I wish that were true. I mean that. I believe that both police work and the roles of prosecutors are honorable. Furthermore, I have known people in both professions who fit the "honorable" category and spent time recently with a state police officer who is an investigator and who clearly has a moral compass, which he uses in his work.
Unfortunately, as Radley Balko notes in this article, the INSTITUTIONAL framework for police in this country has become something that creates incentives not only for bad behavior, but also for looking the other way when faced with wrongdoing by other cops. Writes Balko:
A few years ago, I attended a conference on the use of police informants. In one session, the "Stop Snitchin'" movement, which discourages African Americans from cooperating with police, came up. I was astonished to hear one hip-hop artist and activist say he would not cooperate with the police even if he had witnessed the rape and murder of an old woman in broad daylight. He just didn't trust the police. I told him his position was absurd: Whatever his concerns about the police when it comes to the use of drug informants (concerns I share), they shouldn't prevent him from cooperating with the investigation of an innocent person's murder. His response: "Isn't the Blue Wall of Silence really just the most successful Stop Snitchin' campaign in history?" (emphasis mine)He gives some examples that are right out of Orwell with the ubiquitous "internal affairs" departments investigating people who stood up for the right thing. (For that matter, the original police officer in the Duke Lacrosse Case, a Sgt. Shelton, was adamant that Crystal Mangum's story was false. His reward? He was investigated by Internal Affairs. Why am I not surprised?)
This is a most depressing article, for it lays out the unthinkable: America's police departments now are run by people who stand up for what is wrong and do everything they can to crush honesty and decency. Most of the barrel is rotten.