Law enforcement personnel, what are we doing, why are we doing it, and what outcome do we wish to achieve?
Historically, we have been a headstrong group of individuals bonded by the brotherhood/ sisterhood of law enforcement, primarily because no one else could fully relate to us. Today, we live in an environment of despair that has put everyone on edge. At the same time, the media is helping to turn this despair into rage that undermines trust and breeds resentment for law enforcement.
It is routine to hear several special reports in a single week documenting a terrorist act, a shooting, or some other heinous crime, yet the negative environment we live in now causes seasoned veterans to question why they even do this job. Many are leaving the profession. At the same time, fewer men and women are answering the call to join law enforcement, some because of increasing risks and liabilities and some because of growing dissent among the very people we serve and protect.
We need to take a step back and assess our situation. We need to quickly come to the conclusion that we need to be brave enough to ask for help. Many of us have roots in the military. We know that the people who fight with us will take all necessary steps to help us and that we will do the same for them; we share an unspoken bond. Our communities are in this fight of evil with us, but they lack the knowledge and understanding of how and why we do what we do. Simply put, they can’t relate to us, and many of them resent rather than support us.
If we don’t change this situation, their resentment will turn to hate, and we will begin fighting the very people we swore to protect and serve. How do we change this situation? By changing ourselves. We need to change from our default approach of forcing compliance and instead work to gain cooperation. Whenever possible, we need to stop utilizing intimidation and replace it instead with compassion and understanding. This will take patience, but this is how we help people.
It is our duty as professionals to do what’s necessary, and the fact is, we need the help of our communities to fight evil. Our communities won’t help unless we ask, and in order for them to help, they must understand us. When they understand us, they will know the stark truth that almost every one of us answered the call because we want to help people. When this realization hits, our communities will begin to admire and appreciate us for our noble intentions, and they will also forgive us when we err.
When this day comes, we will be able to unite with our communities and turn the tide on those who wish to do evil. Only then will despair be replaced with hope. Only then will the healing of our nation begin. I for one will fight this evil with my brother and sisters in uniform alongside the communities we serve. I choose to fight, not for today, but for tomorrow, because our children deserve a better future than the one we currently offer them