imagine a world without police
I grew up with a positive view of the police. We had a neighborhood police officer, Officer Gary. If he saw you were running late for school, he’d give you a lift to make it there on time. It was fun arriving at my elementary school in his squad car. He also scooped you up if you were playing hooky.
My mom had a flat tire and a policeman stopped to change her tire. My mom told him that it was finals week and I was going to be late for school. The policeman’s partner rushed me to school. I made it on time.
There were a couple occasions where I did something unwise and was stopped by the police. I got a stern warning and then sent on my way to sin no more.
Before you go on thinking it’s because I’m a girl, my brother had positive experiences as well. One morning, an officer signaled him off the road when he saw him driving erratically. My brother was tired from working a late shift. He received a stern lecture that he needed to take care to arrive home alive for his family and was advised to take a nap before heading home. He took his nap and came home with a great story.
I once had car trouble and died in spot where cars can safely keep going past me though I was in the middle of a road. A police woman kept her car behind me with her hazards on to make sure I was protected. It was rush hour on Coldwater Canyon. It was very nice of her to stay til the tow truck arrived. I would have dreaded being alone with everyone whizzing past me. And there was that time my boyfriend was pulled over for something I can’t remember. My boyfriend told the cop that we were having a lover’s spat and that he was sorry that it distracted him. The cop then asked me if I will be ok and when I said yes, he let us go.
That reminded me of another occasion. I was sitting in a parked car talking to a boyfriend when a policeman came and checked on us. I was in my teens. It was before my curfew (10pm) but it was dark already. I never saw the police officer’s face. His flashlight glared into the car.
Policeman: “Everything okay here?”
Boyfriend: “Yes sir. We’re just talking.”
Policeman: “Everything okay, young lady.”
Teen JNET: “Yes sir.”
And with that he told us to be safe, it was getting late, and let us be. My boyfriend took me home soon after.
It’s nice that in all these occasions, the police officers were very caring and compassionate. They brought calm to stressful events and double-checked me to ascertain if I was indeed safe.
It’s unreal that we are living through a time where people are hating the police. Defund the police! Abolish the police! [email protected]#& the police, are the current mantras.
They don’t have enough resources or a perfect system that handles the burden of chasing down bad guys, handling drug addicts or the homeless encampments, and calming down the mentally ill person having a meltdown. There’s a deluge of problems and the efficiency of their job is compromised by factors that need to be looked into.
Do they have time to take a kid to school who’s parent’s car has broken down? What kinds of support specialists, training, and partnerships will help towards managing the growing problems? The police see domestic fights, abused children, traffic accidents and all sorts of bedlam. There are overstretched officers whose nerves are frayed by the burdens. And, there are remarkable officers that bring calmness to the chaos and fulfill the title of peace officer.
FOUR reports of gun shots within the past SEVEN hours near my home! Fortunately, every instance ended up being fireworks. That is not always the case.
So imagine a world without police officers. If someone is swerving on the road, who will pull them off the road? Will you? Maybe you can tell them to take a nap if they’ve worked the late shift. But what if they are drunk?
If you saw a child in a car late a night, would you check to see they are safe or ask a woman who’s boyfriend is upset if the situation is going to be okay? Would you intervene if needed?
Would you stop to take someone else’s child to school or trust someone to take yours like a police officer? Who can you trust? Maybe a mailman but he’ll be working his route and is on a schedule.
Would you volunteer to park your car next to a disabled car and put your hazards on and wait for an hour til a service car arrived... during rush hour?
Would you go after someone who drove past a stop sign or red light without stopping? Would you know how to approach the thief, the gangster, the pervert?
It’s a calling to be a cop. The bad ones need to be pruned out. It’s a vocation that can erode certain types easily and it’s a job that is may be short on manpower that they keep scrappy people. The good ones are amazing. You have to have a gift for commanding calmness into chaos and yet have your heart on your sleeve. Every day is an emergency for them. It’s something they signed up for and believe is their calling.
We can romanticize a world without police and imagine that we would simply help one another and that the world is somehow safe and void of people that want to cause harm. That would be a wonderful place.
But have you ever noticed that their badge is a shield?
A shield is designed to protect. Perhaps we can improve our shields by improving the design and rules of protection. There’s many rules that have been put in place that’s made it difficult for our police to be the shields they want to be.