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30 May 2013 @ 06:50 pm
What Cop Shows Teach Us  
I can't break the habit of analyzing culture from my Anthropology days. As I watch TV, read books or listen to music I always notice the embedded cultural assumptions and messages.

So after one police show where a partner is asked to "leave the room" and then the blinds were pulled so a suspect could be intimidated and even roughed up, I had to ponder the things we are taught about the job of policing when we watch these shows. Remember, this is LIBERAL Hollywood teaching us these things.

1. Sometimes excessive force is justified. If someone is in jeopardy, you just gotta mess up a suspect to get their location. Naturally the suspect has that information and will tell you the truth if you hit him hard enough. If the suspect is a woman you will simply scare the hell out of her with the horrible consequences to her if the person dies because she didn't tell you. But male suspects deserve a good beat down. You can always rely on other officers to help you cover it up by saying they came in that way or resisted arrest.

2. Internal Affairs are the bad guys out to get the good cops who are just doing their job. Civilian review boards are just clueless people who have no idea what you have to go through to do your job every day. In fact, we often see story lines where the very cops who are supposed to be investigating bad cops are themselves on the take. (Person of Interest)

3. Privacy laws and legal rights are just a nuisance that get in your way and prevent you from getting bad guys off the street and any time you can find a way around them it's a good day's work. Judges who won't give you a search warrant on skimpy evidence are on the take or something.

4. The question becomes "can we pin this on him" rather than "did he actually do the crime." You got cases to clear. It's up the the court to figure it out. It's above your pay grade. (Law and Order)

5. Speaking of pay grade, since you're underpaid who cares if you find a way to make a little on the side? Well ok, this still seems sleazy even in cop shows and "good" cops who might in desperation rough up a suspect will still frown on cops who steal drugs from busts and sell them on the street. But if they do it for a sick relative it's totally fine.

6. The good cops whose stories we follow never assume someone is guilty because of their race or ethnicity. The cops who do that must work somewhere else, despite how prevalent it is to be pulled over or frisked for driving/walking while brown. If they do arrest or, god forbid, shoot a black citizen in the course of their job we must feel sorry for them and worry about a riot that happens for no good reason. It isn't like there's a long history of police brutality or something.

7. We can still see a cop or federal officer as a good guy even if he kills for revenge because that's totally understandable. Every cop should get a freebie revenge killing as a matter of course and we'll forgive them. (NCIS)

8. This extends to consultants for local, state, or federal police. (Mentalist) Vigilante justice is only for the professionals in their off time. The rest of us should totally let the police and courts handle things if our loved one is murdered.

I respect the actual good police officers who don't do any of these things but they would seem to be an endangered species in some police districts.