Friday, July 31, 2009

Chapter1: Understanding Police Power & Other Tools of the Trade

During my eight years as a City of Atlanta police officer, I had the opportunity to experience things that people only dream about. It is no wonder that every movie, every book and every new television series attempts to dramatize the realities of policing. Some do a better job than others do. But, while society idolizes what the police do, it secretly feels a bit of scorn for what the power of police can do.

How many times did you not get your way with the police on a traffic stop? How did you feel? No matter how you felt about the police the day prior, you felt scorn on this occasion. Our relationship with the police is similar to that we had with our parents as children. We knew we could count on them and they were always available to deal with our personal bogey man.

The same is true with the police. We can count on them to deal with our grown up bogey men. But just like the problem we had with our parents, we want to have our way. We don’t want police officers telling us what to do, although it may be for our own benefit. After all, are we not grown adults capable of making our own decisions? Yes, we were once dependent on authority figures growing up, but do we need the same sense of authority as adults?

These issues go to the core of the premise of this book, Understanding Police Power & Other Tools of the Trade. At first glance, one might believe that this book is about taking advantage of the police. How to usurp their power and make them bend to our own personal will. On the contrary, this book is about understanding some of the motivations of police officers and how to engage effectively with them in gaining equity.

Equity or fairness is the operative word. Equity should be the predominate item we receive in all facets of life. Equity in love, equity in friendships, and equity in our rights to exist in society free of the encumbrances that may abridge those freedoms. This sounds a little different than what you might have anticipated, particularly those who might have had some criminal intent. This book is a bridge builder and a guide. A guide in a sense for readers to take note of what their responsibility in a civilized society should be. A guide in directing our energies into favorably impacting the world in a spirit of cooperation. By understanding the inner workings of the police, you can better handle situations no matter what race, religion, or sexual orientation you find yourself.

Contemporary policing has changed in some respect but it has in other respects remained the same. The concept of a paramilitary organization that maintains peace and order in society with a cadre of highly skilled personnel has largely remained the same. The notion of an organized force to protect its citizens can be probably traced all the way back to the civilization of man. Advanced societies realized long ago that protecting property and maintaining civil order was the foundation of perpetuating its ideals. Policing has changed in that a changing society forces this inevitability. The "Information Age" has brought about a change in mores, mindsets, and ways of maneuvering throughout society. In would be safe to say that with the proliferation of technology, people are different. While there is a movement towards spiritual enlightenment and "back-to basics" concepts, this is a reaction to a changing world. Society is now saying, "wait a minute, we wanted growth and advancement, but the cost is getting too high. In some respect, we are losing as much as we are gaining." With such changes in society, the police profession had to change. Police Personnel have to be smarter, better trained, and more flexible than they were in the past. Officers are now required to be computer literate just to do the job that once required a pencil and pad. All this is important in understanding how citizens can gain better services and response from the police. Unfortunately, while policing has changed, it still is stuck in a rut of traditionalism.

Being the only team in town allows for complacency and stagnation. There is no competition among police departments in cities and states where citizens get to choose another department if theirs does not suit them. This monopolistic "hold" departments have on its citizens allows for stagnation, pride, and arrogance. It's like saying "if you don't like it, where are you going to go?" In every business in the United States, they have to listen to the demands of society and act accordingly. If these businesses do not give consumers what they want, another business will.

Police Departments respond to a small minority that's prompted by elected officials. The typical scenario may look like this: Candidate Bill Drone spends millions of dollars campaigning for the mayoral position in his city. He appealed to the interest of the affluent population to raise money and insures them that their interest will be protected. He gets elected based on these promises. Bill Drone has made many promises to many people. Who will he keep his allegiance and promises to? Some of the promises made were diametrically opposed to one another. He knows that people act on emotion and justify their actions with logic. He has to do two things. Keep those who voted for him based on emotions satisfied by feeding their emotions and maintain the promises he made with the affluent group who are less emotional and measure results by dollars and cents.

The first task is easy. Mayor Drone only has to "appear" to be concerned about the issues raised by the less affluent group. They are looking for a messiah or "saviour" who will protect and "give" them hope. This desire is intangible and can not be measured. Thus, as long as Mayor Drone says what he needs to keep this group content then they will continue to vote for him. The more affluent group keeps track of promises made and measures tangibly what was promised and what is delivered. Like most candidates, Mayor Drone, two days after his election is thinking about his re-election! To be re-elected, he has to deliver on the promises of the affluent group. It is this group that allows for Mayor Drone to purchase broadcast time to make these emotional pleas to the less affluent.

How does this translate into police services? The biggest challenge in business is finding an environment that allows for business prosperity. The perception of crime is as great as actual crime. At a point, our perception becomes our reality. If we feel that a particular locale will prevent potential customers or clients from doing business with us, we are less incline to develop a business in that area. A city makes a great deal of its revenue from the business that is generated within its borders. If business owners are reluctant to build business within a city for the fear of crime then the City's tax base and potential for revenue decreases. Many cities attract prosperous companies to its borders with the inducement of tax breaks and security. If the police department does not operate to effectively reduce crime then businesses will not move there for fear. Fear of security and fear of the loss of profits.

Revisiting our Mayor Drone, he has to actually cater to the affluent population to keep the city business prosperous and merely "appear" to keep the less affluent content. Consequently, the greater concentration of police resources such as police personnel, response time, citizens complaints, and visibility goes to the more affluent. The less affluent are often relegated to the illusion of safety and concern. You might say, the police must respond to emergency calls whenever they get them! As we discussed earlier, the perception of crime is just as great as actual crime. Police deployments in less affluent populations are "band-aids" for keeping these citizens from disturbing public order. The perception in this scenario is that the status quo is one of danger, violence, and mayhem. The police's role is to curtail it. This is not where the city makes its money.

Contrarily, in the more affluent areas, the object of policing is to maintain the status quo. The perception being that these areas have more value, bring in more money, and are controlled by individuals who control the "purse strings" of candidates for election. As a city for profit, where would you concentrate your efforts? Aside from the issue of morality, the business perspective is to concentrate resources where your investment gets the greatest return. The abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, once said that "power concedes to nothing but power, it never did and it never will." The major difference between the affluent and the less affluent is their mindset. The less affluent are given less value because they demand less. A good analogy would be the bankruptcy of an affluent person versus the poor conditions of the less affluent. Say for instance, they face similar economic challenges. The affluent person loses everything because of a bad business decision and the less affluent because of yet another unemployment situation that has been pervasive throughout his life. Who is more powerless?

