My son is a New Jersey State trooper, a job he loves and worked very hard to attain. He’s a good man, a wonderful father, pleasant, fair, affable and always in a good mood. Every day he puts his uniform on he first must strap on a bullet proof vest hoping that if the one automobile stop, or domestic violence call that goes bad, it will protect him and allow him to return home to his wife and two adorable young sons. It won’t however stop a bullet to the head if he is ambushed.

There has been a great deal written and spoken of late about the state of policing in this country. Many judge all police by the actions of few, with little knowledge of what being a police officer entails. We judge their actions by the visions we see on videos taken with cell phones, with no understanding of the circumstances that have led to the moment caught on tape.

Of late we’ve seen NYPD officers attacked by angry crowds outnumbering them by huge margins as they simply try to preserve order, and now the execution of two. There can be no argument of the fact that when these men and women put the uniform on they immediately become a target of not just scrutiny, but bullets as well. Some will argue that the small town police officer is not subject to this same threat but this is not the case as the situation in Ferguson has proven.

Decades ago we berated young men returning from Vietnam, showing them little respect and even less gratitude that they had just finished putting their lives on the line protecting our freedom. Today we honor our veterans for their service as should be the case. Perhaps its time we do the same for those who protect us at home, who are asked to put their lives on the line everyday they put the uniform on, for they never know when the moment will turn deadly. Police officers are a brotherhood and it’s not hard to understand why. They are the few protecting the many and they deserve our praise and respect, they have earned it as have our veterans.

 

Peter Hough
Atlantic Highlands