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Should I Trust The Police? (A children's story...)

by Stephen DeVoy Thursday, Dec. 09, 2004 at 3:06 AM

Officer Friendly is not your friend.

Should I Trust The Police? (A children's story...) Author: Stephen DeVoy

George came home from school with a D.A.R.E. sticker.  He wore it proudly on his shirt.  His father asked him what he had learned that day.  George told his father how Officer Friendly warned them about taking drugs and how drugs were bad, very bad.  George told his father he would never take drugs.

George's father was happy to hear that his son would not take drugs.  He smiled at his son and the two of them went out into the backyard to play catch.  They threw the ball back and forth.  George liked playing ball.  George was thinking about what Officer Friendly had told them that day and he looked at his dad and said, "Dad, do we have any drugs in the house?"

His father was taken aback by the question, but children are naive so he let his suspicions pass.  There were no drugs in the house and George's parents did not take drugs.  His father decided to answer the question first and then to probe a little more deeply into what was behind the question.

"No, George," said his father.  "We have no drugs in the house.  We don't believe in taking illegal drugs."

George smiled and said, "Good."

His father was curious so he asked George, "Did anyone ask you find out if we did have drugs in the house?"

George smiled and said, "Yeah, Officer Friendly told us that we should ask our mommies and daddies if there were drugs in the house.  He said they could trust Officer Friendly and that Officer Friendly would help their parents if there were drugs in the house."

His father was unhappy that Officer Friendly was using children to spy on their parents.  This is the kind of thing that happened in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.  He needed to explain to his son that you cannot always trust the police.

"You know, George," said his father, "sometimes police officers are useful and do good things, but they sometimes do bad things.  The police are not your friends.  They are police officers because it is their job.  When people do things because it is their job, they don't follow the rules that friends follow.  Officer Friendly is named 'Officer Friendly', because he wants you to think of him as a friend.  If you think of him as a friend, you will tell him whatever he wants to know.  If he learns something he doesn't like, he will use it against you or your family."

"I don't get it, Daddy," said George.

His father paused and then continued. 

"Let me explain by giving you an example.  You know how you like firecrackers?"

George smiled, nodded and said, "I love firecrackers!"

"George," asked his Dad, "did you know firecrackers are illegal?  If the police catch you, your mommy or your daddy with fire crackers, they could put you, your mom, or me into jail. "

"Why are they illegal?" asked George with a surprised look on his face.  "They're fun.  Why would anyone make them illegal?"

"Laws don't always make sense," his father said.  "Laws are created for all kinds of reasons.  A law could be created in order to make some particular business owner rich.  A law could be created to boost the popularity of the politician supporting the law.  Sometimes laws are actually passed because they make sense.  However, often laws are passed merely to give the police more control.  This law might be one of those laws.

"Now, since firecrackers are illegal and since Officer Friendly wants you to think of him as a friend, you just might share your love of firecrackers with him."

"I do talk with my friends about firecrackers," George sighed.

"There is nothing wrong with that, George.  But if you told Officer Friendly, he'd come and arrest us because Officer Friendly is not your friend, not my friend and not Mommy's friend.  Officer Friendly is a police officer and his job is to put people in jail.  They pay him to put people in jail.  He wakes up in the morning just to put people in jail and he will use fake names like 'Officer Friendly' just to get you to talk with him so that he can put more people in jail."

George looked mad.  He was thinking about how mean it was of Officer Friendly to pretend to be a friend when all he really wanted to do was to put people in jail.

"I get it," said George.  "I can never trust the police."

"Well, that's not exactly true, George," his father replied.  Sometimes you have no choice but to trust the police.  For example, if you are lost and cannot find Mommy or Daddy, trusting the police might be a good thing.  Some of them are good people and some of them are not, just like the rest of us.  Some will try to help you if you ask and others will not.  The important thing is to remember that the police will arrest someone if they can find a reason to.  So long as you keep that in mind when you talk with them, you will probably be OK.  On the other hand, since the police use tricks, like using the name 'Officer Friendly', and often lie, it is probably best to avoid them unless you really must talk to them.  Wolves are not always bad, but they might eat you if they are hungry, so unless you have a really good reason, you should avoid wolves.  Police are much the same.

The two continued playing ball.  George learned an important lesson that day.  He never asked his father, or anyone else for that matter, questions on behalf of the police.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 6 posted about this article.
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Brilliant mymiczmse Thursday, Dec. 09, 2004 at 1:36 PM
Lesson Policeman Sunday, Feb. 27, 2005 at 4:02 PM
@ john Sunday, Dec. 04, 2005 at 10:36 AM
Please give some examples So Sunday, Dec. 04, 2005 at 10:46 AM

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