Some of you may have been listening last week as we discussed MysterE's interesting OP:
Officer for NYPD secretly records colleagues and superiors for over a year, exposes mass
during the ATS Live!
Semperfortis and I gravitated towards a subject which we both found somewhat deserving of more discussion. A bit of background:
Brief: For undisclosed reasons, A police officer in the Brooklyn's Bedford Stuy (81st) precinct secretly recorded conversations of his fellow
officer's and leaders. The recordings confirm claims often rejected by police officials, quota systems, operational policies skewing criminal report
activity, and other such problematic practices.
The thread quickly became replete with references and generalization about law enforcement officers, and sadly, may have lost some of its import in
regards to the nature of the problem. I unequivocally refuse to accept that it s the policeman or woman per se, that embodies the problem - instead I
think it is a combination of the institutional culture and people. As I had stated during the show I maintain that there are no "bad cops" only
"bad people" who happened to have become police officers. And it is about 'culture' that I was hoping to entice Semperfortis to join the
During the discussion on ATS Live!
you may remember Semperfortis and I exchanging thoughts on the 'Thin Blue Line'.
This situation, like many pervasive within institutions throughout or society, is a matter of culture.... but that word requires defining in this
context: I mean it to conform to the following...
Culture - The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group
from Wikipedia entry "Culture"
In our case, we distinguish the generality by defining a 'subculture' existing within the larger, overarching culture of our society... whatever
that may be. In Police parlance it is often referred to as "The thin Blue line."
The thin blue line can be said to mean several things.
Most honorably is that our 'civilian' police forces (although paramilitary they are not an occupying force) have embedded within their mandate the
duty to keep the citizens free from tyrannical governance. By 'policing' ourselves, we reject the need for a military presence in our daily lives -
which strongly-centralized and overbearing governments would often use lacking other means to ensure no unrest disturbed the citizenry.
Less honorably is the concept that a barrier exists between the institutions of police and the people, and that such a barrier often serves to protect
police to a greater degree, often encouraging forgiveness of transgressions, or maintaining a 'hands-off' position when it comes to justice for
Neither is entirely accurate; but this should be expected as generalizations are often less that useful in reality and are usually the purview of
politicians and biased talking heads of media renown.
I relayed a short tale about a police administrator with whom I am acquainted who once lamented to me about their increasing discomfort with not
reporting what was considered to be an unethical practice and policy of their institution. This person could and, and would not, risk the livelihood
of their family and their career by reporting the matter. Yet personally, found the situation to be depressing enough to confide in me.
I had inquired of Semperfortis if that kind of situation was something which he could comment upon. I suspect that if ever we were going to hear the
truth about this theoretically troubling concept, I could count on his honor and forthright nature to provide it.
The subculture of never "ratting out" your peers exists in many places (certainly not only law enforcement faces this maxim), and often, people can
rationalize why one instance of the deficiency is acceptable over another. Often the ostracizing of the "snitch" is only a small part of the reason
abuses go unreported. We are perhaps all aware that Physicians protect one another, as do lawyers, as to Union brothers and sisters.
Many justify the lenience in terms of the sacrifices and risks assumed by the wrongdoers, or by the relatively low magnitude of an offense. Yet those
outside the subculture rarely benefit from the protection, and few who suffer the consequences of being on the wrong side of the act itself are
inclined to shrug their shoulders and walk away.
I am hopeful that there is enough content here to start a nice conversation about how subculture, not necessarily limited to law enforcement, can
become problematic to the societies that tolerate them; and perhaps we can even discuss what measure or effort might render the subculture less likely
to negatively impact those who encounter them.
A final shameless plug is in order - LISTEN TO ATS Live!
Call in, converse with us, we are all there for OUR subculture ... ATS!
[edit on 17-5-2010 by Maxmars]