Social Question

GloPro's avatar

Do you trust police officers? A deputy sheriff?

Asked by GloPro (8213 points ) May 12th, 2014 from iPhone

As a whole, what do you feel towards those called to protect and serve? Where did your opinion come from?

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45 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Down with the pigs.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

No. Never. Always question authority. I mean you can trust them to tell you where the bank is or a good diner. But that’s about it.
As a whole I find many of them to be vile, corrupt individuals with a chip on their shoulders and something to prove.

longgone's avatar

I don’t trust blanket statements. Some cops do a great job, some do not.

Unfortunately, people erring on the violent side are often attracted to the power a job with the police brings. There’s no way to change that, I fear.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Sorry I have to respect the job, but trust is earned and since I do not know the person wearing the uniform I do not trust them.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Trust is a tricky business. Squeek got it right. The problem with peace officers is that they are fallible human beings, as flawed as the rest of us. Beyond that, the field has a tendency to attract those with dominance issues. Then one must consider what is the REAL function of a police department. To serve and protect “whom”?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I wish I could but I simply don’t. Firefighters and emergency folks I do trust. For someone to want to be a cop puts them in one or two categories and one of which is not trustworthy at all. That said those are in the minority. The problem is how do you know unless you know them personally?

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

yes I basically trust police officers. I don’t have much interaction with them but I have two neighbors who are officers. They are like regular men and don’t carry themselves like policemen in their off hours in the least. Many people don’t even know what they do for a living.

I find it funny that as much as people gripe about the police or “pigs” (as some uneducated people call them), when in trouble the first thing they will do is dial 911 to call the police.

turtlesandbox's avatar

I’m polite when I encounter them. They have a dangerous, stressful job that is often thankless. They’ve helped me numerous times, but they’ve also thrown me in a jail cell before, so I’m always on good behavior when they are around.

zenvelo's avatar

I trust them to shoot first and then lie about why they killed you. The trust in the police in this country has greatly eroded as they have become militarized and treat everyone as under suspicion.

filmfann's avatar

I am kind of the other side of @SQUEEKY2 . I trust them, until they do something to lose my trust.

GloPro's avatar

I’m with you, @filmfann. I know a lot of officers and deputies. The ones I know look the other way most of the time. The only time they are inclined to give tickets is when each ticket they write results in a spiff pay, which is major holiday weekends, usually. They just ask that people don’t engage in blatant behavior in front of them and force their hands. The officers and deputies I know do pick and choose the people they more readily enforce laws on. Not by race or social class, but by how they are treated and how citizens react to them and the severity of the infraction. If you choose to be a dick then so do they. If you choose to accept responsibility and be respectful then you may be surprised to get a slap on the wrist and be on your way. I don’t personally know a single officer that goes out of his way to find people to ticket. I am excluding State Troopers in my OP, if you noticed, because it really is their job to issue obscene amounts of tickets. City police and county deputies are not really in that boat as much. Even they roll their eyes at the HP Troopers.

I think it’s a shame that they endure endless harassment and rude people because of their chosen profession. A former soldier that becomes a cop goes from American hero to power-hungry pig just because he changes uniforms? It’s not right.

Cruiser's avatar

As a kid I grew up with the impressionable officer Friendly…as a teen I discovered that cops can be total dicks for no good reason at all. But I do know LEO’s bust their ass out on the street and have to put up with all kinds of shit and the obvious dangers of their job. As a dad and scout leader I had the tremendous privilege of taking the boys to the FBI and police departments to get an up close meeting with many fine officers of the law. IMO their are woefully underpaid for all that they do to serve and protect.

Coloma's avatar

My take is that as long as they don’t fall into superior ego mode and become jaded, lose their humanity, yes, I trust, for the most part that most cops are decent individuals. However, I have known a few people that have worked in law enforcement and they were some of the biggest, paranoid, defensive, and suspicious personalities.
Always reading potential negativity into even the most benign actions.

A risk that goes with the territory I suppose but not a quality I care to put up with in my personal relationships.
One woman was an ex correctional worker and she always had an evil eye on everyone. Something as simple as somebody walking behind her in a store and her first reaction was ” If they don’t stop following me I am going to have a problem.” WTF!

