To all of our law enforcement officers still out there holding the line and to the public whom they serve, I have a message for you.
In my 27 years (retired) as a police officer in Bergen County NJ, there was certainly more than one occasion when I wanted to throw in the towel and walk away from it all. The terrible hours, low pay, inherent dangers, horrific scenes, cold, heat, rain, snow, stress and at times, absolutely abhorrent leadership. Not to mention the often-poor treatment from the very people you’ve sworn to protect, the public. It all weighs on you as a law enforcement officer.
Walking away is easy. Staying and fulfilling the oath you took, well that’s what sets you apart. The men and women that choose law enforcement as a career do so knowing full well that a large portion of the public will view them in a negative light, always. Let’s face it, people are rarely having their best day ever when they encounter law enforcement and they tend to lash out at the only one left standing there, the officer.
Of all of the chosen career fields out there, can you think of one where EVERY member gets blamed for the actions of one? I doubt it. But regardless, these incredible men and women will strap on their body armor and go out there every day to protect and serve. Know this, they will defend with their very lives if need be, your right to hate them, to call them names, to support organizations who want to eliminate them. Can you think of another profession besides our military that will do that? Law enforcement officers will hold that line and protect you and your right to assemble and protest, even while it is them against whom you are protesting. You certainly don’t have to like them. You don’t even have to respect them if you choose not to, but to blame all law enforcement officers for the mistakes or crimes of the VERY few is a failure on your part. Remember, less than ½ of 1% of all officers will ever abuse their authority. Can we do better? Yes, always we can and in every profession.
I did say that I had a message for law enforcement officers. Here it is:
Hold the line. Don’t quit. Don’t blame the entirety of the public for the actions of the few.
Always remember why you took the job and hold each other accountable. Root out the bad apples including those in leadership.
Take pride in your badge, your uniform, your chosen profession and yourself. Do not let others define you. And most importantly, ALWAYS be professional.
Be kind whenever possible. Be compassionate when the situation calls for it. Be fair when enforcement action is required. Be patient when time allows and…
Be appropriate when force is necessary.
Be the type of officer that YOU want to meet out on the street. Be safe out there and make sure everyone makes it home to their friends and loved ones at the end of the day. Please know that us “old retired guys” are here for you when you need us… anytime, anywhere, and for any reason.
You call us and we will listen.