Today’s Investigative Special Report July 9, 2012 “Dealing With Today’s Law Enforcement Specialized Investigations” “Credible or Incompetence”

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

If you have ever had the opportunity to be employed in the criminal justice system, it is important to surround yourself around those who are competent and intelligent. There are always those individuals in any organization that will leave a bad mark or reputation when it comes to discussing the organization. This is the way it has always been and will be, people enjoy telling stories about bad boys and girls. Gossip has been around since the beginning of time and in the law enforcement community every day there is a new rumor which encapsulates the organization.

According to the Miami-Herald, “Sgt. German Bosque of the Opa-locka Police Department "has been disciplined, suspended, fined and sent home with pay more than any officer in the state."
The story details that Bosque a 21-police veteran has been terminated on six occasions. Bosque has been accused of misconduct each time, but has been re-instated each time. Currently, he is sitting at home, collecting a salary of $60,000.00 a year. However, this isn’t the only problem with this police department. It would be difficult to follow the leadership at this police department, since the problem appears not be isolated to Bosque.

The Miami-Herald story reported (in the same article), “As the Herald noted, the Opa-locka Police Department has a long history of corruption. Its current chief, Cheryl Cason, tested positive for cocaine and was placed on probation in 1995. In 2011, Cason was suspended after "failing to tell the city that she had had a crash with her city-owned car."
If you believe the Opa-locka Police Department is the only police department with employees stepping over the lawful-line, then you have not been listening to the media or haven’t been paying attention to your local news. Remember, accused murder, Drew Peterson. He is currently preparing for trial of killing a former wife and his current wife.

Law enforcement officials have one of the highest at risk jobs. According to Risk Management – Monitor, Police officers - In 2010, there was a nearly 40% increase in line-of-duty deaths among U.S. law enforcement. The most recent officer death involved Deputy Sheriff Derrick Whittle of the Union County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office. He was killed in an automobile accident while responding to a call on September 18th. He is the 48th law enforcement officer to be killed in a traffic-related incident in 2011.”

The problems do not stop at law enforcement being in the top ten highest risk jobs in America. There are the residual effects which come with the job e.g. alcoholism, divorce, post-traumatic issues, depression, suicide, and so forth. Nobody becomes a police officer so they can deal with physical, psychological, or emotional issues. This author became a law enforcement officer at the age of 21-years old. When I was in college working to receive an under-graduate degree in criminology, I was not contemplating what would happen to me if I became a police officer.

Nobody was preaching to the under-graduate criminology students to beware that the law enforcement community is not the type of job you want to avoid because it may be detrimental to your health; so avoid pursuing this dream. Most of the professors were former law enforcement officials of some type. Still they didn’t personalize the potential physical, psychological, or emotional aspects of the job should be a warning to all of those in the criminology department.

When society turns on those who wear the law enforcement uniform, the type of reputation, integrity, competence, and intelligence is generally unfair when you think about the aspects of their job and the type of individuals they deal with on a daily basis. The treatment by those who disrespect the uniform does not provide an excuse by those who fail to abide by the Constitution when enforcing the laws of the land. There should never be a situation where a law enforcement officer fails to give the public his/her best.

Law enforcement officials are trained to uphold the laws of the United States of America, not decide which laws they will protect and enforce or not protect or enforce. Laws are put in enacted by Congress and Senate and law enforcement is responsible and accountable to enforce them in their community. The Supreme Court has their role in the fray but generally do not become involved until someone questions the validity of a specific law.  

There is no doubt wearing the law enforcement uniform is a challenging job, which as research and studies have proven to be detrimental to the physical, psychological and emotional well-being of the human mind and body.

The root of the problems which Bosque and Cason have demonstrated comes about because the lack of leadership within their organization. Those who are in charge need to be in charge and demonstrate to their community that they will abide by the rules, regulations, and laws which they are asked to uphold.

Nobody said being the President, Governor, Major, City Manager, and other organizational leaders would be a laid back job, where responsible and accountable decisions would need to be made to keep the reputation of the federal, state, county and local governments above board. It is the role of these leaders to keep their law enforcement agencies and personnel to a standard which is above the law when it comes to their daily responsibilities.

Former retired King County Sheriff’s Department, Sergeant Harold Reynolds, use to tell me, when I was complaining about the job of being a police officer, that no one told me that I had to be a police officer, that there were many openings in the bus driving industry if the job was getting to be too much to handle. Although not humorous at the time, I still find myself laughing at his leadership words of advice.

There aren’t enough Sgt. Reynolds in the law enforcement community, but there are many who reach his credibility.  Those who wear the law enforcement uniform need to strive to be the best they can be and move away from violating the laws they swore they would uphold. The Bosque’s of the law enforcement community are the minority and society needs to remember this.

The next time you see a police vehicle or a police officer, step-up and go-up and tell the police officer that the job he/she does is one which you appreciate, respect, and most importantly support. We tell those who protect our country how much we appreciate the role and job they perform. Without those in the military our country and our freedom would become an issue as there are those who want us to be defeated and harmed in any way possible.

The same is true with law enforcement officials. There is a population which exists in this society who want to harm each and every one of us. If law enforcement didn’t exist and perform the duties in the manner in which they do, crime would be rampant and the safety of everyone including you and your family would be at risk. So thank your lucky stars those law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day need to be thanked for a job most people couldn’t, can’t, and shouldn’t do. Don’t expect anything but their best. If you ask a law enforcement official to be the best they can be, they will always try in being someone who is reputable, credible, competent, and intelligent for their community. Take the time to support your local fire or law enforcement agency. If you don’t who will?

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