How 11 Cops See America

How 11 Cops See America — Crime, Guns, Race, and Bad Cops

New York Times “America in Focus” staff members, January 3, 2023

[From the editors: “One of the goals of our Times Opinion focus groups is to bring together subsets of Americans and explore assumptions that others might have — digging deeper into them, challenging them, in some cases stamping out stereotypes. In our latest group, with 11 police officers and other members of law enforcement from around the country, one assumption we had at the start was that some or all of them would see crime as the most important issue in the country. In fact, none of them did”].

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[My Notes: As many of you know, I spent nearly one-half of my life as a police officer, detective, trainer, and leader. I retired over 20 years ago and became an Episcopal priest and served in parish ministry. I still do today, but I never quit thinking and writing about police and their improvement. Of course things have changed. I began policing with little training, no personal radio, body armor or computer and I carried a six-shooter. But after reading this interview with this diverse group of eleven police officers, I have to say they said nothing with which I could strongly disagree. Whether you support police or not, this interview is important for you read. If you claim to be an informed person, you need to read this! The following are some key quotes that I picked out. Check them out and then read the full interview which has been of great encouragement to me. And may all of us have a most blessed, happy, and safe New Year.]

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“I can’t fix America, but I can contribute to the fixing of America. I think, as a law enforcement officer, we’re doing that now. It’s just harder than it was 10 years ago.”

“The real issue is the lack of respect and parenting and these insane ideologies and teachings that we’re bringing into these schools. If you don’t change it, you’ll never change crime. We got out of Philly a couple of years ago. My children are in the public schools in the suburbs, which are great. I’m fully behind them being exposed to everything and culture and respect.”

“In the inner cities in New York, people feel — I can’t speak for them, I’m just relaying what I’ve been told — there aren’t enough opportunities. There aren’t not enough programs. There aren’t enough resources. After being incarcerated and released, there’s literally nowhere to go, nowhere to turn. So the natural instinct is to turn to what they know.”

“While kids are in school, teach them about what happens after school. How is it that you’re supposed to dress when you go to work? How do you speak? How do you conduct yourself? I think that if there were some of these opportunities, perhaps people would gain the knowledge that they don’t gain at home. I wish they were taught so much more about life, about relationships.”

“So I think that if you had more funding and more incentives to bring young officers on and got them out there and left them in the neighborhoods and showed them how to be there, that’s the way you get to the criminals. That’s the way you get respect. That’s how you keep violent crime down.” 

“I have yet, in my law enforcement career, been asked by a superior officer, a sergeant or above, ‘Hey, Mike, we’re going to get $50,000. What is it you, as a patrol officer, what do you think we should spend it on?’ We have no say.”

“There’s no amount of money that can be thrown at an officer that’s a substitute for integrity and morals.” 

“We got a surplus of money down here… and before I knew it, we’re getting Dodge Chargers. We’re getting Dodge Challengers. We’re getting these tricked-out Tahoe trucks. We’re getting all this, and the only people who are benefiting are top brass.”

“They’re not allocating the funds properly. I don’t know where that extra money goes, as far as New York City is concerned. I mean, I can’t even get a vest that fits me properly. It doesn’t trickle down to us.”

“I might be off on my stats, but I think we’re at around our 600th mass shooting in the United States for the year. So I know there are some people who love their guns. But I honestly do not understand why people need AR-15s. I don’t see the purpose. I can’t go to a supermarket. I have to be careful going into a nightclub, sending my child to school.” 

“I think all of us are going to protect the Constitution and understand the Second Amendment right to bear arms. But what the two ladies just said (above), I have to agree. I don’t want to take anyone’s freedom away, because we’re all Americans. But when I’m going to these active shootings and these suspects have better weaponry than I have, it becomes very much a problem.”

“You’ve got to be a babysitter. You’ve got to be a social worker. You’ve got to be a problem solver. You’ve got to be a psychiatrist. You’ve got to be a shoulder to cry on. You can’t just be a cop. You can’t just do your job. Again, it’s not 1960. You’ve got to be all-faceted… Ninety percent of my day is problem solving with BS non-police-related issues.”

“But you know what? I might be a bit older than everybody else here, but it’s been that way for a while. I would say the mental health issue has exploded. But other than that, I mean, you think domestic violence started last year? It’s been going on since the ’50s, ’40s. So that hasn’t changed. But I mean, I think that’s one of the good things about being a police officer, actually, having all those different hats, helping people in different ways, impacting lives positively.” 

“I think defund [the police] was just a political ploy that was used in the height of what we had going on.”

