Editor’s Note: This is part III of a three-part series on Law Enforcement in America. You can read part I here and part II here.

“A Policeman is a composite of what all men are, mingling of a saint and sinner, dust and deity.”

“Less than one-half of one percent of policemen and/or policewomen misfit that uniform. I said less than one-half of one percent of law officers misfit that uniform, and that is a better average than you will find among clergymen.”

-Paul Harvey; Police Week 1992

As you’ve seen if you made it this far, I have a deep respect for police officers because I know first-hand how difficult their job can really be. But I don’t want you all to think that I believe policemen are perfect or that our criminal justice system works flawlessly. Quite frankly, I believe the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is complete garbage. If that’s the case, then why do we “perp-walk” people in front of the cameras and give their information to the five o’clock news to report upon their arrest? There’s also the idea of cash-only bond and the effect it has on low-income families.

Our criminal justice system is flawed — and it is flawed in both directions. Career criminals who are the dregs of society are routinely let out of prison early or they have their case dropped due to some technicality, courtesy of some sly attorney, only to immediately recommit the same crime once they are out.

Likewise, some police officers forget they are humans first and officers second and they act in ways that are incongruent with strengthening our society. Silly things like enforcing nonsensical ticket quotas and repeatedly giving the same hard-working people tickets for things like an expired license plate — which makes it impossible for the citizen to ever pay the fines and thus never be able to afford to register his vehicle. That said, I’m not referring to the citizen who routinely refuses to register his vehicle just because he doesn’t want to, even though he has plenty of money to easily do that. Nor am I referring to the guy who once said to me, “Hill, I’ve been driving unlicensed vehicles for 30 years before you came and I’ll be driving them for 30 years after you leave” — he failed in that goal by the way. Screw those guys. They get tickets for days. 

We also have to stop “throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” so to speak. Anytime a police officer does something wrong, it is because he or she alone did something wrong. It wasn’t every officer in America who acted along with that officer.