The Cop Hater’s Dilemma

Cop haters are a special collection of illogical people whose ideas about the world and their expectations of law enforcement are grossly inconsistent.  I’ve found that if you can actually get a cop hater to talk to you without simply hurling canned rhetoric over the table, some understanding can be achieved. But this is rare because when you’re entire worldview is demonstrated to have a flaw in it, it requires a big shift in thinking, and that’s not easy for anyone.

Stephanie Keith

Photo Credit: Stephanie Keith

Now let me be clear, when I say cop haters, I’m not referring to the genuine and often necessary critique of police work. I’m talking about those who spend their time mocking cops, slamming cops, or generally criticizing everything they do.  When it comes to honest critique in police work or exposing crooked cops,  you’ll find no argument from me or any other good cop; and good cops are the majority folks.

Let me break down the cop hating “logic” for you, which boils down to “We want nothing from you except for you to be everything we want to hate”.  Like Stephen King’s Pennywise character, cops are apparently capable of shifting into whatever malevolent form they deem the best to intimidate others as they abuse their authority.  Unlike those who live in line with reality, cop haters want to talk out both sides of their mouth and generally run away when they get called out for it. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:

Cop haters want cops to never resort to force but also want them to be skilled enough at use of force to shoot a knife out of a running person’s hand in under one second. In other words you want them to protect their community from bad guys but not to actually stop the bad guys.  Tell me, which is it?  Believe me, I think cops wish we had every skill you see in the movies or on television; it would certainly make our job much easier.  I can Jason Bourne someone in my head 1,000 times but then I have to handle myself according to my actual skill set.  What if the reality is that sometimes, the only available solution to a life or death situation is the use of force, including deadly force?

The fact about deadly force is that it is rarely used, even when it could be.  Cop haters would love us to believe that police officers are just randomly walking down the street and picking off people they don’t like one by one. That type of ignorance simply can’t stand in the face of objective truth.  Consider the publically available information from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report Data that shows an annual average of 3,277 deadly force attacks on police officers involving weapons of some kind (that’s right, it doesn’t even include the attack on officers by the unarmed). Yet for the same time frame (2003-2012) only an average of 429 deaths from police use of force occurred annually.  This means that at least 2,848 individuals can be expected to attack a police officer with a weapon in this country and come away alive.  So not only are cops not rampantly abusing their authority but they aren’t even using as much of it as they’re permitted by law.

Cop haters want us to believe cops are lazy donut eating fools but yet are over militarized and too strong of a force upon their communities. The caricature of cops is that we just sit around eating donuts and drinking coffee (actually, that’s sorta true, I do like both of those things) but at the same time we are apparently an over-prepared, well organized and over militarized set agencies that threaten America’s freedom.  What if the reality is that cops would love to do more hanging out in their communities enjoying a fine fried piece of dough and a cup of joe but that the increasingly advanced tactics and equipment of the bad guy require more advanced training and equipment for the good guy?

As I write this, a breaking news story is emerging on the thwarting of a planned attack on a police department in Florida involving weapons such as rocket powered grenade launchers. This coming in the wake of the White House announcing that it will be further restricting the federal program of supplying local police departments with some “military” style equipment due to the public pressure over the perceived mistreatment of minorities and protesters.

So the cop haters have a dilemma don’t they? Do they want their homes, churches and schools secured against modern would-be criminals or do they want them to be more exposed?

Cop haters say the cops are never there when you need them but yet they’re always somehow harassing everyone or driving somewhere too fast. Let’s just translate that into what it really is: The cops don’t do what I tell them to do exactly when I tell them to do it and exactly how I tell them to do it and I don’t like that cops can do things ordinary citizens can’t in order to do the job we hire them to do.  Isn’t that painful just to read? Believe me, it’s even more painful to respond in person to those with this mentality.

This type of thinking is cop hating equivalent to a 2 year old throwing themselves down on the floor of the store because mom and dad, who have more experience in parenting than the child, decide that bobby doesn’t need another trinket right now.  I’ve generally found that the lack of understanding in the law that is running alongside this particularly irritating double standard is to blame. Yet, cops continue to put themselves in harm’s way for even those who refuse to try and understand what is involved and we will never stop because what we do doesn’t flow from merely an understanding of and respect for the law but from the kind of character formed out of overcoming such false perceptions.

