Plover Police Chief: Law Enforcement Needs You More Than Ever
By Plover Police Chief Dan Ault
Special to the City Times
I have carefully deliberated the last few days after various thoughts and feelings since the attack on the Dallas Police Department officers. I have watched numerous news stories and heard dozens of comments from the media on why something such as this has occurred and the direction our society is going.
I have heard people making claims that law enforcement must change, even going as far as suggesting that police should surrender their guns like our English and Norwegian counterparts.
I have tried to put together words of comfort for my officers and for the citizens of my community. However, as I try and grasp the behavior of those who commit such crimes and listen to the voices that defend their actions with ridiculous attempts.
I only come up with one explanation as to why something such as this has happened. Five officers woke up one morning, kissed their family goodbye after strapping on a gun belt, bullet proof vest, a uniform and a shiny badge and then walked out the door as people willing to be called upon if something bad happens and help is needed by anyone. Those five officers never made it home.
Those five people ready and willing ran to the sound of gunfire and sacrificed their life for others.
Friends, the explanation doesn’t need debate or require hours of conversations it is simple and right there for the world to see. It was evil, absolutely 100 percent evil. It was not about a cause or to make a statement, that was just an excuse. It was pure and simple evil hatred.
I have seen firsthand evil in our society. Such as a man who molested his biological daughter for several years before being caught. I have seen people brutally beaten, stabbed and shot by even their own family members. I have witnessed cruelty to others beyond belief. I have seen death, destruction and grief beyond words and every police officer in our nation sees those kind of horrible things on a regular basis.
I was once asked years ago by a small child as he pointed at the gun strapped to my side, “Why do you carry that?” I explained, “So you don’t have to”.
Officers handle these calls and confront this evil on a regular basis for the same reason, so that the rest of society doesn’t have to be as exposed to it. Evil comes in many shapes and forms, and what happened in Dallas was not about a cause or a statement, it is about evil fighting good.
I have never seen a time in over a quarter of a century in law enforcement where evil has been more prevalent in our society and then sickened by those that defend this evil so easily, trying to rationalize or justify the behavior.
The facts are crystal clear. Statistically, there is a very small percentage of law enforcement officers who do the wrong thing.
The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers do not allow other officers to break the law or commit crimes. Officers do not turn a blind eye to cover for another officer’s criminal behavior. The bad officers are typically caught and held accountable relatively quickly, it just doesn’t exist to the level that some would try and convince you that it does.
Over the last 25 years I have watched men and woman walk through the door of a police department at the beginning of their shift, prepared and ready to run to the sound of gun fire to stand between you and evil. I have seen courage, bravery, honor, integrity, love and compassion. I have seen the absolute best society has and witnessed them do remarkable things without expectation of praise or glory.
I have seen lives saved and changed for the better by officers. I have seen on tragic accidents officers hold hands and look victims in the eyes providing comfort as they took their last breath of life.
However, I also have watched them stumble through divorce and carry tremendous pain and grief over calls they have handled and for even the strongest that kind of burden can take its toll. Regardless of the life and experiences of today’s modern law enforcement officer they continue to stand watch and guard over society.
The honor and integrity that exist in this profession, my friends, I promise still exists today. In fact, possibly even more so now than any other time in our history. I see it every day by the sacrifice these men and women make to ensure the community is safe not just in my own department but in every community in America.
If these qualities were not there among law enforcement professionals, I think it would be evident by the fact that fewer officers would be at work today. I think it would be evident by the resignations and career changes. Badges would be turned in and uniforms likely hung up.
Why would anyone under these conditions want to remain in this profession if it wasn’t for the honor, compassion and absolute decency of the individual who took that sacred oath to serve and protect? Officers continue every day to report for duty ready and willing to do their job to the best of their ability under the most extreme conditions.
Police officers possess an immensely strong desire to make a difference. Police officers possess an incredible degree of dedication and pride in their profession. If there was ever a time in our history for the silent majority in America to speak up, it is today.
It is today that law enforcement officers need you. It is today that your voice should be heard. Be loud and proud of your country, be loud and proud of the fact that we live in a country where your voice can and shall be heard.
Be proud that you can make a difference and help stop the horrible path our society is beginning to take. Speak up against those who wish to eliminate the guardians and protectors of society and let your voice be heard.
I beg you not to give in or remain silent because there has never been a more critical time in our society to do what is right for all the right reasons. Law enforcement across this nation needs you more now than ever before.
In 1829, during police reform in England it was said by Sir Robert Peel, “The police are the public and the public are the police”. I believe those words still hold true today with American law enforcement.
So I now ask you, “Do not remain silent when your voice was meant to be heard”.