Police officers certainly have it rough these days.
I know some may be skeptical of this statement, but step into their shoes for a moment. Here’s someone that is risking their life to keep innocent people safe from harm, while also dealing with hatred from certain individuals over the whole “defund the police” movement. Not to mention the fallout from this, including a cut in pay, an increase in hours and, in some states, unbearable conditions that may have you asking if it’s worth it.
But now we have a new problem – police are being targeted, and it’s making things more stressful than ever before.
This past Wednesday, two police officers were killed and one was seriously injured in Bristol when they were called to investigate a domestic disturbance, based on a 911 report. It turned out to be a setup, as an individual opened fire on them with an assault rifle before being killed himself.
These officers were barely in the prime of their career. Sergeant Dustin DeMonte was 35; Officer Alex Hamzy was 34; and the injured Officer, Alec Iurato, is just 26. A kid compared to other veterans on the force.
And yet someone went out of their way to fire upon these individuals when they were just doing their job.
“Today, our hearts are broken. We are united in immeasurable grief for those hero officers, for their families, and friends and for our all of our law enforcement personnel. Bristol and the entire nation needs to wrap our arms around them as well as our own loved ones.” Bristol Mayor Jeff Caggiano noted in a statement.
What’s worse is that this appears to be the beginning of a very disturbing trend where officers have come under fire. A report on Fox News indicates that 12 officers have been shot since Monday, including the Bristol tragedy. The National Fraternal Order of Police has since provided a statement on modern law enforcement protocol, essentially calling the nation “lawless.”
On Twitter, the group noted, “The spewing of anti-police rhetoric by some politicians and media figures as well as the failed policies of rogue prosecutor(s) and judges are placing our officers in greater danger. This culture of lawlessness must stop!”
I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. As I noted above, many officers are going through a living hell right now. Many of their forces have dwindled through retirement, quitting the job early (and leaving behind pension) or even suicide, resulting in increased hours and stress. Match that up with the lack of resources to keep them taken care of with proper gear and mental health treatment, along with individuals targeting these beloved officers, and you have a nightmare situation.
While there is a support bill currently making its way through Congress (and, hopefully, on its way to approval and finalization), it took forever to get there. So many Democrats and other politicians wagging their finger at the police and saying, “How dare you!” before even granting an inch of support their way. It’s just absolutely frustrating.
And now, even with spilled blood, there’s doubt amongst some, who will easily note how it was “their fault” or how “this is how the world works.” But it’s not supposed to be how the world works. These officers that are still on duty are showing how much they care about their job. About the people they protect. About their brothers and sisters who put everything on the line just to assure that someone will come home safe.
It’s time to stop being callous towards police officers. They do far more than we could ever pay them back for; and it’s time to stop targeting them and focusing on getting better as a whole. It’s hard to tell if we will ever reach that point in time, but I’m praying that a resolution is found sooner rather than later. Because, honestly, no officer deserves it. Not the ones in Bristol. Not the other victims shot this week.
My heart goes out to the communities that are dealing with these shootings this week. I hope they find the strength to carry on and keep being the officers we’re proud of.
Michael Letts is the Founder, President, and CEO of InVest USA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs. He also has over 30 years of law enforcement experience, hence his pro-police stance for his brothers and sisters in blue. Those interested in learning more about Letts can visit his official website here.