I have been very fortunate to have traveled abroad on a number of occasions. I always make a point to chat up the locals when I travel and learn more about their country and lives. For example, on the same days I saw beautiful vineyards or pristine beaches and blue water, I learned from locals how hard it is to get good healthcare, potable drinking water, a decent job, an education, the rampant poverty, the crime and other social problems hidden beyond the view of the typical tourist. As a country we may not be perfect, but we are without question the best country to live in and raise a family, which is something we should all give thanks for.
I have been privileged to represent and have gotten to know so many police officers across the Commonwealth. They epitomize everything I would want in a police officer protecting my family and me: professional, dedicated, and truly caring about their community. Every day at work I read actual police reports which reflect their brave, unselfish and professional approach to protecting us while preserving the rights of those they confront. We rarely read about these incidents because they don’t seem to be newsworthy. It pains me to see the recent and increasing violent attacks on police across this country. It is a tragedy. What is happening now is unacceptable. This cannot continue and become a norm. We all must work to reverse this.
When we hear a report of an incident involving alleged misconduct by the police, we need to remind ourselves and others to be patient. We must wait until all the facts are in. We need to be reminded the officer involved is a witness. The officer typically is not free to tell their side of the story until the appropriate time as the justice system and any associated investigation run their courses. We must be mindful there are always two sides to a story. Our police daily do good deeds and good work done so consistently that it is taken for granted and goes unmentioned. It would be great if the media would spend more time reporting on this good work to prevent a distorted view of our dedicated police.
We all have a stake in supporting our police and reversing the dangerous trend of attacking those who bravely and unselfishly protect us day in and day out. On this Thanksgiving, we can start saying “thank you for your service” the next time we see a police officer on the street or at a local store. I’ll bet you will find, like I have, the officer will react with surprise or profound appreciation. The reaction you will get will likely be heartwarming. The officer’s reaction may also give you a glimpse of the daily stress these officers live under, as a result of the threat of violence against them and the distorted image of police being portrayed at times by some in the media and some leaders.
In the words of Bruce Springsteen, let’s all remember “We take care of our own.” On this Thanksgiving holiday, let’s give thanks for living in the best country in the world and let each one of us start taking positive steps to support and show appreciation for our local police.
– Steven Ballin, Esq.