Cops who abandoned their posts in New Orleans want their jobs back. Should they be rehired?
Posted by Bud Tugly 12 years ago, closed 12 years ago
Yes.
16%
No.
83%
Hell no
Novelhead: So they decide a big disaster is too much trouble... Maybe next they'll decide criminals are too dangerous.  
 
WTF do we need cops for if they're not willing to do more than hand out traffic tickets and harass potheads?
deathburger: You mean cops do other things?
Fluffy:  
Should eveybody else who didn't show up to work for all those days lose their jobs as well? If your company had been in NO, would you have volunteered your time to go in and do your job plus another shift or two every day? How about if your office building wasn't there anymore, you had no computer, no phone, no contact with your supervisor, etc? Most cops in NO had no squad car, no communication system, and no municipal resources.  
 
My impression was that these guys, for the most part, did the best they could for as long as they could, and when they couldn't take it any more, they walked off. What are your expectations for police during a state of emergency that lasts a week? These cops were victims of the storm, many of them lost their houses. They should have continued working double shifts or 24/7 for how long, in your opinion?  
 
What should have happened is that they should have been relieved by National Guard and evacuated like all the other citizens. Why didn't that happen? Since it didn't happen, who's accountable?
Novelhead: "Should eveybody else who didn't show up to work for all those days lose their jobs as well? If your company had been in NO, would you have volunteered your time to go in and do your job plus another shift or two every day?"  
 
Maintaining order durring a disaster is part of a cop's job. True, they might not have had all the resources they needed, but that happens to folks in the military all the time. If a soldier didn't have the right radio or armor in Iraq, and he just left, would he get his job back later?  
 
I realize they were victims. I feel bad for everybody who lost homes, cars, jobs, family. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. But they were supposed to be there to help the other victims.  
 
 
"What should have happened is that they should have been relieved by National Guard and evacuated like all the other citizens. Why didn't that happen? Since it didn't happen, who's accountable?"  
 
Maybe so, but they weren't relieved. They should have been prepaired to deal with things like this... They lived in a city that's below sea level and prone to hurricanes.  
 
As for who's accountable, I think there are people on every level of government who screwed up. But it isn't a cop's job to say "Bush screwed up, so I'm going home."  
 
Fluffy:  
Way to cherry-pick my questions to make your position look tenable. I repeat:  
 
What are your expectations for police during a state of emergency that lasts a week?  
 
They should have continued working double shifts or 24/7 for how long, in your opinion?  
 
"Maintaining order durring a disaster is part of a cop's job. True, they might not have had all the resources they needed, but that happens to folks in the military all the time."  
 
They're not in the military. They're civilians with training to do police work under normal conditions, not to wage war while stripped of every resource they use to do their jobs on a day-to-day basis.  
 
"If a soldier didn't have the right radio or armor in Iraq, and he just left, would he get his job back later?"  
 
Cops are not soldiers, and their equipment problems were not limited to one or two items, as I mentioned.  
 
 
"I realize they were victims. I feel bad for everybody who lost homes, cars, jobs, family. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. But they were supposed to be there to help the other victims."  
 
They were there to help the other victims. Some of them couldn't take it any more and had to stop. Most of them were working day and night for several days. How long should they have been required to do their jobs with no resources, no communications, no food or water, and no command structure before they left? It's nice how you can judge someone else's physical and mental endurance while sitting in the comfort of your home or office.  
 
 
"Maybe so, but they weren't relieved. They should have been prepaired to deal with things like this... They lived in a city that's below sea level and prone to hurricanes."  
 
They should have been prepared, but they weren't. Nobody prepared them. Is it a cop's job to provide him or herself with resources, or is it their job to use the resources they're given to do the best job they can for as long as they can?  
 
"As for who's accountable, I think there are people on every level of government who screwed up. But it isn't a cop's job to say "Bush screwed up, so I'm going home.""  
 
I don't think you have the first idea what a cop's job is or isn't until you've been a cop. You really think this is what cops leaving their jobs in NO is about? They were Democrats, so they left to spite Bush? How ridiculous. How about when a cop has reached his or her personal limit to endure the conditions they are being forced to work under? At what point of fatigue, humiliation, and desperation should a cop be allowed to say screw it and look after their own survival?
Novelhead: I guess I wasn't being clear... I didn't mean the cops were all Democrats. I meant that it wasn't their job to decide that someone else had made mistakes and that, therefore, their responsibility had ended. I just used Bush as an example because he is the one that I hear blamed the most often.  
 
I'm sorry if I ticked you off by how I chose to quote your post.  
 
Maybe you're right, maybe not. I don't know. Either way, I don't feel like I'm going to change anyone's mind, and I don't want to make anyone angry(er?) at me. Maybe I should just stop here.  
 
 
 
Fluffy: "Maybe I should just stop here."  
 
OK, but don't expect to have a job when you come back.  
 
All I'm trying to say is that these cops didn't just decide it was too much bother to help people. The helped people as long as they could, then some of them couldn't take it anymore and they left. My comment about accountability goes directly to the heart of the matter. If the individual officers are accountable for the failure of NO's law enforcement system during the disaster, then they should be fired, as you suggest. If, however, fault is found to lie with the city (their employer) or the state or whatever, at whatever level you choose to assign accountability, then the officers can't really be blamed for walking off the job.  
 
Was the failure systematic? If so, why are we refusing to rehire cops? If not, how long should the officers have continued to do their jobs unaided during a state of emergency that lasted a week?
deathburger: how long should the officers have continued to do their jobs unaided during a state of emergency that lasted a week?  
 
