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Where are all the good cops? Here’s your international answer – In the wake of Christopher Dorner

Houston we have a problem, this is an SOS, and our last communique in this form. We need to start asking the right questions..

If Chris Dorner showed us anything this month, it’s what not to do when you feel backed into a corner. Instead of taking a stand for rights he felt long denied, like MLK did earlier this century, Chris chose to kill. If we’ve learned anything this century from the back to back crusades against civil and human injustices it’s that peace accomplishes more than violence. Gandhi proved this by freeing India from British occupation without striking a single physical blow, MLK walked a similar path..

Outside of his rampage, Chris raised many real concerns – concerns not far from the tip of moral minded police officers tongues, officers like London Metropolitan Police Constable James  Patrick, or Toronto Police Officer Tim Burrows. Both took their own stand in 2012.

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Toronto Police Officer Tim Burrows

Unlike Chris, they took a less provocative stand, a peaceful one. Tim opened a bridge via social media between the public and officers, he held weekly conversations using the hashtag #Copchat on twitter. In an attempt to bridge the gap between police and public, Tim would pose a series of questions, focusing on, sometimes controversial topics ranging from police use of surveillance to the importance of police maintaining positive relationships with the community. Tim describes Copchat as a place to “engage better with the public and open the lines of communications. Copchat can provide a relaxed and less regimented place for the public and police to interact and share with one another. Remember what Peel said, “The people are the police and the police are the people.”

“Police are the public and the public are the police” – A common theme that echoed within UK Police forces through most of 2012 thanks to Police Constable James Patrick who took his stand early on in 2012 with the youtube video “The Last Call To Attention” which originally featured James citing a new oath, one that he wrote, which reaffirms his desire to protect the people of the United Kingdom. A compelling re-make later arised featuring both male and female officers citing the oath swearing to protect the people “without favor, malice or ill will”. The video went viral and was an instant hit with UK Constables and the public alike, but before that, there was his blog, ‘The Police Debating Directive’

London Metropolitan Police Constable James Patrick

London Metropolitan Police Constable James Patrick

Throughout 2012 James took to social media and his blog to engage the public on topics ranging from the lack of human-like communication between police and the public to the upcoming police reforms. “I noticed a common theme emerging in the world of Twitter and, in the mainstream media” James Says, “It seemed that the fact that police officers are also human beings, had been well left out of all discussions and coverage of police reforms.”

James spent the better part of 2012 talking to the public openly via twitter. About James, one woman wrote, “So, I’ve never liked the police much, but my bias was challenged, these were ordinary people just like me with very difficult jobs to do” James humanized police in a world where police often seem distant, methodical and sometimes cold. In October of 2012, James released a book called ‘The Rest Is Silence’ which was a culmination of his blog posts throughout 2012. He donated the proceeds from the book to the UK Cops Foundation which provides assistance to families of officers who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty.

Tim also released his own book, just weeks before titled ‘Walking The Social Media Beat, a Guide for Police and Law Enforcement” The book highlighted the need (and ways) to engage with the public in a human sense. Tim had spoken at many police conventions on the topic of community engagement and was regarded as a go to guy on the topic. Meanwhile in the UK, James was becoming a go to guy for similar engagements, he was asked to speak about policing on December 3rd at a local university, but he never made it…

Around this time officers were beginning to vanish from social media. An international trend began to take shape, police were being silenced. On the week of November 19th 2012, Toronto Police Officer Tim Burrows disappeared from social media, this was his last tweet:

Inside sources told us, Tim was being harassed by other officers and brass for his book, and his work with the public on Twitter, they told us there was a possibility of him being fired for it. Meanwhile, on another continent two days before Tims last tweet, James released this tweet:

..and these the next morning

 

 

 

 

..and later that morning

 

James was being put under investigation for his work with the public, unlike Tim, he was pretty vocal about it, a week later, his twitter account fell silent like Tims.

