Rough time to be a police officer. As clashes between protestors and police officers continue in Utah, it’s worth considering the difficult split-second choices officers have to make.
I recently heard a news media interview with a black police chief in a midwestern city. He noted that most accusations of police brutality and improper police shootings come after an individual either resists arrest or runs away with a lethal weapon in hand.
He said almost every time an individual resists arrest, what happens next is going to be violent and brutal to watch. When an officer suspects a crime has occurred and a suspect decides to fight, the officer can’t back off and let the person get away. That could endanger other people. The officer must arrest the person and, if the person resists, it’s going to be ugly as body cameras and cell phone cameras will inevitably show. Officers don’t like to fight. Their own safety is at serious risk. But they can’t let a perpetrator simply walk away.
Similarly, officers are almost always criticized if they shoot or taser someone who is running away with a weapon in hand. But officers have an obligation to take that person off the street. If a serious crime has occurred, and a suspect is running with a weapon, the officer has to assume that person may hijack a car or run into a home or business and take a hostage. If the officer takes no action, and an innocent bystander ends up hurt or killed, the officer will take the blame.
Obviously, people shouldn’t commit crimes, resist arrest, and do things that require officers to make difficult decisions and use force. But there is plenty of criminal behavior out there and it seems to be growing. Officers have no choice but to deal with it, using force and violence if necessary.
Personally, I’m glad law enforcement officers are out there and are protecting the public. We ask them to do a thankless job. I’m amazed anyone wants to be a cop given the scrutiny and criticism they receive. It would be absolutely ridiculous to defund the police. I thank them for their service.
Write it down. We live in some of the most fascinating times in all of history. It’s worth keeping a diary and recording your experiences and impressions. Your posterity will want to know all about your life during the pandemic, the economic collapse, and also the protests, riots and racial unrest. Writing it down also helps maintain a proper perspective and remembering what’s important during these turbulent times.