Stephen Owsinski, Executive with the National Police Association
There is no denying 2020 has been a rollercoaster year rife with uncertainty, hate, and stratospheric heights of hypocrisy. Although every other nation shares the miseries imposed by the COVID virus, our beloved America is compounded by an unprecedented spew of anti-police venom, often in conjunction with frameworks of “police reform” and legislative affidavits in many US jurisdictions seeking to rewrite blueprints for our law enforcement institution.
Interestingly, cops are beings notoriously known for change, adaptation, switching gears, changing lanes, coordinating on varying flanks, and all manner of morphing to accomplish the mission. Often, any of these dynamics are transpiring among police officers all across the American landscape, so it is not necessarily an issue to achieve reforms the public feels necessary—every operational unit on Earth can use a tweak here and there.
However, cops are also known to be candid and tell it like it is. That is when/why we see/hear dictators without police experience stomping their way to get their misguided wishes, with ensuing tantrums when things do not go according to their personal constitution. Because someone does not like the way something is in life does not necessarily constitute a redux of game-plans, policies, practices, or statutes.
2021 is going to be absolutely intriguing for the police profession!
It seems we have somehow arrived to a point where many folks inexplicably believe cops ought to merely sit in a rocking chair while armed and clearly violent actors creating mayhem at their feet must be permitted to get within murdering distance. Preposterous on its face; that hairbrained scenario/expectation is tantamount to sacrificing humans and being cool with it. It targets cops as sacrificial lambs and then throw stones when utopia doesn’t pan out.
Sheepdogs know better.
In that context, I was elated to read what could nowadays be categorized as an anomaly in an article title. The author writing for Syracuse.com got it accurate and appropriate for the circumstances involving an officer-involved shooting: “Gunman fires twice at Syracuse cops before being killed in barrage of gunfire.”
Reading that article, the gunman actually fired twice at Syracuse police officers, although he unloosed additional bullets into the darkened night. The “rocking chair” mentality mentioned above would have been a death knell for a few Syracuse cops.
Like many other brave men and women in blue who found themselves in dire straits, confronting a bogeyman armed and intent on (at least capable of and displaying elements in callous context) taking human lives…these survived law enforcement professionals will have to live with the ugly, deep emotional scar of having taken a life. Never-mind the logic-diluted postulation that “they knew what they signed up for.” Those shallow words and the juvenile thought process behind them do not even merit analyses.
Despite the rash of ambushes through previous years, our bravehearted sheepdogs in law enforcement lace up, attend roll call, and respond to law and order objectives (even those meddled and maligned by elected officials).
From a menial flat tire to a hellacious volley of bullets with cartel thugs hell-bent on slinging dope, police officers step up…time and time again.
Among all the heinous stuff going on in society, engendering police response, lawful actions, and ensuing criticism and condemnation…LEOs rebound and perform dutifully with humanitarian virtue.
Whether it be assisting a senior citizen across the street, changing a stranded motorist’s flat tire, mowing the lawn of a hard-pressed senior citizen, playing hoops with a teen, facilitating footwear to a man experiencing a rough patch, buying groceries for a mom who felt resorting to shoplifting was her only option to feed her children, or volunteering at the local food bank, cops forge forward despite being the object of ridicule and vile characterizations hurled by cold-hearted malcontents roaming among our populace/society.
The things that go on out there are often outrageous. Some cops endure unspeakable tragedies and arduous rehabilitation to return to police uniform after overcoming the odds.
No job is too small or innocuous either; cops are pretty handy at working the phone and culling resources, arranging safe passage home for stranded families/friends whose vehicle said You’re on your own. Nope, never alone, with cops readied to observe/fill needs, just a phone call away.
Albeit underreported, cops pull people from the brink of self-destruction, talking them down from bridges, ledges, any method by which one may seek to conclude their life. I’ve been there and drove away from the Saves with bittersweet notions: saving a life feels so purposeful as a cop (epitomizing the oath). Yet, processing the episodes of humans wishing to personally dissolve weighs heavily. I mean, cops engage humans encountering utter emotional sways in varying forms during every duty day…the constructs of being within reach of people teetering on death’s door darkening the psyche—yet cops exceptionally get back on the beat because there is really no definitive closing time in America, compliments of a free society we all hope to relish.
And it must be repeated: “off duty” is a mere misnomer. There’s no such thing; as we at the National Police Association know first-hand, police officers and their families cater when on their own time too. Some police families plan events such as a kid-friendly, allergy-friendly Halloween-adorned table of goodies set out nicely (to include hand sanitizer) while secured by an onlooker “off duty” police cruiser (worked with her on midnight shift; she’s as sweet as all that candy combined, plus several truckloads). Today giving while dressed in civilian clothing; tomorrow she’ll don and pin the blues.
In closing, we are reminded of the poignant wisdom-ripe words of wonder spoken by President Ronald Reagan: “Where did we find such men? We find them where we’ve always found them. In our villages and towns. On our city streets. In our shops and on our farms.”
Although President Reagan’s words were during tribute to our nation-serving military warriors defending our country’s interests abroad, his prose applicably convey to all our law enforcement officers safeguarding our domestic frontlines, forging forward with each calendar day, confronting negative elements because they promised to do so on behalf of so many…