Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Bisard Case and The Integrity of Our Police Force

It's hard to be a cop.  Harder than I can imagine.  I have a few friends that are cops.  I wouldn't want to trade places with them.

One of the hardest thing about being a cop has got to be the lack of respect shown to you by different segments of the population.  Mostly, I'm sure this comes from people that are up to no good and the presence of a police officer means they have to delay or abort their nefarious plans.

Sometimes, though, the lack of respect comes from those who are mostly good and would never consider doing harm to another.  Maybe that lack of respect comes out of anger; a person was speeding or rolled through a stop sign and got a ticket.  Angry over the ticket, even though that person broke the law, they have a show of disrespect to the police officer.  Hey, they're just doing their job.

But then there's another side.  There's the side of  "cops taking care of their own."  This is the side that would really piss me off if I was a cop.  The majority of police officers do their jobs and live by operating above and beyond the demands of the law. They understand that when all eyes are on them, they have to go above and beyond to earn and keep the respect of the citizens. A few, though, ruin it for the rest of the force.

One of the ways that cops operate above the law is speeding.  That's one that really gets on my nerves.  The speed limit on I465 around Indianapolis is 55mph.  I regularly set my cruise control at somewhere between 63 and 65.  Plenty of people pass me, including off-duty police in squad cars moving at 70mph or more.  I may not literally see it every day, but I see it several times a week.  Sometimes the officers are on duty, too.

Hell, on-duty officers never follow the speed limit.  They are always going at least 63 on I465.  What's my motivation to follow the speed limit if they can't?

I just lost some respect.  IMPD and the State Police regularly give people tickets for going 70 on I465.  But these officers aren't scared, because they are in a police car.  They're not getting pulled over for going 70, so they just cruise along with no worries.

People like me who appreciate the police and respect them for the job they do get saddened by stuff like this.  A big sigh and a "c'mon, guys!" I know that, even though I didn't mean to, I just lost a little respect for the badge.

As I stated, the officers should, especially when on-duty or off-duty but in a squad car, follow the law to a T.  Maybe even go beyond it's requirements.  I shouldn't see officers going above 55 except when their is a call for them to do so.  It's just the right thing to do.  (And, whether I would like it or not, I bet the average speed on 465 would come down a few mph if all the cops were going 55.)

Same deal, but exponentially bigger,  with the Bisard case debacle.  The first blood draw was taken at the wrong facility and thrown out.  The second blood draw was "accidentally" removed from refrigerated storage and is now compromised.  The FBI has been asked to come in and investigate whether there has been criminal intent in these situations.

If I was one of the majority of the officers out there that are good, I'd be pissed.  This is the kind of stuff that just made the entire IMPD, as well as police officers everywhere, lose respect from the masses.  The whole "a few rotten apples" cliche at its grandest.

I love my police officer friends.  I respect you and your job; it's one of the most difficult in the world.  I just hope that you and your fellow officers remember that "protecting your own" means much more than protecting an individual officer that has done wrong.  It means protecting your department and what your badge stands for.  It means having integrity above all else because all eyes are on you and the slightest misstep is amplified and ripples out to those all around you.

To protect your own doesn't mean to turn a blind eye to misdeeds.  It does not mean to do shady things to let one of your badged brothers get away with wrongdoing.  Protecting your own means holding yourself and your fellow officers to the highest of standards at all times.  You earn respect that way.  You keep respect that way.

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