A year ago today, on Juneteenth, I posted this article. Little did I know then that this country would be in a much darker place. It's hard to imagine how we got here. At this very moment my son is protecting protesters who could turn violent on a dime. He has too much integrity to catch the Blue Flu. He literally cares about the people he serves, obviously more than I do because I even wish he'd catch the Covid so he wouldn't have to be out there among the crazies. My nerves are twisted in a knot of anxiety for his safety along with those of his wife and children. He has buddies and colleagues who have been seriously wounded or worse, and many who just aren't willing to put themselves and their families through it anymore. The following piece I wrote back then is even more pertinent today:
I was in a hurry. My to-do list was longer than my arm and yes I was speeding. I saw flashing lights in my rear view and pulled over wondering how the heck I was going to finish my errands in time to get my mom to her doctor’s appointment. I handed the officer my license and registration and watched him walk back to his car.
Drumming my fingers on the steering wheel, I noticed that one of the items on my list was right there across the road. Hmmmm… I could probably drop off these photographs in the time it took for the cop to write my ticket. I tucked the paper bag of pictures under my arm and darted out. I heard a shout.
“STOP! GET BACK INTO YOUR CAR!”
“DROP THE BAG AND GET INTO YOUR CAR NOW!”
“But... but I’m just dropping off…”
Sheeez! He didn’t have to shout! I dropped my sack in the road and climbed back into my car. I sulked as I waited for the officer. When he finally approached and I tried to explain, he cut me off.
“First off, if you are stopped by the police, you never ever get out of your car unless you are directed to do so.”
“Secondly, when you have a concealed carry permit, you must state it to the officer and always divulge whether or not you are carrying a firearm."
I looked down in shame.
“That was a very dangerous move you made there. You must realize you put your life in jeopardy.”
Dangerous and stupid! I hoped he didn’t put together that my son was a police officer on the same force.
“What do you think your son would say?” He scolded.
Dang! “Um… I guess he’d probably say you’d better give me a huge ticket.”
“That’s exactly what he said when I called him and told him what you did.”
The obvious lesson here is that when you break the law there is a safety protocol. Follow the rules and everyone stays safe. Don’t run, don’t resist and for heavens sake don’t brandish a weapon. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, male, female, old or young—if you don’t use basic common sense you put yourself in peril and rightfully so.
Police officers have an increasingly complicated and dangerous job and need the support of the people they serve. As the mother of a police officer I know the challenges they face every day. 99% are colorblind as they protect and serve their communities and country and people who say that being colorblind is racist are actually racist. 99% of police officers are brave, honorable and unselfish. 99% warrant your trust and confidence. 99% deserve to be respected as the heroes they are. 99% are true champions that faithfully do their jobs to the best of their ability. And 99% support their spouses and children on a very meager salary. 100% are human and are imperfect. Those are pretty good percentages for any profession. If things continue the way they are going, let's see how many decent people sign up to do this job. Forget your own protection, the law and order of the future is at stake.
It's as simple as this. When you get pulled over, above all else cooperate. And as you take your ticket, you might want to smile and thank the officer for everything he or she does… besides making you late.