While they both are down on their luck, it is the affluent person who has a setback that still maintains his power. His mind is programmed to achieve so that his situation is temporary and he can recoup the losses of his misstep. He sees his plight as an expensive lesson to be learned.

On the other hand, the less affluent has embarked on a pattern of behavior that is continuous and has defined his existence. The less affluent blames the system, bosses, and everyone but himself for his plight in life. He does not take any responsibility for his actions and feels justified in allowing external forces to rule his life. They both are ruled by the power of their minds, but the affluent is internally motivated by successful thinking, while the less affluent is internally motivated by self victimization. The one rule of law that shapes and defines the difference between humans and the rest of creation is our ability to reason our way out of any situation. Everything else in creation revolves around instinct and natural laws. The creative power of the human will allows for humans to be creators within themselves. As such, the affluent and less affluent are by-products of the creative process each have defined for themselves. The police and everything in society responds in favor or against the choices one has made.

In my book, The Liberating Factor: Unmasking the Truth About Life (Morris Publishing, 1999), it states in the chapter entitled "The Politics of Man" that "The individual must first be developed before he can be instrumental in a collaborative effort. A person who joins an organization without first developing himself will fail if the organization fails." No matter what lot in life you find yourself in, there is no escaping personal responsibility in developing yourself. The police can only provide services that the individual or individuals have demanded. The perception of these two realities of the affluent and less affluent dictate behavior and response. For the reality of the less affluent to gain equity, he has to change his thought patterns. Thinking does make it so! The greatest education a person can undergo is self-discovery and self
Mastery by understanding who you are, your gifts, talents, value, and contribution to the world. What do you contribute on the world stage? All these factors begin with the individual taking a hard look at himself. Most people shun this part of self-analysis because all our fears come out in the long run. Who hurt us in elementary school? Why was my father not in my life to be a good role model? Why do I abuse women/men to get what I want? Why have I suppressed these fears for so long? What will I do now?

All that we manifest is in direct correlation to how we exorcise our personal demons. We can start with self-analysis and continue educating ourselves with the thoughts of great philosophers, theologians, and statesmen in history. We can literally live vicariously through the thoughts and expressions of the thousands of experiences shaped in the annals of the Free Public Library. The more we delve into the mysteries that have plagued us, the greater clarity we uncover for our place in the universe. This is an important point, because despite the flaws in the judicial system, the "system" cannot become better until the citizenry becomes better. Drug addiction, alcoholism, and spousal abuse are choices that adults make with free will. The age-old question "Are humans inherently good or bad?" is a legitimate question that most people are too glad to put a happy face on it. We all would like to think that humans are inherently good, that we are good people making bad decisions.

A survey once asked serial killers if they believed that they were bad people. Overwhelmingly, the response was "no". These serial killers believed that they had used bad judgement, but that their judgement did not effect who they were. If a person's action at the time does not say who that person is, what does? By understanding what role you as an individual play in the grand scheme of things, you begin to see how relevant your actions based on your mindset help or hinder the services you get in society.

Chapter 2: The Letter of the Law Versus The Spirit of the Law

Everyday you are receiving orders from someone telling you what they want you to do. This is especially true at the workplace. Mrs. Smith is an office manager who supervises a pool of receptionists. Her immediate supervisor is Mr. Brown. Mrs. Smith goes into work one day and Mr. Brown says to Mrs. Smith, "Mrs. Smith, I need to see you in my office when you have a moment." He doesn't look disturbed about anything so she tries not to worry too much. But, the fact that he is asking to see her raises concern that she might have done something wrong. Mrs. Smith sits at her desk for a while trying to garner up enough nerve to see what Mr. Brown wants. She gets up and walks to his office door, which is slightly ajar. She knocks and he beckons her to come in. Mrs. Smith says "Mr. Brown, you wanted to see me?" Mr. Brown says "Yes, please have a seat." As Mrs. Smith is bending to sit in her chair, Mr. Brown says "I just spoke with the CEO, Mr. Brooks, an hour ago and his is displeased with how much we have spent this quarter on office supplies. He said that he understands that business has picked up, but that we need to be a little more conscious of not being wasteful. He isn't making a big deal about it, but please tell the staff just to be a little more conservative in their use of office supplies."

Mr. Brown thanks Mrs. Smith for the fine job that she is doing and tells her to have a nice day. Mrs. Smith goes back to her office and sits for a while digesting what Mr. Brown told her. At this point, she pulls out a pencil and pad and begins writing a memo to her staff saying that authorization to enter the supply cabinet must be approved by her. She goes on to say that each receptionist is allowed only one pen and pencil a week or until one or the other runs out. She begins making a long list of Do's and Don'ts. By the time she distributes the memos to her staff, they feel like they are back in elementary school. What did Mr. Brown say that sparked her behavior? He merely stated that Mr. Brooks was concerned about the excess waste of resources. This is a legitimate concern. However, a case can be made that Mrs. Smith went a little overboard! She took broad and general concerns and created drama. Mrs. Smith is taking Mr. Brown's statements literally and is enforcing his statements to the letter.

This scenario best describes of difference of mindsets within policing. The two mindsets in policing are described as the letter of the law versus the spirit of policing. The situation described by Mrs. Smith best exemplifies a person who goes by the letter of the law or as some refer to as "by the book". Officers who police by the book leave little room for interpretation. He reads the law and says anyone who breaks this law will pay the consequence. There is no "gray" area. Everyone is placed in the same category and there is no variance, because the law is the law. The positive point of letter of the law thinking is that everyone and every situation is equal. No one can claim that the officer is prejudicial because everyone and every situation is treated the same. There are no emotional fluctuations to consider. His response is "I'm only doing my job according to the law. If you don't like the law, you should write your congressman to change it." The responsibility is not his, but the people who make the law. The shortcoming of letter of the law thinking is that individuals are not given credence for their "unique" situations.

We may all at some point find ourselves in a situation that warrants a view that considers our perspective. We have to look at issues of intent. In this particular instance, was the person trying to violate the law? If we can see this person's point of view, should the strong arm of the law be leveled against her? This introduces what may be defined as the spirit of the law thinking. With the spirit of the law thinking, the officer considers the intent of the law combined with his own experiences and reasoning. Under this doctrine, the officer looks at the intent of the law and ways the intent of the law with the actions involved. To further clarify the situation, he may ask the violator "what were you thinking and what did you want to accomplish?" He is essentially weighing all the possibilities before determining if these sets of circumstances warrant severe consequences based on the intent of the violator.

