Vox: Just as Every Cop Is a Criminal
A video by a New York City police union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, addresses the willingness of many to view cops harshly through group stereotypes.
The country adamantly rejects any form of racism, sexism, homophobia or other appearance of group discrimination, but we seem to be more than willing to do it to cops.
The video suggests that if you are willing to judge cops as a whole, you are disposed to engage in other forms of group discrimination.
What Vox Wrote About the Video
First of all, “blue” and police officers — and I can’t believe I have to write this — do not constitute a race. The concept of race is a social construct (albeit one based on shared physical traits and geography), so it’s flexible. But no widely accepted definition classifies police officers as a race.
And unlike racist views, criticisms against the police are not based on pseudoscientific drivel about genetics, IQ, or any of the other nonsense that people use to justify their racism. Critics aren’t denigrating an entire group of people just to spite or oppress them.
People are criticizing police because cops are public employees who are supposed to protect and serve them, yet there is a lot of evidence that police are doing something very wrong.
Pointing this out is not “racist.” It’s the mere act of the public trying to hold some of its most powerful employees accountable.
Please note that Vox is stating “the police” are doing something “very wrong,” not a few, but all.
Dear Vox and The Marshall Project
You’re being jerks.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association was not being literal regarding race; it’s an illustrative use of the word.
It’s designed to get people to understand that if you are willing to stereotype 900,000 human beings based on the behaviors of a few, you are engaging in actions that have the same philosophical foundation as any other form of prejudice.
But you knew that before you wrote the article thus proving that it’s easy (fun?) to beat up on cops and their working class backgrounds. Cops have become easy targets, and there are lots of folks in the media who are eager to pile on.
But there are real ramifications for the abuse of cops including growing violent crime and fewer people who want to be officers.
Considering the escalating violence directed at cops, and articles like this, people are telling their loved one’s to get out of policing, and to get out now.
Only two other institutions (the military and small business) of the 15 others measured this year scored higher than the police.
Thus people rank the police as one of the most trusted (via measuring confidence) institutions in the county where the media (that’s you Vox and Marshall) are rated as one of the lowest.
What This All Means
We have a growing problem with violent crime in cities throughout the country, Crime in America, that runs concurrently with many police officers not being proactive due to harsh criticism.
There are endless media reports of police agencies not being able to recruit applicants and police officers leaving the job.
From the Crime Report:
Article One: Has it become fashionable to lash out at police? Law enforcement advocates fear it’s a growing trend, the Detroit News reports. Whether they’re being shot at, cussed at, zapped with a stun gun or denied service at a restaurant, many police officers in Detroit and across the U.S. feel they’re being disrespected more than ever.
“Everybody thinks it’s cool to not talk to the police, and to hate the police,” said Detroit officer Ki’Juan Anderson. “The bad guys love this. A criminal will commit a crime, and nobody wants to tell us what happened. We’re trying to help them … and they say, ‘Get off my porch; I hate the police.’”
Nationwide, 143 officers were killed on duty last year, the most in five years, says the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. There was a 30 percent increase in line-of-duty deaths in the first six months of this year over the same period in 2016. Last Friday, six officers in Pennsylvania and Florida were shot, two fatally, in a few hours. The Crime Report
Article Two: Houston police say there are solvable property crime cases with no one to solve them. Dallas officers are taking more time to respond to fewer emergency calls, and both cities are slower to get to non-emergency situations.
Officials blame this on the dwindling number of officers in Texas’ two largest city police departments, the Texas Tribune reports. “At some point you get diminished returns when you’re as lean as we are,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
Across the U.S., police departments are griping about officer shortages paired with an uptick in violent crime, often pointing to what police leaders call a growing disinterest in law-enforcement work. The Crime Report.
There’s nothing wrong with holding cops accountable for their actions, and yes, there are many examples where officers used illegal force. This is deplorable.
Yes, there is a history of oppression where the police were shameful participants.
But let us acknowledge that cops are hardly alone. There’s a shameful history of the media, university professors and many other institutions being used as tools of oppression.
The bottom-line is police officers are necessary for crime control and every other facet of our lives. Cops are now working sixteen-hour days away from their endangered families rescuing people from massive Texas hurricane flooding.
We can’t exist without them, but we may have to learn how.
If officers are leaving policing as quickly as they can, and getting recruits is becoming arduous, where does that leave the rest of us?
So Vox and Marshall, criticize away from your upper class and safe workplaces and homes. It’s your right to hold officers accountable. It’s even your right to be jerks.
But the stereotyping the video addressed is real. So are the real world consequences of cops disengaging or quitting.
Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. – Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University.
(Photo: Screenshot New York Police SBS video)