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Probing the Humanity of Police Or Why You Shouldn't Hug a Cop

by Adam Finley
art/Marty Kelley

You don't hear too many stories about law enforcement officers, at least not ones that show the officers in a favorable light. Even if someone did have a pleasant story to convey about their experiences with a friendly policeman, they probably wouldn't tell anyone because it's simply not cool to like cops. They're arrogant, power-hungry lap dogs of a corrupt system, they take advantage of people's ignorance, and I'm pretty sure they were indirectly responsible for Fox's decision to cancel Futurama.

At least, that's the general consensus, though I've never had any problems with policemen. I've been pulled over for speeding, and once when I was six a mall cop yelled at me for jumping off a display case, but I've never seen a truly bad cop. I can't say I've seen a good cop, either, but at least I've seen the "completely indifferent, just doing my job" cop. This may because I don't live in a major city where this kind of corruption seems more commonplace, but hatred for the men in blue exists throughout the United States. I chalk most of this up to people jumping on the "I Hate Cops" bandwagon, but there is some point of origin to this hatred. This sort of animosity doesn't just bubble from out of nowhere.

My last one-on-one encounter with policemen happened over a year ago while I was working as an overnight motel clerk and involved a drunken British gentleman who had passed out in the lobby during the early morning hours. I called the cops to escort him out, making it clear that this man had done no harm to anyone, but I just couldn't have some guy lying unconscious on the floor while people were checking out. Three cops showed up, two older gentlemen and a young lad, and to their credit, they treated the man quite well. What caught my attention was the friendliness of the older officers: They were relaxed, easygoing, and even joked around with me. It was the younger officer who never spoke a word and exuded that air of detached cockiness that so profoundly upsets the lower life forms he has sworn to protect and unconvincingly hide his disdain toward. He didn't even offer me a lollipop.

Cops, which recent studies have shown are human, might not have always realized just how human they are. In fact, I'm convinced that some of them, when they first join the force, develop slight delusions of grandeur.

Patrolman: Do you know why I pulled you over?

Driver: Was I speeding?

Patrolman: You were going 65 in a 45, and you have a broken taillight.

Driver: I'll be sure to get that fixed.

Patrolman: No need, I'll do it right now [Begins to flex his left hand].

Driver: What are you doing?

Patrolman: I'm trying to turn my hand into a screwdriver.

Driver: What?

Patrolman: All the cyborgs can do this. If you have any 10-W 40 motor oil you're not using, I'd like to drink it.

Driver: Is this going to take long?

Patrolman: Don't make me kill you with my laser vision, sniveling mortal.

Maybe we'd be better off having cyborgs enforcing our laws, though I've seen enough sci-fi flicks to know that could never work, and anyway, who will teach these creatures about love and compassion? The bottom line is, cops are human, and as humans, they're prone to all the evils in the world just as much as the next person. They can be corrupt, they can be excessive, and some of them can be downright nasty. Nevertheless, many of them are decent folks who actually do care about keeping the peace and serving other human beings. It's something to keep in mind the next time a policeman beats you severely for littering.

Of course, I'm not saying you should start hugging cops. In fact, I don't recommend that at all, as you might trigger the helicopter blades that are stored beneath their titanium exo-skeleton, and we all know how difficult it is to get those things back in place.

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Other articles by Adam Finley: