Pay-to-play law enforcement?!?

Pay-to-play law enforcement?!?

Sadly it is not my imagination that my beloved home state and home town cannot seem to stay out of national and international limelight of tragedy and shame.  Again, this is one blog post that I have had to stop myself from making more than once since this story broke last week and I may be posting this before the story has had a chance to fully evolve.  It just happened too close to home to ignore.  Even still it underscores a problem epidemic in America today, the problem of overzealous policing by members of an ever increasing militarized police force.  This home town case appears to take that a step further.

As someone who was career military I see myself as a member of the establishment and therefore on the side of law and order.  I understand that the world all the way down to my own neighborhood is often not a safe place and requires the presence and judgment of one or more law enforcement professionals to confront criminal activity from time to time.  Just as I am expected as a health care professional to be proficient in certain basic and advanced life saving and clinical judgment skills, I expect law enforcement officers to be proficient in certain skills and judgments concerning public safety, victims and yes, even in apprehending criminal suspects.  As naïve as my expectations of my local law enforcement agencies and their officers may be, whether or not Eric Harris was a criminal is not the issue.  The issue is whether the man deserved to die as he was being placed under arrest.  The categorical answer to that is NO.

It seems the death of Eric Harris while in custody of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department is the end result of training failure by the reserve officer responsible.  According to the Tulsa World, the training records of reserve deputy Robert Bates may have been falsified or altered.   I am going to withhold my own judgment on this until all the facts emerge.  However, I will say this about 73-year-old Robert Bates:  he is beyond the age limit to be a front line officer.  The U.S. Armed Forces has a mandatory retirement age of 60.  At the moment though Bates’ agedness appears to be among the lesser of the problems with this case.  All of his donations to the Sheriff’s Department have been duly noted.

And we have not even touched on Officer “F*ck your breath.” 

As I said, I am going to withhold judgment on this mess for now.

Will we ever get through one week without being a national focus of tragedy or shame?



1 Comment

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    Apr 18, 2015

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