Two newspapers decided to look at policing in the wake of the Dallas and Baton Rouge shootings. The Indianapolis Star and the New York Times both followed along with officers as they were doing their jobs.
These stories illustrate how the job of policing is more difficult in the wake of incidents that are polarizing our nation. The Star story really hits home when you see an Indianapolis officer thinking about whether it’s a good idea to park her marked police cruiser in front of her home, in plain sight.
Policing in an open, democratic society is no easy task under any circumstances. With the social and racial tensions existing in America today, policing becomes an almost impossible job at times.
It has been my view for a very long time that we, as a society, ask a lot of our police officers. When something bad happens, we call 911 and the police are normally the first to arrive and evaluate a situation….any situation.
I also believe it is not in the interest of police officers when certain neighborhoods view the police not as someone there to protect law-abiding citizens, but view those officers as an occupying army. That attitude builds up over a number of years, and will take a long time to change. I credit Indianapolis Police Chief Troy Riggs for trying to change that attitude in his city.
I live in Fishers, where we are fortunate to have a very good relationship between the police department and local residents. Every encounter I have had with the Fishers Police exemplifies their professionalism.
Tom Weger is the media relations spokesman for the Fishers Police Department and has voiced a warning to all that care about policing in America. Here’s a quote from a recent Facebook post from Officer Weger…”If you think the “Qualified” police applicant pool is overflowing I’ve got bad news for you!” (He emphasized the comments are his alone, not reflecting any group or organization).
When you read the stories in today’s Sunday newspapers about how the current environment is impacting the officers we depend upon each day, Officer Weger’s comments become even more important.
Who will be the police officers of the future? Will our best candidates even choose to seek the job?
Police officers deserve our respect. Yes, I understand there are bad police officers in America. Look at your own work place. Is everyone in your office a star employee, or are there some loose ends around?
There are roughly 477,000 police officers in America. With a number that big, not everyone will be a great performer. What boggles my mind is that most of them are stellar, despite all that we ask of them.
Law enforcement should receive our respect. When someone targets police officers and attacks them, it is an attack on all of us.
We have some major divisions in America about policing. We can solve them, but it won’t be easy. Good people with justice in their hearts must step forward to be a part of the solution.
In a democratic republic, it is the responsibility of all of us to work toward solving a problem like policing in the 21st Century. If you agree, step forward and become someone dedicated toward improving our society.