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Coming Clean

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[Re: Hot Type, June 25]

I have a confession to make. I am a white male police officer with 30 years of service to the citizens. During the time I spent in a patrol car on aggressive, preventive patrol I have stopped, arrested, and ticketed more minorities than whites. The devious prejudice of my behavior must be rooted deep in my subconscious, because it was not until recent ranting of political activists and so-called reverends that I recognized the errors of my ways.

Demographics of the beats I usually worked placed minorities as the majority population. That, of course, had nothing to do with my serving, protecting, ticketing, and arresting many minorities.

I arrested minority offenders committing murder, mugging, rape, burglary, and domestic violence on their victims who populated and passed through my assigned beats. Little did I know that I was committing the almost hate crime of racial profiling. When I made traffic stops in those areas, the violators were mostly minorities. The only feeble defense I can muster regarding this is, "They were there," similar to Hillary's reasoning for climbing Everest.

Most of the homes I entered on calls were inhabited by minorities. Perhaps I should have stayed away. Oh, if only I'd have been assigned to only white-populated beats, the chains of guilt that bind me would be absent. And those minority supervisors I worked under, they must have been Uncle Toms, not worthy of their positions. They expected me to maintain beat integrity (stay in my assigned area).

Oh dear me, there is more. Many years I was assigned as "Officer Friendly" in grammar schools. The majority of students I taught were minorities. How I tainted their little minds and hearts. While teaching about molesters, "stranger danger," and other things that might hurt them, I cunningly injected things about treating others fairly, self-discipline, obedience to rules, purity of heart, mind, and body, and other virtues I learned in my white Roman Catholic background.

Would I be rid of guilt if I'd have done my best for only the white Roman Catholic kids?

It just hit me that learning how to speak Spanish must have been motivated by latent prejudice toward Latinos. The satisfaction I got arresting Latino offenders for committing crimes in their neighborhoods, and the pleasure I received from hearing little Latino kids scream with delight as I did magic to teach them to trust police, was evil and misplaced prejudice. It had nothing to do with serving the community.

How quickly forgotten are officers Ceriale, Camp, Knight, and others who were intentionally murdered. In the news for the last two weeks, all I've heard were attacks on police by the same small group of protesters. I am reluctant to believe they represent the majority of the minorities.

The public is not privy to the fact that most citizens are very pleased that we stop ne'er-do-wells, no matter what color and/or nationality. They are pleased that we stop people breaking traffic laws in their area. They say nothing in our defense because they do not want to be branded and scorned as we are. I don't blame them.

Those in the media who promote this "hate news" because it sells are throwing gas on the fire constantly. Is lending credibility to New York Al, a racial profiteer carpetbagger, responsible? The courts have shown that he promotes lies against the police. One thing for sure, this type of reporting ensures future "hate news" stories. What a way to create job security for racial profiteers, activists, and some newspeople.

Thomas J. Cline

Archer Heights

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