You would want my job too if you grew up in Melbourne, Florida. Take a look at this photo I took in my hometown of Melbourne, Florida. I have said before: you West Virginians don’t know how good you have it as far as law enforcement goes. Since most taxpayer money goes to the school system, law enforcement is forced to live within it’s means.
That is not the case in Florida. There are more cops that you can shake a stick at. And I’m not talking about high-crime areas. They are literally all over the place. Many of them shave their heads and act like they are some elite military unit. They pull over some poor lady for speeding on a four lane highway, in a spot where the speed limit is intentionally lowered to an ungodly speed by whatever corrupt municipality the highway runs through, because it makes them money. And politicians like money. Because they get to give it out, which gives them power – and probably some sort of kickback somewhere along the line. Go down US 1 in Florida (where this photo was taken), and you will see this scene repeated over and over again. The last time I was in Florida, I saw a black Escalade with a blonde lady sitting in the driver’s seat, pulled over on the side of the road. There were 6 cop cars parked behind her with their lights on.
Anyways, this photo shows three cop cars with some poor lady pulled over. The “cruisers” are all brand new. Again, no attempt whatsoever to live within their means. There are so many cops that they have nothing better to do than to gang up on citizens accused of speeding. It takes three of them (and there may even be more than one cop to each car) to respond to this lady pulled over on the side of the road, as if she is on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. Give me a break. What a waste of money. And of course each cop is making at least 50k plus benefits, as compared to the mere pittance paid in West Virginia. Why is this so? Unions. Most government employees are unionized. The taxpayers are the one’s who get shafted when unions get their way. And in Florida, as soon as one of these cops gets some sort of a cough or chronic sneeze, the taxpayers have to pay for them for the rest of their lives. It’s this way with the firefighters too. In Florida, they are all full-time. It’s a career. It’s an enormous burden on the taxpayers. This is why property taxes are so high there. And the two groups look out for one another. That’s why you’ll see those little fire department stickers on back windows of cars. Cops will terrorize the public, but they won’t pull over their firefighter buddies for anything.
The funny thing is, this is in Brevard County, Florida – one of the most conservative, Republican counties in the country (mostly because of the retired military in the area). Do conservative values equal rampant unionization? No, of course not. But people, conservatives included, are afraid to ever even think about denying the police unions what they are asking for, because then they are labeled “soft on crime.” This is extortion. Just like the way the police unions extort you into donating money to them in exchange for the “please don’t give me a ticket, I donated money to your union stickers” that you can put on the back window of your car. More people should have the guts to say so. But then again, I don’t have to worry about them pulling me over. I am a little bit outside their jurisdiction.
If you grow up in a place like this, you grow up believing that the police are not there to help you. They are there to terrorize and harass you. All it takes is one or two times of getting pulled over and being talked down-to by some punk with an AA in criminal justice, a burr haircut, and an authoritative attitude, to make you want to make a career out of criminal defense and/or pursuing civil rights claims on behalf on wronged individuals. People should be treated with respect, not like criminals. I never was treated with respect. Maybe, for that reason, I have an unhealthy grudge. But unhealthy or not, it gets me all ‘riled up every time I hear a new story of injustice, and provides the passion I need to do a good job of representing people.
On the other hand, our law enforcement in West Virginia are generally hard-working and under-paid. I suppose that this is why I like living here.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.