by Lea Anne Weil (shared with permission of the author, the wife of a cop)

Anyone ever wonder why cops are such ‘pricks’? Every shitty, rotten, horrible, scary situation that exists in life, cops deal with it. Repeatedly. Every friggen’ day. Your ‘worst day ever’ is just another tour. Car accident, homicide, rape, robbery, baby mama drama, baby daddy drama, family dispute over who gets the last pork chop that winds up with a dinner guest sporting a steak knife in the chest, a kid that goes missing or runs away, a Dad who gets tanked up and uses Mom as a speed bag, a drug overdose, hostage situations…every despicable thing that one human being can do to another is what the police are immersed in every day.

Just this week, police in Newburgh, NY were at the scene where a wonderful upstanding citizen was holding others hostage. Earlier this year, this young man’s brother charged the police with a knife (it was the last thing he did on this earth…) and the present hostage situation put the lives of 2 people in peril as the perpetrator ranted and raved. The police charged him and subdued him. What does his family do? Why, they charge the police of course! Listen, one family member was a savage who tried to kill the police and just a few months later his little brother is threatening the lives of others while he holds them hostage. Just after minimizing the threat from this psycho, they have to hold off his family who tried to rush the police. Just a little note, when your ‘emotionally disturbed’ family member is off his/her meds and is a danger to himself or to society and the police have to be called to the scene, try to remember they are the POLICE. If you wanted a social worker or a psychologist, you should have dialed one directly.

This past month, a young NYPD officer gained some notoriety when he bought a pair of boots for what appeared to be a homeless man down on his luck on the streets of Manhattan. It was a selfless gesture and the story went nationwide. It was an opportunity to see the police in a kinder, softer light and quite a human interest story. Of course the media wanted to know all about the recipient of the benevolence – who was he? What was his ‘story’? Well, it was learned that Mr. Hillman was not (and is not) homeless. He has a nice apartment in the Bronx, he receives Social Security and Veteran’s benefits and has a loving supportive family in Pennsylvania. When asked what he did with the boots, he claimed that he hid them because he didn’t want to be robbed and that they were valuable (bullshit – he sold them). Mr. Hillman also claimed that he intends to sue the photographer because he didn’t give permission for his picture to be taken and he wants a ‘piece of the pie’ . So Mr. Hillman is a straight up ‘playa’, yo. Officer DePrimo said that he was going to keep the receipt in his bulletproof vest as a reminder that no matter how hard a day he was having, he would know that someone else is having a harder time and that he would always be grateful. Officer DePrimo did an honorable thing, but the death of his innocence and naivte has begun and in it’s place, cynicism and disdain may have begun its germination.

Stuff like this happens all the time. You call, they come. When they come, it is likely that someone will be leaving in handcuffs. You cannot call the police to a violent situation and expect that in the end, everyone’s tears will be dried, hot chocolate and cookies will be handed out to be enjoyed by all and “Kumbaya” will be heard in the background. They are law enforcement officers. They enforce the law. You do not get to determine how they execute their duties. If you could have handled the bag of shit you called them about, you would have. You couldn’t, so just shut the hell up and deal with the fact that your husband/wife/brother/sister/baby mama/baby daddy/child/BFF could very well be spending time as a guest of the municipality who came to answer your call for help.

Cops hang out with other cops. They get each other; they don’t have to explain themselves. They laugh at things other people think inappropriate. Their humor is dark, but they love to laugh. They work second jobs and they are Boy Scout Leaders, lacrosse, football, soccer, hockey and baseball coaches. The divorce rate in the United States is over 50%, for cops it is significantly higher, and with good reason. They spend twenty –plus years being tired and grumpy from the commute, the crazy hours, the job and pain in the butt bosses. When they walk in the door and the kids yell, “Daddy!” (or, “Mommy!”) they ‘re ready with a big hug, a smile and a “What’s up guys?” How, you ask, do I know these things? I have spent twenty seven years being married to one of them. He is one of those big-mouthed tough guys who know everything. He trusts no one. He is a cop’s cop. He has an amazing memory and eye for detail that is astounding. Anyone who has ever worked with him will tell you he is probably a little crazy, but that he is the best cop they ever worked with. For twenty years, I watched him walk out the door and I always prayed that he would come back. There were some really close calls, but he always made it home. I have never taken that for granted, I know too well the ache and emptiness in the eyes of the survivors of the shield. For twenty years, I lent my husband to New York City to patrol the streets and to keep the wolves at bay so that the people of that city could live under the blanket of security and safety that his existence provided; all the while knowing that the very citizens he protected resented his presence. In 2010, our son took the oath of office and wears the shield his father wore before him. Again, I wait each night until I hear the key in the door before I fall into a deep sleep.

