Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I’m not opposed to giving a fellow officer a break if cops would give an ordinary citizen a break under the same circumstances. But to call that ‘professional courtesy’ is a misnomer. Professional courtesy is when a doctor performs a free medical service for a fellow doctor or his family members, or when one lawyer represents another lawyer for free. There is nothing professional about giving a fellow officer a pass when he breaks the law. That’s not professional courtesy, that’s special favoritism.

Here are some excerpts from a Gloucester County Times report about one cop being shown special favoritism by other cops 10 times over a 14-month period:

N.J. State Police looks the other way after fellow trooper drinks and drives

Gloucester County Times
April 26, 2010

GLOUCESTER, N.J. — It had all the makings of a routine motor vehicle stop. Police officer Ronald Gorneau spotted a silver Toyota swerving and pulled it over. The driver, Sheila McKaig of Monroe Township, admitted she had drunk "a lot" before getting behind the wheel, according to the incident report.

Then she told Gorneau she was a state trooper, and the stop in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County, was no longer routine. Instead of being charged, McKaig was driven to the township's police station, where fellow troopers picked her up.

It was not an isolated incident. In fact, it was the third time in three months in early 2008 that an off-duty McKaig was stopped by Hamilton police after drinking, according to a state police document. Each time no blood-alcohol test was given, no charges were filed and no ticket was written. Today McKaig is still on the road as a state trooper, a position she has held for nine years.

All told, McKaig was stopped 10 times for various offenses over a 14-month period, but she has never received a traffic ticket in New Jersey, according to police records and a spokeswoman for the state judiciary.

Law enforcement experts call it "professional courtesy" when officers give fellow cops a pass they would not give the average driver.

Although cutting [police officers] breaks violates the principle of equally enforcing the law, it's still common according to Dennis Kenney, a former Florida policeman who is a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "Policing is not unlike any other profession," he said. "Every other profession has its way of making exceptions for friends and colleagues."

1 comment:

Centurion said...

The professional courtesy thing I don't have a big problem with. The professional courtesy thing is not what perpuated this problem.

Since officers have to depend on each other for support, back up, and other types of assistance on a regular basis, you have to expect this sort of thing.

It appears that these incidents were reported to her superiors. If they had been doing their JOB, this matter would have been taken care of internally right from the begining.

First offense, suspension, second offense, a longer suspension and mandatory completion of an alchol treatment program before being allowed to return to duty. Third offense....termination.

That's how things used to be handled. That's how things should have been handled in this case.

The problem, as I see it, is not professional courtesey, but weak supervision and management.