Good Cop, Bad Cop

It seems like no matter where we turn, we’re seeing another story about police brutality and racism shoved into our faces. The stories dominate our newsfeeds on social media, they are given the top spot on the news, and everyone has an opinion. A majority of the time, the police are condemned and the whole group of men and women who vowed to protect us are written off as racists and power hungry.

the_heat_bullock_mccarthyMy co-worker said something interesting to me today. I was reading more about the state trooper in Georgia who, faced with the task of informing 4 young children that they were now orphans, decided to postpone the bad news to give them a fun Halloween. I was recounting the article I just read, especially focusing on how sweet it was that he would be so selfless, while chills ran through my body. It was a very touching story, and I found it so refreshing to see a positive story about a brother in blue going viral such as this did. Then she said it.

“I’m surprised the kids opened the door for him. I asked why she said this, considering the man that stood before them was a police officer.

“A lot of parents these days tell their kids to watch out for the cops.”

I grimaced. She wasn’t wrong, but hearing it put so plainly still shocked me. The realization of this fact made my blood boil. Growing up, I was told that men or women in uniform were the good guys, the heroes. If we were ever lost or in trouble, go to them. They will protect us and help us. Personally, I still feel that way. The realization that kids growing up these days might be told otherwise, was heartbreaking. Sure, there are bad eggs, like with any group of people. They certainly shouldn’t get a free pass, but scrutinizing every man and woman behind a badge simply for that reason alone? It’s shameful.

We are shown more videos of cops harming people more than cops helping people. I’m not surprised, since this better fits the current narrative of America. I implore you to search for the good. They are out there. Some of my more vigilant Facebook friends have done just that, and I smile when I scroll past a video, photo, or article about a valiant cop. This trooper in Georgia is the latest, but he’s certainly not the only one.

There’s the cop who makes it a point to hang out with kids on his beat. He brings them snacks and shows them he’s not the enemy. He plays games with them. He talks to them. There are the cops who pull a man over and notice none of his kids are in car seats, because he can’t afford them. The cops use their own money to buy each kid a car seat. They said later that while they could have given the man a ticket, that wouldn’t help. That wouldn’t fix the problem. There’s the cop who notices a woman can’t pay for groceries, so they help her.

These cops aren’t looking for attention. They don’t need validation. This is the oath they took. Protect and Serve. They want to make our communities a better place. It’s important to remember that, even in the face of adversity.