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There was a time in the history of this country when people felt safe and assured when there was an officer in their presence. When kids came up to us and wanted to be us, and their parents wanted us to talk to them and give them assurances that everything will be okay. When having us around meant safety, and you could rest easy knowing nothing would happen to your party or event. That time was a fun time to be in law enforcement. Not for the respect, but for the looks on people's faces for being there, willing to place everything on the line for them. And you knew you would do it in a heartbeat and would be glad to do it if it came down to that.
Fast forward to 2019. Police are assassinated in the streets, and while eating dinner or parked and working on reports. We are spit on and treated like the very criminals we arrest. We are called names and people pick fights with us, just to get us on camera doing something; and of course, it is edited to look like we started the whole thing. But all of this is to be expected in law enforcement of the 21st century! The part that is most shocking, at least to me, is the fact that now even our families are targeted. I know my own family has been told they were not welcomed at places because I am, or was, a cop. Even extended family has shunned me. I am OK with that also.
What really has me upset today is the fact that now we are not even welcomed in establishments that are there for the consuming public. Starbucks has a long history of calling the cops when they are afraid or even when people are loitering and not buying anything. And we, as a profession, have always gone there and done what is in the best interest of the law. Now, Starbucks has decided that we are in the forbidden class! You see, we now live in a world where social justice has overtaken real justice! I mean this because if someone is offended, or "triggered" now, even the police have to be treated as if we are the enemy.
A patron at Starbucks went to a barista and asked if the police could be removed from the store because they did not feel safe with them there! I want you to think about this for a second. They did not feel safe with the police there!? We have come full circle in our society. We have gone from wanting peacekeepers around to demonizing them and being afraid to have them around. This is a very dangerous precedent in the country. Think about this. Keep acting like this and see the country descend into chaos and madness.
I am placing a call to my fellow officers. If companies and people like Starbucks and their patrons want you to go away, give them what they want. We all know there is a call to serve. We wouldn't be doing this, or have done this, if that was not the case. However, if people have become so narcissistic that they feel better off without us, give them what they want. Let's go back to the days of companies contracting with the police and fire departments for services. If they don't, then they are left to their own will to protect themselves and their property.
If you are against this, then let's organize a strike. Let's let the country and our communities see how much they actually need us and wants us. I say, if they don't want us to do our jobs, then let them call the neighborhood crack head when something happens to them. We have been compared to organized criminals, but we are the ones that get called when something happens. We show up and are told we took too long, or we didn't do it the right way, when none of them have ever bothered to see what it takes to do the job! We are given the training and tools to do our jobs, but then we are dared to use them. We are sued, placed in jail, fired, or killed for doing our jobs.
Now, I know what will be said by critics, "You signed up to do this," or, "You knew this when you became a cop!" or, my personal favorite, "You guys become cops because you are bullies and you just want to beat up on people." While I'm sure the people who think this honestly believe it, they are the ones that will complain about us to their friends and to our faces, but will turn around and call at the drop of a hat. My fellow peacekeepers, my brothers and sisters in blue, enough is enough. We all know we are not what they call us. I was forced to leave a field that I was good at and I love because members of my own family said things about me that eventually cost me cases and my reputation, even though everyone knew it was false. The administration decided it was easier to force me out than to deal with the lies.
I don't blame them, completely. I do blame the media, and my family who bought into the propaganda the politicians were putting out there. At the end of the day, it was easier for them to not ask questions and see the person they saw for their whole lives, as the evil that the media portrayed us as. It wasn't just me, it was other members of my family, and friends as well. We were all cops. Now, I have moved on, though many reading this will say otherwise. They will say I am bitter, and I admit I was at first.
This brings me to the point of this article; teachers, factory workers, and various government employees can all "leave" for a day to try to change the rhetoric. They strike for better conditions, and for better pay. I don't advocate for this. The conditions are bad, that's the job. The money sucks, most public safety jobs do. But the rhetoric, the hate, the finger-pointing and the prosecution for doing what we are trained and paid to do, must stop. Should we show the country how the life they enjoy so much would cease to exist without us? While we are demonized, we do what others are unable and/or unwilling to do. We perform a vitally needed service to society. We don't have to be here.
So the next time you think it is okay to shame an officer or tell them they are filth or have them removed from a business because you feel unsafe, remember that we don't have to be here. We can stay home and stay with our families. We can find other jobs to do and leave you to fend for yourselves. Instead of focusing on the few rotten apples, why don't you thank and enjoy the majority that is here for your safety? Like it or not, we are here and we are needed. Think about the world without us in it. Could you, would you be able to fend for yourselves?