Police are getting exorbitantly bad press the nation over, unfairly. Especially as we come upon Thanksgiving, we should be thankful for the efforts and sacrifices of officers who go to work each day not knowing what they may come up against maintaining civility in our communities.
There are racist and crooked members of each occupation sector, but folks are taking a few bad examples of unfair behavior and ascribing those attributes to the whole. People angry at various circumstances in their own lives often use the force as a scapegoat. However, when you think about most officers, I and many others understand that they exhibit a great amount of understanding and situational awareness when considering enforcement relating to most all circumstances that arise.
Domestic violence, gang activity, hard drugs, etc. are currently prevalent in even most rural communities. Infinite permutations of any situation from the time a call comes across the radio or a vehicle gets pulled over are astoundingly frightening. The vast majority of officers truly do their best as human beings to navigate conditions as they evolve, at times absolutely blindsided by unexpected worst-case scenarios unfolding. And you think you had a hard day at work? Then there are the night shifts, when everything becomes exponentially more difficult in the dark.
In cities, crime in general is insanely rampant, and overwhelmingly officers deal with life-or-death cases. Minute to minute, all shift long, things are constantly changing, every day. How does one keep up with that, stay sharp, remain unflappable, keep from getting jaded?
Like first responders and firefighters, police many times see things they cannot un-see, things that may stay with them for the rest of their lives that aren’t pleasant by any measure. They save lives and at times lose them, despite herculean efforts to save them, due to variables far beyond their control. The should-have, could-have, would-haves aren’t easy to let go of, even when there was nothing else that could have been done.
So, just as one cannot lump an entire religion, culture or race together for the worse because of some highly egregious actions on the part of a small percentage thereof, one cannot heinously and venomously attack the role of or the amazing contributions made by individuals who cognizantly decide to take on such an immense risk on a daily basis for the better of us all.
Thank you, officers, for keeping our streets, homes, families, friends and ourselves safe and free to live with less worry. And, thank you, too, to all of our first responders and firefighters.
Mark T. Barauskas
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One fine body…