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SALT LAKE CITY— As I read through emails and look at the comments left in my articles, it becomes abundantly clear that some people will hold on to their bad police story like John Swallow to his job.
You notice they tell it over and over or they will tell one about a friend they knew. Some revert to just stating that we all have an authority complex and talk down to everyone. We all got bullied in high school, (how did you know? … sniff), and now is our chance to get back at everyone.
Don't get me wrong, these people are in the minority but they are fun to talk about. These are the people that can spot you in an unmarked car on the freeway and instantly slow down. They can sense which people are cops in the Cafe Rio … all of them. The reason these people distrust us is because they are our number one customers. We deal with a minority of the population a majority of the time.
My first example is the single story-teller. “Man, when I was in high school, the school resource officer was such a jerk. He was always yelling at us and talking down at us like we were dumb.” YOU WERE DUMB. You were a high schooler, which implies stupidity. I still remember high school, and I should have been tazed till lighting bolts shot from parts of me.
“One time I was pulled over on the freeway and the trooper kept yelling at me to stay in my car. I have a right to stand outside my vehicle! But you know those cops, they always have to be in charge, bossing you around.” Do you ever think that maybe we are concerned about your safety? Troopers get hit all the time and you want to get out of your vehicle to have a discussion about why you're speeding?
“I can't believe how rudely we were treated at the unexpected passing of a loved one. Those cops treated us like criminals.” We are bound by rules, policies and state law on how we approach many things. None of those rules, policies or state laws are made up by us, they are made up by you the people of this great state and respective jurisdictions. You want us to start wearing pink shirts and have flowers shoot out of our guns, that is your decision, not ours.
I love when people tell me that they don't trust me because they or a relative are on parole or have been arrested. Like somehow I am going to magically arrest them for a crime because I'm bored. Do you think we win prizes for most arrests? They don't trust us because, one: they are terrible criminals and keep getting caught and two: they probably have things to hide. The normal everyday person could care less about our presence. Which makes me sad now that I've said it.
There are people out there who just do not like us and really have no specific reason why. They just state we have an authority complex, or talk down to everyone and are badge heavy. Our job is to enforce laws and keep people in check. This does require some talking down when people refuse to listen the first time. You should see the shock on some people's faces when I have to speak to them like they are 6, as I have exhausted all other avenues. We are here to enforce the laws and keep the peace, not to have a drawn out discussion on why you should be able to cut your neighbor's trees down because they are blocking your sun.
If you want to use these examples as an excuse, that's great, but be fair. I don't see you hating all construction workers for screwing up your basement. You keep getting your hair cut even though the last stylist said that high bangs were making a comeback. ... Everyone makes mistakes, especially politicians. We all deserve to be treated as individuals.
As I have stated in other articles, I did not get into law enforcement to get back at all those who wronged me. If I wanted to do that I would have worked for the IRS. We unfortunately do have guys that come through that do have a heavy hand, and they won't last long. The days of departments covering for their guys is long over, especially in this state. No officers want to work with the guy who is a jerk to every one. It just causes trouble for us and we have realized that you do in fact pay our salary.
If you want to use these examples as an excuse, that's great, but be fair. I don't see you hating all construction workers for screwing up your basement. You keep getting your hair cut even though the last stylist said that high bangs were making a comeback. You continue to go to that restaurant even though the server messed up on your order twice and forgot to sing you that annoying birthday song. Everyone makes mistakes, especially politicians. We all deserve to be treated as individuals.
I want to make sure I thank all the people out there who have our backs and continue to stand up for us when these discussions come up. You should get to know me if I'm your neighbor. I'm a nice guy. I rarely ever give my neighbors speeding tickets down my street … kidding. I don't even wear my gun belt when I mow the lawn. Most of my neighbors were happy when I moved in, except Magna.
So give us a chance the next time we deal with you. We aren't all bad. SLCPD and Unified Police Department make more than 100,000 citizen contacts a year each, and out of all those very few turn into complaints. We have a much higher customer service rating than some of those cellphone companies, and we can usually solve your problem without transferring you to some guy in Pakistan.
This article is for entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. I do not represent any specific agency or government. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org