What you don’t understand about “cops”

The national conversation surrounding law enforcement leaves something to be desired.

Best described as a “media frenzy” (social media included) words like “brutality”, “excessive”, “crooked”, and even “racist” sling through the air faster than the mud in a presidential campaign, often based on the judgements of people with little understanding of the profession.
Yes, there are "bad cops". Corruption plagues all professions, but the damage to the public’s trust is that much more severe when someone sworn to protect does the opposite.

I’ll be the first to speak out against those who use their badge and gun for personal gain, who let prejudice dictate their actions, who abuse their power, and neglect their sworn duty. These people should be seen for what they are, and should answer for their actions according to the law.
However, it’s become too easy to overlook the vast majority who do the job to the best of their ability, working tirelessly to uphold the constitution and protect the communities in which they serve.

They work long hours, giving their best to prevent or remedy the actions of the worst part of society. They sacrifice time with their families, sleep, and sometimes themselves, putting it all on the line so you can live free and safe.
They can’t just leave work at the office when they go home for the night like so many of us can. It’s not just a "job" it’s a lifestyle, and it impacts everyone they love.
Those who paint law enforcement as cold hearted have never witnessed the lengths they will go to better people’s lives, to comfort victims or families, to provide closure to those who need it.

They’ve never seen pictures of on duty officers playing with neighborhood children.

They’ve never seen off duty officers coaching softball or baseball in their town as a way to give back to the community despite their limited free time and demanding schedule.

They’ve never been to a k9 demonstration, as handlers work to educate and interact with the public to generate respect and understanding for the profession they love.

They’ve never watched as a class of new officers take their oath, and felt the enthusiasm and hope that fills that moment. They’ve never understood the legacy and history as the different generations come together, unified with the same objective…keeping their communities a safe place to live.

They’ve never seen the sea of blue at a law enforcement funeral, or the lasting scars left on a department by the loss of an officer , or felt the somber atmosphere at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.

They’ve never heard them call one another brother or sister, or seen the ways they support each other off duty as well as on.

They’ve never known the trust that family members place in them to make sure their loved one comes home safely each day.

They don’t understand the “thin blue line”.

Today I wear a Maine State Police shirt as a show of support for Maine Troopers, and law enforcement officers everywhere.

Negativity may scream loudly, but actions speak louder than words. Consider placing a blue light in your window as part of your holiday decorations, give understanding smile when you see an officer, or stop by your local memorial wall to take a minute to remember those who have given everything they had to give.

Let’s make an effort to let them know they’re recognized and appreciated.