Dear Mr. or Madam President:
Is Law Enforcement trying to protect the American public, or are they intentionally targeting certain groups? Law enforcement personnel are pressured daily as they put their lives on the line to protect the American people. Do we really expect law enforcement members to be perfect human beings every day they go to work? All of America is affected by this issue, especially law enforcement personnel and people who live in the inner cities, which is where these tragic events most often occur. The very groups who feel the most threatened by law enforcement, ironically, live in the poorer inner city neighborhoods, where police protection is often most critical. I believe law enforcement people are under great pressure to protect ALL of the American people, often while risking their own lives, and they don't receive enough credit for their work. To hold each and every one of them to a standard of perfection is unrealistic and unfair.
On July 7, 2016, as a group was peacefully marching in Dallas, Texas, Micah Xavier Johnson shot five police officers who were protecting the protestors. According to CNN Newsdesk editor, Faith Karimi, "Johnson told police negotiators that he was upset about recent police shootings, that he wanted to kill white people -- especially white officers -- and that he acted alone, the police chief said." On July 17, 2016, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, there was another police shooting of police officers. According to NBC News Investigations unit reporter, Chris Francescani, and American journalist for CNN, Pete Williams, "Less than an hour before he killed three Baton Rouge officers, police assassin Gavin Long sent a handwritten note to at least one acquaintance in which he called the killings a 'necessary evil' aimed at creating 'substantial change in America's police forces'". Why would Johnson, a military veteran, and Long, a former Marine sergeant, want to kill these law enforcers when they were doing their jobs?
Many Americans believe law enforcers are aggressive and violent, however, some civilians are also physically aggressive with police officers. According to a survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, "[H]alf of all Americans, regardless of race, say fear caused by the physical danger that police officers face is a major contributor to aggression against civilians." The same survey indicates fifty percent of Hispanic Americans believe police violence is a vital issue in America; also, "Blacks are more likely to say police violence against the public in the United States is a very or extremely serious problem (73 percent) than are whites (20 percent)" (apnorc.com). It seems those who are closest to these events have a perspective which is negative toward law enforcement.
However, law enforcement officers make mistakes; they are imperfect human beings. There have been some incidents in which police officers have either accidentally or intentionally taken lives. Although everyone makes mistakes, in which some mistakes have worse outcomes than others, the actions of few police officers should not determine how we feel about police officers as a whole. When police are in difficult situations in which they must make split second decisions, they have to try to protect everyone around them, while protecting themselves.
The vast majority of law enforcement work for the best interest of all Americans. They put their lives on the line for all citizens every day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2015, the mean annual wage of Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers was $61,270. What if the annual wage of police officers, or basic law enforcement, was higher? Would they be more highly respected? I believe law enforcement would be taken more seriously if they received higher income and were known as one of the better jobs in America. In my opinion, this would inspire more Americans to be a part of law enforcement.
According to Merriam-Webster, law enforcers are "people who enforce laws, investigate crimes, and make arrests". Almost all of these tragic events which have occurred have begun with an individual committing a crime, and resisting, in some way or another, the law enforcement officers investigating the incident. Law enforcement personnel are not and can never be perfect. In my opinion, we should adjust our views and perspectives of officers' actions with a more realistic view of the circumstances they have to address.