The Secret to why Prosecutors fail to hold Police Accountable

Remember the old saying about police of the thin blue line and the old Serpico thing where he stood up to bring light to the darkness of his police department only to survive attempted hits on his life by fellow police officers.  Well something close to that is happening now and have been happening for quite some time now.  Not to the extent of people attempting to assassinate anyone but to the point where it seems to be unwritten rule of lawyers and judges when it comes to the word of police over the regular citizen. 

The phrase that I keep hearing from former law enforcement officials like myself is that “you never second guess police regarding the performance of their duties”.   This would make sense to me if the minority of officers who abuse their positions were held accountable and made to follow the same rules and regulations that average citizens have to but this is not the case.  This would make sense if there weren’t outstanding and reasonable questions that should be addressed in the aftermath of any police actions for no other reason than to equip the next officer in doing his/her job much better, but this is also not the case.  So this unwritten rule rings hollow to me mostly based on the rationale for it which those who repeat it used to justify a true no bill decision.

The rationale is that officers in performance of their duties are above reproach and the law.  That any mistake made by that officer is easily explained away and no responsibility is levee because of just that.  For some reason, we are just supposed to take the officer’s word of what happen and never question whether it was a right decision or if anything could have been done to make the situation better and the outcome more digestible for those standing outside of that think blue line.  To say that an officer should never be second guessed is to say that once you put on that uniform, pin on that badge and strap on that weapon, you turn from being a human being foul able at best to something of a mistake free robot.  Maybe that makes sense to some but I can’t seem to wrap my head around that concept.

One gentleman explained to me that second guessing police is wrong and no one should ever do it, why it was wrong, I don’t think he knew for sure but whether it should not be done clearly to me is a no brainier.  Our entire justice system is predicated on just that, second guessing.  Image all court procedures, second guessing what a person intention was or motivation for committing that crime.  We second guess everything all the time so what makes the actions of those sworn to serve and protect any different?  If there is ever a unit of actors who should get the benefit of the doubt it should be our military but even they are subjected to second guessing from congress to the media but we are not supposed to second guess cops, really?

Prosecutors and judges may follow this unwritten rule of never second guessing police but they do so at the peril of every citizen who resides in the area that patrol.  They do so at the peril of not only that city but that town, that state and the nation.  Failing to second guess police officers have led us to where we are today and if we continue to second guess, we will never arrive at that city like a beacon on the hill.  We will never find that promise land or that more perfect union because in order to accomplish just that it will take all of us looking closely at not only the route we take but the route of others.  We must be willing to make reasonable and smart suggestions to make better our trek toward all those things because without it the only perfection we will claim is that perfection which only exist within our minds.


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