Press, public critical of area law enforcement

Published 6:28 am Wednesday, July 26, 2000

By Staff
To the Editor:
During the last few months, we have heard many complaints about our law enforcement people and I must say everything I have read has had a negative slant. I have served as chaplain for the Escambia County Sheriff's Department for the last two years, and my opinion of these ladies and gentlemen is much different the opinions of the noise makers.
Do they make mistakes? They are human aren't they? Sure they make mistakes and they will continue to do that, but I have been impressed without measure at their desire to do the right thing. We have young, energetic people who have a desire to serve their respective jurisdictions at very low pay, under bad condition. Some citizens think they do this for glory. I hope the following letter that I received this past week will help correct some of the past bad press that has created a false image of a fine group of men and women:
You accuse me of coddling criminals – until I catch your kids doing wrong. You may take an hour for lunch and several coffee breaks each day, but point me out as a loafer for having one cup. You pride yourself on your manners, but think nothing of disrupting my meals with your troubles.
You raise hell with the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing and I'm picking on you. You know all the traffic laws, but you've never gotten a single ticket you deserve. You shout "foul" if you observe me driving fast to a call, but raise the roof it I take more than ten seconds to respond to your complaint. You call it part of my job if someone strikes me, but call it police brutality if I strike back.
You wouldn't think of telling your dentist how to pull a tooth or your doctor how to take out an appendix, yet your always willing to give me pointers on the law. You talk to me in a manner that would get you a bloody nose from anyone else, but expect me to take it without batting an eye. You yell "something's got to be done to fight crime," but you can't be bothered to get involved.
You have no use for me at all, but of course it's o.k. if I change a flat for your wife, deliver your child in the back of the patrol car, perhaps save your son's life with mouth to mouth breathing or work many hours overtime looking for your lost daughter.
So, Mr. Citizen, you can stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my work, calling me every name in the book, but never stop to think that your property, family or maybe even your life depends on me or one of my buddies.
Yes, Mr. Citizen, it's me…the lousy cop!"
The author of this article was trooper Mitchell Brown of the Virginia State Police. He was killed in the line of duty two months after writing the article.
I would also like to ask you, Mr. Editor, "Have you spent any time in an attempt to find anything good about all of our law enforcement people? It would be good to see someone take the lead on positive press.
I would also like to ask the average citizen, "Would you please take this letter and give it to as many people as you can?" Many only make the paper and don't take the time to read it!
Jerry L. Caylor
Brewton, Alabama

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