When did it become OK to disobey a lawful order by a sworn police officer?
When did we as a society start concerning ourselves more with the treatment of an offender and less with the safety and authority of the men and women who have taken an oath to protect us, our families and our property?
The role of law enforcement has never been more complicated and more politicized than today. What was once a profession that had long lines of applicants now struggles to fill the ranks with appropriate new recruits and to hold on to those with years of experience who feel undervalued by the communities they serve.
Indeed, communities’ demands may have exceeded any human being’s ability to meet them no matter the desire or the training of those who serve.
Case in point: a company (United Airlines) makes a bad decision in boarding a flight and then compounds the error in its attempt to solve it. Not many would disagree that calling officers to confront a passenger on a boarded plane is a public relations mistake and damaging to the company’s reputation.
However, once law enforcement is engaged under whatever the circumstances, we as citizens do not have a legal or moral right to disobey an order legitimately given under the color of authority.
The offender in this case has just settled his dispute with United Airlines in record time for an undisclosed sum, likely millions, and United Airlines is rightfully changing its approach to such situations as a result of bad policies and practices.
But what about allowing this individual to escape without being held to account for his arrogant refusal to deplane and his disobedience to sworn officers? Why is it that the only individual(s) being held to account are the four officers dispatched to the scene?
We are not unmindful that the offender sustained some injuries during this event and that others were frightened as the matter unfolded. But have we lost our minds?
The officers by all accounts escalated only after the offender refused to follow legal instructions, and now the officers are suspended and the offender is richer.
This isn’t the America we learned about in school, and it’s not the America that survives into the next millennium with such values.
Here in California there is no denying our community is becoming less safe as a result of of Proposition 47 and the insanity of AB 109. We need to support our local authorizes and send the message that criminals and those who will not obey the law are unwelcome in our community.
The message should be: You will be confronted, you will be arrested, you will go to jail, you will be prosecuted and you will go to prison.
A new period is beginning in the SCV with the appointment of a new top cop, Capt. Rob Lewis, at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. We can’t predict how effective his tenure will be, but we are certain that supporting our deputies and detectives in their work can only help.
If you see them on patrol wave to them; if you are within earshot thank them; and above all, if you are instructed by them, then comply.
We need these men and women to keep the Santa Clarita Valley an orderly society, and they need us for the same reason.