FEATURED IN LEADERSHIP
What’s going on? Have cops forgotten service? Did I miss something? Is service no longer important? Has service been replaced by ignoring public safety? And not doing your job?
Folks, I was recently ashamed of our profession. The actions of several officers and a sergeant at another agency just set Ol’ Bullethead off. Maybe I should direct this frustration at the agency involved, but I’ve seen cops do similar things at my own. I think we can all benefit from the message.
Now, Ol’ Bullethead’s home issues aren’t fixed, but I’m working on them, and I was invited back to help deal with some issues a friend of mine was having. My friend was on the run for a few days from her husband, whom she had just served with a temporary restraining order (TRO). She came to my house with her kids and her sister for protection. Not only was she terrified of her husband, but she knew if he located her, he’d show up and the rest of the day would be like a riot at a World Trade Organization summit.
The TRO banned any contact, but that didn’t stop the husband from violating it within minutes of being served. He blew up her phone like an explosive breach hitting a flimsy door. And when she called the cops to report the crime, the service aspect of police work got thrown out the window. Why? One word: laziness.
No cops showed up the first time. Instead, the responding officer tried to gather information on the phone. He didn’t understand that if he contacted the husband, the husband would figure out where my friend was hiding because the Bulletheads are the only friends she has in the area. And instead of offering some problem-
solving advice and taking a little ownership of this call, the cop was rude and hung up.
So she called a sergeant, who showed up with an officer, and they were ruder and less helpful than the cop on the phone. After stalling for awhile, they finally took an incident report. They said they couldn’t make it a crime report if they couldn’t contact the husband.
I decided to call in to find out if the cops were actually taking reports. Turns out one of the responding officers took a report and a follow-up report, but not until after he showed up with the sergeant. The other officer changed the crime to a non-crime in their system, and cleared it as an argument. That idiot cop is not only lazy, but he’s a liar and doesn’t understand the law.
Where I live, a TRO is an order from a judge, like a warrant. Last time I checked, judges outrank cops in the criminal justice system. So no matter what my friend said, the court order was violated. Plus, there wasn’t an argument: She never answered the phone. How do cops live with themselves when they’re pulling that crap?
Worse yet, instead of offering some sort of help, his stance was that he could either contact the husband or there was no crime to report. I suggested he either forward the case to a detective, or hold it until Friday. By then, my friend would no longer be staying at my house, so she would be safe from him showing up. This clown and his sergeant were both completely opposed to my suggestion. Apparently, it’s fine to be lazy and lie, but it’s not acceptable to hold a report even if it would make the reporting party and the other people involved safer.
That’s the part that really gets me. The cop and his sergeant didn’t seem to comprehend the safety aspect of this whole incident. I’m fairly positive the safety of the public is of the highest priority for law enforcement. How is it that this agency, up to at least the field supervisor level, doesn’t get that?
Now, Ol’ Bullethead was on his best behavior because I didn’t want to end up in an argument with a sergeant from another agency, particularly in my current situation and in front of Mrs. Bullethead. So I held my tongue, and told my friend how to outsmart their system and create a bunch of extra work to make up for their laziness on the front end. Often, it’s better to look for a door than try to break through a wall. I simply told my friend how to find the door.
While you’re out serving your community, remember what’s important. The safety of the public should be high on that list. Also, learn the law in your area so you understand what an order from a judge actually means. We all represent each other. One lazy, lying cop tarnishes all our badges.
Got a question or complaint? Let Bullethead hear about it. He'll give you his opinion WITH BOTH BARRELS. Contact him via e-mail at email@example.com or fax him at 619/699-6246.