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November 10, 2015

Leave the sleeping cops alone

Can someone please explain the outcry over the pictures of police officers catching 40 winks?

Opinion Sleeping Cops
Sleeping Cops Photographer Unknown/for PhillyVoice

Two Philadelphia Police officers were photographed sleeping in a cruiser, sparking concern, outrage and mockery.

Can someone please explain why people are carrying on about that picture of those two Philly cops sleeping in a cruiser somewhere near the Lower Northeast?

Is it because we live in a time when relations between communities and police officers are at a really low point thanks to serious life-and-death situations, and all – including an easy cheap shot – is fair at wartime?

Is it because the picture of uncertain origin provides a laugh-line gimmick akin to fruit which hangs lower than Ye Ole Cops-Eat-Donuts joke?

Is it because schadenfreudey common folk want to sleep at work but know they’d get in trouble if they got caught doing so, even if they don’t actually work when most other people are sleeping?

I mean, I know police officers don’t get paid to sleep during the sloooooow overnight hours, even if they’re on the tail end of a shift that started at the courthouse the morning before. So, could it be that Driving While Exhausted is perceived as better than catching 40 winks for a few seconds (or minutes)?

But is this really an affront worthy of the Police Department having to issue a statement that says:

“The photo is not a depiction of the many members of the department. There are men and women that come to work and give their all to the citizen of the city and it's not fair to them when their colleagues do things like this” or
“The department is investigating the matter and the officers in the photo will be disciplined for their actions, and this will be a training tool for those officers and others.”

I'm of the mind that it most certainly is not.

Because – for the life of me, even as a victim of a crime that’s gone unsolved for the past seven years – I just don’t get what the investigation will find other than, “Two officers fell asleep and weren’t supposed to do so.”

If there’s anything to be worried about from Sleepgate, it’s this: If the person who snapped the picture of them in La La Land carried a gun instead of a cameraphone, they’d be dead. I don’t hear that being mentioned all that much; God forbid someone admit that police officers are human beings, too.

C’mon, folks. All cops ain’t good cops, but these two did nothing to warrant the attention and wrath of Outrage Nation. 

Let’s save our collective condemnation for people who deserve it instead of, you know, piling on a couple tired people as totems for an entire profession. After all, the only thing this reaction does is serve to fuel suspicious about a "War on Police."