“Bad boys, bad boys…”

May 24, 2014

I really have to stop bingeing on Cops Reloaded, the newly repackaged TV series of all the strangest, most exciting episodes of the original reality series, Cops.

Coming back from the movies with my gay husband (to differentiate him from my legal husband, who is definitely NOT gay) I had an SJPD car behind me. My heart sped up and I kept checking the rear view mirror to be sure they hadn’t “lit me up.” Then I did a mental inventory: I had no warrants, no drugs or guns in the car, I actually HAVE a driver’s license and it has not been revoked and since I screwed up my back I definitely could not run even if I wanted to. I wasn’t in danger of being “tazed” or tackled, nor was it likely that a uniformed hottie would tell me to put my hands behind my back. Even if I wanted him to.

Still, I felt that little frisson of anxiety that I’m sure was brought about by watching at least 50 half-hour episodes of Cops Reloaded in the past few weeks.

Yeah, I’m a woman of excess.

Hubby and I enjoy watching some of the stupidest people known to man.

“If you watch these shows you’d believe that every single driver has a warrant and every cop is the voice of reason,” he said to me the other night, as we watched yet another officer give a handcuffed do-badder the “Dutch uncle” talk.

But that got me thinking about cops in general. LE or Law enforcement professionals.

Growing up around organized crime I was more likely to meet small-time Mafia figures at family events than cops. Except for one.  My (late) cousin was a bad cop: a big guy with a bad temper. He stole and beat up African-Americans and I recall vaguely that he was booted from the force. For a long time, he was the only cop I knew personally. A very long time.

We were raised to respect cops, but my father was very candid about the bad behavior of his nephew, so it was a mixed bag for us.

The rest of my image of law enforcement was formed by the TV and movie cops I knew. And we know how accurate film and TV are.

About 20 years ago I met two LE professionals my age. They belied all the typical stereotypes of cops. They’re smart, literate, irreverent, fairly liberal or very very liberal. They’re hilarious and committed; serious and way fun. They have integrity. That goes for a third LE professional I met more recently. They’re some of the best human beings I know.

So how do these stereotypes get started? There might have been a day when the K-9 was the smartest officer on the job, (maybe) but that’s not a generalization I’d make today.

Have I said how much I love police K-9s?

Say what you will about so-called “reality” shows, this one has given viewers a tiny taste of what it’s like to put your life at risk every time you make a call or a stop. Every day. Every time. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even imagine the kind toll that takes because I can’t believe the number of times guns and other weapons are found in cars. Or that perps fight back. I mean, seriously?

So let’s talk cops. Police officers. I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions, good, bad or indifferent. Weigh in, if you will, and tell a story or two if you have one.

25 comments on ““Bad boys, bad boys…”
  1. I dated a cop on and off for years. He was one of the good guys and a great influence on my kids.
    We lived in a ‘family’ town too and most of those guys were stand up guys during the day so we mostly ignored what they did at night.
    My daughter was a cop in that town and honesty it was one of the scariest times of my life, equal to my son being in the army.
    I feel terribly scared for cops today. They are not equipped and are terrified to protect themselves. They need and deserve more support.
    There will always be bad ones, thats a shame and we should continue to weed them out.
    I always have that anxiety when one follows me too.

  2. Wow, in general, I think cops are the Good Guys. But here in Milwaukee, something is wrong with our cops. They are just killing people left and right. Well, maybe not THAT many people but I often wonder… why can’t they just shoot the bad guy in the knee? Why do they have to go for the heart or the head? So many senseless police shootings at people. But then again, we have so many murders here. I dunno. Love/hate I guess. I love reality shows too. Do not watch Investigation Discovery. there were MONTHS in a row that I could not turn it off. ADT loves us because of ID though. xo

    • I hadn’t heard what’s going on in Milwaukee? But a shot in the knee still leaves a bad guy able to shoot to kill a cop, that’s why….

      • We have trigger happy cops here. Plus the murder rate, sheesh, it’s bad. Don’t you think a shot in the knee is going to knock the gun out of his hand? Maybe better to shoot his hand eh?

        • Pat says:

          My ex father in law had a little of the same attitude. “Find a way where you don’t have to kill them, then you can take guns away from law enforcement officers and all guns will go away.”

          Let me say this, without generalizing too much, the circumstances that cause a normal and prudent law enforcement officer to have to engage in deadly force is probably a very stressful situation. Even under the best of circumstances, the ability to precision work (like shoot an object the size of a hand or knee that is in motion) is difficult. Toss a little life or death struggle into the mix, and it becomes even more difficult.

  3. I appreciate cops. Of course not all are good but where would we be without them!

  4. Lana says:

    My husband grew up around cops – his mom was the Budget director for the local Sheriff’s office. I think they were mostly good. A lot of them were pretty arrogant – but I think you kind of have to be to deal with the “element” out there. You have to think you are bigger and badder than them, or you’d never get out of the cop car! I do appreciate their service. My heart rate goes up every time a cop is behind me and I haven’t done anything wrong :).

  5. Roz Warren says:

    Fascinating. I don’t know any cops, and never have. Don’t watch them on TV either, although your descriprion of the joys of watching Cops Reloaded is tempting me.

  6. My entire perspective on police is formed from police procedurals ( I used to devour) or what I see when I am watching a television show (not reality) or a movie. I like to believe they are all like Gibbs from NCIS (not a cop, but the detective sort). My cousin is a deceptive for the Denver Police Department. She is badly 5 foot and a fiery Latina–nothing like what we see on the tube. I have a high regard for her. It’s a tough gig, especially since she’s the only female in her group.

  7. All professions have people that display integrity and those that don’t. The fact that they can have so much authority over others, can carry guns, have access to private information about others… that’s what makes a potential lack of integrity so dangerous. Interesting post Carol. Thanks1

  8. I would not want to be the mother or wife of a cop, and they’ve definitely gotten a bad, donut-eating rap, but I do appreciate them and wouldn’t want to live in a world without them. And I, too, totally adore K-9 cops. LOVE!

  9. Diane says:

    My son is a cop. One of the good ones. The kind that cares about people. And comes home to his family of four kids and bakes bread and gardens. We worried about him going into the service because he is, literally, a gentle giant. But he does well. My view of our city’s cops is coloured with his brush . . .

  10. I was head of security at a major archaeological museum for a few years and had to meet cops in the dead of the night many, many, many times. Some of the guys and gals are great. Some are not. I have absolutely terrible experiences with some too. Unfortunately there seems to be an inverse correlation with desire to help people for far too many who seek out positions of authority and power. We need to add a lot more psychological testing for people who are allowed to carry guns and are allowed to restrain, shoot, and kill people.

  11. Fascinating discussion, I have known one police officer when I was a child. He was a friend of my father. He seemed really nice, but he always gave me a creepy feeling so I just stayed away from him.

  12. Karen says:

    My uncle was in the RCMP–he was a giant tree-trunk of a man, even taller than his half-brother, my dad (who was 6’2″). I remember him as stern, unyielding, and completely devoted to upholding the law, and even after he retired, he never lost that aura of authority and uprightness.

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