This line of reasoning allows for each case to be seen separately and not lumped into a "typical" category and does not leave room for interpretation. The good point of spirit of law thinking is that it brings a degree of humanity into every situation. Laws are created to promote peace and order as well as justice. Laws in themselves don't have the ability of discernment as well as what we commonly refer to as the "system". These intangible entities over the course of years have taken on human forms when they only have life through the activity of people. Society has given up its choice to determine laws that were relevant for its time, but has lesser meaning in a "New World". If a person does not intend to violate a law and the public good has not be harmed, we should defer to the spirit of the law. The shortcoming of the spirit of the law thinking is that its may lack continuity. One officer views a set of facts one way, while another officer may view the same set of facts a different way. The risk of the spirit of law thinking is that people have different spirits. The illusory "reasonable man" standard is a ceaseless debate that rivals a maze where the exit is challenging to find.

Finding our way out is challenging when society in its inconsistency does not know where it wants to go. We actually need both perspectives together! The letter and the spirit which may be referred to as the mind and the heart have to co-exist together for the best that humankind can create to come to fruition. Those public servants who have effectively fused these perspectives together are the one who are making a positive impact on "the system".

As humans, although we have the ability to be multi-faceted, we tend to be one-dimensional. We favor views and perspectives that make us feel good or come easy for us. Although the ideal officer is multi-faceted, we know that we are going to encounter an officer who practices either the letter of the law or the spirit of the law. So, how do we combat this inevitability in our favor? While there are no "sure-fire" ways of dealing with human dynamics, there are ways of positioning ourselves into a more positive light. Although, the two perspectives are different, we are still dealing with human beings that have emotions, experiences, and perspectives in line with most of humanity.

For example, the letter of the law mentality is logical. He is motivated by rational thinking. He is not created in a vacuum, he has determined that he favors his ability to reason over his ability to emotionalize. Consequently, he needs to be convinced logically why your actions do not warrant a violation of the law. If your case is valid, you may be given the benefit of the doubt. It is not a matter of concocting a brilliant story (although this may sometimes be the case). It is a matter of strategically escorting the officer from point A to Z in defending why you made the choice that you did. Even if he does not see your point of view, he will respect you and charge you with only the violations he feels that are relevant. It is unlikely that he will "throw the book at you." The term "throwing the book" is a relevant term.

As a former police officer, I was once assigned to an annual event called "Freaknik" which consistently brought mayhem and chaos to Atlanta every year. It was frowned upon by many officers for many reasons. It was consistently unorganized with no real direction. Officers were called in on their off days to insure proper manpower. Essentially, it was a citywide party that no one, but the participants, wanted to attend or see happen. On this occasion, I was assigned the task of diverting traffic in one direction. Under the circumstances, this was no easy task. One car attempted to go through the barricades that we had set up. I politely informed the driver of what we were trying to accomplish and begged his indulgence.

Over the years, I had learned to calm down from the abrupt manner that I would have previously handled such situations. That's the importance of individual growth! The driver persisted in debating his choice to go through the barricade. I knew that I did not want to be bogged down in paper work. I could only imagine the court being filled with partygoers and having to wait all day for the case to be called. This after twelve hour days of policing! No thank you. However, I knew that the officer, who was fairly new to the job, would not mind charging the driver with every imaginable violation. This officer wanted his "stats" to look good and still believed that policing was arresting people and giving out tickets first and asking questions later. After talking with the driver without success, I turned the matter over to the new officer and walked away. The officer commenced to charge the driver with everything he could find. The moral of the story is that if the driver would have understood that we were trying to maintain order and not stop him from doing what he wanted to do, he would have saved himself a court appearance. If he had merely articulated his point, we could have maybe explored other possibilities although limited given the situation. We often make things more difficult by not understanding the motivation of the person before us. We all want something and can live with disappointment. But in turn, if you make people feel disrespected you will not achieve anything, particularly when they have more power than you do.
On the other hand, those who practice according to the spirit of the law make decisions with feelings. While both points deal with a certain amount of emotions, spirit of the law policing is predominated by empathy. This officer knows the law, but knows how you feel. Please do not make the mistake of believing that this officer is inclined to allow violations of the law for the sake of knowing how you feel! He decides to make decisions from having walked in your shoes and having had a wide variety of experiences. The addition to this mindset is that it is not only personality driven, but experientially driven. Consequently, a veteran officer who knows the ropes and has mellowed over the years does not take the letter of the law too seriously and opts to add his wisdom to the equation.

Of course, this is not always true, because another officer with similar time and experience on the force may feel jaded and pessimistic about the job where "all men are thieves and all women are whores". He is disenchanted with the world and views his choice to spend his life in such a decadent profession as a waste. I can recall first coming out of the police academy and patrolling with an officer who demonstrated these characteristics. His entire demeanor smacked of unhappiness, mistrust, and general disregard for the public will.

In retrospect, he should have chosen another profession ages ago. But, police officers like most of the majority of the society make decisions the same way, which is by staying in a situation out of fear of trying something new and different. In my rotation to another veteran officer, I experienced the exact opposite. This officer enjoyed coming to work and had a positive outlook about life. He was compassionate as well as firm. The specific situation at hand determined his responses. In general police officers are much more like the latter than the former. The shortcoming for society is that it takes time to have more of the latter. Most new officers police according to how they have seen in the movies all of their lives. It is the experience that they undergo that allows them to see policing from a greater and wider perspective. It is the luck of the draw of which one you may encounter during an incident. Again, the good part is that most officers try to be understanding. The way of stacking the odds in your favor is as previously discussed. Articulate your perspective and you will normally receive a fair hearing.

Chapter 3: The Danger of Domestic Disputes

It is believed within law enforcement that the most dangerous call that a police officer will receive is one dealing with domestic disputes. Generally, these disputes involve a romantic relationship between persons of the same or opposite sex. Domestic emergency calls are one of the most dangerous because the environment is volatile.

On this call, the victim may be the enemy. A typical call may go like this: Ms. Jones and her live-in boyfriend, Mr. King, constantly battle over Mr. King's allege "cheating" with other women. Mr. King insists that Ms. Jones is jealous and insecure, although the typical signs of lip stick on the collar, women's perfume, and an inconsistent routine is often discovered by Ms. Jones. Ms. Jones insists that she has put Mr. King out on several occasions, but that he "sweet talks" himself back into their apartment. These occurrences have been on-going for over a year and are becoming increasingly violent. Mr. King complains that he needs his space and feels nagged all of the time. Ms. Jones says that she would not nag him if he treated her with respect. To make matters worst, both grew up in households were alcoholism was prevalent. This comes out by both physically fighting each other as a portrayal of what they witnessed growing up. Ms. Jones grabs a knife and threatens to stab Mr. King reminiscent of her mother grabbing weapons to ward off her father from beating her. Mr. King threatens to kill Ms. King and has been cut several times in the past, but nothing life threatening to date. Both are acting out unresolved issues from the past, but insist on blaming the other for their long surviving internal pain.

