Thursday, April 22, 2010
Too much liquor, too few hours in a cop’s day, it seems. We the people need the protection and assurance the ankle bracelet gives. The citizen needs to know a cop screaming “freeze” isn’t calling for a frozen daiquiri. We deserve to know the cop is dealing from a sober mind. It may be a misguided one, but we can work on that later.
Consider This Scenario
A driver who had been out late the night before, but woke up with a hangover, is on his way to work. That driver may not signal before changing lanes, or come to a full stop before turning right on red. While it is not debated whether that driver should be stopped, it is clear that alcohol played a part in the quality of his driving, even if all the alcohol was completely metabolized by that time. While not drunk, he is still, in essence, driving under the influence.
What If The Driver Is A Cop?
Well, they have a few routes they like to take, all of which are designed to exempt them from accountability.
The first is The Claim. “I have a private life off-duty and should be able to pursue it in the same way a citizen does.” Wrong. A cop is the first to remind the citizen that they are a cop 24/7, something they always declare with a phony, long-suffering heroic tone in their voice. The “private” life to which they refer went away when they took the job of public servant.
Second is The Beg. “Hey, get off my case. We are all human and we all make mistakes.” Yeah, right. That one only works if it goes both ways, and we all know that cops look for any reason to heap on, exaggerate and fabricate everything in their favor that comes their way, especially while on duty. Cop beats in the head of the arrestee and it is necessary office safety. That same arrestee coughs on a cop, and it is attempted murder against the whole police profession. Can they spell hypocrite?
Third is The Coverup. Cops help cops, no matter what and against the citizen, and they do so to prevent the public from knowing what screw-ups they can be. Once again, sheer lying is employed here, and at the taxpayer’s expense. So, Cop #1 crashes into a tree while drunk and flees the scene. When caught up with, Cop #2 provides a police-friendly tow truck to deliver the crashed car to a repair shop and a free ride home for Cop #1. No report is filed and no evidence is recovered or documented. The event didn’t happen.
“We’re All Human”
OK, let’s go with that for a moment. We humans all get hangovers when we stay out drinking till 2AM, and we definitely notice it at 6AM the next morning when we try to get up and go to work. Too much alcohol and too little sleep is a one-two punch. We humans haven’t reached peak form when we start our shift, and won’t for hours, no matter how much coffee is consumed to neutralize the last night’s abuse. Blurred mind, slow reactions, poor judgment and faulty memory would bring anybody’s job performance down to the level of dangerous and destructive, no matter what their profession. Cops are human, though, by their own admission.
Cops are quick to describe the intelligence required to perform their job as very high, with lofty training at all levels being necessary to deliver the services the PD is dedicated to. Physically, tip-top condition is the only condition that will do. How many hangovers can a cop put up with when faced with the constant split-second judgment calls they must make, the high-speed chases they are engaged in, and the finely honed talent of discerning a perp’s gun from a Pittsburgh viola player’s soda bottle? Cops love to cry and squeal “I am human, just like everybody else”, and now, that cry comes back to bite them.
A quick example: If a crime occurs first thing in the morning, a business or bank maybe, and cops are summoned, but their minds are clouded by last night’s revelry and debauchery, might they misread a harmless object for a weapon and open fire on an innocent person? Could a car horn be mistaken for a gunshot? How about a man who only looks similar to someone the cop doesn’t like, maybe a wise guy in the bar last night? Mistaken identity for sure, but an unwarranted arrest or worse can take place. And their mouths, oh boy. Capt Smartmouth will never be able to think first, speak second when under the after-influence. Here is a fact: Cops cannot be trusted when sober. How can they be trusted when hung over?
I’m glad you asked. They can’t be trusted. So, what do we do? We make an addition to the standard uniform. The alcohol detecting ankle bracelet. If some police unions actually have the audacity to demand an hourly paycheck to don and doff, (and they do), it only makes sense to make an ankle bracelet part of the equipment cops wear when they prepare to make contact with citizens. Any police uniform acts as an identifier, so when we see a cop, any cop, we know exactly what we are dealing with. The uniform must include some visual cues, like the badge for proof of authority and legitimacy, the Batman Utility Belt, (sorry), for preparedness, and of course, the weapons like flashlight, baton and gun for defense. We need to add the ankle bracelet to insure citizens the cop is prepared mentally and physically to carry out the duties we expect of him, and do it in a sober and respectful manner.
As long as a cop is allowed to drink to the point of impairment (0.08 or more) when he is off work, but still expected to operate in a high-intensity, fast-paced, split-second decision making environment after only a few hours of sleep when returning to work, we are begging for disaster. Only the ankle bracelet will restore the confidence the public deserves.
If a cop is hung over, he is actually more impaired than when he was .08 or over. His response rate is much slower, his physical abilities are dramatically reduced, and his speed of going from calm to pissed off goes through the roof. Worse, an impaired cop still is allowed to drive his tax money purchased police car at any speed he chooses, write tickets, make arrests, and let’s not forget, shoot and tase people.
Cops’ ability to accurately understand what he sees is bad enough when sobriety prevails, (Gun vs Soda Bottle in Pittsburgh), but vision and reaction compromised by a hangover become a recipe for disaster. The recent incident in MD with the cops beating a student for “assaulting” the police horse points out what cops do when supposedly sober. They lied and lied and lied, until the video showed up. How many of the cops involved in this situation were drunk or hung over will probably never be known, but alcohol impairment can account for the total stab-in-the-back the citizen took on this one.
(BTW, one cop lie to account for the student’s injuries was “the horse did it”. Uh-huh. My dog ate my homework once.)
MD Student Beaten By Cops Accused of Assaulting Horses
Why should we put up with this? An alcohol detecting ankle bracelet on every cop can be called a start. At least we will know they are sober. Meanwhile, we need to double down on our efforts to establish a Hire and Fire CRB everywhere, unless you are happy with the police department you have now. If so, best of luck to your city or town.
Posted by BigBaldwin at 3:45 PM