As a current Colorado State Representative and former law enforcement officer, I am sadden and concerned about the recent violence toward police in our state, as well as throughout the United States. We all are searching for causes of increased violence toward police in the recent years. There are many pieces to the puzzle of violence toward police, and the current negative tone that some groups thrust upon police is surly a piece of this puzzle.
As we search for reasons and answers of why our police are under siege, we cannot ignore the current push to put the policing profession in a negative light. Unfortunately, it has become commonplace in many groups to call police profession as a whole, "racist" at best and "murderers" at worst. It has become normalized in some groups to blame the police profession for all the woes in their life, even when the evidence and research says otherwise.
The media has showcased anti-police groups chanting, "Pigs in a Blanket, Fry 'em like Bacon" or "Dead Cops Now" or "What do we want, dead cop? When do we want them? Now!" These groups have a God-given right to say what they want, and I will fight for that right. However, words have consequences, especially if they spread a false narrative.
It is true, just like any profession, the law enforcement profession has a few bad apples. Certain groups and media are quick to use these few bad actors to generalize or label the police profession as a whole. I thought that was discriminatory, which is what these groups are supposedly fighting against. Lets discuss the essence of discrimination. The base of discriminatory beliefs is to use the behavior of a few to falsely represent a group as a whole. Isn't this exactly what is happen to our law enforcement? Using a broad brush to label the entire law enforcement profession. We should never label a racial group, due to the actions of a few. We should never label specific religious groups due to the actions of a small number. So why is it okay to negatively label the police profession due to a few bad apples? Again, words have consequences and false narratives have consequences, and these consequences could be putting our officers at risk.
We should remember that not everyone wants to be a law enforcement officer or has the psychological fortitude to make policing their profession. I worked in a very violent inner-city. I was able to get ridiculed, attacked, shot at, finish my shift with the smell of death soaked into my clothes, not take my work home with me, then wake up the next day ready to do it again. Very few people out of general society can be a police officer or wants to enter law enforcement. Not everyone will accept the danger and run toward situations that general society runs from.
If we falsely beat-up this profession and don't have the officers' backs, these people will choose other professions. If this doesn't concern you, it should. These shootings must end! Enough is enough!
As every level of government should be unified in protecting First Amendment rights, we also should be unified in saying that the second you kill a cop is the second you signed your death warrant.
Some groups want society to believe that law enforcement is the enemy. Police are not the enemy. The police protect up from the enemies of a law abiding society. We must back our officers, thank our officers, and spread the positive and truthful word about our officers. Let's respect or protectors, while protecting our protectors.
God bless our brothers and sisters in law enforcement, and the legacy of our fallen should never be forgotten.
Shane Sandridge is State Representative for House District 14.