Over the past week, I have shared many posts on Facebook, liked many comments made by others, and overall made it clear my stance on the current environment for law enforcement in our society. What I have realized, however, is I have not voiced my own thoughts. I have shown support for our law enforcement but have not made the commitment to stand up and publicly voice my complete support for the work they do every day and my distaste for what they are being subjected to. I find myself hesitating every time I go to like or share a story of support or an example of reprehensible attacks on our protectors. I find myself concerned that I am being too negative and people will be turned off by my posts.
That stops today… I have been a law enforcement officer for over 28 years and am proud of that. I will not apologize for my passion or my support for my brothers and sisters in blue. No matter how bad things get I will always be proud of the profession and the men and women that wear the uniform or badge. I am aware there are people in this profession that should not be and am committed to working with all those that are good, to weed out the bad. This profession has come a long way toward mending the disconnect between police and the minority population. Even though you are not seeing it in the media, great efforts have in fact been made by many departments over the past several years to teach our officers how to be more tolerant, make better decisions, engage the community they serve, etc.
I have no doubt we have work yet to do but we do a great disservice by not acknowledging the effort and improvements made. Yes, we clearly need to examine the protections that bad officers hide behind and take corrective actions. We also need, however, to make sure those efforts are not used to allow criminals to escape accountability and justice. We equally have to openly support and stand behind the greater many men and women that serve their communities with respect, dignity, professionalism, and passion. I don’t need your free cup of coffee, a free meal, your empty words of support on social media, or in the store.
What law enforcement needs is you to stand up and stop ignoring the disgusting way our officers are being treated. The hate and violence on the street, the threats and actions to cut funding, the companies that seek to gain business by not supporting the very people that are protecting them both at work and at home, and the politicians that pass knee jerk reaction laws without any thought, consideration, or care what impact it may have on our police officers safety and well being.
We all need to let our voices be heard on this very important topic regardless if we appreciate police or not. We need officers to have pride in their profession so we may attract the men and women that are qualified to meet our expectations. This pride comes from knowing that what you have to do every day is not necessarily appreciated or liked by all but it is absolutely necessary and it is truly appreciated by the majority. They need to know it is a noble profession; one that their children will be honored and proud to follow in their footsteps. Not as it is today where many find themselves trying to explain why they chose a profession that is bashed on every newscast, ridiculed in every public setting, and even despised at family gatherings.
We need our voices heard by our political representatives and it can’t wait. We need the discussion about change not to be a one-sided narrative and not at the heals of civil unrest and hysteria. I am proud to be in law enforcement and proud of the majority that serve and protect our communities through good and bad.
All voices need to be heard for there to be discussion and positive change.
Former Little Falls Chief of Police