Politics in the LE Profession - Leadership - LawOfficer.com

Politics in the LE Profession

Whether we like it or not, our profession is significantly influenced by politics



Bullethead | From the April 2012 Issue Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dear Bullethead,
What’s your opinion on how to remove politics from law enforcement? My parents served when LE was LE. Now with all the politics, LEOs have their hands tied and criminals have more rights than LEOs or victims. I was an LEO until I became a victim of the politics that have taken over the field. It’s a shame that LEOs have fallen so low to be part of this political takeover and are only in it for the paycheck, benefits and the power they think they have over the public. It’s a real disgrace to all LEOs who have served with true honor. I was taught respect and honor in the military and then became the victim of the crooked politics that puts all citizens in jeopardy of their rightful safety.

—Angry Guy

First of all, I’m not sure if you realize this, but the Constitution has been around since September 17, 1787. It’s the supreme law of the land and it lays out how things work. It was set up to protect the accused. Read that again!

See, before the Constitution, some poor schlep would tick off a king, lord or preacher and the next thing you know, he would have a sword sticking out of him. Or he might be working hard to feed his family as some sort of subsistence farmer and those in power would come along and start taking whatever they wanted. The Constitution—one of the greatest documents ever created and the one Ol’ Bullethead has sworn to uphold eight times—changed all that.

You mentioned your parents were cops back when law enforcement was the way you think it should be. Maybe you’re talking about back in the good old days when cops could give a good slap to anyone who showed us any level of disrespect. Or perhaps you’re speaking about when cops could stop someone without cause and then tear the pockets off their pants and call it a “search.” Either way, I’m glad I wasn’t around when those actions were allowed.

I didn’t swear to uphold only parts of the Constitution. The oath every police professional takes doesn’t allow us to pick and choose the parts of the document that interest us. Through their interpretations of the Bill of Rights, the courts have given the police ample direction about what’s acceptable—and what’s not. I’ve seen a grip of scumbags get sent to the slammer by cops staying within those limits. Don’t get me wrong—I get just as frustrated as you when the courts do something to make our job harder. But I make the required changes and carry on looking for bad people to arrest.

Politics within Departments
As far as this goes, there’s little that can be done. Ever since the first group of cavemen who were standing around deciding if they should try to catch a fish or kill a bear, there have been subgroups, opinions, friends and enemies. Whatever decision they ended up making, politics were involved. That still rings true for every group of men, women and children today—and I’m fairly sure it will continue to be true as long as people hang out in groups. When you mix pay, benefits, perks and rank to the group, the politics are going to get magnified at least 10-fold.

Angry Guy, I appreciate your military service and service to your community. If you came into law enforcement thinking you and the direction of your job wouldn’t be significantly influenced by internal and external politics, you came in with your eyes closed and your head in a sack.

Protection of the accused is one of the things that makes this country great. Another is the spirit of the hardworking Americans who carry on despite laws and regulations, which can sometimes make business a little more difficult. As LE professionals, we all signed up to protect the American way of life against those who operate outside of societies’ accepted practices, while remaining within the standards set by the Constitution, the courts and our individual department policies.

Angry Guy, I don’t want to assume too much from your dissatisfaction with politics, but it’s important to remember we have the best justice system in the world. If a return to the good old days means not honoring and upholding the Constitution, ignoring the desires of the communities we serve and walking around looking for our next victim like a group of bullies in uniform, then I’m happy we’ve moved away from that and hope we never return. If you want those things, you should find another country and avoid being accused of anything.

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