You can say many things about the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) but being a non-partisan and conservative organization is not one of them. Coming from the ‘right’ I perceive them coming from the far left more then not. That is not to say they don’t have legitimate complaints from time to time but it’s that ‘from time to time’ that sticks in my craw. More then not I feel they make decisions and/or recommendations while never ever walking a mile in the shoes of the people they criticize. But they are an advocate for the people where a check and balance is always better then none at all. I sincerely believe having the "Kumbayah everyone is friends” feelings the present mayor and council ‘enjoy’ is severely lacking of a check and balance and therefore potentially much more dangerous. Like it or not, opposition and criticism is a much safer and healthy way to go.
But I digress from the subject at hand. The ACLU has made some stunning allegations of improper police procedures in local police departments and specifically about Saddle Brook Police Department. To best understand what is being alleged you should first read AND listen to WNYC’s investigation into “NJ Police Complaint System Broken” and then read the Fair Lawn – Saddle Brook Patch article. I’ll make the leap and say the obvious that WYNC Radio is an NPR Radio network member and therefore ‘left-leaning’ and skewed to that way of thinking. But what has come out of this for the Saddle Brook Police Department can only be a good thing, re-training. Deputy Chief Robert White is quoted in the Fair Lawn – Saddle Brook Patch article as saying “he believes most officers will brush up on the guidelines on their own, but that a complaint taking refresher during roll call shouldn't be too tough to digest.” White further stated that the department would develop a refresher course to address this issue.
What I find difficult to express and even harder to handle is the complex human behavior that transpires in these situations for both the complainant and the police officer. As a police officer you are taught time and time again (at least they should be) that no one, absolutely no one, likes to be reprimanded. It is human nature to resist and become argumentative. A police officer should expect resistance and a defensive posture when questioning possible lawbreakers, whether they actually broke the law or not. Most arrestees don’t put their hands out calmly and say ‘cuff me and take me away’. And equally the public should understand that the officer doesn’t know you personally, if you are a good person or bad, that you wouldn’t or didn’t do what he is investigating, and that he has heard it all before and MUST make sure, for the public’s sake, that he is sure beyond a reasonable doubt you are not involved or guilty. It’s embarrassing and certainly not fun being accused of doing something wrong, nor is it fun to put someone in that position while trying to determine the facts. A delicate balance to say the least, each needing to walk a mile in the others shoes to fully understand.