Does the barrier really exist?

Published 11:27 am Saturday, November 7, 2015

In recent years, a narrative has developed in the media that says law enforcement officers and the communities they are tasked with protecting are on two opposite sides of the fence. Many incidents that have received national media attention could lead one to draw the same conclusion.

However, we don’t believe this to be universally true.

The picture in Friday’s paper of a Franklin Police Officer and children playing football in a local park has sparked a lot of attention, not only in the newspaper, but especially on social media. On Facebook, that picture has received hundreds of likes, numerous shares and multiple positive comments.

The feedback from this photo has shown Western Tidewater that, although some perceive that a barrier is in place between the community and law enforcement, the barrier itself is not widespread throughout our community.

Certainly, there are some law enforcement officers who give cops a bad name, just as there are some members of the community who will never respect law enforcement officers. That, however, does not mean that a widespread rift actually exists.

It is undeniable that the media portrayal of the relationship between police and citizens has taken a beating recently. The moment that was captured earlier this week of a police officer playing football with local children in itself is not unusual. That the moment was captured on film and widely circulated on social media and in this newspaper indeed is.

And perhaps that is the problem.