We will face consequences

To the editor:

Many people, including me, believe that the “war on police” in our country began when President Obama declared that “cops are stupid.” We have seen escalating attacks on police officers including violence and murder. Where do people get their information about the police that leads them to believe that police officers are their enemies? Mainstream media? Programs such as “Chicago PD”? How many people who attack police officers know about the job of the police or personally know a police officer?

In order to become a police officer, a person must undergo testing and evaluations to make sure he or she is “fit” for this stressful job. Once the person becomes a police officer, he or she is required to complete mandatory firearms recertification and programs on special topics in order to remain a police officer. The training and recertification occur on a yearly basis, so that the officers remain knowledgeable and competent.

My late husband was a specialized police officer. He worked for the state of Ohio as a liquor enforcement agent and fraud investigator for 18 years. During those years I interacted with many police officers in social settings. Police officers are no different than you or me with the exception that their job is “to protect and serve” the community. When police officers leave their homes to go to work, their families never know if they will return home. They may be shot or injured during the normal course of their duties. How are police officers treated by citizens? Many police officers are ridiculed, called horrible names and spit upon. They have liquids and objects thrown at them. Many are shot for no reason except that they are doing their jobs. They are ambushed while on patrol. This leads to injuries and deaths.

What are the consequences of the “war on police” for you and me? In some communities, especially large cities, arrests are down but crime is not down. Applications to become police officers have fallen. In some areas, applications are down by as much as two-thirds. Recently it was reported that one community in our area had only 10 applications, which was significantly less than previous years. Many fine young men and women are not applying to be police officers. Could it be because of the disrespect and violence to which police officers are subjected?

As the war on police officers continues, will it embolden people to begin to attack other first responders such as fire fighters and EMS personnel? How safe are these first responders? Will this lead to a decrease in personnel in those jobs causing a decrease in services? It is something to ponder.

What consequences could we suffer when police jobs go unfilled? There will be fewer police officers to patrol areas and to respond to crimes. We will no longer be protected. Our only hope is that the “war on police” will stop before we call 911 and no one is available to serve and protect us.

Michalene A. King