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12 March 2008

P.O.P.

Common sense is under attack again.

Seems that in Chicago-land, a suburban housewife parked in a loading/unloading zone, left her 2 year old in the car, left the vehicle with her other children to donate some coins to the Salvation Army kettle and took a few gratuitous picture of the kid's making the donation.

The whole episode allegedly took no longer than a few minutes and the Mommy was allegedly never more than a few yards from her vehicle where her 2 year old was reportedly left unattended.

The local police Community Service Officer (assumedly a civilian employee of the police hired to ferret out low level crimes) came upon the scene and confronted the mom. An argument ensued. The CSO called a bona fide police officer. The mom reportedly became belligerent and would not cooperate with the police officer. Hello matching stainless bracelets (handcuffs).

She is now awaiting trial for child endangerment and obstructing a peace officer.

Jim Croce used to have a song about not "pulling on Superman's cape, don't pee in the wind, don't pull the mask off of the Lone Ranger.....and don't piss off the police (also know as P.O.P.)" Okay, Croce didn't sing the last one, but he sure should have. You see, P.O.P. is usually an instant ride to the jailhouse in most places.

We vote for elected officials to represent us. We vote for judges. We vote for District and County Attorney's. Collectively, we citizens have decided that we want to live in a lawful, civilized and humane place. In order for that wish to be carried out, our cities and county's hire law enforcement officers to enforce the very laws that we asked our elected officials to write.

So for example when a couple gets into a domestic disturbance that gets elevated to the point where the police are called, most departments require that one of the two goes to jail in order to forcibly separate the two combatants. Regardless of how super special or cooperative or apologetic the two domestic partners are after the fight, the responding officer would be in violation of his or her job duties if they didn't transport at least one of them to a cell to cool off. Yet the police are often the brunt of criticism for 'arresting' that harmless housewife or apologetic husband after they had a fight.

Isn't that a bit hypocritical to elect people to write laws and hire police to enforce them...and then blame the police for doing their job? Discretion in police work is a slippy-er slope than in many jobs because if they guess wrong and somebody ends up killed or injured, the public's trust is eroded and the system is damaged. It is therefore safer to err on the side of caution. They don't call it "Protecting and Serving" for nothing, dontcha know?

So back to Chicago-land. The mother in question created this scenario, not the police. She left her child in the car and she flipped her lid when the police came to sort it out. Not being there makes it difficult at best to know exactly how much endangerment was involved in the child endangerment claim. However, I suspect that while her judgment could have been better, perhaps it had not crossed into a criminal nature until she decided to pull rank on the police trying to do their job.

Like our friends in the recent chicken and the egg story, a little bit of attitude and a sprinkle of entitlement can earn one a pretty painful dose of push back. In this case, a possible 1 year jail sentence.

Is this story really about child endangerment or is it really about the way the 'suspect' chose to respond to her accuser?


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4 comments:

Two Date Diva said...

I think you're probaly right, if she'd been apologetic and humble, she'd have gone home with a stern warning about making sure to watch her kid.

Michael M. said...

Wonder what her reaction would have been had someone tried to take off in her car, steal stuff out of the front seat and/or take her baby?

I'm sure she wasn't officialy charged until they reviewed the Walmart security video, so I assume the authorities are confident in their case in order to proceed.

Our public servants have a truly thankless job indeed....

L.A. Mama said...

I wonder if she was taking pics for her blog :)
Seriously though, there is a right way to interact with a police officer and a wrong way to interact with a police officer. If you are a woman and in doubt...FLIRT. I learned this a long time ago and it seems to work for me :)

Michael M. said...

laMama...that's funny. I doubt that flirting tactic would work with me though, I would probably end up in a 'special cell'. :)