She was a cousin of a friend and we traveled together a few years ago. By the end of that trip I never wanted to see this woman again. Paranoid, negative, radar always on. She sucked. lol

El_Cadejo's avatar

Not even close to trusting them. I feel really uneasy any time I’m around a cop especially when I’m driving. I could be completely sober, hands on 10 and 2, driving under the speed limit and it still makes me really uneasy. I’ve had FAR to many bad experiences with cops in my area. More often than not they are the jocks whose lives didn’t pan out right or the kids who had no friends and got picked on all the time, both groups tend to have it out for the public as a whole. If you want to join a gang, but want it to be legal, JOIN THE POLICE FORCE! It’s not to say I haven’t had good encounters with cops but they are VERY rare.

I was actually just telling someone a story recently about when I saw a cop actually beat up two people who did nothing wrong.

Judi's avatar

I’m a white middle aged upper middle class woman. I can afford to trust them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

As a whole, yes. But I’ve come across my share of bad cops, but I’ve come across my share of bad teachers. Doesn’t mean they’re all bad or can’t be trusted.

@ARE_you_kidding_me She’s saying it would be a different story if she were an inner city black kid.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I tentatively trust everyone until I’m given a reason not to. That’s not specific to cops, though. I don’t trust all cops nor do I distrust all cops on sight. They’re just people – there’s some good ones and some bad ones.

I find that staunch anti-cop people usually have a pretty crappy reason to feel the way that they do, but that’s their prerogative. It’s annoying, but they have the right to feel that way. As an arbitrary example, my husband has no problem with cops, and he’s also never been in trouble with cops. Quite a few of his family members have a strong distrust of cops, but only because they’re constantly in trouble with them. If it’s not his uncle being arrested for back child support, it’s his older brother using my husband’s name when pulled over by a cop because he doesn’t have a license and then getting busted for it. They’re just blaming cops for their screw ups. I guess that’s natural for some people – blame everyone but yourself.

flutherother's avatar

I trust the cops here (UK).

Judi's avatar

@Are_You_Kidding_Me, when I was poor and drove a dumpy car it got tickets all the time for silly crap. I believe they treat me much better when I drive a late model BMW and I have a feeling that being black or Hispanic would subject me to more suspicion than I get now.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I remember when I was a kid in Chicago, once a year a cop would visit our South side Catholic grade school and go from class to class with the classic lecture on how “the policeman is your friend”. From kindergarten through second grade, I remember our rapt attention and absolute reverence for the impressive uniform with the sergeant stripes, all that shiny metal and the massive gun and long club strapped to the heroic man in front of us. I have no memory whatever of the transition nor its process, but by the 6th grade there was all but open snickering at the notion that “the policeman is your friend.” Both of the uniformed authority figures in the room, the lily white cop and his virtual twin, the combat grade nun were in an impossible position when it came to “hearts and minds”.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Judi I have a friend who is married to an ex cop. Once this person left they were more open about their behavior. “Profiling” drivers was common because it was easier to rack up your ticket count by pulling over certain demographics. This is because there would be multiple violations like no insurance, tags out of date etc. While there were no “quotas” this person knew damn well they had better not be the one with a low ticket count. This is a good trustworty person too. I would trust them to watch my kids if i had any. Your suspicion is dead on. My experience was exactly the same. I never get tickets now that i have a newish truck with emergency tags. I don’t think it is so much race though. It’s more to do with what kind of image does a person project.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You said they would profile because ” [chances were] there would be multiple violations like no insurance, tags out of date etc.” Well, that is interesting. So if they pulled over a black guy in a beater, there was a good chance he’d be in violation somehow?

zenvelo's avatar

This is one example of why I don’t trust police. Sixth Graders

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh good god. Those kids thought they were tough. They were brats. I didn’t see any choke hold, I didn’t see anyone kick any one’s legs out from under them. If they DID then they were holding them is such a way that they could control their descent to the ground. Yeah. Condemn the cop’s behavior in trying to get the kids to just SIT down, and who refused to and make the brats heroes.

