Positive police voices among an increasingly battered profession: Remember your ‘Why’

Positive police voices among an increasingly battered profession: Remember your ‘Why’

By Stephen Owsinski

The American law enforcement institution is chronically under attack, especially lately, with snarling barks to defund and downsize police forces with the swift stroke of a political pen. But it is not necessarily stratified.

Many police agencies are laying off cops and close to shuttering police precincts while other law enforcement entities thrive in their local climate surrounded by folks who are supportive and fully embraces cops. You’re smart enough to know which of the two modalities packs wisdom.

Despite the constant flow of negative news bandying anti-cop rhetoric and abolish-the-police banners, there are qualified, dedicated police professionals in the mix, and these men and women are garnering a wider audience via their social media presence with authentic prose carrying significant wisdom, requisite resilience, and organic wherewithal to effectively circumvent others’ hatred for police culture and uplift those who bravely serve.

On top of this, some police figureheads are flinging open their precinct doors to cops whose value was met with layoffs stemming from the despicable defund-the-police movement. Recently, Police Chief Art Acevedo invited jobless lawmen and women to join his Houston police force, providing a warm welcome to a Houston home.

According to Fox26 in Houston, Chief Acevedo made it quite clear: “People of Houston, they don’t want less policing, they want better policing and well-trained police officers.” Although that is an endemic statement, it is nevertheless reassuring to know that some locales do not harbor the antithetical philosophy of ridding their jurisdictions of law enforcement. Instead, they opt out of the counterintuitive curse of all-things-anarchistic. The simple equation is: Zero cops amounts to You’re on your own! Good luck!

And that’s really the rub: Divisiveness has zero dividends. Such divided houses will surely fall. “Protesting” and inflicting unjust harms upon innocents is an injustice, rendering the point moot. All of this chaotic and surreal tearing of America’s soul is disheartening, but good will always prevail over evil.

While Austin, Texas recently decided to go the route of defunding their police department to the tune of $150 million, Houston countered that by legislatively approving five new police academy classes with seats for about 400 cops.

As a few parts of the country inexplicably gulp down the defund-the-police Kool-Aid and/or ingest the abolish-the-police poison pills, other communities bolster their ranks to better serve and protect constituents—exemplifying the traditional “serve and protect” (authentically, not robotically) motto often displayed across police cruiser doors and trunk lids. Houston is just one such example.

Synonymous with Chief Acevedo’s gesture emphasizing cops can regroup (no matter where that may be), the gesture beckons to recall their Why. Why did every solitary civilian-turned-cop decide to become a public servant and protector? From that initial seed arose roots and a bevy of blossomed positive outcomes.

Indeed, hard times have a way of weighing on the human psyche, perhaps causing us to lose sight of the ultimate goal: The prizes born of police passion and the deep-down desire to right wrongs.

A beat cop whose words I follow is serving in Los Angeles —his assigned beat is Skid Row— and he relates heartfelt humanitarian prose stemming from his observations, experiences, and interactions while on- duty, offering us his Why: “Rough day in Skid Row. So many new faces. Two new women were on the sidewalk. One was completely nude. I did all I could to help her. She refused. For her safety I was at least able to convince her to put on a long shirt. She laid back down next to vomit. She was not from here, and she looked like she had been homeless for a while.

“Right around the corner, a woman in her late 60s was wearing a sweater and a jacket with heavy jeans in the sweltering heat. I asked if I could help her, she said she was trying to get into a hotel that had been closed for years. She was tired from the heat and laid down. I called my good friend Andy Bales. As always, he agreed to take her into the Union Rescue Mission. She began walking on her own to the mission, I drove down the street to shadow her to protect her from being robbed. It’s what happens often to new faces. I wanted the criminal element to see me, so she could have a safe path. I looked in my rearview and saw her sit back down from fatigue. I drove back, picked up her bags and drove her to the mission. They welcomed her with open arms.

“I circled around my area again. Too many new faces to count. What are we doing in this state? How do we get billions of dollars to end homelessness and it just gets worse? Money doesn’t solve homelessness. Method does.

“We are enabling homelessness. It’s truly tragic. We can’t just let people suffer on the sidewalk. Please pray for both women.” That’s an account of one moment of observation during a police beat stretching hours long, with perils all around. Yet the literal/figurative soul-searching loops, and a policeman’s work is done…only for the moment.

Similarly, a police cohort working the beat in Baltimore has a story of triumph stemming from utter tragedy as a child whose parentage went wayward. He turned that tragedy into a service-oriented profession, becoming a cop and reminding us of his Why: “We aren’t dogs. This is no time to sit back and play dead while cities become infiltrated with crime and chaos. All the while new restrictions being imposed on law enforcement personnel making their job 10x harder.”

He expounded empirically, no matter one’s circumstances in life: “It doesn’t matter what deck you were dealt, you can still play a good hand.”

Perhaps the mindset for all cops, this particular policeman attests, “I have tried to speak much positivity into this world. However, there are evildoers who are reluctant to accept anything less than destruction. For that reason, I gear up and go out.” That statement segues well into yet another police cohort whose advice is necessary for all parties, not just cops.

In New Mexico, a patrol officer has this to say: “It’s time for people to remember, police aren’t in this alone. Every citizen has a duty to concern themselves with the welfare and safety of OUR community. As police we have to remind ourselves we’re not separate, special, or distinct, except that we devote ourselves full time to these duties. This is the societal contract, and a breach of trust from either side makes the whole community crumble.”

There are myriad stories emanating from cops across the United States. Despite the upended society we are presently enduring, goodness is everywhere and will undoubtedly prevail…in time, with patience.

In the following video, LAPD Officer Deon Joseph colorizes what it is like to be humans coexisting in a seemingly troubled society, echoing Why reminders for cops and citizens alike: “Over time, people will see you for who you are, not what you are.” Indeed, policing is a road less traveled, one which can stretch to brilliant horizons for those with whom cops react…and the cops themselves.

Officer Joseph elaborated, saying, “If you only focus on the negative exception, you won’t know the honorable rule. Cops are people who care, who have faith and want to make a difference. I’m a living example of what the media won’t show on a large scale. I hope this speech provides you with inspiration in these dark times”:

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