Updated: Jun 27, 2020
I’ve had really bad experiences with our Local Police Department and our State Highway Patrol. Both cases I felt inhumane, treated as if I was another proven career criminal. Both times I thought, “If I could just explain to them who I am, or even if they just make a phone call they would realize I’m not the person they’re looking for”. Both times there were officers who would come to me after the fact and apologize for the behavior(s) of other officers. Both times there were officers on the scene watching the unfair treatment and saying nothing about it.
It is quite disheartening to know that you can work your entire life to build a resume, to build a voice in your community, be a leader of your family and have it all reduced to nothing based off an assumption of a man or woman wearing a badge. I can honestly say however, that these officers and these incidents represent the minority of the officers that I do know and have worked with, and the interactions I’ve had with them. Nevertheless, the minority can still leave scars and cause traumatic experiences.
I’m praying for the officers who serve with integrity. They have to go out and do their jobs in the midst of this unfortunate, heartbreaking, and anger stirring climate. Just as I wish the corrupt officers would see that not every black man is a threat, I wish that we would see that every officer isn’t a corrupt racist thug. I respect the work that they do, knowing that every morning that they put on a badge they could be considered a target. I appreciate the fact that for the most part, they go out to protect and serve in the midst of well the circumstances.
I’m praying that these same officers allow their integrity to move beyond the alleged “blue wall” that seemingly obligates them to cover each other ... even when wrong. What transpired in Minnesota could’ve been avoided if one of the three other officers stopped it. A man would still be alive, and a community would still be whole. I’ve hosted and participated in quite a few community- police forums in several communities. Without fail, when it comes time to discuss community policing and engagement, the community officer always gives the same line... “We need your help, if you see something (break the code) and say something.” Well to that point, officers... we need your help, if you see something ... say something.
This is a call to action. For the police chiefs to identify officers that can serve as community liaisons. If they already have community liaisons, to deploy them to action. With civil unrest happening all over the country, the community needs to know that their police are there to protect and serve. However, the onus is not solely on the Police Department. Our community leaders need to be proactive in bridging that gap between the community and the police. Active community policing is birth from relationships with the community and its leaders. I appreciate the fact that many go out to protect and serve, in the midst of volatile circumstances.