Peace Officer's Memorial

By Laren Leichliter
Posted: 06/03/15 – 1:57 PM PDT |

May was a somber month for those in law enforcement. It served as a reminder of how fleeting life can be and opened emotional wounds of grief regarding the fallen lives of friends, colleagues, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.

Families, departments and communities mourned the loss of each of those names etched in stone on the walls of the memorials dedicated to them. The weight of their loss is heavy still.

The law enforcement profession has felt a similar weight in recent months. This somber feeling, however, cannot be attributed to the loss of one person. Instead it is attributed to the loss of overall support for our profession.

Before you stop reading and skip to the comment section to fire off a hasty reply, hear us out.

The relationship between law enforcement and the community can and should be improved. As stated in previous commentaries, the members of SEBA are more than willing to work with our community to have meaningful dialogues, focused on solutions and progress. However, the overall finger-pointing at the law enforcement profession is simply not productive.

We are not suggesting the instances reported are all false, however, the constant negativity is taken out of context. SEBA members alone each make at least 10 contacts with the public in a day. SEBA has 3,400 members which translates to about 15 million contacts per year. Of these millions of contacts, a fraction of a percent of them involve any use of force. And even those are arguably justified uses of force.

Despite this fact, trust in law enforcement is dying; its air supply is being slowly cut off by each report, commentary and criticism blindly lauded at law enforcement without first having all the facts. Seems critics of the law enforcement profession have adopted a virtual “shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later” mentality. How ironic.

This is dangerous for everyone, not just those who wear a badge.

First and foremost, law enforcement is necessary. There will always be peace officers to enforce the law. Always. As long as there are legislators, there will be laws. And as long as there are laws, the need to enforce those laws will exist. We may not be perfect but we are essential to society.

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