I think all of us have at least one family member or friend who is anti-police, or at least uninformed to the facts versus the social media “stories”. So, what do we do” Do we delete them or educate them?
So much blame can be placed on the media. They are reckless in their one-sided reporting and drawing conclusions without all of the facts. Can you imagine if the police conducted an investigation by only speaking to one party involved? Or, worse yet, get their “facts” from a so-called witness who was not there? Last I checked, you can only be convicted in a court of law. But, if you wear a uniform, you are convicted on the 11 o’clock news.
I will be the first to admit, I’m so tired of trying to defend our profession and the selfless people who lay their life on the line everyday, that my first thought is to just delete all of them. But, then I realize I am allowing them to continue to spread more misinformation and continue to infect social media outlets. And, that is an injustice to everyone.
They may not be openly anti-police, but it shows through their subtle innuendos and posting of snide comments to social media stories. Now I can understand having to explain our side to the public, who are strangers. But to have to explain our side to friends and family is truly disheartening. Is that what they really think of us? Is that what they believe or are they just following along with the mainstream? Either way it’s frustrating.
I think it is natural instinct to immediately defend our profession, just as it would be for an outsider to criticize the action of the police officer. But what that does is allow people to immediately form an opinion and draw a conclusion without the full story and knowing all of the facts. As a supervisor and leader, it is my job to have an open discussion and analyze these incidents with my officers. But, in the end, it is important to remember sitting on the side line, we have all the time in the world to analyze and make a decision, yet the officer has to make that same decision in a split second.
If they want to know the facts, we must educate them by showing them statistical data on use of force and police officers killed in the line of duty. Here are some of the most recent statistics: over 20,000 police officers have been killed in the line of duty; over 15,000 are assaulted every year; 70 police officers have been killed since January 1; there is a 78% increase in firearms related officer deaths; and a 300% increase in ambush killing of police officers. And these numbers continue to increase everyday. Let’s share that information on social media.