To be police officer. Got to be the worst job you can have. Really. Not that it’s not a noble and important profession where you get to eat a lot of donuts—it totally is. Cops are a good thing. Batman is a lousy alternative, if for no other reason than he keeps getting himself captured by Joker and the Penguin and is therefore not always available. No, if my house gets broken into or a bunch of dudes jump me and give me the what for, the cops’ll be the ones I call. But damn, if those guys don’t have a rough gig.
Being a cop would probably suck.
At least for me.
Some people would doubtless get a thrill at carrying a gun and a badge and giving people tickets all day. Even getting into the occasional 7-Eleven shootout. But me, I’m more of a life-let-live type dude. Very much so. In fact, if everyone on the planet were exactly like me, I’m pretty sure we’d all die off in a few years from trying to let everybody else have their way, and so, as a result, nobody has their way and we all eventually die of starvation. You know what say the philosophers of old: it takes all kinds. We need the dicks.
Besides, a lot of jobs—most jobs—require you to be the bad guy every once in a while in order to get things done. Even a librarian. If you get caught trying to have sex by the window at the back of the non-fiction aisle, just watch how fast your mild-mannered librarian becomes a dick!
No. The reason being a cop probably sucks is because everything they do is scrutinized to high hell by anyone who knows how to get to YouTube, and if you’re doing your job right nobody will bother watching the video, but if you had a bad day? One million hits! Cops these days are scrutinized to point of impotence or self-incrimination.
This is the one job I can think of where your boss is always over your shoulder scratching his chin, shaking his head, rolling his eyes. He’s there inside your car’s dashboard camera, your high tech “body cam”, the smartphones of anybody standing around. You get out of line during a routine Quickie Mart arrest? You’re finished pal.
Think about how a nervous schoolteacher feels on the day the school principal is scheduled to come and observe her class. It’s freaking difficult enough to corral those cats, and now you have to do it in front of your steely eyed ex-frat boy principal. You better be on your A game.
No more letting things slide or looking the other way in order to avoid the threat of defiance. All infractions of any size must be addressed, all violators disciplined, even little hellchild Sally Appleseed, whose shrewish mother is on the PTA. You must play with fire. And if you get burnt in any way, your principal will jot it down in his little pad.
Well, for most cops, that’s probably how it is every day. Or at least that’s how it will be in the coming years, once body cams and dashboard cams are standard in every police district in every state, and its mandatory to keep them always on (even when you’re trying to draw a picture of a penis in the police HQ bathroom stall). That’s the direction it’s obviously going. You’ll be in a position where you can’t bend the rules without fear of reprimand. No more letting poor widows off with just a warning. No more letting the old man free who’d simply shoplifted a single Werther’s Original candy.
All these body cams and dashboard cams will basically turn policemen into dysfunctional, glitchy Robocops. They are expected to function with Robocop’s excessive dedication to justice, except they’re not machines. They’re human. They’re going to f-ck up, just give ’em some time. And the cameras are going to get it all on tape.
The worst part is, I totally agree with the need for body cams and dashboard cams. For every righteous Serpico there’s a seedy, trigger happy Alonzo Harris. I’m not going to go into the subject of self defensive/excessive force. Being a cop doesn’t even need that touchy issue to suck! No, I’m not saying police districts should do away with body cams. I’m merely saying being a police officer has to suck. Big time.
You ever hear the mantra of roller coaster engineers? “If it doesn’t shake, it will break.” Roller coaster structures need to be able to wobble and vibrate and bend just a little as the cars torpedo up and around and upside down, or the stresses of constant use will wear the structure down and it’ll topple. That’s how it is with professionals too. You can do a good job without having to become the Borg. No matter what your profession, you should be able to say, every once in a while: “We’ll let it slide this time.”
In the very near future, cops won’t have this inalienable human privilege. They’ll have to swing for the fences on every pitch, no matter how wild or fast. Not only that, but the minute they strike out? Yoouuuuu’re out!!!!
Yeah, being a cop probably sucks…
This post was based on a Daily Post writing prompt: Nightmare Job—In honor of LaborDay in North America, tell us what’s the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.