Different professions, different worlds.
As part of a project I am working on with Wasabi Ventures, I've expanded my reading to a few law-enforcement blogs/newsletters. I recently stumbled across a particularly eye-opening article in PoliceOne.com on the topic of "Professional Courtesy," AKA the police practice of turning a blind eye to traffic violations of fellow officers and other 'protected' vocational classes (LE spouses, firefighters, EMTs, etc.). As can be seen from the poll conducted by PoliceOne.com, a major fraction of officers will openly admit to applying wholesale a different set of standards to fellow officers.
Being a civilian, I found the comment section was rather disheartening - there was nearly no debate whether "Professional Courtesy" was right or just (98%+ of the respondents appear to be in favor of it); friction was largely between the tiny minority who feel Law Enforcement professionals "ought to know better" and set an example, versus the overwhelming majority who stridently defend Professional Courtesy as a perk of the job. Many of the LEOs cite variants of "one day, I may need backup and I'd never want to upset that officer/EMT/firefighter/etc by giving him/her a ticket" as justification for "Professional Courtesy," with the thinly-veiled threat that officers who apply traffic laws equally across professions shouldn't expect backup if they find themselves in need.
Consider these to be the words cops say when they think nobody is listening:
Everyone makes mistakes, so why hammer your fellow officer, or his or her family, and give the insurance companies fodder to raise his or her rates over a petty traffic offense? Over the last 15 years I have stopped many officers and have been stopped a handful of times, and have always, always, always extended professional courtesy to my fellow officers and have fortunately been the recipient of professional courtesy. [ed note: "everyone makes mistakes," but only civilians deserve to pay for them? Nice.]
I guess I'm old school. I do not write cops for traffic violations...period.
In over 30 years as a cop, I have NEVER written an officer a ticket. I have been badged dozens of times, and always allowed them to go w/o a ticket.
[ed note: FINALLY, a refreshing change of tone from one of the commenters] The term "professional courtesy" as I've tried to apply it has been, "if you act professionally, you will get the courtesy of a warning." That applies to every profession out there. Your job is exactly that...a job. You may have the same job I do, but the rule still applies. I've dealt with some officers from larger agencies than where I work now and they have shown no professionalism in my dealings with them, but when I break out the ticket book they start screaming about "professional courtesy". Why would I give you any courtesy, when you afforded me none in doing my job? Thinking your badge means the law doesn't apply to you? I've worked for bigger agencies too, so this isn't a power trip. And to those who would say I might need their help someday...I don't want a crooked cop backing me up any day....ever. If you think a violator of the law is exempt because the violator is a cop, you're a crooked cop. Period.
As law enforcement professionals shouldn't we set the example? Some of us are habitual and blatant violators of traffic laws. If off duty cops are going to make a habit out of running stop signs, speeding or whatever, PLEASE take the FOP button off of your vehicle and your spouses vehicle. It makes all of us look bad.
I am a civilian and I
have never heard of the term "Professional Courtesy" until today.
heard of "Professional Courtesy" but didn't realize its extent until this article.
am well aware that cops let other cops slide on traffic violations.
Reading the article/comments from officers, I am
upset that there is a double standard in traffic enforcement.
appreciative there are a small number of officers out there who believe in "setting an example" and not acting as if they or fellow officers are above the law.
unsurprised - it's human nature to look after your own 'tribe.'
other (comment below)