Maintaining Trust in the Police Department
It has not been the best of times for the Philadelphia Police Department. For a department that already receives criticism (often not justifiable) for supposedly failing to stem the tide of violent crime, there have been a series of high profile problems involving police conduct.
This week, several officers from the Narcotics Field Unit have been implicated in disturbing raids of small convenience stores. The officers allegedly entered these stores under the guise of arresting the owners for selling drug paraphernalia and then systematically removed the surveillance systems so that they could loot the store of food, items and money. Not exactly the purpose of the motto “to protect and serve.” Today, there’s been a report in which a police officer, while a student was accompanying him on a ride-along program, supposedly used a racial slur to describe inhabitants of the neighborhood he was patrolling.
These incidents certainly do not positively contribute to the amount of trust that Philadelphia residents and police officers currently have. If these allegations are true, then those officers were certainly acting improper (and in the first case, criminally). What’s important to remember, however, are that these officers are in the vast minority. There are over 6,600 Philadelphia police officers, and 99 percent of them honorably serve the city, protect citizens and enforce the law. It is the few “bad eggs” that give the rest of them a bad name. We should certainly condemn the improper acts of those who deserve it, but we should not extend the criticism to the rest of the men and women in blue.