Editorial: Today, Just Five Days Before Christmas

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“Editorial”

Today, just five days before Christmas (The Most Wonderful Time of the Year), two New York City police officers were murdered in cold blood while they were sitting in their patrol car. The murderer then ran to the subway before killing himself. Turns out, he had posted on social media that he was going to do it. So there are at least two more families that will not have a Merry Christmas. Instead, for the rest of their lives, they will experience sorrow at what should be a joyous time with family. Why? Because they chose to wear a uniform and badge to work? I am guessing that somewhere, someone will end up having video of the event. Did they try to shout a warning to the officers before they were shot? Have people become so calloused that now they want to watch real life killings and shootings because the make believe (fantasy) world of movies and TV are not satisfying them anymore? With body cameras, in addition to the in-car videos already in use, we will be able to watch more real life events as they unfolded. And don’t forget all the “real life” videos being uploaded by the minute to the WWW by anyone with a phone…which are owned by nearly every human being in the world.

I, along with numerous other officers, have been filmed trying to do our jobs more times than I can remember. It’s something you have to get used to. Not only are police officers filming nearly everything that they do on the job with their own in-car cameras or body cams, but citizens are also filming us with their electronic devices. I have seen video where citizens have actually put themselves at risk to get a video. For what? For a few days of fame on YouTube? So you get to be a witness in court? If you do not want to get involved, to help the officer who may be alone and fighting for his life, then at least stay back and let him try to control the situation. It could actually be rather funny when you watch a video…two or three other people, also filming, that are caught on tape. Except that it’s sad. I actually saw one video where an elderly man, who appeared to be in his seventies, was actually leaning over an officer wrestling with a man on the ground. While I applaud this elderly citizen for mastering the use of his phone, he had put himself in a potentially dangerous position. If the officer had mistaken his cell phone for a gun as he rushed toward him, arm extended, to get the video, and the officer had taken action to stop him because he perceived a threat, the officer and the department would have had to deal with the fallout. Fortunately…or unfortunately…the officer was rather busy at the time.

I just read that one of the “I Hate the Police” pages is going to do a red Sunday in response to supporters of the police wearing blue on Friday. My apologies in advance to any firefighters, who wear red for a different reason, if officers are a little wary of you tomorrow.

The police are the enforcement branch of government. We do not make the laws, but we are tasked to enforce them, whether they are popular or not. If you do not like a particular law, contact your representative about getting it changed. Because of the uniqueness of what we do, we also have the only job that I can think of where people, at times, do not want us to do our jobs. Do you want an educator to not teach? What about your accountant? Do you want him to not do your taxes this year? No. That is what they get paid for. It is different, though, in our profession. We enforce the law. We deal with law breakers. Some are minor, some are serious. We take the appropriate action. It is then for the courts to decide. I find it a bit ironic that there is more outrage today then there was back in 2008/2009 when so many lost their life’s savings to a few swindlers in the banking industry. I do not remember any people being murdered who were in that industry who had nothing to do with what had happened…targeting them just because they were in the same profession. That is what is happening to law enforcement today. Good officers who have done nothing wrong ( and that is a higher percentage than nearly any other profession) are being targeted because they wear the uniform.

I realize that the people who read this page support us, although there are a few cop haters who troll our page. The vast majority of the public actually support the police. But it is the few who yell the loudest who seem to be getting heard. Maybe it is time for good people to be heard as well. In the meantime, my brothers and sisters in blue in New York City and around the country will be in my thoughts and prayers.

We will continue to be out and about. It’s what we are paid to do.

Chief Long

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