Trumbull Officer: Keep political correctness out of my police cruiser

To the Editor:

Hey, Connecticut! Keep your political correctness out of my police cruiser!

As I belong to a profession whose members are assumed automatically to be pathological racists, homophobes and religious bigots, I am inoculated to the possibility that my job — the hegemonic enforcement of Connecticut's dominant power structure — might result in a complaint or two from the public. However, Connecticut’s new statute requiring police officers to provide suspects in motor vehicle stops with written directions on how to make complaints (which are forwarded to the police department concerned or the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities) against the officer who pulled them over opens a new front of arrogant contempt toward Connecticut’s Law Enforcement members. Furthermore, in its employment of postmodern “victimology” language, the complaint instruction cards address issues of mere phantom discrimination that would not materialize in the course of even a genuinely bigoted officer’s patrol shift.

The cards, for instance, instruct motorists on how to file a complaint if they believe they were stopped on the basis of their sexual orientation, however, it is unlikely that a hypothetical homophobic cop would be able to identify a member of the gay community as he or she drove by. And, according to the literal meaning of “homophobic,” the officer might be afraid of pulling the car over even if he did possess these powers of detection. Indeed, the gay community would rightfully take issue with the idea that a person’s sexual orientation could be determined just by looking at him.

Also, in its denotation of groups who might find grievance with Connecticut’s armed enforcers of institutional injustice, the state includes the category “Protected Class,” a subset of which, according to federal anti-discrimination law, includes pregnant women. Again, the natal status of passing motorists would not be apparent to a cop observing traffic in his cruiser and instances of mistreatment of members of the expectant community by police officers have, to my knowledge, yet to be documented. In fact, a cynic might conclude that the instructions on the card were cobbled together — with little consideration for their practical application — with phrases and terms borrowed from federal lawsuits and Noam Chomsky books with the actual purpose of making police officers’ jobs more miserable.

Sticklers for ideological consistency might also note that the front of the cards include instructions for making complaints on the left side of the card in English, with a Spanish translation on the right. Printed on the reverse side of the cards is a reminder that “Seatbelts Save Lives,” and that they may reduce crash-related injuries by 50 percent. This potentially life-saving advice, however, has been reserved for an English-only audience. Read into it what you may. Anyone with concerns over this flagrant spurning of inclusiveness and obvious appeal to an English-speaking privileged hierarchy can direct their complaints to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

Sean McClinch, New York City Police Department July 2003-July 2007; Trumbull Police Department July 2007-present