A Year After 9/11, Everything For Us Is Back To Normal E-mail
In the great motion picture The Wind and the Lion, directed expertly by fellow realist John Milius, Theodore Roosevelt - effectively portrayed by the late Brian Keith - tells an idealistic reporter while referring to other countries' perception of Americans, "They will never love us. They may grow to fear us, but they will never love us." He might as well have been talking about the general public's view of peace officers as well. Officers know all too well about being hated, despised, unappreciated, ignored, underpaid and demoralized.
This is our lot and more often than not our daily bread. We are only wanted when we are needed, and then when we are needed we can never get there fast enough. If we're not needed, we can fade into the woodwork. Most folks could care less if they ever see us, but actually prefer us to be out of sight.

The sudden surge in cop appreciation following the 9/11 attacks has all but disappeared as near as I can tell, except for the plaques and knick-knacks advertised for sale in police gift catalogs. These items will be purchased most probably by law enforcement family members for the officer in their family. The majority of the rest of society is back to seeing us as the media projects us - uneducated, abusive storm troopers. Except for the occasional little boy who waves at our passing patrol unit, everyone else has returned to their finger pointing, Monday morning quarter-backing, pissing and moaning.

Community oriented policing may have been well-meant by the politically oriented administrators who conceived it, but the reality-based results of this warm and fuzzy approach to law enforcement shows no substantial improvements in the public's involvement with helping to keep their communities safe. It may have propelled a few ladder-climbing badge managers but it has done nothing to improve the street cop's lot.
It is time to get back to the gritty business of protecting the good people by pursuing the bad. This is the only type of law enforcement that has ever, or will ever, positively impact crime. Everything else is just goodwill duff fluffing that may get or keep a few administrators in the good graces of special interest groups, but it has had no crime decreasing qualities. "They may grow to fear us, but they will never love us." We should have no interest in being feared, for this is the bully's path. But we need to forget about being loved and get on with our jobs.

David L. Wood is a deputy in the Edwards County Sheriff's Department in Texas.

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Digg! Reddit! Del.icio.us! Mixx! Google! Live! Facebook! StumbleUpon! TwitThis