WHY?

crime scene tape The very first time I wore my police uniform was two weeks before graduation from the police academy. It was to the funeral of a two year veteran of the department who had tried to arrest a thief but was shot and killed by his own police pistol. It made a distinct impression on me for the rest of my career. Recent events have many of us deeply concerned.

A friend of a friend on facebook responded to a question, “Why are we killing our policemen?”

She wrote:

Let me tell you my experience just a few short weeks ago. I went to the post office in Simsbury CT to mail a few things, bought my stamps and went over to the counter so I could put the stamps on the stack of mail I had. A mother with her 3 or 4 year old son did the same and as she was sorting her mail she let him look at the stamps she had just purchased that had all of the first responders on them. I listened as one by one he asked his mother what each of them where. She had praise for the fireman, the emt but when he got to the police officer she said “well that one isn’t so good or nice” what a things to tell your child! I stood there brewing until I finally looked at the young boy and told him “my niece Vanessa Marie is a police officer and she is a mommy who every day leaves her house to help people like you and your mommy”. I told him that police officers are wonderful people who help people in need and keep us safe! I’m not sure if I changed her mind but I left feeling that maybe my words made a difference to one of them, hopefully the little boy.

So I wrote a reply:

I could (and have) written volumes on police officers. One of the most difficult assignments I have had in my 36 years in law enforcement was the investigation of alleged police misconduct. I didn’t do very many but of those that came across my desk, most were unfounded. That’s a cop’s way of saying bull shout. Someone with a chip on their shoulder or an axe to grind, made up or exaggerated their contact with a cop. Usually their interaction was because of something stupid they had done and drawn police attention to themselves. But there were a very few of those investigations that did result in the police officer being disciplined or even sent to prison. Very few. But even one is too many. Most police departments, big or small, are staffed to the bare minimum. A patrol zone with a single officer in a single car has THOUSANDS of citizens to cover. The idea that any one citizen is singled out to be harassed or picked on by that officer is ludicrous. Get over it. Bad cops are least tolerated by OTHER COPS. They don’t last long in police departments. They get weeded out and you’ll probably find them selling shoes or used cars or stamps.

Too many good guys are being shot, stabbed, slugged and killed. It’s just nuts. My time is done but I pray for all the young men and women who suit up and go out on patrol to keep the peace and do their bit for their communities. It is work with honor and meaning. Thank you.