Why do cops do it?

In my book, Blue Lives Matter – The Heart Behind the Badge I do my best to shine a light on the humanity of all cops by telling several of my own stories and experiences.

I’ve been in a few “crowd control” situations in my time, a couple of which were pretty out of control. But I never stood against what cops in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, New York and, most recently, Kenosha have had to face.

On top of all the difficulties that come with standing against an angry, unpredictable mob – I cannot imagine the feelings that officers in some of those cities are going through knowing that even their city officials, along with some of their command staff, are not on their side.

Thank God that in the handful of riotous situations I faced, the higher-ups were willing to send however many additional officers to help us on the grounds. In one incident, a group of about ten of us who were pulling security for a big boxing match in Kissimmee were suddenly confronted with everyone in the arena pouring out into the parking lot and fighting – about 300 people. Immediately, every available officer on that night shift responded. When we realized that even that wasn’t enough, the Sheriff’s office started loading corrections officers from the jail onto a bus with riot gear to come and help. It was a tense situation, but we always knew that more help was coming … more help was coming.

But I cannot imagine a mayor and a police chief telling officers in the midst of a siege on a precinct station to abandon the building and leave it to the rioters. I can’t imagine being told, after armed rioters take over 6 blocks of a city and begin terrorizing residents, that we are just going to leave it alone and see how it pans out. I can’t imagine a mayor lying to the nation and claiming that the occupied zone is a happy utopia where everyone is partying – when night after night, reports are coming out describing absolute anarchy, rape, shooting and terror. I cannot imagine a mayor who , after 100 days of nightly riots, looting, and burning, refuses to accept help because his political leanings mean more to him than the safety of his constituents. I cannot fathom working for a mayor who actually tries to join a rally of Marxists who are calling for the elimination of the police force. I can’t imagine prosecutors with a political agenda refusing to prosecute rioters.

But here we are.

On top of that, the leftist city officials and prosecutors are more than happy to throw any cop under the bus if they are caught on video actually taking decisive action against violent agitators.

Just last week, a federal judge placed an injunction on the Detroit PD, forbidding them from using batons, or pepper spray to control rioters. That leaves nothing between strong words and guns. Cops depend on those “less than lethal” options to avoid having to shoot violent people.

Donald Trump keeps “threatening” to send in federal forces to quell the riots, which I think could work – but at what cost? These mayors keep resisting, to the peril of their cities, simply because they don’t want the man they hate to have a political “win”.

I think there is another way that would bring change around very abruptly. Imagine if all the cops simply resigned. If this is what the mayors want, let them have it in full. The residents voted these politicians in. I see thousands of anarchists in the streets, and hardly any real Americans banding together to fight back against them. Look how quickly Seattle Mayor, Jenny Durkin, did a 180 turnaround and un-handcuffed the cops, once her “useful idiots” of ANTIFA and BLM arrived in HER neighborhood on June 28. Two days later, the CHOP zone in Seattle was taken back and brought under control by – you guessed it – heavily armed (and armored) COPS.

You see, once the politician, who was unwilling to take real risks to fight for what she believes would be a socialist utopia, was confronted with the reality of potential harm or death on her own front doorstep, she quickly turned to the men and women who were actually willing to put their lives on the line to fix the situation. When the people she hoped would be her allies to help usher in her vision of a kingdom that she would preside over turned on her, she finally unleashed the people who truly understand and believe in law and order.

Of course, once order was restored (for the most part), and Durkin’s mansion was safe once again – under the protection of the police – the city council kept moving forward with proposals to slash the police budget and reduce the number of cops on the street. This prompted the police chief to retire. And, even a week later, the city council was still yammering on without any clear idea of what defunding the SPD would actually look like.

Would you go out every night and face hundreds of rabid, irrational lunatics, hell bent on hurting or killing you and your fellow officers, all while the politicians who run the city refuse to grow some balls and say that they support the PD and denounce the violence?

In my personal opinion, these pompous bureaucrats would all be singing a much different tune if all the cops said “NO” to trying to “control”‘ the riots and damage they are causing. Maybe after a few of their businesses and their homes burned to the ground, the Seattle and Portland city councils would suddenly find some real principles somewhere deep in their souls.

But the cops aren’t going to do that. Not all at once. It is true that there is a mass exodus of officers leaving SPD to work for other agencies. 68 officers as of July. Who knows how many others in August.

Why would cops even remain on the job at all, knowing how many people in power in America hate them; knowing that all the major media are against them; knowing how few allies they truly have in the halls of the local political power structure?

This is what sets cops apart as a separate breed of people. Police work has never been easy. From the time Sir Robert Peel founded the British Metropolitan Police Force in 1829, being a “copper” has always been a dangerous, exciting, fluid, and thankless job.

It’s not a job that just anyone can do. Without enough courage and disregard for for your own life, you won’t be able to face the unique challenges of dealing with the criminal element. Too much courage or disregard for your life, you’ll get killed or permanently injured very quickly. You have to be willing to force people to do things they don’t want to do, but you have to balance that with a measure of self-control, or you’re just another tyrant. You have to know the law better than most lawyers, because there is rarely time to stop and open up a law book before taking action in a given situation. Make a mistake in that action, however, and it could cost you your career.

So why do cops do it?

The short answer, somewhat cliche even though true, is “who else is going to?”

In my book, I present a chapter on my experiences in Somalia in 1993. It was a lawless land. There was no official government, no cops, and lots of guns. In any given area, the law was whatever the strongest armed group said it was. As a microcosmic example of what I see as America’s future, look at what happened in the CHOP zone once there were no cops. The thugs of BLM assumed “police” duties. In this YOUTUBE video, we see one leader hand out an AR15 rifle after asking some kids “who is 18 and knows how to use a gun?” No background check. No proof of any kind of training or even knowledge of any kind of law.

Cops know that this is where society winds up if they walk away. Cops are still on the job because, while we are all focused on the rioters, the politicians, and those Americans willing to counter-protest BLM and ANTIFA, cops still focus on the people who simply want to live their lives in peace.

A lot of cops are also focused on just trying to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads. An easy retort to that would be, “why don’t they just go get another job doing something else?”

The answer to that is not quite so simple to understand. For many cops, the job isn’t just a job. Wearing the badge is a lifestyle. Street cops see things the average person doesn’t. Street cops understand things in a brutally pragmatic way that the average person doesn’t. Street cops have their own culture. They have their own language – both verbal and non-verbal. Even off-duty, there is a “cop” way of thinking and processing all the things our senses take in.

To be honest, after being a cop, most jobs seem pretty mundane. It would be fair to say that, for many cops, it’s in their blood.

Americans should be thankful for that. Cops are awake all night so we can sleep. Cops take the risks of protecting neighborhoods so that we don’t have to be faced with the actual danger or legal jeopardy associated with “taking the law into our own hands.”

In the middle of all our current turmoil, riots and anarchy – cops are still coming to work because they are still focused on the innocent, peaceful citizens of our American cities.

Today, on September 12, 2020, I ask all Americans who still give a damn about this country to remember that the cops who are being attacked, maligned, labeled as racists, and “de-funded” today are the same people who America watched run toward and into two burning towers when everyone else was running away.

Step into the shoes of a front-line street cop, and learn the deepest beliefs, emotions and motivations that drive the heart behind the badge. Order your copy of Blue Lives Matter – The Heart Behind the Badge.

Available from BookLocker.com, Amazon, WalMart, B&N, and wherever books are sold.

Contact me at ourbluelives@gmail.com

Published by Brian Whiddon

Get an old former cop's point of view on today's issues that affect public safety and the civil society. Straight, honest commentary without politically correct filters.

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