Cop haters think it’s ok to violently respond en masse when a cop kills a criminal but when cops are killed by criminals they are “pigs that get wings” So if “#AllLivesMatter” then why aren’t we treating each life as if it truly does? This is like saying that we should be tolerant of all people except those who disagree with us (which there is a lot of that going on around us as well but I digress).  All lives do matter in the sense that we are all created equal.  But #somelives become #criminals and lines must be drawn around the #innocent so that they are protected at any cost to the best of an officer’s ability.

I’ve long held that how we respond to adversity will speak infinitely more about your character than when things are going your way. This is no better demonstrated in comparing the recent riots with the recent police funerals.

You see, rather than viewing police officers as humans (or even as equals), cop haters project a sort of boogieman image upon law enforcement in order to distance themselves from the reality of the world they live in because it doesn’t fit with their ideological system of nonsense.

Now I’m not foolish enough to think that just because I’ve written something like this or will continue to, that I’m going to change all the cop haters’ minds. In fact, I might not change any…ever. But I’m reminded of something the new Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said to me and a few other officers standing in his office during Police Week: “Our job is to keep people safe and sometimes people won’t like the way we do it and they will criticize us; But I comfort myself knowing that we’ve done a good enough job so far since they have the freedom and voice to express that opinion.”  Well said sir, well said indeed.

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31 Responses to The Cop Hater’s Dilemma

  1. Cebie says:

    What amazes me is the amount of restraint that law enforcement officers demonstrate when one of these ‘protesters’ gets in their face or accosts them in some other way, without actually touching them. I know they are trained to handle such things but officers are cursed at, spit upon, taunted and people get in their faces like the woman in the photo accompanying your article.
    When officers are told to ‘stand down’ while rioters wreak havoc on our communities, I don’t understand how they do it. I salute every one of you for the job that you do.

    Like

  2. SVLEO says:

    I’m sure you do find my comments offensive.

    I look forward to your email.

    Edward.

    Like

  3. Edward – Its Elizabeth. I would like to have a conversation about this in order to remedy it. If I don’t fully understand or know what happened, it’s difficult for me to address it. And, I would like to address it. Is there anyway you could email me at humanizewriters@gmail.com? I’d love to shoot you a phone number where you can reach me. So many things get lost in translation via writing and I’d actually like to speak about it. Thank you!

    Like

  4. David Naas says:

    Alas, I grew up in a different time and place. Up to the third grade, our neighbor across the street was our (small) town’s Chief of Police. He weighed about 350 pounds, and had hands twice the size of a normal mortal. He was my good friend.
    His normal station on the town square was a half-block up from the police station, in front of our town library. Occasionally, he would walk around the square, or over to the county courthouse for a coffee and a rest of his tired feet.
    Whenever I would be going into the library, he would greet me, and we would shoot the breeze for a few minutes. Even after I was in high school, we would stop and talk. Some of my high school contemporaries would look at me funny, and ask if I knew him well enough to talk like that. I would reply, “Yes, I do,” and they would go off shaking their heads.
    (It turns out, unbeknownst to me, my friend the chief of police had a habit of taking a kid caught in a misdemeanor out behind the station and whomp on him with one of those extra large hands, and tell the miscreant, “Boy, you EVER do anything like that again, the next time, I beat on you AND I tell your Pa.” Need I say: a) we had little juvenile problems in my home town, and b) today he would be crucified for “child abuse”. — I can relate this because he has been dead for many years now, these incidents happened in the ’50’s and early 60’s of the last century.)
    A few years later, on a trip home from college, I saw him for the last time. He was older and gray, and had even lost weight, and he still remembered the little kid who lived across the street. He died soon after I went back to school.
    I mention all this, because it was a far different time and place, and I cannot at all imagine someone getting in his face like the young lady in the photo above. If anyone in my home town had been crazy enough to do so, I can easily imagine him saying in reply, “Now (saying the name of the person) do you want me to tell your Pa what you just did?” And that would have been enough.

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  5. Mike Branum says:

    Mike, my one year in law enforcement taught me two things: 1) that I didn’t want to spend 20 years in law enforcement and 2) a deeper respect for law enforcement than I already had.

    That said, I don’t think the answer to criminals with rocket launchers is cops with rocket launchers. Our local police (even metro departments) do NOT need rocket launchers and 50 cal weapons nor do they need armored assault vehicles and tanks. Just my .02.

    Like

    • Chris says:

      Kudos on your whole one year in law enforcement. Are you kidding me kid!?! My 25 years in law enforcement taught me that you need tools equal to or above the threat at hand. Even the force continuum/use of force scale calls for a level of force equal to or above the threat encountered.

