The World According to Mike: July 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Forgotten Cop

Most of those "in the biz" have seen this but perhaps some of you on the outside might get a little more perspective on the "dumb knuckle dragger"....

What would the average citizen say if it were proposed that police officer be assigned to a neighborhood which was inhabited by no one but criminals and those officers would be unarmed, patrol on foot and be heavily outnumbered? I wager that the overwhelming public response would be that the officers would have to be crazy to accept such an assignment. However, as you read this, such a scenario is being played out in all areas of the country.

I am a state corrections officer, not a guard, who is a person that catches school crossings. I work in a maximum security correctional facility. I am empowered by the State to enforce its penal laws and the rules
and regulations of the Department of Corrections . In short, I am a policeman. My beat is totally inhabited by convicted felons, who, by definition, are people who tend to break laws, rules and regulations. I am outnumbered by as much as 20, 30 and even 40 to 1 at various times during my workday, and contrary
to popular belief, I work without a sidearm. In short, my neck is on the line every minute of every day.

A correctional facility is a very misunderstood environment. The average person has little knowledge of its workings. Society sends its criminals to correctional facilities and as time passes, each criminal's crime fades from our memory until the collective prison population becomes a vision of hordes of bad people being warehoused away from decent society in a place where they can cause no further harm. There is also the notion that prison inmates cease to be a problem when they are incarcerated.

Correctional facilities are full of violence perpetrated by the prison population against each other and the facility staff. Felonies are committed daily but they are called "unusual incidents" rarely result in public prosecution. Discipline is handled internally and, as a rule, the public is never informed of these crimes. In the course of maintaining order in these facilities, many officers have endured the humiliation of being spit upon and having urine and feces thrown at them. Uncounted correction officers have been punched and kicked, bitten, stabbed and slashed with home made weapons, taken hostage and even murdered in the line of duty, all the while being legally mandated to maintain their professional composure and refraining from any retaliation which could be the basis for dismissal from service.

In addition to these obvious dangers, corrections officers face hidden dangers in the form of AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Courts are now imposing longer sentences and the prison population is increasing far beyond the system's designed capacity. As the Public demands more police on the street, governments everywhere are cutting police in prisons where violence reigns supreme, jeopardizing all those still working behind prison walls.

Although you will never see me on "RESCUE 911" or "TOP COPS" I am a law enforcement professional. I am THE FORGOTTEN COP, hidden from public view, doing dangerous thankless duty on the world's most dangerous beat, hoping someday to received the respect of and approval from the public whom I silently serve.

~Original author unkown

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!


Post a Comment

<< Home