It is an extraordinary privilege to be a Police Officer
How we must never forget who we rightly serve: the people.
Nearly two years ago, while running the last few laps of my police academy physical fitness entrance exam, I noticed a woman — in the early mornings of winter, walk to her front lawn and begin to yell.
I was barely maintaining first place during the run, breathing in the cold Chicago winter air and freezing! As a consequence, I was reluctant to slow down, get passed up, to see what she was yelling about. However, when I came around again — she was still there. This time, I heard her clearly: “Y’all didn’t come this far to fail! Don’t give up! Keep going!”
Now, anyone who is familiar with the Police Academy knows that directly across the street from 1300 W. Jackson is a Chicago Public Housing Authority complex occupied by mostly Chicago’s black community. A community at times, and rightfully so, at odds with the Police. Yet, on this early winter morning, as the sun barely breaks the horizon — this lady — all 5 feet 4 inches of her, from her front lawn across the street cheers on her future police officers.
All sworn Police officers have a constitutional right to “keep going” in the direction that best serves the public. In short, I think that’s what the lady was saying: show up for us and do the right thing — even when it’s hard, cold, and you’re tired. Moreover, that is what it means to earn the public’s trust — and without public trust the police fails to be effective.
It’s true, The citizens are police and the police are citizens. We should unceasingly hold each other to account and never forget it is always the right time to do what is right.
In memory of George Floyd — whose preventable death inspired this reflection.