Monday, April 19, 2010

Bird watching

This story tickles me.  (The fact that I am apparently turning into my grandma by using expressions like "this tickles me" does not.)

Flipping the bird to a cop is, in fact, not a ticketable offense.  It cost the city of Olathe, KS $5,000 for one cop to learn that.  It cost the city of Philadelphia $50,000 to learn the same lesson, so Olathe got off pretty cheap.

I like this story because I like anything that reminds police officers that they aren't so very special that they get to demand compliance with everything they say and total respect in all situations.  I like any story that reminds the rest of us that we don't actually have to bow and scrape to cops.  Now, of course, not all cops think they walk on water, but quite a lot of them do. 

Sure, it's immature and rude to flip someone off.  But it's not a crime and it certainly doesn't become a crime just because the target of your finger wears a badge. 

The article ends with an interesting quote from a local police chief, indicating to me that he just doesn't get it.  He queried, "What would the citizens think if the officer flipped them off?"  Well, sir, if a cop I was dealing with flipped me off, I may well just fume, but shrug it off.  Or I might get his/her name and badge number and report the disrespectful cop to his/her superiors.  (I would not try to make a citizen's arrest.)  Because that officer is performing his official duty and is on the clock working for me, and you, and all the other citizens.  So, yes, I get to expect that his performance of that duty rises to a particular level of professionalism and respect and if it doesn't, I think that is a matter for his bosses to address.  But as any professional knows, the non-professionals who wind up in our sphere don't always behave so respectfully.  It's part of the professional's job to put up with it, to a certain extent.  A non-threatening hand gesture indicating displeasure with the professional is squarely within the realm of bad behavior the professional just has to put up with. 

1 comment:

Larry Allred said...

I love this quote:
"It's unfortunate there are not repercussions on certain types of behavior that do not meet society norms," [Prairie Village Police Chief Wes Jordan] said.

Poor Chief Jordan. Having to live in a free society, where people get to do things that do not meet "society norms", i.e., piss him off, must be terribly depressing.

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