In the line of duty

This is just something that has been rattling around in my head.

I feel like I have a love/hate relationship with *insert your city’s name here*’s Finest. I always have. I’m sure part of it came from living in a neighborhood where police where slow to follow-up on calls, but quick to jump on the car and mess with the boys on the corner. One one hand, I know plenty of  policemen/policewomen who feel that one of their greater purposes is to protect and serve. I love those people. I think you have to be amazingly selfless to put your life on the line daily. Who knows when a random traffic stop will turn escalate into something bigger. It has to be some life to get up every day to that reality.

And then there are others. Those that will pull you over for DWB and make jokes at your expense after they did it. People who you are SURE wouldn’t talk to you that way if the circumstances were different, like, say, if they weren’t wearing their uniforms.

The thing about it is, you can’t just look at an officer and know who is who. For me, that’s part of the problem. In any situation where I have been pulled over (and that’s whether I was in the passenger seat or in the driver’s seat) I have never been able to silence the voice in my mind that goes “here we go with this SH*T”. If you are reading this and judging me in any (negative) way, please keep in mind I have DEF been rolled up on by 4 officers with guns drawn with no apology afterward.

Still, I can’t say that my disdain for police officers is one of my bragging points.  In some respects, I feel completely justified in it. When I hear about how a young man was singled out and picked on for no other clear reason than his clothing, when I hear that some young man was beat senselessly for no discernible reason, when I hear that the police trumped up a charge to justify that unnecessary violence there is no telling me that I’m not right.

Then I think about my friends who have family members who are police officers. Men who have been beyond kind to me. Men who I have seen treat others with kindness and respect both in and out of their uniforms.  In those moments, I know that not every man (or woman) who became a police officer did it because they got picked on in high school and wanted to be able to wield the power that the badge and the uniform give them recklessly.  Ultimately, when an individual swears an oath to protect and serve, he or she has just signed on to be a servant of the people, and I feel like the power the badge gives should be used solely for that purpose. Anything else is uncivilized. (Okay. Maybe not). At the very least it undermines the message we send to our children. If we  tell them them they can call the police when they are in trouble and they see the police abuse that power, who will they feel they can call on?

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