Sgt. Scott Kreher of the Atlanta Police Department, has been returned to desk duties as Mayor Shirley Franklin continues down the path of using the D.A.’s office to “investigate” him for importune remarks made during a hearing on denying medical benefits to the city’s disabled officers. Stephanie Ramage, at The Ramage Report, has issued another call to restore Sgt. Kreher to his full duties. It’s an amazing plea for forgiveness and the respect the police deserve.
Along the lines of Stephanie’s blog, I’ve been having some interesting conversations with a young police officer at my gym. What always strikes me when I’m talking to police is how they view their jobs as a calling, not just a place to punch the clock. The young officer at my gym told me that he does not do overtime because he recognizes the need to be able to go home and have a life at the end of his shift, because the job is so intense and what is being asked of police officers is so emotionally challenging.
One of the biggest challenges that he sees is the constant pressure of going into situations where people feel comfortable expressing hatred for police officers — and not just on the streets, where it’s not so surprising that the guy you’re locking up is not responding with gracious consideration for the demands of your profession. Almost every cop I’ve ever met talks about the pain of being automatically reviled by some media types and politicians and activists.
In some community groups I belong to or follow, contempt for cops seems like a default, and this is too bad. Setting aside the small handful of people who don’t belong behind a badge, the police are continually reaching out to the public, so I’d like to propose an exercise in consciously reaching back. There are some darn great police blogs out there. Read a few. You don’t need to hug a cop, just try listening to one.
Here are some of the cop blogs I’ve discovered. If you have others, I’d love to know about them.
Second City Cop: A Chicago officer talks bluntly about both policing and the politics of policing in Chi-Town. Brave guy. Really brave guy.
The Johnny Law Chronicles: Johnny Law is not shy about the frustrations of the “bi-polar moments” that arise when “bohemian wanna-bes are afraid of the criminals in their area but aren’t exactly sure about what they want done about it.” I wouldn’t exactly say that he is reaching out to the public in a warm and fuzzy manner, but his perspective on this extremely common dynamic is worth confronting.
The Roanoke Cop: Nobody does a better job of explaining what happens during a long, depressing shift.
Behind the Blue Line: One of the cop blogs that is not anonymous, Cst. Sandra Glendinning is a canine officer in Vancouver. And seems to be a lovely person. Canada, land of the polite and free.
Officer Smith: Officer Smith is a cop who apparently does a lot of highway patrol in California. For readers from Atlanta who have never heard of such a thing, Highway Patrol Cops are police officers who drive on the highways enforcing things like speed limits and other traffic laws.
British Cops, being from Britain and therefore completely unconflicted about being literary while armed, write some of the funniest and most insightful cop blogs. And because they still have a publishing culture and a reading public over there, cops (and nurses, and paramedics, and dispatchers, and social workers) with blogs are getting book contracts left and right:
P.C. Bloggs, A Twentieth-First Century Police Officer: The author of Diary of an On-Call Girl, about her career as a female police officer. Imagine a world where On-Call girls, rather than Call-Girls, were the feminist heroes of the day. P.C. Bloggs is quite good at expressing the frustrations of officers dealing with an ungrateful, drunken, unruly, and astonishingly piggy public. Many insightful observations about the central role of body fluids in policing.
The Thinking Policeman: My favorite cop blog. Long, non-frivolous disquisitions on Hobbes and Locke, The Social Contract, and how to forget the first utterly blown-out arm you see on a junkie. Posts like “The Mental Health Patient” are an education in policing for the rest of us.