RISKS OF BECOMING A COP – Op-Ed

(This article, by yours truly, appears in today’s issue of Florida Today Op-Ed page)

Anyone applying for a police officer job these days is doing so at great risk. Never before have public servants been the target of so much undeserved hate and condemnation. The real losers? We, the people.

Police officers were my extended family for 30 years in Miami-Dade County. Times have changed, not for the better. No sane and selfless man or woman would voluntarily enter the pits of hate, surrounded by enemy cameras, weapons and rebels, subject to unrestrained harassment and assault. It’s difficult enough knowing you are a target for rogue criminals simply because you wear the uniform, protecting the very people who hate you.

No one mentions how police account for the sixth highest rate of suicides among all professions, according to a recent CBS study and behindthebadge.com. In 2018, 159 cops killed themselves, more than the numbers killed in line of duty, according to the Huffington Post. In my career, I personally knew 10 officers who killed themselves.

There’s a lot of stress out there.

Worse times are ahead for law and order, particularly in larger cities. The more breaking of laws and demeaning of cops, the more disorder will explode. Perhaps that’s the intended goal.

When law enforcement is openly denigrated, assaulted and stripped of authority and power without support from political leaders, the more we will see escalated crime and chaos in the streets. Those water buckets dumped on the heads of New York officers by young men were not lethal weapons, but they were lethal to the heart of law enforcement personnel and, ultimately, to America’s future. Many qualified potentials will be looking for other jobs.

In recent debates, some presidential candidates stupidly revisited police shootings, particularly the Michael Brown case in Missouri in 2014, in which Eric Holder’s Justice Department found civilian witnesses who completely exonerated the officer. That cop did nothing wrong, yet politicians still fuel the fires.

In the Baltimore fiasco of 2015, six officers were charged broad-brush without an iota of evidence that any cop had killed Freddie Gray in a transport van. Three were acquitted, the other charges were dropped. The city exploded into riots causing millions worth of damage. The mayor stated at a press conference, unbelievably, “We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.” The city shamefully settled with the Freddie Gray family for $6.4 million before any trials were held, prejudging the officer’s guilt.

In 2018, while eating, two officers in Central Florida were shot dead through a restaurant window, for no other reason than wearing the uniform. In 2017, two Brooklyn cops were parked in their patrol car when a hater walked up and shot each in the head, for no reason. Protesters in New York organized a street march in 2015 chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops” In another hate-cops march, Black Lives Matter spewed, “Pigs in a blanket, Fry em like bacon.”

The political climate is worsened when certain governors and mayors act as law breakers, openly defiant to federal agencies while declaring their jurisdictions “sanctuary cities and states.” That translates to open season for crime and violence. Defiant officials, like the mayor of Oakland, forewarned illegal immigrants that ICE agents were coming for them. If that’s not “obstruction,” what is?

Every day is a risk for police. In 2018, 144 line-of-duty cops were killed, 52 by gunfire, 26 in car crashes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 31,000 officers suffer non-fatal injuries annually. Between 10 and 15 cops are killed in ambushes each year. 

Officers these days will answer calls, but many will avoid pro-active policing. What for? To be doused with water buckets? Next time, it might be acid.

Police and military are the life-blood of our democracy. We better protect them, or else.

 

28 Responses to RISKS OF BECOMING A COP – Op-Ed

  1. Richard Plager August 13, 2019 at 9:01 am #

    I did 45 years; glad it is over.

    rhp

  2. Christopher Jones August 13, 2019 at 9:07 am #

    I am saddened beyond description that you are right. We saw the hatred fueled by the past president who presumed things not in evidence time after time, and that ignorance has made life miserable and dangerous for my brothers and sisters in blue. Obama’s vacuity regarding the police has done nothing but encourage people living on the fringe of sanity to act out their loathing in the most extreme way…killing people who were just doing their job.

    It is all part of the swamp which is fetid, deep, and perverse. I don’t know if it can be drained before we are all swallowed up by it.

    • Roz August 13, 2019 at 12:56 pm #

      Hatred by the past president??? The swamp is swampier now than ever. led by a current president that makes it a priority to foster hatred, racism, sexism and plan stupidity. Some cops are bad, just as in any profession, and they need to be help accountable. As a retired electrical engineer, a woman, a white older American, I don’t believe all this hatred will stop until our generation is gone!