In that week and the weeks to come we learned that James was told not to go online, not to speak to the public, or his friends, or anyone outside of his wife and kids while he was investigated for ‘gross misconduct’ – his crime: causing disaffection with the police service. In short, he was being investigated for giving police a bad image in the public eye.

In reality, what James and Tim did was put themselves on a human level with the public, they didn’t sound like cops, they didn’t speak like cops or sound like paramilitary troopers, they asked the public their opinions and replied to almost every one of them, often times going an emotional distance with those who utterly hate the police, and yet still, answering them with compassion. These 2 did change the public perception of police, if anything, they created a short lived atmosphere of trust, other officers followed their lead at times. In a world where police do not often seem kind or approachable, these 2 were leaders, and they were silenced.

This brings to mind the recent issues raised by Chris Dorner and the former LAPD officers who stepped up to talk about similar problems, in his wake. Joe Jones was one of them, he talked about racism inside the department and how officers were brutal in LA, he should know, he was an LA officer for many years. He wrote about it on his facebook page, and we posted it here, it went viral. People related, and had hope. Within hours of the posting, Joe and his family had fears, and asked us to remove the post, and we did.

Later in the week, a 3rd former LAPD officer stepped forward from the shadows with a similar story,  you can read it here.

People want to see police in a new light, they want to see kindness and compassion, things that are lacking right now. Proof of that can be found in the public reaction to this CNN article from December 5th 2012. A simple picture of an NYPD Officer helping a homeless man, posted to facebook, went viral. Yet things like this hardly make the news or see the light of day.

All this begs the question, who is really running police behind the scenes. Both James and Tim, we’re silenced within days of each other, and they live on different continents. They are both still active serving police officers, they did not disappear from the planet and I hope we didn’t give that impression but, they have both been pushed into silence in a time where the public needs to see compassion, kindness and the human side of those in law enforcement. In the wake of Christopher Dorner we have to ask, who is it that silences these people, and why.

This should shed some light on why you never hear about good cops.  This should create new questions, in the wake of Christopher Dorner like, why are good cops bullied into silence the same way you’re bullied by the cops? You have more in common than you think.

On your way out, Google ‘Officer Regina Tasca’ she was fired last year for pulling a violent officer off of a victim, sound similar to Chris? You be the judge, lets start asking the right questions.

People often ask me why they never hear about good cops, or see them speak up, why they never take a stand.. this is your answer – In the wake of Christopher Dorner

13 thoughts on “Where are all the good cops? Here’s your international answer – In the wake of Christopher Dorner

  1. Mrs.Monica Lewis

    Am I wrong to think you have also been silenced? I hope not. Although I would not wish you to continue if you are in any danger. I want to thank you for all the posts and this amazing article. There are indeed some important questions to be asked. I think however that the answers will be hard to find without help from powerful people, and most of those are on the wrong side of the issues. Good luck to you and your fellows, thank you for all you have done. May you find some peace of mind and joy.

  2. Hey Monica, no we haven’t been silenced. The policing conversation is extremely polarized and we’ve outgrown this medium, our next move is into a mainstream form and we’ll be working on that this year little by little. Until then I hope to see people move away from the extremes of the conversation and into the center, where real work can begin, we need to ask the right questions and realize that if we don’t act together and voice our concerns than no one will, and things will continue on the same path. I hope that with this article, we’ve answered the question: where are all the good cops? ..and I hope it forces people to ask new questions about policing. We’ll be back in an improved form when people are ready.

  3. What Dornor did was wrong. The hierarchy of the police force encouraging their fellow police officers not to keep the peace (communicating and encouraging kindness public media is a peaceful act) by threatening and harassing them into silence is wrong. Why? Why, would the police management want to encourage this uncivilized, mean spirited, threatening, cruel bullying behavior amongst the rank and file of the police force? Encouraging bad officers to remain bad and pressure good officers into becoming bad.
    Why can’t we just get along and be good to each other?

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