Jim Lippard points out
that a site called Rate My Cop
is generating some controversy
from Arizona police departments who apparently consider the site an invasion of officers' privacy. The site doesn't have pictures, addresses, or other personal information on the site. It only lists officers' names and the department they work for. But this is still too much for the Tempe police department. "If everybody went home everyday and you had the whole world ranking your job, we do make mistakes, but other days we do great things," said one Tempe police officer. I've have a lot more sympathy for the guy if this wasn't true of a ton of other professions. When I do a stupid blog post, you guys all leave comments saying so. Most restaurants and retail business have complaint cards so customers can complain about bad service. There are a ton of sites where consumers rate hotels, bands, restaurants, books, and a ton of other stuff -- such as rating teachers (although some people do want to make that illegal
too). The big difference is that police officers have the force of law behind them, so they need to be held to a higher standard than other professions. The worst thing my blog posts can do is annoy our readers and hurt Techdirt's traffic. When a police officer screws up, the result can be innocent people being harrassed
. The cops who do those things are a small minority, obviously. But that's precisely why we need sites like this to help bring some public attention to the few bad apples who are out there.