Cops are pricks. It’s what keeps them alive and whole, because if they let all the crap they deal with actually sink in, it would destroy their souls. So they will deal with the things you don’t want to believe really happen. They will be physically and emotionally bruised, battered and bloodied. And at the end of each tour when they take off the uniform and close their locker they say a brief prayer of thanks for making it through the day safely. There is one thing that a cop wants every day when he or she goes into work – just one thing. At the end of tour, they want to go home. That’s it, just to make it home where things are normal, boring and safe. When all is said and done, that really is their job – to make it through the day and arrive home safe and sound.

  • mindsasone

    Sorry, don’t buy it. trying to excuse inexcusable self-righteousness and ego jockeying under the guise of a tough job. I know plenty of people with jobs, psych nurses, home healthaides, janitors ccool literally clean up shit all day.I’ve met the people who actually clean up crime scenes , and they don’t have egos the size of Mount Everest. most of the people who become cops were probably school bullies, jock athletes, and tough guy “bro” types to start with. And giving them the power over people’s money and freedom simply boosts their ego to astronomical levels. Cops don’t become pricks; pricks become cops. The badge just gives them the perfect mask to hide behind and environment to express their self-righteousness and power hunger, to steal people’s hard earned money and intimidate the public.

    • Chris

      Tell me something: Have you ever been called to a home of a person who’s just drank motor oil and is cutting their own throat? I have.

      I had to quickly and coarsely separate the innocents from the threat there. I found myself on the stairs, gun drawn, broadcasting horror over the radio, with family behind me, and the disturbed man upstairs in a bathroom, finishing himself off. You’ve surely heard the sound of water falling to the pavement as it comes from a hose. I heard the exact same sound coming from that bathroom, except it wasn’t water. All the while, the family is begging me to go help him. The only problem is that he had a knife, and I was alone. My nearest help was racing to the scene and was still a very long 5 minutes away. I heard the man collapse as my partner came up the stairs. I kicked the door, threw it down the hallway, and found the bathroom dripping in blood, and a 33 year old dead man laying in it. He had nearly cut off his own head. I could see his spine…from the front.

      Why didn’t I rush up the stairs and stop him? Because I couldn’t. He had a box cutter, and had already aggressed on his uncle. I knew that if I were to engage him solo, it would just prompt an unnecessary shooting. And then someone as quick to judge as yourself would have me hanged for it. The only person who got what they wanted that day was the deceased. Everyone else still remembers, and likely always will.

      Cops are pricks. We are a product of the circumstances that we are thrust into. ER and trauma staff are often right there with us. Firefighters too. It’s something that does truly bother me from time to time, but I keep at it because I’m told that I’m good at what I do, and I know that it takes a very particular constitution to do this sort of work. So please, spare us the sanctimony and have some perspective. Remember that the worst day of your life is just another day in mine.

