Sunday, December 13, 2009

What is a "good cop"?

There are no good police officers in the Portland Police Department of Portland, Oregon. Every single one of them is a "bad cop." Anyone who would pepper spray an eleven month old baby, or even do nothing when an eleven month old baby is pepper sprayed, is not only a bad cop but is no longer even remotely human.

Too many people have too relaxed a definition of "good cop". To them, a good cop is one who is not engaging in criminal activity. However, since a police officer's job is to apprehend those who are engaging in criminal activity, any officer who does not do that is by definition a bad cop. That includes failure to arrest fellow officers when fellow officers break the law.

There are no good cops in New York City Police Department. The officer who assaulted the critical mass cyclist was clearly a bad cop, but there were several other officers who stood around doing nothing when that happened. They did not arrest their fellow officer. Instead they initially corroborated his story, until a YouTube video gave lie to their version of events.

Given how increasingly criminal the police are acting, it is important to remember that just because a police officer does not personally break the law, it does not mean that officer is good. By failing to act they give consent to the actions of their fellow officers. For anyone short of an officer of the law, simply not breaking the law may be considered a valid definition, but police officers must be held to a higher standard due to the nature of their voluntarily chosen occupation.

There are no good cops in The Utah Highway Patrol. Instead they cleared the officer of all wrong-doing for using pain compliance and electroshock torture for someone who was not posing any sort of threat, but not giving abject obsequience to the officer either. If there was a single good cop in the whole organization, then Trooper Gardner would have been arrested for assault.

When the police start arresting the many bad apples within their own ranks, then it can be said there are good cops. Until that time their numbers are distressingly few.

Like last year, I urge people to give to the Salvation Army. As the economy worsens even more than last year, more people are in need of effective charity. I don't agree with them theologically, but I agree with the work they do. And since the FCC is asking us to reveal whether or not we receive any benefit from endorsements we make, it's none of their damn business.


Anonymous said...

Actually your "higher standard" is required of everyone. "Failure to Act" is a criminal offense.

For example: If you see someone setting fire to someone's home and you do not Act either towards the prevention of the act and/or to notify police/fire departments &/or the owner _YOU_ _ARE_ _CRIMIMALLY_ _LIABLE_ for the criminal action of the person setting the fire. And if someone dies as a result of the fire you _WILL_ be tried and sentenced for murder (If you did not act within your means to prevent or notify), even though you did not start the fire nor request that it be set.

So, any cop that does not act within his means (which are obviously greater and have more authority than us peons) to prevent or report the crimes of his fellow officers is in fact criminally liable for his fellow officer's criminal actions -- according to laws and precedents already "on-the-books".

Ayn R. Key said...

To a certain extent true, but the required actions of a non-officer are much less demanding than those of an officer. For example, if a civilian sees a mugging, he should call the police but has not compulsion to intervene unless he personally desires to. If a cop sees a mugging he must personally intervene. He can do so smartly, he can call for backup, but he must intervene himself.

Paul Weber said...

I tell everyone in my family one ironclad rule: never talk to the cops. Even if you were not involved in a crime. Even if you were just an innocent bystander. Whatever you say can and will be twisted around and used against you.

Ken Demyen said...

"If a cop sees a mugging he must personally intervene. He can do so smartly, he can call for backup, but he must intervene himself."

Actually there are court rulings that state the police have no obligation to protect anyone.

Warren v. District of Columbia:

"fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen."

More can be found here:

Ayn R. Key said...

Unlike that case, Ken, if a cop is on the scene and there is a crime being committed, he does have to intervene. What the case says is that if the crime is over by the time the cop gets there, then it is not the cop's fault.