      • Christopher Jones August 13, 2019 at 7:08 pm #

        Sorry Roz…but your rhetoric is vapid. You use the same old tired communist words… and have nothing to back them up. None of those words from f to s are remotely true. Tell us which one of the hate filled rants of Obama about an officer were right? He jumped to conclusion in Ferguson, and ruined a young officer’s life, an officer who was slandered and lied about. Obama jumped to conclusion about a cop in the Boston area which he had to backtrack on, thankfully. I don’t have the space to write about his vilification of the police…it is too extensive.
        Lady, the hatred will intensify when our generation is gone. The lemmings who followed Obama make up ANTIFA, which is exactly what it says it marches against: a bunch of Nazis who like the Klan, hide behind masks. (Don’t forget, the Klan was fostered by the democrat party… and we all remember the grand poo bah from W. Virginia – Byrd…wasn’t he a democrat?).

        No where did Marshall say that bad cops should get a pass. NO WHERE. I have seen bad cops, did what I had to do, and was vilified for it btw. But even bad cops deserve their day in court. From what I see, none of the officers murdered did a cotton picking thing which would justify their being shot.

  3. Thomas August 13, 2019 at 9:13 am #

    Excellent analysis Marshall. You really hit it on the nose. Thanks for your untiring efforts to to bring forth today’s reality. Keep up the good work .

  4. Anonymous August 13, 2019 at 9:42 am #

    It is crazy what is happening to our country and the people that are defending our people. Something needs to be done to safeguard our officers. All this heat is wrong, but what do you do about it???

  5. Pat Pesce August 13, 2019 at 11:01 am #

    GREAT ARTICLE MARSHALL

  6. Rico August 13, 2019 at 1:49 pm #

    Well said my friend. As I watched the water being thrown and dumped on the police, I had hoped they would turn around and cold cock the scum. Sadly because a lack of support from elected hierarchy, they were forced to endure this humiliation! I did hear the NY mayor say several of the scum were apprehended.

  7. Lil Sis August 13, 2019 at 2:35 pm #

    Sadly this article was right on the point. I’m married to a police officer and soooooo glad he’s retired. I was taught to respect authority of any kind. Now days that is a forgotten art.

  8. Fred Ingley August 13, 2019 at 2:47 pm #

    First of all, strongly disagree with Roz who appears to simply be another Anti Trumper. I see many instances of the anti Trump media, and, those of the other party constantly taking what he says and completely twisting it into what they wanted him to say. However with many years prior law enforcement, and, military behind me, I’d fight for her right to hold that view/opinion. Wonder if she would do the same for me.

    Second, Times have really changed since I was in LE in the 60s, 70s and part of the 80s.
    Yes, back then we had The Black Panthers with their STP slogan (Shoot The Pig). There were some violent anti Vietnam War protestors plus a bit of other trash floating around. However, unlike the present such feelings weren’t so widespread with the majority of folks out there supporting us.
    One can’t fault law enforcement for simply wanting to do only what is required and in the safest possible manner. “Gee it’s great to be able to g(o home alive after today’s shift, isn’t it?”
    One contributing factor as I see it is the US Supreme Court’s ruling of a few years ago stating that Law Enforcement is NOT Responsible for protecting the individual.(The case involved 2 women who after repeatedly calling police for hours were attacked and repeatedly raped in their own DC apartment. That eventually led to suing the DC police which eventually led to that decision.)
    My fear is that things are heading toward such spiraling out of control that it will get to the point where (almost) everybody will feel that they need to carry a firearm for self protection with their probably rightfully believing that the police will not be there to provide protection. Hope I’m wrong on that account.

  9. Phillip Taves August 13, 2019 at 3:41 pm #

    I agree but as an officer who worked the late 60’s thru 1997, I can tell you many of the same conditions now, existed then. We had police shot up in SF and you must remember the Black Panther Party. Many people lament the current conditions but I believe that the voter is the most culpable.
    Just look at Chicago, Detroit, SF, LA and DC, to name just a few. What has to happen? The PO is not stupid, if the politician does not support the Police He, the officer, does not HAVE to get out of the patrol car. When called to the scene of a call, HE can dictate HIS response. Unintended consequences.

