If you haven’t heard, there are increasingly more and more “anti-government” and “anti-police” groups attempting to make police officer’s look like bullies, thugs, and even criminals.
The “open carry” movement is going beyond their demonstrations to prove their point, they are trying to make officer’s look like they don’t know the laws and generally try to start altercations. Keeping our cool and professionalism is a must, as hard as it is.
I know — I’ve been there.
Following Officer Leadfoot
The latest group in my area is now filming officers doing other things, like speeding for no apparent reason. Back in the day, it was just the norm for officers traveling in marked cars to speed — even through other jurisdictions.
Have I ever done it? Of course I have. But those days are gone.
The other day, I was off duty in my personal vehicle and I noticed a marked police car from a neighboring jurisdiction fly by me at about 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. Not only was he speeding, he was also tailgating other vehicles and intimidating them into moving over.
Now, because it was nearing 0800 hours and that squad was heading straight toward the local police academy, I had a feeling that this officer from the neighboring county was simply on his way to a continuing education class. Since the academy is near our agency, I figured I would drive by the academy to confirm my suspicions.
I was correct.
Officer Leadfoot climbed out of his cruiser in his wrangler jeans and tactical boots and walked into the academy.
Once I looked at the situation from a citizen’s perspective instead of a cop’s perspective, I was able to at least see their side of things.
Not Your Father’s Badge
Now, let’s analyze this for a moment. Of course, I didn’t say anything to him, but what if it would have been someone else other than me who followed him? What if it would have been one of these new groups that recorded his 80+mph trip to training, and then confronted him about it when he arrived? What would his justification be? What if they called his chief and supplied video? Do you think the chief would appreciate having to justify those actions?
I think we all know the answer to that one.
Hauling ass to a hot call is one thing, speeding just because we think we are entitled to because our car says “police” on it is another. It reflects poorly on our attitude as a law enforcement officer, our agency, and even our integrity.
The general public has changed over the past few years. We can call them anti-police extremists — or whatever else we want to call them — but the fact is they are not going away. And if they are not going away, we should probably realize that when we do senseless things, we only give them more ammunition to make law enforcement look like we are “unregulated thugs.”
Whether or not we want to admit it, the days of speeding just because we can, or flipping out our badge to get out of a ticket or get a discounted meal are over. And that’s largely our own damned fault.
Now, I’ll probably get ripped in the comments are below that “I don’t have your back,” and all that, but I KNOW that there are cops out there who agree with me on this as well.
So, fire away, but bring a valid argument to whichever side you choose.
Stay safe out there. We’ve already had far too many deaths from vehicle accidents this year. Let’s not have anymore.
Oh, and Officer Leadfoot, even though your chief is a good friend of mine, I DO have your back.