In the past week or two, the police services of many countries have stepped into the international spotlight. For being really good at justice, I’m sure, I haven’t checked. This renewed attention might pique the interest of young readers – hmm, you might be thinking, pensively stroking your chin, maybe that’s my calling. But before you zip through minimal training in record time to take hold of that pistol, let’s review the reasons you might have for wanting to join our brave men and women, but mostly men, on the front lines of domestic human rights abuses.
What aspect of the job are you most looking forward to?
a) Keeping people safe.
b) Cool uniform, hot babes.
c) Helping to make the community a better place.
d) Showing them who the boss is!
How would you describe your high school experience?
a) Kept my head down, got my distinctions.
b) Work hard, play hard. Mostly play hard.
c) School is cool and education is great!
d) Best time of my life. Literally, it’s been downhill since then.
How do you feel about putting yourself in the way of danger?
a) I’d... Prefer not to? But to help others, yes.
b) I’ll do what I have to do. Could make for a good story.
c) Please, no. I’m soft.
d) I’ve got a hair-trigger and a panic disorder. Let’s go!
How would you cope with sitting behind a desk all day?
a) Yuck, no. I have to be on my feet at least 14 hours a day.
b) No, thanks. I like adventure and variety.
c) My natural habitat.
d) Desks are for sleeping.
A police officer is beating the living daylights out of an unarmed black man during a protest. What are your first thoughts?
a) Someone help that poor man!
b) Why do these cops keep losing their cool like that?
c) Where are the parents?
d) God, that looks like fun! WHACK WHACK WHACK!
Why do you want to fight crime?
a) Crime hurts people.
b) Crime damages property.
c) Crime is a social ill.
d) Crime is threatening my race!
e) My parents were murdered on their way home from the opera.
How big a factor is getting paid well?
a) Look, I’m not going to work for nothing. I need to be comfortable.
b) I’m easy, I don’t need much to get by.
c) I’ve got to take care of my family.
d) I could live off drywall paste, canned beans, and my pent-up rage.
Do you have a family member in the police service? How would you describe them?
a) They need a lot of serious help.
b) Honestly? Can’t stand them.
c) They’re just ignorant. They were raised that way.
d) Totally cool and normal and not at all alcoholics or abusers.
Favorite Village Person?
a) The construction worker or the leather man.
b) The cop. But Victor Willis, not Ray Simpson.
c) Really, they’re a sum of their parts.
d) I HATE THE VILLAGE PEOPLE!
Mostly a: Consider becoming a nurse or EMT! You’ll be helping people when they need it the most. You’ll have to face some harrowing things, but you’ll be saving lives! Not only that, but you can also look forward to a lot of respect from the people around you.
Mostly b: Consider becoming a firefighter! Firefighters are hot, literally and figuratively. You’ll be a hero! You’ll get a ton of awesome equipment, and you get to chill in the station house with your buddies and go down the big pole. How cool!
Mostly c: Consider becoming a teacher or a social worker! If ‘the community’ is your biggest concern, this is how you can legitimately change the world. It’s slow work, and not the most glamorous, but your influence will spread far and wide.
Mostly d: Fine, be a cop. The pay is garbage, the hours are awful, the training is meaningless, and literally no-one likes you, respects you, or wants to be around you. But you get to be a big tough guy!
Any e: Consider becoming the Batman! You’ll still be an unaccountably violent maniac, but at least the aesthetic is cool.
If you don’t feel like any of these careers are suited to you, feel free to explore the exciting world of literally any career other than policing. Botanist! Graphic designer! Historian! Call center assistant manager! Naked waiter! Video game streamer! Diplomat! Hair extension influencer! The list is endless.
Police forces the world over systemically disenfranchise poor people and especially poor black people and protect the property rights of the wealthy by means of violence and coercion. That’s true of the institution, even if it isn’t true of all the individual officers. Some say that it’s just a few bad apples. But remember that the full saying goes ‘a few bad apples spoil the bunch,’ and folks, this bunch has been thoroughly spoiled.