  10. Eileen August 13, 2019 at 4:22 pm #

    I also highly disagree with Roz, although I admit I am a biased mother of a law enforcement officer. Roz did not mention any relationships she might have had with law enforcement personnel; and, if she has never had any close personal relationships with anyone in law enforcement, then I can understand her misguided remarks in speaking as a “retired electrical engineer, a woman, a white older American.”

    I am a retired RN, “a woman, a white older American;” and, long before my son was born, I maintained a great deal of respect for police officers. Yes, I am now a biased mother, and I have been so ever since my son entered the police academy in 1996. However, I have also learned more, these past 23 years, about what is involved with the law enforcement profession. I doubt that most people take the time to educate themselves: and so the opinions of those uneducated should be taken “with a grain of salt.” The prediction that not “all this hatred will stop until our generation is gone” is unrealistic.

    Without bringing politics into the subject matter (including the current President, Senate, House of Representatives, and all state and local governments), I appreciate your insights, Marshall; and with all your many years of experience in law enforcement, Marshall, together with all the research you undertake and the knowledge you gain before committing yourself to voicing your opinion, I think that your concerns are very valid in today’s world. Thank you, Marshall, for once again sharing your insights with us.

  11. Helen R. Frigo August 13, 2019 at 4:28 pm #

    Our Founding Fathers created a Republic, not a democracy, where “other persons” were counted as 3/5ths of a white male property owner. Even while Alan Shepherd was flying in space, black people were being hauled off busses in the South and beaten, with police watching. I stopped reading Joseph Wambaugh’s Police Story books after “The Onion Field” showed the long and tedious process of justice and the waste. He talked about the high suicide rate among policemen way back then. Is it because of what they’ve seen? Now our Military too, have seen terrible things.
    “Liberty and justice for all” is supposedly the “lifeblood” of our Republic. Is that the goal of all our Police forces? How could policemen tolerate, since 1970, arresting and jailing people for marijuana use, even, and taking their property? Contrast that with Jeffery Epstein’s treatment at the hands of the police? Yes, its a dangerous, terrible job, but aren’t nightwatchmen killed more?
    And no one is forced to do it. But skin color? you really don’t have a choice. That little old black man was arrested for trying to get into his own house, and hauled down to jail.
    You’re still outraged that Obama objected?

  12. Alan O August 13, 2019 at 5:05 pm #

    Unfortunately in the USA people are moving towards viewing the police as law enforcers not as public helpers. In the UK police are generally viewed as people helpers and protectors. My own experience going through grade school in the UK was that at least once a year a police man or woman was invited to speak and interact with every class I was in. Yong children and teenagers do listen to caring and interesting presenters.
    My own observation of most USA Police Department is that they are operating on the cheap so that many good prospects are lost.

  13. Vern Clobes August 13, 2019 at 5:53 pm #

    In Nov, 1963 Adlai Stevenson, then UN Ambassador, spoke in Dallas and had demonstrators confront, curse and spit on him. He contacted President Kennedy and urged him not to go, implying that Dallas was a very dangerous place.

    Today we have upper echelon Democrats, media elites and other prominent anti-Trumpers suggesting similar violence against Republican deplorables, police, supporters of our current President and in some cases President Trump himself.

    Couple the previous administrations obvious disdain for the police along with our current volatile political situation and we have the ingredients for a violent explosion.

    The police are bearing the brunt of the Left’s disdain for our protectors and this cannot portend well for them or those of us who see them as our protectors.

  14. Bob James August 13, 2019 at 6:07 pm #

    My dad was a City of Miami motorcycle officer in the 40s, 50s and part of the 60s. Sometime during the late 40s, he was patrolling in a rural area of SW Miami when he noticed a little boy sitting on the side of the road crying and holding his leg. He rode over to see what was the matter.

    The little boy said something had bit him on his leg and he was trying to get home but his leg hurt so bad he couldn’t walk any more. My dad looked at his leg, which was swollen nearly twice its normal size. In the middle of the swelling he saw two nasty puncture wounds oozing blood. He knew immediately he had been bitten by a large rattlesnake and was going to die if he didn’t get immediate medical help.

