With Rank Comes Privilege: With Privilege, Power. Part 1

ABSTRACT (from my book in progress)

 Police departments are complex political organizations.  Policing has evolved from its early days where politicians hired their friends and supporters as “enforcers”.  The rise of professionalism has changed how selections are made.  Most departments do their best to hire and retain the best qualified individuals who are least likely to have or cause future problems.  Pre-employment testing is used to determine which candidates will be successful as a Law Enforcement Officer. This system is flawed and cannot predict how the job influences impressionable young people. Many new hires are fairly young, sometimes 18 years of age. When you give someone without a fully developed personality, a badge, a gun and power, it can go to their heads. Some do not understand the serious responsibility and enjoy the power they have over the lives of others. This can lead to the misuse of this power by some of these individuals. If the behavior is not discovered and addressed early on citizens are abused. When this behavior is encouraged or reinforced through corporate culture then they abuse their co-workers.  As they get promoted their position offers them insulation from discipline. The saying at the P.D. was “With rank comes privilege.” Bad things happen when bad people are in charge, but if you speak up worse things happen.

What is my book about?

TWO LEGAL CASES

Case 1:  2001       Gender discrimination case filed in State Court. There were 14 Plaintiffs, Only a couple plaintiff’s had sexual harassment claims

Case 2:  2002       Retaliation/civil rights violations filed in Federal Court/2 plaintiffs (Patricia/Renee’).

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

DISCRIMINATION, SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND RETALIATION

Discrimination: Differential treatment, a failure to treat all persons equally when no reasonable distinction can be found between those favored and those not favored (Black’s Law Dictionary) Proofs = adverse job action(s), and we all had them.

Sexual Harassment: A type of employment discrimination consisting of verbal or physical abuse of a sexual nature (Black’s Law Dictionary).

Retaliation: A discharge (or firing) made in retaliation for an employee’s conduct (such as reporting unlawful activity)/discharge for reasons that are illegal or violate public policy.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Federal law prohibiting employment discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, sex, pregnancy, religion, and national origin, as well as prohibiting retaliation against an employee who opposes illegal harassment or discrimination in the workplace (Black’s Law Dictionary).

ABOUT ME AND COPS IN GENERAL

Mark Baker wrote a book titled “Cops.”  When I read it I was struck by an observation: Baker says “In any department, anywhere, you can take 5 percent of the cops and they will be honest under any circumstances and they’ll never do anything wrong. They are the priests of the department. 5 percent on the other end of the spectrum would have been criminals had they not become policemen. They are in fact, criminals who happen to be cops. The remaining 90 percent will go whichever way the peer pressure goes” (Baker, 1985).  I have found this to be fairly accurate in my experience.

This phenomenon, speaks to Privilege.  Privilege?  What does that mean?  As a country we have had many conversations about privilege. Sometimes the conversations come in the form of protests, civil disobedience or legal wrangling.  We have come a long way, but not far enough.  Racial and Gender and various types of equality issues still remain.  Systems of oppression have changed, become more sophisticated and subtle.  Sometimes oppression is not apparent unless you are subject to it.

In Police departments, the military, the government (and I am not anti-government) if you have rank, you have privilege.  Who’s going to question the boss when the boss has the power to make life miserable?

TO BE CONTINUED…MY EXPERIENCES…

“COPS” By Mark Baker.  Click here to buy it.

Black’s Law Dictionary.   Click here to Buy it.

 

 

 

 

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