Officer Alex reflects on what police should—and should not—be doing
Helluva week, right?
Yes, I’m frustrated. Yes, I’m mad. In fact, I’m also worried and nervous and feeling a half-dozen other emotions all at the same time, but that’s part of what leads to the prior two I just named.
Sound familiar? It should, because that’s how everyone else feels that may be on the other side of this unfortunate fence that’s been created by the media, elected officials, and a few bad apples in the Societal Experiment known as “The United States of America.” But instead of showing the world how we can get past this, we instead show our country’s gift when it comes to making a terrible problem even worse. It’s inspiring.
From the bottom up, the pre-meditated murder of peace officers seems like a legitimate answer because you know, that’ll make it better, and people are expressing their disingenuous sorrow by following up condolences with a “however” or a “but” the same as other people feel anti-Semitic jokes are “okay” if they themselves are Jewish.
Then from the top down, we have our President managing to insult the deceased he’s supposed to be honoring at their own memorial by feeling that is the appropriate time and place to imply they were partially responsible for what led up to their executions, or as he also repeated the “hands up, don’t shoot” mantra that turned out to have never happened such is his ability to wait for the facts to come out, and of course the great assistance he gave the Trayvon Martin shooting. And the media? No explanation needed.
So how should I react to being second guessed and criticized and now demonized while still having to worry about getting shot by a racist sniper while protecting crowds protesting “me” apparently (OH the irony)?
Honestly, I’d like to react like Dallas Police Chief David Brown did by finally having the sack to potentially change the direction of this thing by stating the obvious that politicians, cops, citizens and detractors alike cannot deny: Not just that we have a “problem” in this country, but that part of the causation is beyond the all-encompassing “Because Raciss!” non-sequitur, and it’s a potentially solvable one.
“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country,” Brown said to the shock of a few. “Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding—let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding—let’s give it to the cop. Here in Dallas, we’ve got a loose dog problem—let’s have the cops chase loose dogs…that’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.” (Wait, what?)
In adjacent Fort Worth, at a community forum the day after Brown’s comments one citizen suggested police need to help teach children the values of right and wrong.
“It shouldn’t be the police department’s role to teach, in particular, how to act. We are responders. Do not mistake being an example for teaching,” said Chief Joel Fitzgerald. He continued afterwards, “I think for a very long time, we’ve become the Swiss Army knife of social services…there are many steps on the ladder before you should get to the police department being responsible for raising children.”
Don’t just do everything—do it perfectly. React to the unknown perfectly. Counsel marriages. Raise children. Get them out of bed for school (no…literally). The perfection that is expected is collapsing down upon itself and this is allowing police officers, as a profession, to be blamed for nearly everything now no matter how irrational.
Yes—cops are to be blamed if found at fault in a fatal shooting (regardless of race, God forbid), but to justify the buffoonery initially displayed at 99 precent of these interactions that turn fatal because I also failed to allow you to spit on me or because I couldn’t diagnose a mental disorder in a split second a PhD couldn’t diagnose in an hour because we shuttered our mental health care system? That anyone pulled over has a “right” to disobey lawful orders to get on the sidewalk after robbing a store, go crawling into the squad car and fighting over a cop’s gun is OK?
Indeed, hold me accountable…but let’s spread that love to both sides of the equation so we can hit the pause button, be given a chance to make the necessary adjustments, and then start over because this is not sustainable, and it is approaching an impasse none of us can afford to allow to happen. I’m mad, but I’m also tired.
Let’s all take a break because you don’t want to know what “worse” is from here on out.
When officer Alexander D. Teach is not patrolling our fair city on the heels of the criminal element, he spends his spare time volunteering for the Boehm Birth Defects Center.