As long as there were people who needed them to do so.
Fluffy:  
That would be nice, wouldn't it, if cops were these superhuman heroes capable of working 96 hours at a stretch with no place to go home and sleep, fighting crime completely naked with their bare hands in hip-deep toxic sludge and a smile on their faces, huh? I'm pretty sure they put that in their job descriptions, and hey, if they can't live up to that, screw 'em, right?  
 
Recognizing heroic conduct is a good thing. Expecting it is unrealistic and ungrateful. How about we give the cops who were able to stay a commendation, and we give the others their jobs back? Seems simple enough to me.
deathburger: But on the other hand, isn't it rewarding them for abandoning people who needed them?  
 
Whatever their reasons were for leaving, and I'm sure they were valid, they still should not have left. In a time of crisis, we should still be able to count on law enforcement personnel. At that point they also become emergency personnel, and it's beyond reprehensible for them to just up and leave people who need them to be there. Even if they're helping people get out of their destroyed homes rather than shooting the bad guy. Hell, especially then.
Novelhead: Thanks, DB... I was worried I was alone on this one.  
 
 
:)
Fluffy:  
OK, but there must be some point where we limit their responsibilities as police officers and acknowledge their humanity. People have a right to keep themselves alive. People have a right to make sure their families are OK if their homes are destroyed. How about we find all the cops who didn't help anybody before leaving, and fire them? If they helped somebody else, they get their jobs back. Otherwise, using your same logic, aren't we punishing them for doing what y'all seem to be convinced is their job?  
 
deathburger: If I'm working a Thursday from 9-5, and I decide to bug out at 3:30, I did work most of the day so I shouldn't get fired. Right?
Fluffy:  
What does that have to do with what I just said? How many shifts should a cop work without any food, water, direction from his or her superior officers, etc? How about if the officer in question has no home to go back to and rest up for another shift? How many shifts at your hypothetical 9-5 job would you be able to work under such conditions?
deathburger: But none of that matters, see. In that 9-5 job, I'd get canned for leaving before the job's done. And chances are that job wouldn't be pulling people out from under flooded buildings. Nobody's life would be saved by my sticking around. Can the same be said of the cops that left? How many more people would have survived had the police stayed to do the duty that badge represents?  
 
As to having no home, how would that set these cops apart from I-don't-know-how-many others? What makes them special in that regard, that they should be forgiven blowing off the citizens that depend on them to be there? Oh golly, I lost my home, and I'm going to just leave the rest of you stuck even though I'm in a position of authority and people look to me when they need help. How can that possibly be the right thing to do?  
 
Regarding where they could get a rest.. had the cops not ditched out on those still stuck in NO, I'm sure there would have been enough of them for 1/3 to sleep in some multi-storied warehouse or something while the other 2/3 were doing the jobs of helping people get out, administration of their efforts, collection and distribution of supplies, etc etc etc. Alot would have gone differently, you have to agree with that.  
 
I realize that looks like lots of questions.. most are to make a point rather than gain an answer.
Fluffy: "But none of that matters, see."  
 
I'm pretty sure it matters to the cops who want their jobs back.  
 
"In that 9-5 job, I'd get canned for leaving before the job's done."  
 
Would you still get canned if the city were underwater and all the tools you use to do your job were offline, with no hope of repairing them?  
 
"And chances are that job wouldn't be pulling people out from under flooded buildings. Nobody's life would be saved by my sticking around. Can the same be said of the cops that left?"  
 
Not at first, but probably after working a few shifts with no food, they weren't able to do much more than you would be able to. Most of them stayed around for quite some time before walking off.  
 
"How many more people would have survived had the police stayed to do the duty that badge represents?"  
 
Do cops have a duty to kill themselves trying to do the national Guard's job?  
 
 
"As to having no home, how would that set these cops apart from I-don't-know-how-many others?"  
 
Um, the others were allowed to evacuate, and weren't expected to be on the job 24/7?  
 
"What makes them special in that regard, that they should be forgiven blowing off the citizens that depend on them to be there?"  
 
Aren't you arguing that they're special in that they have special obligations? They're either the same as other citizens or they're not. Which is it?  
 
"Oh golly, I lost my home, and I'm going to just leave the rest of you stuck even though I'm in a position of authority and people look to me when they need help."  
 
Do you really think that's what happened? This is not what we're discussing here. We're talking about cops who worked as long as they felt they could, not as long as they felt like.  
 
Look, this discussion has turned absurd. I'm just going to boil down my position, come up with a belittling characterization of yours, and rest my case.  
 
My position: Self-sacrifice is a beautiful and noble thing when it is done out of civic duty and love of one's fellow man. Once it's made a job requirement, it becomes negligent homicide. It's not self-sacrifice anymore. Cops are people. People need to eat and sleep and escape from catastrophic conditions that might kill them. It's foolish to punish people for being people. It's sick to punish people for preserving their own health and well-being. Most cops in NO worked as long as they could and then evacuated with the rest of the victims. Give 'em their stinking jobs back. The ones that UTTERLY abandoned their posts or behaved in a manner unbecoming, fire 'em. Nuff said.  
 
Your position seems to be based on a dissmissive hatred of cops, as well as a mistaken idea about what most of NO's cops faced during the aftermath. Have some compassion, put yourself in their place. These guys are victims of the storm and the mishandling of resources, they are not the cause.  
 
 
The fact remains that if resources had been coordinated and mobilized by the State and FEMA, these guys would have been relieved and evacuated with the rest of the citizenry, leaving search and rescue to people who were equipped and trained to deal with the situation. They did the best they could with the resources at their disposal. Why should we punish that?
deathburger: Fine. Whatever. You can be right, even if you're not.  
 
By the third mistake in responses in that last comment, I'd given up.
Fluffy:  
Dang. I wish I'd made more mistakes earlier.
deathburger:  
 
;)
deathburger: I'm gonna invent that and get rich.