Are Law Enforcement Officers Above the Law?

Few people will write an article that even comes close to being critical of our U.S. law enforcement officers. Americans are due a non biased review of why law enforcement officers (LEO) are either treated with enormous respect or in many cases are despised by the people they are sworn to serve.

I can effectively write on this issue because my background includes serving almost two decades as a U.S. Federal Agent. I had the opportunity to work with dozens of law enforcement agencies around America.  This included local, state and federal agencies. I am happy to give our LEO a pat on the back when they do as they have been sworn to do, or write a critical article for the one’s who have forgotten they are not above any U.S. law.

In America the media and politicians have groomed us to always put LEO on a throne above all other professions aside from our military personnel.  LEO are not owed any higher allegiance to their careers than a plumber, factory worker, insurance salesman, athlete, or doctor.  People who apply for LEO positions do so because this career is very stable and the pay covers their bills and provides for their families. The popular belief is that LEO enter law enforcement to ‘serve’ the people.  This is so far from the truth that no further explanation is needed. For the vast majority it is for a paycheck and for many it feeds their ego’s.

The LEO who enter law enforcement to feed their adrenaline and ego are the one’s who believe they are one step ahead of other Americans.  The one’s who do this job for a paycheck are the honest officers and they serve the people because that is what they are paid to do.  These officers are the LEO that show respect to all Americans regardless of their wealth status, race, or religion.

The LEO who show disrespect for the people they serve are the one’s who believe some laws apply to them, but not all laws.  A few examples:  In a busy city it is more likely you will see a police officer in his/her patrol car breaking traffic laws than you will see from citizens. There are some officers who strongly believe it is their job to let citizens know they have the absolute power to make or ruin a person’s day, and in some cases have been known to alter the truth and evidence.

There are LEO who believe they are not subject to the laws of assault and battery. In most states, an assault/battery is committed when one person: 1) tries to or does physically strike another, or 2) acts in a threatening manner to put another in fear of immediate harm. Many states declare that a more serious or “aggravated” assault/battery occurs when one: 1) tries to or does cause severe injury to another, or 2) causes injury through use of a deadly weapon. Throughout America an assault by a police officer on a suspect or prisoner in a jail or prison happens much more regularly than ever reported by the media.

Technology has started to bring many assault cases by police officers into the limelight.  Seldom in our past history does a person making a complaint about officer abuse were shown even the courtesy of listening to them.  Today with cameras on every corner and many officers being required to wear body cameras the truth is being revealed.  Do you think most police officers are in favor of having to wear a body camera? No.  Even officers who are not inclined to assault a person often berate suspects to the point of the suspect admitting to crimes he/she did not commit.  In spousal or child abuse experts have shown emotional abuse of the innocent person is often worse than physical abuse.  The same applies in law enforcement.

There are two famous words every law enforcement officer is quickly taught in the academy and throughout their career. ‘Stop Resisting’ Often you will hear these two words being shouted even while a suspect may be docile. They are safety words for the officers. Without cameras it is hard to contradict an officers testimony if he/she testify they shouted this command ten times!

In conclusion citizens and police officers must be taught that mutual respect and courtesy must be shown at all times to one another.  Of course there are citizens who are serious troublemakers and deserve to be put through the legal system, but there are indeed LEO who abuse their authority.  An LEO is not above the law in America.  If you have ever been pulled over or had the police respond to your home/business on a criminal complaint, you likely did not have a pleasant experience.  These encounters of course should not be fun, but they should not be used by an ego cop to demean a person who has not been convicted of a crime.

Respect is an earned reward and not given out due to intimidation.  

An LEO doesn’t and should not believe since he/she  was hired by a police department that they automatically have earned respect from the people they serve.  If a plumber is hired by a company does he/she automatically earn the respect of the customers he serves?  Of course not.  It is only when the plumber treats the customer with courtesy and completes the job as he is being paid to, will he begin to progress in his career and earn respect from the person he/she serves.

10 replies
  1. David
    David says:

    This article is exactly right.law enforcement should be held to a high standard and respect should be shown to the public but also the public should respect the police,also if police break the law or a citizen’s rights they should be prosecuted not protected.

