“What have you learned as a police officer about life and society that most people don’t know or underestimate?”

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

-Eapen Thampy

Thought this discussion on Quora was worth flagging, excerpts:

High-speed chases look like fun because they are.

Take away alcohol and stupid, and the world would require about 90% fewer cops.

Once you become a cop, very few of your non-cop friends will ever again treat you the same way.

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15 Responses to ““What have you learned as a police officer about life and society that most people don’t know or underestimate?””

  1. #1 |  Barnes | 

    I think half those he could of learned just by using the internet.

  2. #2 |  derfel cadarn | 

    I think that once you become an LEO and begin acting in the proscribed manner you no longer deserve friends.

  3. #3 |  EH | 

    From personal experience, once you become a cop you start treating your friends differently. Not only that, but you’ll know this is going to happen and will be able to tell them so in advance. Not only that, but you’ll also know that these problems are a leading cause of divorce among officers. Well, that and infidelity.

    I can’t stand when law enforcement tries to externalize the problems they create for themselves. They *like* having a closed society, so don’t blame the people they’re closing it off from.

  4. #4 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    If we exclude the high speed chase comment, I think Mr. Dees actually made some good observations there. Naturally, I would have expressed some of those points differently, but lets look at a couple of these points:

    “Take away alcohol and stupid, and the world would require about 90% fewer cops.”

    This is, of course, a purely theoretical statement. Based on his comments about sexuality (which sounded pretty libertarian friendly), I’m guessing Dees doesn’t think we should literally go back to alcohol prohibition. As for stupid, well, there’s not too much we can do about that once a person becomes an adult. Ultimately they will have to decide if they want to be a raging dumbass for the rest of their lives or not. Most change in this area must come from within.

    Alcohol is, without a doubt, the drug that is most often connected with accidents–MVA’s, falls, bizarre incidents involving penises getting stuck inside inanimate objects–and violence. I have not worked as a police officer, but I was a healthcare security officer for over a decade (until I resigned in protest yesterday, in fact ;) ). A large percentage of my calls on combative patients and disturbances were directly related to excessive alcohol consumption. If more people decided to become “social drinkers,” then we would most certainly require less police intervention. My only problem with Dee’s statement is that he didn’t say, “oh yeah, and if you ended this so-called war on drugs, then you would need a lot less coppers too.” That is obvious to me at this point.

    Moving on…

    “Many criminals can be reformed, and eventually do come to the point in their lives that a criminal lifestyle is more trouble than it’s worth to them. Unfortunately, by the time some of them do that, they have incurred a prison sentence that will keep them behind bars until they die.”

    This is an excellent point, which is backed by criminal justice research. People generally do age out of crime. The crime prone years are thought to be roughly 18-25. If one is familiar with life span development (as it is referred to in medical texts), then this makes sense, because people of this age are prone to a lot of misfortune (crime, trauma, alcohol and drug abuse, etc). But it is not merely “unfortunate” that people who are aging out of crime are stuck with long prison sentences. This is part of the design of the system. This is the result of “tough on crime” policy. If we were to end this non-sense, especially the war on drugs, then these offenders could remain in the community and have a chance to wise up and age out of crime!

    If Mr. Dees would develop some of his ideas I think he might find himself in substantial agreement with the principles of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). It is just too bad that too many police, like Dees and many members of LEAP, wait until retirement to really think about the counterproductive effect of many criminal justice policies.

  5. #5 |  Zargon | 

    I thought the high speed chase comment was quite enlightening. Previously, I figured that the primary causes of cops choosing to risk the lives of hundreds of unwitting bystanders in high speed chases against people in situations where the cop already knows where they live was policy and anger.

    But now I know that the primary cause is, in all likelihood, because it’s fun. Frankly, that explanation fits the best, given the obvious alternative of just meeting them at home.

  6. #6 |  Matt | 

    Take away alcohol and stupid, and the world would requires about 90% fewer cops.

