Is it unfair to criticize police officers accused of committing crimes?
One cop is accused of raping a female teenager last week while his wife laid passed out on the bed next to them. Police are investigating whether Stephen Olenchak slipped drugs into their drinks.
Another cop is accused of holding a gun to his pregnant wife’s head last month and threatening to kill her before knocking her to the floor in a separate incident later that month. Vally Getejanc and his wife had been married just four days.
And another cop was accused of threatening a woman with arrest if she didn’t perform oral sex on him while he was on duty and in uniform. Twice in one night. Jonathan D. Sanders pleaded no contest to “unlawful compensation” last year and served a mere 60 days in jail. The victim is now suing.
All three of these officers are from the Davie Police Department, a suburban police department in Broward County that employs 171 police officers.
Now Broward suburbanite Rick from the South Florida Daily Blog is reminding us that cops are human and susceptible to weaknesses and stresses like the rest of us, especially because of their “extremely taxing and frustrating job.”
I’m on record here and at the old Stuck on the Palmetto, and at other places in the SoFla blogosphere, of reminding readers that police officers are humans just like everyone else. They make mistakes. Unfortunately, the difference between PO’s and regular citizens is that people expect them to be perfect and immune from the stresses of what can be an extremely taxing and frustrating job. When they prove themselves to be human, their imperfections are often times held in the spotlight and criticized by some, who, quite frankly, apparently forget their own faults and weaknesses.
Yes, I have weaknesses. I have imperfections. And believe me, I have stress. We all do.
But I’ve never been accused of rape. Ive never been accused of slipping a pill into a woman’s drink to knock her out. I’ve never been accused of holding a gun to a woman’s head. And I’ve never been accused of threatening to kill a woman. Especially a woman I supposedly love.
But perhaps I’ve never had such a high stressful job where I am responsible for protecting and serving the public. Where I am given the power to change somebody’s life in an instant if they happen to tick me off.
Where I am given the authority to write “sworn statements” – despite what really occurred – that will go down as the ultimate truth.
Perhaps I’ve never had a job where I am the judge, jury and justice of peace all rolled up into one.
Perhaps I’ve never had a job where I am not only the law, but I could be above the law if I so desired.
Yes, police officers have a demanding job. But they also have a rewarding job. And most importantly, they have a responsible job.
If the stresses and demands of their job force them to commit crimes, then they should be exposed and criticized and publicly flogged.
We pay these officers to protect us, not to turn on us. We pay these officers to rid the streets of criminals, not to become criminals. We pay these officers to enforce existing laws, not to enforce non-existing laws.
And although not every officer is guilty of such behavior, every officer needs to be held accountable when they accept and protect this behavior.
In the case of Sanders, police left blank his place of employment when filling out the police report. They also allowed him to listen in on a call between officers and the man who reported the incident.
But Rick believes that those of us who criticize this behavior are unfairly stereotyping police officers, despite the fact that these incidents are almost everyday occurrences, judging by headlines throughout the country.
They’re not robots. They are humans. When they make mistakes, let’s make sure we deliver the appropriate corrective action. But let’s also make sure we don’t unfairly stereotype a profession and a group of people because of the inappropriate actions of a few.
This from a man who has consistently stereotyped republicans as being hate-mongering terrorists who hate their own country because of the inappropriate actions of a few.
Here is an example of one of Rick’s posts:
Timothy McVeigh was a Republican.
Atlanta bomber Eric Rudolph was a conservative and a supporter of George W. Bush.
Jim Adkisson hated liberals and was a fan of Michael Savage and Sean Hannity.
Rush Limbaugh wants President Obama’s policies to strengthen America to fail.
Do we really need more dots?
Apparently Rick is unaware that most police officers are registered republicans.
Update: And another Davie cop makes the headlines, according to the Sun Sentinel.
A rookie police officer accused of slamming a 10-year-old boy against his cruiser for skateboarding in the street has received a two-day suspension and been ordered to attend anger management classes.
“He threw him like he was a rag doll,” said the boy’s father, Joseph Smith, who witnessed the April 6, 2008, incident and filed a complaint the next day.
Smith says his son was left with a cut on his knee, a bruise on his chest and a fear of police.
Officer David Rodriguez, 25, declined to comment through his lawyer. But in December he told internal affairs investigator Sgt. Kelly Drum the boy never made contact with his patrol car, according to newly released records.
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