Letter to the editor: A daughter who asks you to back the Blue

Published 8:52 am Thursday, December 22, 2022

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To the editor:

It takes courage to wear a police badge for even one day, much less let it be your profession. This courage is demonstrated when having to risk your life each day to protect and serve your community for its safety needs. However, being in law enforcement does not come with much respect from the outside world but it is necessary to make change.

Law enforcement has had increased workloads as they put their lives at risk responding to calls while also dealing with the increase of intentional acts of violence against them. According to CNN, last year was the highest rate of intentional attacks and murders against law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001, with a total of 79 felonious killings of officers last year, 25 of them were unprovoked.

With that being said, law enforcement has not had the best reputation over the years. With the case of George Floyd and other intentional acts of violence on citizens from law enforcement, it has made it difficult for them to have support. Yes, some officers out there do not have the community’s best interest at heart, and yes, there are some who will let their prejudices sway their actions, but that is not most police officers. These are the few that should not be supported. Law enforcement does not condone these actions, as this is not the way they are trained. For instance, one action that law enforcement agencies have taken is the implementation of body cameras to prevent misconduct.  But the majority of law enforcement gets the backlash for the actions from a few due to the majority of people not having respect for law enforcement. Most of them are putting on their badge of courage every single day to ensure the safety of a community.

To understand the impact of this disrespect on an officer’s life, you need to know what my father, a local law enforcement officer, goes through. A police officer is trained to serve and protect their community. They put on their uniform and go to work each and every day responding to calls for something as little as a wellness check or to something as serious as gun violence. These are everyday occurrences with calls that are far and between these. It begins to become a lifestyle as you respond to those calls.

The line of work has become a part of my father’s life. My father, a Davie County Sheriff’s Deputy, and the North Carolina community college criminal justice training specialist acts on being a deputy every day on and off duty.  As a family of four, when we go out to eat, my dad will sit in a chair that allows him to see the entire establishment as his duty is to protect the community, in this instance his family and the restaurant. My mom, brother and I will choose our seats around him as we understand what is going through his head. My father constantly looks up from his plate when someone walks in and scans the restaurant to make sure everyone is safe. It has just become a normal part of our dinners as it’s a part of his life as an officer. This is one of many thoughts that race through an officer’s head on duty or off duty.

My family took a trip a few months ago to Memphis, Tenn. to visit Graceland. My family and I went to the grocery store the first night we arrived to get groceries for our stay. Upon entering the grocery store, my dad was aggressively confronted and asked if he was an officer because of his appearance. With feelings of pressure from being surrounded by multiple men, and being uncomfortable for our safety, we left the store with no questions asked. It was in this moment that I knew that I could not flaunt or be openly proud for the fact that my father works every day to provide safety for communities. It was a scary moment in my life at 20 years old that this hate towards officers was real, and that my dad truly does not have support from everyone. It was a time when I realized that there may always be potential danger for me and my family from those who do not support.

It is proven that there are incompetent cops out there who do not have the mentality to protect their community. But there are also officers who will put everything they have on the line to protect their community. It is a hard line of work and support is needed. A high degree of professional conduct is expected from these officers but in return, respect from civilians needs to change. Not everyone can be perfect, but it would make it easier on a father and his family if there was the slightest bit of respect given.

Lindsey Dingler, of Advance, is a Davie High School graduate of 2020 and is at Western Carolina University studying integrated health sciences

in hopes to go to physician’s assistant school.