SSCC #112–Gatlinburg Police

A former Gatlinburg police officer entered a guilty plea this week to assault charges stemming from an incident last year at a Gatlinburg bar.

Steven Cline of Sevierville was charged earlier this year in a sealed presentment issued by a Sevier County grand jury. The charges arose from a Sept. 4, 2010, incident in which Cline attacked a couple outside the Hoggs and Honeys bar.

Incident reports said he punched a man in the jaw and shoved a woman down, then poured beer on her head during an altercation while he was off duty.

This officer was off duty but I am including it in the count because this is not the first incident of this nature.  Not to mention the fact that many seem to think that LEOs are some how better at controlling their behavior in a bar than the general public.

The fact is that police are civilians and people.  They screw up and should not be given a free pass, or allowed extra leeway given their position.  If people think that the rights of law abiding citizens should be restricted, LEOs should be included in that list.

The job of the police is not to prevent crime but to investigate a crime after it has occurred.  It is the job of the public at large to prevent crime.  This includes crime committed by police officers.  This count is reactionary but is done with the express purpose of attempting to provide a negative feedback loop to prevent further abuses.  It is also done in the hope to raise awareness to help the public realize their role and hold their local police accountable.  I am not saying every cop is corrupt, but it is readily apparent that they do not police themselves.

There are officers who do a fantastic job.  Those men should be praised for what they do, for exercising proper restraint, doing their job professionally, and treating the public with the respect they deserve.  Many of these men also do the right thing when their brethren cross the line.  Those who do not do the right thing though are no better than the man who crossed that line.  Often we talk about the man who crossed the line, but we hear nothing about his partner who said nothing and did nothing.

Some have called me anti-police as of late.  That is blatantly false, honest cops who do a good job I like and respect.  What I don’t like and have absolutely no tolerance for is this kind of abuse.  Some are willing to write a free pass due to “stresses of the job”, I give no such pass.  If you can not take the stress of the job, maybe you should do something else.  

I work in safety critical systems, I have to take responsibility for everything I do, including when I screw up.  If I ignore something someone else does because, “it’s not my problem” and it ends up in an incident, I am equally culpable.  Officers who look the other way are culpable, officers who make negligent decisions should be fired.  Especially when they do not immediately admit their mistakes and often abuse the public due to the qualified immunity they are given.  

Name me anywhere in the private sector that has that kind of immunity.  At best your company looses a chunk of money and you’ll probably be hunting for a new job.  At worst you are bankrupt, going to prison for involuntary manslaughter, and you’re career is over.  Which path depends on if you’re a PE and a few other qualifiers.  The bottom line is in my industry I am held accountable, what holds the police accountable, especially given their exemption?

State Sponsored Criminal Count: 112 Steven Cline

Because when you’re off duty going and assaulting drunks is the thing to do.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

About Barron

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.
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