THE SHIFTING ETHICS OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY
By Jim R. Schwiesow
As I write this article the particulars are unfolding of the killing of six young people, and the critical wounding of another by a rampaging full-time Wisconsin deputy sheriff who also moonlighted in his off hours as a municipal police officer. To function in several law enforcement capacities is a fairly common practice among law enforcement officers. It is not my intent to indict an entire profession on a single incident of mass murder by one of its members, but it is high time that we as a nation confront that which has gotten to be most threatening and serious in regard to the increasing militancy and the us against them mentality of too many of those who make up the law enforcement community.
Recently a reader of my columns wrote to me in regard to this very problem and urged that I write a column to address the issue. She wrote in part, “we are now witnessing a further result of the unconstitutional destruction of the separation of jurisdictions between levels of enforcement authority. Local law enforcement officers are freely using brutal tactics, not to protect the citizens, but to maintain and further the corrupt, illegal, lying, and murderous status quo. The emerging youthful beardless boys of arrogant police agencies who have had no training in, and evidence no regard for, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights compound this condition.
Despite all their new equipment, massive arsenals, body armor, and federal monies, these brave new police enforcers will hide behind trees, buildings, vehicles, and obey incredible orders to stand down instead of attempting to rescue a disarmed and meek citizen or citizens being slaughtered by some crazed individual or by another freaked out 'law' agency conducting raids upon unsuspecting and often totally innocent people. Those who resist in any way these incursions are murdered wholesale and burned out.
When I see horrifying events like these, I remember the totally different attitude and valiant actions by far less equipped and far more exposed police officers actively and courageously risking their lives, trying to pull the wounded and dead victims to shelter, while a law-abiding and armed citizenry helps to pin down a sniper so the police could work their way into a building to end that tragedy as fast as possible.”
This lady has very astutely identified the increasing hostility and the shift in ethics and principles of all too many in the law enforcement community. She also quite correctly identifies the corrosion of the profession and the corrupting influence of the federal government, which should have no control or ascendancy over local law enforcement agencies.
Lest one think that this is just sour-grapes by a civilian who resents the authority of law enforcement officers it is necessary that I mention the fact that I receive letters from active and retired members of the law enforcement community who echo this writers thoughts and outrage in regard to the deterioration of the law enforcement fraternity. A recently retired police officer wrote the following, “The current compliment of young officers contains too many who are arrogant, undisciplined and sadistic in the performance of their duties. They have little or no regard or respect for the rights of ordinary citizens and often deprive them of their dignity as human beings with their roughshod tactics.”
Just as the volunteer and paid military personnel of today no longer resemble greatly the conscripted civilian servicemen who stormed the beaches of Normandy and slogged their way across Europe or the valiant civilian turned warriors who fought through steamy jungles and assaulted the beaches of various enemy held Pacific islands, the law enforcement officers of today bear little resemblance to their counterparts of yesteryear. These were aptly called peace officers and they served as the protectors of their fellow citizens under the most humble of circumstances in regard to pay and remunerative benefits.
The difference between those who served in the law enforcement ranks forty to fifty years ago and those who serve today is evidenced by the fact that the mindset of the officers of the past and those of the current crop, in regard to service to the public, are miles apart. It irritates me to no end to see the decals on today’s patrol cars, which declare that the occupants “serve and protect”. Indeed actions speak louder than words or decals on a car, and all too often today the actions of police officers are in conflict with the self-serving words displayed on their cruisers.
To be totally honest I have to point out that this changed paradigm is not just confined to the police services. It is a reflection of the great degradation of morals and personal ethics that had washed over this country and sucked the young into a malevolent maelstrom of degeneracy. If it feels good do it, if it titillates the senses do it, if it adversely affects others too bad. This has gotten to be the creed of a large number of people in this country, and we are paying a very heavy price indeed for this slide into immorality. The quality of not being in accord with proper standards of right and good conduct is pulling society down on all levels and unraveling the ethical standards of too many of our once solid professions. Nowhere is this more evident than in the law enforcement profession today.