“To me, the people I spoke to, they didn’t really think of it [Defund the Police] in terms of getting social workers there, that type of thing… But again, people don’t see it like that, because they’re not there for every single situation that we go through. They only see the videos on YouTube and everything else, where an officer reacts to someone who’s having a mental crisis. And unfortunately, the person gets shot… And people want everything to be nice and sweet and whatever else. But sometimes, life gets messy.”

“I was a school resource officer for 16 years. And I did it for elementary, middle and high school. And just to interact with those kids on a daily basis, to try to change what their mind-set of policing was, to now. And now that I see them out and about — some of them graduated, and some of them come say to me, “I appreciate everything you did for me, because if you hadn’t said something to me on that day, I probably would have did this.” So just to see them become better human beings, better citizens. And now they have their own children that they have to do the same thing for. I see a little bit of what I taught them, because of all my experiences I try to give to them… So that makes me feel good inside, that I had some type of impact with them at a stage where they didn’t know which way they was going.”

“I think if you got into the areas where you would expect to have racism and talk to the people that actually live there, you would get a very different answer than what you’re getting from some people who are very far removed and just think that they know. Even with the defund-the-police movement — if you go into those neighborhoods, they want the police there. They don’t want less police; they want more police. But at the same time, we definitely have racism within the police department. How could we not? It’s in every culture, every occupation. I think it’s about separating from those cops… The only thing we can do is go out there and make sure every single encounter that we have with the public is the best that they could have and that I handle a job the way I would want it handled from my loved one, myself.” 

“I try my best not to be what they consider to be the stereotypical officer, the hard-ass, the robot, no emotions. I can laugh and joke with you. Just showing them that we’re actually human beings and that I go through the same things that you go through. Just because I have a gun and a badge as my profession, that doesn’t mean that I’m any less of a human than you are.”

“I think the young children need to see people that look like them. There’s absolutely racism within the police force and just in general here in this country. But young people need to see people that look like them.” 

“I’m out here trying to do the best I can just like anybody else. I’m trying to make a living just like anyone else is. I’m trying to do my best. And I’m a human, and I have feelings and emotions like anyone else. So don’t treat me like I’m a robot. Don’t automatically assume that I’m the bad guy when you’ve never met me before. Give me a chance to show you who I am.”

“I think, for me, what’s going on in this country the last couple of years is a perfect storm of a lot of nonsense. If I had to say one thing, instead of trying to call me and my co-workers out, call us in. Call us into your small groups. Call us into your city council meetings. Call us into the meetings that really matter, where the transparency takes place. That’s where I want to be.”

“We’re here to help. Definitely people will have bad experiences with that 1 percent. But we are here to help, and we do want to return home to our family.”

“We aren’t the enemy. We are humans. We put our pants on like everybody else does every day. And unfortunately, if we make a mistake, it could be a life-or-death situation. And we don’t take those mistakes lightly, and we try to do the best that we can to keep everyone safe and make sure that we get home to our families and that everyone else gets home to their families, too.”

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Read the full article HERE and more about who these officers are and what they think. [Not much different than I would answer after my three decades in policing and now having been retired for more than two decades!]

7 Comments

  1. Hi David,
    I enjoy your continued writing. Thanks for keeping the focus on police and improvement. I am a second-career, full-time Criminal Justice professor after a 35-year career in policing at the military, municipal and federal levels. I host The CopDocPodcast. The podcast focuses on police innovation and improvement, interviewing academics and practitioners in policing across the globe. Would you consider being a guest in the future? If so, please leave your contact number and email. Thanks and Happy New Year! Steve Morreale

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  2. “We aren’t the enemy. We are humans. We put our pants on like everybody else does every day. And unfortunately, if we make a mistake, it could be a life-or-death situation. And we don’t take those mistakes lightly, and we try to do the best that we can to keep everyone safe and make sure that we get home to our families and that everyone else gets home to their families, too.”

    They treat the labor unions, liberals, minorities, etc., and the rest of the population as the enemy with the exception of CEOs, wealthy people, and conservatives. What about the people who work in more dangerous professions than police officers? They would like to go home and see their families. They don’t take mistakes seriously when it comes to deliberating making bad decisions and not being held accountable.

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  3. “I think all of us are going to protect the Constitution and understand the Second Amendment right to bear arms. But what the two ladies just said (above), I have to agree. I don’t want to take anyone’s freedom away, because we’re all Americans. But when I’m going to these active shootings and these suspects have better weaponry than I have, it becomes very much a problem.”

    You took the job and took an oath to lay down your life and many of you cops are active NRA members who believe in the 2nd Amendment and don’t believe in strong gun control. No one twisted your arm and forced you to take the job and you play your part in being against strong gun control especially since many of you committed domestic violence against your own family members.

