Lauren Louisiana

Targeting of law enforcement

Law enforcement officers show bravery and determination to protect citizens in their communities. Targeting law enforcement officers for the actions of a few people is not okay.

Dear Mr. or Madam President:

           Remember when you were in Elementary school, and a police officer would visit your class to speak about his/her job as a police officer? They would show all of their gadgets on their belt, and sometimes demonstrate some. As you get older in grade school, the police officer shares more mature stories that showed their bravery and passion for keeping our community safe. You become appreciative towards what they do to achieve the community's safety. Starting in the summer of 2016, law enforcement officers have been accused of being unfair to ethnic groups, and accused of inadequate actions towards people. Groups of people claim to be targeted from law enforcement, and retaliate at any social event such as: Presidential debate rallies, protests, and public places. Also, the law enforcement are affected by this issue. Since they are being accused of hurting people, some are targeting law enforcement with violence. This issue is happening all over the country. Targeting law enforcement officers for the action of a few people is not credible to prove that they are inadequate to their job.

         Julia Glum of International Business Times reported that thirty-one law enforcement officers have been fatally shot in the line of duty. Many events have shown the targeting of law enforcement all over the nation. Glum reports that on July 7, 2016 a gunman Micah Xavier killed five law enforcement officers, and injured seven other officers at the Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, TX. People claim that he wanted to kill officers and express his hatred towards white people. Also Glum reports, on July 8, 2016 officer Michael Flamin was shot and killed in St. Louis, Missouri during a typical traffic stop. My own state of Louisiana was the victim of one of these events. An article by Steve Visser of CNN describes this event. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a man named Gavin Long of St.Louis, Missouri, began a shooting rampage; which resulted in three deaths of Louisiana law enforcement. These officers were identified shortly after the shooting: Montrell Jackson, Brad Garafola, and Matthew Gerald. The gunman died in a rampage by responding officers that came on the scene. These all demonstrates the targeting of law enforcement.

           I have a personal connection to law enforcement. My grandfather was head sheriff in North Louisiana for 30 years. He has been a sheriff all of his life. Today, he helps other law enforcement, and political office candidates succeed in their occupation by supporting them in campaigns and legal work. Also, my father is a retired Louisiana State Trooper. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, they share their stories of risking their lives everyday, saving lives, protecting people, and included in life's special moments. You can see the excitement and intent on their faces when sharing these stories. By the look on their faces, the passion never left their hearts; even though they have retired. Hearing the recent events of the targeting of law enforcement, they both become really sad and disappointed. My father, a retired Louisiana State Trooper, shared some words on the recent events,"People are targeting men and women who perform these duties, on a daily basis, with great pride. It is a job that you truly have to want to do, and in many cases is a family tradition, and it is part of your DNA. If that wasn't the case, you would not be part of that 'thin blue line.'" 

        As a kid, you hear that policemen and firemen help people. As a young adult, you hear people's opinions about how awful they are, and that their intentions are not to help people. I wonder what younger generations think about policemen and women? Do they teach younger generations that law enforcement are good people, and their job is to protect their community? To retired police officers these events are more disturbing, which means that they process that information harder than a person that has never experienced being a police officer. In other words, though they are retired, and created a new life, they have not lost the passion that was there during their line of duty. My father also says, "Again, the taking of human life without justification is wrong. By man's law and God 's law. The targeting of police officers who are in many cases, our daily heroes, for any reason is wrong, and hurts all people. As mentioned before, men and women that make up our police force are many times referred to as the 'thin blue line.' The unjustly killing of our police officers thins the blue line even more, making us and our families less safe in our communities."

         These events have created the opinion of law enforcement targeting other people. Groups of people have created a protest group called "Black Lives Matter." They protest in cities to share their opinions on the belief of being targeted by law enforcement. Groups of people claim that law enforcement want to hurt and kill people.

       This raises a question, do people know how law enforcement are trained to handle violent situations? Officers are trained to take restrictive action if anyone shows signs of danger or if the citizen presents distress or danger to themselves. An officer is a "friend" to anyone that needs help. This citizen could be under the influence of drugs, and react to those in a defensive way. The officer is taught to listen to what the citizen is saying. Dr. Laurence Miller, a certified psychologist, states "you can show show a little human emotion and personality, and even a little humor." This statement is disagreeable and that should not be suggested to officers. Officers should not use humor in a discussion with a citizen if the citizen is angry. Now if the suspect has a weapon, and approaches officer with violence, the officers will use verbal commands to control the situation so that neither the officer nor the suspect will become injured or fatally wounded. For example, the officer may say "freeze!" The suspect is supposed to freeze and put their hands in the air. Now if they disobey, and take pursuit. The officer will use restrictive contact to not allow pursuit to happen again. This restrictive contact could be the suspect on the ground with the officer's knee on the suspect's dorsal part of the neck. Many people would say that the restricted force would be unnecessary to control the situation, but it is necessary to protect the suspect and officer.

       Now, people need to think about this issue calmly and remember that police officers are just doing their job. Seminars can take place to spread the word of the training and overall purpose of law enforcement. There are many other ways that this issue can be subsided. We could allow more visits by law enforcement officers in public and private schools. This would provide education on the job of a police officer. Also, we could stress the importance of respect to police officers in communities. This would be mostly be enforced by parents and teachers. We can only subside this issue, or calm it down. So Mr. or Madam President, how would you deal with the targeting of law enforcement around the nation?

                                                                                                                             Sincerely, Lauren                                                                                         

Cedar Creek School

Cedar Creek School

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