Opinion / Politics

A “Systemic” Problem with all Police? Not so fast.


The liberal media tells us people despise the police.  We’re told the problems are beyond some bad apples.  Police brutality, bad behavior, and racist sentiments are systemic.  The media tells us all are embedded in the profession and departments across America.  But from where does the media get this?

Systemic is defined as affecting the whole as opposed to a particular part.  Are police officers and departments all across the country “out of control?” Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck was beyond horrifying.  Chauvin’s demeanor through it all, while knowingly being filmed no less, was so cavalier.  This fact was even more revolting.  But is this just the classic or typical behavior of your average police officer?  Is the arrogance and criminality that Chauvin displayed systemic?

That’s a big leap.  But if we can point to dozens of other officers whose behavior also shocks us, it must be systemic.  Maybe, but not necessarily.  We must take great pains to guard against taking the extraordinary and making it appear as the ordinary.

Of course we do not know what is in the minds of police officers.  But we do know what is in the minds of ordinary Americans.  Gallup has done polling for decades, asking how much confidence we have in our institutions.  A solid majority of Americans have said they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in police every year since they were included as a choice in 1993. 

In fact, in 2019 the police beat out organized religion, Congress, labor, big business, newspapers, the presidency, banks, TV news, the medical system, The Supreme Court, the criminal justice system, and public schools.  Not one of those even came close to majority support.  In fact, only two institutions scored higher than police—the military and small business.

What can we make of this?  Are we putting the wrong institution, the police, under the microscope because of protestors, mobs, and 24/7 media coverage?  What about public schools?  Only 29% of Americans said they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in them last year.

You might recall the notorious Atlanta Teacher Cheating Scandal of a decade ago, where 35 educators were indicted?  What about NYC teachers deemed so incompetent, even dangerous, that today are being paid full salaries to play cards in “reassignment centers.”  The educators themselves laugh about it all, calling these “rubber rooms.”  A documentary was even made in 2010 called “The Rubber Room.”  What about all the high profile sexual misconduct and teacher abuse cases making news every year?

Overwhelming majorities of Americans are happy when you ask if they approve of their own children’s teachers.  I taught high school social studies for 15 years, bringing my “A” game every day.  My colleagues were equally stellar.  But even my own system was not immune, as one male educator was dismissed for “sexting” and inappropriate meetings with a female student.  I hope to not be judged by this.  Bad teachers embarrass me.  They disappoint me.  They anger me.  The same is true when you ask police officers what they think of Chauvin and others of his ilk.

What about police reform, or even teacher reform?  Are they meaningless?  Not at all.  Important public institutions like law enforcement and education should review and update existing policies and procedures often.  Frequent professional development is important.  It was a meaningful and necessary part of my teaching career, even if I didn’t find every class or training seminar to be stellar.  The training offered and educational status achieved of teachers and police officers today is far superior compared to decades ago.  Calls to defund and disband police departments are dangerous, knee-jerk proposals by protestors and mobs.  The liberal media is lapping it all up.

Speaking of the media, how much confidence do Americans have in television news and newspapers in the Gallup polling?  Only 18% and 23%, respectively, have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in both.  If indeed there are systemic problems with institutions in America, it might make as much or more sense to address them in the media as with the police.   

Jeff Szymanski works in political communication for AMAC, a senior benefits organization with over 2.1 million members.

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3 months ago

Watching that Police Officer’s knee on George Floyd’s neck was disgusting especially with 3 other officers standing there watching and doing and saying nothing to stop him. Finding out that 2 of the officers were only on the job for 4 days and Officer Chauvin was their “teaching” supervisor should in my opinion, excuse them of culpability. 4 days on the job and most people aren’t going to question their supervisor but come on, George Floyd was gasping and saying that he couldn’t breathe! Just how stupid was Officer Chauvin in knowing he was being recorded and yet he continued… Read more »

T Taylor
3 months ago

“A “Systemic” Problem with all Police” really? I did not get the survey on how I felt about police. Well, simply said I respect them for the job they do. I love the FACT that they are not only willing to handle our crap but they are willing to lay their lives down for ALL of us. 99.9% of officers are good and honorable people. Does there need to be comprehensive police reform? YES! Do when need to punish officers who unjustifiably hurt or kill someone? YES! Does the police department need to remove individuals who have demonstrated a pattern… Read more »

J. Getzen
3 months ago

This is so NOT True!! We have many police officers in our family! They are not criminal cops. They are respected citizens!! I am very proud of my family police officers!!

T Taylor
3 months ago

“Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck was beyond horrifying” and this I agree with whole heartily. Derek Chauvin deserves either life in prison or to be put up for the death penalty. The officers who were with him should be fired and receive 10-15 year prison sentences. This will send a strong message to officers who want to go racist rogue. But what about officer Dorn who was murdered by looters and was filmed dying on the sidewalk; does his life matter? What about those hurt or killed from the riots do their lives matter? What about… Read more »

Charlotte A Mahin
3 months ago

Notice how the Left now uses the word “systemic” for everything to get their way? If our cities actually cut police funding or have no cops at all, this place will be a 3rd world country and chaos will ensue. Some on the left are saying they will replace the police with another form of community action to keep crime down. Well, I wonder just who would be on those teams. You can rest assured it will not be any Conservative!! This outcry is just their way of taking over another group in their quest to get control over this… Read more »

3 months ago

When I read Officer Chauvin’s wife left him the day after he was jailed, I had to surmise that he wasn’t a very nice man. He might have also been a brutalizer to his wife.