On one hand, Ms. Jones wants Mr. King to leave, but on the other hand she cannot bare the loss that she feels when he is not around. This is reminiscent of when her father would leave after similar fights with her mother and would not return home for long periods of time. They both have open wounds from the past, but neither has ever addressed their issues. Enter Officer Brown! Officer Brown is familiar with the ongoing struggles of the two and finds himself asking one or the other to leave the apartment for each others safety on a regular basis. Under progressive Domestic Violent Laws, Officer Brown has even arrested the two after seeing cuts and bruises on both parties.

On many occasions, Officer Brown has had to fight Ms. King off of him after she called the police on Mr. King. She seems okay initially and goes berserk when Officer Brown escorts Mr. King out of the door. The challenge for Officer Brown in this scenario that makes the call so dangerous is that he feels that he understands the situation, but does understand why they stay together and what role does the police have in stopping the escalation of future danger. After all, neither party consulted with the police department to ask whether the other party was right for them before they began dating. The police officer is relegated to ameliorating a situation that adults created for themselves. The conflict between Ms. Jones and Mr. King is not a police matter; it is a psychiatric one. But, because they have not sought to take full responsible for their disorders, the police have to serve as perpetual referees. In the beginning of their quarrelling, Ms. King believed that because she called the police, she was immediately in the right, irrespective of the fact that in many instances, Mr. King had sustained the greater injuries. A seasoned and impartial police officer does not care who called 911 first, his responsibility is determine a fair and equitable resolution to the conflict. The officer is ultimately responsible if one of the parties kills the other and handled it as routine call.

The upsurge of spousal murder is a direct result of adults not reaching out asking for help for their internal challenges. The evening news is inundated with stories of an estranged husband or boyfriend who stalks the woman and ultimately shoots her and himself. We hear it some much that we have become immune to it. How can the police become responsible for social ills perpetrated by adults with free will?

The truth of the matter is that the more socially adjusted the individual becomes, the less he or she is inclined to interact with the police on a regular basis. To the extent that the individual has emotional or psychological problems will manifest itself in continuous encounters with the police or persons in authority. This paradigm cuts through all racial, economic, and educational boundaries. If individuals fail to address their personal inadequacies whether it's low self-esteem, insecurities, anger, jealousy, or a tendency for violence, it will come out in a form that has to be dealt with by the people responsible for insuring public order.

Although some police officers themselves may be personally challenged, it would be safe to say that a great majority live orderly lives. We could not blame a few "bad apples" on a police department for an entire profession no more than we could blame the entire postal system for a few dysfunctional postal workers. There will always be flaws in any system where human interaction is involved. As a society, we accept the fallibility of people, but still on a subconscious level look for perfection in certain sectors. We simply cannot reconcile these opposing points of view. It is illogical to view humans as apt to make mistakes, but look for perfection within the judicial system and police departments. After all, we are still talking about people. This is not to absolve the system of its responsibility. As a society, we must demand that people to whom we instill power and control act responsibly, but this is not automatic. If we accept the idea that people generally act in their own self-interest, we empower ourselves to stay on guard when these indulgences go too far. How many times have you been cut off in traffic, forced to make reservations at a restaurant when others did not have to or become overworked by your supervisor because you were seen as more conscientious than your fellow workers?

In most situations, the person is not trying to personally offend you but in looking solely after their own interest, you are overlooked. The same applies in domestic disputes. The parties involved are looking after their own interest and could care less about who they effect. They opt to remain in volatile situations, placing at risk themselves and any one who becomes a part of the environment, because the only pain they feel is their own. There are no outside enemies. The enemies that exist are within the individuals that go unresolved and are manifested by their behavior. Domestic crisis situations will get better only when people become more accountable for their actions.

Chapter 4: Getting Out of a Traffic Ticket

In society people often do not want justice, they more often than not want their way. Traffic stops by police officers are often a 'tell all' in human motivation. As a former Atlanta police officer and now a civilian, I realize how important it is to obey the rules of the road. Just imagine that with the invention of the automobile came the rules of the road. How many accidents and deaths occurred before citizens were required to 'earn' a driver's license? Traffic laws serve many purposes, but two immediately come to mind. First, traffic laws help preserve the sanctity of life. Secondly, traffic laws help generate revenue for municipalities and other governmental structures.

First, the sanctity of life is the most precious moral and legal edict we have as human beings. If there is no high regard for the right to exist unencumbered by the likelihood of being harmed or killed than we could not call ourselves a "civilized society". It is our sense of fair play and well being that distinguishes us from the lower forms of creation. Although, as individuals we choose to act contrary to this ideology as a society it is the one thing that keeps us psychologically safe and secure. Traffic laws allow us to know that the status quo protects us from unwarranted attacks. Again, usually there are not individuals who set out to do us bodily harm, but acting in their own self-interest, we are hurt by the selfishness of others.

The worst case of this selfishness is referred to in contemporary terms as "Road Rage". This is when someone acts violently on a thoroughfare when he or she believes that some one has offended him in some manner. The term "offend" is purely subjective, because while a traffic law may have been violated, the party takes it as a personal attack on this person. On any given morning, a person's alarm clock will malfunction, or he hits the snooze button one time too many causing him to be a few minutes late leaving home for work. His only thought at that time is getting to work on time. What are his motives for "zig-zagging" in and out of traffic. One reason may be that he is up for a promotion and punctuality is one of the criteria for advancement. A second reason may be that this is the fifth time within a week that he has been late and fears termination. Thirdly, as self respecting humans we feel bad when we fall short from our personal best. We know we are to be at work at 9:00AM. However, we feel like our employers are judging who we are as individuals when we come into work at 9:05AM. As we are hustling to get to work on time, we are not mindful of the harm our selfishness is causing to society. We don't intend to do any harm when we are creating close calls on the highway because we wanted ten more minutes of sleep.

On the other hand, the other driver has his own agenda. He has made up in his mind what it is to be self-respecting and what he will and will not tolerate. Somewhere he was taught that anything remotely resembling disrespect should be dealt with violence and revenge. In his world view, everyone is out to get you and you must be careful. After all, a real man doesn't let people take advantage of him. The man "zig-zagging" in and out of traffic is disrespecting his belief system and must be punished. It starts out with excessive horn blowing. Next, there is some lewd gesture with his finger or some other non-verbal expression. Finally it escalates, if these expressions are not exhaustive enough, into his taking the law into his own hand via the car as a weapon or a gun.

