Cops are human like the rest of us

Cops are people. They’re imperfect, they have weaknesses.

For example, a San Francisco cop with “a string of misconduct complaints” was “accused of drunkenly lying to a game warden about poaching a deer on private property” (see story here).

In another example, 54 California Highway Patrol officers were charged with theft and fraud for falsifying timesheets to get overtime pay they didn’t earn (see story here).

Yes, there are cops who poach deer, steal from the taxpayers, are sexual predators and killers (see story here), and so on.

That doesn’t mean we don’t need cops. We need them. Anarchy and rampant crime aren’t acceptable alternatives.

But when we hand someone a badge and gun, and the awesome power of the state, we need to keep them on a short leash. We need strong institutional restraints and guardrails against the misuse or abuse of that power. Supporting the police isn’t black-or-white, because cops aren’t perfect. We should support them when they’re right, and hold them accountable when they’re wrong.

In the examples above, the deer poacher elected to retire than face a disciplinary proceeding. Good riddance; he never should’ve been a cop in the first place. A judge, over the attorney general’s objection, offered the 54 wage thieves a deal that allows them to escape having criminal records by paying restitution; CHP fired 33 of them, but nothing really stops other police agencies from hiring them. Something should.

The cop who traveled across the country to prey on a teenage girl, and murdered her family, is dead. Shot by cops while resisting arrest. Good riddance and burn in hell. I don’t think any sane person would disagree with that.

And then there’s Roger Golubski (photo below), retired Kansas City detective, who’s in a class by himself. Actually he’s not; he’s only an extreme example of a dirty cop.

The notion that all cops are above criticism, that if you’re not for bad cops then you’re against good cops, is just plain stupid. We can’t hire perfect cops, because humans aren’t perfect; so what we have to do is keep their imperfections under control, just as we do with other people in other walks of life.

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