Military and Police

One Underappreciated Reason People Become Cops

Early in my career, I was driving to work, when a female caller to a talk radio show made this declaration about law enforcement officers: “You have to be at least a little fascist to be a cop.” She made the comment so matter-of-factly it came across as doubly offensive.

What a cynical view. This was back in the early 1990s, but she’d fit in well today with Black Lives Matter, antifa, or the modern Democratic Party. Who knows, maybe today she belongs to one of those groups. Or, perhaps, the intervening years have brought her to her senses.

One reason her comment struck me is because one compelling purpose I became a cop is due to my disdain for bullies. I think you’ll find that many police officers, while they cite more common reasons for entering law enforcement —serving the community, helping people, the excitement— many cops (if not most) also want to protect people from bullies.

Criminals are the ultimate bullies. They infringe on a person’s God-given right to exist in peace. People come together in communities in societies and enter into a social contract to enjoy their lives and liberty by pursuing their happiness. Criminals —bullies— interfere with their pursuit. And criminals engage in the ultimate forms of bullying: Fraud, theft, robbery, assault, kidnap, rape, and murder.

Fascists have been some of the biggest criminals —biggest bullies— in history. So, the caller’s anti-cop slight, aside from being offensive, made little sense to me. She obviously held the caricature view of cops as badge-heavy brutes. Now, I’m not saying officers like that don’t exist; they do. But they are rare.

A couple years ago, I did some research for a company, which involved interviewing women who’d been victims of sexual assault from indecent liberties to rape. One woman I interviewed told me a man attacked and attempted to rape her while she was walking home from her high school. She didn’t want to allow that event to define the rest of her life. She didn’t want to experience that victim’s fear ever again.

So, she became a police officer. She wanted to prevent other women from experiencing what she had by putting as many of society’s bullies in jail as she could. She hates bullies, too. This notion is common in cops and makes police officers about as far from fascist as anyone can be.

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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.

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