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First, let me qualify that I admire Jason Cherkis’ satirical writing skills and respect his journalistic—if even cynical—role in holding public servants such as myself accountable to the highest of standards. A Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) cop myself, I normally might have been amused by and might have even chuckled at “The Insider’s Guide to Real Policing” (8/16), but the timing of its publication prevents any enjoyment.
In reality, the Washington City Paper could not have been more untimely and disrespectful. The same officers you denigrate are wearing black bands across their badges in honor of fallen Park Police Officer Hakim Farthing, who was the 74th officer to make the ultimate sacrifice this year and the 126th since the Sept. 11 attack. On the dawn of the first anniversary of such a tragic day, the nation will surely fall deeper into somber remembrance and renewed recognition of heroism. You part from this by attacking public servants who, contrary to your vilifying generalizations, work hard every day and exceed standards and meet demands unlike those of any other profession on the planet. You have gained a self-aggrandizing display of humorous writing at the risky expense of the morale of officers who continue their public service even in the face of continued disparagement from angry cynics such as Cherkis.
I wish I had the opportunity to address each of the points the article raises. The anecdotes on which they are based, however, are so hyperbolic that I am sure you cannot afford me the space to adequately dismantle them. To whatever extent the anecdotes ring true, they do not point to problems unique to the MPD nor, for that matter, unique to law enforcement. In every large organization across all professions, you will find people who seem to create more leisure time for themselves than the vast majority of workers would care to be associated with. In this department, the vast majority of my colleagues are not “10-percenters.” We are 110-percenters. Anyone else need not apply.