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By Jesse Utz 

We need to honor the badge

Jess Shut Up


With everything going on in the world right now — Ferguson, Missouri and other places — with the attack on law enforcement officers, I thought I should share my perspective on things. Not that my perspective is the right or wrong one, I just try and see things the way they are supposed to be, in my mind anyway.

When an officer puts on the badge, he takes an oath. The words in the oath can say many different things but the bottom line is always to protect and to serve the people of their area. The other thing that others may not tell you is that two other things happen when you put on the badge. One, you become part of a brotherhood that will give their lives for you. And two, you become a target for the criminals in all areas. That being said, I do not pretend to know what happened in Ferguson. I do know that a jury has found the officer innocent. We must honor that. Yes, I know from experience that the judicial system is flawed and it can sometimes lean to one side or the other, but we still have to honor the decisions that come out. It still is the best system in the world for fairness and justice.

Do officers make mistakes? Yes. They are human. But we cannot let one or two officers’ mistakes let us lump all law enforcement into the category of “dirty,” “crooked” or “racist.” That makes us as a society just as guilty. Plus, with the added stress of community uproar added to the everyday dangers of being an officer of the law, you place them under a microscope called the media and social connections; we put a tremendous amount of stress on our nation’s officers. Then we do things like legalize marijuana and give more training to an already over trained force. Taking from them more and more time from their families that already give up a lot. The stress officers have is greater than anyone can even realize. On a day-to-day basis, they never know if the next person they encounter will turn on them or not. Most of the officers I know treat everyone the same.

Do I always agree with how an officer reacts or treats someone? That answer is no, of course, but just because I do not agree does not mean I will attack a whole profession for what I believe is a wrong. We must work within the system, we must make the system work for us because it is there for us. It was built by us. America’s whole governmental system, including the judicial branch, was created by citizens just like you and me a long time ago. It still works if we let it.

With all that being said, remember 9-11. We lost a lot of law enforcement officers and firefighters in that terrorist attack on our way of life. The cowardly killers took a shot at disrupting our way of life and we rose above it. We honored the men and women that lost their lives trying to save others. “To Protect and Serve.” We did not let their hatred change our way of life. We grew stronger as a nation. But now we are letting a much smaller event dictate the way we look at officers as a whole. In the words of some famous sports reporters, “Come on, Man.”

I do understand that there is still racism today. I will never know exactly how it feels to be non-white. But I also know that there are others out there who have been judged because of their skin, religion and sex and have risen above those circumstances and changed the world. They did not do it with violence or vigilantism either. They did it with peace, love and faith that the world can be better. I believe it can be. We just all need to love thy neighbor as we want to be loved. We also must allow the people who swore an oath to protect and serve us all to do just that.

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