Cowboy Syndrome

Garrison Ebie

These are the people sworn to serve and protect us-The ones in charge of our safety, security and well-being. It’s up to them to make sure chaos does not erupt on every street corner and that little children can walk home safely at night. Sounds great, right? Having a squad of armed men and women with a job to make sure civil society doesn’t get flipped upside down … What’s not to like about that?

Many people, though, seem to dislike the agenda of police officers. There’s a band called NWA who used to perform a number with a title I probably shouldn’t mention here, but it wasn’t exactly in support of the cops. In a separate genre of music, but still just as hostile toward what they call “gang control,” a band called Leftover Crack describes the police as a gang that serves the interests of the state while crushing the people. Even according to Simon and Garfunkel, the sheriff said “pick up your bags and leave.” In each case, the songwriters feel victimized and make it sound like the police they experience are more like the Gestapo than friendly officers who want to make the world a safer place.

The artists mentioned above certainly may have more extreme opinions than the general public, myself included. Also, I imagine their words are exaggerated for the purpose of good literature and a favorable song. But still, the match had to be lit somewhere. Obviously these people must have had some daunting experience with the cops to make them feel inclined to write a song about it.

While I wouldn’t take it as far as saying that the cops necessarily want to break down my bedroom door and shoot me up with artillery rounds in the middle of the night, sometimes just talking to them makes me feel like a criminal even though I’ve done nothing wrong.

I’ve lived in Kent for the last two years. Out of every city, township or municipality that I’ve been a part of in my life, I’ve never gotten as little respect from the police as I do here. These people just don’t like me.

The Kent police force has what I call a bad case of “Cowboy Syndrome.” Traits of those inflicted with Cowboy Syndrome usually involve going above and beyond what’s really necessary in a given circumstance while on the job. For example, after being called in to deal with only a noise violation, it would be understandable to both act polite and probably write a ticket. But for this, I’ve seen a man yanked out of his apartment, slammed violently up against the hallway wall, put in handcuffs and taken down to the city jail.

Cowboy Syndrome’s main side effect that I’ve come to notice is loneliness. It appears to bring certain officers of the law to call in two or more patrol cars to handle just one moving violation. The illness could even go as far as making one so entirely unorganized that the officer has to ask a witness for his information on three occasions in one night. But still, it appears they look annoyed when the witness asks why he’s been asked to do this three times. Swinging a nightstick back and forth for no reason is also a common characteristic.

But you know what? I understand. It’s a difficult job in this town. Thousands of wild college students roam the streets every given weekend night, and sure, at least a few of them deserve a fine beat down. I sure as hell would get a little stressed out and lose my temper around here. But that’s no reason to act all gung-ho and disrespectful to most students in town. There’s no excuse to use a badge to do what your impulses demand. After all, this is their job. It’s what they signed up for and what they get paid to do. What else is there to expect in a city where 40 percent of the population is in their early 20s?

Garrison Ebie is a senior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at[email protected].