there remember when the shit hits the fan you are on your own . The PEOPLE will be on the other side. We will give no quarter, either stand up against what you know to be wrong or suffer the consequences.

  3. #3 |  Bob | 

    My favorite line:

    “Over the past year the Twin Rivers District Police Department increasingly has been responding to Sheriff’s Department calls for service that are unrelated to and geographically removed from Twin Rivers School District facilities or programs,” Smith wrote in the letter, obtained by The Bee through a Public Records Act request.

    Reminds me of this story: (It was on the agitator earlier this year.)

    Basically, a whole sack of totally unneeded cops showed up for no reason. One, a plainclothes officer who was wandering around with a rifle for no reason, was shot by a transit cop, who was apparently spooked by some retired cop who yelled “Gun! Gun!”

    My comment was:

    “Geeze, do these guys just cruise around looking for action to swing their dick into?”

    Yup. That’s exactly what I think they do.

  4. #4 |  John P. | 

    Yet another piece of evidence to show the world just how utterly stupid cops really are…

  5. #5 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    Abuser-cop apologists from the previous thread swooping in to the rescue in 3…2…1…

  6. #6 |  Windypundit | 

    You know what they say: It’s the 95% who are assholes that make the other 5% look so bad.

  7. #7 |  John P. | 

    Yeah the bad apple argument no longer holds water when you stop and think about it… something cops rarely do, stop and think that is…

    See they’ve been blaming the “one bad apple” for decades now and the official bad apple count has far exceeded the acceptable bad apple to bushel basket ratio long years ago.

    The argument no longer holds water when you begin to look at the sheer number and the magnitude of news stories in print and TV media today of misconduct and crimes committed by our police on a daily basis.

    And these are just the incidents that are reported in the media. Incidents from departments that are large enough to warrant media scrutiny. Not every department issues a press release each time an officer is suspended or fired. An internal investigation is initiated or a complaint of criminal behavior is received.

  8. #8 |  Not Sure | 

    Is it my imagination, or are cops these days a whole lot worse at hiding their contempt for the people who pay their salaries than they used to be?

  9. #9 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    “Is it my imagination, or are cops these days a whole lot worse at hiding their contempt for the people who pay their salaries than they used to be?”

    There’s not even a pretense of “protect and serve” anymore. We are the enemy.

  10. #10 |  Bob Jr. | 

    “community leaders and child advocates said the T-shirts are highly offensive and could validate feelings of mistrust for the Twin Rivers’ school police force.”

    It’s telling of these community leaders how THIS is the problem they have with the shirt: people could find out about how this police force feels about it’s citizens.

  11. #11 |  Kind Bud | 

    New professionalism at its best,


  12. #12 |  Danny | 

    Apparently they get their T-shirt ideas from the same company that supplies the IDF.

  13. #13 |  Kind Bud | 

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    If you only read Radley;s reporting, you will have a very biased view of the world. Most of the LEO’s and most of the teachers, and most of the baristas will be good people; naturally.

    The problem is that a few of the baristas and a few of the leo’s, and a few of the teachers are bad; naturally. For balance, you should read Fox news, and it will be just like drinking soy milk a few times a month.

    Radley, please keep reporting; most of us need the kick in the nuts.


  14. #14 |  Mr Lizard | 

    Is it bad that I kinda want one of these. I wouldn’t wear it because it only comes in RXL (Roided-out extra large), but I want to incorporate it into some kind of mocking display That and it puts my inner child hater at war with my inner overlord hater which amuses me.

  15. #15 |  Kind Bud | 

    Oh, shit, I intended ” ‘ ” , not ” ; ”

    A good edit function would be appreciated by all.


  16. #16 |  Whim | 

    Radley Balko’s many links and CATO-sponsored scholarly articles on SWAT teams and the militarization of police departments have done much to school me in an area that I had only registered much unease regarding police tactics and wanton brutality, without much analysis on my part.

    Okay. Here’s some analysis.

    What is obvious is that the police should not be granted the vast power of Limited Immunity from prosecution, AND the power to collectively bargain as members of a police union.

    NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, can serve two masters.

    I cannot.

    The police cannot.

    Either the policeman is a sworn law enforcement officer whose word carries more weight than any other fellow citizen in a court of law, or they are simply a dues-paying leech on the public teat out to game the system that they control, to maximize their financial gain for minimal work effort, to sell their badge through moonlighting, and to ultimately retire at an early age on our expense.

    And, did I mention transfer any risk of bodily harm through a citizen contact over exclusively to the citizen.

    They have had it both ways for far, far too long.

    People should wake up, and start agitating for change in their local police departments.

  17. #17 |  Fill | 

    “Oh, my God,” he (Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness)said. “Bad message. If it was the gang unit in a high crime area, that might be a little different. That’s bad, that’s horrible.”

    Actually, that would be equally inappropriate. Possibly more inappropriate.