    He picked the lad up and sat him on his motorcycle seat just in front of himself and astraddle the two gas tanks. He told him to hold on tight and roared off to the nearest hospital with his siren screaming, as only a police motorcycle siren can scream. He recalls racing down Dixie Hiway, sometimes hitting 100 mph until he reached the nearest hospital. He rode his motor right up to the ER entrance and carried the gravely ill boy directly to the nurse’s station. The nurses took over from there. It was touch and go for a few days, but eventually he recovered completely.

    Cops all over Florida and America do this sort of stuff all the time and know one ever hears about it. No question in my mind my dad saved this little boy’s life. If he ever got as much as a “thank you” from anyone, he never mentioned it.

    When I saw those dirtbag punks pouring water over those police officers in NYC and getting away with it, I was outraged. This criminal behavior must not be allowed to stand. Cops have enough to do without having to tolerate this kind of insult, which by default, only serves to make their job even more dangerous.

    • Christopher Jones August 13, 2019 at 7:12 pm #

      Thank you Bob James for your post. You nailed it. 99% + of all police do that sort of thing all the time. We did it because it was the right thing to do. We did not do it for accolades.

  15. Rosemarye M. Levine August 13, 2019 at 10:08 pm #

    ˆI am the daughter of a vice cop, a sergeant on the Philadelphia Police Force.Try imagining yourself as a young child waiting to hear if yur Dad was the police officer who was just killed in a vicious drug shoot out, Remember the many nights you waited for him to come home, never knowing each morning when he left might be the last time you saw yur Dad alive. He isn’t just a cop;he’s yur Dad! Put yourself in those shoes and let me know how you feel.–Thanks, Marshall–Rosemarye M. Levine

  16. Don Matthews August 14, 2019 at 4:33 am #

    Well, we know how the United States of America has ended up in the destruction of this Great Country, as we knew it in the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s 1980’s and 1990’s, before we planted our heads in the sand. It is the voting of persons like Roz, Helen and millions of other uninformed persons who believe the police are no good and Laws mean nothing. Having spent 32 years in Law enforcement and 22 years in a professional business world after,I have observed the dislike of Law and order by two Presidents, Clinton and Obama, both are anything but honorable men. Marshall, as always you have hit the nail on the head, well put in very easy to understand, for most.
    I would like to add that persons like Roz and Helen has voted into Congress the most ruthless bunch of crooks, thieves, the un-qualified and a group “Hell Bent” on taking away the Constitution of this Great Country. God Best the Police Officer and our Country, we need both.

    • Bob James August 14, 2019 at 12:27 pm #

      Don,

      Dittos on Roz, Helen, et al.

  17. Chip August 14, 2019 at 1:16 pm #

    Sadly Sorry to See this . . .
    which is why we moved to LaBelle, FL aka Mayberry

    We Love our SO and Deputies – and Sheriff Steve Whidden backs us up as well.
    His response to San Bernadino was – when seconds count – Police are Minutes away.
    So $25 Concealed Carry Classes – $25 – maybe not 1950’s prices but close

  18. Helen R. Frigo August 14, 2019 at 2:35 pm #

    Dear Don Matthews: I’ve NEVER said “…the police are no good…”! I read many of Joseph Wambaugh’s books, which were the inspiration for the “Police Story” TV show. One of them showed a short, skinny officer who kept saying his job was to “serve and protect”. When he was attacked and overwhelmed, a tall black bystander came to his aid. Long ago, a fellow college graduate and newlywed, was killed by police chasing a petty thief. The U.S has more people in jail than any nation in the world. Was Jeffrey Epstein treated like other prisoners? And for you to say President Clinton and president Obama show “disdain” for the police? Clinton must have been prez when the Feds made it possible, after the first WTC attack, for NYC to get new walkie-talkies so the police and firemen could communicate. Mayor Giuliani refused, said it cost too much money, and put the new emergency center on the 13th floor of the WTC so he could walk there. The 9/11/2001 attack made it useless, and the firemen in the second tower could not hear the police telling them to evacuate. What is your opinion of Giuliani, and his police commissioner who had never ever been a policeman?

  19. Don Matthews August 14, 2019 at 7:37 pm #

    Helen to answer your questions, I have a very low opinion of Giuliana, as over the years he has talked out both sides of his mouth. As for a Police Commission they are useless and are individual who what to plays cops.