      • mindsasone

        While you honestly have no idea what the worst day of my life might have been, I’ve worked in some of the environments you just mentioned. That STILL doesn’t justify abusing and toying with regular citizens for fun. In NY, my stomping ground, the NYPDs primary job is revenue collection, and they do it with a vengeance. I just got a ticket thrown out against me that involved the NYPD beat cops (not meter maid warriors) creating a traffic condition deliberately to force cars to break traffic law just to avoid a ten minute detour, then pull EVERY single car over. The judge threw it right out because it was entrapment, and the NYPD does this all the time. And for how tough the job might be (although you would have to admit that the situation you faced above is fairly atypical for the average day on the beat), at least here in NY, cops get INCREDIBLE government pensions and benefits. And, of course, get to carry a gun for the rest of their lives and NEVER have to pay a ticket or worry about getting pulled over. Speeding drunk with weed and an open beer in the car and get pulled over? Just flash the badge, no other cop would cross the blue line. And you can lie on the stand too, to drum up your arrest and summons stats, because a cops testimony can never be doubted (just happened to my buddy the other day…cop lied right through his teeth). While it may seem like nothing, the fact that you are above the law by definition, and get to play power games with people and ruin their day to pay back for being pissed at your spouse…these are NOt deserved “rewards” for having to deal with us “perps” (i.e. regular humans). I wish cops would be more like the soldiers they pretend to be…sometimes you have to suffer for the mission, in this case the mission being to protect civilians. Your job is NOT to make it home at the end of the day, if that costs an unarmed civilian their life. Your job IS to sacrifice for the greater good. Soldiers actually see a lot worse shit and don’t expect to be able to taunt civilians as payback for real PTSD when they rotate back. And you get paid handsomely to do it. With the exception of very occasional and unusual incidents like the one your described, cops jobs are actually not that hard, compared to teachers, fire fighters and trauma surgeons. If you guys would realize it’s we, the civilians (i.e. potential perps) who pay for your salary and your boat check when you retire, and stop treating us as criminals for your own amusement, maybe we would respect you. Police may be necessary, but they don’t have to be a necessary evil. when you stop using “the job” as an excuse for being the people you are, maybe things will change.

        • Chris

          You’ve obviously got us all figured out. I’m sure you’ll get to your nearest agency that’s hiring, take the job, and show us all the error of our ways.

        • Anon

          “That STILL doesn’t justify abusing and toying with regular citizens for fun.”

          Who is doing that?

          “And for how tough the job might be (although you would have to admit that the situation you faced above is fairly atypical for the average day on the beat)”

          Holy fucking shit, no it’s not. That shows just how LITTLE you know.

          ” and NEVER have to pay a ticket or worry about getting pulled over.”

          How do you know this? Did they tell you?

          “Speeding drunk with weed and an open beer in the car and get pulled over? Just flash the badge, no other cop would cross the blue line.”

          Damn he got away with that, didn’t he? Did you see how quickly he flashed his badge and was let go?

          “And you can lie on the stand too, to drum up your arrest and summons stats, because a cops testimony can never be doubted (just happened to my buddy the other day…cop lied right through his teeth).”

          A cop can lie like anyone else, if he is caught, he loses his job, the credibility from the judge and probably a criminal charge. Your anecdotal evidence isn’t sufficient proof.

          “I wish cops would be more like the soldiers they pretend to be…sometimes you have to suffer for the mission”

          Except people don’t want cops to be like the military. They already bitch about camo, because that’s so “dangerous” cops also are not required by law to “suffer” for the “mission”

          “in this case the mission being to protect civilians.”

          No, the supreme court already ruled that officers are not legally or professionally obligated to prevent someone getting harmed, a lot will because they care, but it’s not their job by policy or law. Again, you don’t know shit.

          “Your job is NOT to make it home at the end of the day, if that costs an unarmed civilian their life.”

          Bullshit. A cop does not have to wait for someone to shoot them before they employ self defense, fun little fact, civilians have the same right.

          “Your job IS to sacrifice for the greater good.”

          Sacrifice what exactly? And for what “good”?

          “Soldiers actually see a lot worse shit and don’t expect to be able to taunt civilians as payback for real PTSD when they rotate back.”

          Most do not see worse shit. A whole lot don’t even see combat. Soldiers also have a REAL dude bro mentality when they are in society.

          “And you get paid handsomely to do it”

          Cops? No they don’t, not the vast majority of them, it’s actually a joke in law enforcement that you have to do a whole laundry list of incredible and stressful things on top of providing for your family on a cop’s salary.

          “cops jobs are actually not that hard, compared to teachers, fire fighters and trauma surgeons.”

          Oh, are you a former cop? I’m sure teaching history to teens is a much harder job /s

          “If you guys would realize it’s we, the civilians (i.e. potential perps) who pay for your salary”

          Cops pay taxes too, they are also paying their own salary, drop the “we pay your salary” bullshit. It has been done to death and was a dumb argument to begin with. Do you want the .27 cents or less back that contributed to any one given cop’s salary? I’m sure he’d be GLAD to give it back to you if to only not hear one more person say that line.

          “and stop treating us as criminals for your own amusement, maybe we would respect you. Police may be necessary, but they don’t have to be a necessary evil. when you stop using “the job” as an excuse for being the people you are, maybe things will change.”

