YouTube has many clips of citizen’s interacting with law
enforcement. Many are First Amendment related encounters. For some people, it
seems to be a sport. They do highlight LEOs ignorance of laws and aggressive
With many relatives in law enforcement, most retired now, I
have mixed feelings. Included, at least in my mind, are probation officers.
To me, they fall into two categories. First, and having my
highest respect, are peace officers. Second, who do not have my respect, are
“cops”. The YouTubers seem to highlight “cops”.
Now I recognize they deal with assholes, often drunken
assholes, and need to deal with the situation at hand. It seldom is a win/win
One of my sons had a serious drinking problem resulting in
three DUI arrests. During the third arrest, it took six police officers to
subdue him. Whatever steps they had to take I support. He was the cause of the
problem and their job was to get him off the road.
Along the way, he had a probation officer that got him
sober, kept him sober, and made him toe the line. Results? He no longer drinks.
He did well enough to be released early from probation. That was eight years
ago. Hasn’t had so much as a ticket since.
One cousin was so rank he was booted off the LAPD force. At
the time he was in the Rampart Division during the Rodney King era.
Another cousin had a stellar twenty nine year career and is
the nicest person you will ever meet. He also, along with a city policeman,
rapidly ended a school shooting/hostage situation in New Mexico. No shrinking
violet, he. His wife was an effective probation supervisor and straightened out
another cousin. (I have living and dead, 33 or so first cousins)
A cousin’s husband was, in the 1970’s, the only probation
officer covering a vast portion of Nevada. When a parolee needed arrested, he
had to do it, and often without any backup. He did a good job.
My oldest son is a functional autistic but easily
manipulated. When he was seventeen he tried to rob a bar. His weapon of choice
was a small tree branch. When two Renton, WA police officers entered the bar,
he let out a shriek and charged them. In taking him down and cuffing him, he
sustained some scrapes and bruises. When I arrived at the station, both
officers were nervous. They visible relaxed when I thanked them for simply
restraining him. Their response was appropriate and they would probably have
been justified in using deadly force. Dim bar and a screaming man with a weapon
charging them probably met the criteria for deadly force. They released him to
A great example of a peace officer was my late brother in
law, a county deputy. Once he was tasked with serving over twenty failures to
appear warrants. His response was to contact the individuals and advise them
that they needed to turn themselves in. He inquired as to them having someone
to watch their children and could they work something out with their employer?
Did they need a bail bond referral? He also let them know if they didn’t
promptly take care of their warrant, he would be back to arrest them. Only two
or three didn’t promptly and voluntarily turn themselves in at the county jail.
Before entering the service in 1963 I lived in Denver. At
that time, seventy two (10 % of the force) Denver police officers were sent to
prison for operating a burglary ring. People, in the know, told me the reason
organized crime hadn’t gained much of a foothold in Denver was the police force
ran things. The burglars were the ones who couldn’t get into the good stuff.
Other than professional truck drivers, I’ve probably driven
far more miles than the average citizen. Regarding speed limits as advisory,
I’ve had numerous interactions with law enforcement. I’ve always made sure to
take steps to lessen the tension all LEOs have approaching a vehicle. My windows
are down, the interior light on at night, hands on the wheel, and license and
paperwork readily at hand. Only on a few occasions have I dealt with “badge
Once on Hwy 287 in Oklahoma I was stopped. After the
preliminary stuff, the officer said, “Mr. White, it is eight miles to Texas. Do
you think you can do the speed limit until you leave Oklahoma? With my
affirmation he sent me on my way. A few days later, returning to home, I
stopped in Boise City, OK for coffee and bladder relief. Exiting the car I
“Mr. White, I’m happy to see you doing the speed limit”.
Turning, I saw the patrolman sitting in his cruiser.
“Why officer, I didn’t see you”.
“We hide”, he responded.
That is a peace officer!
This isn’t my first blog on this subject. The search engine,
for those interested, will bring up at least four posts.
One of my sister’s adopted daughters had a nearly thirty
year career with the Sheriff department. Starting as a jail warden, during a
time when females faced many obstacles, she rose to being a patrol sergeant. As
a detective she solved a decades old cold case murder. The perpetrator now sits
in a Colorado prison. A slim 5’4”, too
many people underestimate her. She has a steel core while remaining as nice a
person as you would care to meet.
My principal disdain is reserved for the FBI. As near as I
can see, they are political hacks who occasionally solve a crime. I made a specific post about the FBI and the
actions of one of their agents.
My good fortune is not dealing with any other feds,
excluding the Border booth warmers.
Our society is a better place when we have peace officers
and justice. Justice being swift, sure and color blind. Utopia, I know, but
working towards that should be our goal, IMO.
As always, YMMV.