I’ve said it before. I’ve written about it often. Police officers now more than ever have arguably the most thankless career possible.

I once penned a piece called "Please, son, don’t grow up to become a cop" that was first published in 2018 and some took it the wrong way from the headline.

My point was I was imagining my young boys taking on this impossible burden for the greater good only to cause such heartache for themselves.

Adobe Express
Adobe Express

It takes very special character to become a law enforcement officer and thank God there are still men and women willing to selflessly suffer the slings and arrows. We couldn’t have a society function without them.

Take for example what just happened in Newark. An incident occurred where a man allegedly had fired a gun into the air while walking down a street and police were looking for him and put out a flier with a sketch of the suspect.

Someone thought they recognized him from that flier and told police the apartment building where he lived.

Two officers were assigned to go find this man and speak to him.

Authorities say when they arrived they tried to question Kendall Howard, 30.

Police Car Lights
Carolina K. Smith,M.D.

Police say he grew belligerent and that it quickly escalated to Howard pulling out a gun and firing at the officers, striking one in the leg and the other in the shoulder.

Authorities say the officers returned fire, Howard fled, and after much of New Jersey’s largest city was disrupted with neighborhoods and schools on lockdown, they still couldn’t find the suspect. He has since been arrested.

The officers are expected to survive their wounds. Physically, anyway. Mentally? Can you ever fully survive what they are going through?

Being gunned down as if they’re nothing? The years officers put in. The training. The sacrifices made. The countless humane gestures cops make every single day that media never reports on (Bill Spadea aside, our morning host pays tribute to officers all the time with his Blue Fridays and often highlights not only the heroic acts they do but the kind gestures as well, like replacing a young boy’s stolen bicycle out of their own pockets).

Police Officers Shot

Instead of thanking them, society questions them. At a time when they face a crossroads no officer ever wants to come to, when they must make a split-second decision in a chaotic situation on a dark street where if they make the wrong move it can cost them their lives one way or another, what does too much of society do?

Instantly judge the officers before facts are in place. Condemn officers even once there’s overwhelming evidence that a shooting was fully justified.

We take law enforcement for granted. And we better damn well start paying attention and treating them better. A teacher shortage sweeping the state of New Jersey is bad enough. Imagine good officers start leaving in droves. Trust me, you don’t want to find out what that will be like.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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