Cop: (slang) a police officer
When I was a kid, if you called a policeman a “cop,” you were corrected. You were made to feel like some sort of hoodlum who was trying to be overly cool, overly familiar and by grown-up standards, overly stupid.
The feelings about these peace-keepers vary from city to city, age group to age group and race to race.
What’s missing, I think, is the definition of what makes a good policeman or woman. Because any officer who is “badge heavy” is a cop by anybody’s standards. And by “badge heavy” I mean that they take their position much too seriously rather than focusing on their responsibility.
I want to see a police-person and not think of the word “cop,” or wonder if he or she is an ass. What tells me this is whether he or she appears to be eyeballing the surrounding world anticipating that most people are going to be criminals or if most people are going to be next-door neighbors.
I want a man or woman who is wearing a uniform and carrying a gun to use the wisdom of mercy as much as possible, short of endangering his or her life.
“Cop” is still not a great name for a policeman. It’s one of those things we’ve accepted because our world is too intent on being cool instead of respectful.
But it certainly will not hurt the police officers in this country to carry their badges a bit more lightly, and their respect for humanity with a deeper and heavier consciousness.