      The fatal flaw in your suggestion that YOU don’t think the answer to criminals with rocket launchers is cops with rocket launchers is that YOU like many others offer your .02 cents without offering any alternatives. Exactly how would you suggest an officer is suppose to deal with a criminal with a rocket launcher? A calm soothing voice?

      Like

      • Doug says:

        Sorry, Mike. I have to agree with Chris here. These are not supposed to be a fair fight. If action needs to be taken, it should be swift and with a tactical advantage. For example, “militarized” vehicles, like APCs, could bail trapped officers or civilians out of a hostile situation. Should they ask for a TV timeout to retrieve them instead?

        Like

      • sean says:

        Tear gas. Every situation calls for a certain response, I get that and the police force as a whole I commend for doing what they do and protecting our communities but my .02 includes simply that there are idiotic officers as well. Ones who abuse the shield and the authority that it represents. All are not innocent crime fighters ,wiping the spit out of their eye from haters as they fight crime. We are all human. We are taught and trained to act a certain way. Its not all black and white, or in this case Blue and white. I am not a hater and as I stated most officers should be commended for their effort and bravery but lets remember, you shouldn’t enlist unless you are prepared to go to war. These groups of people didn’t just emerge from the ghetto streets one day and start hating out of pure generational teachings. Its way out of control and idiotic thinking but it stemmed from somewhere.

        Like

      • Todd says:

        Same we we dealt with those ducks ticks in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well aimed shots to the chest and head with 5.56 service rifles. How do you battle the guy with grenade launchers, without you using grenade launchers… Hmmm, how about good old fashioned police work. Building profiles, establishing a strong informant base, cross departmental communication skills, establishing a central intelligence department, to establish patterns, and profiles then disseminate. establish more foot patrols and community outreach for more trust and report with the citizens of the community. Develop your officers situational awareness, and experience file folders, shoot/ no shoot scenario trading, to have a larger base to determine least amount of force with the greatest results. Training them to say left of bang. I’m all for police officers and what you all do on a daily basis, and I applaud you all for it!

        You can’t say you have to have equal or greater weapons of the criminals to defeat or defend against them to accomplish your mission. We never used IED’s in country, never used rockets (without Bn or above level permission) we, weren’t even aloud to use motard for counter battery. We did no shit boots on the ground work, tracking, profiling, and intelligence collection, analysis and didemination, human Intel! That gave us more then enough to track down the insurgents, weapons caches, and emplaned IEDs before they ever had a chance to use them. What I got from reading your comment, is that we were able to do more in 6 months in a war torn nation, then you are able to do, with multiple years on the job. On top of that these are fellow American citizens, but we have a tendency to stereotype them as well to ease the discussions in our own minds. You are police officers, not military units! Train as such.

        Like

      • Mike the Cop says:

        Thank you for your service AND your input. I disagree with you, of course–I wrote the article here, because I don’t think building profiles and informants are mutually exclusive to proper equipment. That said, while there are similarities to what your orders and permissions were on the battlefield, there are also differences, particularly the nature of the immediate threat to innocents that are our own citizens, that varies from many battlefield arenas.

        The difficulty in what you’re suggesting is that it’s a complete re-working of how policing is done here in the States. I agree, we should be proactive, but resources simply aren’t allocated that way and we have to be ready to RESPOND appropriately to the unknown, not just do good groundwork.

        Appreciate the interaction. Thanks again!

        Like

    • Mike the Cop says:

      What do you think they need to defend the public against such weapons and tactics?

      Like

      • Matt says:

        I think a threat like that is well beyond the scope of the average criminals police officers should be dealing with. I think an individual with a rocket launcher or any form of explosives should be categorized as a terrorist and Federal officers or the military should be dispatched to handle them. I believe we have agencies in place to handle such threats. At the very, very most there should be a specific task force assigned to handle such extreme situations. If you’re assigned to a specific tactical unit designed to thwart such high-level threats then go ahead and have your rocket launcher.

        My perspective is that police officers simply are not soldiers. They are meant to apprehend citizens who break the laws of our society and bring them to those that actually administer judicial action against said citizens. I recognize that the actual level of danger officers face varies from location to location but America is not a warzone and if it were to become one we have soldiers to handle that.

        If a police officer were to encounter a criminal with a rocket launcher my advice would be to take cover, establish a perimeter, and wait for reinforcements and direction from those with the tactical experience to handle it. Can you imagine the collateral damage if a police officer just shot a rocket launcher at a criminal who was pointing a rocket launcher at him. I suspect protocol would call for this very action. America is not a war zone. You are not a soldier.

