I form very strong emotional attachments to my own dogs. They are all rescues that I collect starving and injured off the street. (Three at a time is my limit, so don’t get the impression that I’m like one of those crazy cat ladies.)
But speaking as someone who has actually worked in law enforcement, I can say that dogs are merely chattel. Property. My own dogs might be very dear to me in a personal sense but they are all mixed breed strays, which means that they are particularly worthless property at that.
This post alerted me to a news story where a police officer in Texas pulled a car over. It seems that the driver was rushing his choking dog to the pet clinic, and he managed to reach a speed that was close to 100 MPH (160 KPH).
The officer was uncaring and flippant, and he kept the motorist by the side of the road for 15 minutes. Both the journalists who report the story, as well as the comments at the blog post that discuss it, seem to think that an egregious breach was committed by the cop. The facts of the matter are that the officer might well have shown more tact, but he was essentially correct in his actions because he was doing his job and safeguarding lives. Human lives.
This is an example of something I’ve been noticing a lot more recently. People seem to be quicker to complain about whether or not they feel insulted when they interact with the police.
The core of law enforcement is to get people to stop doing what they really want to do, which means police officers have to establish the fact right away that they are in the dominant position. There is no negotiation involved, what the cop says is what is going to happen at the time. It is the role of the courts to sort it out if those arrested think that the officer stepped out of bounds.
I can attest from my own personal observations that trying to be a nice guy when dealing with someone who has done wrong increases the chance that they will resist. While there is a very fine line between being in control and being a jerk, it is vital to everyone’s safety that the officer approach each public interaction with a “Me boss, you not!” attitude. Doing otherwise may actually increase the chance of violence.
Administrators in charge of law enforcement agencies are under a great deal of pressure to reassure the public when the whingeing gets too loud. They walk a fine line themselves, since they have to make a show of taking these complaints to heart while also reassuring their officers that they will back them if they do their jobs right.
Take a look at the news article concerning the choking dog, and watch the video. The reporters say that the officer received “counseling from his superiors”, which was probably a word from one cop to another about how acting excessively rude in front of a dashboard camera was not a smart thing to do in the YouTube era. But they also say that the officer received a reprimand, which seems to me like the chief was going a bit too far to make this mini scandal disappear.
But, then again, I am not familiar with that particular department. Maybe it really is against policy in Austin to be rude when someone puts innocent lives in danger.