Dear Anti-Police Crowd of America,
Whether you believe me or not, I hear you when you voice your opinions and concerns about police officers. I support your right to peacefully march or protest for causes you believe in. I understand the emotions you feel when someone you care about dies at the hands of another. The truth is, we are more alike, than we are different.
I know what it’s like to bury someone you love, went to school with, or in my case, wore the same uniform. I understand the feelings you experience when you hear about the latest tragedy and think, “That could have been me.” It’s our worst nightmare, for both us. Like I said, we are more alike, than we are different.
I know how frustrating it is to be judged solely based on your appearance and not your character. I know I made a choice to wear this uniform, but the principle is the same. Nobody should be judged by appearance alone, it’s that simple. I ignore the dirty looks, the insulting comments, and the people who spit in my direction as I pass by. Whether you believe me or not, I go to work every day hoping to be a positive influence and strive to treat everyone the same.
We both want safe neighborhoods, the ability to succeed, and a fair justice system across the board. Like you, I want to see the bad guys go to jail and the good guys protected from violence and evil. I take it personal when someone is hurt or killed on my watch. I’ll give my life to save yours, whether you believe me or not, it’s true.
I can say this with absolute certainty, all good police officers despise the bad ones. When necessary, we have no issue with them being fired or sent to prison. There’s no place for a dirty or corrupt police officer in our profession. Their lack of integrity, poor decisions, or corruption, wipe away all the good we’ve done and erodes the vital trust of the community. This sentiment is shared across the entire profession, whether you believe us or not, we simply hate dirty police officers.
The truth is, police officers are human. Just like you, they can make mistakes. Despite their humanity, the highest standards of accountability are paramount. However, accountability must be a two-way street. Collectively, we must look at incidents objectively and assign blame fairly. If we approach our future with a willingness to walk in “each other’s shoes,” and learn from our mistakes, the progress we can achieve is endless. Through understanding, true change is possible.
Behind my badge is a heart like yours. In the end, we all want the same things.
I hope you see, we really are more alike, than we are different.
The Officer Next Door