A police officer is a public servant and is supposed to uphold the law. The problem arises when the police act like the mafia and insist that you do as they say while they can do whatever they wish. No officer is above the law, yet alone 16. To think anything different is to realize that the police think themselves above the law and beyond reproach.

The unsealed indictments contained more than 1,600 criminal counts, the bulk of them misdemeanors having to do with making tickets disappear as favors for friends, relatives and others with clout. But they also outlined more serious crimes, related both to ticket-fixing and drugs, grand larceny and unrelated corruption. Four of the officers were charged with helping a man get away with assault.

Why do police officers not only think it’s okay to commit misdemeanors in fixing tickets, but that it’s also perfectly fine with helping someone get away with assault? Fixing tickets is corruption and fraud and it exposes the fact that the police believe they are above the law.

Jose R. Ramos, an officer in the 40th Precinct whose suspicious behavior spawned the protracted investigation, was accused of two dozen crimes, including attempted robbery, attempted grand larceny, transporting what he thought was heroin for drug dealers and revealing the identity of a confidential informant.

Five civilians were also arrested in the case. Among them was Officer Ramos’s wife, charged with participating with him in an insurance scam.

And how did the police departments react to hearing of these crimes?

Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom.

The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward.

The police are acting like thugs, defending their gang from anyone who is attempting to get at the truth and report the story of their corruption.

The case, troubling to many New Yorkers because of its implication that the police officers believed they deserved special treatment, is expected to have long tentacles. Scores of other officers accused of fixing tickets could face departmental charges. Some officers have already retired. Moreover, the indictments may jeopardize thousands of cases in which implicated officers are important witnesses and may be seen as untrustworthy by Bronx juries.

Federal agents earlier in the week arrested eight current and former officers on accusations that they had brought illegal firearms, slot machines and black-market cigarettes into New York City. Recently, other officers have been charged in federal court with making false arrests, and there was testimony in a trial in Brooklyn that narcotics detectives planted drugs on innocent civilians.

A lieutenant, Jennara Cobb, worked for internal affairs and leak information to other police officers. How can anyone ever trust internal affairs ever again when you can’t trust those who are supposed to keep information in internal investigations secret?

The ticket-fixing investigation began serendipitously in December 2008, after investigators began looking into accusations that Officer Ramos allowed a friend, Lee King, to sell drugs out of two barber shops named Who’s First that the officer owned in the Bronx. A wiretap was placed on Officer Ramos, which yielded conversations about fixing tickets.

The authorities said Officer Ramos provided Mr. King with an apartment, a cellphone, a car and a parking placard. He was one of the civilians arrested.

We all know that not every cop is corrupt, but when police officers defend those who are, just who are we supposed to respect in uniform and why is it justifiable that they can break the law simply because they are the police and corruption has been around for thousands of years? The levels of self-entitlement is reason enough that these officers should be fired.

On Friday morning, on the street outside the courthouse, some 350 officers massed behind barricades and brandished signs expressing sentiments like “It’s a Courtesy Not a Crime.”

When caught actually committing a crime, the police attempt to claim it’s just a courtesy and nothing for civilians to worry about. The audacity to claim, “we’re just following orders,” is an attempt to throw blame off themselves. After all, they’re just doing what they’re told, so they can’t possibly understand why people are angry at them. To them, it’s a perk of the job.

If you can’t understand that it is a crime to purposefully break the law to aid people close to you, then you will never convince the public that you are not corrupt. It’s evident that the corruption is endemic in the NYPD. The only way to root it out is to completely clean house and start over.

Those that stand idly by and do nothing should also think twice about the careers they’ve chosen as standing by and doing nothing is just as bad as helping in the corruption. Until then, whenever a citizen encounters a police officer, they will assume that they’ve run into a corrupt officer instead of one of the few good ones out there, something that never ends well.