I was watching an episode of Law & Order SVU the other day, and was struck by how much Detective Olivia Benson cares about people. It really struck me as strange, and so I thought about it a bit... and I realized, I have never had a positive experience with law enforcement.
- When I played football in high school, the local Virginina cops would use racial profiling to pull over my teammate's cars on the way to practice. It got to the point where the black players would get out of their own cars, and ask the white teammates to drive.
- Later in high school, my family experienced a serious crime. The detective who came to my house was an evangelical Christian, and spent his entire investigation trying to convert our family to his religion. I'll never forget his first visit, where he started quoting scripture to explain that the emergence of the modern state of Israel was proof of the Bible's literal truth. My sense at the time was, perhaps a home visit during a criminal investigation is not the best venue for this sort of wisdom.
- A few years ago, I was assaulted on the streets of New York. Immediately afterwards, I ran up to a nearby police officer and explained what had just happened - I thought he would want to possibly chase down and apprehend the assailants. But I could tell when he looked at me that all he saw was extra paperwork. He said, "I guess I could take you to the nearest station and you could file a report there." I just walked away.
- Recently, the police blocked off a block or two near our office and flooded the area with officers in order to do crowd control. Most of the crowd was low income and poorly educated, since they were there for an impromptu job fair for poorly paid retail positions. The police treated EVERYONE there like they were criminals and idiots.
The only time I have ever had a positive experience with police is when I ask for directions. Anyway, maybe I am biased. I would like to believe that there are Olivia Bensons out there who really care about my safety and well being.
Have you ever had a positive experience with law enforcement? If so - please share specifics stories, and restore my faith in the police!