Letter to the Editor: Jeff Campbell

By Jeff Campbell

November 1, 2020

Week 29 – Justice can’t wait forever.

The Code: You know what I’m talking, the Blue Code, Code of Silence. Books have been written and movies made about it. The Code has ruined officers who crossed the line and its corrupted whole departments.

In my experience with every variety of law enforcement officer, men and women, 95%+ of cops are “good cops.” Most cops don’t have time to have “bias” or even think about being sideways “bad cops.” There are bad ones, like any profession and they make life hell for cops trying to do the right thing.

Every cop, even the good ones can’t go through a career without having to follow the “Code.” At some point your life depends on taking care of your fellows. Every cop will have to make the decision to “cover” (not cover-up) for another officer. Most cover for their partner when they’re off the clock somewhere or late for shift. Cops are human. They’ve got families, domestic problems, kids in trouble, drinking problems, health issues and sordid affairs, crazy girl and boyfriends.

It’s almost inviolate between partners. Between my partner(s) and I, we’d face the devil for each other and our families. You become family with partners. We covered each others’ “Six.” The Code extends into special squads you’re assigned to and the unquestionable bonds you make in instants. For certain I worked with idiots and incompetents. You survive them. Most had the good sense to realise they weren’t cut out to be in the life. They get out of police work before they got themselves or someone else seriously injured or killed.

There comes a time when another cop does something so wrong-headed, so corrupt, so morally indefensible the Code can no longer apply. When another officer crosses the line into the criminal realm, the good cops’ hand is forced to stand up, speak up, come hell or high water and let their conscience guide to their duty as a Peace Officer. If you stand, you may be called a “rat,” but you’ll live with it. A clear conscience allows you to sleep.

Do not forget: - Remember. Oct. 29, will mark 29 weeks, half a year plus (203 days, 4,872 hours) since Zach’s family was deprived of their son and sibling. Zach was killed by three shots to the back from deputies’ pistols on April 9, 2020. Zach’s life was over. We must pray for righteousness in Justice for Zach’s death. No more, no less will do. Across our community we continue to think of him and his family. People in Kiowa, Prowers and Bent Co. find it incredulous that we have to wait this long for justice at the hands of District Attorney Vogel.

I thank God, Saints Mike & Jude every day I never had to choose the unspoken Code over what was right. Of course, I covered for my partner and he for me, but neither of us committed an unjustifiable homicide, stole or took a bribe. Bill is cantankerous but a good cop (& I probably still owe him one). Oh, you can bet we walked right up to the “line” more than once.

As a cop, once you cross the “line” you’ll never come back. Never.

You know I’m not going anywhere. Stand and speak. I speak for no one else. I know I’m far from being alone.

Vayan con Dios, Jeff C. Campbell

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