Cops and Crime: What the Hell is Going On?Criminal Justice Online by Andrew G. Hawkes - January 18, 2010
As I look at law enforcement headlines across the country on a day to day basis I see the same two topics repeatedly coming to the forefront. Number one is story after freaking’ story of cops committing crimes, from dealing drugs to committing burglaries and armed robberies, not to mention the sexual assaults on duty in squad cars. Number two, right after I read how bad the criminal element is that seems to be steadily creeping into our profession, I read how department after department is lowering their hiring standards. “PD to remove entrance exam”, and “past marijuana usage OK for new recruits”, and “bad credit, no problem”. Am I the only one that wants to raise the question as to whether or not these problems correlate? “Chief arrested for selling dope”, “sheriff sentenced in conspiracy”, “off-duty officer commits burglaries”, “DUI’s out of control in law enforcement….The newspaper headlines go on and on about cops committing crimes and becoming part of the criminal element. Yet society still holds us to a “higher standard”. If we are continually held to a higher standard, should we not continue to hire new officers that meet that higher standard? We will never be able to fully stop some bad apples from outsmarting the system, but I don’t think we should be holding the door open for them to step right on in either. Sure it’s tough to find solid recruits, but I think we need to require more than a high school diploma and a driver’s license. The argument about lowering the standards because we cannot get any good qualified candidates because law enforcement doesn’t pay is a bunch of hogwash. Are we underpaid, you’re damn right we are. Would I have become a cop for free? You bet I would have, because I wanted to become a police officer, and I didn’t care how much I made. I believe the “want to” to become a police officer coupled with the desire to do the job no matter what, up to and including laying your life on the line is the intangible trait that we must focus on in the hiring process. The old cliché of “You get what you pay for” is ringing loud and clear here. Sure it’s up to the city councils and the county commissioner’s court to set our salary, and we always hope they will take care of us, but even if they don’t, it’s our duty as cops, our duty as police agencies to still go the extra mile to find the best recruits that we can. When I started in law enforcement it was common knowledge that police officer’s in Mexico were all corrupt. The more and more headlines I see about corrupt police officers are happening right here in the homeland. Let’s take back our profession before it get’s out of hand and we get the same reputation across the globe. This is American, we are the trendsetters globally, and it’s our responsibility to keep our badges shiny and polished, not dirty and tarnished. Is anyone one with me? Andrew G. Hawkes
About the Author
Sergeant Andrew G. Hawkes has over 17 years of law enforcement experience. He has a BA in Criminal Justice and is currently completing his master’s degree in Public Administration. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas; has a Master Police Peace Officer Certificate from the State of Texas; and, has a Police Instructor’s Licenses from the State of Texas. Currently, Sergeant Andrew G. Hawkes is a member of the Collin County Sheriff’s Office (Texas) where he is a senior sergeant in the patrol operations. Sergeant Andrew G. Hawkes is the author of Secrets of Successful Highway Interdiction. According to Sergeant Andrew G. Hawkes, “After 17 years of highway drug interdiction, 500 felony arrests, 5,100 pounds in drug seizures, and over $20 million (drugs, cash and vehicles), I have learned a lot of drug-busting techniques that I want to share with you.” His book, Secrets of Successful Highway Interdiction, contains eleven chapters on Highway Drug Interdiction.
You can find out more about Andrew and his book at http://www.highwaydruginterdiction.com/