A fellow officer posted a comment on Facebook today lamenting that people had posted criticisms of her peers on their department page. I shared this information with her in the hopes that it might cheer her up and remind her that most people are on our side. I'm sharing it here also so that it might give you encouragement and resolve when it seems like those we serve are down on us.
I read your Facebook post this morning, and I empathize deeply with your feelings you expressed. You see, I have felt exactly the same way you do now. It has taken me 21 years to gain the wisdom I am about to share with you, and I hope you are able to embrace it as a means to both inspire and encourage you.
You see, everyone has an opinion. When a quarterback throws an interception, the fans criticize him and know they themselves could have done better, even though they may have never played a game of football. When the President of the United States makes a decision, about one-half of the country condemns him and calls him “a baby killer” or worse, even though they themselves may have never held political office. When a company produces the latest and greatest smartphone, about one-half of the world calls that modern marvel of technology “a piece of junk” and buys a different brand, even though they themselves have never made a circuit come to life. And when we as police officers makes a decision, some will be criticize us, even though they themselves have never worn a badge.
What I’ve learned is that we are no different than anyone else that ever steps out into the world and tries to do something. Anything. There will always be those that will criticize, condemn, and deride us. However, unlike those other professions, those that criticize police through avenues such as social media, criminality, or even riots, are a weak few, outnumbered by a nation of people that still value and support their police officers. We currently incarcerate about 0.7% of the population in the United States, excluding federal prisoners. With a census population in your area of 46,074, about 322 people could potentially be criminals in jail. The rest of those folks are out there, doing their thing, and may never interact with you or your peers. They are the ones we’ve sworn to protect and to serve. They are the ones that do value what we do. They are the ones that give us our reason to keep putting on our badges and to protect and preserve the democracy we cherish. It was famous martial artist Sonny Chiba, not Ezekiel from The Bible, which had this to say: “Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper, and the father of lost children.”
Not only does gratitude still exist, it’s more powerful and more impactful than anything the weak few ever do. For every person that glares at us with a scowl and contempt, 10 people will stop, unprovoked, in public, seek us out, and personally thank us for our service and for assuming the risk our job carries with it. We, however, are part of a nation that has become so accustomed to negativity that we only seem to remember the criticisms rather than the compliments. It’s no surprise, really; according to world-renowned speaker Zig Ziglar, the average child has been told “no” over 17,000 times by the time they are a teenager. The news we watch on TV is negative. The news we read on the internet is negative. The music we listen to is negative. And there are negative people out there, a weak but vocal few. But once we see how small a slice of the pie chart they possess, we realize how much the nation values, respects, and appreciates us as a whole.
So, pay no mind to the weak few. History has shown that good always triumphs, and 99.3% of people are out there doing their thing, grateful at some level for your existence and for the privilege of the freedom and democracy your executive-branch efforts provide them. I am a member of the community you serve; I am among those that are grateful. Thank you.
Your friend and colleague,
Did you just get a job as a law enforcement officer or are you trying to get one?
Law enforcement is a very rewarding career, one that can enhance your life and benefit you greatly. Preparing for a job in law enforcement shares some similarities to other careers. At the same time it has unique challenges to overcome.
Let’s take a moment to examine how you can prepare for a job as a law enforcement officer.