It used to be that candidates for positions in law enforcement were simply selected for recruitment on the basis of their moral and ethical standards in the community. They were interviewed and then carefully chosen acquaintances, past employers, neighbors, former teachers and other community leaders were sought out and queried as to their observations of the individuals who were being considered for these important positions. The law enforcement administrator of the agency was the ultimate and final authority on whether or not a candidate was hired. It was a simple process that worked remarkably well as is attested by the quality of those that were hired. Once they were on board their superior officers were in a position to assess their capabilities and their suitability for the various special functions within the department. And they did not need civil service commissions to direct, dictate or assist them in the process.
Through the years the criteria for the selection of law enforcement candidates and the mandatory prerequisites for the hiring and training thereof changed drastically when state legislative bodies turned the process over to the bureaucrats. There is absolutely nothing that bureaucrats cannot screw up, and they have done a magnificent job of screwing up law enforcement.
These perpetual meddlers in all things determined that candidates should be psychologically tested before even being considered for a law enforcement position. Generally the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test referred to as the MMPI is used to determine if a candidate is personally qualified to function as a law enforcement officer. The test consists of 567 true or false questions regarding the candidate’s likes, dislikes, personal habits and predilections, which purportedly enables an evaluator to make a determination if a candidate is a nut case or is well adjusted. Some of the questions restrict a candidate’s ability to provide other than one answer to a question that presents multiplex possibilities. For example candidates are asked if they like little boys better than little girls or conversely if a candidate likes little girls better than little boys. He may like little boys and little girls equally well, but he is not given that option. There are some very strange questions on the test, and I recall the absolute dismay of the sheriff of a fairly large county over the fact that his candidates were being queried as to whether their feces was light colored or black and tarry. The sheriff was in a state of apoplexy, as he furiously demanded to know what dark stools had to do with whether or not a candidate was suitable for employment. Maybe, he opined, we ought to require stool samples as a prerequisite for the hiring of new officers.
Recently in Delaware a young freshly and honorably discharged Marine, Sergeant Derek Hale, was beset by a police execution squad pursuant to an investigation of his association with a motorcycle gang, with which he had been working on a Toys for Tots project. Sergeant Hale was married and the father of two children who along with his wife witnessed his execution. The young man who had absolutely no criminal history and who had, by virtue of his unblemished history, been issued a concealed-weapons permit was minding his own business when the police goon squad screeched up. When the bewildered former Marine, who had been sitting on a front stoop, rose to his feet he was tasered and thrown to the ground. Paralyzed by the voltage he was unable to comply with an order to raise his hands so he was tasered again this time the voltage sickened him so that he vomited and further rendered him incapable of responding to the shouted commands of the storm troopers. In quick succession he was tasered a third time and when he was in a completely helpless and vulnerable state of being one of the brave members of the squad, a Lieutenant of the Wilmington Police Department moved in close and at point black range shot him three times in the chest, the .40 caliber slugs shredding his insides. May the infamy of this murderer follow him to his grave and beyond.
I can virtually assure you that this Lieutenant had been tested and found to be mentally sound and competent to perform police services. I also would venture to say that the deputy sheriff from Wisconsin discussed previously who cold bloodedly riddled the bodies of seven people with bullets had likewise been tested and found to be fit to serve his community as a certified and duly appointed law enforcement officer, so much for the fake science of psychology. If these officers are not nut cases - and their psychometric tests say that they are not - then it stands to reason they must simply be brutal and sadistic murderous thugs.
We have come to a point in this country where police death squads in coal scuttle helmets, black armor and jack-boots strike the same terror and fear into the hearts of innocent law-abiding citizens that their counterparts of the SA and SS did in Nazi Germany. All that is missing is a crooked cross upon their helmets.
How is it that the law enforcement profession has come to it present deplorable and damnable state of being? It is evident that the federal government and the bureaucratic agencies thereof have had a great and corrupting influence upon local law enforcement and that the meddling politicians on all levels of government are equally culpable. It cannot be contended that all law enforcement officers are inherent bullies and molesters of the people of their communities, but it can be declared that forces well beyond their control have molded many of them in that image.
