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Your sense of fairness, as defined above,
should extend to every person with
whom you come in contact.  There are no
exceptions.  You'll never lose anything by
being fair, and you'll gain enormous self
respect and self satisfaction.

Now... don't expect any fairness in
return.  You certainly aren't going to get
it from the criminals you apprehend and
prosecute.  You'll experience very little
from the citizens you serve, and as far as
your department is concerned... well,
let's just say that the Blue Wall so many
people whine about is fast going the way
of Hadrian's Wall.  You will, indeed, work
with fellow police officers and supervisors
who share your sense of fairness.
However, police departments have people
whose only real sense of fairness
extends to themselves.  It's just a reality
of life.

If you're lucky, in the beginning, you'll
have some good sergeants who will
protect you; until, you learn the ropes,
and you learn how to identify those who
are dangerous to your career.  You're
probably thinking, "That's sounds awfully
paranoid."  Not really.  Every occupation
or profession has people who will do you
in a heartbeat, and police departments
are no different.  They're more
dangerous to you in a police department,
because, as a police officer, you
immediately assume far more
responsibilities than you would in another
line of work.

I made some enemies, but they were
enemies I'd gladly make all over again.  
Remember, as long as you're fair, no one
will ever be able to get anything to hold
over you.  To a lot of people, if they
don't have any dirt on you, it's very
disconcerting to them, and they will take
every opportunity to impede and
obstruct you.  As aggravating as these
people can be, in the end, you'll be the
one holding the shovel, and you'll get
where you're going.

Once you establish a reputation for
fairness, those in your department
whose definition of fairness operates on
a sliding scale will go to great lengths to
avoid involving you in any potentially
compromising situations that can range
from minor to extreme.  As a new police
officer, you want to, early on, identify
those to avoid as much as possible.  
Fairness is the keystone of your integrity,
and you must protect your integrity at all
costs.
What is the one thing that governments;
politicians; judges; prosecutors and
police officers have in common with…
terrorists?  While you’re thinking about
that one, ask yourself this, what is the
main difference between the two
groups?  While the lawyers,
psychologists and sociologists could go
on for hours proffering and debating
dozens of answers, one word can answer
both questions accurately and
definitively.  The answer to both
questions is… power.

The dirty secret, which is actually no
secret at all, is that the acquisition and
exercise of power dictates the direction
and quality of life for every living being on
the planet.  The laws of nature are harsh
and unforgiving, but the laws of nature
are applied universally without prejudice
for anything or anyone.  Of course,
nature does not recognize any inalienable
right; thus, the oft spoken phrase,
“survival of the fittest.”  Human beings,
on the other hand, have the unique
ability to create and maintain civilizations
under man made rules of law where
objective reasoning can ensure that
every person is treated equally under
those laws.

Enter:  Empathy  [Identification with
and understanding of another's situation,
feelings, and motives.]

First of all, there is no such thing as
equal treatment under the law.  When
you become a police officer and you begin
spending a lot of time in court rooms,
you’re going to be struck at just how
unequal people are treated.  I’m not
talking about how a first time offender
may be treated versus a three time loser;
although, you’ll see a lot of repeat
offenders treated as though they’re
entering the criminal justice system for
the first time.  Why do you think
legislatures enact laws requiring
mandatory prison sentences under
particular circumstances?

You’ll be entering your police career when
empathy is all the rage, and a President
of the United States even believes that
judges should include empathy into their
judicial decision making processes.  Let
me put it to you this way.  When you
become a police officer, let empathy
influence how you enforce laws.  Now, if
the prosecutors and judges who get
your cases share your empathy, you
might get by.  However, if you have
prosecutors and judges who know what
they’re doing, you’ll be slapped down and
embarrassed; until, you get the message.

Here are some facts.  Police officers;
prosecutors and judges have enormous
power over people.  While you, as a
police officer may share the power, you
don’t even come close to sharing the
level of immunity which is extended to
prosecutors and judges when that power
is misused.  

Objective reasoning and empathy
are incompatible.
 

Since you’re a human being, you will
possess empathy – hopefully on a high
level of morality.  There will be many
times when empathy will influence how
you treat people.  As long as the
empathy you show toward one person
does not negatively impact another, the
empathy you extend can be positive.  
However, when your empathy affects
your decision making where objective
reasoning is required, someone, in all
likelihood, will not be getting equal
treatment under the law.

As a police officer, your ability to reason
objectively should be right at the top of
your list of things to master.  Unlike the
prosecutors and the judges, you’ll be the
first line defender of life, liberty and the
Constitution.  The prosecutors and
judges can gush with all the empathy
they want since their involvement comes
well after the flashpoint of perceived or
real crisis.  When things go badly, your
sound objective reasoning will save you.  
If you rely on empathy being shown
toward you for your empathy based
decision, you’re going to be sorely
disappointed.

Getting back to the terrorists… While it’s
obvious that the acquisition and use of
power to kill and maim are the top
priorities for terrorists, what is the single
biggest factor affecting their desire to
pursue a path of death and destruction?  
If you don’t figure this out in the next
three seconds, go back and reread the
definition of empathy.
Equal Treatment Under the Law
You'll learn very quickly that the word
"fair" has different meanings to different
people.  Maybe that's why so many
people have such a hard time finding the
definition that uses the words "open;
frank; honest; equal; just; equitable;
impartial; unprejudiced."
"When things go badly, your sound
objective reasoning will save you.  If
you rely on empathy being shown
toward you for your empathy based
decision, you’re going to be sorely
disappointed." ~ Barry M. Baker
Police and
Fairness
Copyright © 2017  Barry M. Baker  
CareerPoliceOfficer.com
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