Our support of police cannot waver

Published 10:47 am Friday, September 30, 2016

by Brian Whitt

The career path a person chooses affects everyone around them. This is particularly true of those who pursue careers in law enforcement. My father has been a police officer for over two decades, longer than I’ve even been alive. I feel that this affords me a perspective that not many have the opportunity to see. Since I was young I have seen the physical and emotional toll that my father’s job has had on him as well as on my family. When I was young I didn’t realize the amount of danger that police can be thrown into at any given moment while on duty. One minute you could be driving down the road, the only sounds you can hear are of crickets chirping. The next you find your life in danger and the lives of those around you in your hands. It was not until I was a teenager that I realized that every time my father walked out the door he might not come back. An unexpected knock at the door while my father was at work carried a very different weight to it than if he was home. We have been fortunate in that my father has never been seriously injured while on duty, though that is not to say he has never been injured.

On top of the bruises, cuts and concussions that all officers are bound to see in the line of duty, they carry injuries that cannot be seen. Police deal with the worst of the worst that society has to offer. They see things that would make the average person sick. However, they don’t have the luxury of looking away. Instead they must examine every detail to ensure that nothing goes unnoticed, to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. Such things take a toll on the mind; they corrode your faith in humanity and your ability to trust others.

This problem is exacerbated by the target that society has painted on the backs of police. Despite society’s cries to stop generalizing groups of people based on the actions of a few, society turns right around and does just this to police.

The questionable decisions and sometimes inexcusable actions of a minority are used as grounds to demonize police as a group. These generalizations are used as “justifications” for the indiscriminate killing and injuring of police by what can only be described as cowards. I speak specifically of the recent shooting of several Dallas police officers. Such a disgusting act only serves to worsen the situation and create even more distrust between the police and the general public (and vice versa).

It is difficult to serve the people when those same people actively attempt to harm you for the crimes of people you haven’t even met simply because you hold the same occupation, and yet this is what we ask of police. We expect them to be patient and understanding with people who often times are neither of those things.

Despite all the bad that police have to deal with, there is a silver lining. After a long day at work, officers come home knowing that they have made a difference. Countless lives have been saved thanks to the efforts of those we take for granted. Their presence alone is enough to prevent an innumerable amount of crime. Without their vigilance we would not be able to live the carefree lives to which we have grown so accustomed. It is in this time where supporting police can be met with violence and harassment that we must be our loudest. Our support cannot waver just as the officers we support do not waver despite a sea of criticism and doubt.

I am proud of my father, his job and his achievements just as I am proud of all those who put on the uniform each morning.

Brian Whitt is the proud son of an officer.