As kind of a corollary to last month’s post, police in Delaware have been giving out incredible numbers of citations in recent weeks, but it’s not as bad as it seems.
America’s cops have a bad reputation. Some of it’s deserved, some of it not, but it’s undeniable that a lot of US citizens look at the police less as a peacekeeping force and more as a group of armed thugs with the full backing of the law on their side.
This reputation didn’t spring up over night and it’s not limited to the criminal element in our society. Random shootings, entrapments, breaking into the wrong house, racial profiling, and a whole host of other bad ideas have engendered a sense of hostility between the police and the people they’re supposed to protect. It’s only made worse when the police in question usually get away scot-free, leaving folks nervous and on the defensive.
Unfortunately, the police response to this negative publicity is usually to shrug their shoulders and say, “So?”, which just makes matters worse.
The thing is, most cops are good people. I’ve had very few interactions with the police – largely because I’m not a criminal – but I’ve usually found them to be pretty good people with tough job. And, as I’ve said before, I respect anyone who gets up in the morning, puts on a uniform, and says, “I’m going to put myself between the bad guys and you.”
But, as any cop can tell you, it’s really bad when the people you’re trying to protect don’t trust you. It makes an already tough job even tougher. So, it’s nice to see some police are slowly coming around to the idea of improving their negative image.
Recently, in Middletown, DE, police officers gave out an unprecedented amount of citations. Seriously, they were busting people left and right and handing out tickets like they were candy. But this time it was different. The citations were for performing random acts of kindness and the cost of the ticket was the perp got a free turkey.
“Hey, punk, I saw you helping that old woman with her groceries. Here’s a reward.”
As far as I’m concerned this is a double-whammy of cool. It helps the cops seems like humans and it also encourages people to do the right thing. And all at the cost of a turkey.
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And now, your moment of Zen.
Addendum, 11/26. I just realized I forgot to add the moment of Zen. So now, here’s your moment of Zen.