(EDITOR’S NOTE: Following the shooting of two police officers outside Ferguson City Hall during protests there on March 11, this heartfelt commentary from a Wisconsin police officer is all the more poignant. As Jeff Roorda, business manager fro the St. Louis Police Officers Association said: “While this was written by a Wisconsin police officer, it clearly speaks to the feelings of police officers throughout our bi-state community, no matter their jurisdiction. Our officers put their lives on the line every day. However, in today’s hyper anti-police environment, it seems that no matter what the officer does, it’s not the 'right' decision based on the views of someone who was not there, not standing in the officer’s shoes, perhaps with a gun pointed at them. While we acknowledge that we can always do better, and yes, errors in judgment are sometime made, we try our very best. But for some, no matter what we do, it’s not enough, it’s never right. This commentary speaks to just how we feel as police officers.”)
By LT. DANIEL FURSETH
Today, I stopped caring about my fellow man. I stopped caring about my community, my neighbors, and those I serve, I stopped caring today because a once noble profession has become despised, hated, distrusted, and mostly unwanted.
I stopped caring today because parents refuse to teach their kids right from wrong and blame us when they are caught breaking the law.
I stopped caring today because parents tell their little kids to be good or “the police will take you away” embedding a fear from year one. Moms hate us in their schools because we frighten them and remind them of the evil that lurks in the world. They would rather we stay unseen, but close by if needed, but readily available to “fix their kid.”
I stopped caring today because we work to keep our streets safe from mayhem in the form of reckless, drunk, high, or speeding drivers, only to be hated for it, yet hated even more because we didn't catch the drunk before he killed someone they may know. Nevertheless, we are just another tool used by government to generate “revenue.”
I stopped caring today because Liberals hate the police as we carry guns, scare kids, and take away their drugs. We always kill innocent people with unjust violence.
We are called bullies for using a Taser during a fight, but are condemned further for not first tasing the guy who pulls a gun on us.
And if we do have to shoot, we are asked “Why didn't you just shoot the gun out of their hand?”
And when one of use is killed by the countless attacks that do happen (but are rarely reported in the mainstream media) the haters say, “Its just part of the job.”
I stopped caring today because Conservatives hate us, as we are “the Government.” We try to take away their guns, freedoms, and liberty at every turn.
We represent a “Police State” where “jackbooted badge-wearing thugs” randomly attack innocent people without cause or concern for constitutional rights. We are Waco, Ruby Ridge, and Rodney King all rolled into one lone police officer stopping to help change an old lady's tire.
I stopped caring today as no one wants us around, but instantly demands answers, results, arrests, when a crime takes place.
If a crime isn't solved within the allocated 60 minutes it takes CSI on television, we are inept, incompetent, or covering something up. If we do get “lucky” it was just that and everyone with a Facebook account can post wonderful comments of how “they” would solve the case and how “we” are not nearly as clever.
I stopped caring today because a video of a cop six states away, from a department that you never heard of, screws up and forgets his oath of honor, thus firing up an internet lynch-mob of cop haters even though 99 percent of us work twice as hard not to end up in the news and to still be “the good guys.”
We are “militarized” because we wear body armor and Kevlar helmets when shots are fired or rocks thrown at us and carry scary looking rifles even though everyone knows that they are easier to shoot and more accurate than a handgun or a shotgun.
I stopped caring today because the culture of today's instantly connected youth is only there to take and never give back.
To never accept responsibility for ones actions, but to blame everyone else instead of themselves.
To ask “what is in it for me?” versus “what can I do for you?”
To idolize gangsters, thugs, sexually promiscuous behavior, and criminals over hard work, dedication, and achievement.
To argue that getting stoned should be a right, yet getting a job or an education is a hassle.
To steal versus earn.
To hate versus help.
Yes, I stopped caring today. But tomorrow, I will put my uniform back on and I will care again.
(Lt. Daniel Furseth is a member of the Deforest, Wisconsin Police Department. Reprint from the St. Louis Police Officers Association official publication, GENDARME.)