It certainly has been an emotional 24 hours for law enforcement. Anytime someone is killed in the line of duty it echos throughout the hearts and minds of law enforcement officers and their families everywhere. In light of this I was tempted to react in anger, demanding change. Many of you would agree and support this approach but I want to share a short story that may help some of you understand what real change looks like.
In my line of work I take routine foot patrols of different areas within my beat. One day while taking a walk in one such area I noticed a broken beer bottle lying next to a playground where children regularly play. I had noticed things like this before and thought “people just don’t care for their community” and just moved on or asked someone else to pick it up. Well this day I decided to do something different, something quite uncharacteristic. Something that you won’t find in the job description of a police officer. I went and grabbed a pair of gloves and started picking it up. I spent the entire time picking up trash. Why? Because the community needed it. It didn’t need “someone” to care for it. It needed ME to. To be honest I felt very awkward the whole time as people sat on their porches staring at me picking up trash. After I was done several people said to me that they have never even seen residents clear the play ground of trash, much less a police officer. It resonated with them not that “just anyone” was picking up trash but that someone in uniform, who they viewed their entire life as uncaring, was.
This, of course, is a small example of an opportunity to heal wounds instead of create them. Regardless of your profession or beliefs everyone should ask themselves the question “should I” instead of “can I”. There is no doubt that this issue has a long hard road ahead of it and unfortunately more will likely perish in its wake. What I challenge you to do is to avoid being part of the noise. Be a part of change. Don’t demand mercy you are not willing to show and don’t demand justice you are not willing give. Ill leave you with this quote from Ronald Reagan.
“We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”.
The choice is ours!