All of this because one man decided to wake up ten minutes late! Traffic laws are designed to protect you if you decide to be late and while you may lose your job, you shouldn't lose your life.

Secondly, traffic laws are revenue generating. Municipalities are merely public companies. They need money to exist. Typically, cities gain revenue from taxes ranging from sales on items to the property of homeowners. When this is not enough, revenue is also generated from traffic tickets. Some jurisdictions have "quotas", which are a specific number of tickets an officer must maintain to remain competitive with his colleagues. While this practice has been struck down as illegal and unconstitutional, police departments still maintain this practice. The idea behind it's illegality is that someone has to get a ticket for revenue to be generated and for departments to appear to be doing a proactive job of punishing traffic violators.

On the surface, thus is not necessarily a bad thing. Police officers are not concocting the fact that a person ran a red light when he thought it was yellow. The idea is that if the officer has to get ten tickets within a day, the first ten people are automatically guaranteed a ticket to make his quota. The next ten possible violators are not as critical, because the quota has already been made. Society wants to feel that everyone who is caught violating a traffic law will be dealt with equally, not that there be a "witch hunt" out for the first ten violators merely because a department has set this policy. Police officers participate in this practice in part for selfish motives. The incentive of being viewed as a large ticket producer can be tied into better off days, a regular beat car, or a myriad of other incentives he deems favorable. As a former police officer, I disliked roadblocks because it had less to do with catching criminals and more to do with writing tickets, typically "no proof of insurance" or "no license on person". Both are viewed as negligible violations, but it bolsters the monthly statistics sheet. Again, while this practice in part is to raise revenue for a city, it does not apply to all people. A person stopped for the aforementioned violations who happen to be a politician or aid to the mayor might be absolved of getting a ticket. This goes back to the inherent abuses of people within a system. Actually, the person who is a politician or aid to the mayor shares the same views as everyone else. H wants his way. Why else would the average citizen commence to giving an officer a roll call of all the police officers he knows. Is he trying to establish a friendship with the officer? No, he is trying to influence the officer by showing how many officers he has come in contact with the hope that this gets him out of a ticket.

So is there a way of beating a ticket? (Racial profiling?) In getting out of a ticket, I refer you to our earlier discussion with The Letter of the Law versus the Spirit of the law. These factors will definitely be the determining factor as to whether you will escape receiving a ticket. There are no hard and fast rules, but there is something that you can do to help your case. This will only work if your justification is valid. As we discussed earlier, police officers share the same experiences as anyone else and as such can identify with any reasonable request. For example; Mr. Porter is speeding on I-85 North! He is driving 85 MPH in a 55MPH zone. He isn't driving recklessly, but he is passing cars at warp speed. Officer Melton is on the side of the road and clocks Mr. Porter on his radar gun going 86MPH. Officer Melton catches up to Mr. Porter and pulls him over. Officer Melton walks slowly to the car, because he is suspicious of the reasons that Mr. Porter would be driving at such a high rate of speed. As Officer Melton approaches the car, he sees Mr. Porter trying to console a female passenger who is breathing and sweating heavily. Officer Melton notices that the female passenger is pregnant. Mr. Porter tells Officer Melton, before he can say anything, that his wife is expecting any moment and needs to get to the hospital. Officer Melton radios dispatch to apprise them of the situation. He advises that he will escort Mr. Porter to the hospital and to alert hospital officials to be on the alert. Officer Melton knows the hospital is one exit away and tells Mr. Porter to slow down as he follows Officer Melton. Once officer, Melton completes escorting Mr. Porter to hospital, does he in turn give Mr. Porter a ticket for speeding? Under most cases, probably he would not. There is a logical justification for Mr. Porter to speed. Another possible choice might be Officer Melton, who may have prior experience delivering babies, opting to wait for the paramedics and he take over if they don't get there on time. He decides that he does not want to be responsible for a potential accident that Mr. Porter may experience for driving too fast in following Officer Melton to the hospital. The choice is up to Officer Melton to make the best and safest choice, but it is doubtful that Mr. Porter would receive a ticket.

You may say that is too easy. Of course, an emergency situation warrants this type of response! The point is that even a police officer who believes in the letter of the law would not charge Mr. Porter for a violation. Some situations cut to the core of being human and we all can identify. The fact of the matter is that any violation that cannot be justified with an emergency should warrant a ticket. In some cases, citizens have become so selfish and vindictive that when a mere warning was issued, the citizen complained on the police officer. Some attractive women are notorious for using their feminine wiles to get out of a ticket. Some police officers have fallen for it and found themselves answering the questions from supervisors such "Ms. Johnson said you pulled her over, did you give her a ticket?" "Well if you didn't, why not? She said you wanted her telephone number for a date!" We have a nice gesture that was purely innocent turned into an investigation of the officer's conduct. The best way to get out of a traffic ticket is to have an overwhelming reason to have violated a traffic law.

Chapter 5: Racial Profiling

Another hot topic that is being discussed nationally is the subject of "racial profiling". Racial profiling is a practice where officers are accused of targeting people based on ethnicity to detain and question them. The U.S. Constitution under the 4th Amendment actually protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures. Law enforcement agencies have come under fire because there have been documented cases nationwide that such practices may exist. One of the most popular cases of alleged racial profiling involved Aaron Campbell, a police major with the Metro-Dade Police Department. This case made national news not only because it involved a fellow law enforcement officer, but that it was captured on a police video camera mounted inside the arresting officer's patrol car. The news show "Nightline" aired it and created discussions around this issue.

As a former police officer, I had the occasion to view the tape in its entirety. Major Campbell was ultimately sprayed with pepper gas and arrested. He was charged with an illegal lane change and having an obscured license tag. It is the events that lead up to the arrest that in my professional opinion did not absolve Major Campbell of some culpability. Major Campbell did a few things that placed the officers in jeopardy and went below the standard of professionalism. He first got out of his vehicle perturbed about the initial stop. He commenced to yell curse words at the officer. He asked for the arresting deputy's supervisor, which the deputy complied. Major Campbell and no time gave the deputy the proper respect of his position. Major Campbell outranked the deputy and his actions demonstrated that he had nothing but disdain for an "deputy" stopping him for what he said was "no reason".

