Police officers are often romanticized; they wear cool uniforms, carry guns, protect the good and punish the bad. They can almost be considered the closest thing to a superhero in the real world. But, is policing all that it’s cracked up to be? Is policing really the super exciting, car chasing profession we have seen in the movies and on T.V. Of course, it’s not, are you stupid? These are some of the horrifying realities of being a Police Officer.
The Traffic Cop Conundrum
This type of cop is the one that, relatively law-abiding citizens will most frequently interact with. And they are pretty much considered the bad guys of the police force because of it. Why? Well, simply because they ticket and fine you for things you do every day: going too fast, driving erratically and not signaling, things that are illegal even if you aren’t caught. But the cop is the a**hole for pulling you over right? Another side-effect of this is that if people perceive you as a bad guy, they’ll treat you like a bad guy. That includes exaggerated over-dramatic reactions, cussing and this. Enjoy the beautiful New England accents featured heavily in the video. You can use that video as a lesson: “What not to do when pulled over”.
Stupid is as stupid does
Oh, not you Mr./Mrs. Officer, but the people that you will pull over, arrest or apprehend. Their stupidity will expose you to constant near death experiences. Don’t believe me? Check out this video! Yeah, you might want to use this as another lesson called: “Don’t run over the cop that is trying to give you a traffic ticket.” Ok, I’m adding one more because honestly it’s so damn satisfying to see these rich, smug bastards eat it.
The donut thing has become such a running gag regarding law enforcement that it practically disallows you from having any type of fried dough pastry…And that is just plain undemocratic. Every single person on the face of this planet has the right to enjoy a frosted, fried dough pastry without being ridiculed regardless of profession, creed or race!
It Comes From Everywhere
Yes, you get it from citizens, city officials and state officials. Making mistakes is human, but if everyone is watching you, you can expect the blowback to be huge. You must constantly be an outstanding citizen, role model and are held to a stricter standard than anyone else in the community. Although police officers know the law, there are citizens that have an equal or higher working knowledge of their rights and regulations. Here is a video that demonstrates such situation.
Although this police officer could have acted in an authoritative way, disregarding the citizen’s request for license and registration he obliged. I honestly don’t have enough hats to tip to both these people; they both conducted themselves in a very courteous correct way.
The image of police that has been created by the media is of fast driving, shotgun-toting, sunglass wearing bad-asses. Although, this isn’t completely untrue, I think the media should add: crippling, soul-crushing amounts of paperwork. If any incident happens, large or small a report needs to filed, detailing what happened, who was involved and which measures were taken. They also have to check criminal databases to make sure the perpetrators don’t have a criminal record or violent history. It’s exhausting cataloging these duties let alone actually performing them.
The Emotional Repercussions
When you are dealing with the darkest aspects of organized society, obviously you will be exposed to very powerful human emotions. Although it’s a rare occurrence, you might even be forced to make a life and death choice. Of course, this covers the gamut from the uplifting to the most tragic. NYPD Police Officer Larry Deprimo took “To Serve and Protect” to heart. While on his beat on a frigid New York night he saw a homeless man without shoes or socks. He ran ahead of the elderly homeless man, bought him shoes and even offered to buy him a meal. See Officer DePrimo describe his touching story here. Officer Nick Struck speaks about comforting a young child during an accident that cost her, her father. Struck speaks about singing to the little girl and thinking that this child would grow up without her father. He barely manages to keep a stiff upper lip throughout the interview.
The most uplifting story by far is that of professional basketball player Caron Butler and Sergeant Rick Geller. During the 1980s and 90s Racine, Wisconsin was struggling with crime related to illegal narcotics. Young Butler, with a complete lack of role models, thought the only way to make a living was by selling drugs. Eventually, this resulted in Butler being incarcerated. Once he was released he decided to turn his life around, he got a job and cut all ties with narcotics. A few months later Caron’s house was raided by Sgt. Geller and crack cocaine was found. But, Geller was unequivocally convinced that Caron had no idea about the drugs, so he uncuffed Caron and said “I hope I’m not making a mistake”. Ten years later the two met, Caron at that point was a successful professional athlete, Geller the retired cop that trusted a young man giving him the chance to go on to become an NBA star.
See Also: Occupational Hazard: Fire Pilot
No matter how many uplifting law enforcement officer stories there are, the darkness is ever near. They are the first to respond to mass shootings, murders, rapes and suicides. But, they still put on their uniforms every day and go out hoping that they can do more good than social deviants can do bad. That takes immense emotional fortitude.
Are you a police officer or a member of law enforcement, let us know what it’s like to be one in the comment section below.