  18. #18 |  Ron | 

    Meanwhile, we have a fine example of judicial temperament from a fine, upstanding Texas family law judge.

  19. #19 |  (B)oscoH | 

    Kids are our Mohammad.

  20. #20 |  pierre | 

    As a graphic artist all I can think about when I see this is the fact that they found someone to illustrate this for them.

  21. #21 |  the innominate one | 

    The only possibly positive thing one can say about the shirt is at least the kid depicted on it isn’t black, so at least there wasn’t a racist subtext.

    oh, and this seems like something the agitatori will appreciate:

  22. #22 |  Aresen | 

    I’d like to buy ten of those t-shirts. (My misjuvenia is showing.)

  23. #23 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    What I want to know about this incident, as with so many others that Mr. Balko has brought to our attention, is what the bloody hell the Mayor (or in the case of misbehavior by State cops, Governor) was doing. Were I an elected official in a jurisdiction were something like this was going on, I would call the Chief of Police up on the carpet, in front of television cameras, and ask him point black, “On what planet do you think such shirts would be in any way appropriate?”

    I have no idea what a Mayor could do to punish a police union, but there has to be something. Every single officer who bought such a shirt should be summarily dismissed for ostentatious stupidity.

  24. #24 |  GreginOz | 

    My design features a dead dog & reads underneath ” Police – To Detest & Serb” (Serb being a new verb denoting NATO bombing a civilian village).

  25. #25 |  Zeph | 

    Kinda puts a whole new spin on “I believe that children are the future”, doesn’t it?

  26. #26 |  Windy | 

    Here is an abusive deputy whom the Sheriff has moved around and put on suspension a few times and is currently, since June, on administrative leave (getting paid over $7000 a month) who should have been fired (and, IMNSHO, charged, prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated) long ago, just look at the number of times he’s had complaints filed against him, and the number of internal investigations of him:

    This is why voters must be extremely careful when they vote for their county Sheriff. Make certain the candidate for whom you vote will fire a bad deputy; and also will stand up for the citizens of the county when other police agencies get involved with people and businesses in their county instead of just going along to get along. Remember, your Sheriff is the highest level of law enforcement in your county, outranking ALL others including federal LEOs, so make damn sure you’ve got a good one.

    Unfortunately, in my county we’ve a corrupt Sheriff and most voters have no clue, one of his deputies (a really good man, with very good ideas about community policing, using verbal judo, also intends to reverse the current Sheriff’s militarization of the department, and the us against them attitude) is currently running against him, but I’m afraid the current Sheriff has too much power and the deputy too little recognition in the community to beat the Sheriff (Sheriff’s campaign employees/volunteers have been playing dirty pool, too, placing their campaign signs in ways to obscure the deputy’s and even pulling out the deputy’s signs and throwing them away). The local paper and GOP both support the current Sheriff and so, with his limited funds, the deputy has been having a very difficult time getting his campaign out in front of the public, with less than a week before election day, I suspect we are going to have the same Sheriff for another term.

  27. #27 |  JSL | 

    I’m not sure why the parents are so peeved. They put their kids in a state school didn’t they? Schools that are often run like prisons.

  28. #28 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    Oh give them a break They really care afterall I found this quote in the article:

    “I know how it looks to a lot of people,” Cho said. “That’s not how the officers feel. They truly care about kids. As hard as it is to understand, it’s cop humor.”

    Read more:

  29. #29 |  MattJ |

    Jailers come to look down on inmates; camp guards come to dehumanize their captives; soldiers create derogatory terms for their enemies. It’s difficult to hurt someone you admire. It’s even more difficult to kill a fellow human being. Seeing the casualties you create as something less than you, something deserving of damage, makes it possible to continue seeing yourself as a good and honest person, to continue being sane.

  30. #30 |  marco73 | 

    Since my dad was a LEO when I was growing up, I was exposed to a lot of cop humor whenever other LEOs would visit. Most cop humor wouldn’t be appropriate in public; a lot of it was gallows humor concerning all the tragedy they deal with daily.
    I’d heard the “You raise ’em, we cage ’em” years ago. Typically it would be when cops would arrest some 12 or 13 year old for petty theft or breaking into a car, and they realized that odds were in a few years the kid would grow up to bigger crimes and suffer an early death or get a significant prison stretch.
    But putting something like that on a t-shirt is just dumb. Come on, at least pretend to uphold that “protect and serve” nonsense when you are out in public.

  31. #31 |  Dwight Brown | 

    I haven’t seen anyone point out yet that the Twin Rivers Police Officer’s Association has a public statement on their website.

    I’m more than a little skeptical of this statement (if the shirts were made “more than 2 years ago and have not been sold by the POA for over a year due to concerns raised in our own department” how did they become an issue now?), and I don’t want to come across as an apologist for TWPOA, but I think it is at least worth pointing out.

  32. #32 |  Mario | 


    Cop, teacher, undertaker, or hangman — every occupation has its gallows humor. I’m with you. I have no problem with people blowing off steam, privately. But whatever your job, you are an ass to publicize these off-color jokes, and twice the ass if you then wonder why everyone else seems “so upset.”

