The Officer Next Door

Articles from the perspective of a police officer.

black officer photo

Note: This article was written by a current Dallas Police Officer. I am sharing it with their approval and blessing. The officer wished to remain anonymous.


I am a proud black man and a proud police officer. Did you notice I didn’t put the word black when I described myself as a police officer? I’ve been with the Dallas Police Department for the past 10 years of my life.

Being black and growing up in the black community, all my family members, teachers, coaches and motivational speakers ever preached to me was, “Life is still not fair for blacks.”

Instead of complaining about it, I prepared for it.

I planned my life during my freshman year in high school after  listening to a motivational speaker in 8th grade at a Team Success seminar. The one thing he said that has always stuck with me was, “Life is going to pass you by if you don’t have a plan the day you graduate.”

No matter who you are, I believe that holds true. Why? Because I see it daily on social media. Back in August of 2009, I made the decision and plan to apply to the Dallas Police Department one day. Six years later, I put my plan into action and have been a sworn Dallas police officer ever since.

I’m just one person, but I know it can be done by people who come from “the hood”, just look at Adryelle for example. We share identical mindsets and personal stories. No one said it would be easy, it wasn’t, but we just haven’t complained about it.

I can write a book on why I became a cop, instead I’ll share this quote I developed in college. “I like to see people happy and enjoying their lives and for someone to come in and take that away, I want to be the one who makes that person face the consequences, up to and including putting my life on the line.”

I’m the real definition of a beat cop.  I have spent my career focusing on South Oak Cliff, a predominately black part of Dallas. I understand the way of life in this part of town, because I grew up in and around it.

Myself and my co-workers self-described as the “South Central Trifecta,” actually go after real bad guys and have a pretty good success rate. We make a trip to Lew Sterrett jail almost daily. We actually take pride in taking the burglars, robbers, jack boys, car theives, and let’s not forget the “almighty drug dealers” off the street. That’s one less person on the street that may do harm to you and your family in ways unimaginable. Right?

Sadly, in all actuality, this is what my day as a black police officer is often like:

I get told multiple times a day by “my” people, that I shouldn’t care about their wrong doing and “let it slide” because I too am black. Often, I show up to a call and don’t say a word, yet everything becomes my fault because I’m the black officer on scene. How does blame or behavior benefit the black community? And who is making it about race? It seems no one wants to be held accountable until it is a police officer is in the hot seat. Then you want the book thrown at us.

I’ve even been told by other officers that being “pro-active isn’t the way to go.” That attitude tells me that particular officer doesn’t care about cleaning up violent crime in the streets of Dallas. The truth about being proactive and getting the gun off the street before it’s used in the violent crime is how crime is suppressed. You would think this would be applauded in a neighborhood riddled with violent crime. (That is an entire seperate soapbox).

Countless times while at work, I am called names like, “sell out” or “Uncle Tom”. I hear comments like, “You’re supposed to be on our side!” Or “He’s the one in charge of the arrest and he’s black!” Among many other comments referring me to being a “sellout”. The truth is, there is no side. There’s a law and you’re breaking it. Ultimately yes, it’s my discretion if you take a ride or not, but that doesn’t make me a “sellout”.

You see, I didn’t “sellout”, I bought in. I bought in to the community I grew up in. Being a Dallas police officer is my way of giving back and I feel like I was called to do it. I make it my priority to protect you from danger and make you feel safe at night. I’ll die for you while attempting to arrest that bad guy who broke into your house, despite the fact that I don’t know you. What’s sad, is most times the suspect I am chasing is someone who lives in the same apartment complex or three blocks up the street. That in itself is a damn shame.

Regardless, I know that’s why I signed my name on the dotted line, despite the risks. I know there’s a bunch of other officers who would do the exact same thing and guess what? The majority of them are white. I apologize, to be more politically correct, the majority of them are not minorities. I’m not always politically correct by the way, I just speak the truth.

It would be foolish of me to argue about the typical white officer and black person story. It would take a small miracle for people to stop being ignorant and making everything about race. News flash, it’s NOT! Answer this question, if a white officer patrols a 90% black neighborhood and a majority of officers are white, if an incident were to happen, what is the likelihood of it being a white officer and a black person? (I just opened up a can of worms, didn’t I?)

Put black officers in the black communities is what you would likely say in response. To that, my response would be: please read a couple paragraphs above. A lot of people would rather be a part of the problem rather than the solution. I’m not saying the only way to help is become a cop. Truthfully, there are plenty of ways you can help change the relationship between the police and the community. The goal is to work as one. yet most of you seem to thrive on division.

