Just Like L.A.
Jack Dunphy is the pseudonym used by an LAPD copper to write for various national publications about big city police work. He posted this yesterday and the similarities to what we're experiencing here in Chicago are striking to say the least:
- Gentle readers, fasten your seatbelts. We are about to embark on a virtual tour on which you will join me in a Los Angeles Police Department patrol car cruising some of the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods. We will be patrolling the LAPD’s 77th Street Division, which year after year ranks at or near the top in violent crime among the city’s 21 patrol divisions. The Los Angeles Times tracks crime in more than 200 communities across L.A. County, and five of the top ten on the list are in 77th Street Division.
That means this is a rough part of town. The following paragraphs are exactly the point we and many of our readers have been making for months now - just better written than we've been able to do:
- In an ideal world, you and I might approach these young men. We might radio for another unit or two to assist us, as the mere sight of our slowing and the opening of our doors might very well set them off running in all directions. What’s more, one or more of them might be armed, or there may be guns secreted nearby for ready access should some rival venture across Avalon looking to settle up for Jermaine’s killing. These and many other things cross our minds as we weigh the possibilities for our course of action.
What do we do? We drive on, for we are not police officers in an ideal world. We are police officers in Los Angeles in the year 2016, and we know there is little to be gained and much to be lost if we get out of our car and engage these young men. If none of them runs and none is armed, if everything goes as pleasantly as things can go these days, we will at the very least be given a load of grief, first by the young men themselves, then by the many family members and other sympathizers who, attracted by the commotion, will soon emerge from nearby homes and apartment houses.
And if one of them runs? Well then we might have to chase him, and if we catch him we might have to hit him, an incident that will be captured on cell phone video and posted on YouTube and, if the footage is sufficiently inflammatory, broadcast on local television news. And if one of these young men is armed and we have to shoot him, and if video of the shooting does not clearly demonstrate that we were fired upon first, we will see our chain of command abandon us and pronounce our tactics unsound, this despite the fact that few of our superiors have actually stood in our shoes. And we might see that video become a national news story, one that will prompt the police commissioners, the mayor, the governor, and even the president of the United States himself to offer their unschooled opinions on the deficiencies of our actions.
So, as we are not fools, we drive on. And if one of those young men should later fall at the hand of a gang rival, or if one of them should venture over to Main Street and shoot some other member of Jermaine’s gang, well then, we’ll go code-3 to the crime scene and ring the area with yellow tape and stand around while the homicide detectives sort things out. And we’ll go home and tell our family and friends how sad it all is, but what can we do?
And now that we’ve chosen to ignore this gathering of street criminals, and after other officers have done the same with similar groups across the area, those criminals will be all the more emboldened to carry on with the behavior that terrorizes their law-abiding neighbors, for the only thing that will deter that behavior is the credible threat of the bad consequences that flow from being stopped by the police while possessing a gun. If the cops won’t act, if they drive on by, the drive-by shootings will only increase.
Anyone in the upper echelons seeing something here? Any media types putting two and two together? Any politicians sensing that appeasing the mob only delays the mob from eventually devouring you? Go read the entire Dunphy article. He drives it home at the end - "Crime is up and will go higher. Don’t expect this to change any time soon."
Labels: info for the police