I’ve known cops all my life. Lived under the same roof with one for twenty years. That cop was my dad.
My posts on this blog have generally viewed the Democratic National Convention as something quite absurd; an archaic practice feeding only the voraciousness of politicians and the media for spectacle where spectacle is unnecessary. William Jennings Bryant didn’t even attend the 1908 Democratic National Convention in Denver, where he was nominated to be the party’s candidate for President. Sure times were simpler then. But, in retrospect, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out how politics has become antithetical to any notions of “We the People…” The people be damned, for the most part, with the machinations of the kind of power politics (read: elite) that sees no problem with spending $100 Million of the People’s money (half to the Dems, half to the Repubs), to put on celebrations, not of democracy, but, rather, celebrations of the monstrous egoism that infects both major parties. What is the point, after all, of providing a coronation, a crowning, an egregiously gaudy investiture for someone who has already captured the prize? Yes, I know, there’s that talk about Hillary pulling a fast one at the convention. Don’t believe it will happen. But, that kind of maneuvering surely doesn’t require a venue–an entire city for Christ’s sake!–and $50 Million of the People’s money.
Okay. Having said that, I need to talk about cops.
The thing about cops is they’re society’s essential buffer, the middleman/woman between you and me, the hard-working, law-abiding taxpayer and the other side of that societal equation. You know what the “…other side…” consists of.
I’ve posted the following before. But, it’s important to repeat it.
There are good cops and there are bad cops. There are cops who give a damn and there are cops who don’t.
Consider the images that most cops carry with them, through their careers, their lives. And, the images are of a life spent dealing with all the vileness and the crudities human beings are capable of; of victims who have been cut and sliced and who, lying deadly still in their own blood, can only silently swear that another human being was responsible; of children abused, black and blue, from the hard knocks of parents – PARENTS! – who could not deal with themselves much less their children, much less an unkind, complex world; of drunks and derelicts lying lice-infested in gutters with matted hair and urine soaked clothes … vomit stained shirts and no shoes; of hookers and pimps plying their trade; of pre-pubescent boys and girls whose bodies are sold for the price of a meal; of automobiles wrecked beyond manufacturer recognition encasing four or five or six dead young bodies who only wanted to have good time at 110 miles an hour; of dopers and pushers and good outstanding pillars of the community high as kites after snorting or shooting or popping or drinking their particular ticket to nirvana; of the homeless and sick wandering the streets babbling to themselves and cursing the unseen demons that haunt their souls; of ten-thousand filthy, disgustingly sad, sad images which, in one way or another, the cop had not only dealt with but is expected to deal with over and over and over again and again by a society that, in spite of its humanity, delegates to one class of people – the cop – the job of handling its failures.
The cop who is able to protect and preserve his or her own humanity in spite of the unkind world he or she is expected to confront and tame; calm and pacify day after day after day is, indeed, a lucky cop.
Yes, and after having said what I’ve said about cops, there is that acknowledgment that there’s more than a few beefed-up, hard-as-nails, trigger-happy half-wits who never, ever should have been given the blue and the badge and the gun; I’m thinking there’s more than a few of these guys and gals puffing up their chests and gritting their teeth who never, ever give a second thought to preserving and protecting their own humanity much less that of whom they serve. These are dangerous people.
Refocusing on the Donkey Dance.
Denver’s Department of Safety was/will be (don’t know if they ever actually yet cashed the check), given up to $25 Million to assure peace and tranquility in Denver during the Dem’s confab. Now, believe me when I tell you this, the Denver Police Department–actually any department of the city–shakes giddily when presented with any opportunity to enhance their operations with freebies from the Feds. Human nature in the mix here. Sure, the cops have supplemented their arsenal, their manpower for any contingency that might arise during the DNC. How could they not? The “intelligence” the cops are surely privy to–provided, no doubt, from the FBI, Homeland Security, Secret Service (right or wrong, or the product of blind fear)–begs preparation for the worst. And, I do not believe there are nine out of ten Denver cops who crave the realization of any untoward contingency that they are preparing for. That one out of ten Denver cop, craves any opportunity to, um, flex muscle. Be that as it may, what other path could Denver cops take? Denver cops are doing what they need to do. Period.
The Denver cop who appears to be most prominently mentioned as having a primary role in the preparations for the Donkey Dance is Deputy Chief of Operations, Michael Battista. Here’s his police biography.
Michael Battista is the Deputy Chief of Operations. Chief Battista joined the Denver Police Department in 1982 as a patrol officer serving in various bureaus before being promoted to Sergeant in 1990.
As Sergeant, he was assigned to District 2 and to the Metro/Swat Bureau before being promoted to Lieutenant in 1997. He served as a lieutenant in District 6 and in the Nuisance Abatement Unit before being promoted to Captain in 2000. He served as the Captain for District 6 and was appointed to the rank of Commander for the district in 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology from Metropolitan State College of Denver and a Masters of Criminal Justice Degree from the University of Colorado at Denver.
The Deputy Chief of Operations is responsible for conducting the affairs of the Office of the Chief of Police and manages the Patrol Division, the Criminal Investigations Division, the Special Operations Division, the Intelligence Bureau, the Crime Analysis Unit, and the Operations Planning Unit.
I knew Battista, years ago. I worked with him when he was, I believe, a sergeant with the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Unit. Battista was then a very articulate, soft-spoken cop who, under the surface, was as tough as nails. I respected him then. I respect him now.
The Commander of the downtown (LoDo) district (where much of the Donkey confab is to take place) is Deborah Dilley. I’ve corresponded with Dilley and believe her to be, like Battista, an articulate, caring, responsible command officer in the Denver Police Department.
Both Battista and Dilley are preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best when the Donkeys come to town. I have no doubt about this. That is their responsibility.
Finally, something I wrote a while ago; a kind of biography of my father’s career on the Denver Police Department:
You hear talk about the “brotherhood” or the “thin blue line.” Sure, cops are isolated from the rest of society by the nature of the work they do. They’ve got to stick together; they’ve got to support one another. No one can understand the kind of life a cop lives except another cop. Not the psychologists. Not the sociologists. Not the politicians or the priests. It’s as simple as that. But, let me tell you one thing: When a cop is wrong, he’s wrong. that was my philosophy when I was appointed a patrolman in 1946 and that was my philosophy when I retired in 1972.
I do not apologize for believing Battista and Dilley will demand their minions react to whatever contingencies prove true during the DNC, with professionalism and–you cannot escape it–the force necessary to preserve peace in Denver. That is what they do. That is what they have been charged to do by the very nature of their career calling. And, I suspect Battista and Dilley will give no quarter to cops who cross the line; to cops who prove wrong during the DNC.
Godspeed, Denver Cops. I wish you well.