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"If you want to drive with your lights and sirens on, if you want to get there and you want to chase bad guys down, if you want to do that, then you need to come work for our agency." - Stanislaus (California) County Sherrif's Office employee 

“If you want to drive with your lights and sirens on, if you want to get there and you want to chase bad guys down, if you want to do that, then you need to come work for our agency.” – Stanislaus County Sherrif’s Office K9 Unit deputy (shown)

Los Angeles-based political pundit Jimmy Dore’s disdain for civilian law enforcement is a thing of primal beauty.  He calls them maniacs. He says they crack heads because “they fucking love it.”  He’s also the son, grandson, and brother of Chicago police officers, so I have to assume he knows what he’s talking about.

As you might expect, Dore rejects the “bad apple” brand of police apologetics, and I agree, but it wasn’t until today that I stopped equivocating.

That’s because it wasn’t until today that I discovered YouTube’s bottomless pit of police recruitment videos, scores of them, many sharing one troublesome message: If you want to shoot guns, run dogs, drive fast, knock people down, blow stuff up, wear camo and be a total bad-ass, join the force. And what was that other thing? Oh, yeah. Sometimes talk to schoolkids about not doing drugs.

Unless I’ve uncovered a vast network of bait-and-switch operations, these films would seem to indicate that American police culture isn’t about serving or protecting, not fundamentally. It’s about adrenaline and testosterone, pursuit and domination, with a pro forma nod to feel-good public relations clichés. Watch at least the first 75 seconds of this from the Stanislaus (California) County Sheriff’s Office – typical of the genre – and ask yourself what role deescalation and respect for human dignity play in the recruitment and training processes.

Then ask yourself this: Where’s the war?


A few other examples …

And a ray of hope …