Opinion: If officer commits a crime, he should not be protected

By Dayton Police Chief Rob Vine

The “Thin Blue Line” is thinner this week because a few individuals who once wore the badge and took an oath to protect and serve their communities have committed an unforgivable offense that resulted in the tragic and terribly unnecessary loss of life of George Floyd.

For whatever reason, the individuals wearing the uniform of a profession whose fundamental duty is to serve the community, to safeguard lives and property, to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality, and justice did the very opposite and engaged in behavior that can only be described as criminal.

As a police officer, I take great exception to their behavior, their actions, and their indifference. I must stand against it.

The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics says, “I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, political beliefs, aspirations, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions. With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.” The individuals who were on the scene when Mr. Floyd died, obviously forgot this.

The Code of Ethics goes on to say, “I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of police service.” They obviously forgot this part as well. They also did not recognize that their conduct would have a significant impact on others in the profession, many who are now dealing with the fallout and having to face dangerous situations stemming from this tragic incident.

The “Thin Blue Line” is not a circle. If an officer commits a crime, other officers do not circle around that person and protect them. The “Thin Blue Line” is a line – straight and unbending. If an officer commits a crime or engages in behavior that is not worthy of the profession, the person is removed from the line and those of us who are left make ourselves a little bigger and a little wider to fill in the gap as best as we can.

I pray for the family of Mr. Floyd. I pray for the City of Minneapolis. I pray for those officers who are still wearing the badge and uniform, who have not forgotten what the Code of Ethics says, who have not forgotten their purpose, and who still have the heart to serve their fellow man and who must deal with the mess these individuals created.

I am proud to serve with men and women of integrity. Men and women who demonstrate the Code of Ethics daily. Men and women who serve their community with a dedication to service. Men and women who recognize the badge of their office as a symbol of public faith and do the best they can to earn that faith and trust daily.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Dayton Police Chief Rob Vine. like all these other chiefs, that are asking for a lynching instead of a trial, are risking their jobs. Don’t they remember the Freddie Grey incident? The politically appointed cops wound up with egg on their face and retirement.
    These people weren’t there so they shouldn’t be involved. Their officers now know that if they have a problem that their chiefs will lynch them in hope of holding onto the chiefs job.

  2. It’s good to know that there are still good men and women in law enforcement. Thank you Chief Rob Vine for standing up for Truth and Justice for all.

  3. Thanks Rob. As a black man, while I have generally had peaceful encounters with cops, these isolated events still provide a lot of concern. Especially when it results in loss of the lives of handcuffed and compliant suspects. I believe most of you are good and just want to do your jobs. Hopefully the force creates an environment where the good ones will speak up without fear of retribution when the few bad ones go out of line. In addition, individual cops should be properly investigated and punished if found to have committed a crime in the line of duty.

    As I said, while I have not had any negative encounters so far (every ticket I had, I deserved it), I am still worried and concerned that one day, I or any of my kids might not make it home because we happened to encounter one of the few. It is a difficult and scary thought to have. I have always told them to respect the law, be fully compliant and not even talk back if stopped or arrested. But how do I explain some of these videos to them?

    It is important the public maintains the respect and confidence in the service. The uniform should be a symbol of public trust not suspicion. God bless and protect us all.

  4. David,
    Are you aware of George Floyd’s criminal record? Chief Vine appears not to be. Floyd fought the cops because he didn’t want to go back to jail. He had spent a large part of his life in Texas jails and prisons.
    Floyd’s family lawyer is contesting the coroner’s report and it and the police videos haven’t been released. The local D.A. said there may be a problem prosecuting the case against the officer.
    Once they subdued Floyd, they weren’t letting him up until backup arrived.
    Google:
    EXCLUSIVE: A new start turns to a tragic end for George Floyd, who moved to Minneapolis determined to turn his life around after being released from prison in Texas
    And find out how he, and five others, threatened a woman in a robbery. He stuck a gun in her abdomen and threatened her life.
    The vast majority of blacks are law abiding so why do they protect those who are not?

  5. Joe,

    You missed the entire point of my comment and proceeded to focus on an incident of a tragically killed man’s history. He did not spend a “large part of his life in Texas prisons and jails” as you want people to believe. He spent 5 out of his 46 years of existence in a Texas jail for robbery. Now if that constitutes “a large part of his life”, I dont know what kind of math that is. It is not even a large part of his adult life!

    Now lets attempt be fair and balanced here:
    1. Since you appear to know much about Mr. Floyd’s past, did you find any positives? Because majority of people would, if they take their time to perform that research.
    2. What about Officer Chauvin? Any positives and negatives you want us to know?
    3. Finally, with all what you know about each’s background and what happened on that faithful day, are you trying to justify Mr. Floyd’s murder? Because no where in your comments I did not find any line where you held Mr. Chauvin accountable for kneeling on a subdued man’s neck for near 9 minutes! You wouldn’t wish that on your pet, how much more another human? In addition, we all know that the police are not trained to kneel on a handcuffed suspect’s neck at any point in order to wait for backup let alone 9 minutes.

    There are so many assumptions and exaggerations in your comment, which can be taken apart by any well meaning person so I don’t want to go any further. We all saw the videos. Dont try to speculate on what happened before the videos. You and I were both not there.I suggest you stop trying to spread misinformation and focus on the facts of what everybody knows.

    In my first comment, I tried to initiate a conversation about how we can all come together, community and the police in order to expose cops who do not follow their training and abuse their public trust. It is narratives like what you have which inflames people’s passions and cause division in this country. Am glad people with your mindset appear to be in the dying minority as displayed by recent protests and public sentiments. I do not condone the accompanying riots, and am not hypocritical not to point that out. Am all for peaceful protests.

    From your comment above, it did not appear you had any intention of discussing the larger issue of the bad cops (who are in the minority) giving the noble service a bad name. You wanted to victimize an already murdered man. I dont have the time to engage your any further on this matter, Joe. Good day!

  6. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
    Vote Biden. He understands you.

    • It looks like you got your behind kicked by David up there and you just want to pivot. You make no sense.

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