Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Police Are People, Too

I've been puzzled that while the media, corporate America, and others are hyper-focusing on the relationship between law enforcement and the Black community across much of the US, it's all been mostly one-sided - what many in the black community have experienced and feel. It's morphed into "defund the police."
The stories and "the conversation" are important. But what about the other side - the people who protect and serve our communities?
I've worked with law enforcement. As a reporter eons ago, I occasionally would use my day off (Monday, the odd day we didn't publish) to spend the day traveling with Oklahoma State Highway Patrol troopers I had befriended while covering crimes. After all, in my first job as a rookie reporter for the local newspaper while in college, I was responsible for the "police blotter," including trudging over to the local police station to collect daily info about deadly car crashes, burglaries, and public drunks (Monday was the best day, after the weekend). I was captivated by the stories of the officers I encountered, which of course provided great fodder for news stories that weren't off the record. I quickly grew to admire and respect what they were often called upon to do. It's the toughest business that I know and it takes special people to do it.
One time, I was asked to join on a manhunt for 3 escaped prisoners. We found one that was left behind by the others. I'll save that story for the future. They asked me to join them because they knew I would not get sick upon discovering what we would find, and as often happens, the local newspaper would also serve as the official photographer for such scenes.
An op-ed was published in lawofficer.com by a Tulsa police officer whose headline should capture your attention. So should the op-ed. It is a must-read if you would like a more complete perspective of our "current unpleasantness."

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