Law enforcement officers generally have respect for members within the profession. To this extent, there are "double standards". Officers will let other officers in different jurisdictions "off the hook" for infractions that the average citizen would be cited for. Major Campbell knew that he could have beaten the ticket. If he had of remained calm and collected either the deputy or his supervisor would have not given him a citation. Major Campbell crossed the line of professional courtesy and was treated accordingly. This was not a true case of racial profiling! This was a case of a megalomaniacal major who was hard nosed and used to getting his way. His ego got in the way and his pride was hurt. He happened to be Black so that became his escape in blaming others for his treatment. Racial profiling does go on, but not merely with white police officers. Black officers participate also in racial profiling against other Blacks. There is no excuse for it, but I will attempt the give a reason for it.

Essentially, police officers who are still motivated and enthusiastic about the job are sometimes the most rambunctious. Many officers have their affinities. Some officers have an affinity for chasing drug dealers; some enjoy handling domestic disputes, while others like recovering stolen vehicles. Officers have past experiences that make them sensitive to certain issues. For example, an officer may have lost his father to drug abuse. The lose of his father in that manner left such an indelible mark on him that he decides that he will dedicate his career to surveilling and arresting drug dealers. This is payback for all the drug dealers of the world who cause such pain to people like his father. The choice for his father to abuse drugs never comes into play.

From a societal perspective, this officer looks like a dedicated servant. No one complains about an officer who is ridding society of the parasites of the world. The ends justify the means. But under closer scrutiny, it is not about society; it is about the officer making mends for what he believes an injustice. His motivation gets clouded in his unresolved issues and society cannot see it because it is secretly hidden in the nature of the job. Among criminals, there are some similarities. Every profession has a uniform. For corporate America it is a dark blue suit. In paramilitary or military professions, it is an identifiable uniform. Uniforms identify who the person is and what he/she represents. Criminals also have uniforms that identify them according to their trade. The stereotypical uniform for the "cat burglar" was all black clothing, a mask, and a flashlight. Any time someone saw this picture, they knew it was a "cat burglar". The person was conforming to the uniform of his profession.

When rap artists sing about the exploits of the streets in "keeping it real", they wear clothing that is identified with those exploits. They are appealing to a certain market. That market responds to authenticity. It would not be authentic for rappers to where tuxedoes when they are singing about revenge on someone who was "dissed" in the "hood." This street uniform becomes so identifiable that when we see someone adorning it, the picture of what image it conjures springs forward. Police are not immune.

As a matter of fact, it is these identifiers that help police to be proactive in solving crime. People are creatures of habit and great imitators. Individuals often seek to outdo the next person in our their trade or profession. If their competitor is driving a Mercedes-Benz with $2,000.00 wheel rims, they want a Lexus coupe with $3,000.00 wheel rims. Consequently, individuals who engage in criminal activities will have lifestyles that ostentatiously reveal what their trade may be. If you place an individual who is wearing what criminals where, drive what criminals drive, and hangout where criminals frequent, the average officer may deduce that this person might be a criminal. Is the officer profiling the individual? Yes! Does he have reason to do it? Again, I say yes!
As humans, it is natural for us to categorize individuals based on how they represent themselves. A study conducted by Dr. Albert Mehrabian of U.C.L.A. concluded that we understand another person's communication based on 7% by their words, 38% by their tone of voice, and 55% by their body language. Consequently, what we say non-verbally speaks volumes over what we express with our mouth. If we are expressing ourselves in a manner that sheds a negative light on ourselves, we must take responsibility for it.

The most ineffective communicative person deserves not to be harassed although the message he conveys appears to be negative. The power that police officers carry comes with responsibility as well as "checks and balances". The victim of racial profiling may not have recourse at the time of the action, but he does have recourse at a more appropriate time. Many officers are as fearful in precarious situations as the person they are questioning is. In a dark alley within a crime ridden neighborhood is not the time to show how "man" you are. Many citizens escalate a volatile situation by reflecting the bravado behavior that the officer may be exhibiting. Let's assume for a minute that the officer is merely exercising a check because of the surrounding circumstances. You happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The officer has been told by his police supervisor to canvass a neighborhood because citizens are complaining that drug dealers are openly selling drugs and they feel unsafe. He investigates what he believes to be "questionable" activity. This activity could range from guys hanging on the corner stopping vehicles to one guy passing "something" to a friend in successive patterns. You might say "That doesn't mean anything!" You are right, it may not mean anything, but remember, the officer is there because citizens within the neighborhood have been complaining about drug activity. Profiling does not merely entail traffic stops! If you are anywhere doing anything that fits a stereotype of criminality, you will be questioned.
It is a touchy situation, because African-Americans often come into a situation with preconceived notions. The typical Black male may believe that the police are bad, corrupt, and unjust. Some of his experiences may be justifiable, but why would you judge a whole profession by a few irresponsible police officers. We don't blame all McDonald restaurants when a clerk takes the wrong order or is rude while serving you. Preconceived notions are often self-fulfilling prophecies. Your perception becomes your reality. You go into a situation looking for the negative and say "Ah-hah, I told you so!" You usually seek what you find. Our naivete should not delude us into believing that there are no injustices in the world.

We have to refer back to the standards we set for our selves. Treat an encounter with a police officer, the way you would treat any business situation. Let's assume two things: 1. Some act is alleged and either it was or was not committed, 2. You are incorrect or the officer is incorrect. From that point on, it is two adults discussing a business matter. The business is safety and protection. If the two adults can not agree, it is time to get an impartial body to adjudicate the matter. If it is a traffic court, a traffic court judge will hear you. If it is some other violation of law, you will be heard by judge in a municipal court. It is a good idea to bring a lawyer to represent you if you feel strongly about the case having thought about it. There are several prepaid legal services that are less expensive than an attorney on retainer.

An attorney usually levels the playing field. The judge and police officers are custodians of the court. You are an outsider without the necessary requisite to engage effectively in the proceedings in most cases. An attorney as an officer of the court speaks for you and therefore brings equality to the judicial process. In some cases, an attorney may tip the scales in your favor, because he usually knows more about the scope of the law than even the police officer. The court also gives you more credibility, because it knows that astute citizens protect their interests by hiring a professional. We generally hire professionals to aid us where we do not have certain expertise. What would you look like trying to do your own corporate taxes without the aid of a CPA which you have no experience? Prepare in advance with legal representation by joining a discounted legal service program. These legal services are becoming more and more popular because of the litigious society that we live in. For a small monthly fee, you are entitled to adequate legal advice that puts you on the same footing with any other person wielding power in society. But do not stop there. As mentioned before, you have a responsibility to educate yourself on basic law. It is a good idea to have legal representation, but that does not preclude you from learning your own rights. Read the U.S. Constitution and the adjoining Amendments. Keep abreast of the latest news regarding new changes in the law and proposed referendums that will be in the next election. The old saying "ignorance of the law is no excuse" is not only factual, it may get you locked up or assets taking permanently.

