The Police Have a Public Relations and Image Problem

public relationsIt’s probably safe to say, the police have a public relations problem, and it’s not really their fault. Any large generalized group of subjects will always have a few individuals that fit outside the normal bell-shaped curve. But it’s usually those few that create the image for the whole group, and the others are simply guilty by association.

No matter how hard one tries, there will always be a few “bad apples” within these groups. It’s just a statistical fact. A peaceful protest can turn ugly, only because a few people just don’t “get it” and want to cause problems. A gathering in front of a Walmart on Black Friday can turn into a stampede. Not everyone is guilty of running into the store, it’s usually just a few pushing the rest in.

The same is true of the police force. There are tens of thousands of police officers all around the country, and by and large, a vast majority are nice people. They have families just like you, rents or mortgages, car payments, bills to pay, kids to pick up from school, drink beer, watch football, and all the other things associated with normal everyday living. They are performing a service to the community in exchange for a pay check, which is great! We need the police!

However, there are the few police officers within the larger group that for whatever reason, cause problems and their actions unfortunately define the entire police force. If you jump on youtube, after just a few videos, you too will hate police officers (if you don’t already).

If a police officer does something egregious, like a shooting or a beating, it can go nation-wide in a hurry with the advent of social media and 24-hour news channels. A couple policemen beating down a homeless man on the streets of Los Angeles can reach mobile phones in New York within a matter a minutes, complete with commentary, photos and even video. This can incite riots in a city that’s a thousand miles away.

Once the situation goes viral, People’s interests are piqued. This is when the media picks up on the action and runs with it. You’ll see 24-hour coverage of a particular event, which only fans the flames. The mainstream media like ABC, CBS and NBC will bring out the race-baitors like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, even when race isn’t the issue at hand. They’ll do whatever they can to incite anger by purposefully taking words out of context to inflame the situation. Though somewhat unrelated, NBC and MSNBC are notorious for doing this sort of stuff. During the George Zimmerman fiasco, NBC made him sound like a racist by excluding important audio from their rebroadcast of the 911 call. They also referred to George Zimmerman as a “white” Hispanic, only because they know when you pit a white against a black, it makes for a better news story. How many people referrer to Hispanics by their skin color?

They do the same sort of stuff when the situation involves a police officer. It’s subtle, but enough to sway opinion and mire the police with a public relations problem. Look at the altercation between Darren Wilson and Michael Brown in Furgeson, Missouri.

NBC once again generates a news broadcast to pit the white police officer against the black community. Take a look at this clip. Over and over again, they show a picture of a young, clean cut Michael Brown from years earlier. A lovable looking kid that is about to go to college. Nowhere does it show his 6’3″ and nearly 300 lbs frame, nor do they talk about what he was doing just before he got shot (roughed up a clerk and stole a box of cigars). They say Brown was killed by the police, implying the whole department, when in fact he was shot dead by just one officer. It also shows four white police officers in military gear pointing their guns at a black man with his hands in the air. This kind of imagery speaks very loud. Not once, does NBC news even consider or talk about the officer, and that maybe he was justified with the shooting (turns out he was). They assumed Brown was innocent before they even had all the facts.

Conversely, the news rarely broadcasts a story when a police officer does something good or when the officer is the victim of a crime themselves.

For example, why didn’t national news broadcast this story (Fox News was the only one). A white police officer was ambushed, shot point blank in the head, and killed by a black man for no other reason than he was a police officer. Not a single peep from the mainstream media, only local media. Why not? Because it doesn’t fit the mainstream media narrative. They don’t want to show the police as being the victim. They want the police to be the bad guys. The media is making big money by painting police officers as being bad guys. The more people who watch the news, the higher the ratings and the bigger the advertising revenue. The media is in it for the money, and nothing else.

Here’s another example. The latest terrorist attack in the United States just occurred in Garland, Texas. Two ISIS Islamist’s tried to shoot up a cartoon convention whereby participants drew pictures of the Prophet Mohammad. However, one good police officer on traffic duty shot and killed both terrorists before anyone else was killed. This guy is a hero! Barely a peep on the officer’s great actions, but rather the news decided to focus on why people were drawing cartoons of the prophet, and whether that was a smart move or not. Who cares about the damn cartoons! Two terrorists were just killed by a brave policeman!

So, the police have a big public relations problem. They have the largest media outlets in the world slanting the real stories, demonizing them, and making them sound as if they are targeting black people. Each time a policeman does something wrong, the media pounces at the opportunity to point it out and inflame the situation. They will rarely run with a story on a good policeman. This in turn is starting a vicious cycle of unwarranted distrust towards the police, and the longer this goes on, the greater the anger and the easier it is to get people wound up.

The police need to be squeaky clean. If there are a few bad apples, they need to get rid of them so they don’t rot the barrel. It would appear, no matter how many good things they do, it will never make the national news. They also need to demilitarize. This is only making them look militant towards the public, who already think they are the bad guys. Camouflaged police officers in an downtown urban environment is pointless. Pointing semi-automatic rifles in unarmed people’s faces does them no good either. Because of this, they have an uphill battle when it comes to public relations and it’s only going to get worse until they change their ways.

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