  33. #33 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Apparently they get their T-shirt ideas from the same company that supplies the IDF.

    heh! I was thinking the same thing.

    The shirt is a monumentally bad idea. That being said, I would caution that this is an example of cynical cop humor (and they do have to deal with a lot of little and not so little shits who have just assaulted the teacher or groped a girl etc) I saw plenty of similar attitudes in the military. It goes with the territory and we may be making too much of this.

  34. #34 |  Maria | 

    Yeah yeah. “It’s just gallows humor. Lighten up!”

    ER nurses have some of the sickest, most cynical, most hilarious gallows humor I have ever been witness to. But the thing is, they know it and they don’t tend to go around public pretending it’s really OK or trying to raise funds with it. Most seem to understand that there’s a respectful line you don’t cross. They have mile high gallows humor but they don’t wear it like a proud badge of neon contempt for their fellow man.

    That this thing could go from gallows humor idea thrown about at the bar into actual production and sale and no one stopped to say “Hey guys? This might not be the best way for us to raise funds for our widows and orphans…” until WELL after the fact is in fact quite illuminating. Even the public statement on their site rings of “Oops. We didn’t mean for you people to see this shit. Sorry about that.”

  35. #35 |  Aresen | 

    Mario | November 3rd, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Cop, teacher, undertaker, or hangman — every occupation has its gallows humor.

    Uhh. Just what other kind of humor would a hangman have?

  36. #36 |  Pablo | 

    +1 to everyone re: gallows humor. As a criminal defense attorney I see a lot of suffering and misery and sometimes you either have to laugh or cry about it (sometimes both). That’s true of any profession where you deal with people at their worst or most needy moments. But the twisted humor has to be kept private because most people wouldn’t understand. I’ve joked around with other lawyers about cases, behind closed doors, and have often heard and made the comment “God forbid the general public could hear us talking like this.”

  37. #37 |  John P. | 

    To #34 | Maria,

    Nurses are highly educated, most all have 4 year degrees as well as specialized training beyond college. And many hold Masters Degrees.

    Cops OTOH, all they need is a GED and an absence of felony charges on a criminal history to get the job…

  38. #38 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    John P,

    Pity they don’t need an absence of felonious behavior to KEEP the job…

  39. #39 |  Mario | 

    Aresen @ #35

    Uhh. Just what other kind of humor would a hangman have?

    I’m guessing the phrase “gallows humor” comes from somewhere. It’s just a guess though, as I know no hangmen personally.

  40. #40 |  stickrouse | 

    @ 21

    I <3 Maddox

  41. #41 |  marco73 | 

    #34 Maria
    My dad was a LEO and my mom was a nurse. Guess that’s why I have a pretty sick sense of humor.

  42. #42 |  Bob Mc | 

    ‘The shirt was created with the good intention to raise money for the families of fallen officers”

    I’ve scoured the internet and I can’t find any evidence of any Twin Rivers P.D. officer having “fallen” in the line of duty:

    That’s a good thing and I hope they keep up that record, I mention it merely to point out how quick they are to play the “hey we’re out here risking our lives for YOU, can’t you just cut us a break” card.

    Standard procedure, distract attention from their outrageous conduct by appealing to concern for the “widows and orphans”. Even if there aren’t any.

    I wonder what they really did with the money.

  43. #43 |  Wary One | 

    Sick world we live in. Good luck to the people who rely on Twin Rivers police.

    I hate police in schools. They have no business being there. Whether they’re called “courtesy officers” or police liaison or school police they just don’t belong there. Children should not be taught to submit and obey mindlessly.

  44. #44 |  Greg | 

    Twin Rivers PD already has a horrible reputation within the Sacramento County criminal bar. Even the DAs know to scrutinize anything coming from that agency extra-carefully. I’ve seen more than one police report from Twin Rivers where the officer was stupid enough to accurately write in his report how he brazenly disregarded somebody’s fourth amendment rights, or arrested him on BS charges…. it’s just that the officers are too dumb to realize that what they’re doing is illegal, so they faithfully record it.

    All the other agencies do this stuff and cover it up, and know they’re getting away with something. Twin Rivers does it openly because they think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

  45. #45 |  Greg | 

    On the other hand, I once had a Twin Rivers cop write a police report for one of my cases over a year after a DUI arrest, with no notes to work off of. It was the most detailed report I’d ever seen. Verbatim conversation between officer and my client, precise description of all the signs of drunkenness my client was displaying, all sorts of extraneous details not normally found in police reports. It was rather impressive.

    So at least their officers have great memories.

  46. #46 |  Great moments in public sector unionism | 

    […] Raise ‘Em/We Cage ‘Em” t-shirts from a California law enforcement union [Radley Balko] From the same source, “NYPD cops demand the right to be corrupt.” And on Friday at […]