There are heroes who happen to be cops. But being a cop does not make one a hero. The occasional acts of heroism that earn cops commendations are done by plenty of people who aren’t sworn and paid “to protect and serve.” Rushing into a dangerous situation to aid others? Gestures of kindness or compassion that go above and beyond the call of duty? All routinely done by everyday heroes.
Cops actually enjoy more protection than the average citizen:
- Law enforcement is not a particularly dangerous career.
- Cops enjoy immunity against acts of omission – they have no legal obligation to aid any particular member of the public. In contrast, it is often a crime for a member of the public to not come to the aid of a police officer!
- Cops enjoy special legal protections: merely touching a police officer can constitute aggravated assault and is often its own crime.
- Cops enjoy qualified immunity against acts of commission. Cops harass and arrest people with such impunity that their abuse of discretion goes by the common name “contempt of cop.” Victims of police abuse have no practical redress: Expensive and often fruitless civil lawsuits can only be filed against the government, not against the abusive officers.
- Cops enjoy qualified immunity and substantial deference in using force against members of the public. Governments don’t reliably collect data on the use of force by police – not even the use of lethal force. Prosecutors are notoriously hesitant to bring criminal charges against their fellow law enforcement officers. The only redress available to victims of police violence are mostly futile civil lawsuits against the government.
- Abusive cops are protected from adverse consequences by powerful police unions. Claims of police violence generally disappear into secret internal investigations that impose no apparent consequences on violent cops.
Bad cops may be a minority, but every law enforcement officer is morally responsible for shielding them. If cops were heroes they would not tolerate those in their midst who abuse the office and victimize the public.
Do you think cops need your thanks or support, in addition to the broad Blue Privileges they already enjoy? Take a look at what cops are paid. Of course this varies by jurisdiction, but it’s not hard to find cops raking in six-figure incomes while accumulating a similar government-guaranteed lifetime pension that pays out after as few as 20 years of “service.”