    Yes, the US has more prisoners in jail than most other Countries, why most Countries are not as Liberal as the US. Those counties execute more prisoners for what we give as clap on the but. Other Countries do not tolerate crime, they act very fast with their on brand of justice. Apples in the US and Oranges in other Countries.

    Now, let me address Mr Joseph Wanbaugh and his series of books, which I have 10 or so signed by him. I had the occasion to spend time with him years ago on one of my trips to LA. Thru one of the LA Police Commanders, one was able to have dinner with him and several days later meet up with him to sign books and have lunch, with cocktails.

    When it comes to one of his books and stories, most were made up, no truth to them, but he made millions of dollars on stories about the LA Police Department. If something similar to one of his stories, really occurred, he would make it worst, in order to grab the reader. Less than 15% in his books may be the truth.

    The same with Law and Order, all made up for TV, Books and or Movies. I had to take the writers, directors, producers, plus Don Johnson of Miami Vice to play Golf every Saturday and Sunday at Don Shula’s Gold Course in Miami Lakes for 3 years.

    Joe’s stories were great reading and Law and Order great to watch, but very little truth in either.

    Helen, I will not get into the CLinton/Obama issue, but this Country can not afford to elect another similar President.

  20. Ronald Fischer August 15, 2019 at 12:14 pm #

    Great messages Marshall. May I add one from a retired Oregon State Trooper?

    Thank you for detailing the differences in how things have changed, Rick. I very much respect and appreciate the men and women in law enforcement.

    Ron

    From: Rick G (USAF Veteran, Oregon State Trooper & Great American Patriot)
    Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2019 3:52 AM
    To: ron@ronfischer.com
    Subject: Re: Marshall Frank

    Absolutely.
    Sent from my iPad

    On Aug 14, 2019, at 12:44 PM, wrote:
    Hey Rick,

    With your permission I would like to post your message on the Marshall Frank website and circulate it among family members, veterans, and friends. I will remove your email to protect your privacy.

    Yes?

    Ron

    From: Removed
    Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 11:18 AM
    To: ron@ronfischer.com
    Subject: Re: Marshall Frank

    It was worse in the late 60s and 70s. Twice as many cops were killed. We just have a 24 hour news cycle and smart phones now. And everything is recorded and reported.
    Cops are now paid better, trained better and equipped better.
    When I was a young cops there were thousands of square miles of Oregon with no radio coverage . No way to reach them and no way to call for backup. We had riots that burned cities. Cops were unfairly prosecuted and hated by young people and minorities and not well respected or protected by the rest of the nation. We were spit on, cussed at reviled and ambushed.
    I’m not saying it’s easy to be a cop now or safe. But the majority of America respects cops and support them. Cops are seldom prosecuted in shootings. Backup is always handy.
    On the OSP we had a code for “No Help Available.” Happened to me on more than one occasion. That was if you could get to your radio and had coverage. We had no portable radios, tasers, semi auto weapons or cages in the patrol cars. Cops in LA had to keep their shotguns locked in the trunk and do a report if they removed it. Six CHP were gunned down and executed when they ran their model 19 smiths dry. No speed loader. You carried six or twelve extra rounds in belt loops. The perps had automatic weapons. Four FBI agents were killed and 4 wounded on South Dixie Hwy in Florida in the late 80s when they confronted two bank robbers with Ruger semi auto 223s. Only one agent had a semi auto handgun and it had inferior ammo. My room mate at the FBI Academy was sitting in his radio car in Chicago in 1968 and a black asshole walked up to the car and executed his partner, point blank, with no warning and no reason. (Fortunately my room mated chased him down on foot and killed him.). Most of us carried 38 revolvers with inferior soft lead round nose bullets that had a velocity of about 800 FPS. AT THE 25 yard line you could actually see the bullet going down range.
    Those are just a couple that I know of and remember. Cop killings were only locally reported and seldom condemned.
    Miranda was forced on us and unless the warning was recorded, always challenged and the perps walked. Few cops carried tape recorders because they were large and bulky and filled a hand needed to defend themselves. Cops were prosecuted for not giving or able to prove they gave the warning.
    On OSP, young, married cops with two children were eligible for food stamps. There was lots of forced overtime but no overtime pay. If court fell on your day off you lost the day. If you worked afternoons or nights and went to court during the day you had to suit up and do your tour. Most state police and highway patrol were six day weeks. There were plenty of four tens and three twelve tours in your five or six day week.
    Patrol car brakes were inferior and faded fast causing a lot of crashes and deaths.
    I can go on Ron. Cops today have it rough but nothing like it used to be.
    Sent from my iPad

    On Aug 14, 2019, at 9:05 AM, wrote:
    I completely agree with Marshall Frank; being a cop these days carries a lot of new risks.

