Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
Sign up now to save time and stay informed!

The Real Reason Why America's Cops Cheered President Trump's Brentwood Speech

Many years ago, after arresting a man in South-Central Los Angeles, I drove him to the old Parker Center Jail for processing. After completing the paperwork, the strip-search, the fingerprinting and what have you, I escorted him to the final stage of the booking process, the point at which we would part ways until meeting again in court. I ushered him into the holding cell and wished him luck, as I most often did when circumstances allowed, and as I was about to close the door on him he turned to me and said, “You’re the nicest po-lice I ever met.”

I took this as a great compliment, for the man, owing to a criminal record best described as opulent, surely had met a good many police officers in his life. Ours had been an interaction as free of friction as any of the type can be, for both of us had observed what was once an unwritten code that governed behavior on both sides of the law: When the cops caught you dirty, you went to jail like a gentleman and didn’t fight, run, or make a fuss about it. The other side of this bargain dictated that police officers not abuse, either physically or verbally, anyone who observed the code.

This was a code that benefitted all involved parties. For the lawbreaker, it meant a trouble-free transition into the justice system, without the injuries and added charges that would arise from resisting arrest. And it made for fewer injuries among the cops as well, not to mention fewer torn uniforms and less paperwork for their sergeants. (Sergeants loathe paperwork, and they treat accordingly any subordinate who generates more than his share.)

It was once well understood in Los Angeles and elsewhere that those who violated this code would be made to wish they hadn’t. If you were so imprudent as to fight with the police, you would lose, an outcome that would be assured by as many cops as it took to bring it about. And if, rather than submitting to arrest, you ran away and hid somewhere, there was a good chance that an ill-tempered police dog would find you and treat you as he would a chew toy.

And so it went for many years, when only the most foolish or drug addled of miscreants ignored the Code of the Street. Alas, the Code is dead, killed by combination of “activism” and political timidity.

Today, in certain neighborhoods in cities across the country, at every arrest, indeed at every traffic stop and simple radio call, police officers are met with hostility and contempt from people who seem to think that their perceived grievances with society renders them immune to the laws the police are there to enforce.