        Like

      • Irricoir says:

        A Terrorist style attack is certainly within the scope of an Officer’s duty. Do you expect a demilitarized Police force to still respond accordingly? The agency would be crucified if they sat back on the perimeter and waited for the U.S. National Guard to roll in. You want proof? Look at the scrutiny the agency that covered Columbine faced. Officers are called first responder for a reason. If your child were in that school/building, you would expect that officer to do something other than sit on the perimeter. For those of you that think you have this figured out and you know how it should be, research Beslan Russia. Bin Laden and his fanatical followers vowed that what happened in Russia would happen in America. For those that believe that we will never receive another terrorist level attack, look at our own domestic terrorism. Timothy McVey or the Hollywood Shootout. All situations where officers were outgunned and at a tactical disadvantage. Officers in Brentwood TN were mowed down with Assault weapons and were outgunned. What is the harm in being prepared for war? If you aren’t doing wrong, you will not see this equipment used against you. The bad shootings by bad cops are committed with their service weapon, not the militarized equipment. A lot of you with opinions have them and are based off of little understanding of the threats that officers and even you face every single day.

        Like

    • Steve says:

      I disagree on that.. and agree 😉
      Police do not need RPG’s and heavy military weaponry. However… they do need Armored vehicles in some jurisdictions where they have the potential to come up against individuals or groups with heavy military weaponry like RPG’s(rocket launchers) and high caliber rifles. For example, you look at that bank robbery in California a decade ago that looked like it was straight from the movie HEAT. The criminals had AK 47’s and full body armor, walking down the street shooting everything. Multiple police were injured before the criminals were shot dead. If they had had an APC they could have just driven up to the guys and ended the situation quickly as apposed to hiding behind cars that bullets just pass through.

      Like

      • Chris says:

        This is getting silly, for starters I don’t want a police state, and what you are describing (federal forces, and military, is a police state.) why shouldn’t local jurisdictions be able to handle a specific threat?? For the record it doesn’t take someone with an RPG to stop another with an RPG, it takes a trained officer and a few well placed rounds, we’re not talking WWII style tank battles in the streets. What difference does a label make, terrorist, criminal, care bear, I mean really the dude is blowing up buildings!!! Do you realize how long a federal response would take? How many people die in the mean time?? PERFECT example the Twin Peaks shooting in Waco, 16 bikers with automatic rifles!!! Is that a local response or do we wait for SOF to fast rope into the middle of I-35 whilst the Banditos shoot anyone that moves, impractical, and logistically (and tactically) irresponsible!! Just because someone isn’t a veteran with 11B on their DD214, doesn’t mean that they can’t learn the EXACT same tactics that a soldier uses. I trust my local cops ALOT more than I would trust combat soldiers in my town, if you remember the British had “task forces” in the colonies during the 1760’s and 1770’s!!! I could go on about this for DAYS, but it’s silly.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Chris says:

    This was a wonderfully written article offering a clear breakdown of the disconnect between LEO’s and the people they’re sworn to protect. I would have loved to share this on my timeline but the childish back and forth initiated by SVLEO in the comments section seriously detracts from the article. SVLEO’s comments were inappropriate on this medium and should have been discussed in private as it offered no relevance to the article.

    Like

  7. Dusty says:

    We should thank all police officers for protecting us and keeping us safe. I do not think anyone would want to live anywhere without police officers.
    They have a thankless job where they put their lives on the line, every time they go to work!

    Like

  8. heath.sharp@me.com says:

    This is a good read. You guys have, had, and will always have my support. I was walking though the airport today wearing my Blue Lives Matter hat and I had a few people talk to me about this very issue. I am not a cop or involved in any law enforcement of any kind. But I have great friends that are cops that would have my back and I would be more than willing to have theirs. Thanks for all you do and for this article.