    Reply
  2. Flytoyz
    Flytoyz says:

    What country do you live in? There are many articles written that are very critical of US LEOs. You say you can effectively write about this subject because of your background. After reading your post, it is easy to see that you are very biased against them. Were you let go, or are you feeding us a line of BS. “LEO are not owed any higher allegiance to their careers than a plumber, factory worker, insurance salesman, athlete, or doctor.” Your kidding right? Every day a LEO puts on their uniform, they know it could be their last time. Hard to say that about the careers you posted. As for respect, respect is not earned, it needs to be given. That kind of thinking is why there is no more respect in this country. And as for being “above the law,” they are the law. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be able to make arrests.

    Reply
    • Dr. Rich Swier
      Dr. Rich Swier says:

      Flytoyz,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on David Gaubatz’s column. He wrote it as a former Federal agent who has worked with LEOs.

      David has great respect for what LEOs do and does not believe in or stand with those like Black Lives Matter who hate our LEOs.

      Reply
    • Lisa metzger
      Lisa metzger says:

      This is so true that I am going to post this on the internet. Do the person that think that this is an accurate obviously you have never dealt with a police officer that was abusive and they thought they were Above the Law. So if you have never been in that situation if I were you I wouldn’t make a comment because obviously you have no clue what you are talking about. So again I will say it again I used to support police officers today I don’t they treated me so badly that I can’t even believe I ever supported police officers. They are nothing but mean people who are waiting for their pension and they think that it’s okay to treat people like s*** and it’s not. So it must be changed because those riots that happened about a year ago now I see why they did happen because the cops deserved it. And I will never donate any of my money to a cop again.

      Reply
    • Lisa marie
      Lisa marie says:

      Please. They know that the chances of them losing their lives is only because they treat citizens like trash. They are uneducated and so ignorant and they think that they never make mistakes. Lol. They are so dumb and chose to be a Leo so they could do what ever they wanted. They lie and most of them abuse their wives. They charge innocent people if u threaten their intelligence. And if they think that they will die everyday they put on their uniform then WHY did they become a cop? Lol. So I hate when people like u say that predicted comment. That is always the rebuttal from the ignorant humans like yourself. Meanwhile you have no clue. It’s the USA and it was THEIR CHOICE to become a pig. They do nothing to help our country. They arrest people for ridiculous reasons. I mean why do they arrest individuals that have never done any crimes b4? Even when there was no reason to. I just don’t get it? They arrest kids for smoking pot. Meanwhile they do it too. It’s absolutely hilarious. If the president was to remove their pensions then they would leave their career. Why SHLD they deserve a pension? Why don’t other hard working people get pensions too? Because I’m telling ya…Cops only become cops bcuz they work 20 yrs and then they get their pensions… such a joke. They arrest and even kill innocent people and it’s okay. I mean that is not right. They don’t let u talk and they lie. I, telling u. I used to have faith I’m them but not anymore. They get paid for sitting I’m their cars to watch certain hoods. During that time they go on Facebook. And they get paid. Inside the jail systemthey treat u like crap. And there ain’t nothing you can say or do to get away from them. They call u names and they hate their jobs. I thought that when u go to work that u were supposed to work? Well the jail cops don’t want to be bothered by any inmate. That’s why they are fat bcuz they sit there and leave you in your cell and if u even try to get their attention they pretend like they cnt hear u. And the best is if there’s an inmate on suicide watch… they don’t even get up off their fat Butts to check on u..lol. so how’s that allowed? Or if it’s *suicide watch* why is there NOT one lazy cop watching you? Lol.

      So in closimg… I would advise you to say nothing about Dr. Rich Swiers EXPERIENCE with WORKING WITH COPS…
      Because you don’t know what you DON’T know!
      And it’s evident that you are naive and uneducated with working & communicating with police officers.

      However, when u have a bad encounter with your beloved officers then you will see the light. And maybe THEN YOU’LL SEE THAT WE WERE RIGHT. AND WHATEVER PROFESSION ANY OF US ARE IN DOESN’T GIVE US THE RIGHT TO TREAT OUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS WITH DISRESPECT JUST BECAUSE WE ARE A COP. Especially when our taxes pay for their salaries. Have a great day and I hope u never have to ever go to jail because it is so awful that it gives you nightmares and it also gives many people post traumatic stress disorder. And that in itself shows how horrible our law enforcement agencies are. God bless

      Reply
      • Dr. Rich Swier
        Dr. Rich Swier says:

        Lisa,

        Thanks for reading and commenting.