          I know firefighters, nurses, teachers and many more whose attitude has changed because of the job and what they have had to deal with.

          Suck it up buttercup and either go on a ride along and see if the cop shares these “rational” sentiments with you, hell go on a ride along with the fire department or EMS and see if they share your sentiments about cops. I guarantee most of them won’t.

          Or actually apply for the job, since it’s so much easier and you supposedly have amazing benefits and pay, it should be an easy dream job for you.

          • mindsasone

            “Who is doing that?”
               -most of the NYPD

            “Holy fucking shit, no it’s not. That shows just how LITTLE you know”
             -in NYC it is. It’s a kush job according to the cops I know.

            “How do you know this? Did they tell you?”
               -yeah, actually.

            “Bodycam Captures Arrest Of Suspected Drunk Driving…damn he got away with that, didn’t he? Did you see how quickly he flashed his badge and was let go?”
               -why do you think NYPD union VEHEMENTLY fought bodycams? Because now, they can’t pull that shit anymore.

            “A cop can lie like anyone else, if he is caught, he loses his job, the credibility from the judge and probably a criminal charge. Your anecdotal evidence isn’t sufficient proof.”
               -then I don’t know what is.  Anecdotal evidence is enough for me, because I trust my friends.

            “Except people don’t want cops to be like the military. They already bitch about camo, because that’s so “dangerous” cops also are not required by law to “suffer” for the mission”
              – then they should stop driving around in aggressively styled muscle cars and APCs with military assault rifles and cqb bunkers and tear gas, and stop using military ranks and saluting calling themselves paramilitary organizations. 

            “Again, you don’t know shit.”
               – oooh your right, I’m so scared and intimidated by your profanity.

            “A cop does not have to wait for someone to shoot them before they employ self defense, fun little fact, civilians have the same right.”
                -if a civilian pulled what happened in Minnesota and shot an innocent women who slapped his car, he’d be fried. If a civilian shot an African guy with a wallet 41 times, he’d be executed. But cops face no such penalties.

            “Cops? No they don’t, not the vast majority of them, it’s actually a joke in law enforcement that you have to do a whole laundry list of incredible and stressful things on top of providing for your family on a cop’s salary.”
               -career NYPD officers can make six figures in salary and benefits.

            “Oh, are you a former cop? I’m sure teaching history to teens is a much harder job”
               -now THERES the cop ego! Took long enough. You don’t know many teachers, do you.

            “Do you want the .27 cents or less back that contributed to any one given cop’s salary? I’m sure he’d be GLAD to give it back to you if to only not hear one more person say that line”
              – no, I want the hundreds I had to pay lawyers to (successfully, over and over) defend BS tickets to meet some NYPD angels quota.

            “I know firefighters, nurses, teachers and many more whose attitude has changed because of the job and what they have had to deal with”
               – Yes, but they don’t get badge an a gun, and the power to intimidate and lie to deal with that change. That draws a certain type of person…a cop.

            “go on a ride along with the fire department or EMS and see if they share your sentiments about cops. I guarantee most of them won’t.”
              -been there, done that. Can’t say you were right.

            “Or actually apply for the job, since it’s so much easier and you supposedly have amazing benefits and pay, it should be an easy dream job for you.”
                -no thanks. I want to keep my soul. And I’m not enough of a prick anyhow, I actually want to help people for a living, not take their hard earned money and freedom away in the name of raising public funds

          • mindsasone

            “Who is doing that?”
               -most of the NYPD

            “Holy fucking shit, no it’s not. That shows just how LITTLE you know”
             -in NYC it is. It’s a kush job according to the cops I know.

            “How do you know this? Did they tell you?”
               -yeah, actually.

            “Bodycam Captures Arrest Of Suspected Drunk Driving…damn he got away with that, didn’t he? Did you see how quickly he flashed his badge and was let go?”
               -why do you think NYPD union VEHEMENTLY fought bodycams? Because now, they can’t pull that shit anymore.

            “A cop can lie like anyone else, if he is caught, he loses his job, the credibility from the judge and probably a criminal charge. Your anecdotal evidence isn’t sufficient proof.”
               -then I don’t know what is.  Anecdotal evidence is enough for me, because I trust my friends.

