Has The Tide Finally Turned?

August 2015 will likely go down as one of the deadliest months for law enforcement. To date, there have been 16 Line of Duty Deaths, three of which occurred in a single day and one week accounted for a total of six. Each death brought outcry from fellow LEOs, claims of “reaping what you sow” from the anti-police crowd and little to be heard from the media, White House or the average citizen. Despite wanting to feel differently, it was getting harder and harder for me to disagree with the claims that there was an all-out “war on police.”

The low point appeared to come on August 28th when Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth was shot and killed while fueling his patrol vehicle. Each of the other deaths were unfortunate, tragic losses but none were as alarming as the apparent assassination of an officer for no reason other than the fact that he wore a uniform and badge. The LE community was outraged and social media was quickly filled with statements such as “Where are the riots?”, obviously referring to recent trend of large public demonstrations every time there is a report of police using force and wondering why there was no such public alarm over an attack on an officer.

Then those who asked “Where is everyone?, Where is the outrage?” finally got what they asked for. Over 1000 people, average citizens from the Harris County area, converged on the gas station where Deputy Goforth was murdered. They were there because of outrage, but they were not there to riot. They had started their march at the nearby Crossbridge Church in Sugarland and the West Houston Church of Christ ending at the scene of the crime not to protest police actions but to show support for those who protect them day in and day out, to honor Deputy Goforth.

Police Uniform PatchIt was this simple act which has caused many to question how the American public truly feels about their police departments. Does the average citizen view police as the enemy? Do parents really warn their children about the police rather than teaching them that police are the ones to go to for help? On August 28th I might have agreed with those who say “Yes.” Now, I have to say “No, that is not how the majority feels.” Unfortunately, the nay sayers and haters are more vocal than the average citizen and they appear to have the media firmly in their pocket – at least as long as they are good copy. But if the average citizen truly supports law enforcement, not the few bad apples every profession is sure to have but the average officer who goes out every day to truly “protect and serve,” we can stop this trend.

We do not need to march by the thousands or set up dozens of websites to counter those established by anti-police groups.  Simply let the media know the majority respects and appreciates their police. Refuse to click on anti-police rants when surfing social media. Refute claims that this small minority speaks for you. Or you could simply say “thank you” if you have the opportunity.

Although I doubt that street officers will ever again be able to totally drop their guard, if they know there are those who support them and appreciate them, at least your local officers can feel a little bit more at ease in your neighborhood. It’s a start and it’s an important one if we ever want to truly get back to living up to the motto “protect and serve.”

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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