The rule is to either avoid them or seek them out, they whose sworn duty is to “serve and protect.” Not a very original slogan, but as a former patrolman who became Mayor Fred Lim used to say, whatever you think of cops, whenever you need them they’re there for you.
These days cops, the good, the bad and the lookers, are here, there, everywhere to enforce the laws against COVID-19. For lack of a civilian explanation, they were deployed at the start of ECQ in 2020 in armored personnel carriers (they look like tanks) to either scare the people into complying with “minimum health protocols” or to send the message loud and clear to troublemakers. As it turns out, many such troublemakers were/are policemen, in uniform or not.
Not all cops speaking as spokesmen ought to speak at all, resorting to describing inexplicable, inappropriate, unlawful events involving their despicable comrades as “isolated incidents” — as if the randomness was a hazard of the trade unworthy of Napolcom’s attention. Unless I’m mistaken, the present generation of police officers are mostly graduates of PNP Academy, so do we blame Napolcom or the school for producing cops who are less than suitable for such an honorable and sensitive job as keeping the peace and order?
Yet in these unusual times, it’s cops we’re pushing to the brink to keep citizens from spreading the virus. At great risk, the harassed peacekeepers move into congested streets and crowded neighborhoods to do what the civilian population are not supposed to do – interacting with strangers. They cajole, shout, remind them that the invisible enemy is as deadly as a bullet intended for no one in particular but everyone, policemen included. Thousands of them have been infected, scores have died in the line of duty, without thanks from the people they protected or tried to protect.
The news is good that the acting chief of police is someone the civilian population can relate to, such as when he headed the National Task Force Covid Shield. Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar – he’s not afraid to face the ugly facts and an inquisitive media – follows a freakish line of revolving-door generals who were promoted PNP chief, only to serve stints as short as two months.