        How many police officers do you personally know? I worked with many police officers, mostly in the U.S. Military Police Corps. I found them just like you and me. They just chose a different career.

        There are great law enforcement officers and some not so great, just as there are great doctors and some not so great. The law enforcement officer is sworn to enforce the law. If you do not agree with a law, you use the example of “they arrest kids for smoking pot” then change the law. If the law says someone smoking pot is doing so illegally, as does federal law, then it is the duty of the police officer to enforce the law.

        You ask rhetorical questions like “They arrest people for ridiculous reasons. I mean why do they arrest individuals that have never done any crimes b4?” The answer is because these people broke the law. A ridiculous reason may be texting while driving, which is against the law in Florida. Or driving while intoxicated on alcohol or drugs. Also a crime in Florida.

        Perhaps you should focus more on not breaking the laws of your state than the law enforcement officers. If you don’t break the law you will do just fine.

        Reply
    • Cool story
      Cool story says:

      Cool story bro, like you said you join the police to do a job, but that job has a life changing risk. If you put on that uniform, you know you’re going to die, like troopers in the military or federal agents.

      Being said that, if you fear your life is endanger, just quit your job as a cop. The less stupid people we have on the force, the better. If you don’t want to deal with danger and treat everyone that isn’t a LEO or feds like a person, than you don’t deserve to be a cop, let alone a firefighter, or other life altering public service jobs.

      Reply
    • Arlene Calogero
      Arlene Calogero says:

      The police officers must change…..you are so correct they are protect by law, judges and we are only seeing it today. We need law and order, and I support them. BUT we have to change the laws that protect the BAD police and weed them out. Also some of the laws that exist and protect them are twisted to suit the DAs and Judges and let them off the hock….Believe me the DAs need to be reeducated…

      Reply
  3. Jay
    Jay says:

    Sir, you speak the truth. I right now have not been charged with any crime or even proven to have done any offense. Yet a woman at FCC decides because I have used first amendment rights, being critical of her, she will take my radio license.
    In law the burden falls upon the accuser not the other way and FCC does make calls to pick on people. Now, is this like a LEO. Well, its a step removed, because these people in agencies believe they are above being asked to follow legal protocol.

    Reply
  4. Floyd Hyde
    Floyd Hyde says:

    I only read a very brief (maybe 2-3 sentences of this article) and I have SUFFERED THE EFFECTS OF THIS nations BULLYING BY POLICE THAT VIOLATE ANY AND EVERY LAW they claim to enforce, and the effects have destroyed any possibility of ever being happy. Due to the ABSOLUTE disregard of TRUE LAW AND ORDER. When these cops do anything they want, because they cannot be prosecuted makes them into BULLIES WITH BADGES AND now not just GUNS but The most advanced weaponry and equipment to ENFORCE THERE lies and corruption ON ALL OF MANKIND. This is much worse than SLAVERY or some holocaust.

    I have been the victim of much more than VIOLENT ATTACKS by POLICE and others that use the power of UNJUST LAWS to cover up their DESPICABLE acts AND HARMFUL ACTIONS.
    As well as the so called public defenders THAT ARE ONLY THE PUNKED OUT task doers of THE MOST POWERFUL CORRUPT AND DEADLY GANG OF ALL TIMES.
    THIS IS A GANG OF ABSOLUTLY THE WORST longterm outcome in the history of the human evolution AND IT WILL LEAD TO THE EXTINCTION OF THE HUMAN RACE, after this gang has destroyed the planet of everything that must be kept in balance.

    I’m not making some prediction like NOSTRADAMUS I’m simply stating the ONLY LODGICAL OUTCOME, of allowing any POWER HUNGERY CONTROL to be allowed to continue, (sadly I feel it’s already gone beyond any chance of repair)

    And due to my own ongoing suffering of the effects of the BULLYING OF this so called LAW ENFORCEMENT’s actions (AND ITS SO DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND HOW ANY L.E.O. TO BELIEVE THEY WILL BE SPARED OR ALLOWED TO be some part of the final few to inhabit this world. Or why they would not DEMAND THIS TO STOP BEFORE WE GET ANY CLOSER TO A POINT OF no return DUE TO THE VERY CORRUPTION AND LIES THEY ARE PROTECTING, and allowing to CORRUPTION TO GROW.

    I am just unable to suffer and continue to watch this continue.

