Patterico's Pontifications

4/19/2009

Cops and Stress

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 12:40 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

My latest column for Pajamas Media was posted today. In it I discuss the minor controversy now stirring here in Los Angeles over when LAPD officers should be allowed to drive Code 3, i.e. with lights and sirens. Unfortunately, politicians have insisted on having their say in the matter. A commenter, a police officer in North Carolina, brought up a point I’m sure most cops would agree with: that most of the job-related stress for police officers doesn’t come from dealing with crooks on the street, but rather from working for incompetent supervisors and politicians. Like most cops I know, I’d much rather deal with a gunfight than with the bureaucratic hassles that follow one. Read the column and you’ll have an understanding why this is so.

–Jack Dunphy

14 Responses to “Cops and Stress”

  1. In Chicago, which BTW had O.W. Wilson, one of yours, as the first police superintendent of a revamped PD, the police use their sirens seldom but their lights a lot. They kind of compromise between giving innocent drivers warning and bad guys warning.

    nk (0214d0)

  2. P.S. An no matter what the salesmen tell you, the digital lights are nowhere near as visible as the old Mars lights.

    nk (0214d0)

  3. most of the job-related stress for police officers doesn’t come from dealing with crooks on the street, but rather from working for incompetent supervisors and politicians.

    Amen.

    Mars vs Hollywood (788077)

  4. Whatever their decision, like most cops I know, I’m going to continue to drive as fast as reasonably necessary to protect the citizens of Los Angeles and support my fellow officers”

    I am a cop, the rules don’t apply to me.

    TomHynes (332f2c)

  5. Nothing like second guessers and politicians to spur Tums and Rolaid sales.

    Javert (58b08c)

  6. Look I agree with some of your remarks. However you really made a bad statement by saying a cop would rather work in a gunfight than with bureacracy. It leaves an arrogant and out of touch tone to your topic which was otherwise spot on. Every cop I know has wanted to avoid gunfights with crooks. Or even just having to pull a gun out was not good.

    Haire Brain (310603)

  7. Gunfights are extremely rare. Incompetent, connining bosses and interfering politicos are ubiquitous.

    Shift changes are stressful (true for any 24/7 work situation). So are second-guessing and harassment from outsiders, and having to view the damage done by criminals and other low-lifes. And stupidly structured work conditions. (This is a world-wide problem for cops. See ex-British officer “David Copperfield”‘s book Wasting Police Time.)

    Rich Rostrom (874cbd)

  8. Jack, my wife would tell you the same exact thing applies when dealing with nurse administration. Really good nurses resist being “promoted” to administration. I don’t know if that applies to cops but it sure applies to surgeons in the military.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  9. Mike K.: Yes, it applies to cops. With precious few exceptions, good cops like being . . . cops. The higher you go, the less connected you are to police work. The typical captain in the LAPD would be helpless if asked to go out and handle a call or work a case. And God help them if they get involved in a tactical situation.

    Jack Dunphy (1bb566)

  10. That’s horrible! An utter lack of common sense on City Hall’s part, to the endangerment of its population.

    And I was thinking along the lines Mike K. said, knowing his wife’s experience with the nurseocracy.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  11. > that most of the job-related stress for police officers doesn’t come from dealing with crooks on the street, but rather from working for incompetent supervisors and politicians.

    That sucks. You know what would suck even more? If cops were the final authority on what rules to follow.

    It’s called civilian control. I’m sure things would be more efficient if we didn’t have elected, accountable* politicians interfering with police decisions. I’ll stick with the way things are.

    *whether our politicians are actually accountable is another question.

    Arthur (d144ac)

  12. most of the job-related stress for police officers people doesn’t come from dealing with crooks on the street their actual job, but rather from working for incompetent supervisors and politicians bureaucrats.

    Just thought I’d touch that up to blow off a little steam, myself. And I don’t mean to belittle police officers in any way, I’m just saying it’s a problem with which a lot of people can relate.

    Buzz Killington (3da0e1)

  13. Just now, a police car (state or sheriff) blocked a major intersection to let a funeral procession go through. The light turned red and stayed red for about six minutes, too, until the police car drove off. Is it reasonable that the police car did it remotely?

    I know for sure that in Chicago, we have bright flashing white lights at major intersections that go on whenever an emergency vehicle (fire, ambulance, police) approaches. For sure it’s because of some transponder in the vehicle.

    nk (0214d0)

  14. “Delegate authority, take responsibility.” Seems like he hasn’t learned, even after his experiences.

    htom (412a17)


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