I wonder if kids play cops and robbers anymore. When I was a boy, my brothers and I used to fight over who got to be the police officer because we knew the bad guy never wins. At least that was the case back then. These days, the media and activists on the far left have conspired to change the conversation, working tirelessly to make cops the bad guy in the game of life. By focusing on isolated incidents of police overreach and even brutality, then repeating them endlessly through their media megaphones, they have successfully chipped away at the foundation of an institution that is vital to any safe, civilized society.
It’s time for people of good character to take personal responsibility for changing the tone and tenor of the conversation regarding our police. We need to revisit the national mood in the days after 9/11 when we recognized and praised the heroism of our first responders. We need to express our appreciation in tangible ways. Next time you talk to a police officer, even if she has pulled you over for speeding, thank her for protecting you. If you see officers in a restaurant, take your kids over to meet them and thank them for protecting you. Oh, and be sure to pick up their tab before you leave.
We must restore that essential culture of respect for those who keep us safe, first because it’s right and also because we’ll reap a tenfold return on the investment we make in attracting and retaining the best quality men and women who will uphold the highest standards of integrity, bravery and compassion for our communities.
We should all be offended and insulted when peace officers everywhere are being told the badge they earned is actually a tarnished symbol of hate and brutality rather than the identification of a brave protector, hero and community friend. By choosing a narrative of negativity through word and action, anti-police activists threaten to send us down a very dangerous path that discourages the “cream of the crop” from pursuing this noble career.
At a time when they are asked to take more risks than ever, whether that’s being shot by mentally ill individuals barricaded in their homes as happened in Cedar Park earlier this week or being handcuffed in their abilities to deal with the exploding homeless population in Austin, peace officers are overwhelmed. Outside of our military, law enforcement is one of the few professions whose members leave for work not knowing if they’ll come home alive after their shift. Sadly, it’s only going to get worse if emerging trends continue.
Not only are police officers retiring early at an accelerated rate across the country, the recruitment of new officers is getting harder than ever. What young person will watch video reports of protesters spitting in the faces of police officers, insulting them then crying wolf when officers respond with restraint, then say to themselves “that’s the career for me.”
We can and must be a blessing to our peacemakers, or we simply won’t know peace in our cities, our neighborhoods or our homes. That’s a game that no one will win.