The Perfect Cop
To a Police Chief, the perfect cop is someone who looks sharp, works hard, and doesn't expect overtime pay, makes good arrests without offending anyone, writes detailed reports, and keeps a neat, readable activity log. He is also always available when extra help is needed, accepts work assignments willingly and comes up with fast, favorable results. In short, the perfect cop is someone who makes the Chief look good.
To a Prosecuting Attorney, a perfect cop is a meticulous investigator who gathers and documents evidence, obtains confessions to all crimes, and outlines each case in order to make the prosecutor's job easy. He doesn't object when a case is plea bargained so the attorneys can go golfing on Friday afternoon, and doesn't mind if an offender gets probation or a suspended sentence because it is more convenient to make a deal than go to trial.
To a Defense Attorney, a perfect cop is a bungling idiot, who makes mistakes and someone the defense attorney can manipulate and make angry in court, making the attorney look good in front of his client. A perfect cop is someone who will agree to any and all plea bargaining proposed, and whom the defense attorney can call when he needs protection from his own client.
To the City Council, a perfect cop is someone who does his job well without making waves, who is grateful for a job that he willingly works nights, weekends, and holidays. He never asks for more than the city is willing to pay, does an exemplary job without adequate equipment and tools. Best of all, he never writes tickets on any council member or their kid.
To the People of the Community, a perfect cop is polite, a friendly person who walks the beat and checks out strange noises and watches for strange people. He teaches kids right from wrong, talks to them about the evils of drug use - but doesn't mention mom and dad using alcohol. He will arrest drug dealers, but overlooks kids with a "little" pot.
To his Wife, a perfect cop never lets his job effect his emotions. He can spend hours dealing with drunks, domestics, drug users, injured, or dead people, and then come home and be a loving, well - adjusted husband and father.
I have been a cop for over 20 years, and never met a perfect cop. Only a few have even come close, being totally honest and truly caring about people and doing the best job they can. All the cops I have ever known, are human. They love, laugh, cry, hurt, and sometimes die too young. They try to make it to retirement, although many do not. Divorce is common. Some become alcoholics and some suffer from "police stress", seen in a variety of emotional disorders or heart attacks. Our job is often described as 98% boredom and 2% sheer terror.
Why do we do it? We don't really know. I hope it is because we simply care about doing right and wrong.