Anna Gregoline | November 11, 2004
What could be done to increase the public's respect for police officers? A lot of the time, I see police being characterized as mean or too tough or generally bull-headed.

Is this a result of people feeling they have been treated unfairly, or is it simply an American dislike of being "caught?"

John E Gunter | November 11, 2004
I think it's a little bit of both. Whether that being treated unfairly was a correct feeling or just some kind of view that was not true, is up to the individual who has that feeling. I do know that quite a bit of negativity felt by individuals is not founded in my opinion.

I rarely have any difficulties when dealing with the police, even when I've been stopped for doing something wrong. Course, when you speak politely to the officer who is questioning you, you have a tendancy to get treated nicely.

But when you get all in their face and nasty, how do you expect them to behave?

Case in point, I have a lot of these. Friend of mine was preceding us from my house to another friends. I was riding with a 3rd friend, and the first 1 had just pulled out onto the main street ahead of us. In a period of about 3 to 5 seconds to look down at something on the floor and back up to the stop sign ahead, a car flashed by on the main road.

As we turned out onto the main road there was a lot of dust in the air and a car on the side of the road. We started down the road to catch up with the 1st friend, which we should have done rather quickly due to the cars involved. Not finding him, we turned around to see if maybe he had been back where the car was on the side of the road.

Arriving back at the original place, we found a rather upset driver wondering around and our friend's car off the side of the road in some trees. Seems the guy smashed into the rear end of our friend’s car while driving about 35 miles over the posted speed.

The cops showed up and while investigating the crash, after telling the guy multiple times to go sit in his car, had to forcibly detain him when he began to destroy his own car. It was an interesting struggle to watch, which I did from quite a distance due to the worry that he might have a weapon and decide to use it. I thought the cops were extremely restrained in how they handled him, using only enough strength to get the cuffs on him as he tried to resist, saying he wasn't resisting them the entire time.

So yeah, I can see that some people believe they have been treated unfairly and I can also see that people don't like being "caught". Plus, I can see that the police have a very dangerous, non-respected, but very needed job. One that I looked into doing while still searching for a career, but glad I never chose.

John

Scott Hardie | November 12, 2004
Same here: I considered getting in shape and trying it as a career choice, but I was not interested in the stress level involved, and now I'm glad I stayed away.

I submit that people don't like the law in general, and as police embody the law, people hate the police. I don't think the individual criminal hates any police officer as a person, but as soon as that uniform goes on, she or he is a cop and she or he is scum. I have heard of convicts holding grudges against their arresting officers for years, and in rare cases seeking revenge after being paroled, when the cop was merely a person fulfilling a societal function. Then again, let's just say that people who are in prison but look forward to committing more crimes when they get out are not the most reasonable people.

Amy Austin | November 12, 2004
I have a general hatred for police of the "patrolling" variety -- I have had very few positive experiences with them, and they are the ones most likely to be a little too "proactive" (in a pessimistic sense) for me to appreciate. Case in point: a page from my "journal" at another group I am part of, from just days after my military discharge (link) (If you scroll further down after reading my narrative, you can see the pictures of what was done to me.)

Investigators, on the other hand, I have much appreciation for -- there are a few in Florida (and Canada) that are personal heroes of mine... but that's another story.

Additionally: I think your comment on hating the law and, by extension, cops is very valid, Scott.

Anna Gregoline | November 12, 2004
Geez. I think that had more to do with the fact that it was military police though?

Amy Austin | November 12, 2004
No, he was a civilian.

Anna Gregoline | November 12, 2004
But you were on base, right?

Amy Austin | November 12, 2004
The cop who manhandled me was a civilian officer... and if you call not getting past the gate being "on base", then yes, but it doesn't change the fact that he was a civilian policeman, and I was also civilian who was receiving mistreatment at his hands. Isn't that what the thread is about, or are you justifying his behavior by the fact that his "beat" is a military establishment?

Anna Gregoline | November 12, 2004
Whoa, don't get angry, Amy. I was unclear as to where you were from your story.

I do think the fact that you were going onto a military base makes police guards a lot more jumpy than they would be in other situations.

Amy Austin | November 12, 2004
If you were the one cuffed and thrown on the ground -- with a scar to show for it -- you might get pretty fucking angry, too, Anna . I didn't share the story to entertain any ideas that his behavior was somehow legitimate or excusable... it was my comment on "police being characterized as mean or too tough or generally bull-headed." And yes, I do feel that I was treated *very* unfairly.

Furthermore, this guy was *not* the police guard for the gate -- like I said, he just so *happened* to have been right behind me in a patrol vehicle that was also coming onto base, and he jumped... totally uninvited and uninformed... into the situation between myself and the gate guard -- a military member of the same rank I had been on discharge -- with threats to arrest me without even knowing the whole story.

His use of force was *quite* excessive when you consider the fact that they did call my husband and did find out that I was indeed a dependent and did have valid business and reason to be there -- I just didn't have "proper identification"... not a lack of identification, mind you... "Proper" identification. For this, I was emotionally and physically scarred in a way that I will never forget, and to add insult to injury, I still have to pay a fine for a misdemeanor charge of trespassing because I was unable to make a mandatory court appearance in Tacoma to plead my case before a judge. It would have been more expensive to make the trip back up -- twice (once just to enter a plea and then again for an actual hearing with a judge) -- than to just bite the fucking principle bullet and pay up to settle out.

You're goddamned right I'm angry about it.

Anna Gregoline | November 12, 2004
Ok, but...no need to swear at me about it.

I never disputed your right to be angry about it. I was simply stating that in that situation, I think the police were acting with a different sense of authority than they would be in another situation, not to say that such things don't happen in other places too.

Lori Lancaster | November 12, 2004
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