    That statement needed a bit of editing there.

  7. #7 |  Matt | 

    the world requires about 90% fewer cops.

    Strikethrough fail! Apparently I cannot into HTML. Damnit Radley we need a preview button here!

  8. #8 |  Matt (and not the previous Matt) | 

    “Once you become a cop, very few of your non-cop friends will ever again treat you the same way.”

    Same for firefighter, politician, IRS agent, DEA agent, DMV clerk, and on and on and on.

    Just as it should be.

    Tax-feeding is not an honorable profession.

  9. #9 |  Whim | 

    “Once you become a cop, very few of your non-cop friends will ever again treat you the same way.”

    Because, when they see what they thought was a sane and rational person volunteer for a profession predominately populated with sadists, bullies, thugs, and psychopaths, they immediately start to question your stability.

    That’s why.

  10. #10 |  liberranter | 

    High-speed chases look like fun because they are.

    Something one would expect to hear from a fifteen-year-old who stole his father’s car keys and went for a joyride.

    No, strike that – no fifteen-year-old, no matter how immature, would ever actually say anything that stupid and self-incriminating. Cops, on the other hand…

    Take away alcohol and stupid, and the world would require about 90% fewer cops.

    “Alcohol” and “stupid” are two key defining attributes of most cops. Be that as it may, society needs at least 99 percent fewer cops than it now has. Only a tiny handful are needed to deal with the comparatively small number of actual crimes against person and property that take place. The rest of the oxygen thieves that wear badges and uniforms are nothing but armed tax extortionists who cause more problems than they solve.

    Once you become a cop, very few of your non-cop friends will ever again treat you the same way.

    Once you become a cop, normal, you won’t have any “non-cop” friends. Decent, sane human beings will want nothing whatsoever to do with you. The only “friends” you’ll have are your fellow sociopaths in blue, who will devour you like raw meat the first time you get into trouble and put them in jeopardy, or should you suddenly discover that you actually have a conscience and a moral compass, two things that, had you known you had them, would have prevented you from becoming a cop in the first place.

  11. #11 |  Phelps | 

    Once you become a cop, very few of your non-cop friends will ever again treat you the same way.

    Once you become a cop, you will never treat your non-cop friends the same way as before.

    They didn’t change — you did.

  12. #12 |  Jumbo Hunch | 

    Also, if you’re a cop you can beat the crap out of citizens with impunity. Unless you get caught on tape of course: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2012/08/31/lapd-cop-slams-nurse-traffic-stop-celebrates-fist-bump/

    Then it’s a paid suspension, got that??

  13. #13 |  Steve Florman | 

    #2 – “Proscribed” manner, or “*pre*scribed” manner?

  14. #14 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Once you become a cop, very few of your non-cop friends will ever again treat you the same way.

    “Once you become a cop, very few non-cops will ever again be treated by you the same way.”

    Fixed it for him!

  15. #15 |  Owen | 

    A couple more choice quotes:

    From Richard Thornton: “Criminals when released from jail in general will reoffend. Why? The sentences in the UK are not long enough to reform the person and indeed discipline them which is something they need and have never had in their lives before.” – Yeah, longer sentences are really getting rid of recidivism here in America.

    From Delon Henry: “The officer you have been talking to has probably used words like, “Ma’am, Sir, Excuse me please. If you respond with words like Yes, No, Thank You, this meeting is going to take alot less time. Remember, everything you need to know you learned in the 1st grade.” – HA! I’ve never had a cop say please to me. They make demands and threats.

    Same guy: “We really don’t get a kick out of arresting anyone but legitimate bad guys. If you see officers standing in a group of ten after an arrest “high fiving” each other, the guy sitting on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back is a bad guy. This is where you clap.” – Oh, I see, so cops instinctively know who the real ‘bad guys’ are and only feel good when they arrest them. That’s good to know.

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