In today’s world, it seems like we can not go a week without hearing of someone being shot and/or killed by police or some type of law enforcement. I plan on being a police officer or being a part of some type of law enforcement someday after I get out of the military. Many people wonder why? Why would I want to be in a profession that is so hated by so many people now more than ever? Why be in something that is so dangerous as well? Quite honestly and simply it is because I want to help my community. It seems like such a generic answer but it is true and has much more meaning to it to me. With all this hate I want to show my community wherever I live in the future what a good police officer is like. This letter though is addressed to those of you who may dislike the police or even downright hate them. I have some personal feelings I would like to share with you that may sway your viewpoint on this matter or at least see how the other side sees this situation.
I understand that some of our police officers are racist. It is honestly just the truth. There will sadly be racist cops in America and in the world and that may never go away. But to say they all are racist is just ignorant. Out of the over 800,000 sworn police officers in America, there is no way they are all racist. It hurts to see people hate the police. I understand why you may be mad and angry but we cannot rush to that emotion. For those of you who know me personally, I am not racist. I do not look down on people of color in any way, shape or form. I am also Christian and have my values there as well to be a good Christian and love everyone as my neighbor. To back up the statement made, there were 1,021 people shot and killed by police in 2020. 457 were white, 241 were black, 169 were Hispanic, 28 of another ethnicity and 126 were unknown. If there was only one officer who killed each of those people that was racist there would be 1,021 officers out of over 800,000. What I am trying to get at here is there is no possible way all cops are racist. You may think that is easy to say as a white person but the facts are there.
More and more people over the course of 2020 after George Floyd’s death called to defund police departments across the country. Some even went as far as to say we should get rid of the police entirely. The defunding prompted many officers to retire early or quit their job. Some of the cities in America that did the defund wanted the police back later down the line. I am all against defunding the police for three reasons. Firstly, it reduces the support for training officers. Without proper funding, academies across the country don’t have the resources to train. If officers are properly trained it is obvious they will do better in the line of duty. Secondly, without funding departments will have more and more trouble recruiting and more trouble keeping officers. For example in Seattle, the city has grown 40% since 1990 but the police department has grown smaller and may continue to grow smaller with a proposal from the mayor. Thirdly, this should be obvious, less police equal the criminals to get an upper hand. It is hard to see what will happen when we defund the police until it’s too late when the criminals are taking over and there’s no one to stop them.
To kind of go along with the last paragraph, instead of defunding the police let’s reform the police. The funding they get could be used in different more helpful ways. The first way would be police professionalism. This would include increased accountability, legitimacy and cooperation among police departments. A second place to put funding could be training and the use of force continuum. This includes more training in de-escalation techniques, interpersonal communications skills and work with less-lethal weapons. I also do understand shootings will inevitably happen and a gun must be used. I don’t want you to think I believe police should never use guns. I just wish people would think of these ideas before wanting to defund the police entirely.
After going over all of this I believe the number one thing to do especially nowadays is to get to know the police officers in your area better and that goes for the police to know its community better as well as the people who live there. Whether that be an event hosted by either party to socialize with each other or it is a sit-down lunch with an officer I think it would be a huge stepping stone in the right direction. This would be especially true if the officers knew how the people felt about the police and how the officer could better himself in his job to possibly help the needs of the people he serves and protects. To go along with this, if people also researched some of these shootings and dived into why the officer shot his firearm at the person he killed, maybe the people wouldn’t automatically go to call all police racists or murderers. There are times when a cop has wrongly pulled and fired his firearm or beat someone to death, etc. but if people studied these events and got all the facts together and looked at it to decide for themselves I think we would be in a much better place with how we treat our officers.
To be honest I realize I may sound ignorant to some. Some of you may disagree with me on certain aspects of this argument. But this is truly how I feel and how I think we could better this situation with race and police in our country. I pray some of you may take this with you to help better your community or neighborhood and I pray this gives you another view of the situation in our country. We must respect our police officers who keep us safe but we must also hold accountable the ones who don’t and do our best to try and fix these changes in the best way possible. I also want to let you know I am very open-minded so if an argument to this may come to you I wouldn’t mind at all talking about it with you. I want to be able to view all sides as well and get a better understanding of this. I do hope you all have a nice day and I pray that you all be safe in whatever you do.
This post was submitted by an Iowa high school student who prefers to remain anonymous.