Archive for March, 2018

Cops are people too

Sometimes it’s easy for us to get lost in the rhetoric these days and forget our humanity. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy writing so much. It allows me to expose the being behind the label and remind my readers that heroes and villains can come from every walk of life. This is especially important for members of our communities whose labels bring on such passionate and and extreme connotations. In this case, I am referring to law enforcement.

On several occasions, I have written of Evan’s “cop face.”  Adjectives that have accompanied this description have been along the lines of “wooden” and “stoic.” It’s a mask that I think exists for two reasons. It hides Evan’s humanity from the criminals with whom he must contend. It also acts as a shield to protect his humanity from the misery for which he gets paid to encounter every day. In theory he is supposed to absorb all of the depravity, lunacy, and violence and still react as an impartial enforcer of the law, “blind justice” being what it is. But in reality, a person cannot do that for years and come out the other end being the same as when they started.

Bernice, on the other hand, has witnessed first hand how a person of law enforcement can be corrupted, can decide to exert authority over others for exploitative purposes, and hide behind the badge and that cop face to conceal sins, some as atrocious as murder. Her perspective is different from Evan’s because she exists outside the fold of the law enforcement culture. She has no loyalty to consider, no sense of obligation with which to contend.

Meanwhile, Evan’s chosen profession often behaves more like a close knit family. He had to take an oath. There exists codes of honor that he is expected to abide by. Much like our armed forces abroad, our armed forces at home have vowed to defend our laws and law-abiding citizens. Putting themselves at risk each day creates internal bonds that aren’t easily broken, even when it is necessary to do so.

I hope in my writing I have demonstrated this duplicity of existence in our men and women in blue (or whatever color your local cop uniform happens to be). I hope I have presented them as people, flawed, fragile, courageous, and feeling people.

I asked a reader once why she liked my books. She replied, “They make me think.” What a lovely compliment.