    “You’ve got to be a babysitter. You’ve got to be a social worker. You’ve got to be a problem solver. You’ve got to be a psychiatrist. You’ve got to be a shoulder to cry on. You can’t just be a cop. You can’t just do your job. Again, it’s not 1960. You’ve got to be all-faceted… Ninety percent of my day is problem solving with BS non-police-related issues.”

    You guys/gals are babysitters for wealthy people along with a private police force for wealthy people and CEOs. You don’t use your union’s political and financial power to give more funding to departments to do the jobs such as being a psychiatrist, providing social workers, providing mental, dental, eye care services, providing funding for good schools and teachers across the country, fighting for other unions, etc. The cops play a significantly important part in creating the present American social, political, and economic landscape ever since they came into existence.

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    1. Is it your opinion that in order to see Justice served that I must invoke my 2nd Amendment Right?

      I am an American. I am not a  felon. My private property was taken by my government using chemical warfare to eliminate me. The evidence speaks for itself. No authority has ever reviewed my evidence. There is no Statute of Limitations for Fraud against the Courts. There is no statute of limitation for intentional violation of civil rights by government officials. In fact the Rights given by the Constitution are the Supreme law of the land.

      In violation of  International Law of Human Rights. 

      Chemical warfare was used to eliminate me from my private property.  When I was denied a trespass against my assailant by local law enforcement is when life as I knew it ended. The acts committed against me include but are not limited to criminal trespass, contempt, fraud, perjury, and conspiracy. 

      I do not qualify for the cases against Monsanto (Bayer) because I never applied the chemicals on my private property. 

      The skin condition resulting from the intentional chemical exposure is chronic. I also suffer severe PTSD causing me to have nightmares. This is textbook narcissistic personality disorder. Convincing the community that I am “crazy” when nobody has witnessed me act peculiar. I was literally homebound and unable to simply wear clothes for over 10 years. 5 of those years I was exposed to the chemicals constantly. I was blind and homeless for 4 years following the time that I fled.

       

      This cannot happen to any citizen in America. My rights continue to be violated using the excuse that I am “crazy”. Textbook traits of narcissism and their smear campaign. I have much more documentation to prove my allegations. This took me from being a productive self employed citizen to being a social security disabilities citizen. Not to mention to the toll this took on the amount I receive for social security.

      I hired an attorney early on. My evidence will prove that my attorney was not representing my best interest, he obviously was working for the opposing party. That is what my evidence proves. 

      I have a couple questions that I would like to have confirmed in the answer.

      Can a prosecutor use attorney discretion to continue to violate a citizen’s Constitutional Rights?

      I don’t think so, not when the acts are criminal and in violation of my State and Federal Rights. 

      A trespass should have been issued on my behalf with exigency.

      This is a perfect example of government protecting the government. 

      I can find no legal representation now that I am able to actually participate in getting justice for what was done to me. Please read my entire presentation. 

      You will see that I have no resources available. They took my assets.

      I was blind and unable to simply wear clothes when I was forced to flee from my property to escape the chemicals.

       That is how much suffering these government officials intentionally caused me.

       

      In violation of my 4th Amendment. 

      The Constitution, through the Fourth Amendment, protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The Fourth Amendment, however, is not a guarantee against all searches and seizures, but only those that are deemed unreasonable under the law.

      My property was unlawfully seized by my government to allow for my assailant to poison me with chemicals. This was ongoing for over 5 years. I had to flee to escape the chemical attack. 

      In violation of my 5th Amendment Right.

      The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states.

      My property was taken without due process. In violation of a civil court judge citing my right to use my property as I wished. These criminals did not care what the law or a judge said.

      In violation of my 14th Amendment Right.

      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

      All of these rights were taken by an entire entity of government from the level of a small rural town in Iowa to the Assistant US Attorney who had nothing but hearsay to determine to use Attorney discretion and not prosecute those who literally would have killed me had I  not fled. 

       

      These photos were taken by my Dr. 4 years after I was forced to flee from my private property to escape the chemical warfare. Local Drs. were clueless in how to treat me.

       

       

      MY GOVERNMENT  USED TOXIC CHEMICALS, UNLAWFULLY APPLIED ON MY PRIVATE PROPERTY,WITH THE INTENT TO CAUSE THIS TYPE OF SUFFERING TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING?

       

      Torture- Section 2340A of Title 18, United States Code, prohibits torture committed by public officials under color of law against persons within the public official’s custody or control. Torture is defined to include acts specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering. (It does not include such pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions.) The statute applies only to acts of torture committed outside the United States. There is Federal extraterritorial jurisdiction over such acts whenever the perpetrator is a national of the United States or the alleged offender is found within the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or the alleged offender.

