Let me start with respect. We know that police officers have taken a hit based on the massive amount of attention that police officer involved shootings have received. Remember Michael Brown? Many Liberals and the mainstream media attacked the officer involved in the shooting stating Brown was innocent and had his hands in the air. This was proven not to be the case but it’s not like the media came back and apologized for getting it wrong even though they inundated the airwaves and print, that the police are bad people looking to shoot unarmed black men. It’s difficult to shed a reputation that was so whole-heartedly attacked.
Here’s some truth before I move on from this subject: 1) Out of the massive amount of crime that takes place in our country, only around 1,200 people were killed by police officers in one year, whereas over 17,000 innocent people were killed by murderers. The very people the police are trying to stop. 2) I’m sure that some people would argue that one death is a tragedy, but the fact remains that only .002% of African Americans are affected by police shootings and based on various investigations, a small fraction of a percent of officers killed an African American without just cause. These investigations sometimes included the DOJ.
What I’m getting at, is that our police don’t deserve being disrespected such as the socks that Colin Kaepernick wore. No matter what group of people there is (even in church), there are always people on the fringe embarrassing the masses. The police force is no different. Based on the number of officers and the limited number of incidences, I’d say their record is better than most organizations; especially considering the volatility of their work.
I began this article discussing “respect” because it has a huge impact on the future of law enforcement, thus our safety. Many young people are affected by pop culture and mostly receive their insight from liberal sources. We know what image many of these media outlets portray of our men and women in blue and it’s not accurate. Some young people are afraid of choosing a career in law enforcement because of the negative image. They could get ridiculed by their friends. What used to be a deservedly respected career, is now tarnished in some circles making it difficult to recruit young talent.
In my local police department, the average age of the officers is around 40 years. It’s not like they’re old, but it’s critical that they bring in the next generation of police officers. What will happen if they can’t? I guarantee you one thing, reducing law enforcement doesn’t reduce crime; it’s just the opposite. We should all care about this.
I spoke to Officer Tim Aycock, who is the Community Resource and Public Information Officer for the Matthews, North Carolina, Police Department, to get insight into the world of policing. In my opinion, based on things like crime rates and response times, our police department is truly one of the best in the country and led by Chief of Police Clark Pennington.
I discussed how difficult it is to bring in new recruits and one of the challenges is that it isn’t easy, mentally or physically. From a mental perspective, it requires a lot of support from friends and family to stay the course once the decision is made to join the police. Could you imagine the number of laws and ordinances you’d have to memorize? Not unlike many jobs, they also must be proficient with computers and know how to use the various databases that are unique to law enforcement. They must be effective in providing first aid. On the physical side they have minimums they must meet in lifting weights and run times. They must know various hand-to-hand combat techniques.
It’s not easy and quite frankly fewer young people are willing to put this much effort into it especially since it’s not a career that will put them in a big house and driving a fancy car. It is what it is, a service job, serving the citizens of the community; doing work, few are willing to do.
No matter how good the training, police officers learn a tremendous amount on the job. Interacting with people in not the best of situations, like traffic stops, requires patience and is something not easily taught in college or at a police academy. Most people are good to deal with and understand they made a mistake, but there are always those who think the officer who pulled them over is out to get them; they make it personal. An officer must be able to endure being berated by a citizen and still maintain his or her professionalism. How well would you do? How I’d handle it would depend on whether I had a police camera on my vest. 😊 The bottom line is this is yet another skill that is required to be a police officer and that is the ability to communicate effectively in difficult circumstances.
Some of the following information is from Wikipedia: Being a police officer requires their involvement in so many areas such as investigating criminal activity, referral of the results of investigations to the courts, temporary detention of suspected criminals pending judicial action, deterring criminal activity and preventing the successful commission of crimes in progress, enforcement of warrants, writs, and other orders of the courts. They’re also involved in providing first response to emergencies and other threats to public safety; the protection of certain public facilities and infrastructure; the maintenance of public order; the protection of public officials; the operation of some correctional facilities (usually at the local level), and of course, keeping us safe on the roads.
These are a lot of duties, with in some cases, a lot of danger. Police officers don’t know what they’re walking into when they pull someone over. They don’t know if someone is going to shoot them through the door when they’re trying to serve a warrant. They also don’t know what they’re walking into when there’s a volatile domestic violence call. In all the examples I’ve given above, many police officers have lost their lives. Each time an officer handles these types of situations, he or she must get ready mentally for whatever comes their way. This is stress most of us know nothing about.
My hope in this article was to accomplish a few things including how important it is for a culture of respect for our men and women in blue. To share with you the greatest challenge most police forces across our country is facing and that is recruiting future generations and the danger it poses for citizens if they don’t fix this problem. Lastly, to share a little bit about what it takes to be a police officer and the challenges they face in doing their jobs.
I find what they do amazing. Not just anyone has the mental and physical ability to do the kind of work they do. I can’t convey in words how much I respect them. I hope if you do see a police officer in your community that you’ll thank him or her for their service. They deserve it.