Another option is writing a letter to the police department's Internal Affairs section. It is recommended that you write any complaint versus calling a complaint in over the phone. Letters are more permanent and get the attention of individuals, because it could end up anywhere, including the media. Department heads do not want to be held responsible for ignoring written correspondence for a couple of reasons. First, if written correspondence is ignored and the media discovers it for example, the chief has some explaining to do. Remember, the police department gets its resources to operate from the public. How does it look when the public that pays for its existence is not being responded to in its needs? Another reason is that department heads are political figures. It is not politically polite to ignore a letter by a constituent.
If the sender has exercised proper documentation, it is difficult for a chief to say that they never received it. Once you have received the appropriate person to address the letter to, make sure that you follow up with a phone call to the addressee a few days later. If they say that they have not seen the letter, either mail another one or fax it. Again, keep calling the contact person until he says he received the letter. If you have not heard a response from the letter within a reasonable amount of time (usually 2 weeks to a month), call the contact person for an update on the status. Make a note of the time and date that you called in case you have to write another letter.

The second letter should chronicle everything you have communicated to date. This is not the time to be lethargic or lazy merely because things are taking longer than you expected. This is the single most reason why citizens do not get the justice they seek. First, the average citizen will not take the time to compose a letter. Secondly, when they do write the letter, they give up because the process is taking too long. Believe it or not, the letter has put the process into place. The officer has to respond to the letter to the department and after all the facts have been weighed, an investigator will push the process through the proper channels to determine whether the officer is in violation of a departmental rule or law. Having been on the side of a few complaints, I can tell you that it is not a fun process. The average citizen does not know what an accused officer goes through behind the scene. He does not like to be accused of anything by the public.

First, it is an emotional rollercoaster ride to be questioned by a body of people about your actions. Second, you may be suspended if found guilty which means no income while suspended. Third, if the officer has seriously violated a citizen's rights, he may be sued civilly or criminally. The average citizen can take money or freedom from an officer. Do you still think police officers are untouchable? However, you must be in the right and they must be in the wrong!

Another unknown advantage that citizens have is to request an officer's supervisor to the scene. Theoretically, a citizen may request the chain of supervisors all the way to the chief. Practically speaking, this probably will not happen, but once you determine that whatever injustice you feel has been perpetrated against, you may begin building your case at that point. There is a such thing as a "code of silence" among police officers. However, it is changing largely because society has changed. Officers are no longer willing to put their livelihood and career in jeopardy for another officer. This is due in part to the idea that people are looking after their self-interest more and more. Consequently, a police supervisor is less likely these days to put his job on the line for a wayward police officer.

Also, badge numbers do not always correspond with the officer. Officers lose badges all the time and may not be recorded by the department. It is a safe bet to retrieve an officer's name and badge number, but the name especially. Note the date and time in case you have just "Baker" as the officer's name and there may be two Officer Bakers who work the same precinct. Remember to ask what, when, why, and how in building your case. It is your responsibility to continuously learn the laws and what your rights are. Like anything in life, you will be taken advantage of if you fail to do so.

Chapter 6: Police Power

Many citizens believe that the police and other governmental agencies have too much power. We will term "too much power" as suggesting that citizens have no power when it comes to a dispute between them and these agencies. Some examples on previous chapters show where this may not be true. Police have "limited" power, but they wield power according to the dictates of public policy. The trial of former football star, O.J. Simpson, is an excellent example of the sweeping changes and advancement of domestic and family law as result of this case. Police officers were required to be more diligent in handling domestic disputes. No longer could police officers leave a volatile situation without truly making the environment safe. Another shift in law enforcement came when the Rodney King beating was broadcast nationally. The popularity of seeing the Los Angeles Police beating a civilian unjustifiably raised eyebrows and set on course a more restrained response to arrest tactics and citizen rights. These changes took place based on the societal outcry. The power police exercise can only be checked by the vigilance of concerned citizens. Again, if individuals are not made responsible, their propensity to act in their interest will go overboard.

Police departments have traditionally been paramilitary organizations sanctioned by state law. The motto "serve and protect" has been the premise in which police historically have operated on. This motto still holds true today, but with the changing dynamics of society it requires citizens to voice their concerns more than ever before or be lost in the cacophony of special interest groups. It is truly a situation of the squeaky wheel receiving the oil. If you do not demand better services than you will not receive it. A trend that is gaining momentum is the privatization of public facilities. This is being seen as economically more viable and efficient for the dollars spent by taxpayers. However, let's first revisit what law enforcement has been traditionally. As society opted to have rules and laws, it decided that it needed a body to enforce these rules and laws for the good of society. This elite group of men and women would be endowed with the power to protect and serve the public interest. As time went on this elite corp, with power to arrest as well legally take life, has had its growing pains and still does. The shortcoming of law enforcement is that it relies totally on "humanism". Under the most ideal situation, the propensity to err is ever present by individuals to use their own ability to reason.

As we have said, "reason" is purely subjective and individualized. The police department in a jurisdiction is the only "team" in town. There are no police departments competing against each other to give better services to the general public. Unlike every other aspect of a free capitalistic system, citizens do not have the luxury of going across the street to a better department such as when you opt for Burger King over McDonald's. As society has changed, much of law enforcement has not. Whereas McDonald's has to think of creative ways to persuade customers to visit them over Burger King, law enforcement does not have to. This lack of proactivity or the need to create better ways of doing things is the reason why law enforcement is not as progressive as it could be. The United States share a common trait with communist countries in that its police forces are state sanctioned. What happens when citizens are unhappy with the way the police respond to their needs? They can peacefully express their indignation or apply pressure through elected representatives to be heard. Notice that an option is not the creation of a new police department that better serves public needs with specific criteria created by the people. Truly law enforcement has been a monopoly on the public's trust. This is not necessarily negative. Overall, the system of law enforcement in its current form has been effective. Law enforcement in most instances effectively acts the way it is suppose to act. If a citizen calls for emergency services, she will get these services. The downside of the current system is that it does not effectively address the human needs on both sides. Police officers are not weeded out when they no longer have the desire to give premier services to the public. As long as he does not violate the law, he has a job for life. A person working for a corporation could not remain with that company if he was found to be unproductive and ineffective.

