Crime & Safety,
April 3rd, 2011
If you’ve followed stories about local police atrocities, you also may have heard predictions that police officers will flee New Orleans during future crises rather than stay and risk having their actions targeted by prosecutors.
Watch what happens after the next storm, some say. Others ask who’s going to protect you from the thugs when all the cops are gone?
Those comments are built on some false assumptions. First, that it is wrong as a matter of principle to pursue charges against police officers who risked their lives to stay on duty. The sacrifice such officers make by just staying here, according to this view, entitles them to a certain immunity.
The second assumption is that those who’ve been accused of crimes are good police officers. You have to make that assumption if you want the public to tremble at the thought of officers abandoning their posts, for who’s going to be disturbed at the thought of a crooked cop going AWOL?
Lastly, the prediction of mass police defections makes sense only if we assume that police officers who really are good see no distinction between themselves and their indicted colleagues. These good officers are paradoxically naive and so paranoid they believe prosecutors are after all cops, not just the corrupt ones.
By Jarvis DeBerry, The Times-Picayune, Nola.com