When most of us get pulled over by a police officer we get nervous. Apparently, when an off duty officer gets pulled over, he has nothing to worry about. Just this week in Milwaukee County on St. Patrick’s Day, an on duty officer pulled over an off duty officer on suspicion of drunk driving. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=729881 What is really appalling here is that the off duty drunkard thought he was just going to get away with it and be on his merry way home. After insisting that if he pulled an off duty officer over he would let them go, and has over 100 times, he begged the on duty officer to do the same for him.
The Frank Jude case has been society’s most recent opportunity to publicly see the culture of protecting one’s own in the police department. There is no doubt in my mind that this brotherhood extends to all officers and not just officers within the same department. I also know that the police department is no different than any other profession when it comes to looking out for one’s own.
Sadly, I am sure there is truth to the statements of the drunk deputy when he explained that he has let off duty officers go after he realized who they were. This cannot be an acceptable practice. I applaud the Hales Corners Police Officer who had the guts to arrest this man and take him into custody the same way any one of us would have been taken into custody if we were that intoxicated and behind the wheel swerving on the road.
We expect more from officers because of the important role they play in society. Cops who break the law themselves are hypocrites who do not deserve the respect of wearing the uniform and carrying the badge. They apply to be police officers to enforce law and order. And while I, as much as anyone can understand that we are all human and we all make mistakes, people who rely on other people’s mistakes to make their living should be smarter. They see it every day and know the consequences.
As a defense attorney, especially one who deals with OWI offenses, I know that if I get pulled over, I am getting the special treatment. And it is not the kind of special treatment that apparently off duty officers regularly get. While I do not believe this man should lose his job over this, he certainly should not be on highway duty arresting people for something of which he may be guilty of himself.
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