The police are in a tough spot. They seem to be constantly under the guns of political correctness. The papers carry an unending stream of stories alleging discriminatory misconduct. A few of these stories are true. Most aren’t. Usually, though, it doesn’t matter: The media show very little interest in finding out whether the cops were in fact wrong. They assume it.Journalists being what they are, reporters convict by innuendo instead of evidence — but that’s a privilege of being a reporter.
Now, if I were a cop, and reporters actually made an effort to learn their subject, and find out whether they were right, I’d be content. A neutral and competent press would be no problem. But reporters aren’t. Neither are politicians. That’s the reality.
For example, I recently read of a bunch of cops who were denied promotions on grounds that they had engaged in “racial profiling.” The phrase is a term of art, having little to do with reality. Black cops profile too. But never mind. The fact is that if cops stop whites who fit a criminal profile, no one will care. But if they stop blacks, it will be racial profiling and they will be punished.
If they shoot anyone, black or white, rightly or wrongly, the assumption in the headlines will be that they did it wrongly and, if at all possible, for racial reasons. What to do?
I know exactly what I would do — and what, if I were a police chief, I would quietly tell my men to do. It’s a simple solution: Don’t ever do anything politically incorrect. Do exactly what the press and racial lobbies want.
Take profiling. Having spent a lot of time in police cars, I know that, at least in jurisdictions I’m familiar with, blacks just flat are the street trade in drugs. I’ll give you addresses of a dozen open-air drug markets if you like and you can go look. Whites use and sell a lot of drugs, run a lot of the bulk trade, but not on the street. But right and wrong don’t matter.Hindering the trade in drugs doesn’t matter. Politics matters.
So, if I saw what I knew was very likely to be a drug dealer’s car, and the driver was black, I’d ignore it. A cop gets paid whether he stops drug couriers or not. If the driver was white — and again, whites are heavily involved in parts of the drug trade — I’d watch him like a hawk. Sure, I’d know both were probably guilty as sin. But why risk my career?
Open-air drug markets? The cops can detect them at a hundred yards. So can I. But — why risk a promotion? Just say you didn’t see anything. Easy.Fifteen years of time in service is a lot to lose, retirement-wise. Why simultaneously fight criminals, racial politicians, judges, and the media?Have another doughnut instead.
As far as shooting is concerned, I’d never shoot anyone except in defense of my own life. And I’d make sure I never had to do it. Thing is, if I killed a guy in an alley who was coming at me with a piece of rebar, no matter his race, I’d be tried in the press as a trigger-happy killer. The Washington Post would ask why I didn’t shoot him in a leg I couldn’t see as the bar was descending on my head.
Why do it?
Actually, I just wouldn’t go into alleys. Or I’d make a lot of noise first,yell, “Cops!” or something, to make sure any bad guys hit the road.
The same principle fits a lot of police work. If you stop a guy bouncing his car from one curb to another, and he’s so drunk he can’t stand up, he’ll almost invariably say, “You’re jusht shtopping me cosh I’m brown.” The alkasensor could register a BAC of 4.0 and then dissolve in his breath. Doesn’t matter. If the arrest stats come out, you will be one racist pig.
So, sez me, arrest white drunks (of whom there are plenty), and let the others go. “Sorry, sir. I can see you’re entirely sober. Finish driving over the hydrant and go about your business.”
Sure, crime would go up like mad, and drunks would drive through buildings,and the drug business would flourish. So what? If the community won’t tell me what the job is, and back me up when I do it, then hey, I can find other things to do. Easy. No problem.