Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Enough is Enough.

I've had it. What is it with people and their complete lack of respect and appreciation for law enforcement officers?

 It seems like every day for the past couple of weeks I've seen or heard articles and YouTube videos with the sole purpose of bashing police officers. And the comment sections on said articles and videos are enough to make my blood boil. Maybe I'm slightly biased, because I know so many of these officers (and happen to be married to the  cutest one), but it really is getting out of hand.

They cannot win. If they issue a traffic ticket for a woman illegally stopped in the median to rescue some ducklings, they are (according to more than one commenter) "heartless devils who should be left alongside the road to die when they are hit by a vehicle. "It's the same thing, right? Because the life of a duck is just as valuable as my husband's. Thanks for that, anonymous stranger. It makes me sleep better at night knowing there are idiots like you roaming our streets.

If they just write a warning, and respond politely in spite of a driver's failure to follow the law, along with some seriously rude and disrespectful behavior, they're berated, mocked, and falsely accused of changing their tune only because they discovered they're being recorded. They do something nice for someone who doesn't deserve it, and get blasted for it. It's enough to make anyone cynical and jaded.

Are there some jerky (is that a word?) cops out there? I'm sure there must be a few. I know that on days when they're hounded by their superiors about overdue paperwork, or they're three hours late coming home because they spotted a drunk driver on their way home for the second time this week, they tend to get cranky. They're human.

As long as what they've done to offend you is not illegal or dangerous, then how about extending a little mercy.

Here's why:

It might be a cliché, but these men and women put their lives on the line for you every. single. day.

 Seriously, they wear a bullet-proof vest for a reason.
(And it's not because the vest is super comfortable and it keeps them nice and cool on 90 degree days.)

 Quite frankly, for you to wish harm on them because you disagree with a lawful decision they made is pretty selfish of you. Your rush to criticize and berate them after hearing just one side of the story only makes you come across as ungrateful and childish. 

Odds are you only see them when you've been pulled over, and you have no idea what they've dealt with other 7 hours and 45 minutes of their workday. If you went on just one ride-along to see what they deal with every day, I guarantee you would re-think your comments.

Or maybe you wouldn't. Maybe you really are just that childish.

They write you that ticket because maybe it will incentivize you to slow down so they won't have to pick up your brain matter from alongside the freeway.

They work overtime to help find your teenage daughter who disappeared across state lines with a known criminal.

They stomp through the woods in the rain to find a man with a rifle who threatened to blow off his wife's head in front of their children.

These are just a couple of situations my husband has dealt with just this past week. It's the kind of stress most people can't even imagine.

In fact,

If you've never been personally helped by a police officer, you should consider yourself very fortunate.
My husband didn't take this job so he could be "above the law" and drive as fast as he wants, or because he's an egomaniac who wants to push other people around all the time.

The perceived "perks" of being a police officer will never outweigh the risks.

I'm all for accountability, and if the officer you encounter is behaving in an illegal or dangerous way, by all means take down their name or a unit number and contact the Sergeant or your city counsel. From my experience, they do act on legitimate complaints. Your voice will be heard and appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken when necessary. Youtube is not the platform you should use to keep police accountable.

All of this to say, think before you cast your judgment. Because police officers, even the occasionally cranky ones, will run into harm's way to help you if you are ever in danger or need help. And if/when that happens, you're going to feel like the jerk as you recall all of your angry, snarky comments posted anonymously online.

Please, do your future self a favor and let's keep it civil.