If recent allegations made by a Norwich Police Department officer have even a kernel of truth to them, then it is clear the department is in need of a shakeup, and at the least, the assemblage of an independent oversight committee charged with looking into these frat-boy antics.
The charges come at a time when police misconduct in Oakland, Calif. is in the forefront of national news. The Oakland Police Department has fired three police chiefs in less than two weeks amid charges that police officers sexually exploited a minor, and regularly exchanged racist text messages.
Character, integrity, and honesty are essential qualities for those who wear the badge. They aren’t learned skills; however, they are deep-seeded traits an officer of the law brings to the job.
No doubt, the courage of a police officer is implicit. Every day could be an officer’s last, and you never know when you will stare evil in the face where life and death are the only two options.
We, the public, need our protectors to have character that is beyond reproach. They should be devoid of any personal agendas, and serve their community with honor and fairness.
I have known many fine, fine Norwich police officers. What we are seeing now – and this is the minority, not the majority — are a few individuals that should have never become police officers.
They were disenfranchised young adults with little or no college education, few marketable job skills, and pervasive insecurity due to perpetual underachievement. Give that disgruntled individual a badge and a gun, and put them in a position of power…well, you have the ingredients for potential malfeasance, corruption, and professional misconduct.
Perhaps there are arguments that, “well, they don’t make ’em like they used to;” or, “who will they find to take the job, the applicant pool is so shallow?”
I say hogwash.
That one can pass rudimentary tests and say the right things in psychological evaluations are not enough. The vetting process for police officers is awry – not just in Norwich, but all over the country.
Let’s be honest, police impropriety is not a brand-new topic, but the growing smudge on this essential profession to a free society is egregiously dishonoring the thousands – if not millions – of police officers who have served their communities with honor for over 200 years.
A few Norwich police officers are not only carrying a badge and gun, but a big chip on their shoulder. It’s time to knock that chip off.