    -Heath Sharp
    Chicago, IL

    Like

  9. Chris says:

    Here is a general synopsis of our society today: everyone is taught they have a right to their opinion, but very few are taught that having an opinion, and exercising that right, doesn’t make you right. Case and point, go on Facebook or Instagram right this second and read the filth and hate that is expressed, then read the comments… Socially we are disgusting, and once someone gets “offended” the offender is now satan and only worthy of death. So how does that relate to this article, well it relates in the sense that we as humans are only as good as our loudest activist. LEO’s from this point forward will always be the collective enemy, because the criminal has become the loudest activist. This truly is a sad time we live in, and this article is on point. When people begin to pervert the teachings of great leaders like Dr. King to fulfill their agenda, and they martyr criminals for the sake of hate, then we have lost a great deal of civility, and grain by grain we run out of hope. I am a fireman by trade, I don’t know the laws or the job that LEO’s do day in and day out, but I understand the world they operate in. The fact is the world is a far sacarier place then a huge majority of the public realizes. I always tell people that throw the word hero around for every one person I helped save, there were a thousand that I lost. The same holds true for you all; for every one person that is hurt by law enforcement there are thousands that are safe.

    Like

  10. This dismantling of the ‘Cop Hater’ might hold some water, IF a cop hater was one person. Holding contradictory positions makes no logical sense if it’s one person you’re talking about. But in this instance, you’re not.
    If there are many ‘cop haters’, one can hold one position (ie, police have too much firepower) while another ‘cop hater’, in another situation, can hold the opposite. In much the same way that not all Texans hold the same collection of beliefs, nor all left-handed people, nor all women.
    Lumping your ideological opponents into the one bag risks you falling into the same trap as those you’re critical of.

    Like

    • Chris says:

      You’re taking the article too literal, it’s meant to serve as a generalization citing specific arguments that are rampant on nearly every social media site on the web. Sorry not sorry, but stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, and though they may not fit the individual at every point, they tend to be pretty accurate as a generalization.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You do realise the irony in saying ‘stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason’, while complaining about stereotypes, I presume? 🙂

        Like

      • Chris says:

        I’m not complaining about stereotypes, I’m pointing out they exist for a reason, and everyone falls in line at one point or another. Irony is not always negative, neither are stereotypes. I stand by my point.

        Like

  11. Heather Medeuris says:

    I think some of bad cops give a bad name to good cops. There are tazor guns out there that can be used to be a tactic force that won’t kill any one and cause bodily harm. It’s the ones who brutally beat people to the ground and slam there head in the cruiser or beat them with there butt of there flash light and use blunt force trauma and creatively write there report. The good ones try to talk the criminal down and explain we all make bad decisions and it’s not what you did but how you fix it. You try to desolate the problem. Not escalate it . If police would just treat the people like humans, there would be less police brutality

    Like

    • Mike the Cop says:

      Heather
      Of course bad cops give good cops a bad name (potentially). However, bad cops are in a super minority (we’ve discussed this at length in several posts here on HTB). To some of your other points, you simply don’t “bring a knife to a gun fight”. In other words, Tasers are effective for their intended use but are not intended as a response to guns or big guns or grenade launchers, etc. People being brutally beaten by the police is almost a non-occurrence statistically. You are describing some type of vivid attack and creative reports. What specific examples do you have in mind or are you just throwing out random ideas?

      As a cop with a bit of experience, some criminals are not “talked” out of anything and the force must be used to actually de-escalate a situation.

      Heather, 99% of cops treat people as humans..because…they ARE humans too 🙂

      Like

      • Steve T says:

        Another point Heather is missing is that a taser can kill someone as easily as a gun! Critics of police love to use the taser as their professional opinion of use of less lethal tactics while being a barista at Starbucks. She recommends a taser but when that subject dies as a result of being tased she’ll be the first one to condemn the cop for not using a less lethal option. “they tased that man for no reason!” I’ve heard that saying too many times in the cop Block videos! There is no winning when someone who does not do the job thinks they have a professional, trained understanding of the job.

        Like

      • Mike the Cop says:

        I’m not sure there are any documented cases of the tasing actually killing someone, but rather other circumstances surrounding it. That said, your point is well noted. Thanks!

        Like

  12. Adam says:

    As a former LEO I love this article but firmly believe that the answer to better armed criminals is not better armed cops. In very few situations is answering a bomb with a bomb a good idea. Better training and tactics are the answer. Call me old fashion but to me it makes more logical sense to train more officers as snipers. That way the officers faced with an RPG or group and heavily armed and armed individuals can safely and with less risk of collateral damage handle the situation. On the flip side of that LEO’s should be given access the the best available defensive equipment such as body armor and armored vehicles. This to me is more in line with an officers job to protect and serve. No human is perfect or immune to making no mistakes and LEOs are very much human an honest cop with the best of intentions given to much firepower can still cause more harm then good.

    Like

  13. Pingback: To Protect and to Serve... - Page 553 - VolNation

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