Turning the Tables via Social Media

People use social media for a lot of different things, including voicing displeasure with the service they may have received while visiting a local business. Usually this type of behavior has little impact outside of the posting party’s immediate circle of friends, but when that circle of friends includes fellow law enforcement officers nationwide the impact can be much greater. Over the past month, especially following the recon attacks on LEOs, a growing number of officers and their family members have taken businesses to task over anti-police messages or sentiment and business owners are starting to realize just how bad this can be for business.

Officers being denied service simply because of the job they do is nothing new; the NY Times actually did an article about in October of 2015 and outlined numerous incidents of such behavior all across the country. In most cases, the officers involved and their employers simply shrugged it off and refused to comment, or accepted that sometimes employees make poor decisions which do not necessarily reflect the attitude of the parent company. But a group of Washington State deputy sheriffs where asked not to return to a local restaurant, and told to spread the word by the owner; they did just that and did so with the support of their boss.

On July 14th, a group of Skagit County deputies were preparing to pay their lunch bill when the owner of Lucky Teriyaki restaurant reportedly asked them not to come back as their presence made other customers unhappy. Furthermore, the owners also asked the deputies to “spread the word” that law enforcement officers were not welcome. Within hours, accounts of the incident were posted to social media, including a statement from the department confirming the Chief Deputy had contacted the restaurant’s owner to discuss what he assumed was a misunderstanding, only to have the same message repeated. Given the recent attacks on law enforcement officers, the story soon gained national attention and was repeated by numerous mainstream news outlets nationwide. Of course, the owner was interviewed and attempted to downplay the incident, blaming it on a language barrier and offering free meals to all officers the following Monday.

Social MediaWhat did officers across the Internet do? Not only did they refuse to accept his apology but also refused to ever eat there again – even if it was free. Since then, other officers, possibly emboldened by the reaction this incident garnered, have made similar posts concerning refusal of service or negative comments directed towards them by employees. Unlike in the past, most cases have been met by swift action by the employers, usually in the way of not only an apology but the firing of the employees involved.

So, what is the point of all this social media bashing? Do the cops feel they are somehow better than everyone else and suffering from a case of butt hurt when someone told them otherwise? No; quite the opposite. Law enforcement officers have decided enough is enough. No other group would stand for such behavior based solely on their profession – so they have started calling out those responsible. Although most probably thought it would gain little attention outside of their own circle, some have found there is a lot more support from the public than they ever imagined. More importantly, businesses have realized they can no longer brush such actions aside without risking serious negative PR.

America is a free country with an unprecedented right to free speech, which means anyone can voice their displeasure with, or even hatred towards, police officers. But it seems the days of doing so without paying a price, literally in terms of profit, are gone. Close your doors to those in uniform and you may very well find yourself closing your doors permanently, or at least looking for a new job.

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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