Sir: I had just finished explaining the city loitering ordinance to a panhandler (by beating him with his own pan, which is the kind of mnemonic device we trained law-enforcement officers are qualified to employ, so don’t try it yourselves, citizens), when I passed a store with a big sign in the window:

We Demand an End to Police Brutality NOW.

And I thought to myself, yes, in theory an end to police brutality would be a good idea, but the timetable expressed by the sign is completely unrealistic.

First of all, the annual Police and Law Enforcement Convention is being held in our fair city this year. Thousands of officers from all kinds of jurisdictions are looking forward to this event. Would you rip the joy out of the hearts of thousands of good men and women just for the sake of some utopian ideal? Of course you wouldn’t. Those officers have to have something to look forward to when they come here. So I think we can all agree that we cannot reasonably end police brutality before August 12, when the convention is over.

But then, of course, it will still be summer, and summer is probably not the right time to be thinking of ending police brutality. People tend to be out on the street quite a bit during the summer, and a lot of those people are up to no good, and even the ones who aren’t can frankly get on an officer’s nerves a lot of the time. So it would probably be better to wait until fall to think about ending police brutality.

But this fall we’re having an important election, and I know for a fact that some people in my own neighborhood are planning on voting wrong, so obviously we’re going to have to postpone any attempt to end police brutality until after the election. And then the Christmas season will be here, and I don’t have to tell you what that means. And you certainly can’t tell me that Washington’s Birthday is a good time to be ending police brutality. And as I look through my calendar, I notice a few other things coming up here and there.

So it seems to me that we’re looking at 2025 or 2026 before we can really start thinking about ending police brutality. Of course, a complete end can’t happen all at once. There are a lot of things we would have to do, changes we’d have to put in place, people we’d have to beat to a pulp if it was going to be our last chance. But I think we can reasonably talk about the beginning of a phased reduction in police brutality by fall of 2025, or maybe spring of 2026. So to that store owner I say, be patient. It’s not realistic to expect an end to police brutality right now, but my fellow officers and I hear what you’re telling us, and we are definitely considering the possibility of thinking about what you suggest.

Matthias L. Brassknuckle,
General Secretary,
Loyal Order of Police and Law-Enforcement Officers,
McKees Rocks.