What a year 2014 was for protests against police brutality. The high profile case of Michael Brown alone erupted in violence for months on end. Unfortunately for those stirring up dissension, the facts proved the teenager guilty and cleared Officer Wilson. The same was true for other recent cases of police supposedly using excessive force.
Police officers aren’t perfect, yet they take so much more abuse from the public than you or I do. They need to stay calm and professional while facing vulgar insults from people, many of them drunk.
Furthermore, officers are trained to use appropriate force for each level of conflict. They are trained to subdue miscreants, not beat the stuffing out of them. In all the training videos I’ve been privileged to watch, officers know which of their tools to use in each case.
Police also have to engage in social work. Many of their calls are to homeless people who have made a nuisance of themselves or are in medical distress. I remember one officer speaking on a local radio station about these “sad” people who he’s had to help.
Perhaps the most dangerous situations officers face are domestic disputes. They often have to get between two irrational adults and separate them to calm them down. Worse yet, they see the fear on the faces of the children as all this is going down. Can you imagine how this effects cops with children of their own?
Traffic stops are also dangerous. An officer never knows who is behind the wheel and what sort of stunt they might pull. Far too many good men and women have lost their lives in the line of duty because an innocent-looking person suddenly pulled a gun on them and fired.
Now I don’t say that all members of police forces are perfect. I’ve even seen a video of an RCMP officer kicking a man’s face while he was down on his hands and knees. Fortunately, events such as this don’t happen often. Here in Canada, officers have to fill out reams of paperwork for even taking their guns out of their holsters. Any incident of alleged misconduct is rigorously investigated. In almost all cases, the citizen was at fault, not the cop.
One supervisor at the blind school I was forced to attend went on to be a police officer. It was against regulations but he even let me hold his gun. It was far heavier than the cap pistols I was used to and that fact amazed me. You can read more about my enforced stay at that institution on the Bruce Atchison’s book page.