       

      Glyphosate poisoning

      Intentionally exposed to the chemical, unlawfully applied on my private property. The motive was to eliminate me from my private property. These photos were taken by my Dr. 5 years after I was forced to flee from my home, business, and private property to escape the ongoing attack. I was blind due to the treatment given by the local Emergency room. They overdosed me with IV steroids resulting in me going blind and  being admitted to the Intensive care Unit for 3 days. 

       

      I had no protection of the law. I was attacked from all sides by government officials. Charges were brought against me based on fabricated ordinances and fabricated laws. 

      I have not been diagnosed with cancer yet. I have recently been diagnosed with scoliosis and there is a scientific link between the two issues. I do not qualify to sue Monsanto because “I did not apply the chemicals on my property”.

        

      I was viewed as a weak divorced female, with no political influence. 

      That does not disqualify my State and Federal rights from being protected. The Rights every other citizen takes for granted.

      It is clear to me that the individuals involved in this are a danger to society. These officials used their positions to attack me in unison. Committing criminal offenses against me. In complete disregard for their oaths for service and my Constitutional rights and as a human being.

      My evidence has never been reviewed by any authority.

      Hearsay has admittedly been used as evidence to determine Federal law has not been violated. The FBI agent used the term “torture” to define the events that caused me to suffer in this way. Isn’t torture a violation of Federal law? 

      This condition is chronic and I will continue to suffer everyday for the rest of my life. I have recently been diagnosed with scoliosis. There is a link to scoliosis caused by glyphosate exposure.

      I am not claiming this happens to every person exposed to glyphosate. I am claiming this happened to me when glyphosate was applied on my private property not by me or a family member ongoing for over 5 years. 

      Information of what the chemicals were was withheld from me. I had to wait 9 months for the lab results to come back before I was able to find out what the chemical was.

      Local Drs had no clue how to treat me. The local Emergency Room overdosed me with IV steroids. This resulted in me being admitted to ICU for 3 days. There is no other case in which a human has been intentionally exposed to glyphosate for over 5 years. Based on my experience I am certain lab rats would perish.

      The massive amounts of steroids caused me to go blind.

      The FBI claims to hold a high priority to investigating and holding accountable  corrupt public officials. This conflicts with them working closely with State and local officials. In this case they only worked closely with State and local officials.

      The Bill of Rights, specifically the 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments are Federal laws. Those laws are guaranteed to all citizens of the USA.

      What law provides a police chief or a County Attorney to deny a property owner a trespass against anyone they chose not to allow on their property?

      My private property was unlawfully seized. Meaning I had no control over what took place on it. In contempt of a civil judge citing my right to use my property as I wished.

      The statute of limitations is first based on a timely investigation by law enforcement. My evidence has never been reviewed by any government authority.

       

       

      A warning letter to the Street Dept Director did not affect my situation. It was not the City applying the chemicals. I can get no response from any government official.

       

      Please refer me to a competent attorney!

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      1. I am deeply sorry you are going through this. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I do not have an attorney I can recommend. Check around your state. Perhaps the ACLU?

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  4. “I’m out here trying to do the best I can just like anybody else. I’m trying to make a living just like anyone else is. I’m trying to do my best. And I’m a human, and I have feelings and emotions like anyone else. So don’t treat me like I’m a robot. Don’t automatically assume that I’m the bad guy when you’ve never met me before. Give me a chance to show you who I am.”

    You automatically assume that everybody at a traffic stop is a bad person/criminal. Furthermore, many of you don’t live in the areas such as Chinatown, low-income areas, minorities communities, etc., which means that you don’t get to know the people except when you respond to a 911 call or you pull someone over because you think that they are doing something wrong.

    . “Again, it’s not 1960”

    Well back in the 1960s, crime was pretty low because America had a strong manufacturing base and strong unions which means that there were good paying jobs. The best anti-crime device is a good paying job but all of that was taken away when Reagan came into office and many of you cops support the conservative no-government regulation of the economy and look where we are because of it. Also back in the 1960s, police corruption was pretty rampant across the nation and organized crime was rampant and brought many of you cops off. Again you play your important part in created the mess that we are payng now for it.

    You complain that you have to do non-police work. Well, unfortunately, government agencies like mental health, child care services, social workers, etc., are not available 24/7 including the weekend and holidays. You and the fire department are the only government agencies available when everyone else goes home after 5 pm. Why don’t you support more funding for those agencies so they are available after working hours and are available on the weekends and holidays?

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