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Internal Affairs
- Are You Under The Gun?

Last year I was the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation. Definitely not the best feeling in the world. The investigation stemmed from a citizen complaint over a traffic stop.

I was assigned to midnight patrol in a one man car. Sometime around 2am I stopped a new red Mercedes Benz for running a red light. I walked up to the driver who was a white male in his 50’s wearing a nice three piece suit. As always I started with a "good morning" and proceeded to explain to the driver the reason he was pulled over. The driver was calm, listened to what I had to say and told me he was in a hurry to get home and was sorry for running the red light. I issued a citation and sent the man on his way.

A week later, I found a sealed department envelope in my box. It could only mean two things: paycheck, or notice of an internal investigation. Well, lets say it wasn’t exactly payday if you know what I mean. A complaint was filed against me for use of profanity, and disrespect to others. The first thing you do is think back on all the things you've done in your lifetime and try to guess which one are you being nailed for now. That traffic stop did not even cross my mind. Only after reviewing my log did I realize the origination.

Not only do you have to deal with the feeling of being a victim here, but you also have to explain yourself to fellow officers, your family and of course – your supervisors. Even though I knew all the allegations were lies, I felt that not everyone believed me, and that hurt the most. I probably saved someone’s life out there that night by stopping this guy, and that’s what I get in return?. I know it comes with the job but it’s easy to say… hard to deal with when you’re in the middle of it.

I think that with more public resentment towards the police and with more departments protecting their you know what, officers become victims every day. I was lucky this time, found "unable to settle"…. But what will happen next time?

- Cop from the east


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