    This judicial system has ONE GOAL the greed and theft of LIFE LIBERTY and ANY PURSUIT of HPPINESS.
    with the enforcement and prosecutions of not violent and non harmful acts. FOR ONLY ONE REASON, to increase the ABAILITY TO TAX the citizens IN THE NAME OF imprisoning these INFRACTIONS as crimes AND CAUSING THE DISRUPTION OF FAMILIES, CAREERS, even the disruption on every individuals lifetime education, AND THE ABILITY OF PROGRESS, toward a FULL LIFE, (regardless of geological location those individuals wanting to progress in life, whether it’s someone born and raised in a rural region, to own a pie e of land and become self sufficient, or some inner city metro, apartment dweller to, work and save to become homeowners, the COLLATERAL DAMAGES CAUSED INTENSHIONALY FOR THE THE PURPOSE OF KEEPING OTHERS DOWN AND UNABLE TO ADVANCE their lives, OR THE DISRUPTION OF FAMILIES and the negative effects that has on children NOT ABLE TO GET THE KNOLEDGE THAT COMES FROM A FUNCTING 2 PARENT families that HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE BACKBONE OF THE WORLD, how can we expect these COLLATERAL DAMAGES TO HAVE ANY POSITIVE OUTCOMES, or is this the means of blocking ADVANCEMENTS and keeping the OLD WORLD MENTALITY OF KINGS and QUEENS and RULES and PHESANTS.

    We NEED TO REVELOUTIONIZE THIS UNJUST AND UNBALANCED ABUSE OF POWER.

    as for me, I’m pretty sure I will become a victim of my own surmise AS RESULT OF THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF POLICE MISCONDUCT, CORRUPTION AND ABUSE OF POWER. the bullying effects forced on me by POLK COUNTY MINNESOTA and ABSOLUTE DISREGUARD OF AND CIVIL RIGHT AND SOME HUMAN RIGHT VIOLATIONS. and the ABSOLUTE REFUSAL TO ANYTHING OTHER THAN ENFORSING THE WRATH that they are the highest power and if you do not SHOW THE MOST DISRESPECTFUL BULLIES the respect they DO NOT DESERVE. Then your life will suffer UNREPAIRABLE CONSEQUENCES. and after YEARS AND YEARS OF PLEADING AND DEMANDING

    FOR JUSTICE. Polk county MN will destroy your life for JUST WANTING WHAT WE ARE PROMISED AND GUARENTEED OUR ENTIRE LIFE.

    They have the power and any demand that they DO THE TRUE AND COMPLETE DUTY THEY took an OATH and are PAID to UPHOLD and as soon as they are ALLOWED THESE POWERS they DISREGUARD THEIR OATHS or ANY REGUARD OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

    POLK COUNTY MINNESOTA WILL BE THE ROOT RESPONCIBLE PARTY as well as all those that ENFORCED this UTTER DISREGUARD OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM and forced ABSOLUTE punishment and hardship, FOR DEMANDING they do their DUTY. And NO BULLIES WILL EVER ALLOW ANYONE TO DEMAND THEM DO WHAT IS RIGHT, not when it undermines the POWER THEY IDOLIZE AND LUST FOR HAVING over EVERYONE IN THEIR PATH.

    Judge Ann Rassesmenson, prosecutors Greg Widseth, and Beuller, the entire PUBLIC DEFENDERS (or as I like to refer to them as the punks that do the GANGS miniscule tasks) but really the PUNKS ARE EVERY ONE OF THEM FROM THE COPS TO JUDGES AND JAILERS, anyone that forces there POWER that is LENT TO THEM BY THE TAX PAYING VICTIMS.

    I wish I could be alive to see when the public SEES ALL THE LIES and CORRUPTION and acts SO WRONGFULLY INFLICTED UPON THE PEOPLE. and dogs up the last of the guns AND STARTS AND FINISHES KILLING ALL THESE idiots that are inflicting undue HARDSHIPS on everyone JUST FOR THEIR TINY LITTLE PAYCHECKS.

    MONEY
    IDEOLOGY
    CORROSION
    and EGO

    That becomes CORRUPTION and EXTINCTION

    MAY GOD HAVE MERCY on us all, AND MAY SATAN INFLICT HIS WRATH ON THESE unrightious judgemental corrupt GREED mongers.

    Reply

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