Law enforcement has become a sort of welfare system, like many governmental structures, where the person has a job for life with the main criterion being that he breathes. With such a system, there is no incentive for officers to push themselves past their own self- induced limitations. Society is negatively effected, because it sometimes gets second class service when it pays first class taxes. Again, the police are the only team in town and if you don't like it, you can move to another jurisdiction. The only drawback is that it will be the same set of rules. Capitalism in all its greatness and weakness has still produced the greatest potential for human growth. As such, the private sector has been instrumental in raising the stakes for the betterment of humankind. The onslaught of public entities that were once untouchable is marking the dawning of a new age. Gas, water, and other utilities are no longer the "sacred cow" where quasi-governmental companies once ran them unchallenged. A few years ago, no one would have thought about starting their own gas company in which citizens would have more choices for better services. The penal institute has entered the field where private companies are running prisons for states. The major complaint in this situation is that the prisoners have alleged abuses by administrators. The part that is missing for this enterprise to be phenomenally successful is that the private sector must play by the guidelines mandated by citizens and the state. If left on its own, corporations who are given responsibility as an arm to the judicial may take on the vices that was representative of the previous system. We cannot emphasize this point enough, if human action is not checked, it will go awry because of its selfish nature to act in its own interest. Already the trend is shifting in many cities. Citizens are banning together to create small enclaves of protection with hired security guards acting as the police, but come short of claiming police status. The past trend that has been and will continue for police officers is to be hired by private companies to patrol property and streets for an hourly rate. This will be expanded to include an on-going police presence by private entities to have their own full time police force. Once the proper training is in place mandated by the state, it will not be long that society will see "pockets" of private protection by peace officers. Again, the success or failure of this innovation will depend on the quality of training and background checks. It can work and will serve to create more options for citizens who feel disenfranchised by the present system.

The positive aspect of being state sanctioned is to curtail abuses in power. The private sector is not hindered by state sanctioning as long as it is allowed to compete, create, and flourish on its own merit. Historically, when individuals and entities have created on its own merit, society has consistently benefited, because these individuals and entities are not protected by a safety net where there is a guaranteed salary whether they produce or not. Ultimately, the "system" or bureaucracy has become a malfunctioning system because individuals are not encouraged to create new and innovative ways of doing business. Any time human potential is curtailed or stagnated, the process is hindered and people merely coexist within the system bringing neither value nor progress to that system.

Chapter 7: The Big & Bad Persona of Some Police Officers

Several years ago, former Atlanta Mayor, Andrew Young, reportedly said that police officers should work for ten years and then get a real job. This comment sent shock waves throughout the Atlanta Police Department for years. Many officers felt that the comment demeaned a profession that they loved. Imagine the CEO of a company that you work for tells you that your job is insignificant? However, over the years I have come to agree with this statement. It is no so much that policing is an insignificant profession, but it can be debilitating if you spend your most productive years doing it. Policing exacerbates what you are.

If you are spiritual, it often heightens your spirituality. Conversely, if you have criminal or abusive tendencies, these too will be elevated. Policing mirrors or reflects who you are unlike any other profession. The myriad of issues that an officer faces alters his perspective about reality. Unlike many jobs, you are a police officer around the clock. Your training and viewpoint of the world becomes such a part of you that you don't know that your perspective is skewed. The experiences that officers have through the interaction with the public brings about a change in their philosophy of life. You may begin to distrust the opposite sex, because frequent domestic disputes seem to deal with infidelity.

Consequently, you think that if all these women are cheating on their men, why would not my spouse cheat on me? It is only when an officer steps back and takes himself out of the picture of others that he can see the big picture. The reason that policing exacerbates what an officer may be is because he generally does not look at his own shortcomings and fallacies. He plays the role of God so much that he does not stop to view his own personal challenges. Some officers are intuitive enough to transfer to other assignments that allow them to be more reflective of who they are. The majority tends to remain in the clutches of their own demons, some ending up abusing alcohol, drugs, or their wives. When all is lost they end their own life all together.

The majority of officers learn to cope in their own way without becoming self-destructive. Why would people put themselves through this torture? As I outlined in a previous book, "A Badge Without Blemish: Avoiding Police Corruption"(Morris Publishing, 1997), policing is a profession that you earn. Unlike the corporate hiring process that may take a month or less, it takes an investment of nearly two years to become a police officer. The process entails 2-3 months of the initial application and background check (including an assessment by a police psychologist), 2-3 months of waiting to enter the police academy as a recruit, 6 months of training within the academy, and 6 months on probation before becoming a permanent officer. The reason officers do not leave the department is because he/she has expended nearly two years of their life entering the profession. It is challenging to leave with that amount of time and energy invested. Couple that with personal challenges and fears of being unemployed (which most people have) and what you have is a person who will leave kicking and screaming if you tried to get rid of them.

But another reason officers stay on the job is because they feel this is the only place they can be someone. One day you can be bagging groceries at the local supermarket, two years later you are carrying a badge with a gun and experiencing more power than the president of the United States. The U.S. President does not have the power to take the life and liberty of a citizen like a police officer. Officers feel the power and the double standards that apply to them. They eat free or discounted fast food, attract women who like power and uniforms, and enjoy a small-scale celebrity status. As long as they do their job and do not make any mistakes that will look unfavorable on the department, no one will question what they are doing. Every new movie and television series is about the police profession and police officers do for "real" what actors do for "fake". This is why some officers carry a "big and bad" attitude.

The legendary artist, Andy Warhol once noted that everyone experiences at least fifteen minutes of fame. In a cosmetic and media generated society, the limelight can be an intoxicating vice. Officers who have not developed themselves throughout life experience the same things as civilians who have not cultivated themselves. How many times have you heard an actor or musician who have spent their lives trying to get their "big break"? Once they begin paying the price of fame; i.e., groupies, lack of privacy, paparazzi, etc., then all of a sudden, the price of fame is too high of a price to pay. Of course this does not apply to the majority of celebrities, but we hear it too much for it to go unnoticed.

The same power and acclaim that intoxicates celebrities and sometimes cause downfalls is the same intoxication that plagues some police officers. Ultimately, it's an issue that the individual officer has to wrestle with. Society is not responsible for an obnoxious police officer. What this officer manifest is an extension of who he is at that time. He has the responsibility like all humans to check his behavior before someone else checks it. We all have to answer to someone. If we think we have escaped man's laws, we still have to contend with the universal laws. Just as criminals are finally caught for their dastardly deeds, so are police officers nabbed for theirs.