As I have said here before, and many others have said, it seems more and more that it is open season on Police Officers in our towns and cities and across the Country. Police Officers across the nation are being executed almost on a weekly basis for no other apparent reason than the fact they wear a uniform and a badge.
In this current climate, many Departments are facing a severe problem in recruiting and hiring qualified Police Officers, and quite honestly, I don't see it getting any better anytime soon in this environment
This may sound like I am falling for the police rhetoric,,but I think more likely I am being a realist.
Who in their right mind would want this job now a days. If the physical danger and the number of illegal guns on our streets waiting to be used against officers and civilians alike isn't a deterrent, the risk of doing their jobs is even worse. Police Officers in Hartford are risking losing their homes and livelihoods over civil judgments now that the City Administration has decided not to indemnify officers in the course of their duty.
I am also not sure that people, I hate to say many of them "cop haters", really look at what officers go through. It takes the toll on their families being away working odd shifts on most holiday, birthdays and special occasions, working when they would prefer to attend the sporting events or school concerts for their kids. Someone has to do the job, 24/7. Maybe there is a reason that divorce, alcoholism and unfortunately even suicide are higher among police officers.
Anyone that wants to second guess an officers use of deadly force or why they did what they did should be asked to step inside a shooting simulator and see how it goes. I think they will come out dripping with sweat and remorseful for the innocent people that they shot during the scenarios. Fortunately, they would have the luxury of hitting reset button and starting over again,A luxury which an Officer on the street doesn't have when reacting to a deadly high stress situation
Two Hartford officers recently lost a jury decision. Not because of any willful misconduct, but because they shot and killed a dog charging them when they were inadvertently in the wrong yard looking for a suspect. Tragic that a families aggressive dog got killed, but as I have also said before here previously, the nature of police work and criminal activity isn't always pretty. We don't hire robots with computer chips for brains, we have human beings patrolling our neighborhoods. Human beings that have to make split second decisions based on the information available to them at the time. And hopefully the best decisions being made based upon the best training as well as supervision available to them.
We tend to pack the front page when a Police Officer does something wrong, but the good deeds are hard to find. Not because the good deeds aren't happening, but who wants to read good news about something a cop does. Dozens of drunk drivers are taken off Hartford's streets every month by HPD Traffic Officers and patrol Officers. Even though the officers risk their lives out on the checks points of being struck by a drunk that can't navigate in a stupor, they still do it to keep our streets safe.
Last night a state Trooper rescued a driver from fiery vehicle to save the life of someone he probably didn't even know. He wasn't required to do that, he could have sat on the shoulder and waited for the Fire Department, but that is not what good cops do.
One of the finest police officers I know serving the people of Hartford crawled out onto thin ice on the Connecticut River wearing a dry suit and secured to the shore by only a piece of rope between him and potentially drowning. He rescued the man from the ice, a man who had jumped in an attempt to take his own life, but our officers risked their own lives to save someone else's, but that is what good cops do.
That same Officer and his wife buy numerous bikes every year to give away to children in the South End who might not have a bicycle otherwise, you probably don't hear much about those good efforts
You don't hear a lot about these things , but let a cop be accused of doing something wrong, whether proven or not, and all hell breaks loose.
It is amazing to me that most of the comments on-line regarding the arrest of Sergeant Spell focused on the amount of his pension and retirement benefits. Then today the story was about the amount of money being spent on Trooper overtime.
Can anyone honestly say that if the Union for reporters at the Courant negotiated a contract that allowed reporters to retire after twenty five years with pensions of $130,000 a year that they would say "no thank you"? The pensions for police officers and State Troopers as well as the potential for overtime were negotiated in good faith and no one is doing anything illegal by collecting them.
Maybe we should just say we don't wan the pensions or putting the cops on our streets and we are willing to go without . Maybe we should be asking our Mayor where the 70 new officers he promised us at election time are. A class of 45 new officers was promised for October and another 25 for January. Neither class is even close to happening and looking at my calendar I see we are well past October. I am sure that many applicants have already found jobs in other agencies by now as Hartford talks a big story but quietly drags its feet.
Maybe it is more about jealousy that people didn't choose law enforcement as a career path. But until our so called political "leaders" start paying attention, this is the way it is. As far as the overtime for Hartford Officers like Sergeant Spell and State Troopers, that is what happens when politicians bury their heads in the sand and ignore staffing for years. IF HPD is over 100 Officers short and by accounts CSP is at least a couple hundred troopers under where it should be, overtime happens, wake up.
I think this is enough for this posting, I wanted to get more into the Spell incident, but that will be another posting