News surrounding the United States police force has not always been positive; this is especially true in recent months. Media appears to only portray officers who have killed or been killed. These are the stories that the press love to jump on. Many times, they are the only things we hear about the police.
While the latter cannot be ignored, there are so many underrepresented officers on the force serving, protecting, and going the extra mile for their communities. It is important that as citizens we do not lose sight of all the good these men and women do for us.
A Plus, a digital media company devoted to “storytelling that focuses on our shared humanity,” has put together an uplifting profile of police in action across the country (n.d., More, About).
“We hope [the stories] can serve as a reminder of all of the good that police officers have done in their communities” (A Plus, 2016, 7 Times Police Went the Extra Mile for Communities They Serve, paragraph 3), says lead editor Isaac Saul.
From Virginia to Texas, California to Kentucky and all points in between police have been captured doing good things for the people they have sworn to protect and serve. Take for example the joint barbecue thrown by Wichita, KS police and local Black Lives Matter activists in July 2016.
“The response from the…community was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging,” Officer Charlie Davidson said of the event (A Plus, 2016, 7 Times Police Went the Extra Mile for Communities They Serve, Wichita police joined up with the Black Lives Matter movement).
Unfortunately, equally as significant, yet not so grand, gestures continue to go unnoticed.
A Kentucky officer held the hand of a distraught woman and stayed with her for over an hour until her family arrived. The woman was in no physical danger but had pulled her car over after learning her sister had died. The officer, 17 year veteran John Nissen, gave her water and put an arm around her as she cried on his shoulder. When her family arrived, they took a picture of the woman with Nissen and sent it to his department as a thank you.
Police in Texas have accompanied children of fallen officers to their first day of school, posted tips of the day to department Facebook accounts in California that have kept countless people safe, and even given out ice cream instead of tickets when stopping motorists in Virginia.
Gloucester, MA police topped all the rest by creating an action plan that will have a largely positive impact on their community. The department changed their policy on incarcerating drug offenders. In June 2015, the department sent out notices stating that if addicts turn in drugs, paraphernalia, or dealers, they will not get in trouble with the police. Instead, the department will help them get treatment. By August, 100 people had responded and been placed in treatment facilities. Taking this approach brings the Gloucester police one step closer to their goal of ending the war on drugs. While acknowledging that this tactic needs to be studied long-term in order to verify the effects of the program, the department stated, “Law enforcement can be compassionate soldiers in the fight against this disease” (A Plus, 2016, 7 Times Police Went the Extra Mile for Communities They Serve, Police in Gloucester decide not to arrest drug offenders).
For more information on this topic, please read “7 Times Police Went the Extra Mile for Communities They Serve.”
Saul, I. (Ed.). (October 16, 2016). 7 Times Police Went the Extra Mile for Communities They Serve. A Plus. Retrieved from http://aplus.com/a/good-things-police-do-community-relations?no_monetization=true