Military and Police

Just How Bad Is It For Cops?

It’s amazing that any veteran law enforcement officers stay on the job these days. So many are fed-up with the social justice indoctrination saturating their agencies. This is not to discount the fact that cops are leaving in droves, retiring and resigning, while others are transferring to smaller local departments. Why would any officer remain in an environment where they are not only unappreciated but also routinely targeted by their leaders for discipline as a matter of policy?

Just how bad is it for cops these days? This column can only reveal a tiny portion of all the things wrong with the leftist social justice corruption of law enforcement. Some of this information is firsthand and some is anecdotal. But these comments and anecdotes come from people I trust and who are doing the job—right now.

They come from veteran cops who want things to get better. In fact, when I think about it, I think that’s a part of why they stay. Of course, they need to put food on the table, roofs over their families’ heads, and retirement money in the bank. But I think, because they want to believe it, they still feel it’ll get better someday even if logic, evidence, and history say it won’t.

I understand this notion. If a certain amount of time passes without talking to any of my friends on the job, I suffer the illusion that things may have gotten better. I don’t fully understand this psychological self-deception—maybe it’s just human nature. Then I talk to my active cop friends, and the bubble bursts.

One officer said, “I’m not kidding. I’m much more afraid of my own city and department administration than I am of any criminal. We’re all like that, now.”

Another officer told me he knows of officers who have been “beefed” (complaints filed against them) by “anonymous supervisors on behalf of suspects.” As a cop, it isn’t uncommon for a suspect who is mad at you for arresting them to file a complaint against you. Almost all of the time, these allegations are completely false and all cops know this. You don’t have to be a cop to be stunned by such a thing: officers’ own supervisors, fellow cops, filing complaints against them for minor, alleged policy violations. And, if the supervisor beefing you is anonymous, where’s the due process?

(Credit: Facebook/COPS)

I recently wrote an article in which I mentioned I believed my department was headed down the slippery anti-cop, de-policing slope back when they began allowing third-party anonymous complaints against officers. Again, how do you defend yourself when you don’t even know who’s complaining about you?

Years ago, I told a squad mate I believed the department was increasing scrutiny, petty discipline, and reshaping policies in the social justices’ image, in part, to get rid of “dinosaur” officers (you know, the veterans who know how to do police work). Then, agencies can replace these experienced cops with officers that better reflect “the community” and who start the job with a brand new social justice baseline.

Recently, an officer told me, “That’s why, now, they’re trying to hire social workers with badges rather than cops. These new officers are afraid of their shadows,” she said. “On a call, student officers try to ‘deescalate’ incidents well past what’s safe, out of fear of discipline.” She added, “Don’t even get me started about their hesitation.”

Another officer recently told me that many new officers, preferring not to work for a leftist run city, first apply to smaller agencies. He said rookies told him the smaller departments encouraged them to hire with the larger department because they have more positions to fill and money to spend on training them. These agencies then ask them to apply again once the recruit graduates from the academy, is sworn-in, and completes training.

I have to say, I’m impressed with those who figure out a way to stay cops in leftist cities. Getting out of patrol is usually a part of the plan. It has to be. If a veteran officer is still in patrol, and still chooses to stay, I’m stunned. It used to be that the large city in a region was the department to aim for—the big leagues. Now, officers are leaving larger departments for suburban and county agencies.

I’ve also been told that field training officers (FTO) no longer do traffic stops or check on suspicious persons (shakes) with their student officers because “Stops and shakes are sure-fire complaints. And the leadership will not support an officer.” De-Policing! This officer told me if an officer makes a traffic stop, and a violator complains the officer stopped them for a reason such as race, gender, or some other biased motive, the officer has to allow the violator to drive away. But the officer is required to stay at the scene, call for a supervisor, and then explain why he or she is not a racist, homophobic, misogynist bigot.

As people learn about this policy, why wouldn’t every driver who’s stopped do this? It’s better than an expensive citation, a blemish on your driving record, and an increase in insurance premiums. Then again, why should cops stop anyone? Why would an officer cite someone who didn’t complain about them, when violators who do complain can get away with breaking the law?