Something else I’ve learned, is to focus on what I can control.

I’m not saying social injustice doesn’t exist. Damn sure not saying police brutality doesn’t exist either. The majority of officers are ready and willing to “get the bad ones out” just as much as the public wants that to happen. Trust me, we have the best Public Integrity Unit detectives (a unit tasked with investigating criminal allegations made against police officers) and Internal Affairs detectives in the country. They don’t miss a beat and everyone is held accountable.

Ignorance of the law is one’s own fault. The penal code, transportation code, and health & safety code, aren’t secrets anyone can look them up. I challenge you, look up Chapter 14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. But who am I kidding? I bet looking up anything is out of the question because you’d rather wait for another uninformed person to post something on social media to cause outrage, instead of educating yourself with facts or knowledge.

I am always baffled at the people on social media who post, “Free ____ insert name here!!!!” after they’ve been arrested. Almost like a cry for them to be released because they’ve “done nothing wrong!” Almost suggesting the police were wrong for arresting them. What’s sad is people post that nonsense no matter what that person was charged with! Does anyone ever look online to see what these people did to end up in jail? Three counts of aggravated robbery, yet you’re posting, “Free them!” No accountability right? Is that what is really best for the community? The alleged robber is “right” and the police are “wrong”?

The next time you feel like advocating for someone’s release from jail, ask yourself this question: “If someone stuck a gun in your face and took your property, would you still be yelling to free that person?”

– A Dallas Police Officer

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8 thoughts on “The Truth From An Officer Who Happens To Be Black

  1. Tammi Wilson says:

    Thank you for writing about your experience. I think it provides a valuable service to learn from someone’s first hand experience. It helps me get grounded in reality. I believe the perspectives presented in this column are what’s been missing in the public discourse. I know your days are long and often very draining and writing requires even more energy output so thank you for putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) to share your experience.

    Without your stories, I believe there’s just an understanding gap. And into that gap goes the frustrations and confusion and opinions (and let’s face it, BS) of people who cannot know what life is like for you as a member of law enforcement. Doing your job with integrity.

    I believe that people want to understand. I know I do. The law enforcement officers are the heart and soul of my town. I’ve gone to their civilian training classes, I’ve observed and interviewed them, and gone on one ride along. They’ve made themselves accessible and I’ve followed through on my desire to understand. It’s made a big difference in the way I process the information that comes through.

    Your piece filled in more of the canvas for me.

    Thank you.

    Warmly Tammi Wilson

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charles McClung says:

    I would love to meet this officer and shake his hand! This is what I like to see. His words and experience puts everything into perspective. It’s like everyone wants to draw a line in the sand and say pick a side without taking fault for the real reason things happen, I’m just tired of that crap. This world needs a change and it’s people and officers like him who make it happen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Charles McClung says:

      P.s. I looked up Chapter 14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure

      Like

  3. Mary says:

    This article is full of things that I never thought of before. As the mother of a police officer, I worry constantly about my son and all the police officers on the force. I am so proud of the man who wrote this article. Thank you for your service and for your integrity. We need more officers like you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John A. Livesay Sr. says:

    Thank you for your honest and no doubt heart felt reply. . . . .thank you also for having the mental fortitude and outlook as you approach the office of what you feel called to do with your life as a working career and thank you most of all for still being committed to the challenge of justice in the daily struggle between right and wrong , good and evil you can’t help but be confronted with from day to day. We may never meet sir but I sincerely thank you for your commitment to law and order and your commitment to carry that out and administer justice as you see fit . . . . it takes a special individual to take on the task of being a guardian of justice and an unbiased upholder of the law and at the same time be compassionate to the public you encounter. Thank you for your service and may God continue to bless and keep you as you administer a thankless and most unappreciated job where the only One who fully understands your life and duties is God Himself though His Unseen Presence. . . and I would like to be present when God commends you on your service whan He welcome you to heaven with these words. “Well done thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”
    +

    Like

  5. Thank you for sharing this personal account. It matters.

    Like

  6. LaNita Matlock says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Talking about race relations and how to improve it, is one of the most difficult, but necessary actions we all need to take. And most importantly, thank you for your service to all of us.

    Like

  7. Dee Kowalski says:

    Your post was outstanding Officer…..happily, I think the majority of police officers are outstanding. I want to thank you all for your service and please protect yourselves.

    Like

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