Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cop Attitude

Let me first state I like cops. They have a difficult down and dirty job. In my line of business I deal with men and women in all forms of law enforcement; local, county, state, and federal, both current and retired. Over the years I've had relations with the DEA, Treasury (what many of us refer to as the Secret Service), U. S. Marshals service, Border Patrol, the FBI, ATF and its police force the BATFE, and various wildlife protection agencies. You name it, I've dealt with it.

When they come into my shop they're on my turf, and there are rules; we're equals, leave the cop mentality at the door.
They carry weapons and so do I, and they know it.  Many of these men have become friends, not close, but we're on friendly terms, a mutual respect if you will. I've purchased, through private sales, firearms from many of these nice men. I've helped them repair their guns; as a matter of fact a couple of months ago I helped a retired policeman clear a jam from a handgun. He tired for hours to clear the stuck round and came to me for help. No big deal, it happens.

Cops and I have swapped rifles, gear (never swap a holster with a cop, it'll be worn out) and I, at the request of an officer, sold her late father's estate which consisted of several handguns, rifles, and a few shotguns. It was fun and she was very happy with the proceeds, and I enjoyed helping her. Even purchased a couple for my collection.

I've sat with marshals and debated the merits of knives, Glocks versus Beretta, night patrols, shooting matches, and if local news stations should have access to police scanners, they said, no. I've stood in my parking lot as they opened the trunks of their cars to show me their favorite custom built shotguns, all the while scaring the hell out of the local moonfleas.   

I've been invited and have shot at the local police range by a couple of police firearm instructors; I qualified, by the way. It was fun, hot out in the blazing open to the sun range, but fun. I felt out of place and as is my way, when I wasn't on the firing line, I stood aside and quietly watched, observed. I felt honored.

I've had this relationship with these fine men for close to thirty years. For the most part my dealings with these gentlemen and women have been friendly and fun; for the most part. But ever so often one will come in with an attitude. You know the type, I'm a badass and I carry a badge and you don't, little booger. That kind.

It's been awhile but I still remember him. A detective, burglary division. Short, even in his high-lift shoes, bald, chewing gum popping swagger.
I heard my chime ring and after a quick glance at the door buzzed him through. He walked in and took a seat. I was busy and remember I'd dropped something on the floor and had bent to retrieve the object.

Then, "Hey, is that a gun on your belt?" I remember thinking, 'one of them.' Guess my cover shirt slipped a bit too high.

"Yes, it is."

"What is it?"

"Glock 27 in .40"

"You licensed?"

Sigh, "Yes, officer, I'm licensed, and as you well know since I'm a business owner in this state I don't need the license while I'm conducting business."

Then the sarcasm, like venom dripping from his mouth, "Do you even know how to use it?" This, from a kid half my age. From a boy that doesn't even know me. A child that wasn't a gleam in his father's eye when I took the oath.
I turned to him and gave him my best fake Clint Eastwood look and said, "Yes, I know how to use it." Tried to stay all cool and stuff. Hoping this problem would walk back out the door of my shop.

Chew, pop, chew, swagger, stand and walks over and, get this now, reaches to touch my weapon. Now, we have a problem.
As he reaches I turn my body away and said, "Isn't gonna happen, pardner." He swells....pop, chew, pop. Then, "Hey, I just wanna look at it."

Me, "Give me yours and I'll hand you mine."

Steps back, all five foot four of him and glares up at me and said, "We, never, allow, a, civilian, to touch, our, guns." Indignant. Gives me the 'ole glare. Then, "Why would I let an amateur hold  my weapon?"

I waited for a second, smiled, again in an attempt to keep the situation on friendly terms, then replied,

"My point, exactly."

He didn't get it.      



  1. I limit my interaction with law enforcement of any variety to the best of my ability. Some of them are nice guys, but I'm not looking for buddies. A lot of them are like the one you ran into. I don't need it.

  2. Arsenius, I understand. Most are fine, but there is that rare bird.

    Are you having problems with blogger loading images?

  3. I worked for a small town PD some 30 years ago. The guys & gal (only one, at the time) were all pretty decent folks. Sadly, that's no longer the case in many locations. Here, they all dress in black & look as though they're shipping out to Fallujah this afternoon. I used to trust LEOs; I don't, anymore.

  4. My stepfather is a retired deputy. For the 12+ years I have known him, I have never seen him get mad or even aggressive. I’ve never seen him use his position to belittle anyone. As a matter of fact, the only time I’ve seen him use his badge is to cross the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge during Hurricane Gustav so he could get to his other job. As far as most people know, he’s the corporate accountant for a billboard company. He keeps his “other job” secret. Now his friends in LEO are good folks, do their job, and uphold the law without prejudice or inflated ego. But there will always be that guy with the ...inferior genetics... that needs to compensate with a big gun and bigger ego.

    Several towns here in the valley have had problems with Police Chiefs over various issues. One town even had a want ad for a new Police Chief who is moral. Heck, so would I.

