Many Americans are more than a little dismayed at the notion of turning away from our police departments. Mayors in many larger cities across this great land are not only demanding the local law enforcement officials back off and let rioters and looters run amok, they are actually talking of defunding the departments. Some went so far as to say disband police departments completely.
This idea is beyond foolish. If someone is in favor of the latter, then cancel every law on the books now. Why have laws if they cannot be enforced? This is the same argument I use in debates on proposed gun laws that are unenforceable. If they cannot or will not be enforced, there is no reason to have them.
Stop for a moment and think rationally. Can anyone imagine what the country would be like without law enforcement? It would be total chaos and law of the jungle mentality.
We all want a utopian world where everyone is fair, honest and kind. Unfortunately, in a world where there is pride, greed, hate and power, it is unattainable. For that reason, the world needs law enforcement.
Americans are fortunate because if there are laws we don’t like, then we, as a people, have the power to change them. That is what sets us apart from other nations. Even though many seem to have either forgotten it or want to ignore it, "we the people" have the ultimate power.
Like any other profession, law enforcement has some officers who do not live up to their oaths of their positions. Some are power-hungry tyrants who think they are above the laws they are hired to enforce. In addition, there are some Barney Fife types who bumble along and are a little overzealous in the desire for a case or to bring someone in for booking. From what I have experienced, those types are few and far between.
I feel like we are lucky in our community because of the varying law enforcement agencies we have working the area. We have Tahlequah PD, Cherokee County SO, school resource officers, Cherokee Marshals, NSU PD, UKB Lighthorse Patrol, Grand River Dam Authority officers, and OHP. For a small community, that is a lot of law enforcement.
Many in the U.S. are angry at intercity officers who seem to be too rough on detainees, especially African Americans. I can understand that issue. Good officers follow their training and do things as required. Everyone in every profession always needs updated training and recertification. Americans support that. What isn’t supported is the blatant hatred and the vile and illegal actions in the name of change.
The majority of people do not understand what officers deal with on a daily basis. Most of the time, they are not dealing with someone who is at his or her best, and many are completely out of control. They must look out for their own safety and the safety of other innocent bystanders and be responsible for the person causing the problem. Even simple things like reaching into a jacket or a car glovebox can be life-threatening, where life and death decisions must be made in a fraction of a second. That is why it is so important to establish the trust and do what they ask. It is for their safety, your safety and the safety of others nearby.
I have known many friends and family who are serving or have served as law enforcement officers over the years. I salute all of you and offer my thanks for doing a thankless job.
Randy Gibson is the CEO of RDG Communications Group, LLC, and the former director of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the Texas State Rifle Association.