Before You Call That Cop a “Pig”

As we approach another anniversary of the senseless tragedy and mass murder of September 11, it is an important time for mourning, reflection and learning.  This includes not only the innocent victims who were working in the buildings and flying on planes, but the many emergency responders who sprinted towards the danger to help others.  There are many survivors alive today who would not be if not for the courage of the brave men and women who honored the commitment they made to their uniforms. Even as it became clear they would die in them.

Of the 2,977 people killed on September 11th, 2001, 411 of them were emergency workers.

343 were Firefighters
60 were Police
8 were Paramedics
Everyone of them has a story, including 63 year old Ferdinand Morrone.

Mr. Morrone was a retired New Jersey police officer with 30 years of service behind him. After retiring from the force, he began working for the New York Port Authority. He was in Jersey City, New Jersey when the first plane hit the tower. He immediately got in his truck and drove towards Manhattan to help others. On the way, he called his wife. She tried to talk him out of it. He told her “I’m a cop, and this is what cops do.”

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The last time he was seen alive, he was on the 45th floor of the South Tower, helping people find their way to the stairwells.
The 63 year old made his way through the fire, smoke, and chaos up 45 flights of stairs so that he could save others. Witnesses would later say that he had made it all the way up to the 65th floor, aiding people and directing traffic out.

So, was he a pig?

In our country today, far too many burn with anger and hatred towards law enforcement.  Is that without reason? Absolutely not.  There are police officers out there who abuse their power, are dishonest, and whose actions only divide and antagonize those they have sworn to “protect and serve.”  I completely agree that police officers like this need to be removed from their duties.  You know who else agrees? The overwhelming number of good cops out there.  The irresponsible cops make the jobs of the good ones tremendously more difficult and dangerous.

I assume that when you protest against “bad cops”, you are trying to make the situation better, and push law enforcement agencies to improve.  I appreciate that, and agree.  Like any government agency, law enforcement should be held accountable and pressured to make necessary improvements.

I would ask that you think about certain techniques and things said at protests and ask yourself, “Is this helping?”

I’ve seen clips many times of people chanting, “Cops are pigs” or “What do we want?….dead cops.”  This is not helpful.  If you really want to improve law enforcement in this country and their relationship with their communities, I’d ask that you refrain from doing things like this, and actively seek to stop others who represent your cause to desist as well.
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It is intellectually lazy:  
I would be foolish to think that all officers have the integrity and courage of Ferdinand Morrone.  I can’t label all cops based on his actions, and someone can not label all cops based on the actions of the worst of them.

It is hypocritical:
One of the quickest ways a person can lose their ability to persuade is hypocrisy.  If you are protesting, you are trying to convince the rest of the public and our government that you are right.  When you label all law enforcement together and judge them, that is the same as when someone else does that about minorities.  You can’t have a successful protest if you are guilty of the very thing you are protesting.

It create a more dangerous environment for both the police and community:
If you don’t want more violent interactions between cops and civilians, don’t stoke an already hot fire in ways that only make the situation worse.  When the police officer hears people chanting that they want he or she dead, it is not going help them calmly navigate through the difficult situations they face.  When someone grows up in an environment where the only things they hear about police officers are based upon the worst of the police, they are not going to have a fair and open mind when dealing with them.

What happens when no one wants to be a cop?
“What do we want? dead cops…when do we want them? right now.”

Replace the word “cops” in this chant with any other group you want.  Put the word “Muslims”, “Jews”, “gays”, “immigrants”, “blacks”…..or whoever.  The first time someone walked down the street chanting for the deaths of one of those groups, there would be a public outcry against them like we have never seen. Rightfully so.   Why do we shrug our shoulders when people chant that about cops?

Police officers are human beings.  What human being would not this effect them at some point?

Police chiefs will tell you that one of the most important things about creating good police forces is recruiting the right kind of people to serve in the uniform.  Less and less of our young best and brightest are wanting to become police officers these days.  Many large precincts are working understaffed right now because recruitment has become increasingly difficult.

If you want better law enforcement, you need good people.  When you hold up a sign that says “cops are pigs”, you are helping create an environment where less and less people want to serve.

Am I suggesting doing nothing?

Absolutely not.  Protestors typically have big hearts. They are putting themselves out there to try and improve not just their situation, but the situations of others.  Over the course of American history, they have forced great and needed changes.

With those big hearts, they need to use big brains.

They need to think about the methods and tactics they use when trying to improve the law enforcement and the relationship it has with the people they serve.  I maintain that the majority of American law enforcement personnel are good, honest people trying to do the best they can in a very difficult situation.  Let us deal with getting rid of, or improving  those who are not in an intelligent way.

If you say all cops are pigs, you are including people like Francisco Morrone.  If he was a pig, we should change the intent of that word to mean the highest possible compliment.

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