Editor’s Note: “Brady White” is the pseudonym of an active-duty police officer. His column — or rant, as he prefers to call it — came to me from a trusted source. “Brady White” chooses to remain anonymous for reasons that will become clear as you read it. It has been very lightly edited for clarity.
I write this op-ed, or rant, under an assumed name. I do so because otherwise, I’m subject to being fired for violating department policy or, at the very least, suspended for a time and then transferred to the crappiest assignment they can think up for me. Not to mention I have a family to support.
I purged my Facebook friends and ultimately decided to deactivate the account because the temptation to educate someone after a few drinks can be too tempting — and not worth it in the long run. I created a Twitter account under my alternate identity to again protect myself.
What I was sold during police recruitment is not what I bought.
I’m a police officer in a major American city. Many of you reading this have seen a movie or TV show set in this city. Some of you have vacationed here. We have a big problem with poverty, unemployment, people scamming the welfare system, drugs, and violent crime.
Honestly, though, who I am and where I work isn’t important—what I stand for is. I show up every day I’m scheduled to work, on time, and I work. I don’t hang out at the station, I handle calls for service and I constantly back up other officers. I quickly progressed to different specialized units and, over time, even began to help out at the academy and became a Field Training Officer.
But after a couple of high-profile incidents where suspects wound up dead, we were essentially told to stop pursuing the bad guys: Too much liability for the city. So, if a violent felon who shot someone last week is spotted and you know it’s him? Depending on the ranking officer working, you’re most likely not going to be allowed to go get him.
“Oh hey, have you done your monthly training that came out two days ago yet? Can you ‘make time’ and get it done early so it doesn’t affect our audit numbers?” How does one “make time”? That’s some mealy-mouthed corporate speak. Am I supposed to conjure up an extra hour? How??! When??!? There’s calls holding right now and the lazy officers you know (who do nothing and brass accept it for whatever reason) aren’t going to pick up the slack.
Call someone out on being a worthless lazy officer? Is that worthless lazy officer a lieutenant’s mistress?! You just earned yourself a transfer to night watch in some outpost no one wants to work.
In every major city there’s a punishment assignment. Everyone who’s ever been a city cop knows this to be true.
After a while, that same lazy officer who’s been sitting in that same lieutenant’s lap, or who’s never really done anything noteworthy, except maybe they went to the right school or are in the right clique, they now have time on the job and they take the sergeants test. They pass and, if your department doesn’t go straight down the list, they’re now a supervisor! Newer officers have no idea they’re working for someone who’s telling them someone else’s war stories or making themselves seem more important than they really were in the situation.
Roll call training is all about administrative work and checking boxes off for monthly audits. We barely talk about that stolen silver SUV that is absolutely raping us nightly with auto burglaries. Oh, and since our policies are out there for anyone to read (including the bad guys) in the “interest of transparency,” they know we can’t pursue them for a property crime once they blow the red light at the intersection after we light them up and they flee. Never mind the fact that that stolen SUV is occupied by a wanted felon for armed robber in possession of a stolen AK-47. It’s just a property crime, right? No big deal. If they t-bone a family of four and kill someone, the fleeing felon isn’t at fault. I am.
“Hey, I hate to be a pain, but is that monthly training done yet? Also, in the face of a global pandemic we need to limit your exposure to the public…. but can you tell me why you haven’t been doing as many traffic stops?!?”
That’s the internal. Let’s talk external.
You have mayors bowing to the political pressure from a small, very vocal, minority that wants to defund (read: abolish, in many cases) the police.
Some mayors have made it known to their department brass they’d rather endure the optics of Revolutionary Communists (read: ANTIFA/BLM) rioting, looting, and burning their cities down, than have their police officers be seen wading into the fray with riot batons in hand.
You realize that if cities abolish police departments, gated communities are going to hire private police forces, made up of nearly all ex-police from the agency that just disbanded (see Minneapolis when that happens) and ex-military guys. The city won’t have oversight and their rules and regulations are going to be way more relaxed. Less area to patrol and a large pay raise? Less crime? Sign me up!
Major media outlets constantly fan the flames of civil unrest nationwide. In a race to be first with many stories, they finish last in credibility. The initial tragedy de jour is front-page news, leading all newscasts in prime time. Meanwhile, the retraction or exoneration of the officer is buried. No apologies from the likes of Shaun King, MSNBC, CNN, or Al Sharpton. They’ve all already moved on to the next rage-bait.
Who gives a f— if some honest hard-working cop had his or her life ruined and is in financial shambles because they got a no-win call dropped in their lap, right? All cops are bastards, anyway. Black Lives only seem to matter when cops are involved in the death, justified or not, of a black person.
Every single week, in many major cities all across this country, murders within the black community occur — oftentimes with stolen firearms. I’ve lost count of the bodies (mostly black, never in my case shot by police) I’ve stood over. Sometimes at night when I’m trying to fall asleep I hear the blood-curdling screams of family members (mostly mothers) who rush to the scene and are held back at the police tape.
So, in a kne- jerk reaction to a high-profile incident, in an effort to placate a mob, there is talk of not only defunding the police but abolishing them. Do you know what that leads to nationwide? Cops like me are not being proactive. At all. Because the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
Say I make a good stop and it does lead to a good solid arrest of a violent felon in possession of a gun. A gun I saw them toss, a gun I recovered. An arrest with a signed confession after I Mirandized the perp.
I go to testify in court on my day off (of course). I’m pulled aside by the assistant district attorney and told, “we’re most likely gonna lose this one.”
Uh, what? Signed confession, saw them pitch the gun.
Seems the judge is a former defense attorney with a soft spot for convicted felons who “made another mistake.” That happened to me. So I’m literally putting my life on the line and going into neighborhoods that blue checkmarks on social media wouldn’t deign to set foot in unless filming a movie there (with a paid police detail for safety of course).
For what? Judges just play fast and loose when they want. Is this sh– worth it anymore?
I make a good stop and the guy pops hot with a felony warrant for rape and he resists arrest and it goes south? I go viral, am the villain on CNN/MSNBC for a week, and that guy gets $2M dropped in a GoFundMe.
You want to know what major cities in America will look like after the police are abolished? Kenosha. Minneapolis. Portland. You can’t chant “Abolish the police,” and then be surprised when there are gunfights in the streets, armed citizens guarding businesses, and not allowing people to loot their life’s work. Because when we’re ordered to stand down, people get on roofs with long guns and protect themselves and their businesses. Deaths will occur. I’m not here to adjudicate what happened in Kenosha or Portland, or advocate for anyone involved. But, it happened, and to pretend it didn’t happen would be intellectually dishonest.
Guys with enough time on the job are retiring or retiring early.
Can’t blame them.
Guys like me who still want to do the job? They’re looking to transfer to smaller agencies that are still allowed to do their jobs. Get the burglar, chase the stolen vehicle with the felon behind the wheel.
Kids in the academy are graduating, doing one or two phases of field training, and realizing this isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I can do something else with my degree for $45k a year starting pay and I don’t have to worry about being hated by a violent mob, shot at, or worry about some talking head breaking down a split-second decision I made from the comfort of an air-conditioned TV studio.
So again I wonder after another violent weekend in many major cities nationwide.
Is this sh– worth it anymore?
NOTE: “Brady White” is also on Twitter.