The real duty behind the badge

■ Rusty Strait / Senior Reporter

I become nauseated when I hear comments about police and firemen not doing their job. I even hear it in our local coffee shops where folks gather to gossip.
Let me explain the difference between the hard-working rank-and-file officers who put their lives on the line 24/7 for us, and the hierarchy. Night and day. The linemen on the street are not pencil pushers although the time it takes to write their reports takes away from the job they must do. Be that as it may, if you have ever ridden along in a patrol car on a Saturday night and saw the chances they are required to take in order to keep peace in the community you might have a different opinion.
For instance, one might think a call about a family argument would be a breeze. You could be completely wrong. Most cops dread domestic violence calls because more times than not the party who requests police assistance will turn on the guys who are there to help them. A woman calls 911 and says, “Hurry over. My husband just assaulted me and I fear for my life.” When officers attempt to arrest the aggressive spouse, the same woman all too often will protest not to take her husband to jail making the situation all the more complicated. “He didn’t mean it. He was drinking.” She forgets why she called for help and suddenly it’s the officer’s fault.
When officers go on other calls such as a drug raid, they have no idea what they will encounter. They are at a high risk for danger, likely to sustain injuries from gunfire or worse. You don’t hear about these dangerous forays because the cop on the street is just doing his job. I’ve been there and seen it for myself – it is not a pretty sight.
As for the firemen who are often accused of making too much money – you sure about that? Think about the fireman who enters a burning house to save a bedridden senior and dies or is seriously burned in the attempt. Does he make too much money? Is that job something you would relish? I doubt it.
I’m not a fan of cops who hide around the corner to catch a speeder because entrapment is the worst kind of law enforcement. A motorcycle cop or a highway patrol SUV prevents more accidents and speedsters as well as jaywalkers by simply making themselves visible.
I resent the good cop protecting the bad one. That kind of loyalty is called “aiding and abetting” and has no place in modern protect-and-serve forces.
It takes a special kind of man or woman to be a cop or a firefighter. So the next time you complain about the guys who look out for your safety every night and day, ask yourself if you would want that kind of job. Think about the spouses and children who always live in fear that when their loved one sets out to do a shift that it may be the last time they see them.

Just sayin’

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