Obviously, law enforcement means something to me or I wouldn’t have chosen it as a profession. I am not one of these people that just got in to it for a power trip, or because I love guns, or even because I love to play with cop cars and lights and sirens, even though I do. I am one of the people who can say they got in to it to genuinely help people.
Most cops who say they want to help people say something to the effect of wanting to help people by taking the “bad guys” off the street and putting them where they belong. They show nothing positive toward the “bad guys”. This is where I differ. I have adopted part of my philosophy from highway patrol lieutenant I know who taught me a lot about life. I think that there is only about one per-cent of the population that is truly bad. I think that people are inherently good. THAT is why I got in to the profession.
I think it is the job of law enforcement officers to find the law violators that are out there and help them just as much as they help the victims who have been victimized. Now granted, there are murderers and rapist that are beyond help and need something other than the help we can humanly give them, but for the rest I think it can be positive. Law enforcement officers should, upon making contact with someone who has violated the law, simply have a talk with them. For starters, they have to be treated as human beings if you wish to get them to confess to what it is that they have done. Many police officers go wrong here. Secondly you have to make them believe that you understand. The officer has to educate them on how the law works and what is going to happen. He should make the offender understand that even though they have done something wrong there is a path that can still be taken which can save his integrity. Once they confess, he should make them understand that now there are likely to be consequences that they must face, and facing them is what shows that they have accepted responsibility for the wrong they have done and shows others that they still have that integrity and can become productive members of society again.
There are no free rides. For everything there is a punishment, but in law enforcement it’s not about punishing, that is for the court. They are here to help those who have lost their integrity somewhere and help them realize that and to restore it by facing their accusers honestly in court and taking the punishment that is set forth.
I have caught a lot of criticism over the years for this belief, especially when I was a police officer. Many say it is not the job of the police officer to be a social worker and other things like that. I agree with that statement, however it is the job of every man to help is fellow man.
Another thing that really upsets me when it comes to law enforcement is the lack of respect for officers. I can honestly say I didn’t have a lot of problem getting respect when I was an officer, but when I hear others talking poorly of law enforcement officials it really upsets me. They are doing a job just like you do. They deserve to be respected. It isn’t personal when they have to stop you for something; they are doing what they are paid to do. Furthermore, they do it because they have a sense of duty and wish to protect you and everyone else in their community. They have a dangerous, underpaid, and difficult job at times. They aren’t out to get you. They are just enforcing what they have sworn to enforce. I could go on all day with examples, but that would be pointless. That badge is a symbol of trust, honor, and integrity. Respect it. I understand there are bad cops out there like there are slackers in any other profession, but that doesn’t make them all bad.
This little “essay” is something I typed up years ago to share with people. Since that time, there have been so many cases of police abuse which I will cover in another post, but I don’t believe in blindly supporting law enforcement. There have been recent cases of REALLY bad apples and there seems to be a real pattern. We need to figure out as a society what is going on and fix it. We need our police officers, but we also need to not allow those who are unfit to wear that badge.