In my agency, just a few years ago, precincts had one lieutenant per watch to oversee operations and serve as a liaison between the captain, and supervisors and patrol officers. Now, in the north precinct, there are four lieutenants. Why? Because the social justice-inspired discipline regime is on such a witch hunt, one watch commander cannot possibly handle all the follow up. And, again, many discipline cases are initiated not from the community but from within the police department. One officer told me they now have sergeants whose sole job is to review body-worn and in-car video tapes looking for even the most minor patrol officer violations.

The insanity doesn’t stop there. In the social justice’s ever increasing, Orwellian, attempt to control language, an officer told me, “Now, everything is a crisis.” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” He’d be happy to know in some cities, not wasting even the word crisis is being taken literally. In at least one department, officers no longer respond to “intoxicated person down.” Instead, they respond to a “person in crisis.”

Language matters. By using the term crisis, it has a “cry wolf” effect. The vast majority of “person down” calls involve drunks, not people in crisis as most people understand it. In crisis is different than having a crisis. For cops, in crisis is more of a broad, sociological, psychological, mental health term for a person whose life is spiraling out of control due to drugs and alcohol abuse or mental health issues.

In crisis may, generally, also be the case for many of these chronic inebriates—but not as it applies to immediate police purposes. If people who are not in legitimate crises are said to be, what happens to those people in a true urgent crisis? Using the term crisis also increases the priority classification for police responses, thus increasing the risks involved in faster patrol car response speeds and results in officers not being available for actual emergencies.

To show you this is political social justice nonsense, consider police response protocols for residential and business security alarms. Agencies have been slowing down the speed of police responses to residential alarms for years. Why? Because they say there is too great a risk of injury or property damage with increased police response speeds. Agencies have changed the response policies because the vast majority of these alarms are false. Well, the vast majorities of these new “crises” are also false—they usually involve drunks who are sleeping.

Why the discrepancy between seemingly similar response circumstances? Because the “homeless” street drunks are a social justice, virtue-imbued victim class while home and business owners who use security alarms—specifically because of the value of a police response—are not.

If the above conditions cops face are not bad enough, I’ll close with this. Sergeants’ relationships to officers used to be one of a mentor, advisor, supporter and, when necessary, defender. Now, while all sergeants are not the same, we’ve all had bad bosses, normally this connection built a positive and productive rapport within a squad or unit. You had someone you could depend on who could support you if things went awry while you were doing the job in good faith.

(Credit: YouTube/H. Doug Matsuoka)

Today, sergeants can no longer serve these valuable purposes because, even with minor policy violations (most often inadvertent mistakes), addressing these issues with a simple “training” conference (ass-chewing) with the boss no longer happens. Now, in some departments, if a sergeant doesn’t officially report even minimal violations, he or she can be disciplined. A former cooperative, effective relationship built on trust has become a contentious one mired in uncertainty. Divide and conquer, I suppose.

Today, I’m told social justice regimes have turned line-supervisors (sergeants) into paper-pushing, complaint-reviewing minions of their management overseers. They don’t supervise; they simply implement mandates. To a lesser degree, the same can be said of management (lieutenants, captains, etc., below a chief’s rank) who act as instruments of the command staff—who, in liberal cities, anyway—are under the thumbs of mayors and city councils. In recent years, the most criticism of police commanders I’ve heard from leftist leaders is when commanders support their officers.

In fact, whenever our department launched a search for a new chief of police (i.e., chief of mayor), we’d fantasize they’d hire someone the rank-and-file could respect, maybe even support. A chief who might have their backs. Then we’d have our first coffee of the shift and crash back to earth. Our view was the city council and mayor’s initial candidate search criterion was to meet them at the airport and request they hand over their game-balls. If the candidate didn’t, off the list they go.

That’s only a brief look at just how bad it is, and it’s getting worse.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

OpsLens Premium on CRTV.

Everywhere, at home or on the go.

SIGNUP NOW