Cop Shows

Most of the time students sit in class as the instructor drones on. The information provided is copied down in copious notes. The note taking is a way of fighting off boredom. Anything retained is forgotten after the next test.

Once in a while though, the message stays. I can picture the class and see the instructor even now forty years later. The course was “Introduction to Criminal Justice.” The lecture dealt with the treatment of police, law enforcement, courts and corrections in literature, movies and television.

The instructor posited that no other topic got more attention in the media than cops and criminal justice. Joe Public would remain convinced that they knew how to do police work better than the people actually doing police work. He was right. On top of that, the media rarely got anything right.

Two writers, one liberal the other conservative, take entirely different routes to wind up at the same destination…cop shows bad.

This just proves that, once again, I’m right. I go back to what my third grade math teacher said. “Show your work! A right answer doesn’t count unless you show your work.”

When you find yourself in agreement with a liberal, check their work. It will likely turn out you are not in agreement, once you see their thought process.

For a century, Hollywood has been collaborating with police departments, telling stories that whitewash police shootings and valorizing an action-hero style of policing over the harder, less dramatic work of building relationships with the communities cops are meant to serve and protect.

Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post

Guess she was to young to remember “Adam-12”, “Dragnet” and “Barney Miller.” She probably never saw Joseph Wambaugh on “Johnny Carson” when he spoke about the fights with producers to keep “Police Story” in the same zip code as reality.

“Starsky and Hutch” shoot three bad guys and wreck two cars. The viewer never sees them put a pen to paper. We don’t need no stinkin’ report. I’ve got news for Ms. Rosenberg that’s pure Hollywood.

John Nolte winds up in the same neighborhood as Alyssa Rosenberg for entirely different reasons.

He beats the Libertarian drums. He may have a point but that doesn’t make him right.

Some of you are going to get mad at me for repeating this, but the way television changed after 9/11, the way it turned into a blind cult of First Responder Worship, is not healthy for our society. Television, most especially broadcast television, is an authoritarian fairy tale filled with competent, compassionate, crusading government employees solving all of our problems.

John Nolte, Breitbart

What both of these writers ignore is that the characters and their actions that they dislike don’t exist. They are not watching documentaries. Real cops and police departments don’t have a say in the content of the shows.

People see so much about police, law and procedure that they think they are experts on the subject. Working undercover, I don’t know how many times I heard a crook ask me, “Are you a cop? If you’re a cop you gotta tell me or its entrapment.” The first time I heard that was in a Dirty Harry movie, (“The Enforcer 1976)

When CSI came out folks went bat shit. One caller complained about a dog crapping in his yard. He wanted us to take a sample for DNA. That didn’t happen. I admit to trying grab a dead cat from a complainant for a necropsy.

I can explain. It was the start of a holiday weekend and the evidence locker was in the Lieutenant’s office. The reporting person almost bought it, but then opted for a kitty funeral instead.

When I got back in the patrol car I had to spend ten minutes clearing all the messages on my MDT They were from my sergeant. He threatened me with all sorts of dire stuff if I showed up at the station with the dead cat.

I know of what I speak. I wrote a cop book. It’s fiction. Some of the incidents happened, some are pure flights of fancy. I ain’t saying which. Find it on Amazon.