Protect and Serve?

By Erik Shulmire
Nov 13, 2014

“Fuck the police”, words I never thought I would say in my lifetime. Growing up listening to controversial music from rapper Ice-T made it clear that law enforcement had made some enemies which was a notion that seemed unreal at the time. It was as if the ‘bad guy’ was threatening the ‘good guy’.TooManyCopsTooLittleJustice Now fast forward over twenty years and we have a constant deluge of YouTube videos showing the ‘good guy’ (law enforcement) stepping beyond their authoritative boundaries via videos and stories of people being tasered and beaten by these so called public protectors. Many of us have seen the video of 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock being beaten by a highway patrol officer, a man far younger and stronger than she. He is shown in a straddling position punching this obviously mentally ill woman as if she were a man. This abuse of power is out of control, period, and I am brought to ask the question who watches them? Who protects us from our protectors?
We have government agencies in place to protect children, elderly or other specific groups in society. What I want to know is who is here to protect civil society from law enforcement? When the people who have been entrusted with our safety violate that trust then, in my humble opinion, we have anarchy. When “serve and protect” becomes tax and collect, social institutions, such as law enforcement, become a hindrance of rather than a resource for civil rights in accordance with our constitution.

We the people have only one choice and that is to fight back. I don’t know about you, but I hold those who have the “authority” to take my freedom or my life to a much higher standard. Growing up in rural Klamath Falls Oregon, everyone carried a gun; it wasn’t uncommon to see people with rifles in the back window of their pickup trucks. And I can assure you that when you got pulled over there was a mutual level of respect for both the officer and the citizen.

In many cases, the person getting pulled over has more guns than the officer and there is a tacit mutual understanding for respect of laws by both parties regardless of title authority. I am not calling for violence against law enforcement. I do not believe all officers of the law to be corrupt or evil however a very large number of them are which only adds more anger and frustration to an already growing number of distrusting citizens. Maybe being forced to wear small cameras on their uniforms that record their interactions is a start in the right direction. It would protect the officers as well as the citizens they come into contact with. Having police officers focus less on writing tickets for infractions of the law and more on going into schools and speaking with children to assist in starting where a lot of societal issues begin might be a more optimal direction to take. Davis protest

Perhaps meeting people they serve in the community and somehow making an effort to reach out to discovering we aren’t all out to get them for personal reasons might be another option. Mental evaluation of the officer on a regular basis to see if they are capable of rational decision making and able to handle the stress of the job or their personal life is also a very important area to address. We can’t let them fall through the cracks because of their authoritative positions. We have to come together collectively to show “the law” that ‘they’ are held to a higher standard, but not so high as to be above it.

Our governmental officials have put law enforcement in a bad position. The officers are not responsible for creating revenue, they’re responsible for our safety. You shouldn’t see a person stranded on the freeway way just to see the highway patrol officer drive right by looking to write his next ticket for some minor infraction. We have militarized our law enforcement officers and some would say this is good while others say this is detrimental to our system. Last I checked we have a military already established. Police officers should wear wear bulletproof vests, as not all citizens are law abiding, but they (officers) ought not have military weapons or vehicles either. In my opinion if this isn’t put in check then our lives and the lives of the police officers are in danger. There is this old saying that I often reflect upon in reference to this issue-I would rather be judged by 12 instead of carried by 6.