  5. Rev. Paul, I understand, and feel much the same. Still, I must deal with 'em.

  6. Well, as nice as they seem, I would be like Arsenius and limit ALL socializing with them as much as possible.

    I'm sure most of those ol' boys that stormed that Marine's home in Tuscon are easy going guys when they aren't all militarized up.... yet everyone of them violated that man's house (and his civil rights)and killed him and almost killed his family.

    Until I see them start disobeying orders and start standing up for the constitution, I have ZERO reason to trust them after what I seen this year. I don't disrespect them, or go looking for a fight (that I'll clearly lose), but I won't be associating with them by choice.

  7. I am fed up with the bully attitude of cops especially those who disregard the law and intimidate law abiding citizens. The following link is just one example of cop thuggery. The cops don't even know the law in their own state!

    But to put the civilian in his place they try to justify charging him with disorderly conduct because he was trying to explain the law to the cops. I fear there is much more of this abuse to come.

  8. Mudbug, Rose, Matt - I must do what I must do, they are customers, not friends. Thanks.

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  10. Cops in general make me nervous. And I do try to stay away from them and not bring attention to myself.But I know for you it is hard because of your business. I do have a good friend whose husband is a federal agent, they know we like shooting and firearms, but so far he has never been a issue for us. I think this cop was just young, and a legend in his own mind and thought he could intimidate an older person.

  11. JUGM, thanks, you do understand.

  12. Here is PA we have a name for that kind of person...Richard Noggin'. Think about it.

  13. As silly as it sounds, if you want an example of the change in police attitude, look at any catalog that sold police stuff from 10-15 years ago. It would have those little figurines of a cop helping a lost child or petting a dog. The same catalog today has figurines of guys in black nomex with balaclavas with AR-15s taking down a door. Just my observation.

  14. I have never heard of that situation before. What could you have done if he did lay a hand on your weapon?

  15. Hillbilly, very true, and like I said, I must stay on friendly terms with these people. Some a very nice and we're old buddies. Others, not so much. But, if I act like a butthole toward them I'd cut my own throat and lose business.

    MDR, I'm sure if he had laid hands on my handgun I'd of smacked him and fifteen minutes later been arrested. I have no doubt I would have been released when the truth came out. It's good he backed off for my sake.

  16. Stephen I dont think anyone ( I know I wasn't ) suggesting you not be civil or friendly ( especially since it's your business ) it's just that beyond that, at least for me, I don't go out of my way for them.

  17. I don't mess with them or be smart mouthed. I just try to avoid them. I don't want to get hassled about anything. Don't blame you for doing business with them, business is business. My brother is a retired cop, I don't have anything against them really. But then again, I don't poke at Copperheads with a stick. No good can come of it.

  18. Matt and Arsenius, I understand and truly didn't take it that way. Like I said, we're friendly, not close friends. When you deal with these people as I have for close to thirty years, the same ones over and over, it's hard not to 'like' one or two, especially the older retired cops. It isn't well to 'lump' all of them as 'evil jack-booted thugs.' Many are just hard working men and women saddled with a pretty hard-assed job. When you hear that thump in the middle of the night and grab your bedside weapon, I believe the first call you make will be to them so they can come and clean the mess you've just made. Then, as they cover your ass and stand by you for protecting yourself, at least under our state laws, you'll appreciate their professionalism.

  19. Stephen, you are right. Professionalism is the word. There are too many “small fish in smaller pond” mentalities, and we all have stories of family and friends who give LEO a good name. However, anyone else gets a very wide berth. If the “Hope & Change” that we see in the UK this week infects this country, lawful carry and threat target start to blur in the mind of all LEO.
    I’m just glad he didn’t touch your weapon. Although he probably needed the stupid knocked out of him, I would have missed your knowledge and stories here on the internet.

  20. Mudbug, thank you. I'd of missed writing this blog too, as we would have had a fight and I'm sure I would have lost the long term battle with the law.
    This guy never returned to the shop. I asked about him and the story I got was he just had a bad case of 'short man against the world.' I'm sure you've met the type.

  21. I have a lot of respect for all LEO and a lot of my books have a main character in some law enforcement capacity. so far anyway, lol. I Have immense respect for the ones who do it for the right reason. They are just getting harder to find and that makes me sad. I miss the days when you could have a good friendly conversation and not fear them. Of course watching local LEO and their issues hasn't helped anything. The force here is horrible.

  22. Very true, Lila, seems it's the younger generation of 'cop' that gives the older more professional policeman a bad name.

  23. Here in the UK i worked in a Gun Shop had no trouble with the Police but as soon as the law changed and hand guns were banned i changed my attitude towards them they all went along with it bar a few,now i would not cross the street to pee on one lying in the gutter on fire,they in the main think they are gods not public servants.

