In a generation and time where there is so much controversy on whether to trust the police or not if they are our allies or enemies. Will they gun us down on sight? Are they more afraid of us or should we fear them? The media certainly doesn’t answer these questions and seems to only light a fire between the people and the police. It seems there is a very apparent divide between back the badge and fuck the police in today’s society.
However, have you walked a mile in their shoes? Do you realize they simply take orders like solders? They wake up every day and kiss their loved ones goodbye not knowing if they are coming home at the end of their shift. Agencies across the country are struggling to staff their police departments because no one wants to do the job and the people they get probably shouldn’t be police as they are choosing this occupation for all the wrong reasons.
It’s a difficult time in America when it comes to the relationships between law enforcement and the people as they are supposed to serve and protect us but there is a massive fear factor and looming over their heads and their training is limited and subpar at best. We as citizens see them reacting in a lethal matter all over the internet. It gets complicated. Most of the people who have been shot by the police were in commission of major crimes and not innocent victims but there have been situations where the police officers, sworn to protect us have reacted in a deadly manner when the situation did not warrant it.
One bad apple will ruin the entire crop, the same goes for any law enforcement agency. If you have one hot-headed, ego-driven, power-tripping cop on the force they will likely make the community feel unsafe and lose trust putting everyone’s life at risk. For the officers who took an oath and believe in what they do this is an ongoing problem. Due to the lack of qualified applicants, it makes it difficult for every department to police their own.
What the average person doesn’t understand is that the police may be the face of law and order but they have very little control over what happens. Their hands are tied by the laws and the process as set for by the district attorney elected by the people of each county to dictate legal procedures. Police merely arrest people based on the laws they are taught and given; they have no control over what happens beyond that point.
Being a law enforcement officer is not an easy gig. They are sworn in to serve and protect, they are supposed to use their judgment when it concerns ensuring the safety of our communities. They and their families are members of the community the same as the rest of us. The difference is they have chosen a career that points them in a position to carry out orders based on the laws of the communities we live in, but they have to abide by the same laws as we do and they are held to the same standards we are or should be.
However, they also have attorneys and things just like we do that help aide them when they find themselves in situations that are less than favorable. A police department is also like a strong brotherhood, they have to depend and rely on each other, have each other’s back, therefore, forming a tight bond. For the most part, they will defend each other at all costs, which may seem unfair to the general public but when you work a job that every day you pray you will be coming home to your family it makes the bond more important.
However, should an officer bring embarrassment to a department they have betrayed the trust of the brotherhood and brought shame to them, leading them to police their own.
Times have changed and people are more aware. The progression of technology, social media, and 24/7 news has put law enforcement in the spotlight. Not everything you see, or every video you watch is what you believe it to be, but perception is reality. With the scrutiny that has come down on them, their lives are in greater risk and departments have implemented more accountability.
Dashcams, body cams, and detailed reports are mandatory. With these changes’ officers are not allowed to give breaks as they did in the past. They aren’t allowed to use their discretion; they have to follow orders and instructions mandated by the district attorney’s office in their county.
Recently there have been several situations throughout the country where officers have faced criminal charges for cutting citizens slack or been reprimanded for making a call they felt was in the best interest of the safety and wellbeing of another person.
In one case an officer wasn’t only reprimanded but he was criminally charged because he made a call that he felt was best based on the information he had. He was called out to an incident and there had been drinking, the individual in question was intoxicated and admitted he had been driving. Instead of giving the man a DWI he gave him a PI because he felt that was the best call at the time. He was charged with altering a court document for not following the orders of the district attorney’s office.
In another case, the officers were called out on a domestic violence call. They assessed the scene and determined the male in the house was potentially a danger to the caller. The called in this information to get permission to make the arrest and they were denied. Due to the extreme threat, they felt the victim was in they used their discretion and made the arrest anyway. When the suspect was released, he did beat the victim badly, yet both officers were reprimanded for not following protocol.
Times are definitely tense. District Attorney’s offices are being investigated for abusing their power in seeking convictions, law enforcement officers are being held to a higher standard and yet to a degree the community has lost trust in them. Sometimes we all need to pull back and walk a mile in someone else shoes.
Please remember they are just doing a job. Comply with their orders, don’t make movements or actions that would alert or alarm them. They want to get home to their families too.