Former officers who were part of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force are in hot water. It seems a number of them stand accused of a number of crimes, none of which are good for the department or for police officers as a whole. Among the accusations are that they “shook down” suspects and falsifying affidavits to get search warrants.

Two former members of an elite gun unit with the Baltimore Police Department testified Wednesday about the crimes the group committed.

One of the former officers, 34-year-old Momodu Gondo, accepted a plea agreement back in June. Now serving as a government witness, Gondo took the stand Wednesday and talked in detail about how the Gun Trace Task Force operated.

Gondo, nicknamed “G Money,” and six others were first arrested and indicted back in March. All of them were members of the Gun Trace Task Force, which works to get illegal guns off Baltimore’s streets. The men are accused of shaking down citizens for cash, falsifying court documents, and overtime fraud. An eighth officer was arrested and indicted in August.

The men stole money and drugs from citizens during traffic stops, after detaining them, and after falsifying affidavits to obtain search warrants and entering their homes, according to court records. They would turn off body cameras when they needed to, prepare false reports to conceal what they’d stolen, and coach one another on one how to give false testimony.

For police officers around the country, things like this couldn’t happen at a worse time.

Law enforcement in this country has spent the last few years under a microscope. People are actively looking for reasons to distrust the police, and this is like gold for people like that.

These former officers have now made life far more difficult for every other officer in uniform. There will be those who view every single person wearing a badge as being the same as these guys in Baltimore.

Now, each and every officer will have to go out there and deal with not just the day to day difficulties of being a cop, but also with the baggage of a crime they had nothing to do with.

But did these guys in Baltimore think of that? Unlikely. They didn’t care.

Instead, they were focused on what all they could get away with, and thus painted everyone else in a negative light.

Folks, I have never worn a badge in my life, but I grew up seeing a badge in my home every single day. The vast majority of police officers are good, decent, hard-working folks who simply want to make their communities safe places to live and work in. They’re not that different from you or me, except they’re required to go and deal with the worst of those communities and to be ostracized by many for doing what others would refuse to do.

Let’s try and remember that these guys may well be absolute scum, but they’re not representative of police officers as a whole.