Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Proving the Myth of the Good Cop

So it's been quite routine for me to take a cab every time I work during EMEA hours. Having been mugged before, that's a small price to pay. I've read somewhere before (probably in Definitely Filipino, but I'm not sure) that we meet all sorts of interesting people every time we commute, and a ride I had a few days back was no different.

The driver turned out to be a policeman and he said driving a cab was just his sideline whenever he was off duty. He seemed like a decent chap and had quite a few stories to tell. One of the things he said that struck me was the fact that he treated serving as a policeman and driving a cab as two separate things and he tries his best to prevent aspects of one job to overlap the other. He said this was the reason why he didn't prominently display his ID or carry a weapon whenever he was taking fares.

He also admitted that sadly there were those serving the force who do nothing substantial during their spare time (which they have quite a lot of, as it turns out) instead of finding ways to supplement their income, which was why there were corrupt cops.

This got me thinking about how I view these authority figures in general. It's not that I have a problem with authority or with the law, but I guess it's no secret that majority of Filipinos are extremely wary of dealing with men in uniform. Sadly, this is a perspective that's so ingrained in our culture and for good reason. I've heard a lot of stories from people I personally know who got screwed over and were unable to do anything about it due to fear. It doesn't take much thought to come up with the observation that there is something seriously wrong with a system when majority of public perception is negative.

However, generalizing the entire police force would be unfair. I know that plenty (if not the majority) of cops out there are fighting the good fight (and I have relatives who serve honestly as far as I know).

I find it reassuring to know that there are policemen who try to change the public image they hold by being positive examples for their peers.

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