Amidst the discussions of relations between police and the public there has been a incongruous parallel made between the actions taken by individuals vs. those of the police. To be police is a profession. The uniform, the academy, the obligations and policies are particular to partaking in that profession. And the actions taken by police are when they are on duty, in the role, and are serving as police. First reminders of the obvious: police are paid by tax money, tax money is collected and dispersed to provide services for the public, and the police are meant to serve the public. This service can come in many forms, and in rare times this protection must take extreme acts – such as taking a life. But the acts taken by police must be on parity with how that act serves the public. When an individual acts we presume that it is done on balance of their rights with respect to the rights of others. But the individual does not have the same responsibility to serve the public. My profession is as a teacher, that in no way means only people in my career educate. But if I do not fulfill my obligation, I have not earned the public trust nor ought I earn the public money. The same goes for police.
When an individual commits a crime, it is an act of that person, taken by their own conscious. When the police commit an act, it is not that of a person, individual belief or purpose. I am sick of people comparing the acts of individuals to the acts of police. The police are held to a higher standard, to then earn the public trust and the public money. If some 22 year old angry man takes a handgun and kills another young man, it is a tragedy. The circumstances that contributed to that crime are worthy of examination. But when the police take the life of a young man, it is on us to scrutinize and evaluate that act in accordance with the responsibilities we have endowed in those public servants.
When the police fail to protect us, when they resort to acts of violence against unarmed young men, when they can only respond by taking a life, they have failed their public responsibility…And it is the duty of the citizens of a republic to reframe and repair the abuses of any profession entrusted and paid by the public.