By Jeff Jobe
I write this commentary to the good cops in law enforcement and our legislators. I write it because our communities need you to stand together to fix a terrible problem.
But I want my words to be read entirely before my friends and family involved in the “Black Lives Matter” movement tune me out.
Perhaps if we can all agree that “All Lives Matter” and have enough intellect to know that before this can ever happen, we must first assure that “Black Lives Matter.” This is where I am today.
I have watched and listened to numerous examples of bad cops over my three decades of involvement in the news industry. Over the years, I have personally been assaulted by off-duty cops, ran off the road by corrupt deputies, verbally assaulted, and publicly humiliated and lied about by corrupt cops – all simply because I have a reputation of standing up for people who find themselves alone when challenging those in power.
I walked upon three Glasgow cops making a young black man lay face down on blacktop in late June in the Houchens parking lot. Once I stepped in, they let him up and turned their aggression towards me that day and a few days later at a road block.
The common factor in all these examples in rural Kentucky is the corruptive power of wearing a badge and not being held accountable. Our legislators must seek out and find good cops to help fix this soon.
I can think of numerous examples where a bad deputy is exposed, and he was allowed to resign instead of being fired, or the officer was suspended with pay for months and then allowed to retire early instead of being charged. I was told one dirt-bag cop was allowed to enroll in the military as a means to hide from charges coming his way.
Guess what happens when these guys retire, resign, or run from charges? They are allowed to continue wearing a badge and carry a gun in another community. Essentially, our government is allowing known problems move from their town to their neighbor’s town.
We witnessed as one unethical crook was pushed out of Glasgow, and then found himself with charges in Tompkinsville and again in Horse Cave. We have seen a bad retired cop with numerous allegations of sexual misconduct be hired as a resource officer, and I have first hand knowledge of another being investigated at this very time by the FBI.
The reasons I am told they were allowed to resign or retire was because of the costs involved with prosecution and the legal protection given to some officers under the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights.
I am told they continue to be hired because of the considerable amount of training costs involved in having someone certified. Even with knowledge that these people have tainted histories, lazy officials continue to hire them, and our communities suffer.
I can’t image any community not rather be down a police officer than to have a bad one with a badge patrolling our streets. I have witnessed church discussions where small groups advise parents not to let daughters drive the streets of specific towns during these times and others keep their teens off the road.
I don’t have the resources or time to research myself as a small town newspaper publisher, but I would bet our problems here are magnified in these big cities. The unchecked power given to these bad cops because of union-like legislation and a system all too eager to let them slide is why members of those communities are being killed. This, combined with a misguided individuals fears or lack of training in regards to diversity, is a recipe for disaster.
I would also bet that, just like here, there are black police officers standing there watching as these aggressive actions are taking place. We need the good guys to speak out.
As your community newspaper publisher, I want it known that I certainly believe that “Black Lives Matter,” and the only way we can assure it is to get the good cops to stand against the bad cops.
To the good cops, I say thank you for allowing me to do what I do and feel safe when doing it. Thank you for responding to our homes and businesses when called to do so, and most importantly, I want to remind you that you stop being a good cop the moment you witness a bad cop do something wrong and you don’t report it.
I believe in my heart we can fix this mess if the good guys step up.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.sckentucky.com