            “Except people don’t want cops to be like the military. They already bitch about camo, because that’s so “dangerous” cops also are not required by law to “suffer” for the mission”
              – then they should stop driving around in aggressively styled muscle cars and APCs with military assault rifles and cqb bunkers and tear gas, and stop using military ranks and saluting calling themselves paramilitary organizations. 

            “Again, you don’t know shit.”
               – oooh your right, I’m so scared and intimidated by your profanity.

            “A cop does not have to wait for someone to shoot them before they employ self defense, fun little fact, civilians have the same right.”
                -if a civilian pulled what happened in Minnesota and shot an innocent women who slapped his car, he’d be fried. If a civilian shot an African guy with a wallet 41 times, he’d be executed. But cops face no such penalties.

            “Cops? No they don’t, not the vast majority of them, it’s actually a joke in law enforcement that you have to do a whole laundry list of incredible and stressful things on top of providing for your family on a cop’s salary.”
               -career NYPD officers can make six figures in salary and benefits.

            “Oh, are you a former cop? I’m sure teaching history to teens is a much harder job”
               -now THERES the cop ego! Took long enough. You don’t know many teachers, do you.

            “Do you want the .27 cents or less back that contributed to any one given cop’s salary? I’m sure he’d be GLAD to give it back to you if to only not hear one more person say that line”
              – no, I want the hundreds I had to pay lawyers to (successfully, over and over) defend BS tickets to meet some NYPD angels quota.

            “I know firefighters, nurses, teachers and many more whose attitude has changed because of the job and what they have had to deal with”
               – Yes, but they don’t get badge an a gun, and the power to intimidate and lie to deal with that change. That draws a certain type of person…a cop.

            “go on a ride along with the fire department or EMS and see if they share your sentiments about cops. I guarantee most of them won’t.”
              -been there, done that. Can’t say you were right.

            “Or actually apply for the job, since it’s so much easier and you supposedly have amazing benefits and pay, it should be an easy dream job for you.”
                -no thanks. I want to keep my soul. And I’m not enough of a prick anyhow, I actually want to help people for a living, not take their hard earned money and freedom away in the name of raising public funds.

          • mindsasone

            Well, I guess censorship is the rule here. I keep responding to your post, but someone in their wisdom has decided my voice is not worthy of this forum. Go cops!

            PS whoever keeps deleting my response, have some balls and respond here.

          • mindsasone

            In NYC, police work is a kush job. it is. This isn’t the 70s jungle. This is post-Giuliani gentrified NYC. Things aren’t that bad. And this is directly from cop’s mouths.

            Why do you think NYPD union vehemently fought bodycams tooth and nail? Because now, they can’t pull nonsense anymore. But cops here take advantage of every other advantage they have. Cops in NY routinely illegally install lights and sirens in their personal vehicles to intimidate drivers (happened to me about a month ago, and see the famous YouTube of the detective pulling over the Uber driver). Career NYPD officers can make six figures in salary and benefits, retire with a pension that exceeds most NY’ers salary at age 45 with medical coverage for life…not too shabby indeed. And cops do, in fact, have all sorts of privelidges a civilian will never get…for crimes that woulld land civvies in jail (shooting first and asking questions later) , cops just get temporary desk duty with full pay and a slap on the wrist.

            I’m not a former cop. Are you a former teacher? There’s a reason teaching requires a masters degree, and summers off for recuperation. They actually bust their asses, and not sitting in an air conditioned car manning a stop sign trap. And I want the thousands I had to pay lawyers to (successfully, over and over) defend fraudulent entrapment tickets to meet some cops quota. Everyone in New York goes through this, it’s a cottage industry here. If the NYPD diverted a quarter of it’s ticketing and towing staffing to fighting crime, well…

            Finally, all sorts of people change from difficult professions, but they don’t get badge and a gun, and the power to intimidate, bully, yell at civilians like children, and lie through their teeth to “deal” with that change. That draws a certain type of person. I’m not enough of a prick for that job, actually want to help people for a living, not take their hard earned money, watch them cower and beg, and take their freedom away in the name of raising public funds and “safety”. Maybe if cops stop viewing the world as “us and them” and treat non-felonious civilians as regular people, not misbehaving children who need to fined into poverty, we would like you. This is how it is in NY. The NYPD is about 10% true angels, 60% average tough-guy blue collar workers, and about 30% hardened sociopaths. Maybe it’s different around your parts.