There is rampant stereotyping, discrimination, and prejudice in the United States directed at a certain group. This is a group of people who are perceived very badly by the media and the public. Some businesses have put up signs telling them they are unwelcome. Other places have refused to serve them. They are insulted and threatened, their families are victimized, and they are spit on, assaulted, and murdered by those who hate them. They are blamed for all of society’s wrongs. They are seen as brutal gun toting thugs, uneducated, and quick to use violence to solve conflict. The members of this group of very misunderstood individuals are police officers, sheriff’s deputies, state troopers and federal agents, collectively referred to as LEO’s (Law Enforcement Officers). They have gotten a lot of bad press lately. Below are some ways to make the men and women who have the critical task of keeping our cities, counties states, and nation a safer place.
1) Don’t commit crimes
Don’t make a LEO’s job any more difficult than it has to be, and don’t make your life any more difficult than it has to be. Stay out of trouble. Most people who talk about how they hate cops feel that way because they are well known to local law enforcement. They are habitual, petty offenders, who shoplift, drive drunk, get in fights, harass people, commit domestic assault, trespass, vandalize property, and buy and sell drugs. Do they expect the cops to look the other way and leave them alone so they can victimize people in peace? Do they think they can do whatever they want without accountability? Or they can run from the cops, resist arrest, and pull weapons without getting a beating or getting shot? The answer is yes, this is exactly what they expect. You have to choose what kind of life you want. You can go through life the easy way or the hard way. If you are a habitual criminal, don’t expect the cops to treat you well.
2) Don’t be a victim
The offender is always the one who is responsible for a crime, and needs to be held accountable. But the hard reality is that nearly all crime victims actively participate in their own victimization. This is not blaming the victim; it is holding victims responsible for their own safety. How do you minimize your chance of becoming a crime victim?
- Don’t buy drugs. It is inevitable you will be robbed, beaten, raped, or possibly killed.
- Don’t sell drugs. It is inevitable that you will be robbed, beaten, raped, or possibly killed.
- Don’t get drunk in public. You will make for an easier victim.
- Don’t be unfaithful to your girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/husband/lover. A hurt lover can become violent.
- Don’t show other people disrespect. Or you might earn a beating.
- Don’t hitchhike. Why would you get into a potential predator’s car?
If you don’t do these things, your chance of becoming a crime victim will plummet. Other things you can do to reduce your risk of criminal victimization are very basic safety and security precautions:
- Lock your door to your home and your vehicle. Always. No exceptions.
- Don’t display cash or other valuable in public or on social media. Bad guys are watching.
- Be sober in public, or at least not so drunk that you lose awareness of your surroundings and control of yourself.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Remove the earbuds, and stop texting and talking on a phone
3) Be vigilant
So you are alert and aware of your surroundings. What do you look for?
- 1000 yard stare. Someone who is looking through people.
- Scanning. Someone busy watching a crowd.
- Witness check. Someone looking around for the presence of cameras or witnesses.
- Fidgeting and rocking that betray anxiety or tension.
- Sunglasses hat hoodie up inside
- Avoiding eye contact
- Coiled, ready to give or take a hit.
- Dipped and tucked chin to protect themselves
- Grim and serious looking.
- Stereotype people. This is your intuition at work. Don’t ignore it for the sake of political correctness.
- Always trust your gut- if something feels wrong it is wrong
4) Teach your kids to respect the police
Make sure your children know from a young age the police are not there enemy. Educated them about what they do, and to always show police officers respect.
5) Address police officers by rank or position
Look at the shoulder of their uniform. Three stripes or chevrons are for a sergeant. Two are for a corporal, and no chevron is an officer. Detectives should be referred to as Detective, rather than officer, and generally only municipal law enforcement are called officers. Sherriff’s departments have jurisdiction over the counties within a state, and are addressed as Deputy or by their rank if displayed. State police are Troopers and federal law enforcement are Agents. Addressing them this way will show respect.
6) Stay out of their way when they are making an arrest
An article from a liberal newspaper described a scene in which a suspect was being arrested, and several bystanders came to his aid. This is very subtle language which influences how people perceive criminals and law enforcement. If the police are arresting someone, presume it is for a good reason. Bystanders do not have any business “coming to the aid” of a criminal suspect who is being placed under arrest. This is called interfering with a police officer, and it is a crime.
7) Stop feeling so sorry for predators that you excuse their actions
Criminals are very good at making people feel sorry for them. This especially applies to habitual, predatory individuals. They are going to see themselves as the victims, and try to win people over to their side. How else are they supposed to keep committing crimes? Rapists, drug dealers, arsonists, and bank robbers are not nice people. Yes they all have a story, and many of them have had a hard life. Join the club. This is not an excuse.
8) If you are pulled over be polite, keep your hands in sight, and move slowly, telling the officer what you are about to reach for
A traffic stop can be an extremely tense situation for a police officer. They never know what they will encounter. Chances are, it will be a law abiding citizen in a hurry to get to work, or maybe to get away from work after a long day, or someone who didn’t know they had a headlight or taillight out. It will be a very routine matter, and may not even result in a ticket if you are appropriate with the officer. They are sir or ma’am, you remove sunglasses and make eye contact, keep your hands on the steering wheel in the 12 o’clock position, and when they ask for your license, registration and insurance cards, tell them where those items are and reach for them slowly. Make the encounter painless for them and they may make it painless for you.
9) Buy them an anonymous coffee
When you see a cop getting their coffee, slide the person behind the counter a five, and tell them to let the cop know their coffee is paid for by an appreciative citizen.
10) Understand that the one thing cops can’t stand more than criminals are bad cops
There are bad cops out there who should not have a badge and a gun. LEO’s are subject to extensive background checks, drug testing psychological evaluations, and must provide multiple character references and recommendations before they can even enter the academy. During their time in the academy, and while they are new officers on a probationary period, they are subject to dismissal if problems emerge. Some get through this process who shouldn’t, or they change over time and become unfit for their position. Unethical police officers make all cops look bad. Ironically this is the very stereotyping and discrimination at work that the left decries.
11) Welcome police officers into your place of business
There have been cases of coffee shops and restaurants and a gym refusing to serve police officers, or even more ridiculous instances of police officers not allowed in schools because it could be triggering. If your store were being robbed, you would complain if they didn’t show up fast enough. You can’t have it both ways.
12) Take the time to learn a little about what they do
You have the world knowledge at your fingertips through the internet. Look up news sites for an idea of what cops go through every day, and what their world view is like.
Go to your local police department, or call them, and ask how you can donate. Its not always that the city and state budget covers all their expenses, the more you donate as a community the safer your neighborhood will be.
Police officers are the drops of glue and pieces of duct tape that hold a society together. They are human beings, flawed and imperfect as all of us. They will say the wrong thing and do the wrong thing sometimes. There are police officers who do the wrong thing a lot of the time and should not be police officers. But don’t blindly think that all cops are brutal racist thugs. Ask yourself if you would want them to think the same of you.