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Behind the Badge- A backstage pass to life from a cops point of view.

A behind the scenes view of what it's like to be a cop. A "backstage pass to life" as I call it. Telling the stories of our law enforcement officers, the good, the bad, and ugly.

 This blog / column is written for everyone who ever wanted to know what it's like to be a police officer. I have been in law enforcement of 27 years. In that time I have seen some incredible things. Many of them positive, but many of them have been heart wrenching and painful.

I have watched as the world of law enforcement has changed from "The cops are always right" to "The cops are usually wrong". The image of police officers has been damaged by the acts of a few. What I have also found is that the men and women of law enforement are by and large good and decent people who want to do whats right. They believe in justice and understand that there is such a thing as evil, it lives and breathes all around us. Most cops, and I say most because we can all point to the exception to the rule; you know the cops that did bad things, or committed crimes, violated their oaths or took advantage. Yes they exist. To deny that would make me a liar. But we have to keep in mind that police officers are just like everyone else. We are prone to human frailty and weakness like everyone else. 

The problem is, as cops we have sworn to rise above the natural inclinations of humanity. We have taken an oath to be better than our natures. So when we fall short it is more devastating to the cop, his or her family and the larger community. OK so that's out there. I don't deny it. but......In the course of my career I have seen our police officers sacrifice for others at the expense of themselves and thheir families. I have witnessed acts of kindness, bravery, integrity and honor by our police officcers that would take your breath away.  

So all in all I can say without hesitation that the people that choose law enforcement as a career are worthy of our resepct. They are a good lot.This column will reveal to you what goes on behind the scenes of police work. I want to tell you the stories that don't always make the papers or evening news. These are the stories of true character and decency. Some of the stories reveal the pain of seeing the things cops see. Some will be funny, because there a lot of humor in police work. When I say funny I don't mean that its funny at other people expense, but the truth is that humor, often referred to as "Gallows" humor, is a survival tactic for cops. When we are on the scene of an incident where a small child is brutally beaten, burned with cigarettes or killed, that leaves a mark on your soul. We can laugh or we can cry. The job and the mission  goes on so we choose to laugh to push aside the horror.

Hopefully as the weeks go by, and we develop a friendship we can better learn to communicate with each other. That's the purpose of this column, to bring us together and make a ' world. Thats what cops do, a lot of us are idealists, optimists, we believe in good, even in the face of horror.I would love to address any questions you have about police work. You can email me at jpangaro194@yahoo.com, just list "police column"  in the tag line so I know its you and not some spam. So here we go.

Its an open forum. what  I can't do is talk specifics about active cases or give legal advice. That's not my place, its not appropriate and I don't do it. I can and will weigh in on events of the day and talk about concepts that may be related to ongoing cases on a larger scale. I hope you like the column and i look forward to hearing from you. Let me know what you think.              

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

jerseyswamps January 24, 2013 at 12:47 PM
I think most of us would agree it is only a few bad cops that give too many of you a bad name. Not fair. But the blue badge of silence is there. You know darn well if a cop gets pulled over for anything he is probably going to get a pass, some kind of special privilege none of the rest of us would get. That's if they get pulled over at all. Why the badge stuck to your windshield of your private car? Are you just proud to be a cop or are you sending a message to on duty cops to not even bother to pull you over? You may call it a "professional curtesy", you might say an officer may exercise the same discretion that he might offer to anyone. Police offer the same "curtesy" to family and friends or anyone with a PBA card. Two levels of law enforcement is not doing "what's right".
Joseph Pangaro January 24, 2013 at 02:58 PM
jerseyswamps, Thanks for reacing out and taking time to comment. I understand your concern. Professional courtesy does exist among police officers as it does among, lawyers, doctors and plumbers. Of course your concern is that cops let each other go for things non-police people get arrested for. In years gone by that might have a been true, but in these modern days most cops know that if they are involved in a DWI or a car crash related to alcohol or a domestic vilence incident they will be held to account. Times have changed. As for the shield in the window, thats a fraternal thing. Cops do offer professional courtesy to other cops for minor infractions, but they also offer warnings to non-police people as well for minor infractions. The reality is this; If I see a cop fighting on the side of the road I'm going to stop, get out and join in to help the officer. At risk to life and limb and most likley get sued for my trouble. But thats what we do, we look out for each other. which is why we offer that courtesy. If we never gave breaks to anyone I would agree that would be completly wrong, but cops give more breaks then you could imagine to people, including those who do not have PBA cards. I hope that helps. Keep reading, commmenting and asking questions. Thanks JP

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