I am generally pro-law enforcement. We need the rule of law in this country, and laws are useless unless there is someone with the authority, the guts, and the know-how to enforce it.
But I also grew up in Jacksonville, Texas.
Where? Oh, just the town that brought you Larry Pugh.
That's the guy the Jacksonville PD kept on despite 35 complaints of sexual assault. They kept him on when he tasered a pregnant woman, knocked her husband to the ground, and kicked his teeth in--even when they were forced to settle that case out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.
They continued turning a blind eye to his criminality even when a woman reported that he, while in uniform and driving his police cruiser, took her to an abandoned house and raped her at gunpoint.
It wasn't until later, when he attacked that woman again--this time choking her with a belt--that a federal investigation finally brought him down.
Note: not an internal investigation. No, the "good ol' boy" network in Jacksonville is too iron-clad for that. It took an outside, FEDERAL investigation.
And that's not all. Two women slated to testify against him have turned up missing. One of their remains was found later on. Both women disappeared while Pugh was out on bond from federal court.
On a more personal level, I've had a Jacksonville police officer look me in the eye and draw down on me more than once--but never while I was involved in any sort of crime.
1) Sitting outside my own house shortly after dark, talking to three friends. The police came by and asked if we'd seen anyone suspicious; we listed everyone we'd seen go by, but the officer was getting steadily more agitated and saying to everyone we listed, "That's not who we're looking for." Eventually, he left. My friends and I continued to sit and talk. Suddenly, police cruisers blocked off both ends of the street and even drove over people's yards to block us in completely. They jumped out of their cars, guns drawn and leveled at us. They were blinding us with their headlights and with spotlights, and one man was yelling, "Get your hands up!"
They searched us, harassed us, and eventually moved on. A friend who had a police scanner said there had been a murder several blocks away, and the cops were looking for several older, bearded men. My friends and I were nothing like the description, and to this day, I have no idea why they felt the need to harass us like that.
2) My husband and I were walking our dogs at about ten at night. Yes, it was late, but I worked late, and the dogs needed to stretch their legs. We walked for quite a way, and on the way back, we took a shortcut through an unfenced school playground.
Suddenly, two men were running up behind us, shining flashlights in our faces. They didn't say a word, and were closing ground fast. The dogs turned and began to bark and growl. My husband handed me both leashes and reached for a small vial of pepper spray he was carrying in his pocket. He's 6'8", and the dogs were huge, and I'm sure we looked quite ready for a fight.
Only then, with us ready to brawl and them less than ten feet away, did the men stop and announce themselves as police officers. They moved their light from out of our eyes so that we could see their uniforms. We immediately went to being apologetic and polite--as I said, I'm generally pro-law enforcement. But then the police began to harass us--about our reactions, about the dogs, about the pepper spray, the time, everything... and to suggest that we were there to rob the school. They asked us to follow them to their police car, but when I pointed out that we had two large, angry dogs with us, they reconsidered and said they would follow us home, just to make sure we were at home and not on the street.
'Cause, yanno, being on the street is illegal, I guess.
Anyway, this is the Jacksonville PD. You might think they're just overzealous--I mean, at one point they drew a gun on my husband while responding to a noise complaint. He was pushing my son on a swing, and my son was laughing and screaming, "Push me higher...faster!"
My parents run a small business in Jacksonville. The first time it was broken into, the police hardly seemed interested. When mom asked, "Aren't you going to dust for prints?" the officer suggested she'd been watching too much CSI.
The next time was no better.
And last night, their shop was broken into again.
This time, the police admitted that they had responded when her burglar alarm had gone off in the middle of the night. They went to her pet store, and they saw the broken window.
But they didn't call mom. Or file a report. Or even take a closer look. No, the officer told my mom that they thought the window was just "like that"...meaning broken, in the winter, in a pet shop containing animals that have to be kept warm. I wonder if they thought the alarm was going off for the fun of it.
The criminals ransacked and vandalized the store. There were animals loose, animals missing, predators put in with prey, soap left in fishtanks. They dumped all Mom's records on the floor, destroyed her belongings. My dad's side of the store is a computer repair shop; they stole expensive laptops belonging to my father's customers. Now my parents plan to find some way, some how, to pay their customers back...but their store is their ONLY source of revenue, and they were already behind.
Reporting this does no good in Jacksonville.
The police don't care.
The police chief doesn't care.
The judge doesn't care.
The Jacksonville police department says they aren't CSI. In my opinion, they aren't even Reno 9-1-1. These are the sort of cops that give good cops a bad name.