My thought for the day. Today is May 30, 2020. I have been retired for roughly 18 months, and for the most part, I have never looked back and regretted my decision until today.
I am saddened that I am not standing beside my brothers and sisters who serve their communities with respect and without prejudice every day. I am saddened that many of my dear friends must decide whether to defend their race or their chosen profession because, currently, both are not equally accepted. I am fearful for my many friends and relatives still serving on the lines. I know many police officers who are sadly watching these events knowing that the representation observed in Minnesota is so far from the truth of the way things truly are, but knowing that it could be hard to believe that if you did not live it every day.
The visual representation that came from the George Floyd case sickens all officers who serve honorably, and yet those are the people who pay the price for that behavior. Was it racist or just cruel or both? Who knows, but if we had a fair and impartial system, that question would not even need to be asked.
I’m trying to wrap my mind around how things could get so drastically out of control and yet know that decisions made outside of the day to day activities of a patrol officer play an essential role in how things became this way.
People frequently talk about the criminal justice system and how reform is necessary. This fact is true, but not in the way many believe it should. Are there tragic mistakes made? Absolutely! There are and will always be mistakes made as long as human beings are involved in the process. We have sat back and allowed politics to rule the profession. In some jurisdictions, individuals who have committed small crimes are receiving maximum punishment. In contrast, in others, violent criminals are being released without bail or consequence, sending them back to target unsuspecting victims all in the name of justice reform.
Until all can accept blame, nothing will change. Having worked on criminal cases, I know all races commit crimes. Having worked Internal Affairs cases, I know the vast majority of corrupt cops are turned in by good cops. This is where the hype has to end, and honesty has to begin. Do black lives matter? Of course, they do! Are all cops racist puppets? Without a doubt, No! We all know this, so why must it be stated and written on walls with graffiti? Why do looting businesses and setting fire to hardworking citizens businesses occur, and how do we justify that? There is rage on all fronts; social media fuels it, and people feel they must take sides.
I write all this to say, do I get it? Yes, do I like it, no? Am I scared for my country? Yes. Where do we go from here? We must come together and stop the political hype that those in charge are regurgitating. We can no longer depend on those we have elected or appointed to have our backs because they no longer do.
In the world, as it is today, we need to have an honest reflection of who we are, accountability for those who violate the trust of the community on both sides of the law, and a stern look at the morals of our country and its elected officials. The rhetoric that is coming from both sides is putting people in harm. In this, as in all cases, words matter, and people are dying. It can no longer be us against them, but it must be all of us in this together!
– Cathy Bustos, That Peer Support Couple