FIGHT FOR OUR POLICE OFFICERS Over the past few months, our law enforcement community has been under siege from the national media, “civil rights activists”, and others who would prefer lawlessness over law and order. Recently, I have even seen some evidence of anti-law enforcement sentiment in the west Georgia area. This activity is extremely troubling for our Republic and is downright unfair. Yes, there are very isolated incidents of police misconduct. Police officers, just like other people, should be punished when the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed. We have all seen widespread coverage of these incidents. However, the coverage of these few isolated criminal acts suggests that police misconduct is a huge problem throughout the country. This is nonsense. Because of my job, I interact with law enforcement officers in numerous counties on a one on one basis almost every day. I am also often in a position where I am challenging their actions, investigations, and judgment. However, I am proud that some of these officers are very close friends. Thorough cross-examination in a criminal case does not lead to questioning the integrity of these folks. My experience has lead me to the following conclusions about the men and women of our law enforcement community: 1. They possess great courage. Officers put their lives on the line every day. A routine traffic stop can and has turned into a deadly encounter for many patrol officers over the past number of years. With the current protests and threats, their lives are more in danger than ever before;
2. They sacrifice financially. You do not get rich by choosing to pursue a career in criminal justice. Many of these officers work “side jobs”, become business owners, and operate within a tight budget. This is a profession that people choose because they feel the calling to serve the community;
3. They keep us safe. This is the core reason why we even have a police force. Without police officers, our community would become a lawless society where vigilante justice and rampant crime would be the norm;
4. They are honest. As with any line of work, there are dishonest police officers. However, the myth that many officers “plant evidence”, lie in court, and arrest people based on their skin color is just that, a myth;
5. When challenging a criminal case, good attorneys will cross-examine officers on what they did, did not do, and what they should have done. These questions all surround the strength or weakness of the criminal investigation, not the character of the police officer; and
6. They are more involved in community service than many sections of society. Organizations, like the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), are often involved in anti-drug campaigns, victim’s rights events, and other charitable endeavors. We, as a community, can help our officers “fight back” against this evil tide of unfounded criticism and violence. Show your unwavering support for the people who keep us safe by speaking out against these “protesters”, open your check book and give money to pro-law enforcement organizations, support politicians who are committed to protecting police officers, encourage top notch young people to consider a career in criminal justice, and simply tell the next police officer who you see that you are on his or her side. Lastly, show your gratitude by thanking an officer for his or her service to our community. This wave of hate and senseless criticism can and will be defeated by the decent citizens in the United States of America.