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Police, Society, and Television

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posted on May, 30 2010 @ 09:21 PM
Dear ATS,

I was just wondering something, so I came here to put it down and see what others think.

I was born in 1967 and as a young boy watched the television shows of the Seventies that were popular at the time. Being a fan of police shows and the wild west I grew up watching reruns of Dragnet, Bonanza, and Gunsmoke. The seventies also had great television shows like Adam 12 and Emergency.

My point here is the relationship between the police, (or sheriff) and the general population was always portrayed as very amicable. The population was very supportive of the police in these shows and the authorities were always very respectful of the citizens. Even in scenes where things were chaotic or odd, the police would take a moment to assess the situation and proceed. It was often common to see on these shows the police aggravated by the LAWS they had to follow and often the bad guy got away because of this, but the police knew their limits and as good law abiding people and upstanding policemen, they would not break these principles.

I also remember as a child the police cruising through the neighborhoods handing out sports cards for the local professional teams. This was in Washington State so we always got Seahawks and Sonics trading cards. The police went out of their way to build relationships in the community. Even when we did get caught doing things wrong, and we did, the police would always call our parents or take us home. We were never cuffed, beaten, threatened, or abused. If we had knives, they took them. If we were trespassing, the sent us away. The scene was more of like, "Don't you boys know what danger you are putting yourself in?", or "You damn kids, let's see what your father has to say about this."

Now jump forward to now. The police shows today show a much different relationship and a much different level of respect towards the general populace. The shows 24, NYPD Blue, has it's characters break the law in order to enforce the law. People are treated without respect and are guilty until proven innocent. On 24 they even advocate torture as a means to an end.

The populace now shown on the TV support the police but it seems more out of fear than simply support for law enforcement. You don't want to be seen a a terrorist or have your patriotism questioned now do you? As a child in the seventies (The BiCentennial occurred) questioning patriotism was simply unheard of.

My question is this: Has television simply caught up to portray law enforcement as it really is, or has television changed the paradigm of the viewers making once unacceptable practices standard operating procedure? Or perhaps your own theory or ideas . . .

posted on May, 30 2010 @ 09:47 PM
Can't answer your question, but I agree with everything you've said.

The question is, how do we get back to that - where those in authority act like confident and secure adults instead of kids that idolize some kind of Miami Vice lifestyle.

posted on May, 30 2010 @ 10:04 PM
I thinks today's television shows are just a reflection of what is really happening now.

Those shows in the 70's were not very realistic in my opinion and I think corruption and bad cops were around then too. They just were not spoken about or acknowledged very much back then.

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