Sometimes the Wall Needs to Come Down

The last few months have shown the world the worst in law enforcement. Officers ambushed while they sit in their patrol car, shot as they respond to domestics and crucified for making split second life and death decisions. Unfortunately, it has also shown that officers, like all humans, are imperfect as our brothers have been disgraced as embezzlers, liars and even killers. Regardless of the circumstances, the first reaction by fellow officers is to give those involved the benefit of the doubt. But sometimes, that benefit is misplaced and those accused are truly evil- just like those we pursue every day. When this is the case, we do ourselves an injustice by blindly refusing to see the truth and do what needs to be done. Sometimes we need to tear the wall down.

Police LineBut to do this, we need to make some necessary attitude and behavioral changes.

  1. We need to admit that sometimes our brothers and sisters are wolves in sheepdog clothing. When this is found to be the case, our loyalty lies not with the individual but with the profession as a whole.
  2. Before we can hold others accountable, there needs to be a clear and precise understanding of what is expected. Those who break the same law we are sworn to uphold have no excuse, but when we hold ourselves to a higher standard that standard needs to be known from day one.
  3. The public often complains it is unreasonable for the police to police the police. Unless we want to have another level of law enforcement, the police patrol, we need to prove this theory wrong. We need to hold ourselves and our peers accountable in the same manner we do the public.
  4. Law enforcement has changed over the last decade, and so have those we have recruited into the fold. Many departments, for a variety of reasons, have lessened their hiring standards and now accept recruits that 10 years ago would have been shown the door. We must ensure that we accept only the best and take steps during the training and probation periods to make sure no one has slipped through the cracks.
  5. Finally, if a member of our profession is determined to be incapable of living up to the standards that have been established, we must remove them. Whether a new recruit or 20 year veteran, if someone is unworthy of wearing the badge, we owe it to ourselves to ensure they no longer do.

I am not advocating that we throw fellow officers to the wolves or go on IA witch hunts to quiet the masses. Every officer deserves due process and support when they do right, but are prosecuted simply because that is not popular. But, when what they did was wrong, when what they did is criminal, it is our duty to allow that due process to move forward. If the result is termination or jail, then we cannot allow ourselves to replace the blue wall with a blue flu.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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