Police Deserve Our Gratitude

The reaction to the grand jury non-indictments in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City are tearing this country apart.  Activists are pitting the people vs. police and it’s just not right.  

Of course you know the two stories. In Ferguson, Missouri, policeman Darren Wilson was not indicted by a grand jury in the killing of a young adult, Michael Brown, who violently robbed a convenience store and then violently attacked Wilson.  New York City policeman, Daniel Pantaleo, was not indicted in the accidental death of a black man, Eric Garner, who resisted arrest for selling black market cigarettes on a street corner in New York.

I have never met a policeman who sets out to kill some in the line of duty.  Most, if not all, police hope to never have to use their weapon.  A policeman’s first duty is to “serve and protect” the citizens of our communities across this great nation.  And, most do exactly that.
I have a lot of very good friends who are in law enforcement.  Not only are they very good law enforcement officers, they are very good men and women.  I know they don’t look to harm or hurt anyone.  They only want to protect.

These men and women do a job on a daily basis that carries significant risk.  There is a risk they may be hurt or killed in the line of duty.  There is a risk the next time they pull someone over they will encounter someone with a gun willing to shoot.  There is a risk they will respond to a domestic violence episode they may get caught in the crossfire.  There is a risk the next time they respond to an alarm at a business, a school, a church or a home they have no idea what they may encounter or if they will see their family again.  Being a law enforcement officer is a tough business, especially in some of the rougher neighborhoods in this country.

Drug use and abuse runs rampant in today’s society and people do crazy, abnormal things when they are high on drugs.  Law enforcement protects us from these people.  Law enforcement makes our communities, our roads, and our businesses safe from criminals.  Law enforcement officers speak to our school children about the dangers of doing drugs and breaking the law.  Law enforcement officers are community servants.  They are not going to get rich doing their jobs.

Rather than demonizing law enforcement officials like Darren Wilson or the New York police department we should be praising them for putting their life on the line day in and day out for minimal pay.  Did you know police in Franklin County make around $13-$15 per hour?  That equates to less than $30,000 per year.  They provide us with the best protection they can with the money and resources they have to work with.  We should be thanking them not fearing them or demonizing them.
We need to teach our children to run to the police if they have a problem, not run from the police or fear the police.  I was taught to respect law enforcement officers, not fear them or be aggressive toward them.  Most people who get mad or angry at the police have usually done something that has run afoul of the law.  If you don’t want problems from law enforcement then don’t break the law.  Don’t run with people who do break the law.  I have been pulled over for speeding or not wearing a seat belt.  I didn’t like it.  But, guess what, I wouldn’t have been pulled over if I were doing the speed limit or if I had been wearing my seatbelt.  I didn’t berate the officer or get violent or angry.  I plead my case.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  The simple truth is this:  if you don’t break the law, you probably won’t have a problem with law enforcement.

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"A leader is a dealer in hope."- Napoleon Bonaparte

"You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go."- Jeanette Rankin, first woman elected to Congress

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