Occupy National Gathering: Philadelphia (Fashion) Police

Occupy National Gathering: Philadelphia (Fashion) Police

While Americans' wages are falling, with annual median wage standing at $26,3564 in the year 2010, the Philadelphia Police Department offers $45,420 to police officers who have recently graduated from the Police Academy. The social unrest embodied in movements like Occupy, and any future unrest due to the rise of plutocracy, is sure to guarantee great benefits to "peace officers". During some Occupy Wall Street Protests, the retired Philadelphia Police Captain, Ray Lewis, demanded: "NYPD, Don't be Wall Street Mercenaries". But I'm not sure whether messages like that are enough to overcome the careerism that is so prevalent in today's society, including among law enforcement officers.

The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) motto is: Honor, Service, Integrity. I am in no way against law enforcement, and have great respect for their service. But, I have seen my share of "bad apples" among the police. There is no excuse for police brutality. The brutal arrests of nonviolent Occupy protestors, and the police departments' hesitation to weed out the "bad apples" among their officers, casts a cloud over their principles of "Honor, Service, Integrity, Courtesy, Professionalism, and Respect". Actions like the kettling and arrest of 26 protestors at Occupy National Gathering raise the question, who is the Police working for?

PPD, like other police departments around the country, gives preference to candidates with military experience. There is nothing wrong with "choosing the most qualified person for the job". But, meritocracy is flawed, because, jobs that require moral courage need more than a great resume, they require individuals with exceptional judgement. Careerism eliminates moral courage. Given the "bad apples" among Police Officers, and the police departments' hesitation to weed them out, police departments are effectively abusing careerism to implement the policies of the few. The police, more than most other institutions and individuals, are required to exhibit exceptional judgement and moral courage - and most do. Without these principles, the police act like, and are seen as, mercenaries. Careerism is a "bad fashion".

Update: Yes, that is a real Police Officer with a real badge, a real gun and real cuffs.

Update: More examples of disproportionate use of force by the LAPD during the Chalk Riot.

More Occupy photos.

Song of the Day: Streets of Philadelphia - Bruce Springsteen (1993)
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