Opinion: Criminals are not heroes; respect Tahoe police force
November 4, 2015
Recently, I had the honor of joining in a small discussion and dissemination of information among approximately 10 community members and three representatives from North Lake Tahoe area law enforcement who are detectives and sheriffs.
We were gathered for a morning class in Crisis Intervention Training administered through Tahoe SAFE Alliance. "Stopping
Abuse For Everyone" is the mission of Tahoe SAFE Alliance and they collaborate with local businesses, government agencies and volunteers to create a violence free community.
They provide extensive services in our community for all victims of domestic violence and abuse — women, children and men.
Listening and conversing with these committed, capable and intelligent officers who serve our community — and more adversity exists in our community than one would think — I felt a sense of gratitude and pride for our caring society.
I also felt a sense of disappointment and grief regarding the current situation in our country that is displaying such a grotesque disrespect for the police officers who serve us all. The law enforcement system is not perfect, but it is essential and it does far more good than harm.
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How did we get to a point in this country that we are turning criminals into heroes and turning people who serve this country into the bad guys? Yes, there have been some horrific situations displaying abuse within the system, but these are the minority, not the norm.
Domestic violence calls that are rampant put police officers' lives at stake as they assist in dangerous situations. These circumstances are highly emotionally charged, often with weapons present, and irrational, sometimes compromised, mental states.
Just weeks ago, a Nevada sheriff's deputy was killed in Carson City responding to a domestic violence call, and this happened while there were three children in the house. Everyone in the situation was in harm's way.
If we don't turn this situation around quickly, we're not going to have the protection and service that is so essential in a country as large and varied as the United States. And as big of a country as it is, the diverse population is evident down to the smallest communities as ours here in Lake Tahoe.
These officers have wives, husbands and children to go home to and provide for, and there is a limit to how they can responsibly do their job when putting their lives on the line every day. The men and women who serve as police officers are held more accountable than everyday citizens, as they should be, but they are still human beings.
I'm not proposing that we cut them any kind of slack, but a little recognition and appreciation would go far for what is sometimes a thankless job. My amazing musician friend, Tori Pater, posted this on Facebook: "Every so often, I anonymously pay for random Police Officers meals/coffee/ice cream and send the message from a 'thankful citizen,' I do this because I am thankful that my job is so much safer in comparison (we murder the songs, not vice versa), and it is a small price to pay to say 'Thanks.'"
Cathy Cooper is a Tahoe City resident.