OK, I’ll admit it, it was actually kind of a kick issuing a national warning ticket to the police. Especially since I’m normally on the receiving end of those goddamn things. I look at it as a kind of an occupational perk.
But I am occasionally accused of over-analyzing things, and this may have been one of those times. The more video I saw from the more incidents, as a father of four daughters I suddenly realized that I was watching something that is actually a rather common occurrence for most parents. When I watch those videos, I’m actually watching a 4 year old who just had their favorite toy taken away. They don’t like being disciplined, so they’re throwing a temper tantrum.
But when you talk to any public official, from mayor to city council member to county commissioner, they will all tell you the same thing. That the biggest obstacle to reforming police practices is the all powerful police unions. Because most police departments are considered critical agencies, and therefore forbidden from striking, the unions use their public perception as the good guys to apply public pressure on officials to buckle, as well as devious practices to ensure compliance.
Believe it or not, I actually have a wealth of experience in this department. As a pilot crew scheduler for United Airlines for more than 15 years, I fought a daily, endless battle with the Air Line Pilots Association, more commonly known as ALPA. We had a running joke on the crew desk that the only union in the world more heartless, arrogant, and conniving than the pilots union was the Soviet Union.
As Americans fell more and more in love with the ease, speed, and convenience of flying, pilots saw their stature rise. Although not actually public servants, their stature with the public was still quite high. And whenever anything went wrong with a flight, be it a delay or a cancellation, even if it was actually their fault, nobody ever blamed the pilots, it was always the company that was responsible. And the pilots used that perception to their advantage, just like the police unions do.
You see, you don’t have to strike to be a pain in the ass when your poor delicate little fee-fees are hurt. Whether police or pilot, no matter how perfectly the schedule is built, things such as sick calls, weather, or other things will occur that will require you to ask the cops or pilots to do something that isn’t a part of their regular schedule or responsibilities. And that’s where the fun begins.
At United, it was called a WOE program, which stood for Withdrawal Of Enthusiasm. If a pilot had a preset series of trips in his schedule for the month, he was entitled to fly that schedule. If you wanted him to do something else, you had to ask him to do it, which normally meant cutting a deal. Pilots love deals, since they normally end up with more time off for the same pay. But if the union was beating the war drum, pilots would refuse even ridiculously lucrative deals, solely for the purpose of causing schedule delays and disruptions to put public pressure on the company to accede to whatever it was the union wanted at the moment.This is what I think you’re going to start seeing in cities across the US, especially cities like Minneapolis and Los Angeles, where the cities are taking proactive administrative changes that the unions will see as a direct threat to their rights. Look for sick outs, where a large number of cops all call out at once for their shift. And when the captains and commanders ask cops already on duty to stay for 4 hours of overtime, and next shifters to come in 4 hours early to cover the shift, those cops will tell them to fuck off.
Next will be response times. Look for excessively long police response times to non life threatening calls. Say there’s an accident in the middle of a busy intersection. Instead of a 5 minute initial response time for traffic control and investigation, expect a 25 minute responses time. And it’ll take the tow truck an hour to get there instead of the normal 20-25 minutes. Anything that they can do to increase public frustration and outrage, which will then be aimed at city hall, in order to force them to back off.
This has always worked in the past because the police unions have always been able to portray the boys and girls in blue as the guardians of the citizens, ready to lay it all on the line, and they can’t do that if a bunch of mucky-muck pencil necks are going to keep sticking their noses in telling them how to do their jobs. They were able to do this because they restricted themselves to beating and killing minorities, and counting on public indifference to the protests that followed.
But I honestly believe that this time is different. The killing of George Floyd was so atrocious, with the depraved indifference of the officers so plain and obvious that there is no public indifference this time around. This was the wake up call. In almost every news report, one of the first things that is mentioned is the incredible diversity of the crowd that has gathered. Black, white, brown, yellow, young, old, gay, straight, families with children, senior citizens. The Floyd killing, as well as the atrocious, often filmed police response to the peaceful protesters has finally stripped the police of the perception of being our protectors, and instead replaced it with the fact that they’re who we need to be protected from.
Which puts the wind in the sails of all of these mayors, city councils and county commissioners. Many of them have been waiting years, if not decades for the chance to put the arrogant and aggressive police unions back in their place, and it’s finally here. As long as they keep unveiling and implementing popular, common sense, progressive police reform, then at long last they are the protectors of the citizenry, and the police unions who are the neanderthals resisting the change that people have been fighting, protesting, being beat for, and dying for for generations. It isn’t going to be quick, it isn’t going to be easy, and it isn’t going to be painless. But the public perception has finally changed, and as long as the administrations keep pushing, it will get done. Which means keeping people in the streets for as long as neccessary to spur them on to action. The time is now.
To know the future, look to the past.before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen
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