A year ago, we were in the middle of turmoil and upheaval in the law enforcement community. There was a push to defund and abolish law enforcement. Looking at it today, we have more violence happening on a daily basis. This past Memorial Day weekend, we had shootings at a night club and flight attendants attacked on planes. All the while, domestic violence cases are at a high and law enforcement personnel are being attacked and challenged at an alarming rate.
I find it odd that certain politicians and so-called leaders feel that the positive change can come from scrutinizing and blaming law enforcement for all that is wrong today. Are there things wrong in this country? Yes! But how fair is it to blame all the problems on law enforcement? When body cameras became mandatory, everyone saw it as a move in the right direction. These cameras were supposed to capture all the wrong the officers were doing. Instead, the cameras overwhelmingly show officers doing their jobs, and as a result, being cleared of their actions. Now, when a camera captures or clears an officer, that story is moved to the bottom end of the newsfeed.
People clammer for things like transparency, and they demand justice for someone who was committing a crime. But when the video evidence shows that the officer was justified, we never hear a word. It’s on to the next incident, and the loud minority is hoping that “Well, we can get the next one.”
In all my years of doing this job, my biggest fear was not losing my life, but having to take one. No one wakes up in the morning thinking they are going to kill someone, but the possibility always exists. Now, when officers are being charged with murder for using their judgment in a critical incident, it makes you wonder why anyone would want to do this job. I worry about the future, and more importantly, about the young people hoping to make a difference in this great country we are fortunate to live in.
So, where do we go from here? A year from now, I will be sitting on a beach and reminiscing about my career and being in a place that I am at peace. I hope that whoever is writing an article in my place is writing about how we have turned a corner and the dialogue is positive. I only hope that the world my kids, nieces, nephews and friends’ kids live in is able to sustain the burden of ensuring public safety.