Yesterday I had a unique opportunity. I had a one-on-one conversation with a former vice-president of the national Fraternal Order of Police. In the shadow of last week’s events, what was scheduled to be a 30-minute meeting over coffee became a 90-minute frank and upfront conversation about the challenges facing police officers all over the country. Recognizing that police feel like they are under attack we discussed the causes, the solutions and the challenges of trying to do their jobs in an era of increased scrutiny, decreased trust and decreased funding. I learned a lot, had some attitudes challenged but also found that, to a remarkable degree, we saw things the same way. Here are some of the highlights: Police are charged with enforcing the law. If you don’t like the law then work with your legislators to change the law, don’t get mad at the police. Over 600,000 police officers are on duty every day. One video of one poor decision or one bad apple can skew our image of the 99%+ who are doing a good job every day. Police are human beings with children at home, a mortgage to pay and flesh and bone behind that badge. They may act tough but beneath the uniform is someone capable of love and in need of respect just like you. If you think that police need more training then you will have to vote for more taxes. Police cannot be asked to do everything. They have to deal with the results of poverty and the lack of mental health services that we fail to fund. They want to solve the problems of violence as much as you do but are powerless without your support to do it. In summary, it has to start with civil and respectful conversations including all stakeholders to find the solutions that work for everyone.
We All Need Understanding And Respect