Opinion: It Gets Harder to be a Cop in NJ Every Day
In the good ole days, if you were a police officer, you did what you had to do to protect your friends on the force and no one was the wiser.
Nowadays with dashcams and bodycams and every website and news outlet in the world requesting all of your video, it's hard to maintain the "blue code."
Watch this compelling video of an off-duty police lieutenant in South Jersey being arrested for DWI by other officers from his own department. The headline of the story is that they kept it quiet for a year. How about the headline "Boy Have Times Changed!"
Because of technology and stricter laws and scrutiny of police and police practices, an officer really has to play it by the book or lose his or her job. You can hear the agony, the sympathy and regret in this young officer's voice as he attempts to treat his lieutenant as any other driver acting erratically on the road.
The video is riveting as you wonder if the young cops are going to do the right thing and also lament the fact that you would never get this kind of courtesy if it were you driving with a .36 blood alcohol level. But with modern recording equipment, they have to. Does it change their behavior for the good in all cases? You can hear that he's doing "the right thing" because it's all caught on camera. At some points in the video, you wish they can just drive him to his home a half mile up the road. Back in the day they would have — not just for a fellow officer, but for a neighbor or empathetic town resident. But times have changed.
I don't know what makes anyone drink to that excess, especially during the day, or anytime for that matter. It makes you wonder about the pressures of being a cop, about his personal life, about his two kids. This guy was on the force for 23 years, had just been promoted to lieutenant, and was a member of the county SWAT team. He announced his retirement the next day. The whole thing is sad, but we have strict laws on drinking and driving. Whether you agree with them or not, they apply to everybody.