    From: Marshall Frank
    Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 5:13 AM
    To: ron@ronfischer.com
    Subject: Marshall Frank

  21. Helen R. Frigo August 15, 2019 at 3:06 pm #

    Dear Don Matthews: I often saw the longtime, really law-and-order-tough sheriff in the Repub.controlled county where we lived 33 years. Maybe you heard of the Rolando Cruz case, where there was a horrific rape and killing of a young girl. A large boat in the driveway blocked the vu of the front door, and she was home from school sick while her mother worked. The case went on for years, with her parents,divorced, having to testify over and over, as Rolando Cruz was prosecuted for her murder. Then a county attorney said “no”, she couldn’t not reveal any longer, that the sheriff had fabricated evidence. Then a policeman said he was wrong about being on duty at a critical time in the investigation. Then, another young girl was raped & killed the same way. The police in that small town caught the “perp”. It turned out he had been in much richer and bigger co. jail at the time of our young girl’s murder, all along. NO ONE had questioned him, even though he had a history of breaking into houses. He had been set free, while the sheriff almost got Rolando Cruz executed. The burglar, it turned out, had also raped and killed a young woman the same horrific way, in a nearby town, before he had gone on to kill the second young girl. Would both the young woman and the second girl still be alive if the Sheriff had not been so obsessed with Rolando Cruz?

  22. Denis Shaw August 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm #

    There were a lot of enlightening comments offered on this thread. Even if you disagree with Helen and others you get a good understanding of how this misperception of our profession has only grown. Fiction is now routinely taken as reality. NBC now seems to have a corporate policy to magnify police errors. Many now get their news from comedians and talk show hosts. And now today, August 15 the US Attorney in Philadelphia has publicly criticized the local DA for being extremely anti police. Everyone needs to see his news conference on the internet. While CBS reported an NYPD cop committed suicide; the second in two days and the seventh since June. There are a growing number of places in this country where if you called 911 you will get a one hour response time. That can only get worse in this climate. Maybe that is what some want.

  23. Helen Frigo August 16, 2019 at 8:37 am #

    No, Denis Shaw: I am most appreciative of the 911 system, and being scared of, and skeptical of the police, does NOT mean we hate them. Even us well-off white people, know to be quiet and submissive if stopped by the police. We were all grateful and astounded, when the smallest, most “mousey” man amongst a group of us at a County meeting, confronted the sheriff about him openly smoking a cigarillo in a no-smoking building, making a point of doing it by a balcony that overlooked groups of prisoners being processed. Again, yes, it is a scary, dangerous job. But again, no one has to do it. That Bull Connor was a policeman. And please do not forget-Conflict raises ratings, sells newspapers, etc. Why are you watching NBC? PBS right now has the series “Grantchester” that shows police work, “Endeavor”, too. The Library is full of all kinds of materials. Our newspaper shows police groups working for non-profits, with children, etc. Support them, and publicize the actions of police who DO serve and protect. But please don’t tell me it is right to shoot a child who has a toy gun w/o even getting out of your car, or to bring a fat man to the ground for selling single cigarettes. And if ALL children had proper healthcare and a good education, maybe their wouldn’t be so many scary, and/or ignorant people in the world. Thank you

  24. Anthony Frigo August 20, 2019 at 11:27 am #

    If we want to improve the police in America,no one with a military background should be allowed. Those in their youth who enter our military are brain washed 24/7 for years by drill instructors you have no respect for civilians. We need our police to come from a civlian background not one where violence is the solution for everything. Why police still don’t understand the rights of individuals is beyond me. Yes to many police are killed,but also police are killing far to many civlians as well. We are a very divided country
    and we have a president that creates this division for his own benefit. We have Turmoil Trump we need another No Drama Obama.