Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Paying the perps

The masterful Jack Dunphy has a new column that's a great read. He covers a subject that many of us have wondered for a long time: At what point will officers take their time responding to a crime scene, or just allow the situation to "take its course" if their action is going to result in a walk to the unemployment line?

Officer John Hatfield was an on-scene officer in a high-speed chase that ended in a foot pursuit, at which time he disabled the assailant by using his flashlight as a weapon. The criminal asked for an aspirin when he was put into an interrogation room, and meanwhile, a civil service commission is reviewing whether or not Hatfield will get to keep his job.
There have been some 300 murders committed this year in Los Angeles, about half of them in the four patrol divisions that cover South and South Central L.A. The only reason this number isn't two, three, or ten times as high is that people like John Hatfield are willing to go out in the dead of night and put themselves between the predators and the prey. If he loses his job, a very loud message will be heard by those he leaves behind: The pay is the same whether I arrest anyone or not. Why take any chances?

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