A friend recently displayed a poster on Facebook like the following one.
I have always supported law enforcement – it is a basic need in a country governed by laws, and our police put themselves at risk to enforce the laws on our behalf. For this the police deserve our appreciation and our full support.
Yet full support is not unconditional support. Police wield a great deal of power, and they sometimes abuse that power; when they do, they, like anyone else who is in a position of public trust, must be held accountable.
I found the poster too narrow in its scope; to the poster needs to be added, “I also support holding law enforcement accountable”.
It would be nice if the second part did not have to be said. Unfortunately, all too often “full support” is taken to mean unconditional support, and used to excuse or ignore poor behavior on the part of police, prosecutors and judges when they distort the very laws they are supposed to interpret and uphold, at the expense of citizens they are supposed to be protecting.
I am very thankful for the hard work law enforcement does for our community, and at the same time watchful for the signs of abuse of power. There are many in law enforcement who are as watchful themselves; they need the support of a community who appreciates the good they do, and also supports the need for change when citizens are not treated fairly under the law by those who are sworn to uphold it.