Decent Seattle Police Union Head Risks Getting Thrown Out Of Police Union Head Union
This week, the Seattle police union went out of its way to tell cops that they'd better be OK with diversity, or go elsewhere. On its Facebook page, the Seattle Police Officers Guild reminded officers not to be assholes on social media, because it's all whatchacall, PUBLIC:
Like we tell every new recruit class coming out of the academy at their union orientation, think before you hit send unless you want to read it on the front page of the Seattle Times and or any other media outlet. Times have changed and we must also change to adapt to societal expectations.. We are held to a higher standard by those who entrust us with their safety and who call us when they need help in their darkest hour. The more apolitical we can be, the smoother the path forward shall be... Service Pride Dedication
Of course, as The Stranger points out, this reminder comes in the wake of some rather problematic social media messages from cops who ranted about blacks, gays, Barack Obama, and so on. But rather than deny the problem, union head Ron Smith is getting the message out that making the department look bad won't be tolerated, rather than digging in and pretending that no cops anywhere are ever racist and that it's an insult to the thin blue line to say so.
In an interview with The Stranger, Smith said that he's had to tell officers who feel that their First Amendment Rights are threatened by reminders to be civil,
"You applied here. And you have to treat people all the same. You have to serve the community. If you don't like the politics here, then leave and go to a place that serves your worldview."
The tough talk, Smith said, usually continues with him saying something like this:
"They hired you because they thought you were going to be able to work in a diverse community. And if you can't, well then, I guess there are still places across the country that aren't diverse, so go work there. But those won't last forever."
The hell? This is the head of a police union? We thought it was his job to be an obstructionist jackhole and to pretend that any criticism of police racism was a slur on the Officers Who Keep Us Safe. Still, we could get used to it. Let's hope that Seattle cops can, too.
Seattle's police department has something of an earned reputation for not always being the most professional cop shop in the world, what with that horrible shooting of a deaf Native American artist in 2010, or the awful tasing of a pregnant lady in 2012 or the merely embarrassing time in 2011 when a cop left a loaded AR-15 sitting unattended on the trunk of a police car:
But the Seattle Police really seem to be getting their act together, especially in trying to weed out racism and basic knuckleheadednesss among the ranks. They've gone along fairly good-naturedly with Washington's legalized pot, handing out munchies at the Seattle HempFest and even reassigning a jerkbaby cop who made it his private mission to harass legal weed smokers.
You could say they're trying to turn over a new leaf, as it were.