Why is there such interest in cops who ‘go to the dark side’? Every profession has bad apples, but when it comes to cops, there seems to be a morose fascination. Living in L.A., I can tell you the media LOVES a bad cop story. And, they will air that story over and over again.
Unfortunately when those few people who’ve been sworn ‘to protect and to serve’ fall from grace, it rubs off on anyone who wears the badge. You don’t even have to work for the same police agency to get painted with the same wide brush.
But what you should know about ‘bad cops’ is that almost all officers who graduate from the police academy, aren’t thinking, ‘I can’t wait to get out of the academy so I can start doing…’ - fill in the blank. No, those young officers are fired up about doing their job and doing it well.
When a cop ‘goes rogue’ (as the media likes to say), it’s for the same reasons a doctor, lawyer, mechanic, or burger-flipper crosses the line. It could be greed, it might be revenge, I wouldn’t rule out pride, fear, lust or addiction – and these are just examples off the top of my head.
But what makes it so shocking – at least to me – is that the errant police officer has violated the trust of the people he or she has sworn to protect, while compromising his/her own personal integrity. And it’s my opinion that’s what makes a ‘bad cop’ such a newsworthy/shocking event.
Society expects, and rightfully so, their police officers would do their jobs professionally, with dedication, with integrity, without prejudice and to the best of their ability. The same way society expects a doctor to not perform surgery while high, or an attorney to siphon funds from a client’s bank account, or a mechanic to say he replaced a vehicle’s brakes…but he didn’t, or the burger-flipper to spit in food.
The bad news is there can be, and there are, rogue employees in any profession. The good news is they are generally few and far between, and most of the time they’re caught, exposed and punished. Unfortunately, no matter what the profession, we’re all losers when integrity is forfeited and when we find out about it, we want every last detail.
Until next time,