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Police: Here to Protect the Victim or the Criminal?

Updated on September 28, 2017

Who are the police?

A few weeks ago my wallet was stolen at a public library near my home in Upstate New York. There was only one other person in the library at the time besides the Head Librarian and myself, and that was a young man of Hispanic descent. By the time I realized my wallet was gone and reported my debit card stolen, the thief had managed to figure out my PIN and on his first attempt using an ATM withdrew $400 from my checking account. I was devastated. I immediately went back to the library, but it was closed. I walked across the street to the police department to see if they could help me, but they said there was nothing they could do for me at that time. Later that evening, I went back to the police station to give a statement so a report could be filed.

I could not believe the way these idiots treated me; what little respect I had for cops was completely gone in a matter of minutes; they treated me as though I had something to do with the crime. This one cop, in particular, could not understand how the thief managed to withdraw money from the ATM on his very first attempt even after I repeatedly told him my PIN was the last four digits of my social security number and my Social Security Card was in my wallet. I'll admit, not the smartest move on my part, especially looking back and realizing those numbers are a common PIN, but that does not give anyone the right to take my debit card and use it without my permission. Furthermore, it does not give the police the right to treat me like a criminal. Even though the police identified the suspect and interviewed him, It gets worse....

The police report was so full of holes it was ridiculous. The librarian who was also interviewed was not even identified in the police report. The police indicated they had the suspect on videotape at a nearby grocery store; I asked to see the video, but they denied my request. The same was true regarding the videotape recovered from the convenience store where the thief took my money. They told me there was nothing on the tape...WHAT?...NOTHING?...HOW COULD THAT BE? It's like they were protecting this guy. Maybe they knew him or he was the son of someone they knew. The kicker in this whole mess came when I went back to the police station to pass along some information they asked for. The cop in charge of the investigation (a patrol cop, no less) was called to back to the station but before he returned another cop came out and told me to stay away from the library; they were getting complaints from someone. Well, of course, it was the librarian who was present at the time of the heist. I did go to the library to ask her some questions on my own; I certainly wasn't getting any answers from the police. I obliged their request and did not go back to that particular library for months.

A friend of mine put it all into perspective when they said this: "The reason they're cooperating with you is that you're making them work." The more I think about that statement, the more I know it's true. These young cops don't want to work...they want that civil service status...that paycheck...and the perks that go along with being a cop.

Who are you going to call the next time you need protection?

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      Steve Martin 8 years ago

      It is really a sad day when you cannot even count on the police after you have been robbed.

      You are not the first one who I have known that has had that happen to them.

      I think getting good service from the govt. these days is often a matter of luck.