Cruiser's avatar

@zenvelo If those kids knew how to respect a LEO none of that would have happened. I grew up in the City of Chicago where if one were to mouth off to a city cop they would have gotten the business end of the flashlight in the chest, tossed in the squad car and taken to the south side where they would drop me off in the worst ghetto neighborhood they knew of and make them walk the 25 miles home. Happened to my 2 best friends.

cheebdragon's avatar

Fuck the police.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Did it make an impression on your friends @Cruiser?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Dutchess_III not because it was a black guy in a beater but some guy in a beater.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sad how that works @ARE_you_kidding_me. Also sad that the stereotype can often be true. But so can the stereotypes about rich people. They might not get in trouble with the law, because they can buy their way out, but they get in trouble with decency and plain morality.

Judi's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me , There are plenty of instances of black guys in the neighborhoods they live in which are predominantly white, being stopped for suspicious behavior because the “didn’t belong in that neighborhood.”

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Judi I’m not disagreeing I just don’t think it’s that common. It’s not really racism, it is more of “what does not fit” or what image is projected.

Harold's avatar

I don’t trust the New South Wales Highway Patrol one bit. They exist simply to raise revenue for the Govt. Recently, one in my town interrupted a funeral procession because the hearse was unregistered, and made the funeral director call for another hearse, and transfer the coffin on the side of the road while the mourners watched. They also book fire engines staffed by volunteers, even on the way to a fire.

flutherother's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Being stopped for suspicious behaviour is one thing. Being stopped because you ‘didn’t belong in that neighbourhood’ is something else and not belonging in that neighbourhood because of your race is something else again. It is racism.

GloPro's avatar

@flutherother but @ARE_you_kidding_me specifically said it was not racially motivated, but was motivated on the value and condition of the vehicle.

Judi's avatar

I don’t think most racists consider themselves rasist but that doesn’t mean they’re not.
I’ve been thinking about this question and I should also add that if I thought I was a suspect, even though I’m a white middle aged upper middle class woman I would still demand an attorney before giving a statement.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I honestly don’t think there are that many genuine racists. Would most people even think of things as racist if the media was not constantly planting that seed? I just don’t think it is as big a problem as people are programmed into believing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree with you @ARE_you_kidding_me.
Watching Judge Judy once, a guy was pulled over because his music was too loud and they were getting complaints. The guy actually tried to say that he wasn’t pulled over for the music, he was pulled over because he was black. He threw that catch phrase out: “It was a racial profiling thing.” Well, as the case went on, it became clear that he was pulled over BECAUSE HIS MUSIC WAS TOO LOUD!!!

GloPro's avatar

As a fairly attractive white woman I think I would be a poor judge as to how prevalent racism is.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We can still have our own observations. I dated a black guy for a long,long time. He was constantly seeing racism where there was none. If he got the wrong change back, it was because he was black. If they screwed up his order at the drive through, it was because he was black.
But, I have never walked in his shoes, either. He grew up in Selma, AL in the late 50’s and all through the 60’s, so he was exposed to blatant and unapologetic racism for most of his youth, so it’s understandable how he could be a little sensitive and over-reactive.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I think that while racism is basically gone from most reasonable people (99% of us) the transient memory of it remains in many who did experience it. Then there are those who use it to their advantage and then those who just can’t see the world through their own eyes. Both of which are enabled by whatever agenda it is that keeps “racism” in the news.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And some people are SO tetchy! For example, I was looking for a particular business in Wichita. I knew I was close so I stopped in to a business to ask exactly where it was (just around the corner, as it turned out.) The business I stopped at was a tanning salon. The gal gave me directions and as I walked out I realized that that the gal who helped me is black…and she works in a tanning salon! I thought that was kind of funny!
I wanted to post it on fb, but didn’t because some people view any mention of color as being racist, which is stupit, IMO.

Unbroken's avatar

I didn’t read all the answers. They have to answer to a certain protocol or they could be liable. I would not put my life in their hands. One time in my whole life did they assist me. And that was by changing a tire in the middle of winter after I had been attacked.

However a lot of them are bullies like power or are constrained by the limits of their job to be truly helpful. Also here they mostly like to focus on traffic tickets, domestic violence cases, and every now and then do a drug bust. Even the drug busts requires citizens to step in and offer tips etc… Quite recently two state troopers did lose their life in the line of duty in Alaska so I don’t intend this to sound terribly ungrateful. But often I feel more helpless after the police have made their report and insinuated they were going to do nothing then before I call them.

Paradox25's avatar

Position or status has little meaning to me concerning trust. I don’t trust anyone by default until I’ve experienced the nature of their character, authority figure or not. Everybody’s fallible.

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