  24. ajdshootist, damn shame what has happened to your country. We are fast following in your footsteps. Thank you very much for taking the time to comment, wish others from around the world would be as kind as you.

  25. Anyone that would reach to touch anyone else's gun without asking is an amateur no matter how much training they have. I went to a civilian academy for the local PD and was very happy to hear how much training they receive. Still, there are those...

  26. Stephen, like some of the other commenters, I simply do all I can to limit my interactions with law enforcement. I too have family in that line of work, but that is, in part, what has led me to this practice. I've heard too many "inside the ropes" stories for my own good.

    Also, I've also noticed that it is very common for that officer that you're on civil terms with to go from friendly to cop attitude in about 1 second or less if you say what they view as "the wrong thing".

    However, I understand that you can't allow yourself that luxury. Just remember that terms like "friendly" and "friends" don't seem mean a lot to most officers these days.

  27. Stephen,

    The sad thing is you said you would have been arrested.

    Shame, that. Any responding cop would have been responding to your call, stating that an assailant purporting to be a cop had attempted to grab a weapon and you had been forced to stop the attack.

    Any truly professional cop would instantly assess the situation without regard to who opr what the assailant was, only what he was doing. Any truly professional would know that you, a business owner, are lawfully armed on your own premises, and that your actions in defending yourself and your property was lawful.

    There should not even be a question, and when it came out that the assailant was a cop, his arrest charges would have been modified to pile on additional specifications. Because true professionals would want to identify and eliminate such types form their ranks.

    The fact that this does not happen - daily - is all the proof we need that there are very few professionals left in law enforcement who have not bowed to politics, who do not support the Blue Wall of Silence.

  28. I was I guess indifferent to LEO's in general despite running into a bad one here and there until I took a temp job one Summer working on the MULES (Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System) which is the State database.

    I worked on connections and servers sometimes while shift meetings were going on and got to see some of the abuse these guys routinely participated in. It soured my whole outlook on LEO's to this day.

    One thing that was constant. When I took the system down and brought it back up I would get lines and lines of data spit out which was license plates of twenty something women being run. I mean reams of it after only a 15 minute downtime.

  29. My brother is a retired cop. There is a reason why he is in NY and I am not.

  30. 45er, you are so correct. Thanks for the comment.

    Freeholder, thank you, too. My 'friendly' status is limited to my business dealings with 'them.' The retired cops seem to lose their self-important attitude after a few years.

    CarlS, yes I do believe I would have been arrested, but by the cop in the note.

    PPreppy, thanks for the comment. They live in a world all their own, don't they...

    Anon, I too have a few family members in the trade; a nephew and my nephew but seldom see him and would like to believe he's as nice on the job as off..but just don't know. Uncle, he'd arrest his mother.

  31. Taunt not the old, bald, fat guy. He's the one who can make a 20oz water bottle on the hundred yard line dance with a 44mag pistol and open sights.

  32. That policeman will have a fatal encounter with a citizen sooner or later- fatal for the citizen. That kind doesn't get better with age or experience. Before the fatal encounter there will be a series of escalating conflicts much like the one you experienced.

  33. Odysseus, very true. I'm old, semi-bald not too
    fat and I'd use a rifle at a hundred yards and limit my handgun shooting to fifty, and yes, with iron sights.

    Robert, yes he will. I need to ask about him and see if it's already happened.

    Thank you both for your comments and please come back soon.

  34. Wow.

    I think I would have made a friendly suggestion to one of the more friendly of his coworkers to give him some friendly "off the record" counseling about his actions. You never* just try and grab someone's sidearm without permission, cop or not, and he needed to be very firmly educated on that.

    The fact that he didn't push it any further, and the business-related need to keep good relations with other local LEOs, are the only reasons I wouldn't have made it a formal complaint. Talk about crossing the line!

    * Outside the obvious situations, of course.

  35. Jake, thank you. You are correct, his actions were not warranted and it was very stupid on his part, but as I've said, he was cocky and young. I just thank the good Lord he backed down, or it would have been a bad day for me.

  36. People suck.

    If you ask anyone in Law enfrocement, who the biggest assholes are, they will either say the media or other police officers.

    As a Cop, I've had to deal with one even worse. A 5 foot ex marine, who tried to pick fights with everyone taller than him. At least fights in his mind wouldn't happen or he would win.

    The best thing you can do is laugh. Believe me when you do, two months latter he is still hearing it. The little guy once told me that my MRE is "Government only" and I shouldn't have it as if it was a personal attack on him.

    At the Range this marine was a damn joke. He couldn't hit the side of a barn if he was standing inside it.

    My point is this. Asshole cops happen, but they don't happen for long. I'm sorry you had to deal with that prick. Personally upbringing makes more of a difference. Nearly every young person feels entitled, and when you times that by a badge and a height complex, you have the perfect storm.

  37. Anon, I completely understand. I too once had a friend, a short Marine that gave off the same attitude as the fella you mentioned.

    Thank you for the kind and interesting comment.