Since the beginning of law enforcement there has been an unspoken code between officers of different precincts, jurisdictions and states that the brotherhood of cops will take care of their own. On the surface it seems like a situation that would provide a much needed perk to hard working public servants everywhere. Unfortunately the result is that nobody should be allowed to live above the laws that they enforce for a living the rest of the time. The minute that the lines of right and wrong are blurred it can become difficult to figure out exactly where the line should be held.
The problem with the brotherhood of police officers is that once a person starts to apply their own choices to right and wrong it is difficult to stop. One cop might never give a ticket to any other police officer out of courtesy. If that is acceptable, some people are going to push the limits of right and wrong. Will other minor violations be ignored? Will theft? That is the problem with this type of favoritism, in some cases it will lead to a corruption in the police force and actually make criminals out of police officers. The hard facts are that police officers should be held to a higher standard than ordinary citizens. They should be the standard bearers not looking for a perk that puts them above the law.
The next step from favoritism is corruption because if there is a silent brotherhood then it is a police officer’s job to remain silent regardless of the crimes he sees another police officer commit. This has proven true in many places as the bad behavior of police officers has been caught on video and that has revealed the problems that favoritism can lead to. The Rodney King incident was one of the first nationwide looks at police officers who were clearly out of line and using their own system of justice and nobody would step in and stop it until there was an outrage over the video. The questions that this brings are large and looming. If the police feel they can get away with beating a prisoner then what else are they doing?
Not all of this behavior can be directly drawn back to the brotherhood of police officers but it should serve as a warning to society that those entrusted with our security need to be held to a standard that is clear and unshakable. Any deviation from the expectation is going to provide a potential for corruption and a punishment of those that are entrusting the police for help in the first place.