COP HISTORY LESSON

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I’ll bet a few of you had wondered about this picture that used to be in my sidebar, No I’m not an anarchist (although some have commented that it is bizarre that I am a cop that has authority issues), no it is not a call for police departments to strike. What it is, is a reminder to me that there was a time in history when good,faithful, and loyal police officers were forced to choose between their collective well being and the well being of an entire city.
This picture of the front page of the now defunct Boston Post is from a book I read that was called “City in Terror” It was about the Boston Police Strike of 1919. I am a huge history buff and love all kinds of historical stuff, but especially things that pertain to this part of the country.

These cops of the time in question were subjected to the worst conditions and were propped up by a mill workers strike in the city that I live in, they were promised the world by the union bosses who wanted to count police officers among their ranks, but when the shit hit the fan everyone walked away from them. They were cut loose because the plan was not well thought out and when criminals realized that there were very few cops (many who were old and did not strike because they were too close to their paultry retirement to chance it) the criminals ran wild. This strike made Woodrow Wilson President (eventually, for his handling and breaking of the strike and his technique was used by Ron Reagan in the 80s during the air traffic controllers strike) But aside from Wilson, everyone involved lost out. Bigtime. Especially the rank and file cops who were trying to make a better living for themselves and their families. But also the city of Boston which was subjected to days of “wild west lawlessness” for a short period of time.

I often hear cops around me (I am a huge offender as well) bitch about something that is patently unfair and end the complaint with the phrase but what can you do about it? It does suck that we have no real recourse for unfair treatment like the rest of society. But we are (wether we or certain segments of society want to admit it or not) a necessary evil. Some may say more evil than necessary but that is debatable (and I love me a good debate)

When I feel bad about stupid stuff that goes on at work I think back to the “good ole days” (term used loosely) that these poor bastards lived through. Six day work weeks, a need to inform the administration of plans to travel outside the city on your ONE day off, horrible station conditions, and very little guidance or input, inept or corrupt management, and a society who were apathetic to their plight. We deal with some bad stuff as cops but put into perspective, it is nothing near as bad as what these guys faced.

If you are a crime or history buff, that book is a great read and I highly reccomend it.

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6 thoughts on “COP HISTORY LESSON

  1. Coming out of lurkdom to post…

    I don’t know if you read Dennis Lehane (Mystic River plus his excellent PI series, of which Gone Baby Gone is now also a movie) but his next novel will be about the Boston Police Strike. I’ve heard it’s in his publisher’s hands, so look for it maybe sometime late next year?

    (BTW, I’m not a paid PR type. I love Lehane’s work, that’s all!)

  2. Christina- Welcome to the roll call and thank you so much for the info (that whole period in history and the history of policework fascinates me) I will deffinately be anticipating that novel. If you hear that its out in bookstores please let me know.

  3. OK I had to go looking for more info! His publisher says it is tentatively slated for Fall 2008 and also tent. titled “The Given Day.” No update on the original rumors about whether it is the first of a trilogy. But that would be cool – he’s been working on it long enough!

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