Letter Re: Kansas Bill

Sir, I am writing in response to the article link about the Kansas bill seeking to legalize police retaliation. I will first state that I do not agree with a second agency not being able to do an investigation– a fair and impartial investigation should always be the case. That said, I served 13 years in the infantry ending as an LRS team leader and currently serving with 15 years at a large, midwest police department. My department will take any complaint. A complaint can and has been taken over the telephone (even anonymously) with nothing more than the allegation of misconduct. With nothing more than, “Hey, he did something wrong,” I am standing tall on the carpet in front of the man. During those 15 years I have had numerous complaints. ALL incidents were recorded on audio and video by my in-car system and even some by the individual’s cell phone. These alleged acts of misconduct range from sexual misconduct, because the female made a verbal bomb threat, to tyrannical behavior with racial slurs over a traffic citation to excessive force when defending myself from someone nearly twice my size who pled guilty to resisting. I should NOT have to say in all these allegations I was found exonerated and the complaints false, but each time I am assumed guilty until I have proven myself innocent. I took an oath to serve and protect my state’s and the United States Constitution. I take those oaths very seriously. Now, there are some bad apples in the bunch, just as there are in any profession, but for the most part, the people I work with are honest. If they stray, we are quick to point it out and fix those that do. We consider ourselves the premier law enforcement agency in the area, and I take great pride in that. I pose one question with all that said. With this now being an entitled society (ask the youngsters I stop and they will tell you that), “Am I not entitled to some protection? Or am suppose to be society’s whipping boy until they need me because they lost their child or locked their child in their car or beat their child until it stopped crying?” Over all, the men and women I work with are good hearted and strive to do the right thing. My agency takes great pride in that. Again, I am not dispelling that there are a few bad apples in the bunch, but after 15 years, I wonder why I have spent my entire adult life in public service. As this bill may not be the perfect solution, I believe it is proposed to offer some protection to the outlandish lies of misconduct.

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Romans 13:4

As the scripture is my (motto), it is for a reason. If you chose to post this, please post the scripture with it.

HJL Replies: While I certainly understand your position and can empathize with having false accusations often thrown at you, the bottom line is that you hold the power in any encounter with the general public. Our whole system is predicated upon the premise of the “strong” protecting the “weak”. In an increasing number of cases across the country, there exists the concept of “The Blue Wall of Silence” meaning that when a law enforcement officer crosses the line and abuses their position of power, the law enforcement agency may or may not hold a valid internal inquiry into what happened, but remain silent with no real explanation given to the public. The bond between officers is admirable, when dealing with life-threatening situations, but it’s repugnant when it hides true wrong doing on the part of the officer. The outrage the general public feels is only fed by such behavior. All it takes is one such incident to destroy the public trust with the local enforcement agency. I cannot excuse bad behavior on the part of the public, but a bill such as this, while good intentioned, allows the party in a position of power to act with no fear of consequences in an already tainted system. I commend you for your high standards in your agency. I only wish that all LE agencies operated with the same standards.

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