The Clarion Ledger is reporting that a former Jackson Police Department burglary detective, who was out on bail for bank robbery, was arrested today for robbing five local Jackson businesses in the past 24 hours. The detective was ten years removed from the department, as he was fired in 1999 for testing positive for cocaine use. And he has been very busy since then.
Last year, when this person was arrested for robbing a local credit union, Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance attributed the problems to drug use and abuse. “It’s actually a testament to the scourge of of crack cocaine in our society, and it is very sad,” said Jackson police spokesman Lee Vance. “Police officers are held to a higher standard with higher expectations, and he betrayed that. But even more than that he betrayed himself, and he betrayed his family.”
All good police officers, like Marines, hold themselves to higher standards than the general public. They are aware that their special role in society puts higher expectations on them for honesty, ethics, morals, competency in their profession, and even courtesy. In order to enforce the law, police officers must necessarily be more conversant and observant of it than average citizens. This is a source of pride to all good police officers, and it is difficult to witness this source of pride break down. It reminds me of an argument I used to make all the time when I defended Marines at courts-martial: “Marines have very high standards. Lance Corporal [insert name of accused here] simply can’t live up to these high standards. But that doesn’t necessarily make him a bad person.” Sometimes that argument worked, sometimes it didn’t.
Finally, another sad thing about this story, other than the fact that this person appears to be rapidly ruining his life, is that every time he gets into trouble the headlines read “Former Police Officer . . . ,” “Ex-officer arrested . . . .” The police are saddled with this man’s sinking reputation, and are forced with having to accept it as their own. I work with law enforcement officers virtually every day, mostly going head-to-head with them, but they deserve respect for the very difficult job they have to do. This “former detective,” just like anyone else, is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, so all we can do is hope that justice will be served.