By Lewis Levine.
Someday they won’t be there. Someday the men and women who hold the hands of an accident victim, or rush towards an armed assailant, or comforts a crying toddler whose parent was beaten by their spouse just won’t be there if this trend continues towards the men and women who patrol our communities on rainy nights, Christmas Day or on their birthdays and even on their wedding anniversaries.
Yes, someday they won’t be there if we, as Americans, continue to lump the good cops with the bad ones. It’s a profession lined with many dangers, one where an officer can be second guessed for simply doing their job based on a split second decision he or she makes in the heat of a moment.
Now don’t get me wrong there are less than stellar officers roaming the streets of communities in our nation, but with that being said there are less than stellar journalists, doctors, lawyers, teachers and the list goes on and on. One can hope that these less than stellar performers are eventually weeded out of the system but we all know that is not the case. Derrick Chauvin slid through the cracks of law enforcement for 19 years until he encountered George Floyd, an encounter which changed the way we as a people look at those who are sworn to protect and serve. So yes there are bad law enforcement officers in the ranks, however the less than stellar officer is hopefully overshadowed by those officers who do the right thing on a daily basis. The officer who looks in the mirror after putting on their uniform and murmurs to themselves, “Today I’m going to make a difference.”
Unfortunately nowadays communities don’t see the good police officer as their savior. No they are viewed as the enemy of the people, a person who has the authority to harass at will. This is unfortunate, and this will not end well for many communities as law enforcement officers, and I mean the good ones, leave the ranks to seek a less stressful line of work without the daily second guessing. Many may not be aware but in the last few days our local men and women in blue here and elsewhere, have put their lives on the line chasing suspects through the woods, stopping domestics, stopping drivers who want to break the sound barrier, and just showing up when called to protect and serve when needed regardless of the dangers they may encounter.
It’s time the good cop was given a break, it’s time to reward the good cop for answering the call and yes, he or she is paid to do it, but keep in mind it is that officer doing it and we should all be thankful for that because just maybe someday they won’t be there to answer the call.
Lewis M. Levine is a local freelance journalist.