Lets get back to Officer Friendly

June 8th, 2020 by Ken

Defunding police departments is a catch phrase that brings joy to some, but dread to many others.  In some dream world, everyone is loving and kind and everyone looks out for each other.  That’s a dream of those who have never been the victim of a crime or who has never suffered from abuse and violence.

While we are a nation of laws, those laws are kept in force by some form of policing.

I’ve been concerned about the status of the local police forces in this country for some time.  I’ve been worried that they have lost sight of their original mission  –  to protect and serve.  While once the general public had involvement with police officers on a daily basis as they went about their patrols – we no longer have general contact with them in non-emergency matters.

I can date the change in our local police departments to one date – – September 11, 2001.  The terrorist attack on the United States changed every police force in the country from a community organization, to part of the national military searching for terrorists, both foreign and domestic.  A whole generation of police officers have grown up and joined the force since 9-11 with that in mind.

Police forces began to look more like the military and less like our next door neighbor.  They adopted new uniforms, mostly black.  They carry military type assault weapons.  Their general appearance is one of power and intimidation.   Gone is Officer Friendly.  Replaced by Darth Vader.  They are often looked on as an occupying force instead of an organization of good.

Instead of defunding police departments, we need to reallocate the money to actual “community policing.”   We need to re-educate police officers that not everyone they meet is an enemy to be feared, but more of a person to befriend.

I’ve never been a member of a police force and I can barely understand the pressures and concerns they face every day.  But, I have met many police officers as they go about their duty, and I’ve found most of them to be friendly and helpful.

But that’s not the image of many people.  I think its time to re-think what it means when we ask for community policing.  And, that doesn’t mean defunding police departments.

 

 

Posted in The Real News


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