Because of the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown involving police officer Darren Wilson, police officers have been under a great deal of fire.
Body cameras have been one of the biggest investments police departments are making to protect their officers following the public pressure.
But when two New York police officers were killed last December, it was obvious to the nation that police officers everywhere were in danger. Still, you didn’t see any of them rioting like the civilians were in Ferguson.
Are police officers really that bad? Or are people just singling out a handful of incidents that made national news?
As a daughter of a 39-year police veteran, I have heard it all. From friends not attending my family functions to people calling and asking me to get them out of a ticket.
Flash-forward to 2015, I am still the go-to girl to call for tickets. My boyfriend has been a police officer for seven years.
For three of those years I have been by his side, from him coming home coping with the constant criticism from the public to sarcasm from people who he has pulled over (“I pay your salary”).
The stress I have is nothing like his, but there are a few similar aspects.
I can’t fall asleep without hearing his voice in between calls he is going and coming from. It’s hard to start my day without knowing he is safe, in bed, resting for his next shift. I want to protect him from everyone he comes in contact with but the reality is that I can’t.
The thing is, I never knew if my dad would come home every night and I don’t know if my boyfriend will come home every night because they both risk their lives to protect the people in their community including those who doubt them.
The fact of the matter is cops are just like you and I. They pray, they hurt, they bleed and they cry, some more than others.
We don’t deal with the fear of getting shot at—they do.
We don’t see battered women and children on a daily basis. We don’t have to see dismembered bodies from crashes. They do.
I have heard people say “all cops are bad.” But that’s like asking “are all students bad?”
There are more mass school shootings since the Columbine incident. Would it be fair for all officers to say this about students just because of those few who have committed those crimes? What if they all approached students at gunpoint just because of that?
A police officer doesn’t wake up thinking, “Who am I going to shoot today?” Their thoughts are, “I hope I come home to my family tonight.”
Without these brave men and women, our communities would be full of chaos. If you’ve seen the movie “The Purge” you know what happens when there is madness. A job of an officer is to restore order after civilians like you and I have created the disorder. At the end of the day, they hang up their uniform, put away their gun and badge and are just like you and I.
They watch football, have barbecues and go out with their friends and family. It’s just a job. Don’t take their traffic stops or interrogations personally.
I am the proud daughter, the proud friend and the proud girlfriend of a police officer.