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It’s become apparent that there is a systemic problem in policing, yet many Americans continue to be willfully ignorant of the dark reality transpiring outside of their front doors. Often people will claim "it’s just a few bad apples," but the truth is that problem is much more deeply ingrained.

Imagine for a moment being bestowed one of the highest honors of your profession, and what that recognition would represent. In policing that honor would be called the “Officer of the Year,” and would represent the elite of the police force within which these officers work.

It would make sense to expect that the officers awarded this prestigious honor to be those who uphold and exemplify the highest ideals and values of law enforcement.

In a telling sign of the current state of policing in America, we have seen five former “Officer of the Year” recipients reveal their true nature in 2015 and show exactly how corrupt the soul of American law enforcement system has become.

This is what an “Officer of the Year” looks like in 2015:

Eric Casebolt: “Officer of the Year” in 2008 in McKinney, TX. Casebolt resigned in disgrace this year after assaulting children at a pool party while a grand jury investigation was pending.

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Noe Juarez: “Officer of the Year” in 2009 in Houston, TX. Juarez was indicted on charges of trafficking drugs and weapons for Los Zetas, one of the most ruthless and violent Mexican cartels.

Edwin Guzman: “Officer of the Year” in 2012 in Boston, MA. Guzman was arrested and charged with sexual assault charges against a minor.

Jonathan Bleiweiss: “Officer of the Year” in 2013 in Broward County, FL. Bleiweiss plead guilty to confining and raping 20 male immigrants.

Jerad Gale: “Officer of the Year” in 2014 in Champaign, IL. Gale was arrested and charged for choking and raping two women.

Americans should be very troubled that men like theses are being honored as the best of the best in policing. People must come to the realization that these weren’t simply a few bad apples that had simply people fooled into believing they were good cops.

The sinister reality is these men are exactly what law enforcement looks for, modern day cowboys with too much machismo and a bully complex. Theses borderline sociopathic tendencies, which are rampant within the profession, are a canary in the coal mine and a stark warning about the systemic brutality that has taken firm root in U.S. policing today.

When men such as these are honored as the best of "America's Finest" it's apparent the system is broken!

Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has been published on BenSwann's Truth in Media, Chris Hedges' truth-out, AlterNet and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.