When The Cop Arrives

The 911 operator tells the distraught caller not to worry, the police are on their way and will be there any moment.  There’s a sigh of relief.  The people we depend on to come in an emergency, to help us, to make things better, are on their way.  Everything will be alright.  That’s what goes through our minds.

Things didn’t quite work that way for Pam Jordon, via Turley, according to the EyewitnessNews12 in Wichita, Kansas.  Her grandson, Isaiah, was found floating in the backyard pool.

Jordan says she scooped the boy up, took him into her kitchen, and the CPR she did on him was working.  Jordan says the boy vomitted (sic), regained a pulse, and color was returning to his blue lips.  She says her grandson still wasn’t breathing, though.

The family says they’re upset because the first officer on the scene told Jordan to back away and didn’t continue CPR.  They say when two other officers arrived minutes later, they immediately grabbed equipment and restarted CPR.

“I trusted him to take over,” says Pam Jordan, a former medical assistant.  “That’s why I specifically asked him, ‘Are you going to take over?’  It’s a life and death situation.”
Anyone reading this would ask the same question, why.  Why would the officer order Jordon to stop administering CPR?  The answer is control.  The first thing a police officer does upon entering a situation is take charge of it in order to assess it and determine what needs to be done.  It makes a strange sort of sense, given the role the officer is taught to play.

The problem is that in emergent situations, where life is at stake based on the need for immediate action, the time taken for an officer to process the scene, ascertain the status and determine what action should be taken, is limited by the officer’s intellectual capacity, mental processing speed, personal skillset.  In other words, if the first cop on the scene is a dunce, or simply slow-witted, the kid dies.

We optimistically, and quite naively, attribute a certain level of intelligence, thoughtfulness and competence to all police officers.  The fact is that while some are extremely bright, and often quite skilled in certain areas, others are just dumb as bricks and generally oafs.  They might be very nice and well-intended, and be exactly the person you want at your side in a firefight, but under no circumstances would you want then to make an important decision, especially one where the life of a child is at stake.  Yet they are every bit as much a cop as the smart ones.  And there’s no capital “D” tattooed to their forehead so you can which is which.

So control of a frenzied situation is seized.  All actions are stopped.  Everyone is supposed to calm down and stay that way.  Step 1 in the process is accomplished.  Rule followed.  Job well done.  Little boy dies. 

We tend, especially at a blawg like this, to distinguish police officers as good or evil. It’s overly simplistic in many instances, but serves to make the point that wearing blue isn’t sufficient to make you one of the good guys.  What we also need to remember is that the men and women who are given shields are not a whole lot different than those walking the streets in sneakers or high heels.  Some are smarter than others.  Some are lazier than others.  Some are up to the job at hand and others just aren’t.  They run the gamut.

Just pray that the first one that shows when it’s your loved one floating in the pool isn’t the brick.  It’s not an easy job, being a cop, and requires quite a bit of intelligence to perform well.  Not all police officers have the right stuff.  Whether Isaiah would have survived had CPR been continued isn’t clear, but it’s clear that he didn’t once the officer took charge.

2 comments on “When The Cop Arrives

  1. Disgusted Beyond Belief

    This sort of thing makes my blood boil. If I were a prosecutor, that cop would be charged with second degree murder, based on reckless disregard for life. Of course, if I were a prosecutor, a lot of cops would be facing charges for things they skate on now.

  2. SHG

    I don’t see the cop as criminal, just incapable of handling the responsibility.  We need to stop being so naive about the fact that police officers are just people, and sometimes not the best and brightest, just as they need to stop thinking that they rule the world and we, civilians, exist to comply with their orders.

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