Have you been reading about the several fatal attacks made on police officers by members of the public throughout our country? Have you been feeling sick and disgusted that not only are our officers being threatened and attacked, but how negatively the media and public respond to such cases?
From the heartbreaking attack on three RCMP officers in Moncton, to the horrific terrorist attack on a Canadian soldier guarding the War Memorial in Ottawa and another in a fatal hit-and-run outside Montreal, attacks are becoming more rampant, and not only that, the response from the public regarding police officers is simply appalling. Threatening posts strewn about social media professing hate and disgust for the police with titles such as “Putting wings on pigs today,” is shockingly supported and reinforced. This post in particular was posted just hours before the Instagram user shot two Brooklyn police officers in the head while they were sitting in their police cruiser, with zero opportunity to protect themselves.
My heart literally aches as this matter is so close to me. Police officers are the ones who we call first for help and the ones who risk their own lives to protect us every single day.
Contrary to popular belief, cops don’t enjoy shooting people. A police officer with no other choice but to do so is left to suffer severe mental and emotional consequences as a result. Whether it is a four foot distance between the officer and the knife wielding man, or ten or fifteen feet, the officer feels their life at danger and must take immediate action. How long should we expect police officers to assess the situation? When the knife is two feet in front of them? One foot in front of them? At their neck?
That’s too late.
Police officers don’t shoot to kill. They shoot to stay alive.
A video taken from so far away courtesy of a confused bystander shouldn’t be the sole piece of this complex puzzle. Imagine yourself teetering between life and death every single day. Imagine yourself looking at a man holding a knife charging towards you, uttering that he’s going to kill you.
There really isn’t any time. Did you know that someone can close the gap in 21 feet and deliver a stab before a police officer can draw their pistol and fire one round?
Horrified that an officer had the audacity to shoot a man square in the chest, so many bystanders and Facebook news sharers will protest and demand why police officers don’t just use pepper spray or shoot the foot.
The answer to all questions can be answered in just six words: It won’t inevitably stop the threat.
- The use of pepper spray may be rendered useless at times if the perpetrator happens to be high on narcotics. The infamous and extreme burning of the eyes can have zero effect on such an individual and in addition, their physical strength is intensified so much so that it can outweigh the strength of several officers. There is also the risk of officer contamination as well as accuracy inconsistencies.
- Shooting someone in the foot doesn’t necessarily do anything to slow the criminal down. The foot is one of the smallest targets on the human body. There is more opportunity for the bullet to miss the foot entirely, along with the opportunity for the perpetrator to continue to charge despite being shot square in the foot. Compare this with shooting someone in the chest. The target is much bigger and therefore the opportunity for the officer to both hit and stop the criminal happen immediately and successfully.
- Tasing a criminal has the opportunity to backfire. The officer would also have to choose between two holsters, one of which holds his taser, and one of which holds his gun. If the taser should fail, the officer has to then throw that aside, reach for the other holster, withdraw the gun, aim, and make the perfect shot . . . all with the pressure and stress of possibly being seconds away from death.
None of the use of force tactics mentioned above guarantee the safety of the police officer, and not all officers are equipped with a taser, so some tactics are not even an option.
With the explosiveness of social media today, police officers’ actions are constantly being scrutinized and judged due to someone recording the incident with their phone. There is no full context in such single layered and refute-hungry cases as these.
Please, show some respect for what police officers do for us on a daily basis: the horrors they see and the plethora of the sickest and most disturbed criminals they encounter and protect us from. I do not fully understand myself how police officers have become so disliked in the media, but there are people who just do not understand, nor care to understand, and are the first to make unfair judgments and accusations.
Despite police officers being disliked, they will always aim to be first on the scene, determined to help, regardless of whether they are respected or not. It takes a very special person to risk so much for people who care so little. It pains me to witness society quickly jump to the criminal’s defense over a police officer doing his or her best to keep us all safe.
If you witness a police officer arresting someone, and if there happens to be a struggle, I invite you to show some respect by keeping your phone in your pocket and let the officer do their job, and if they ask for help, help them. Did you know it is an offence to refuse?
Let the officer continue to protect the public from those who put others in harm’s way. Let the officers protect themselves so they are able to go home to their families at the end of the day.
Police officers are the ones who we call first for help and the ones who risk their own lives to protect us every single day. To live with that risk, to live with the innate desire to serve and protect the community, to live with the possibility they might not be coming home at the end of the day, is an act of the utmost heroism and bravery I know.
Half of my heart is in a cruiser.
Half of my heart walks the thin blue line.
Each time my fiancé comes home from his shift safe and sound, I am so grateful. When I hug him hello I think to myself,
“Take a deep breath, you are home now.”