The politicians and bureaucrats who comprise our governments on all levels have an insatiable lust for the people’s money. They contrive at all times to tap into the fruits of the labors of the poor saps that have put them into the offices that they occupy. They have taxed everything that their people possess or hope to possess. Since their constituents have been taxed to the max they have turned, in their money mad intoxication, to other sources of revenues. One of these sources has been the fines and costs assessed for infractions of the millions of laws that they have put into place. Just as they have never met a tax that they didn’t like they have likewise not crafted a law or administrative rule that did not meet their approval as a revenue maker. Every day the various governments haul in millions of dollars in totally unreasonable fines and costs from hapless citizens for minor infractions of one kind or another.
Law enforcement administrators will tell you, if they are honest, that they are subjected to considerable pressure from city councils and administrators, county boards and state legislatures to ensure a steady flow of monies into their treasuries through a heavy handed enforcement of misdemeanor statutes. The motor vehicle statutes are often the most abused in this regard. As a former law enforcement administrator I can attest to the truthfulness of that which I write in this regard.
Lawmakers have ingeniously built a clever innovation into the way that these spoils are dispersed and distributed. The gross take is proportionally allotted to the various government entities in the order of rank and importance much in the way that the gangsters dispersed their ill-gotten gains. I believe that the politicians and their pandering bureaucratic buddies have raised legal extortion and larceny to new levels. As I stated each government entity is allocated a percentage of the take in descending order, the state retains the lions share, as did Al Capone, and the remaining levels of government receive a cut of the balance.
Just as Al Capone and the other gangster lords had soldiers to make their collections so does the government, they are called policemen.
Most police agencies deny that they have in place a quota system, they are lying and they know that they are lying. They just use semantics to disguise or camouflage what is essentially a quota system. A state trooper explained his quota system to me thusly: “Each month I am scheduled for an evaluation as is every trooper in the organization. At the evaluation a computer printout of my monthly activity in regard to the citations that I have, or have not, written is presented. The commanding officer conducting the “evaluation” goes over every statute in the motor vehicle code and sternly draws my attention to the statutes for which I have written few or no citations. Protestations to the effect that I did not observe violations being committed in these areas hold no water with my superior. I am admonished that in future evaluations there had better be some increased activity in these areas or else. I am left to my own devices as to how to generate such activity, which in essence means that I have to either fake it or be left to face the consequences.”
We have reached an execrable state of being in regard to the state of law enforcement in this nation today. When law enforcement people are forced into dishonesty and when individual officers are transformed into sadistic bullies and more, we have much to fear.
I am apolitical, but I have to close this out with the following admonition. We are on the final leg of a journey into perdition. I am thoroughly convinced that our Creator would be absolutely justified should He rain destruction upon this fallen nation, and I expect it momentarily. If there is in fact no move toward repentance we will have no one to blame for our demise other than ourselves. We need to get our house in order and we need to do it this very moment not tomorrow, not next week, not next year, it has to be done now! We must start with our own lives then we need to move to quickly clean out every last rotten and corrupt public official in this nation, from the top to the bottom. I wish that the elections were tomorrow because our time is critically short. If we elect any of the candidates other than Ron Paul we are destined for the pit. There are none on the Democratic side who are morally upright, and only several on the Republican side who are ethically fit. Ron Paul is not only morally upright and ethically fit, he is constitutionally correct and he is our last best hope in 2008, if we make it that far.
© 2007 - Jim R. Schwiesow - All Rights Reserved
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Jim Schwiesow is a retired sheriff with 46 years of law enforcement service. He served with the Unites States Army with the occupation forces in post war Berlin, Germany, and has a total of nine years of military service, which includes six years in the U.S. Army Reserve.
His law enforcement service includes: three years in the military police, fifteen years as an Iowa municipal police officer, and twenty-eight years as the duly elected sheriff of Sioux County, Iowa.
Jim has written a number of articles, which have been published in various professional law enforcement journals.
The politicians and bureaucrats who comprise our governments on all levels have an insatiable lust for the people’s money. They contrive at all times to tap into the fruits of the labors of the poor saps that have put them into the offices that they occupy.