Therefore, I think ALL Americans should judge this incident on the character of Mr. Chauvin and NOT conclude that ALL police officers are like Chauvin. After all, isn’t this what we teach our children….don’t judge all people by the actions of one.

Law & Order
3 months ago

One race, the human race. Our biggest problemS are the Democratic Mayor’s and Governors who just watched and did absolutely nothing when protesting turned violent. That was the time to act not just watch and say, they’re venting. Look at what happened to the pathetic weak Mayor of Minneapolis. I bet he wished he did things differently. NY Mayor DeBlasio is already known as a joke. I say keep America safe. Protect small businesses
and people everywhere. Law and order must prevail. Trump 2020!

Kathleen Clayton
3 months ago

Very informative article. It confirms my thoughts about police forces everywhere. It’s too bad that mainstream media won’t publish this article for all to see and read. But that will never happen. The mainstream media is in the pocket of the Democratic Party and will continue to report half truths and lies, never to be corrected even when the facts prove them false. So sad.

Tom Daniel
3 months ago

Amen. I too was a teacher, and a principal. The issue is how to get rid of the bad apples and celebrate those who are doing their job well.
Do not let these activists spew rhetoric without countering with facts.

3 months ago

Hardly! More fake news from the fake news media! The fake news media is trying to convince us police are out of control. They are not out of control! They are a very necessary part of a civilized society!

Don Myck
3 months ago

Everyone is crying about how the poor black folks are treated by the police. Those poor black folks comprise of about 13% of the population and commit over seven times the serious crime in this country. That’s seven times more assaults, seven times the armed robberies and seven times the rapes. Oh and before I forget, over half the murders in this country are by blacks. This is from a few years ago, it’s probably worse now. Then they wonder why some people just don’t like blacks

John A Bird
3 months ago

The killing of George Floyd was no accident, this was planned as was the plandemic. Trump has been a thorn in the side of the globalist movement currently in effect throughout Europe, South America, Canada, and Africa. Since the globalists attempt to remove Trump from office during his first 3 years were a failure, they’re now attempting a total takeover with the pandemic and social unrest. This has been in the works since the 1950’s and will not stop without removing the deep state and all operatives from this nation and the world.

Patriot Will
3 months ago

There is no systemic problem with the police in this great country. Most police are solid citizens who care about this country. We should all be very thankful that most of our police are protecting us from criminals. The lefties who are pushing “white guilt” and other lies think that all Americans are just supposed to stop thinking and pretend that the socialists, communists, and anarchists are good while patriots are bad.
Let’s get real. Most Americans want honesty — not a bunch of pie in the sky fairy tales.

responsible adult
3 months ago

If people look at the over all picture it becomes VERY clear, that the issue is not Police Departments, it shows that the town and state management Can Not do the job they are elected / hired for in so many cities and states… Every person is responsible for their own actions no matter what… for those in charge the responsibility is much greater, and they are the ones who have failed the citizens, state and country… Why did they hire and then keep people with records like this dealing with pressure situations like police need to regularly manage…? There… Read more »

Paul W
3 months ago

Every profession has bad apples. That doesn’t make all of those professions “systematically” bad. That very notion is ludicrous…but it doesn’t stop leftist from pushing that philosophy. Regarding the police, name me a sane alternative? They can’t. They just ramble on about “privilege”. Seriously?…give me a break. Same old, tired, predictable claptrap. Get lost…and no…I won’t call the police to file a missing idiot report.

Patriot Will
3 months ago

There is no systematic problem with the police and minorities. Individuals make mistakes.

Mark B
3 months ago

Right now, with all the public protest, riots, political pandering, and the media fanning the flames of protest, how could you ever conduct a fair trial of the accused cops in the George Floyd case. The prosecutors must be thinking, we’re screwed. We are still a country with a constitution that gives those cops the right to due process and a to be tried by a jury of peers. Where in this country would it be possible to seat a jury of unbiased peers that would guarantee a fair trial. The defense only has to say that the medical examiners… Read more »

Fred Loe
3 months ago

Big mistake followed by Another large mistake will make metro and mid size cities less and less safe. If you folks that vote locally have any sense you will vote out those running all places plus arm yourself and engage in offensive protection schemes. The policeman are resigning by the bucket load!Glad I no longer live in A city. But both my wife and I are are gettiing training to go along with our various auto weapons.

3 months ago

The only people who don’t want LE are people who are lawless anyway.

Stephen Russell
3 months ago

Apply same rules to police one would on others:
ID bad apples & remove
Change policies
end Digital divide.
Update police equip, tactics vs 70s.
End corruption, see 70s movie Serpico.
Make uniform for all PD.
Need reward line to ID bad cops in force.
& dont need bad teachers etc either
Change police Unions overall
Or scrap.
Boost pay.

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